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Encyclopedia > HMS Thunder Child
Sacrifice of Thunder Child
Part of The War of the Worlds

The site of the Martians' attack on "the multitudinous vessels that were crowded between Foulness and the Naze."
Date precise date unknown: Day 6 of the Martian landing
(June, "early in the twentieth century")
Location the mouth of the River Blackwater, Essex
Result marginal British victory
Combatants
United Kingdom Martians
Commanders
unknown † none
Strength
1 ironclad torpedo ram, Thunder Child 3 fighting-machines,
Casualties
Thunder Child lost 2 fighting-machines lost, fate of third unknown
The War of the Worlds
HorsellWeybridge and SheppertonLondonHMS Thunder Child

HMS Thunder Child is the fictional ironclad torpedo ram of the Royal Navy destroyed by Martian fighting-machines in H. G. Wells's The War of the Worlds. The War of the Worlds (1898), by H. G. Wells, is an early science fiction novel (or novella) which describes an invasion of England by aliens from Mars. ... Image File history File links Sacrifice_of_Thunder_Child. ... The River Blackwater is a river in England. ... In The War of the Worlds, H.G. Wells describes the Martians as octopus-like creatures; the body consists of only a head with eyes, v-shaped lipless beak-like mouth, and two brunches with a total of 16 tentacles. ... The War of the Worlds (1898), by H. G. Wells, is an early science fiction novel (or novella) which describes an invasion of England by aliens from Mars. ... The Horsell Offensive was the first military engagement in the H. G. Wells novel The War of the Worlds. ... Combatants United Kingdom Martians Commanders Brigadier-General Marvin † Ullachda(Martian War Commander)Zethnok Strength 8th Hussars, 12th Horse Artillery 5 fighting-machines Casualties Both towns destroyed, sizeable civilian and military casualties and total loss of materiel 1 fighting-machine lost, remaining fighting-machines retired to Horsell Common The Battle of... Combatants United Kingdom Martians Commanders unknown unknown Strength 115 Artillery Batteries 7 fighting-machines Casualties Total loss of materiel, heavy civilian and military casualties no fighting-machines lost In H. G. Wells fictional classic, The War of the Worlds, London fell to the Martian invaders. ... Ironclad warships, frequently shortened to just ironclads, were ships sheathed with thick iron plates for protection. ... A torpedo ram is a type of warship combining design elements from the cruiser and the monitor, intended to provide small and inexpensive weapon systems for coastal defence and other littoral combat. ... The Royal Navy of the United Kingdom is the oldest of the British armed services (and is therefore the Senior Service). ... In The War of the Worlds, H.G. Wells describes the Martians as octopus-like creatures; the body consists of only a head with eyes, v-shaped lipless beak-like mouth, and two brunches with a total of 16 tentacles. ... Herbert George Wells (September 21, 1866 – August 13, 1946), better known as H. G. Wells, was an English writer best known for such science fiction novels as The Time Machine, The War of the Worlds, The Invisible Man, The First Men in the Moon and The Island of Doctor Moreau. ... The War of the Worlds (1898), by H. G. Wells, is an early science fiction novel (or novella) which describes an invasion of England by aliens from Mars. ...

Contents

Description

Wells gives only a rough description of the ship, describing her thus: “About a couple of miles out lay an ironclad, very low in the water, almost, to my brother's perception, like a water-logged ship. This was the ram Thunder Child.” A few paragraphs later, he is slightly more specific: "It was the torpedo ram, Thunder Child, steaming headlong, coming to the rescue of the threatened shipping." Ironclad warships, frequently shortened to just ironclads, were ships sheathed with thick iron plates for protection. ... Waterlogging is a verbal noun meaning the saturation of such as ground or the filling of such as a boat with water. ... A torpedo ram is a type of warship combining design elements from the cruiser and the monitor, intended to provide small and inexpensive weapon systems for coastal defence and other littoral combat. ...


