Sunday, November 22, 2020

Iron (& cotton & timber) clad reinforcements..

As mentioned in the last post..  reinforcements have arrived to bolster the forces of the US and Confederate navies courtesy the Peter Pig "lockdown/COVID sale" (it's a dark cloud that doesn't have some kind of silver lining, etc etc).....

The fleet in its entirety steaming majestically into the distance.. 
Small gunboat - following - this one represents the USS Fuchsia [clicky] but in my games will swap sides as and when the scenario requires it - the linked article is worth a read as she had a very interesting start in life...  the actual Fuschia was armed with a 30-pounder rifle and a 24-pounder howitzer - small but punchy...  and unlikely to be that heavily armed in Confederate service!
Proof it any were needed that RO-RO ferries are not a new concept..  this is the double ended paddle ferry that represents the Commodore Morris [clicky] though again she will serve both sides as the need arises...  proof if any were needed that both sides would use anything to project their power into the various rivers and tributaries of Virginia and the southern states ...  so an innocuous ferry boat from New York is enrolled in the US navy and given a 100-pounder rifle, a 9 in (230 mm) smoothbore gun, and four 24-pounder howitzers - and that is quite a punch!  Little or no armour though...
Next - following - this ship represents the USS Tyler [clicky] which was a timberclad* warship in the service of the US navy...  armament was a 32-pounder gun, and six 8 inch (200 mm) guns...
*there were not many of these in the war - they were built by the Union as a stop gap to cover their shortage of ironclads, take one basic paddle steamer and cover it in wooden armour..  5 inch thick, and oak planking over the paddle wheels.

...thought this was very good..  clearly washing day... 

Next, and last, the one I like the best - she represents the CSS Governor Moore [clicky] a cottonclad* paddle steamer armed with two 32 pdr rifled cannons..
* lots more here [clicky] but in essence, due to their lack of resources, the Confederate navy would use whatever they had to hand, and being cotton producers they used compressed cotton bales as an "armour". 'Five hundred-pound cotton bales were placed, on their sides, three bales high, with another row of bales lying flat behind the first row; these bales served as platforms for sharpshooters'. 

My reading would indicate that the cottonclads tended to be fitted with rams to make up for the lack of gun armament...  they would also have a large contingent of riflemen/marines to enable boarding..  going to add an interesting feature to games!

Further reading:


  1. Very nice Steve. I can't face painting more ships and am running out of space but would otherwise look at Mr Pig's models. I think I am moving over to Bob Cordery's Gridded Naval Wargames rules which give a good game but we shall see. Glad you are really back in action. Stay well. Jim

    1. Cheers Jim... we'll be using the Bill Gilchrist rules when we play the game next month.. I love these models, they're a fine half way point between too much and too little detail.. and at only 3 to 4" max you can fit a nice force in a filing box.

  2. A splendid flotilla...looking forward to some riverine action!

  3. Fine additions to the collection there!

  4. ACW Naval .. not been there yet but surely only a matter of time

    1. Geordie.. I am not by nature a naval wargamer but there is something about these behemoth's that just clicked..

  5. They are really nice models Steve and you have painted them very well. I especially like the sea bases. I have been trying to resist the Black Seas starter set for ages as I am drawn toward naval wargames. Look forward to the battle report.