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Spike1947

How is the L'Hermione armed? Seems like more than 32 guns.

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I working away on AL's L'Hermione. When you look at information about this ship - wikipedia for example - it's described as a 32-gun frigate. When I look at the mode I'm building I count 26 open ports on the main deck, 12 gun ports on the quarter deck and 4 gun ports on the forecastle deck. That comes to... wait a minute, I can do this... 42 guns, plus the pivot guns which probably don't count. The L'Hermione is also described as being armed with 12-pound cannon yet the guns on the main deck are clearly a bigger gun than those on the upper decks. Can someone help my understand this apparent discrepancy?

 

 

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Pivots and carronades don't count normally, only cannons were counted.  Normally, the bigger the gun, the lower in the hull they were placed due to balance, etc.

 

The catch here is it's an AL kit, so even the cannon sizes are suspect. 

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Hi Spike

You would likely be much better off using the plans from Ancre which are much more accurate representations than the AL kit.   For the Hermione, the Ancre plans show 6 long guns on the quarter deck, not twelve.  As hinted above, if you are looking for accuracy in a kit model, AL is not a leader in that category. 

Allan

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Thanks to Mark and Allan for your quick replies. I'm just a beginner here so I hesitate to be too critical of AL but the kind of inaccuracies noted by you guys plus the very poor PDF instructions have put me off of AL kits. Is for the question of the Hermione guns I think Allan's reference to the drawings included in this PDF from Ancre - http://www.ancre.fr/ancre_ANGLAIS_20_P.pdf - give me much of the information I'm looking for. It looks to me like Plate 21 shows 26 12-pounders on the main deck - including the two in the captain's cabin, six small caliber long guns on the quater deck along with four carronades, and just two long guns on the forecastle deck. It looks like the aft-most gun ports on the quarter deck and the forward-most gun ports on the forecastle deck are unoccupied. This seems like pretty good documentation and seems to be more or less how the modern replica is configured. So the only question left is, why didn't AL follow that information.

 

Richard

MSW Member

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6 hours ago, Spike1947 said:

 So the only question left is, why didn't AL follow that information.

 

Why? Probably profit.  AL moved from (I think it was) Italy to Vietnam due to costs.  The some of the designers didn't move and founded OcCre.  Their kit came out long before the monograph.   They have a long history of not upgrading kits.  Their Constellation is a good example of this.  

 

BTW. I have the monograph for L'Hermione and there's some errors in the plans (the framing).  I'm not sure if they have corrected them yet.  At this point, it's probably a ship I'll never get around to building.

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Hello,

that the Hermione had Obusiers on board is unknown to me, and actually only possible at the end of
their service.
The French obusier of 36 pounds, seen on the Ancre Plan, was developed in 1786 and used from 1787 
on French ships. This Obusier was developed from the howitzer of the Gribeauval system. It is not 
a kind of carronade. A "real" French Carronade came in frigates from 1804 in use.

Source: Boudriot / Ancre French Frigates
Now the question arises what information was available to the draftsman of the Ancre Plan?
On the occasion. The figurehead on the Ancre Plan is also questionable from my point of view.

Even if the AL kit of the Hermione is in need of improvement for sure. So it is also very cheap and shows the essence of the ship. I think a model maker can make a lot of the model. With a second veneer planking is gained a lot.

 


 

 




Edited by Chapman

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Here are a few more information I wrote in a different context.
Excuse me!
For some reason, part of the post is not shown.

 


he Standard 6-pounder also forms the secondary armament of the Hermione.
Edited by Chapman

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I am currently building the AL Hermione and have to agree with everyone else. My main issue with this kit is the "stinking" PDF instructions. There is a lot of "by guess and by golly".  To do your rigging you are given a low resolution image to go by. This will be my 1st and last AL build. I only have eight more sails to go and that will be the last of AL for me.

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Thanks to Chapman for the detailed and informative reply regarding Obusiers versus carronades. That's what I love about this forum, there are people here that know something about just about any topic. Chapman is correct about the inexpensive nature of the AL Hermione kit. With all it's shortcomings it got me involved in wooden model ship building and I am enjoying the climb up the learning curve. AL could have made it easier is all I would say.

 

So it looks to me like the 1780's Obusier that would be period appropriate is similar but not identical to the 1/96 3D printed carronade I mentioned above. I'd like to get some opinions on whether it would be appropriate to try to make that substitution or I'm I better off just staying with the 6-pound cannons supplied with the kit? 

 

1540119815_3DPrintedCarronade.JPG.9c532b50735bdf780ca137dd93bf1f45.JPG1358524484_Obusierca1787.jpg.f21cde0174e64644f8d4470ad9018887.jpg

                    3D Printed Carronade                                                                                  Obusier ca 1787

 

I also agree with RussR and Mark about the general disregard AL seems to have about accuracy and instructions. I have spotted several instances were dimensions and measurements were missing. I'm sure I'm not the first to spot these errors and if nothing else the PDF format of the instructions lend themselves to updates and corrections yet I get the sense that that kind of thing is unlikely to happen.

