The Crimean war clearly demonstrated the decisive superiority of steam ships over sailing. However, in tactical and in strategic terms, the role of the fleet has not changed. Admirals still believed that fighting at sea can be won only through a General engagement of the opposing squadrons. It took another war, this time civil, in order to understand how the situation could change if the idea of war cruising on the ocean trade routes.
Office of the Confederation of southern States fought against slavery in the North largely seemed reckless. Despite the courage of the soldiers and the talents of the generals, which is numerically inferior to the enemy Confederate army gradually lost people and its territory. The economy of the South was in a deep crisis — not least due to the cessation of Maritime trade and export of cotton — “white gold” of slaveholders. The United States Navy is so superior to the few powers possessed by the confederates, during the first months of hostilities the blockade of the entire coast from Virginia to Texas has become a fait accompli. Exchange and communication with the outside world supported only court-priyateli, prokalyvanie at night in the duty cruisers and gunboats. Combat ships of the Confederation were quickly brought out from the game.
Southerners needed to find a non-trivial exit from almost hopeless situation. And their eyes turned to a huge trading fleet of the Northmen, who looked extremely vulnerable. Immediately before the war the sea trade of the United States has experienced a period of rapid growth: the tonnage of the “merchants” increased annually by 100 thousand tonnes is Now almost all these ships at the disposal of the North and continued to contribute to the growth of its economic benefits. Therefore, the Minister of marine of the Confederacy Stephen Mallory turned to the traditional weapon of the weakest — privateering.
However, the classic scheme is quickly exhausted. Small private boats with a weak weapon, often a common coastal sailing receiving a government patent, easily caught by those of the besieged forces. Low autonomy forced them to enter their ports, which is often looked deadly circus room. In the first year of the war almost all privately was intercepted by northerners.
The alternative could be new, not yet tested type of raider — of a steamer, able to be at sea for months without the need of a permanent home. Mallory was attracted towards the idea of a naval officer Rafael Samsa soon write his name in the history of naval art. The first candidate on the ocean krakerstva was small (440 t) steamer Havana, in peacetime, making flights between Cuba and new York. Renamed “Sumter” and armed with one 8-inch gun and four short-barreled 32-pounder cannon, it is not well suited for his new job: coal reserves sufficient for only 8 days of travel. Had to rely on sails (“Sumter” carrying weapons Barca). Command over him took himself of SEMS. With difficulty he made his way through the mouth of the Mississippi by the northerners cruiser “Brooklyn,” he sent a raider in the West Indies, where he captured eight vessels. But in the port of Saint-Pierre “the pirate” (as he called the northerners) was blocked by a Federal cruiser “Mohawk”. At that time the confederates got lucky: the dark night “Sumter” came out of wide Bay against the surrounding mountains and disappeared behind the saving shower.
Simms crossed the Atlantic, taking the path of another five vessels. The way the “Sumter” was completed in British Gibraltar, where its commander had hoped to renovate your current like a sieve after a six-month krakerstva ship. However the British are not even allowed to replenish coal stocks. Meanwhile, the output of the Confederate cruiser was already three ships of the Northern States. Simms successfully sold your raider and dismissed the crew.
Now the game has entered another colorful personality. James Bullock, naval agent of the Confederacy in England, was able to tip in favor of the seceded States influential circles of the former mother country and developed an active activity. He managed to equip and run into the ocean the famous “Florida” and “Alabama”.
Initially, Bullock bought a ready-made steamer “Eagle”, built by order of the Italian company. Without weapons and with an incomplete team, the future cruiser crossed the ocean, arriving to the Bahamas. There the British just in case decided to detain the strange alien, it is reasonable to fear that he will be engaged in raiding, but an obvious favor to the case of slaveholders prevailed, and “Eagle” were released. Subsequently, this costly “mistress of the seas”.
On the deserted island captain Moffitt finally armed his vehicle, setting two 178-mm and two 152-mm guns. The cruiser received a new name — “FL” and raised the Confederate flag On it is still clearly not enough of the team crew consisted of 19 people, 15 of them were lying on beds in bouts of fever.
