Gunboats: description, characteristics, types and history
In 1646 in France for the first time combat maneuverable ships with powerful armament were used. These are gunboats, which on the nose had several powerful guns, usually from one to three. The vessel was a fairly large sailing-rowing type boat. In most cases, boats were used to protect the harbors, battles in lakes and rivers, as well as the coastal zone.
Appearance in the n fleet
Since in Russia at that time there were a huge number of long rivers and water areas, as well as lakes, the construction of gunboats can be called traditional. This is due to the fact that no other ship could fight in such conditions. The first boats of this type appeared during the war with Sweden (1788-1790). Not only was it the basis of the rowing fleet, so the gunboats were a great success and became the most effective tool for firing on rivers and skerries.
In essence, this is an artillery ship that was used both for defense and for the attack and support of the allied forces. The presence on board of falcon and large-caliber guns provided excellent fire support. Later on, the so-called shtakovki, which were already equipped with a steam engine, appeared. They were used during the Crimean War.
After the lifeboats showed their best, a decision was made on mass production. In particular, the gunboats were delivered to the Far East, where they were needed most. The first and most famous models were called "Brave", as well as "Khivenets". Over time, engineers began to make improvements and produce boats like "Gilyak", but it did not bring success. The design had many flaws and did not allow to effectively lead the battle. Due to the lack of normal weapons, such gunboats did not receive further distribution.
But there were new models "Ardagan", "Caret" and others. A distinctive feature was that they were installed on diesel powerful engines. This, though significantly increased the weight and complexity of the design,but allowed to achieve high power, and consequently, speed, which often became the determining factor during sea battles. But soon the cost-effective "Ardagan" and "Kare" decided to improve. And it happened already during their launching. For this reason, almost half of the fleet went to upgrade. A new type of gunboats, the Buryat, has appeared.
This ship immediately after construction was sent to the Far East, where he, in fact, served. "Korean" took an active part in the hostilities of 1900-1905. So, it was used against the Ihetuuan uprising, better known as the Boxer Rebellion, besides that, it participated in the shelling of Fort Taku. During the Russian-Japanese war, Varyag and Koreets were in the port of Chemulpo and defended Russian interests there.So, in February 1904, Varyag and Koreets came out against a whole Japanese squadron of ships. As a result of the battle there was no loss, since it was fought over a long distance. The Koreon gunboat did not reach the enemy, but Japanese shells flew for the most part. Since the boat was fighting, it was impossible to prevent her capture by the enemy.When the crew moved to the French "Pascal", "Korean" was blown up and, therefore, flooded.
Completed combat path
During the battle in the "Korean" hit the only Japanese shell. In the bow of the fire started, which extinguished for 15 minutes. There were no casualties among the personnel. When the crew arrived in St. Petersburg, the officers and commanders were awarded the Order of St. George of the 4th degree, and the sailors received the corresponding insignia.
In 1905, the Koreans raised a cannon from the bottom and handed it over for scrap. But it can be said that the combat path did not end there, since in 1906 the Korenets-2 was launched. The upgraded version was equipped with more powerful weapons and had at least some protection. In 1915, this boat was also blown up to eliminate the possibility of capture by enemies. It happened during the battles for the Gulf of Riga.
"Quininets" and "Sivuch"
The youngest gunboat, the Khivinets, was a part of the Baltic fleet in tsarist times. Preliminary tests it was successful. In the course of operation, she bravely withstood various adverse conditions. The Khivinets was built in 1904-1914, during the fortification of the Russian fleet. But the design was developed in 1898.Since no modification was provided for, such gunboats, the drawings of which you can see in this article, had a very narrow functionality and were not used everywhere. But for quite a long time it served as a base for the construction of other warships. This is due to the fact that she survived in such battles in which other boats went to the bottom.
Sivuch is known for its battle in the Gulf of Riga, where in an unequal battle it was destroyed by German battleships. It happened in 1915 near the island of Kihnu. Although the German ships destroyed the Sivuch, they were forced to abandon further fighting in the Gulf and retreated. The heroism of the personnel saved Riga from the German invaders. Kanonerka for her feat was called the Baltic "Varyag".
The history of the ship "Borb"
If the cruiser "Varyag" and the gunboat "Koreyets" were intended more for an attack, then Borb was created exclusively for defensive purposes. This ship had a base "Gilyak" and descended from the shipyard in 1907, and the development project began in 1906. For the most part used to protect the Amur River almost to the Khabarovsk.The designers have put an emphasis on autonomy and range. But during operation, the seaworthiness was at a fairly low level.
The Varyag and the Koreon gunboat were of great value to the country. These ships had high firepower, which is not the case with the Beaver boat. There was no special armament on board, therefore it was often used as a swimming base. After 21 years of service she was scrapped. No prototypes were created for this project.
"Varyag" and gunboat "Koreyets": functionality and features
These warships were among the most versatile during the fighting. The design was quite competent, which ensured a high degree of buoyancy even in case of damage to the hull. The functionality of the cruiser and gunboat was very extensive, but most often they were used:
- for the defense of the coast and ports;
- ground support;
- landing troops;
- combat enemy infantry and navy;
- perform transport functions.
We can safely say that these were unique vessels.
Such a plan could be reconstructed ships depending on the purpose of use.So, there are unarmored options, boats with armored decks and armadillos. It is logical that they were used for various purposes. The most common armored canoners. With a small mass, they had sufficient protection. The "Varyag" (cruiser) and the gunboat "Koreyets" differed significantly from each other. The second one was more maneuverable and mobile, provided for the operational redeployment of troops if necessary. The second was equipped with serious weapons and protection, which allowed to enter into battle even with several opponents.
About the main characteristics
The designers paid the most attention to such an indicator as speed and fire power. The greater the caliber of the gun and the number of guns, the more effective was the use of the vessel. As for speed, it has always been an important characteristic. Usually ranged from 8 to 15 knots. Depending on the purpose of use, the gunboat could be unarmoured, which ensured maximum mobility. Protecting armor plates of the most vulnerable places is the most acceptable option. It was possible to achieve optimal speed and survivability.The battleship was protected from all sides, but sailed rather slowly. On the one hand, he could survive many direct hits, and on the other - became an easy target for more mobile warships.
Most often, gunboats were equipped with guns of the main caliber from 200 to 350 mm and auxiliary guns. 76–150 mm were often used as the latter, but this was more typical of river gunboats. Installed automatic guns, such as the "Zenith". Machine guns tried to use as little as possible due to the low firing range.
Unique design solutions
At a time when artillery ships dominated the sea, that is, gunboats, it was extremely important to constantly develop their technical characteristics. That is why there is a huge number of models. The designers tried to constantly make any changes in terms of weapons or protection. Improvement of power units significantly influenced the cruising range and the autonomy of the vessel.
For example, river canoners tried to do as easily as possible. This significantly reduced the displacement and allowed the vessel to be in shallow areas. At the same time, naval warships were more massive and powerful.Special attention was not paid to displacement, where it was more important to provide a high cruising range and impressive firepower.
Kanonerki Russian-made famous for the fact that they entered into unequal battles with the enemy and often left the battle victorious. This is the merit of not only the designers of the ship, but also the crew who fought bravely for their homeland. In such cases, the Americans or the Germans immediately retreated, not wanting to lose their equipment and manpower. The Russians stood to the end. Due to this, more than one naval battle was won. In addition to this, outdated weapons were often used by ours, which sometimes did not even allow penetration of the enemy’s armor. But all this did not stop fighting to the last. Vivid examples of this are Koreans and Varyag.