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Encyclopedia > Bomb vessel
Bomb vessels attacking Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore
Bomb vessels attacking Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore

A bomb ketch, bomb vessel, bomb ship, or simply bomb was a type of wooden sailing naval ship. Its primary armament was not cannon (long guns and carronades), but rather mortars mounted forward near the bow. To aim these weapons, the entire ship was rotated by letting out or pulling in a spring anchor, and hence this type of ship was used almost exclusively for bombarding (hence the name) fixed positions on land. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1004x735, 158 KB) The caption reads A VIEW of the BOMBARDMENT of Fort McHenry, near Baltimore, by the British fleet taken from the Observatory under the Command of Admirals Cochrane & Cockburn on the morning of the 13th of Sept 1814 which... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1004x735, 158 KB) The caption reads A VIEW of the BOMBARDMENT of Fort McHenry, near Baltimore, by the British fleet taken from the Observatory under the Command of Admirals Cochrane & Cockburn on the morning of the 13th of Sept 1814 which... Fort McHenry Located in Baltimore, Maryland, Fort McHenry is best known for its role in the War of 1812, when it successfully defended Baltimore Harbor from the British navy. ... The American defense of Baltimores Fort McHenry in this battle inspired Francis Scott Key to compose the poem which would become the national anthem of the United States, The Star Spangled Banner. ... USS Port Royal (CG-73), a Ticonderoga class cruiser. ... A small cast-iron cannon on a carriage A cannon is any large tubular firearm designed to fire a heavy projectile over a considerable distance. ... A long gun is a firearm with an extended barrel, usually designed to be fired braced against the shoulder. ... The carronade was a short gun developed by the Carron Company, a Scottish ironworks, in 1778 for the Royal Navy. ... Soldier Firing the M224 60mm Mortar. ... The purpose of a ships or boats anchor is to attach the vessel to the ground at a specific point. ...


In more modern times, the same role has been carried out by the monitor. USS Monitor became the prototype of a form of ship built by several navies for coastal defence in the 1860s and 1870s and known as a monitor. ...


Early bomb vessels were rigged as ketches with two masts. They were awkward vessels to handle in terms of seamanship, in part because bomb ketches typically had the masts stepped farther aft than would have been normal in other vessels of similar rig, in order to accommodate the mortars forward. As a result, by the 1790s most bomb vessels were designed as full rigged ships with three masts. Bomb vessels often had the front rigging made of chain to protect it from the muzzle blast of the main weaponry. Square Topsl Gaff Ketch Hawaiian Chieftain on San Francisco Bay A ketch is a sailing craft with two masts: A main mast, and a mizzen mast abaft the main mast. ... foremast, mainmast and mizzen mast Grand Turk The mast of a sailing ship is a tall vertical pole which supports the sails. ... Seamanship is the art of operating a ship or boat. ... A full rigged ship or fully rigged ship is a square rigged sailing vessel with three or more masts, all of them square rigged. ...


Mortars were the only kind of naval armament to fire explosive shells rather than solid shot. Since it was considered dangerous to have large stocks of shells on board the ships that were firing them, bomb vessels were often accompanied by a tender to carry ammunition. A shell is a projectile, which, as opposed to a bullet, is not solid but contains an explosive or other filling, though modern usage includes large projectiles without a filling. ...


Bomb vessels were traditionally named after volcanoes, or given other names suggestive of explosive qualities. Some were also given names associated with the underworld. Vessels of other types which were later converted to bombs generally retained their original names. A volcano is a geological landform (usually a mountain) where magma (rock of the Earths interior made molten or liquid by high temperature along with a reduction in pressure and/or the introduction of water or other volatiles) erupts through the surface of the planet. ... In the study of mythology and religion, the underworld is a generic term approximately equivalent to the lay term afterlife, referring to any place to which newly-dead souls go. ...


