Thursday, August 3, 2017

Kedging

Chase of the Constitution, July 1812
Anton Otto Fischer
(Source)
And, if you find yourself becalmed, try kedging yourself. Hey, if it worked for the USS Constitution, then it should get you out of the dead water you are in. - Andrew
Our readers, ya gotta love 'em. I often get ideas from you Chanters, this is the first time, I think, that the suggestion related directly to the post I wrote, or am writing. (Damn paradoxes of time travel!)

kedge

verb: kedge; 3rd person present: kedges; past tense: kedged; past participle: kedged; gerund or present participle: kedging
    1. (with reference to a ship or boat) move by hauling in a hawser attached to a small anchor dropped at some distance.
    "I kedged the dinghy to the port"

noun: kedge; plural noun: kedges; noun: kedge anchor; plural noun: kedge anchors
    1. a small anchor used to reposition a ship or boat by having the anchor's hawser hauled in.

Anyhoo. I was familiar with the story of Old Ironsides which Andrew mentions in his comment. (You'll have to go here to read the entire comment. Well, not "have to" but "can if you want to." I don't want to seem pushy.) But in the interests of educating those who don't know the story, here it is...



Now in the video, four Royal Navy ship types were mentioned:
  • four frigates
  • a ship of the line
  • a brigantine (which the British classified as a gun-brig)
  • a schooner
USS Constitution is a frigate, though she is considered to be a very big frigate of 44 guns. Here's how the Royal Navy "rated" their warships during the Napoleonic Wars (which is the time period within which Constitution's Great Escape occurred) -

Notes

The smaller fourth rates, primarily the 50-gun ships, were, from 1756 on, no longer classified as ships of the line. Since not big enough to stand in the line of battle, were often called frigates, though not classed as frigates by the Royal Navy. They were generally classified, like all smaller warships used primarily in the role of escort and patrol, as "cruisers", a term that covered everything from the smaller two-deckers down to the small gun-brigs and cutters.

The larger fifth rates were generally two-decked ships of 40 or 44 guns, and thus not "frigates", although the 40-gun frigates built during the Napoleonic War also fell into this category.

The smaller sixth rates were often popularly called frigates, though not classed as "frigates" by the Admiralty officially. Only the larger sixth rates (those mounting 28 carriage guns or more) were technically frigates.

The ton in this instance is the burthen tonnage (bm). From c.1650 the burthen of a vessel was calculated using the formula "k" x "b" x ½"b"/94, where "k" was the length, in feet, from the stem to the sternpost, and "b" the maximum breadth of the vessel. It was a rough measurement of cargo-carrying capacity by volume, not displacement. Therefore, one should not change a measurement in "tons burthen" into a displacement in "tons" or "tonnes". (Source for the Chart and Notes.)
One further note of my own. Ship types in the age of sail were generally classified by their size and their "rig," that is, the configuration of masts and sails. For instance:
The brigantine was a two-masted sailing vessel with a fully square rigged foremast and at least two sails on the main mast: a square topsail and a gaff sail mainsail (behind the mast). The main mast is the second and taller of the two masts. (Source)
Ships of the line (also called sail of the line and line of battle ships, which is where the term "battleship" comes from) and frigates looked similar. It was their size which differentiated them, also their usage. Frigates were nimble and fast, they were the scouts of their day. They avoided the line of battle as the bigger ships of the line could (and did) pound them to kindling, given the chance.

Examples of what the different ship types looked like -

(Source)
So USS Constitution was heavily outnumbered and outgunned. How she escaped was nothing short of amazing and a tribute to both the ship and her crew. An excellent telling of the tale can be found here. (As a plug for that fine organization at the link, I'm a member and have been for over a decade. If one works on systems for the U.S. Navy, one should be conversant with that service. The USNI is excellent. End plug.)

LT Morris of Old Ironside's crew would no doubt applaud Juvat's favorite line "never give up, never surrender!"