 

Richard

 

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Are the plans not included in the kit, you have to download them and they're in PDF format? What about those who just use their phones, or don't possess a PC like machine at all!

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Hi Chris. The plans and instructions are included with the kit on CD/DVD. They same information is also available from the AL website for those that are working from a tablet or phone. However that website has been down for several weeks which would not be OK for those trying to access the instructions in that way.

 

Richard

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Quote

I'd like to get some opinions on whether it would be appropriate to try to make that substitution
or I'm I better off just staying with the 6-pound cannons supplied with the kit? 

I would stay with the 6 pounder.

Boudriot gives as standard armament for the Hermione
26 x 12 pounders
6 x 6 pounders

The Concorde the first ship of the class (including Hermione) had according to a contemporary Danish
plan of the ship
26 x 12 and  10 x 6 pounders. 
The plan mentioned the coopering of the Concorde 1779, so I guess the plan ist from 1779/80.

 

 

Edited by Chapman

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I know this post is now several months old now but I wanted to add to it. My family was thoughtful enough to give me a copy of the ANCRE Hermione monograph. There are several discussions in the volume about how the French frigates were armed. Specifically how the main deck - forecastle and quarter deck - were equipped with the 6-pound cannon. Evidently a driving consideration was the number of 6-pound cannon and their affect on the center of gravity. The answer was to pierce the quarter deck bulwark with six gunports per side and the forecastle with four gunports per side. Just as the Hermione model shows. But the quarter deck was armed with only three cannon on each side and the forecastle with just one cannon per side. This allowed the ship to have only half the number of guns on the main deck as compared to gunports. When in action the guns from the side that did not bear on the enemy were moved the fighting side of the ship.

 

There is a quote from a naval cadet serving on the Hermione on 7 June 1780 that confirms the movement of guns across the ship that's worth including here:

     "the enemy having moved from starboard to larboard, we also had to move the castle guns; our men rushed to the pieces in order to effect this more rapidly. We had not taken the precaution of lifting the trip-cord              that connects to the firing mechanism; it became caught under a gun truck and the gun fired among us. Like the others, it was loaded with a roundshot, a barshot and grapeshot. One man was killed in the accident            and several others were wounded."

 

The quote is not a great recommendation for the "shared cannon concept" but it does seem to support that such a plan was implemented on the Hermione.

 

Richard

 

 

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Chapman, the monograph has several pages of text and illustrations in a section devoted to "Hermione's Artillery"". There is no mention of obusiers/carronades. Oddly, Plate No. 21, "Castles and their furniture", shows what appear to be two obusiers on each side of the quarter deck opposite the companionway hatch. At one time I had considered trying to find some carronades of the correct scale to place in those positions but eventually decided against it. As I've mentioned before, I like Christos/Messis have struggled with how far to diverge from the kit and when and where to pick my battles regarding historical accuracy. 

 

Richard

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It was common, during that time, to "classify" ships by a certain number of guns.

 

Which was not necessarily the number of guns fitted.

 

The classic British "36" typically carried 42 to 44 cannon; typically 20 or 21 per side and either 2 or 4 bow and stern "chasers."  (Or, just two more per side, through ports made by the Carpenter's Mate.)  In much the same way the American 44s often had 48 guns aboard.  Carronades were not generally counted as they were point-blank range weapons.

 

I remember reading--far away and long long ago, a supposition that the British "under-counted" the guns to appease a parsimonious Parliament, that they were not "wasting" tax money on 'superfluous' cannons.  I'm not sure how accurate that would be; naval vessels were built "green" in those days, and were rebuilt on a pretty frequent basis, so the Exchequer was constantly building ships.

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Weren't they rated over a "range"... such a frigate might be 20-26 guns?  They did swap out and re-configure during overhaul such as opening ports or closing in ports.  And removing of carronades and replacing with cannon and vice versa.

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2 minutes ago, mtaylor said:

Weren't they rated over a "range"... such a frigate might be 20-26 guns?  They did swap out and re-configure during overhaul such as opening ports or closing in ports.  And removing of carronades and replacing with cannon and vice versa.

May have been French practice.  British practice was the minimum number of guns mounted.  That is, if I'm remembering rightly.

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Just to confuse things more, in peace time, the French liked to disarm the quarterdeck and forecastle of their frigates to save weight, expense, manpower and wear on the lighter pieces. French 12-pounder frigates sailed with just their 26 main deck guns between the wars. The lovely La Belle Poule carried her ten six pounders when she valiantly fought HMS Nonsuch, 64 (!!!), but accounts vary of her total armament during her earlier famous battle with Arethusa, as hostilities had just broken out. (Can you believe she fought a 64?)

 

 

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