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Were Cannon balls stored on deck for Endeavor? (edited by admin yet again)


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I cannot cite a source or otherwise for this Les, and this is pure speculation.  I believe that these ships would have been just like any other warship, or even armed merchants for their gunnery practices.  No use having a gun/cannon fitted if you cannot put it into action quickly when in 'some' waters; therefore, some form of ready-use ammunition (shot and cartrige) would have needed to have been made available.  In these cases I believe, the shot would have been kept in shot racks just as in warships; whereas, I think cartridge may have been made-up (and refreshed regularly) ready for use but kept in the powder room???).  I have seen shot-racks abutting hatches, hard against against the bulwarks and in triangular racks (similar to a billiards rack) - this would have been governed bythe practices for the period and nationality of the ship.

 

Additionally, in less dangerous, or benign waters, the guns (and the shot) would have been secured below as attested in Capt. Cook's Log where on occasion he mentions the guns being stowed below.  That said, if permanent shot racks were fitted they would have remained in-situ. 

 

i have fitted shot racks along the outer edges of the mid-ship hatches in my Endeavour build but that is only a guess and I cannot confirm this was actually their location or, even if fitted.

 

cheers

 

Pat

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Hi Les, see the piccy of my fit below which shows the shot racks I have fitted.  Please note that because of the scale I am working at, I have not raised the 'rack' off the deck as it would have looked wrong.  These were constructed such that they held the individual shot in separate holes to stop them rolling around, even in heavy seas.  I used small ball bearings as my shot which needs to be appropriate in scale and match the bore of the scale cannon.

 

There are other discussions on this subject on this site where they cite the references and rules for construction.  I know the MSW search engine is a little cumbersome but you should be able to find the discussions with a little patience.   I think Daffi may have a discussion in his Victory or Thinking Things Through series of posts.  I also think that Lavery in The Arming and Fitting of English Ships of War 1600-1815 may have a discussion if you have that?

 

cheers

 

Pat

 

post-385-0-11541200-1478214619_thumb.jpg

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Hello BANYAN. Les calling. Thanx. I am building the Corel 1/64 th Endeavour. It is the one used to check out Australia. The kit includes one long boat not the 2 yours has. Would yours be a more correct version. I would appreciate a few more deck pictures if you would be so kind. I have the Marquardt book also.

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Hi Les, not sure if you meant a few more pics of the shot rack options or of the ship?  

 

WRT boats, she sailed with 5 boats in 1768 but the carpenter's punt was lost early on in the voyage (before even getting past Europe :)).  She was provided with a Longboat, Pinnace, Yawl and then there was Mr. Bank's private skiff.  The AOTS provides good detail on these.  

 

However, there has never been consensus on exactly how (or even where) they were stowed, or on their type of construction.  For example Ray Parkin and Karl Marquardt, in their respective  books, suggest two slight differing designs for the longboat - one a slightly longer and narrow design and the other a wider but shorter design.  The longer one being to be stowed on the gallows with the other boats nested, the other design under the gallows but no nesting.  There is also debate as to whether they were of clinker or carvel construction.  You can see which way I went :)  I still have two boats to construct but they will not be on the ship.  they will be displayed as under sail and mounted on clear acrylic rod at waterline level near to the model.

 

cheers

 

Pat

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Hello BANYAN. Les calling back. I would like to know the general layout of items on the deck. I struggle with some deck items. For one thing where would the binnacle have been placed on this ship. My kit doesn't show one. Forgive my ignorance on the second question. My kit supplied cannons are a peculiar kind of copper colour. Good suppliers are bright brass. Pictures show black. Why black?

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Hi Les,

 

1.  Sorry I have to disagree with USS Frolic in that, to the best of my knowledge, the ready-use shot in shot racks were not netted.  The purpose and the design of the racks was to hold them securely - the idea was mainly to keep them topgether and stop them rolling; their weight was sufficient to stop them 'jumping out' and in very severe weather they would have been stowed as the guns could not have been used anyway.  I would be very interested in any reference that shows they were netted so as to satisfy my curiosity now that it hase been piqued :)

 

2.  The binnacle was fitted just in front of the wheel where the helmsman and the Officer of the Watch could see it.  Depending on the source you are using as your main reference, this could have been a double cabinet that spanned the skylight, or a single cabinet style moved from side to side as required.  These were lashed to ring bolts in the deck.  No one really knows exactly the style used in Endeavour, but rather use one typical for the period.

 

I would recommend you invest in a copy of the AOTS or another source data reference especially for the rigging etc as that will answer many (most) of your questions.  To answer some of the rigging questions we always need to refer back to a source and copying them here runs the risk of breaching copyright.  It is much easier to answer if we simply point you to a page in the reference to clarify or answer the question and we do not then breach copyright.  looking through the various build logs woill also give you a good idea of the deck arrangements, and some of the logs have good discussions about various items.

