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A three-decker was a sailing warship which carried her principal carriage-mounted guns on three fully armed decks. Usually additional (smaller) guns were carried on the upper works (forecastle and quarterdeck), but this was not a continuous battery and so did not count as a "fourth deck". Three-deckers were usually "ships of the line", i.e. of sufficient strength to participate in the line of battle, and in the rating system of the Royal Navy were generally classed as first or second rates, although from the mid-1690s until the 1750s the larger of the third rates were also three-deckers.
Three-deckers also served in the naval forces of other European states, notably those of France, Russia and Spain. The French definition of a three-decker differed from that of the English Navy until 1690, as some ships that were officially termed "three-deckers" prior to this date had only a partially-armed third tier of guns, with a significant gap between the guns in the forward portion of that deck and the guns in the aft portion of that deck. In some of these nominal three-deckers this division constituted a structural gap separating the forward and aft sections of this deck, so that these vessels would have been described as "two-deckers" in equivalent English warships.
Three-deckers held special respect among the local community and the troops who farewelled these ships when they left the harbour. Such patriotism was expressed when HMS Britannia left Portsmouth bound for active service in the Mediterranean, in October 1840:
It is customary at all times for many persons to congregate on the platform when a three-decker leaves the harbour, for such an occurrence is somewhat rare; but the events connected with the necessity of reinforcing our squadron in the Mediterranean, and the contemplation of this noble ship may be called upon to take part in these measures already so gallantly begun, imparted additional interest to Britannia leaving the harbour; and on this occasion, therefore, the platform and ramparts were crowded with spectators. When the Britannia came abreast of the platform at 11 o'clock, the hour at which the troops appointed for the day's duty are inspected prior to their marching off to their respective guards, the commanding officer ordered the troops to pile their arms and mount the ramparts ... followed by the splendid band of the 72d Regiment, and, waving their caps, spontaneously gave three hearty cheers, in which they were joined by the concourse assembled. This was repeated several times, the band continuing to play "Rule Britannia."
A frigate is a type of warship, having various sizes and roles over time.
A ship of the line was a type of naval warship constructed from the 17th century to the mid-19th century. The ship of the line was designed for the naval tactic known as the line of battle, which depended on the two columns of opposing warships maneuvering to fire with the cannons along their broadsides. In conflicts where opposing ships were both able to fire from their broadsides, the opponent with more cannons—and therefore more firepower—typically had an advantage. Since these engagements were almost invariably won by the heaviest ships carrying the most powerful guns, the natural progression was to build sailing vessels that were the largest and most powerful of their time.
In the rating system of the British Royal Navy used to categorise sailing warships, a first rate was the designation for the largest ships of the line, equivalent to the 'super-dreadnought' of more recent times. Originating in the Jacobean era with the designation of Ships Royal capable of carrying at least 400 men, the size and establishment of first-rates evolved over the following 250 years to eventually denote ships of the line carrying at least 80 guns across three gundecks. By the end of the eighteenth century, a first-rate carried not less than 100 guns and more than 850 crew, and had a measurement (burthen) tonnage of some 2,000 tons.
USS Brooklyn (CL-40) was a light cruiser, the lead ship of her class of seven, and the third United States Navy ship to bear its name. Commissioned in 1937, she served in the Atlantic during World War II, as a convoy escort and as fire support for amphibious landings.
In the rating system of the British Royal Navy used to categorise sailing warships in the 18th century, a fourth-rate was a ship of the line with 46 to 60 guns mounted. They were phased out of ship of the line service during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, as their usefulness was declining; though they were still in service, especially on distant stations such as the East Indies. Fourth-rates took many forms, initially as small two decked warships, later as large frigates razéed from the initial two deck warships, and occasionally even heavily armed merchant ships such as HMS Calcutta.
In the 18th century and most of the 19th, a sloop-of-war in the Royal Navy was a warship with a single gun deck that carried up to eighteen guns. The rating system covered all vessels with 20 guns and above; thus, the term sloop-of-war encompassed all the unrated combat vessels, including the very small gun-brigs and cutters. In technical terms, even the more specialised bomb vessels and fireships were classed as sloops-of-war, and in practice these were employed in the sloop role when not carrying out their specialized functions.
Steam frigates, also known as screw frigates and the smaller steam corvettes and steam sloops, were steam-powered warships that were not meant to stand in the line of battle. The first such ships were paddle steamers. Later on the invention of screw propulsion enabled construction of steam-powered versions of the traditional frigates, corvettes, and sloops.