Warships armed with rams at this time were not uncommon. The only torpedo ram (a specialised ramship) ever commissioned in the Royal Navy was Polyphemus, a unique design (low hull with a lightly-armoured turtle-back, a battery of submerged torpedo tubes (which she was the trials vessel for) and a ram-prow), with no sister ships, she may have been some inspiration for the description of Thunder Child. In Jeff Wayne's musical adaptation, the ship is described as an ironclad rather than a torpedo ram; the album cover illustration of Thunder Child clearly resembles a pre-dreadnought battleship such as the Canopus-class vessel HMS Ocean. The ship is also depicted in art in the Classics Illustrated comic book adaptation of the novel, also appearing as a typical pre-dreadnought battleship. A torpedo ram is a type of warship combining design elements from the cruiser and the monitor, intended to provide small and inexpensive weapon systems for coastal defence and other littoral combat. ... information about the ship sailors memories ... Jeffrey Jeff Wayne is a musician mostly known for his musical version of H. G. Wells The War of the Worlds. ... Ironclad warships, frequently shortened to just ironclads, were ships sheathed with thick iron plates for protection. ... USS Massachusetts, a pre-dreadnought battleship launched in 1893 The term pre-dreadnought refers to the last type of battleship before the British Royal Navys HMS Dreadnought (1906). ... The firepower of a battleship demonstrated by USS Iowa A battleship is a large, heavily-armored warship with a main battery consisting of the largest caliber of guns. ... The Canopus-class was a six-ship class of pre-Dreadnought battleships of the Royal Navy designed by Sir William White. ... The fourth HMS Ocean was a battleship displacing 12,950 tons and armed with four 12-inch and twelve six-inch guns. ... Classics Illustrated were comic book adaptations from classic literature, a series that Russian-born Albert Lewis Kanter (1897-1973) began in 1941 for Elliot Publishing. ... A comic book is a magazine or book containing the art form of comics. ...


Due to the ambiguity of the text and the common nature of the ram feature on warships of the time (ram tactics were even used during WW1), it is impossible to arrive at a definitive realistic analogue. Nevertheless, taken in her historical context, the HMS Thunder Child would have been considered the ultimate in military innovation, and the best and last chance for Humanity.


The battle

On a Wednesday evening, immediately after the Martians conquered London and the surrounding areas, large number of refugees were attempting to escape by sea from Tillingham Bay on the Essex coast. Included in the rag-tag fleet of ships was a paddle wheel steamer laden with characters important in the novel and other refugees from London. Combatants United Kingdom Martians Commanders unknown unknown Strength 115 Artillery Batteries 7 fighting-machines Casualties Total loss of materiel, heavy civilian and military casualties no fighting-machines lost In H. G. Wells fictional classic, The War of the Worlds, London fell to the Martian invaders. ... Essex is a county in the East of England. ... A paddle steamer, paddleboat, or paddlewheeler is a ship driven by one or more paddle wheels driven by a steam engine. ... This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ...


(Note that contrary to popular misconception (and reproduced in Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds), this battle did not occur in the Thames estuary, which had been rendered untenable, but off the mouth of the River Blackwater, Essex.) For other uses, see The War of the Worlds (disambiguation). ... Several places exist with the name Thames, and the word is also used as part of several brand and company names Most famous is the River Thames in England, on which the city of London stands Other Thames Rivers There is a Thames River in Canada There is a Thames... The River Blackwater is a river in England. ...


Three Martian tripod fighting-machines approach the area. HMS Thunder Child, a torpedo ram patrolling about two miles away, races to engage them, but without firing. The narrator says why she did not fire her guns: since her guns remain quiet as she charges the tripods, she is not seen as a threat, and therefore is not immediately destroyed by their Heat-Ray. In both cases, the crowded and turbulent mass of refugee shipping stretching from Foulness to the Naze may have influenced the captain's decision. A torpedo ram is a type of warship combining design elements from the cruiser and the monitor, intended to provide small and inexpensive weapon systems for coastal defence and other littoral combat. ... Official Secrets Act warning sign. ... The Naze is a headland on the east coast of England. ...


