Here we can see the upper gun deck of HMS Victory (underneath her 'little boats') as it appeared in circa 1794:
Along both sides, a single row of 12-pounder cannons was present, together with the gun crews that operated them. The gun crews themselves, would both 'live and sleep' in the spaces between the cannons (especially of lower gun decks). The other gun decks were similar (in terms of layout) - although the middle gun deck was equipped with 24-pounder cannons, and the lower gun deck was equipped with 32-pounder cannons. The heavier calibre cannons were located closer to the waterline - to improve the stability of HMS Victory. This was a lesson 'learned the hard way' as ships of the line that were 'too top heavy' were notoriously unstable (such as the Mary Rose). In any case, the armament of HMS Victory 'tended to vary' both depending upon the century and 'which admiral/captain' was in command. For example, some admirals preferred the 42-pounder cannon to the 32-pounder cannon. Whilst the 42-pounder cannon featured more 'hitting power', it also featured a slower 'loading time' - because the cannonball weighed more, and was 'harder to lift' for the gun crews. The material used to construct the cannons also varied 'depending upon the century' - with early cannons being made of brass, and later cannons being made of iron (which were also equipped with 'more modern' firing mechanisms).
Here we can see the wooden 'stern galleys' of HMS Victory, as they appeared 'mostly' in circa 1794:
This area of HMS Victory represented the 'height of sculpture' for the days (and probably today as well!). It was standard practice for ships of the line, to be decorated astern - although only 'first rates' (such as HMS Victory) would have taken it 'to these levels'. The lowermost windows are located at the stern of the wardroom (where officers would eat). The middlemost windows are located at the stern of the admiral's day cabin (where 'his strategy' was usually planned). The uppermost windows are located at the stern of the captain's day cabin (directly above the admirals). As the admiral was a 'higher rank' than the captain, this meant that his cabins would be 'more stable' whilst at sea (owing to a lower 'centre of gravity'). Whilst this was true for ships of the line, this arrangement appears to have been reversed in later warships (with the admiral's cabins 'higher up'). To the left of the galleys (in this view) can be found the cannons of HMS Victory: the lowermost are 32-pounders, the middlemost are 24-pounders and the uppermost (including those on the quarterdeck) are 12-pounders.
| Nebula Hawk
HMS Warrior 1860 - Iron Hull Form and Admirals Day Cabin
HMS Warrior is considered to be, an important milestone, in terms of the development of modern warships - as Warrior featured the iron of the then-to-be future, whilst retaining her Victorian roots:
Warrior's iron hull form, was designed to repel the cannon balls, of an enemy fleet. This was achieved, through the concept of an armoured citadel - as Warrior's thirty-eight 68-pounder guns/cannons, were protected behind an 'iron wall', that was 4.5 inches thick. This meant, that Warrior could engage, enemy ships of the line (who at this time, featured: wooden hull forms, and usually 32-pounder guns/cannons), without fear of her own armoured belt, being penetrated. This gave the Royal Navy, an undeniable advantage, when it came to naval conflict - as warships would sit in a line, firing at each other, and the warships made of wood, would sink first! In any case, Warrior retained the Admiral's Day/Night Cabin (at her stern), as was installed on HMS Victory (though Warrior's, was on a less grander scale). This featured: decorated windows, with golden patterns in the wood/iron, bordered with white - to reflect the rank of the most important officer on the warship, the Admiral (or Captain).
Here we can see the stern deck area of HMS Hood. What I most liked about Hood's stern profile, was the fact that she had a matched pair of naval gun turrets, mounted astern:
Later battleships (including both American, and Japanese), would only have a single gun turret, mounted astern. I feel that the matched pair (in Hood), catered for a more balanced profile - both in terms of her appearance, and in terms of her firepower. Hood's stern deck, was an interesting area of contradiction! For on her Empire Cruise (when she sailed the British Empire), was this area often where the VIPs (such as Royalty) were entertained. With the wooden handrail ladders (middle-bottom right), leading to the Admiral's Day Cabin - came much pomp and ceremony. And yet, when Hood was at sea, even in a fairly calm sea, was this entire stern deck area, often awash with sea water! The stern deck had been designed too low in the waterline. Yet, there is some irony here. For in the wreck of HMS Hood (at the bottom of the North Atlantic), is it the stern deck and it's flag pole, that stand up from the sea bed, as if in salute.
From left to right we have: the aft-most eight barrelled 2 pounder anti-aircraft pom poms gun, two 4 inch high angle anti-aircraft guns, and one of the fifteen inch naval gun turrets (with it's local control range finder on-top). The anti-aircraft guns, were situated atop the Admiral's Day Cabin, and much pomp and ceremony, is often associated with the wooden handrail ladders, that lead to this area (bottom left). This was particularly true, of Hood's Empire Cruise, where she entertained VIPs (such as Royalty), from around the World.