Screenshot from the video above
Andrew, thanks for getting me out of the doldrums. A most excellent story!

As an added bonus, the French have a replica of the frigate which Lafayette traveled upon to America, back in the day. She is a beauty. (Hat tip to reader RHT447 for the link!)

Mesdames et Messieurs, I give you the French 32-gun frigate, Hermione -



My, I'm in rather a nautical mode as of late aren't I? Expect more!



68 comments:

  1. You can post these every day, I love it. I became a bit of a 'wooden ships and iron men' fan after you turned me on to Alexander Kent back in the 70's and I later picked up on Patrick O'Brian's books but you still covered quite a bit here I didn't know.

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    1. Hands aloft and loose topsails!

      Yeah, I still love that stuff.

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    2. And that was a great video about the Hermione. I've always said she's one of the prettiest ships afloat today. I actually got a little misty eyed watching that!!

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    3. She is a beautiful ship indeed!

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    4. But they were flying that damned tri-color. The Hermione was a royal ship first, darned it. Shoulda been 'argent, a semi of fleur-de-lys or' darneditall.

      And, the swabbies shoulda been wearing the right clothes, not dungarees and t-shirts.

      And, where are the hats? The very specific hats for the very specific positions? Can't the French do anything right?

      Well, it was nice to see so many Frenchmen actually support something nationalistic like this. Maybe some hope for that country after all.

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    5. Well, she did fight in the French Revolution against the British, she was wrecked in 1793.

      But yes, she was definitely a ship of the Ancien Régime, I think at one point in the video she is flying a large white ensign but the light was wrong to see if it bore the fleur-de-lys

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    6. I'm not EVEN going there about the French flying a white flag! Nope, Nope, Nope!

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    7. Took me a while to toss this comment out to the wolves, but...

      Seems like the French won more wars under the "white" royal flag than under the tricolor.

      Delete
    8. Well, France under Louis XIV was very powerful and much feared.

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  2. I also enjoy how the rated number of guns Is pretty much always different than the actual number of "things landlubbers would call cannons."

    Like how our dear Constitution is rated at 44 guns, but actually carried 50+, depending on the desire of the commanding officer, balanced against the weight of cargo and stores, etc.

    Modular armament! (Sort of)

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    1. There's always room for a carronade or two.

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    2. Or twenty or thirty. They don't count. :) (Well, sometimes they don't count.)

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    3. They only count when the enemy is within "Oh crap, they have carronades!" range

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  3. Hermione elicited a little eye sting here, too. We've come a long way from the trees.

    HMS Africa and captain John Bastard. Those are names that echo down through history.

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    1. Yes, we've come far. There is something romantic about the age of sail, regardless of the hardship and the danger, those were beautiful ships.

      As to HMS Africa, that name has been around a while, seven ships of the Royal Navy having carried the name, two more were planned, including one aircraft carrier which was cancelled in 1945.

      As to the good captain, I had to check him out, the name alone gave me a schoolboy chuckle, then I saw this entry in Wikipedia:

      John Bastard was born c. 1787, the second son of Edmund Bastard, and his wife Jane Pownall. His father's side of the family included a large number of politicians, and a number of Bastards sat in Parliament during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

      I wonder if the author of that article had his tongue in his cheek when he/she wrote that? But then again, I'm sure that not everyone has the mind of a twelve year old. And more's the pity.

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    2. I'd say we've got pretty close to 535 of them in our Congress and 181 for sure in Austin right now. A pox on 'em all!

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  4. The statement by LT Morris may well have been remembered and used by one Capt James T. Kirk.

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    1. Makes you wonder where the good captain's middle name came from, eh?

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    2. SoCal Pir8 - Quite possibly.

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    3. Shaun - According to the film Star Trek (from 2009) he got his middle name from his paternal grandfather, Tiberius Kirk. Which his mother wanted to name him, his father determined that the young, future starship captain be named after his maternal grandfather, James. Which is how we got James Tiberius Kirk of the starship Enterprise.

