18th Century Frigate questions




 
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February 20th, 2015  
Yossarian
 
 

Topic: 18th Century Frigate questions


In learning more and more about Europe's roles in colonizing the New World, you can't ever learn about the subject without learning about who was in control of the seas. And this time period of circa 1492-1814 is inseparable from Maritime history.

I am asking if anyone can explain how the different Maritime Powers, England, France , Portugal Spain and later in a small role the U.S. Approached the idea of the frigate.

In essence I do understand that typical idea of the Frigate in the 18th century in particular was of a more or less multipurpose role. Although in large Navy's I wonder did these ships ever solely play escort duties to 1st Rate ships of the line?

Or in some cases treasure laden Galleons? In these instances were these somewhat fast, but somewhat well armed ships like proto cruisers when employed in this fashion? Like an 18th century carrier group so to speak?

With other smaller ships, from sloops to corvettes being faster and with better mobility I can't find too much information about how frigates were employed in the trade between the America's and Europe.

Only with information on America's first frigates and their service lives do I get a glimpse of these vessel's history and life aboard ship.

But The American frigates I am gathering were employed in a different context, The U.S. did not have any 1st rate ships of the line, or far flung colonies to defend. So I don't get a real feel of what France and England for example used these ships for.

There is a ton of information on ships as HMS Victory, or Oriflamme, but little on the use of frigates in the trade between the New World and the Old and their obvious uses and how different Navy's build and used them.

(Apologize for the clouded muddled rambling but I put allot of thought into this question.)
February 20th, 2015  
George
 
Yeah, the Frigate served the role of the modern cruiser. Frigates were scout/screener when sailing with a squadron of Ships of the Line, "Jack of all trades" when alone. Was primary USN warship where they never really used Ships of the Line. RN tended to be concentrated for specific operations only, USN ships during 1812 never knew what they might find, a brig today & a solo Ship of the Line the next day.
February 20th, 2015  
Yossarian
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by George
Yeah, the Frigate served the role of the modern cruiser. Frigates were scout/screener when sailing with a squadron of Ships of the Line, "Jack of all trades" when alone. Was primary USN warship where they never really used Ships of the Line. RN tended to be concentrated for specific operations only, USN ships during 1812 never knew what they might find, a brig today & a solo Ship of the Line the next day.

The original idea of the Same class of 6 American frigates seems like the idea later adopted by first the RN with it's battle cruisers of WW l and then German pocket battleships of WW ll.

Enough fire power to kill what it can catch, but speedy enough to run from whatever could kill it.

That's why I always looked at the American ships in this time frame with a little bit a different context than their peers.

Back in those days the U.S. couldn't really muster a large concentration of vessels say like the RN. So I was curious as to see what the RN did with similar vessels, employing them more casually even?
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