The Ships

Le Fleuron

Le Fleuron, a 64-gun ship of the line 3rd rate (vaisseau de 64 canons), was built according to plans by naval architect Blaise Ollivier who also together with his father, Joseph, a naval architect as well, conducted and surveyed the construction of the ship in Brest 1729-32. Le Fleuron is an excellent example of the French naval architecture school at the beginning of the 18th century which was not yet influenced by the English and Dutch naval schools. Le Fleuron was one of the finest ships in Louis XV's navy and received the following testimonial (among others): " all those who have served on Le Fleuron or seen her sailing, regard her as the perfect ship" and it was often the fastest ship in the squadron.

The ship served in the French navy until 1745 when it burned at the roadstead of Brest. In active service Le Fleuron participated in several missions to, among other places, North America, Guinea and notably three trips to the Baltic Sea.

Le Fleuron was 145 feet (French) 8 inches (47,20m) long; 39 feet 4 inches (12,73m) large and 18 feet 2 inches (5,88m) moulded depth. In time of peace Le Fleuron was armed with 60 guns; 24 24-pounder iron guns on the lower deck; 26 12-pounder iron guns on the main deck; and 10 6-pounder iron guns on the forecastle and quarterdeck (the armament changed over time and on my model it is somewhat different from the description presented here). Le Fleuron had a total crew of 450-500 men depending on its mission.

Jean Boudriot and Gerard Delacroix have on the basis of Blaise Ollivier's original plans and descriptions produced an outstanding monograph, "Vaisseau de 64 canons LE FLEURON de Blaise Ollivier, 1729, COLLECTION ARCHEOLOGIE NAVALE FRANCAISE, EDITIONS OMEGA". It is this monograph I have used as the basis for the construction of my scale model.

The following pages describes the model in general as well as details of the construction illustrated by photos. Follow this "Le Fleuron, Model" to continue.

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L'Amarante

 

L'Amarante, a 12-gun Corvette, was built in Brest 1747 as the last in a series of three (La Palme and L'Anemone were the first two). The plans were made by Joseph-Louis Ollivier, who was only 15 at the time when the construction of La Palme began in 1744 and he was undoubtedly helped by his father, Blaise Ollivier, who at that time was a recognized naval architect who, among other projects, had made the plans for Le Fleuron. The definition of a corvette took form in the mid-18th century and was described as ".. a fast sailing ship with fewer than 20 guns" and corvettes eventually replaced the light frigates.

L'Amarante was completed in december 1747 and in March 1748 it captured  the British kaperskib Prince of Wales. Between July and November 1751 L'Amarante participated in a scientific expedition off the coast of Spain and Portugal. In June 1757 it leaves Rochefort together with four frigates and one other corvette to escort a convoy to Brest and it also performed convoy service in 1758. In October 1759 L'Amarante departs from Dunkirk with five frigates and 1200 men for a planned  landing attempt in Ireland. It is on this occasion L'Amarante sank off Saint-Malo in February 1760.

L'Amarante had a length of 84 feet (French) 6 inches (27.44 m), width 22 feet (7.15 m) depth of 10 feet 1 inch (3.27 m). Fully loaded, a tonnage of 232. The armament consisted of twelve 4-pounder iron guns. The drawings for the ship's decorations were done by Caffiery.

By using Blaise Ollivier's original as well as various contemporary plans and descriptions Gerard Delacroix has  created an excellent monograph, "L'AMARANTE, Corvette the 12 canons, du constructeur Joseph-Louis Ollivier, 1747 Éditions Gérard Delacroix." It is this monograph I have used as a basis for the construction of my scale model.

The following pages describes the model in general as well as details of the construction illustrated by photos. Follow the "L'Amarante, Model" to continue.

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FLORA

FLORA was one of four corvettes of the Triton class (BELLONA, DIANA, FLORA and TRITON) granted to Denmark under the American MDAP programme (Mutual Defence Assistance Programme), which aimed at restoring Western European defence capabilities after WW2. The ships were built in Italy (FLORA was launched in 1955 from the Cantiere del Tirreno shipyard, Riva Trigoso). A total of eight units were built (in Italy known as the ALBATROS class), of which Italy got three, the Netherlands one and, as mentioned, Denmark four. In Denmark, the ships were soon nicknamed the "Spaghetti boats" due to their origin. FLORA was decommissioned from the Danish Navy in 1977.

The corvettes of the TRITON-class had a steel hull while the superstructure and deck houses were made of aluminium. They had an overall length of 76.l meters, beam 9.6 meters, draft of 2.5 meters and a displacement fully equipped of 875.8 tons. The superstructure consisted of the deck house, the boat deck, the bridge and the gunfire control deck. The ships were powered by two Ansaldo-Fiat engines that combined could provide a maximum 4,330 bhp. which gave a top speed of 20-21 knots, depending on the conditions. There was a crew of about 110 men of whom 10 were officers.

During most of the corvettes’ lifetime the armament consisted of one 40 mm and two 76 mm guns, both of which could be used against air as well as sea targets. As anti-submarine weapons the ships were equipped with two Hedgehog depth charge launchers, four k-guns (that hurled the depth charge some distance from the ship) and a stern rack where depth charges were rolled off the stern of the ship.