      I don't believe the original series ever addressed that, nor did the original movies, but I could be (and often am) wrong.

      Yes, I am a geek.

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  5. The USS Constitution is the only active duty U.S. Navy ship to have sunk an enemy ship in combat.

    http://www.popularmechanics.com/military/navy-ships/news/a17667/americas-only-ship-killer-is-over-200-years-old/

    We have come a long way indeed. Some days I wonder which way.

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  6. Nothing wrong with a lot of "nautical-ness" here at the Chant. Have you visited the Maritime Museum here in SanDog? It's a good one.

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    1. Why yes, yes I have. I haven't seen all of the ships but I have been aboard HMS Surprise, the Star of India, the USS Dolphin, the Berkeley, and (I think) the Medea. We had a brisk tour of the place the last time I was in Sandy Eggo. In fact it was after we'd checked out of our hotel and were killing time waiting for our flight back to the East Coast. I documented some of that here.

      It is a good one!

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    2. Time for a re-run---

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KpNhN-L9L-g

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    3. Time to pull the old DVD out this weekend methinks!

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  7. Ho Hum, another brilliant post with incisive, articulate, informative comments. Thanks.

    Late to the Ball

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  8. Just got a round tuit and watched the video of the " Hermione ". Very neat, thank you very much.

    Paul L. Quandt

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    1. If you like the phrase, you can buy round tuits ( wooden disks ) to give to people who say " I'll do that when I get around to it ". I was going to make and sell them, but someone beat me to it ( the rat ).

      PLQ

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  9. Late thought: "My, I'm in rather a nautical mode as of late aren't I?"

    What can one expect from someone who's progeny all joined the U.S. Navy?

    Paul

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  10. Lots more swabbie-speak, please.

    And I would love your take on all the shows where the sailors are using terms like 'right,' 'left,' 'front,' and 'rear' for parts of the boat formerly named 'port, starboard, fore, bow, aft and stern.' And the way they 'drive' boats. Me nautical ears burn when I hear that stuff, and I'm getting tired of being elbowed in the ribs by my wife when I yell at the tv (and, shockingly, the images on the tv never hear me yelling at them. Hmmm.)

    And I am glad I gave you an idea. Wouldn't want you to be keelhauled by the angry crown for not filling these pages with goodness.

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    1. The parts of the "boat" of which you speak are still called by those names. Only the Hollywood lubbers use those other terms.

      My kids have taught me well. I wear a cover, not a hat. Chez Sarge has decks, overheads, bulkheads, and ladders.

      And The Nuke always accuses me of being far more salty than I really am.

      It's a fair cop.

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    2. Andrew,
      You and I need to sit down and watch any of the "Fighter Plane" movies made in the last 40 years. "Top Gun" for instance. I'll see your nautical yelling and raise you one or two orders of magnitude.

      Delete
    3. I even have my wife yelling 'salty' during 'Deadliest Catch' and other such shows. It's like the darned commercial fishermen are incapable of using the time honored and correct terms.

      It bugs the doo-doo out of me.

      And, Juvat-sir, yeah, aviation movies suck. Especially those damned explody helicopters. And the magic stitching machine gun bullets on the ground, or hell, anything ordinance related. And AeroDyNAMICS? I mean, if Avalon Hill, in their WWI airplane wargame, can get the concept of 'rate of climb' and 'turn radius' and such, why can't Hollyweird?

      And then there is just plane stupid stuff like the costuming in movies like "Brave Heart" and stuff like that. I mean, how hard is it to open up a stupid book, or ask one of the historical groups running around for some help? Please, for the love of God! (On the other hand, the Normans as portrayed in "The Warlord," staring (the sainted) Charlton Heston, was pretty damned perfect for costuming and harness (all the way down to the saddles.))

