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patmaquette

Ark Royal circa 1587.

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Hi all,

I haven't built a galleon kit since I was a nipper a few decades ago, so when the request came to build one for a local museum it seemed like a good opportunity to do another. The ship they wanted modelled was commissioned by Sir Walter Rayleigh and launched in 1587. Originally named Ark Rayleigh, she became the first Ark Royal when purchased by The Crown and flagship under the command of Lord Howard of Effingham against the Spanish armada of 1588.

There is uncertainty as to what the ship actually looked like. Various paintings, etchings and illustrations are inconsistent. A modelling colleague at IPMS Exeter, Kevin Sweeting, is helping me along the way with historical background. Hopefully between us - and with your input as well ! - we can find our way through to building something convincing.

The museum gave me an illustration of the ship. This shows a pair of towers (laternas) on each side of the hull.

 

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From opinions we have read, many feel these to be from an earlier period of ship design, although comments are on record that the ship rolled heavily so maybe it was due to these. Rayleigh's order was placed with the builder R Chapman (1520-1592) of Deptford. Chapman was known to have worked alongside Matthew Baker, the builder of Revenge in 1577 of the new "race-built" design, author of a manuscript "Fragments of Ancient English Shipwrightry" and later to become first Master of the soon to be founded Company of Shipwrights. I therefore find it hard to believe that a ship constructed by Chapman 10-years after Revenge would incorporate throwback ideas. Therefore, many feel that Ark Royal would have been a race-built design as depicted within the Matthew Baker manuscript and not too dissimilar in appearance to Revenge (conveniently!) and so I have selected Airfix's kit for the job.

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The kit was bought on ebay but suffered a bit during delivery - having been crushed and left out in the rain. Within the box, all parts seemed to be present, even if the majority had been removed from the sprues. However, one hull half was cracked nearly full through (and with a chunk broken off) and was quickly repaired before it could get damaged further.

 

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The deck moulding was badly banana'd and twisted'd. This would need to be addressed before I could dry fit the main components, so that is my next task.

Thanks for looking and please do offer comments as we go along,

Cheers,

Pat

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I know nothing of sailing ships but it looks rather interesting, so I'll tag along.

The the topic being 'Ark Royal', it get get @Ex-FAAWAFU excited even though it's not a carrier.

 

Stuart

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There is, apparently, a box-scale Lindberg kit of the first Ark...

[http://www.internetmodeler.com/2000/january/first-looks/lindberg_ark-royal.htm]

 

...that one seems to have laternas, but I have absolutely not idea whether their information was accurate or not.  

 

Good luck; by my reckoning, this means that there are currently (-ish) builds of all 5 Ark Royals on this forum at roughly the same time!  [You have to massage the concept of “at the same time” a tad for this to be strictly true, what with my Ark 5 being firmly on the shelf at present, but you get my drift...]

 

Got my attention, anyway.

Edited by Ex-FAAWAFU

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11 hours ago, Courageous said:

I know nothing of sailing ships but it looks rather interesting, so I'll tag along.

The the topic being 'Ark Royal', it get get @Ex-FAAWAFU excited even though it's not a carrier.

 

Stuart

 

10 hours ago, Ex-FAAWAFU said:

There is, apparently, a box-scale Lindberg kit of the first Ark...

[http://www.internetmodeler.com/2000/january/first-looks/lindberg_ark-royal.htm]

 

...that one seems to have laternas, but I have absolutely not idea whether their information was accurate or not.  

 

Good luck; by my reckoning, this means that there are currently (-ish) builds of all 5 Ark Royals on this forum at roughly the same time!  [You have to massage the concept of “at the same time” a tad for this to be strictly true, what with my Ark 5 being firmly on the shelf at present, but you get my drift...]

 

Got my attention, anyway.

Thanks for tuning in, guys, and I hope the build will keep you interested.

I don't know a great deal about sailing ships either, but making a model of one will be a good way to discover more. I'll try to record what I find.

