An ironclad was a steam-propelled warship in the early part of the second half of the 19th century, protected by iron or steel armour plates. The ironclad was developed as a result of the vulnerability of wooden warships to explosive or incendiary shells. The first ironclad battleship, La Gloire, was launched by the French Navy in November 1859. The British Admiralty had been considering armored warships since 1856 and prepared a draft design for an armored corvette in 1857; however, in early 1859 the Royal Navy started building two iron-hulled armored frigates, and by 1861 had made the decision to move to an all-armored battle fleet. After the first clashes of ironclads (both with wooden ships and with one another) took place during the American Civil War, it became clear that the ironclad had replaced the unarmored ship of the line as the most powerful warship afloat. This type of ship would come to be very successful in the American Civil War.
Ironclads were designed for several roles, including as high seas battleships, coastal defense ships, and long-range cruisers. The rapid evolution of warship design in the late 19th century transformed the ironclad from a wooden-hulled vessel that carried sails to supplement its steam engines into the steel-built, turreted battleships and cruisers familiar in the 20th century. This change was pushed forward by the development of heavier naval guns (the ironclads of the 1880s carried some of the heaviest guns ever mounted at sea), more sophisticated steam engines, and advances in metallurgy which made steel shipbuilding possible.
The rapid pace of change in the ironclad period meant that many ships were obsolete as soon as they were complete, and that naval tactics were in a state of flux. Many ironclads were built to make use of the ram or the torpedo, which a number of naval designers considered the crucial weapons of naval combat. There is no clear end to the ironclad period, but towards the end of the 1890s the term ironclad dropped out of use. New ships were increasingly constructed to a standard pattern and designated battleships or armored cruisers.
Other articles related to "ironclad warship, ironclads, ironclad, warship":
... A number of ironclads have been preserved or reconstructed as museum ships ... The City class ironclad USS Cairo is currently on display in Vicksburg, Mississippi ... The complete, recovered wooden hull of the CSS Neuse, a casemate ram ironclad, is on view in Kinston, North Carolina, and, in another part of town on the Neuse ...
... States Continental Iron Works Brooklyn, New York Monitor Ironclad warship 14 February United States H.L and C.S ... Bushnell Mystic, Connecticut Galena Ironclad screw steamer 8 March Confederate States of America Portsmouth, Virginia Virginia Ironclad warship rebuilt from the wreck of the USS Merrimack 19 March United ... Shirley Memphis, Tennessee Arkansas Ironclad warship 28 April United States Portsmouth Navy Yard Kittery, Maine Sacramento Sloop 1 May United States Neafie Levy Kensington, Philadelphia ...
... m2) 9250 ... long tons warship, trainer, scrapped 1923 HMS Warrior 1860 F Thames Ironworks and Shipbuilding Co ... rig Iron 6039 ... tons burthen 9210 ... long tons warship, museum HMS Agincourt 1867 H Laird, Son Co ... m2) 9.5 6643 ... tons burthen 10690 ... tons warship HMS Northumberland 1868 H Millwall Ironworks 407 ft (124 m) 59 ft 6 in (18.1 ...
Famous quotes containing the words warship and/or ironclad:
“Admiral. That part of a warship which does the talking while the figurehead does the thinking.”
—Ambrose Bierce (18421914)
“There are few ironclad rules of diplomacy but to one there is no exception. When an official reports that talks were useful, it can safely be concluded that nothing was accomplished.”
—John Kenneth Galbraith (b. 1908)