      And then the truly obnoxious. What truly bugs me is the over-usage of gas explosions instead of good old powder explosions because gas explosions look better. Just saw the first episode of the Unabomber show and the black-powder bomb is all red flames and stuff. GAAAHHHHHH!!!!!! Grey, Brown, Black, Dark Red. Those colors are in powder explosion (I remember seeing a US Navy photo of a picture taken on an aircraft carrier during WWII milliseconds after a Jap bomb exploded. Straight grey/black lines of smoke and deck leaving in straight lines from a center point. Come on, special effects people! Can't you even watch one video of real explosions???

      I could go on for hours, but my beloved wife would kill me. So soft, so gentle, such sharp elbows...

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    4. Juvat - Yes, it could take hours, nay days, to correct all the stupidity of Hollywood in fighter depictions on film.

      Though I still like the scene in Top Gun where the Tomcats are going after the Zeroes and one of the F-14 actually lost lift and started to fall. That wasn't planned. Going after a very slow aircraft in a very fast one is NOT easy in simulation, real life has to be very tough. Stall speeds and all that aeronautical stuff!

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    5. Andrew - the real thing doesn't look spectacular enough to the civvies. What they need is the concussion effect of explosives going off close by and the smell. All the "lovely" smells of the battlefield.

      Then again, they'd probably stop going if it was too realistic...

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    6. And don't get me started on SciFi movies and TV shows. Only "Babylon 5" and "The Expanse" seem to even grok the concept of vector movement and Newtonian physics on the TV. There is no 'whoosh, swoosh, bank-turn' in outer space.

      Sure, some movies get it, "2001" and its sequels, "Gravity" and such, but, I mean, even if you had 'faster than light' drive, you'd still be subject to Newton dragging you down in sub-light.

      BAAAHHH!

      And, yes, I am one of those jerks that yells at the screen (big or small) if someone in uniform is walking around outside without their damned cover or hat or cap or helmet or whatever its called. You're outside, not on a flightline, COVER YOUR HEAD. And hats, covers, caps et al are carried by the left side because, duh, SALUTE!

      AAAHHHHHHHHH!!!H!H!H!!!!!!!

      (And my wife has really sharp elbows. She can tell when I'm getting agitated by the keyboard strike sounds (I keep telling her I learned on manual typewriters and she keeps telling me to unlearn that bad behavior... I should listen to her. She's the smart one of the family.)

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    7. So Andrew, your Missus is the brains of the outfit too?

      I'm sure Mrs. Juvat and my Missus would concur.

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    8. Yes, yes she is the brains. She tells me regularly, too!

      I think one of the things most successful (male) officers learned was that they may rule the office, but the spouse rules the house.

      My mother ruled my dad's house when he was a liaison officer at Kwajalein. Due to the huge numbers of temp bachelors, she ruled the dinner table with a bbq fork. Anyone who lost their manners by putting their elbows on the dinner table (before the end of the meal) would end up losing blood. Seriously. She got some flag ranked officers, lots of lowly regular and junior officers, and one Catholic Bishop. (And the three imps would watch and laugh...)

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    9. I may have said I had a weird childhood...

      And my mother came from ornery stock. Grandma was a dorm-mother for the football team at OSU one year when Woody Hayes was coach. You could tell she was getting wired up when she would start laughing about punching out Woody for cussing her out. You did not cross Grandma Cone, not one bit!

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    10. Heh. Brings back fond memories. Circumstance found me living with my uncle's family in rural northern California during high school. Up to that point, I was an only child, then suddenly had three younger siblings. Thank God I was the oldest, or I might have killed someone.

      Anyhoo, my aunt was full blooded Italian. Stickler for table manners? Oh my! Fork? Yahoo. I can still show you the fork scars on my elbows.

      While I was there, they (we) built a new house on their ranch. There is a bird called a Flicker (another woodpecker) that has an affinity for the side of wood buildings. Sure enough, bright and early one morning, tat-tat-tat-tat on the north wall which was the master bedroom. I will always carry the image of my aunt, fuzzy slippers, night gown, bathrobe, hair in curlers, tip-toeing across the front lawn with her 20 GA Winchester model 12 to get that SOB.