Because bomb vessels were built with extremely strong hulls to withstand the recoil of the mortars, several were converted in time of peace as ships for exploration of the Arctic and Antarctic regions, where pack ice and icebergs were a constant menace. Most famously, these ships included HMS Erebus and HMS Terror. Ironically, in this case, the volcanoes -- Mount Erebus and Mount Terror on Ross Island in Antarctica -- were named after the ships, instead of vice-versa. The red line indicates the 10°C isotherm in July, commonly used to define the Arctic region border The Arctic is the area around the Earths North Pole. ... Greek ἀνταρκτικός, opposite the arctic) is a continent surrounding the Earths South Pole. ... An icebreaker navigates some through young (1 year) sea ice Sea ice is formed from ocean water that freezes. ... An iceberg (berg is the German word for mountain) is a large piece of ice that has broken off from a glacier or ice shelf and is floating in open water. ... HMS Erebus was a Hecla-class bomb vessel constructed by the Royal Navy in Pembroke Dockyard, Wales in 1826. ... Mount Erebus in Antarctica is the southernmost active volcano. ... For mountains named Mount Terror, see Mount Terror. ... Map of Ross Island Ross Island is a volcanic island in the Ross Sea by Antarctica, on the coast of Victoria Land. ...


Notable bomb vessels and actions

In this view of the Battle of Copenhagen (1801), bomb vessels in the left foreground fire over the British and Danish lines of battle into the city in the background.
Enlarge
In this view of the Battle of Copenhagen (1801), bomb vessels in the left foreground fire over the British and Danish lines of battle into the city in the background.

The Battle of Copenhagen The Battle of Copenhagen (Danish: Slaget på Reden) was a naval battle fought on 2 April 1801 by a British fleet under the command of Admiral Sir Hyde Parker, against a Danish fleet anchored just off Copenhagen. ... The Battle of Copenhagen The Battle of Copenhagen (Danish: Slaget på Reden) was a naval battle fought on 2 April 1801 by a British fleet under the command of Admiral Sir Hyde Parker, against a Danish fleet anchored just off Copenhagen. ... The second Battle of Copenhagen, which lasted from 16 August to 5 September 1807, was, like the First Battle of Copenhagen, an attack by the British on the Danish capital of Copenhagen. ... Thomas Cochrane already had a distinguished career in the British Navy when he destroyed much of the French fleet in 1809 at The Battle Of Basque Roads. ... 1808 was a leap year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... A ship firing Congreve rockets A rocket vessel was a ship equipped with rockets as a weapon. ... Francis Scott Key (August 1, 1779 - January 11, 1843) was an American lawyer and amateur poet. ... The American defense of Baltimores Fort McHenry in this battle inspired Francis Scott Key to compose the poem which would become the national anthem of the United States, The Star Spangled Banner. ... 1814 was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ... HMS Hecla was a Hecla-class bomb ship. ... Sir William Edward Parry (December 19, 1790 - July 8, 1855) was an English rear-admiral and Arctic explorer. ... The red line indicates the 10°C isotherm in July, commonly used to define the Arctic region border The Arctic is the area around the Earths North Pole. ... 1819 was a common year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... 1827 was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... HMS Erebus was a Hecla-class bomb vessel constructed by the Royal Navy in Pembroke Dockyard, Wales in 1826. ... Sir James Clark Ross (April 15, 1800 – April 3, 1862), was a British naval officer and explorer. ... Greek ἀνταρκτικός, opposite the arctic) is a continent surrounding the Earths South Pole. ... 1840 is a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ... 1843 was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... Sir John Franklin (April 15, 1786 – June 11, 1847) was an English sea captain and Arctic explorer, whose fate — and that of his last expedition — was for many years a mystery. ... The red line indicates the 10°C isotherm in July, commonly used to define the Arctic region border The Arctic is the area around the Earths North Pole. ... 1845 was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... 1848 is a leap year starting on Saturday (link will take you to calendar). ... Sir George Back (6 November 1796 – 23 June 1878) was a British naval officer, explorer of the Arctic and artist. ... 1836 was a leap year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... 1837 was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... The red line indicates the 10°C isotherm in July, commonly used to define the Arctic region border The Arctic is the area around the Earths North Pole. ...

References

  • Lavery, Brian: Nelson's Navy. ISBN 1591146119.
  • Naval History of Great Britain

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