The Martians, who are unfamiliar with large warships (there being no large bodies of water on Mars), at first respond to Thunder Child's charge with only a gas attack, which is ineffective against the moving ship. After seeing the ship's continued advance, the Martians deploy their Heat-Ray, which inflicts tremendous damage on Thunder Child. She is, however, able to ram one of the fighting-machines, destroying it. Adjectives: Martian Atmosphere Surface pressure: 0. ...


Now between the remaining two Martians, in sinking condition but with steering and propulsion still functional, Thunder Child turns toward a second fighting-machine and begins to use her guns. Although she appears to score no significant hits, and one of her misses sinks a nearby fishing smack, she is able to set a collision course with one of the Martians before the Heat-Rays find her again. The resulting catastrophic explosion of her boilers and ammunition magazines destroy Thunder Child, but the thousands of tons of incandescent wreckage strike the Martian machine, crumpling it like cardboard.


Thunder Child is lost, but her valiant attack occupied the Martians long enough for three other Royal Navy ironclads to arrive. The fate of the third Martian fighting machine is not revealed by Wells, but the battle did enable the civilian shipping to escape. (Note: In the Jeff Wayne's musical adaptation of The War of the Worlds HMS Thunder Child sails at full speed toward the martians and opens fire with her main deck guns at about 500 yards out. The captain wanted to get very close to the martians to not only protect the civilian ships but to also increase the amount of damage that the guns would inflict on the enemy. When the smoke cleared, two martian fighting machines had collapsed in flames and were destroyed. The Thunder Child herself was sunk by the third martian's heat ray. The smoke attacks by the first two martians had failed to sink Thunder Child but had caused minor damage. Ultimately the Thunder Child destroyed two enemy fighting machines and was literally melted beneath the waves by the last fighting machine.) The Royal Navy of the United Kingdom is the oldest of the British armed services (and is therefore the Senior Service). ...


As depicted in the book, Thunder Child is the only human artifact which can compete with the Martian fighting-machines on anything like equal terms, the battle clearly giving a morale boost to hard-pressed humanity.


Influence

A song entitled "Thunder Child" in Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds is dedicated to the drama of this scene. Cover art of the album depicts the ship in combat with tripods. The artwork of the ship appears to be based on an artist's impression of the Battle of Coronel (1 November 1914), in which the two outdated British armoured cruisers, Good Hope and Monmouth, were sunk with all hands off the coast of Chile by a German fleet of five modern cruisers commanded by Vizeadmiral Maximilian von Spee. For other uses, see The War of the Worlds (disambiguation). ... Example of book cover art. ... Combatants United Kingdom German Empire Commanders Sir Christopher Cradock† Graf Maximilian von Spee Strength 2 armoured cruisers 2 light cruisers 2 armoured cruisers 3 light cruisers Casualties 1,654 men killed 2 armoured cruisers lost 3 wounded The World War I naval Battle of Coronel took place on 1 November... November 1 is the 305th day of the year (306th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar, with 60 days remaining. ... Year 1914 (MCMXIV) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Wednesday of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... Armored cruiser General-Admiral (1873) Armored cruiser USS Brooklyn (1898) Armored cruiser HMS Good Hope (1901) Armored cruiser SMS Blücher (1908) The armored cruiser was a naval cruiser protected by armor on its sides as well as on the decks and gun positions. ... For other ships with the same name, see HMS Good Hope. ... The sixth HMS Monmouth of the British Royal Navy was the name ship of her class of armored cruiser of 9,800 tons displacement. ... Vice Admiral is a naval rank of three star level, equivalent to Lieutenant General in seniority. ... Maximilian von Spee Count (Graf) Maximilian Johannes Maria Hubert von Spee (22 June 1861 - 8 December 1914) was a German naval officer, born in Copenhagen, Denmark, who joined the Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial German Navy) in 1878. ...


