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fighting ships of the world

ROYAL NAVY (UNITED KINGDOM)

CAPITAL SHIPS & MONITORS

SCORPION masted turret ships (1865)

Wivern 1865

 

Name

No

Yard No

Builder

Laid down

Launched

Comp

Fate

Scorpion   294 Laird, Birkenhead 4/1862 4/7/1863 10/10/1865 guard ship 10/1869, sunk as target 1901
Wivern   295 Laird, Birkenhead 4/1862 29/8/1863 10/10/1865 guard ship 1880, harbour service 1898

 

Displacement normal, t

2751

Displacement full, t

 

Length, m

68.4 pp

Breadth, m

12.9

Draught, m

4.95

No of shafts

1

Machinery

1 Lairds 2-cyl HDASE, 4 rectangular boilers

Power, h. p.

1450

Max speed, kts

10.5

Fuel, t

coal 320

Endurance, nm(kts)

1210(10)

Armour, mm

iron; belt: 114 - 51 with 254 - 203mm wood backing, turrets: 254 - 127

Armament

2 x 2 - 229/14 MLR Mk IV

Complement

153

Ship project history: These ships were ordered in 1862 by an agent of the Confederate States of America but the Foreign Secretary pointed out that British neutrality could not allow their delivery to a fighting party. It was planed to arrange their sale to Egypt under names El Toussou and El Monassir, and at sea ships could raise Confederate flags as North Carolina and Mississippi. This plan was broken by Foreign Secretary and in October 1863 both ships were seized by British Government, being purchased for the Royal Navy in 1864.

    The freeboard amidships was only 1.8m with 1.5m hinged bulwarks between forecastle and poop. Wivern was fitted with struts to fore and main masts to reduce interference of the standing rig with the turrets, and she was the first ship with tripod masts.

    THey had a forecastle, poop and barque rig for service as ocean-going ships. They were good seaboats but with a deep roll and low freeboard, so they were soon relegated to coast defence service.

Ship protection: The full-length belt from the upper deck to 1m below the waterline, it was 89mm thick amidships, reducing to 76mm at fore and 51mm at aft end. Octagonal turrets had 254mm faces and 127mm sides, there was an armoured CT fwd of the funnel.

Modernizations: (1866-1868), Wivern: the rig was reduced to fore and aft sails, flying bridge was added between forecastle and poop.

Naval service: Scorpion served as guardship at Bermuda from 1869 to 1899, she was sunk as target in 1901 but raised for sale in 1902, sold in 1903 and foundered under tow from Bermuda to Boston (USA) 17/6/1903. Wivern also served as guardship, initially in home waters and later at Hong Kong, where she was reduced to harbour service in 1898 and sold to BU in May 1922.

Many thanks to Wolfgang Stöhr for additional information on this page.

 

© Ivan Gogin, 2008-14