This floating infirmary soon added another 12 adventurers and went to northerners blocked the port of mobile. Barely rising to his feet after an illness, bravely Moffitt went on break, despite the clearly superior enemy forces, Florida received two hits 11-inch shells, but escaped prosecution, far from cutting its contract rate
Generally swimming “Florida” is very instructive from the standpoint of the subsequent history of the raiders. In her actions, you can find everything, what became of the German “hunters trade” during both world wars: the courage of the commanders and crews, unexpected tactics, initiative and cunning. And its end is reminiscent of the death of the cruiser “Dresden” in 1915.
For the beginning of the “Florida” had to break through the blockade, now when you exit Mobile. The northerners left speed cruiser “And” chasing the raider during the day. A few days later, another ship of the Northern States, “SONOMA”, chased him the whole 34 hours, but also behind. Florida came out in the open ocean and the trade routes began to reap the harvest. One of the trophies, a small sailing brig “Clarence” became a kind of a “clone” of the main cruiser. Desperate command of Lieutenant reed of the 15 sailors began their own raids, armed only with obsolete short-barreled 6-funtovku four days reed managed to capture five prizes, one of which was replaced by “Clarence”. On the “site administration” moved the entire crew and was dragged the same single gun, after which “Clarence” was set on fire. For the next two weeks krakerstva off the coast of America, the new raider has chalked up 15 vessels. And again reed changed the ship now under his command was the ship “Archer,” the Young Lieutenant decided to really have a cinematic RAID. He approached one of the major coastal cities — Portland — and the only boat seized customs cutter “Cushing”. Startled northerners surrendered without a fight, and the cutter began to slowly get out of the port without sending out a single signal. This caused suspicion, and five armed vessels rushed in pursuit. In the end, the last ship reed was finally captured. Just on account of the “Florida of the clones” were 23 vessels — however, very small.
Meanwhile, Moffitt re-crossed the Atlantic and put “Florida” in dock at Brest, passing the command of captain Morris. Another crossing over the ocean, 10 miles off the coast of Delaware, in the heart of the Northern States, destroyed the mail boat. The sinking of the “electric Spark” caused a panic in new York, and the Americans decided to do away with cocky raider at any cost.
13. Cruiser (sloop) “Kearsarge”, USA, 1862
Built at the shipyard of the Navy in Portsmouth. A displacement of 1500 tons, power plants 822 the rated HP, speed under steam of 11.2 KTS. The length of the longest 60,63 m, beam 10.2 m, draught of 4.72 m. Armament: two 280 mm smoothbore guns Dalgren and four 32-pounder smoothbore guns. (The composition of the artillery subsequently changed repeatedly.) Only in 1861 — 1862 built 6 units, slightly differing in size and displacement: “Kearsarge”, “Mohicans”, “Wachusett”, “Mohawk”, “Oneida” and “Tuscarora”. The most successful hunters in raiders of the southerners: “Kearsarge” sank the “Alabama” and “Wachusett” — “Florida”. “Kearsarge” was killed in 1894 in the accident, “Oneida” in 1870 after colliding with the steamer “city of Bombay”.
14. Cruiser (screw bark), “Alabama”, Confederation of American States, 1862
It was built by the firm of “Laird” in Birkenhead (England). A displacement of 1050 tons, the speed under steam 13 ties. Maximum length 67,1 m, width of 9.68 m, draft 4,28 m. Armament: one 178-mm (110-pound) rifled gun, one 203-mm (68-pound) and six 32-pounder smoothbore guns. Purchased by the representation of southerners and armed in August 1862, during the biennial krakerstva seized 71 North American ship. Sunk by the “Kearsarge” in June 1864.
15. Cruiser (screw bark) Florida, Confederation of the American States, 1862
It was built by the firm of “W. Miller” in Liverpool (England). A displacement of 700 tonnes, a speed under steam of 9.5 KTS. Maximum length 58,2 m, width of 8.31 m, draft of 3.96 m. Armament: two 178-mm (110-pounders) and four 163-mm rifled gun one 12-pounder smoothbore howitzer. Purchased by the representation of southerners and armed in August 1862, Captured “Wachusett” in the Brazilian port of Bahia, in October, 1864. Killed in a collision in November of the same year. Captured 37 vessels, 23 they captured armed auxiliary cruisers.
