Jump to content

Recommended Posts

I had not thought about using a capstan to mount weapons, but someone did.

It was a chance find and know nothing more about it.





A model shipwright and an amateur historian are heads & tails of the same coin

current builds:

HMS Berwick 1775, 1/192 scratchbuild; a Slade 74 in the Navy Board style

Mediator sloop, 1/48 - an 18th century transport scratchbuild 

French longboat - CAF - 1/48, on hold

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There was an account I read about a formal evening party thrown on the deck of the new frigate USS Potomac in 1828 while fitting out in Washington. They covered the spar deck with canvass and created a candelabra on the capstan by ringing it with muskets with bayonets fixed. There was a candle placed in each muzzle and this illuminated  the spar deck ...



Link to comment
Share on other sites

The British Schooner of War Dominica mounted a 4-pounder brass swivel/cohorn on her capstan when she fought the privateer Decatur in 1813.


The Frigate Constitution mounted a seven-barreled swivel Chambers Gun on her capstan when she fought the Cyane and Levant in 1815, for defense against enemy boarders, in addition to additional Chambers guns in her tops.


The Privateer Fair American, of the Revolutionary War fame, mounted a large swivel on her capstan, according to the memoirs of one of her crewmen, (Jacob Nagel - who would later sail to Australia in the 'First Fleet) that was used to good effect in defeating an enemy's nighttime boat attack.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don’t understand the advantage of mounting the swivel gun atop the capstan.  Maybe as an anti personnel weapon if boarded?


On the other hand it was a custom at the time to use small arms as decorations.  Many British large country homes have arrays of muskets, pistols, and swords on the walls.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would think it would almost have to be a weapon of "last defense" as firing grape or canister would pretty much tear up any remaining rigging, etc.  

"The shipwright is slow, but the wood is patient." - me

Current Build:                                                                                             
Past Builds:
 La Belle Poule 1765 - French Frigate from ANCRE plans                             Triton Cross-Section   

                                                                                                                       USS Constellaton (kit bashed to 1854 Sloop of War  _(Gallery) Build Log

                                                                                Wasa (Gallery)

                                                                                                                        HMS Sphinx 1775 - Vanguard Models - 1:64               


Non-Ship Model:                                                                                         On hold, maybe forever:           

CH-53 Sikorsky - 1:48 - Revell - Completed                                                   Licorne - 1755 from Hahn Plans (Scratch) Version 2.0 (Abandoned)         



Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't recall now where I have seen it, but I remember seeing a picture/drawing showing muskets stowed around the capstan. My guess is that they were placed there before an action for ready access when boarding an enemy ship. They wouldn't normally be stowed there but would be below in the armory.


I can see having a swivel gun mount on the capstan. The capstan mount was very strong and could take the force of recoil of the gun. If the ship was being boarded the capstan would give a good field of fire for sweeping the decks of boarders with grapeshot/shrapnel. The gun could also be fired at men in the tops of an enemy ship at close range.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...