Thank you for the link to the Lindberg kit. I think it is a tad on the small size for the museum. The box art looks a lot more convincing than the plastic, so I think I will carry on with adapting the Revenge kit.

I have finished working on correcting the warped deck moulding and will post some photos soon.

 

Cheers for now,

Pat

 

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I have epoxied the deck moulding to a couple of pieces of wood to remove the warping. It seems to have done the trick. Here is the warped deck before the wood was glued on....spacer.png

 

Being a galleon, it doesn't take long before you get caught up in the amusing world of nautical jargon. Let me have a try at naming the 5 decks that are moulded and maybe you can forgive/correct me if I get it wrong. Starting from f'ward and going aft, we have the Fore-Deck before descending to the Main Deck. We then go upwards from there to the Quarter Deck, Sterncastle Deck and finally to the Poop Deck.

The Main and Quarter Decks were the most warped. I clamped and glued a piece of wood beneath the Quarter Deck first of all and left this to set overnight. ....

 

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The second piece was then clamped and glued beneath the Main Deck. Once set, I had a fighting chance of dry fitting the deck between the hull halves and used a wedge to set the angle of the Quarter Deck. Some plasticard props were then fitted to set the angle of the fore-deck and sterncastle decks. 

JqnKAwI.jpg

 

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However, I found the location points for the deck moulded onto the inside of the hull halves were not positive and some were way out of position, so I added my own from strips of Plasticard and chopped lengths of angle-section Evergreen.  Airfix supply the bulkheads between the decks as separate parts. These have some nice detail included into them. The correct name for these may be Cubbridge Heads - but that's really a long shot! I temporarily attached them to the deck using Microscale Micro Liquitape which is a low tack contact adhesive (and I find it really useful for positioning photo etch before fixing with cyano). I could then line the tops of these against the top edges of the hull sides to set the deck supports into the correct position. Once this was done, the deck dry fitted well between the hull halves. I also liked the extra weight from the wood in the model and will add some lead before I glue the hull halves together to make it heavier still.

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Having sorted out the deck - and spent an age cleaning up the mouldings - I have decided to open up the gun ports along the lower gun deck. Hopefully I won't stab myself with my scalpel too many times....

 

Thanks for looking in & comments will be gratefully received!

Pat

 

 

 

 

 

 

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14 hours ago, Ex-FAAWAFU said:

[You have to massage the concept of “at the same time” a tad for this to be strictly true, what with my Ark 5 being firmly on the shelf at present, but you get my drift...

My Ark IV has been on the shelf (in a dark cupboard actually) for nearly 15 years I think.

 

Still its great that we now have another thread dedicated to the oldest Ark!

 

Terry

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Wow, looks like you really have your work cut out with this one!

 

On the subject of arcane nautical language, it’s pretty well known that the modern “fo’c’s’le” is descended from “forecastle”, as in the tall fighting structure on the bow of a mediaeval warship.  The equivalent term “aftercastle” for a similar structure on the stern went out of circulation centuries ago - yet the standard abbreviation for quarterdeck (the modern term for the back end) remains “Ax” to this day.

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Gidday All, From my understanding of naval terminology I think Ex-FAAWAFU above is correct. As for the names of the galleon decks I believe you are almost correct, Pat. However, what you call the quarter-deck I thought to be the half-deck and your sterncastle deck is the quarter-deck. If you look at the lengths of these two decks from abeam (the side), compared to the overall length of the ship you can see how those two name arise. But admittedly I could be wrong. I thought your fore deck was named the foc'sle deck but now I'm just hair-splitting 😁. Your name could very well be correct.

      As an aside, in later years the half-deck was done away with. Over time the quarter deck was lengthened to almost half the length of the ship and was joined to the fore/foc'sle deck by wide gangways, these two almost becoming a full deck in themselves. But it was still called the quarter-deck. Go figure! I think by then the name was traditional. It was where the captain conned the ship (nowdays the bridge).