In early October 1864, the Florida entered the Brazilian port of Bahia, where the confederates waited an unpleasant surprise: there was already a cruiser northerners “Wachusett”. Southerners too relied on the neutrality of Brazil, whose authorities tried to do everything to prevent the breach, putting his ship between the ships of the warring parties. However, commander Collins did not think about such trifles. “Wachusett” weighed anchor and quietly passing the Brazilian vessel, rammed the “Florida” and then opened her heavy fire. The Confederate raider was captured off guard: the naive Morris allowed most of the crew to go ashore, leaving the guns even duty calculations.
Interesting is the fate of “Florida”. She was brought in the United States, but the violation of neutrality was so obvious that North Americans had to comply with the requirement of Brazil on the return of the cruiser. Suffering however when the ship arrived in Bahia and was already examined by the Commission on the internment, the Federalists have opened the Kingston valves, again violating the rights of its southern neighbor.
Krakerstva “Florida” cost Northern States 37 ships, but this record did not last long: it significantly blocked the most famous raider of the civil war — “al”. The ship number 290 (it was 290-th vessel built by the famous shipyard Laird in Birkenhead) was overbought on the stocks southerners and 29 July 1862 and went to sea under the pretext of acceptance tests. The British vainly awaited his return. On the Azores Islands “Alabama” got their artillery and commander — already known to us Semsa remaining out of work after the sale “Sumter”.
A second output of a captain of Confederate Yankee has turned out to be a disaster. “Alabama” gathered a rich harvest on both sides of the Atlantic. In Martinique almost repeated the old story: in the same Saint-Pierre Semsa again watched the enemy cruiser. This time the “Alabama” simply did not enter the port. Now her actions was provided by the court, but Collier is a technique that was widely used later by the same Germans.
The number of hijacked ships has already exceeded a few dozen, but the vast majority of it was kitobazy or small schooners and Brigs, all exceptionally clean sailing. The only ship captured by the “Alabama,” became the fast mail steamer “Ariel.” While on Board the “Ariel” had a couple of rifled 24-pontook and 150 Marines, his captain let the raiders too close to risk the lives of more than 500 aboard passengers. On the ships there arose a terrible panic: everyone was expecting the pirate-southerner perpetrate a robbery and massacre. However, all cost receipts for 216 thousand dollars with an interesting caveat — the money was to be paid “after the final independence of the Confederate States.” It is clear that the money never was received.
After the capture of the “Ariel” star “Alabama” reached its Zenith. Hoping to prevent the blockade of Galveston, one of the few remaining in the hands of the southern ports, Simms decided to conduct reconnaissance. One of the blockading ships, the paddle steamer “Hatteras”, rushed to chase the raider — for his trouble. Pushing the pursuer away from his comrades, the Alabama raised the Confederate flag, and brought down on a decrepit steamer full force of his artillery. It took only 15 minutes to the northerners surrendered. And all this at a distance of 20 miles from a strong detachment of the enemy, of whose ships saw the smoke of the fire and heard distant gunfire!
The Alabama cruised for another few months, having made almost a round trip visited and in the South Atlantic and in the Indian ocean, reaching the coast of Indochina. The ship is not docked at the port for at least a small repair for almost a year, gradually more deteriorated. Having made two long voyage from South to North and back along the West coast of Africa, Simms brought the cruiser in the French military port of Cherbourg.
On the mountain the commander of the Confederate ship in the Dutch port of Vlissingen was a Battlestar northerners “Kearsarge.” Old friend Samsa (he was part of the detachment blockading the “Sumter” in Gibraltar) immediately weighed anchor, and in two days arrived at the Cherbourg
Simms could try to wait for dark to slip past his opponent, However he was under the strongest moral pressure. In the press it was repeatedly exposed by a cowardly pirate, is able only to destroy the defenseless judgment. Present and the desire to meet in open combat the perpetrator of the fiasco of his first ship. Moreover, the same expected from the southerners, the French officers, who had their own ideas of honor of a Navy sailor. Simms even sent the commander of the “Kearsarge” Winslow request not to leave without a fight — request, totally unnecessary. He was not going to miss the enemy. In the end, “Alabama” came out to fight against the sense of the existence of the raider, who must evade a more powerful opponent.