 

cheers

 

Pat

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Hello BANYAN. Les back here. The reason I ask for deck photos is that I would like to make this an accurate depiction of the real ship. The Marquart book does not give any colour representations of the ship other that the jacket included. So to clarify, more shots of the decks if it you can do. And what is your source? Sorry to be a bother mate. Many thanks from the colonies in Canada.

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From the net;

 

This piece of alleged history explains that in the olden days of sailing ships, cannon balls were stacked on the decks on brass plates called “monkeys.”  The plates had indentions in them that held the balls on the bottoms of the stacks.  Brass, however, expands and contracts with the temperature and if it got cold enough, the cannon balls could fall…giving real foundation to the phrase “cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey!”

 

The Truth:

According to the United States Navy Historical Center, this is a legend of the sea without historical justification.  The center has researched this because of the questions it gets and says the term “brass monkey” and a vulgar reference to the effect of cold on the monkey’s extremities, appears to have originated in the book “Before the Mast” by C.A. Abbey.  It was said that it was so cold that it would “freeze the tail off a brass monkey.”   The Navy says there is no evidence that the phrase had anything to do with ships or ships with cannon balls.

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99.99% of the time, a ship's shot would not need to be 'ready' for use. Most sailing ships of war never fired a shot in anger. Without netting or another wooden batten lashed on top, the shot just would not stay put. There is a sailor-built model in the Naval Academy's collection of a British frigate which shows the shot netted in place and even has anti-boarding netting rigged.  It is thought to be the only model showing such detail. It was not pictured in the catalog, but it was once on display.

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While NOT specific to the Endeavor, here are a couple of excerpts from Simmons, R. 1812. The Sea-Gunner’s Vade-Mecum: Being a New Introduction to Practical Gunnery, Expressly Accommodated to the Use of the Royal Navy, &c. and Including the Rules of Decimal Arithmetic, So Much of Practical Geometry as May Be Required in the Art ... and a Variety of Information with Instructions Useful to Gunners, Both at Sea and On-Shore. Steel and Company.

 

Starting on Page 62:

 

Regarding the gunner's duties:

 

8. He is never to keep any quantity of powder in any other part of the ship than the magazine, except that which the captain shall order to be kept in the powder-boxes, or powder-horns, on deck ;

 

14. He is to be attentive in keeping the shot-racks full of shot, the powder-horns and boxes of priming-tubs full, and a sufficient quantity of match primed and ready for being lighted at the shortest notice.

 

27. Whenever he shall be directed to strike any guns into the hold, he is to pay them all over with a thick coat of warm tar and tallow mixed together ; and, after having washed the bore of the gun with fresh water, and very carefully spunged and dried the inside, he is to put a good full wad, dipped in the same mixture, about afoot within the muzzle, and to see that the tompion is well driven in and surrounded with putty ; and he is to drive a cork tight into the touch-hole, and to secure it there.

 

Note particularly item 27 - the crew would certainly not be very pleased hauling these buggers from the hold as a major cleaning would be required.  Likewise, striking them back to the hold!  Both are very messy work, not to mention back breaking (remember, a "4 pound gun" weighs in at something north of 11 cwt, so even these wee beasties were no simple thing to move around below decks, particularly as the carriage was also stowed below and not affixed to said barrel for moving it around).

 

In terms of the Endeavor, I would suspect a minimum of shot stored on deck - no reason for the added weight on the upper works if the guns were in the hold, so why have that extra weight on the deck (reduces stability somewhat by raising CG).  Likewise, since bringing the guns up from the hold was not something done in an hour or so (remember, they needed to be cleaned of all that protective stuff before use), there was likewise plenty of time to bring shot (as well as powder, for that matter) up and prepare it before the guns were ready for action.

 

 

 

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Wayne, thanks for posting this. 

 

WRT guns, I think Endeavour sailed with 10 guns, six (stowed in the hold) of which [edit: 6] were intended for use in fortifications  of the observation site/camp while in Tahiti.  In her log there is mention of various numbers of guns on deck at times (4, 6 or none).  Certainly stowing/unstowing these would have been a pain, but I think (I would need to reread the log) there was a period when Cook believed they were in benign (enemy wise) waters and had some of the guns (not the swivels though) stowed.

 

Also, as per my comment earlier, I have read in a couple of references that in extreme weather the ready use shot would be stowed away, but the guns would be weather lashed on deck.  Those "instructions" you posted bear this out and sure did make stowing the guns an evolution to be avoided; but, with the use of the mast and other tackle, quite achievable in Endeavour via the midship hatches - BUT you would want to do it in harbour :).  The locations of the guns is also hard to determine and why in some models you see 4 guns on the Quarterdeck, and in other 6 guns in the waist.

 

thanks again

 

Pat

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Les,  I think all you need is already posted on several of the Endeavour logs.  Certainly my log shows all of my deck furniture with my preferred design and colour.  I must stress though these are my interpretation of what I think may have been the fit.  The fit generally conforms to the AOTS with one or two exceptions where I have used the 'replica' as my source of information.

