Monday 3 January 2011
'I Saw Three (More) Ships come Sailing by....'
I realise that the Christmas Carol type title may not now be wholly appropriate but given that we are still in the 12 days of Christmas I thought it would suffice for the subject in hand! The next three models for my scratch built ACW project have now been constructed and they are typical of the small river steamers converted into rams by the Confederates in their famous 'River Defence Fleet'. The basic plan with a ram was of course, to steam at full speed into an enemy ship and use the bulk of the vessel and its velocity to cause fatal damage. As such then, ships classed as rams usually had reinforced hulls (often with additional timber or, in the Confederates case, bales of compressed cotton) and a occasionally a large metal weight/spur/beak fixed to the bow to punch through the enemy hull. In a confined space such as a winding river a ram could be an effective weapon especially given the slow rates of fire of much of the shipboard weaponry in use. Both sides used the ram and indeed, had 'fleets' of such vessels - well squadron sized formations to be accurate!
I have now built 15 vessels for this project and have decided to start painting when I have finished 12 ships for each side - 24 models in total. The rationale for this is simply because having built a usable variety of types for each side will give me greater flexibility when it comes to play testing the rules I eventually use. I have another 9 models currently under construction and want to finish these before the end of the month in order to start using them. Alongside the construction and research for such an undertaking is also the rules question - more of which to follow in a later post.