Formally, the “Kearsarge” not so much superior to the Confederate ship. The weight of a broadside he had only 20% more than the “Alabama” and the number of teams differed by only 13 people However, many other factors have tilted the situation in his favor. Long krakerstva southerners tired of the team and not contributed to improving the skill of the gunners. Moreover, this year has brought together a heterogeneous mass of unskilled adventurers, sailors and trade random people, among them many professionals in the Discipline of the crew of the raider left much to be desired — Simms once said that he feared to go down to the mess hall after dark. On the contrary, the sailors of the “Kearsarge” were military personnel and were well trained to their work.
Sunday morning “Alabama” sailed from the port. A day off and good weather contributed to the fact that a lot of people poured out onto the pier and into the surrounding city hills to witness a rare event — a real sea battle. In the sea for the same purpose went a variety of small ships and boats.
Tactics this duel is also of interest to all of the fighting cruisers of the era of iron and steam. Mainly side the location of the guns, due to the large elongation of the carcass and preserved down to the last artillery ships, forcing opponents to try to fire longitudinal, contrasting as many of their cannons as a smaller number of those from the enemy. As a result, in a single battle cruiser described the characteristic “double helix”. “Kearsarge” and “Alabama” made seven full of circulations, gradually approaching each other. The decreasing distance was extremely unprofitable for “Alabama” because better was the smooth-bore guns of large caliber, formed the basis of the armament of the “Kearsarge”.
“Pirates” resisted desperately: 8-inch switchblade stiletto raider for the combat, there have been four calculation! During the battle, “Alabama” released 370 cores and bombs against 173 “Kearsarge”. However, the odds lean toward professionals, firing leisurely but accurately. An additional factor was the improvised guard cruiser northerners, consisting of two layers of thick planks, two feet away from each other, between which was located the spare ropes and chains. This kind of “boneboys” protected machine “Kearsarge” from exploding grenades used to kill confederates. At the same time, the core northerners made a hole in the hull of the enemy near the waterline. Water reached to the furnace, and Simms ordered to lower the flag. But the “Alabama” was already sinking. The English yacht “Deerhound” saved Samsa, and another 13 officers and 28 sailors, rendered the last service to the cause of the confederates.
After the death of the “Alabama” cruising the war although not ended, but has somewhat subsided. Interestingly, the least success of all ocean raiders the confederates fell to the lot of “Georgia”, which had good service exclusively from the rifled guns of the Whitworth system. The disadvantage of this ship was a small sail, with the result that accounted for almost all the time to keep a pair in the boilers. It fell only nine ships — and almost a year of krakerstva in the Atlantic.
The last ocean raider of the Confederacy was “Shenandoah”, fast and seaworthy sailboat with a lifting screw. He became famous during krakerstva have made a circumnavigation. In addition, the ship is so destroyed the good faith of the North American whaling ships up to the end of the war that the damage amounted to about $ 2 million, and the whaling fleet and failed to recover until the late nineteenth century.
In total, the cruisers and privateers of the southern States seized the ship 261. The victims were almost alone sailboats. But trading the US fleet suffered such losses, the elimination of which took years and years to come. Interestingly, the second victim of the civil war at sea became England, so much sympathized with the case of the slave-owning Confederacy. After the war, the arbitration court in Geneva upheld the claim of the United States and was ordered to pay three million pounds (huge for those times the sum equal to the cost of a dozen first-class fighting ships) — damage action, “Florida”, “Alabama” and “Shenandoah”, arguing that their weapons as the raiders could be carried out only with the knowledge of British (which partly was true).
Interestingly, all the famous raiders of the civil war was neither particularly fast nor heavily armed. Yes, and their opponents from the North is difficult to name a powerful fighting ships. However, their commanders were able to demonstrate that even such imperfect means under the able leadership. That this war has spawned a class of real cruisers, hunters of merchant ships and hunters for such “hunters”
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