No ship of the Royal Navy has ever been named HMS Thunder Child, the closest names used being Thunderbolt and Thunderer. However, in the fictional universe where the Star Trek series takes place, a Federation Akira class starship is named USS Thunderchild in honour of Wells' fictional ship, and fights against the Borg in Star Trek: First Contact. In the computer game, Mechwarrior IV: Mercenaries, the player faces a pair of destroyers during a mission, one of which is named the Thunderchild. The Royal Navy of the United Kingdom is the oldest of the British armed services (and is therefore the Senior Service). ... Six ships of the British Royal Navy have been called HMS Thunderer: The first Thunderer was a 74-gun third-rate launched in 1760 and wrecked 1780. ... The current Star Trek franchise logo Star Trek is an American science fiction entertainment series and media franchise. ... The USS Thunderchild (NCC-63549), an Akira class starship In the Star Trek fictional universe, the Akira-class is a type of starship used by Starfleet. ... This article or section cites very few or no references or sources. ... Star Trek: First Contact (Paramount Pictures, 1996; see also 1996 in film), is the eighth feature film based on the popular Star Trek science fiction television series. ...


The monthly science fiction and fantasy webzine The Thunder Child was named in honour of this ironclad. A Webzine is an ezine hosted on the World Wide Web rather than in print. ...


In the science fiction roleplaying game Traveller: the New Era (TNE), a Reformation Coalition "clipper"-class starship was named RCS Thunderchild in honor of the War of the Worlds vessel. The ship's patch, presented in the TNE sourcebook Star Vikings, shows the influence of the Jeff Wayne image of the ironclad, combined with a 19th century image of the Martian war machine. Details also appear in the TNE products Path of Tears and Reformation Coalition Equipment Guide. Traveller is a series of related science fiction role-playing games, first published in 1977 by Game Designers Workshop. ... For other uses, see The War of the Worlds (disambiguation). ...


A fiction book by Nick Pope concerning UFOs is named Operation: Thunder Child. Nick Pope is a British government official who has worked at the Ministry of Defence since joining in 1985. ... UFO can mean: Unidentified flying object United Future Organization, a Japanese-Brazilian electronic jazz band UFO, the rock band that previously featured Michael Schenker UFO, the Gerry Anderson TV series United Farmers of Ontario, a political party that formed the government in Ontario from 1919 to 1923 U.F.O...


In the Mindstar Trilogy of books by Peter F. Hamilton, the central character - Greg Mandel - operated under the military callsign "Thunderchild". It seems probable that this was chosen by the author as a deliberate reference to H.G. Wells "The War Of The Worlds". Peter F. Hamilton Peter F. Hamilton Peter F. Hamilton (born 1960, Rutland, England), is a British science fiction author. ... Greg Mandel is a fictional private detective who featured in three novels and a number of short stories by the English science fiction writer Peter F. Hamilton. ...


In other adaptations

Of the various adaptations and updates only the Jeff Wayne musical and the Pendragon film, both of which play out in the novel's depicted period, feature the ship. This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...

The Thunder Child as seen in the Pendragon Pictures adaption.

In H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds by Pendragon Pictures, the Thunder Child ironclad design was used from the torpedo boat destroyer, HMS Ranger rather than using the designs of HMS Polyphemus. During the film, the ironclad has no crew members present either on deck or the turrets when they are fired, only 2 shots from the film show signs of a crew. When the ship is first seen in the film, there are other ironclads that are similar to the Thunder Child except are smaller and have an extra funnel (once again with no sign of any of the crew). At the start of the battle, the Thunder Child speeds forward, narrowly missing a tripod machine. Once the ship is clear, the other tripod machine blasts a hole in the side of the ironclad. Despite the damage, the ship speeds on, firing its cannons at the nearby tripod machine which successfully hits the hood with Martian inside causing the tripod to collapses in the sea. The ironclad (with the damage from earlier absent) charges at full speed towards one of the other tripods, which notices the sightings of the other ironclad ships in the distance. The Martian is caught by the surprise of the speeding ironclad, is hit and shatters into pieces. With the damage on the front bow of the ship (as well as the damage from earlier on returned) results in the ship sinking. Nothing else is shown of the third tripod or the other ironclads. Image File history File linksMetadata Pendragon_Thunderchild. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Pendragon_Thunderchild. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...