A bomb vessel, bomb ship, bomb ketch, or simply bomb was a type of wooden sailing naval ship. Its primary armament was not cannons —although bomb vessels carried a few cannons for self-defence—but mortars mounted forward near the bow and elevated to a high angle, and projecting their fire in a ballistic arc. Explosive shells or carcasses were employed rather than solid shot. Bomb vessels were specialized ships designed for bombarding fixed positions on land. In the 20th century, this naval gunfire support role was carried out by the most similar purpose-built World War I- and II-era monitors, but also battleships, cruisers and destroyers.
Sovereign of the Seas was a 17th-century warship of the English Navy. She was ordered as a 90-gun first-rate ship of the line of the English Royal Navy, but at launch was armed with 102 bronze guns at the insistence of the king. It was later renamed HMS Sovereign, and then HMS Royal Sovereign at the Restoration of Charles II.
The Trento class was a group of two heavy cruisers built for the Italian Regia Marina in the late 1920s, the first such vessels built for the Italian fleet. The two ships in the class—Trento and Trieste, were named after the redeemed cities of Trento and Trieste taken from the Austro-Hungarian empire after the victory in World War I. The ships were very lightly armored, with only a 70 mm (2.8 in) thick armored belt, though they possessed a high speed and heavy armament of eight 203 mm (8.0 in) guns. Nominally built under the restrictions of the Washington Naval Treaty, the two cruisers nevertheless exceeded the displacement limits imposed by the treaty.
The rating system of the Royal Navy and its predecessors was used by the Royal Navy between the beginning of the 17th century and the middle of the 19th century to categorise sailing warships, initially classing them according to their assigned complement of men, and later according to the number of their carriage-mounted guns. The rating system of the Royal Navy formally came to an end in the late 19th century by declaration of the Admiralty. The main cause behind this declaration focused on new types of gun, the introduction of steam propulsion and the use of iron and steel armour which made rating ships by the number of guns obsolete.
This is a partial glossary of nautical terms; some remain current, while many date from the 17th to 19th centuries. See also Wiktionary's nautical terms, Category:Nautical terms, and Nautical metaphors in English. See the Further reading section for additional words and references.
The Landing Craft, Support (Large) were two distinct classes of amphibious warfare vessels were used by the United States Navy (USN) in Pacific and the Royal Navy in World War II. The USN versions which were later reclassified Landing Ship Support, Large also performed radar picket duty and fire fighting.
The Dunkerque class was a pair of fast battleships built for the French Navy in the 1930s; the two ships were Dunkerque and Strasbourg. They were the first French battleships built since the Bretagne class of pre-World War I vintage, and they were heavily influenced by the Washington Treaty system that limited naval construction in the 1920s and 1930s. French battleship studies initially focused on countering fast Italian heavy cruisers, leading to early designs for small, relatively lightly protected capital ships. But the advent of the powerful German Deutschland-class cruisers proved to be more threatening to French interests, prompting the need for larger and more heavily armed and armoured vessels. The final design, completed by 1932, produced a small battleship armed with eight 330 mm (13 in) guns that were concentrated in two quadruple gun turrets forward, with armour sufficient to defeat the Deutschlands' 283 mm (11.1 in) guns. Strasbourg was completed to a slightly modified design, receiving somewhat heavier armour in response to new Italian Littorio-class battleships. Smaller and less heavily armed and armoured than all other treaty battleships, the Dunkerques have sometimes been referred to as battlecruisers.
The Harbour Defence Motor Launch (HDML) was a British small motor vessel built during World War II.
The aircraft cruiser is a warship that combines the features of the aircraft carrier and a surface warship such as a cruiser or battleship.
The 30-pounder long gun was a large piece of artillery mounted on French warships of the Age of sail. They were the heaviest component of the unified system standardised on the 30-pounder calibre, replacing both the 36-pounder long guns in their usages, and even some 24-pounders.
The 30-pounder short gun was a piece of artillery mounted on French warships of the Age of sail. They were the middle-sized component of the unified system standardised on the 30-pounder calibre, replacing both the 24-pounders and 12-pounders in many usages.
The Saint Philippe was a 74-gun ship of the line of the French Royal Navy. She was built at Brest Dockyard, designed and constructed by Laurent Hubac. She was nominally a three-decker, but in practice the upper deck was divided into armed sections aft and forward of the unarmed waist, making the upper deck equivalent to a quarterdeck and forecastle.
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