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    11. Andrew - a grandmother who was ready to get up in Woody Hayes' face? Love it. (Remind me not to piss you off.)

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    12. RHT447 - we have a woodpecker in this area who likes to peck on rooftops, especially early in the morning. I understand your aunt's desire to end that flicker very well.

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  11. And some "Air Force" terminology that is lesser known would be good.

    I remember when I found out how to tell who the retired Air Force pilots were in a group of old veterans.


    Answer: They always wore the cheapest 'on-sale' polo shirts from the Base Exchange. My mom calls it the 'shiny shirt sickness.'

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    1. Hahaha!

      Many of my polos have been acquired from my Navy contacts. There are nothing but the highest quality.

      Well, high enough.

      Delete
    2. The worse shirts I have seen were worn by a retired B-58 pilot. So shiny you could almost see yourself. I think they came with a warning label stating not to get them within 500 feet of an open flame. I mean, so bad even hobos would shy away from them.

      And, yet, go to the local BX or the officers' package store, damned if you couldn't see a similar shirt on 1 out of three old guys. Also, the cheapest beer (Black Label) seems to have been bought by the same shiny shirt brigade.

      Is there something in AF oxygen bottles that kills your sense of taste or something?

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    3. Juvat - I've seen your photos of vacation, your shirts are fine. It's the, it's the...

      Those gotta be SAC wienies that Andrew is talking about.

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    4. Andrew - must be SAC or MAC wienies. Multiple engine guys, fighter pilots drink quality stuff.

      Well, their maintainers do, so the aircrew have to. They just have to...

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    5. Last I looked MAC never flew the Hustler...

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    6. And, my dad liked shirts like that, too, but my mom wouldn't allow him to even think about it. So there may be some evidence that the TAC wienies also are subject to the syndrome.

      He definitely bitched about the price of 'Old Milwaukee' while he bought the dreaded 'Black Label.' But he only flew F-84G's which were single engine only.

      So maybe the dual-engine boys are more evolved than the singe-engine men. Maybe. (Not that I can tell from the Flying Brick Boys my dad hung out with.)(That's what he and a few of his co-SEO religionists called the F-4 series. A Brick with Wings!)

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    7. Well, he wasn't wrong about the F-4. The glide ratio for a flamed out F-4 was 1 to 1, one foot forward for 1 foot down. Then there was the old saw about the "McDonald Douglas Theory of Aviation". "Given enough thrust, even a brick will fly."

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    8. No MAC never flew the Hustler, the comment was intended to disparage the multi-engined folks. (When you come from the fighter world it's an acquired thing, de rigueur almost, to trash talk SAC and MAC.)

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    9. Old Milwaukee, Black Label. I won't say I never imbibed either of those. I won't confess to how much either.

      Pabst Blue Ribbon was "popular" at the bowling alley at Kunsan. (Might have been the only thing they had, I don't recall.)

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    10. Flying Brick Boys!?!?! [Sputtering in rage and frustration...]

      Well, I can see that. (But what a brick!)

      Delete
    11. Well, in my dad's defense, the F-84 BlunderJet was supposedly more maneuverable than the Phantom, supposedly.

      And the Hustler pilot used to joke about how to find a fighter base. You look for all the thumb-TACs holding the airfield down.

      I didn't say it was a good joke. It barely qualified as a joke.

      Hustler pilots are, from my experience with a few, just plane (hur-hur) weird.

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    12. Andrew, a school bus is more maneuverable than an F-4. But for raw power, ya can't beat 'em.

      Though the Hustler pilot's jokes might have been lame, his ride certainly was not!

      Good stuff.

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  12. This is a great comment thread. From early morning to around 2100 hrs. Impressive.

    Paul

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    1. I guess that when you Chanters get fired up there's no stopping you!

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)