Other adaptations are set later and feature human war technology of the time. In the 1953 film the last-ditch defense is an atomic bomb which, despite being man's most incredible weapon, is as useless as every other physical attack against the invaders. In Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds American military forces (using tanks and helicopters, which were introduced within the past few decades) try to hold back the aliens' tripods so refugees in their path can make it to safety. (The film also features a scene in which the invaders aim for a refugee boat, that may have some basis in the Thunder Child chapter; however, as it lacks any defense, it is not spared from destruction.) Unlike Thunder Child, however, in neither re-creation is there even a temporary victory, and the war machines are not damaged, let alone destroyed, since in both films the machines have impenetrable shields that are only later bypassed in unrelated circumstances. The War of the Worlds (1953) was produced by George Pál (the second of three H. G. Wells science fiction stories to be filmed by Pál) and directed by Byron Haskin from a script by Barré Lyndon, and starred Gene Barry, Les Tremayne and Ann Robinson. ... The mushroom cloud of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan, 1945, rose some 18 kilometers (11 mi) above the hypocenter. ... Steven Allan Spielberg KBE (born December 18, 1946)[1] is an American film director and producer. ... War of the Worlds is a 2005 science fiction disaster film based on H. G. Wells original novel, and was directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Josh Friedman and David Koepp. ...


Another analogue of Thunder Child is the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bomber in Orson Welles's famous radio adaptation of The War of the Worlds, which after being critically damaged by a fighting-machine's Heat-Ray, tries to crash into it. The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress is an American four-engine heavy bomber aircraft developed for the US Army Air Corps (USAAC). ... The War of the Worlds was an episode of the American radio drama anthology series Mercury Theatre on the Air. ...


In Scarlet Traces, a sequel set a decade after the events of the story, the ship (spelt erroneously as Thunderchild) and its efforts are remembered. One of the supporting characters is a survivor of the ship's destruction, presumably the only one who did so. There is also a monument dedicated to the ship's fight against the Martians. Scarlet Traces is a set of stories written by Ian Edginton, drawn by DIsraeli and published by Dark Horse Comics. ...


See also

This is a list of fictional ships, waterborne vessels that have been identified by name in works of fiction but do not really exist as such (often a real ship is used as a stage set, but the real name is not used). ...

External links

  • The War of the Worlds, available at Project Gutenberg.
  • Stats (some used here) and a sketch of Thunder Child based on Polyphemus

  Results from FactBites:
 
HMS Thunder Child - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (761 words)
HMS Thunder Child was the fictional ironclad torpedo ram of the Royal Navy destroyed by Martian fighting machines in H.
Thunder Child's early career is unknown and she earned her fame in the last minutes of her existence, a battle known as the Sacrifice of Thunder Child.
Another analogue of Thunder Child is the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bomber in Orson Welles's famous radio adaptation of The War of the Worlds, which attempts to damage a tripod by crashing into it before being destroyed by the fighting machine's Heat-Ray.
Sacrifice of Thunder Child - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (527 words)
The Sacrifice of Thunder Child was a fictitious battle described in H.
Thunder Child was lost, but her valiant attack occupied the Martians long enough for three other Royal Navy ironclads to arrive.
HMS Thunder Child being attacked by a Tripod as illustrated by Michael Trim for the cover of Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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