In the more than 20 years the corvettes were active in the Danish Navy their tasks were diverse and included, among other things, sovereignty enforcement and intelligence gathering in the Baltic Sea and fishing inspection in the North Sea and North Atlantic. In war time the ships were expected to protect other ships against air and submarine attacks.

A report refers to the TRITON ships class as "A seaworthy and decent ship: Cleave the waves without dipping the stern. Only takes water in the form of drift water. On transverse waves the ship rolls violently, but with pleasant movements .... ". From my personal experience, not least as a helmsman, I can confirm that in heavy weather it was a very “lively” ship.

Sources:

Flådens Skibe og Fartøjer 1945-1995, Gunnar Olsen og Svenn Storgaard, Marinehistoriske Skrifter

Korvetterne af TRITON-klassen, Tom Wismann, Steel & Stone Publishing.

The following pages describes the model in general as well as details of the construction illustrated by photos. Follow the "FLORA, Model" to continue.

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NIELS EBBESEN

As part of rebuilding the Danish Navy after the 2nd World War, two frigates of the River-class were bought from the UK in 1945 for 265.000 £ each. Under Danish flag they were named HOLGER DANSKE F338 (previous HMS and HMCS Monnow) and NIELS EBBESEN F339 (previous HMS and HMCS Annan).

During the 2nd World War 151 ships of the River-class were built, the vast majority in the UK and Canada. The vessels were designed for the specific purpose of convoy escorting in the Atlantic and were therefore oceangoing, armed for anti-submarine warfare and fast enough to run up the German submarines. In addition to serving under British and Canadian flags, there were also ships under Australian, United States and some exile governments' flag, e.g. the Free French. After the war, a great number of River-class frigates were used in the rebuilding of navies in many countries.

The frigate’s name, NIELS EBBESEN, derives from a Danish squire, Niels Ebbesen, (1308-1340) who liberated Jutland and Funen by fighting and killing the German count Gerhard III who ruled over part of Denmark. Thus, the ship’s name is a symbol of the Danish resistance against the German occupation of Denmark, 1940-45.

HMS ANNAN, k 404, was built at the Hall, Russell & Co, Ltd shipyard in Aberdeen and launched in December 1943 and was later transferred to the Canadian navy as HMCS ANNAN. The frigate entered the Danish Navy in November 1945.

NIELS EBBESEN had an overall length of 91,9 meters, beam 11,1 meters, draft 3,2 meters and a displacement of 2.165,2 tons fully equipped. The hull was made of steel plates that were fixed partly by riveting and partly by welding. The superstructure consisted of a forecastle and boat deck, a deck house and the bridge deck. The engines were two four-cylinder triple expansion Thornycroft steam engines which got steam from two Babcock & Wilcox oil fuelled water-tube boilers. The ship had a top speed of a little more than 20 knots. There was a crew of 167 men, of whom 11 were officers, 66 nucleus crew and 90 cadets/trainees.

The frigate’s armament during the war as a convoy escort ship was obviously tailored to anti-submarine warfare and protection against air attacks (as HMCS ANNAN she engaged and sank U-1006 south of the Faroe Islands in 1944, rescuing 46 survivors). Under Danish flag where NIELS EBBESEN mainly served as training ship for cadets and trainees, the armament changed considerably over time and, in addition to being adapted to training purposes, it also evolved with international developments, especially the escalation of the cold war.

At the same time as its functions as a training ship, NIELS EBBESEN was also an active unit in the Danish navy’s operational activities. Thus, the frigate was extensively used as a fishery protection vessel in the North Sea and the waters around Greenland and the Faro Islands. It was during such a mission in Faro Islands’ waters that the ship seized the Scottish trawler “Red Crusader” for illegal fishing. A matter that later ended in the International Court in the Hague.

During its service NIELS EBBESEN visited many countries and places, among them the Azores, Madeira, Bermuda and the USA.

A general report describes the ship’s qualities as follows: “A seaworthy ship that in Beaufort 11 wind force in the Atlantic has good movements and modest loss of speed as long as not heading directly into the sea, as she then is pitching considerably. Good manoeuvrability due to the twin propellers and great engine power, little steering qualities astern though and drifting somewhat even in moderate wind. Going fine in ice but due to the thin plates, thick ice should be avoided”.

When the River-class frigates were built the accommodation standard for the crew was regarded as good. However, twenty years later it could be questioned if sleeping in hammocks (stowed away during the day), eating and sleeping in the same mess was comfortable.

NIELS EBBESEN was decommissioned from the Danish navy in 1963.

Sources

Flådens Skibe og Fartøjer 1945-1995, Gunnar Olsen og Svenn Storgaard, Marinehistoriske Skrifter

Fregatterne HOLGER DANSKE & NIELS EBBESEN, Tom Wismann, Steel & Stone Publishing

River-class Frigates and the Battle of the Atlantic, Brian Lavery, National Maritme Museum

Dansk Søartilleri 1860-2004, Admiral Sven Egil Thiede, Tøjhusmuseet

www.maritimevenner.com

The following pages describes the model in general as well as details of the construction illustrated by photos. Follow the "NIELS EBBESEN, Model" to continue.Follow the link "Home" to go back.