 

One area that I think I do not comply with either though is the use of boat crutches on the gallows.  The more typical, and perhaps more correct would have been to stow the boats on the spare spars.  However, to my mind the spacing of the spars to accommodate the boat hulls, and their length overall, would have had the ends of the spars overhanging the midships pumps making them almost impossible to operate, and also possibly interfering with the working of the windlass.  My solution was to use crutches and stows the spars between the crutches so that they are aligned longitudinally with the centre line and the ends then between the pumps.  I have not fitted the spare longer spars in my model yet, only the shorter upper spars and mast poles. 

 

You might note that I also fitted a rudder post housing as well as the rudder post sock (on the transom).  There are one or two comments in the log or journal that seem to justify the presence of the rudder post housing.  

 

There are several other discussions on the position of the wheel (not the overall wheel with standards, but whether fore or aft of the drum), the length of the jib, height of the mizzen etc in other logs you will find helpful - BUT - in the end you will need to decide what you wish to do based on your interpretation of the various bits and pieces of evidence, discussion points and what you 'feel' is right or wrong.

 

cheers

 

Pat 

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Thanks for the feedback USS Frolic.  It would be interesting to see if there are any references to/instructions for this practice (Wayne?); and also be great to see that model or read its description on the NMM site at least (any links available?).

 

WRT ready use ammunition, I relate back to my own experience.  In the modern navy (RAN) for some weapons, it was normally stowed in the appropriate stowage unless in refit or the like; and it was brought to the ready-use state as determined by the readiness state of the ship.  I would assume that even back then, whether at war or not, the provision of the ready use ammunition would have been driven by the readiness state of the ship and that, even in peace,  there was sometimes the threat of privateers etc (depending on op area), then there is also the daily (in some ships), or frequent exercising of the guns, and the morning/evening "stand-to" at dawn/dusk which would probably necessitate the use of shot-racks to store an appropriate amount of ready-use ammo?  I think then that shot-racks would have been fitted (of some type), the presence or not of the shot is the remaining part of the discussion?

 

This discussion has been interesting, and I for one, would like to see some further clarification on this latter point?

 

cheers

 

Pat

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Thanks for the feedback USS Frolic.  It would be interesting to see if there are any references to/instructions for this practice (Wayne?); and also be great to see that model or read its description on the NMM site at least (any links available?).

 

WRT ready use ammunition, I relate back to my own experience.  In the modern navy (RAN) for some weapons, it was normally stowed in the appropriate stowage unless in refit or the like; and it was brought to the ready-use state as determined by the readiness state of the ship.  I would assume that even back then, whether at war or not, the provision of the ready use ammunition would have been driven by the readiness state of the ship and that, even in peace,  there was sometimes the threat of privateers etc (depending on op area), then there is also the daily (in some ships), or frequent exercising of the guns, and the morning/evening "stand-to" at dawn/dusk which would probably necessitate the use of shot-racks to store an appropriate amount of ready-use ammo?  I think then that shot-racks would have been fitted (of some type), the presence or not of the shot is the remaining part of the discussion?

 

This discussion has been interesting, and I for one, would like to see some further clarification on this latter point?

 

cheers

 

Pat

 

Good point, Pat.  As to a practice for securing shot in the racks, no info found as of yet, although ordnance has not been one of the areas I have spent very much time exploring (still have a research project on displacement to wrap up and submit for publication before I can look deeply into a different topic).

 

Having said that, let me offer a couple of possible resources, always keeping in mind that the Endeavor was a unique vessel, and applying standard Royal Navy practice to her is probably an approximation at best, and misleading at worst.  Such a unique mission, nonstandard vessel, and interesting crew makeup! 

 

The following are, in general, of a somewhat later period, although some of the practices were likely of a traditional type, and some historical information is also included in the treatise.  Log books, scientific publications (such as Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London or The Navy Chronicle) would be a potential source, along with the records from the Board of Ordnance.  That is another interesting bureaucracy that had a strong influence on the Navy over a period of many years!

 

Burney, C. 1867. The Boy’s Manual of Seamanship and Gunnery: Compiled for the Use of the Training Ships of the Royal Navy. 5th ed. Trübner & Company. https://books.google.com/books?id=1UcOAAAAQAAJ.

Muller, John. 1768. A Treatise of Artillery ...: To Which Is Prefixed, an Introduction, with a Theory of Powder Applied to Fire-Arms. John Millan.

Robins, Benjamin. 1805. New Principles of Gunnery: Containing the Determination of the Force of Gun-Powder, and an Investigation of the Difference in the Resisting Power of the Air to Swift and Slow Motions. With Several Other Tracts on the Improvement of Practical Gunnery. F. Wingrave.

Sir Howard Douglas. 1855. A Treatise on Naval Gunnery. J. Murray. http://archive.org/details/bub_gb_PK50sbOOfjUC.

 

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Hello Les here. Thanks everyone one for the info. After building some WW II water craft it amazes me at how colourful theses ships were. The whole idea was to camouflage. I know this was a different era. I will probably build a hull with limited colour and paint out and oil items like cannons, binnacles and long boats for a colour break on deck to draw your eye to these items. Some cannon balls on deck will complete the picture. Once again thanx.

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