     I hope you enjoy doing this build. I did one about forty years ago (I was still single), pretty much OOB. However, I thought the guns on the lower deck were too long - mine anyway. If that much stuck out of the hull how long was the gun inside the hull? So I cut off half the length of the lower guns. Also the dead-eyes that attach the shrouds to the hull (the lines supporting the masts) should be in line with the shrouds themselves but on the rear-most mast they were not. I think that if they swapped sides they might look better. I no longer have the instructions so I don't know the part numbers. Other than that I enjoyed the build, although I never actually finished it - it is still awaiting the anchors (long lost) to be fitted. I'll add a couple of photos to show what I mean't above.

 

The Revenge 1588 jm1

The shortened lower-deck guns. The silver square the gun protrudes from is in fact black. The camera flash reflected off it.

 

The Revenge 1588 jm4

The misaligned dead-eyes and hence missing shrouds on the rear mast.

 

I hope this helps you, Pat, and best of luck with the build. Regards, Jeff.

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Guys,

Many thanks for your info about the deck names. As Jeff says, for this particular ship it is clear to see how the half and quarter decks got their names, and so I'll use these terms from now on.

By the way, that is a very tidy model, Jeff, and in excellent state for being forty years old. Mine would be wrecked over that period of time! Thanks also for the heads-up about the dead-eyes for the rear mast shrouds.

 

I have hacked away at the blanked off cannon ports with a scalpel and have sufficient number of fingers left to complete the build. (Actually what I did was to drill out the ports with increasing sizes of drill as far as I dare. I then roughly formed the rectangular shape using a rotary burr in a Dremel. Next was to file out to the corners using the edge of an oval section needle file. Trimming along the sides of the rectangles was then fairly straightforward with a new #11 scalpel blade, despite the plastic being quite hard). Some ports came out a little oversized and so I glued some Evergreen strip where necessary to bring them all around the same size.

 

I also opened up three additional ports on each hull half, plus one on the Fo'c's'le (thanks for the spelling, Ex-FAAWAFU) front and two in the stern.

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Now for a quick count up of cannons. Airfix state Revenge to have 34 carriage cannons and 12 swivel guns. I have found 33 cannon ports, so not sure where the last one is supposed to be!

Wiki says Ark Royal had 38 carriage guns and 17 small guns. So I need to find a home for 5 more carriage guns and 5 swivel guns. For the carriage guns, I think I should add a couple of ports at main deck level beneath the half deck. In fact, the Amati kit of Revenge has some there already - visible amongst the yellow & green triangular strip. I'll position them clear of the laternas, should I end up adding any.

 

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Wiki gives a list of the carriage gun sizes for Ark Royal:

4 x 60 pdr,

4 x 30 pdr

12 x 18 pdr

12 x 9 pdr

6 x 6 pdr.

Problem is, I don't know where each of these would be positioned. Any thoughts would be welcome!

 

My next task will be to add sections of the middle and lower gun decks inside the hull halves.

 

Thanks for looking!

Pat

Edited by patmaquette

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Gidday Pat, glad to hear you've kept enough of your fingers. Holding tweezers in one's mouth or between toes would be quite difficult, I'd imagine. Regards, Jeff.

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12 hours ago, patmaquette said:

Problem is, I don't know where each of these would be positioned. Any thoughts would be welcome!

For starters, the bigger guns would be lower down in the ship for stability.

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Gidday Pat, I think I agree with Dave above, possibly the 18 pdrs on the lower gun deck because of the large numbers of them, with the 9 pdrs above them. However I'm wondering if the 30 or 60 pdrs are bow and stern chasers, because there is only a few of them. I must stress though that this is only a guess on my part. HTH. Regards, Jeff.

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16 hours ago, patmaquette said:

Problem is, I don't know where each of these would be positioned.

Put them in the logical places, who would be able to argue about it. :police:

 

Stuart

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34 minutes ago, Courageous said:

Put them in the logical places, who would be able to argue about it. :police:

 

Stuart

I might be suffering from paralysis by analysis, as I weigh up the options,

 

Pat

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Indeed.  And provided you put them somewhere logical / sensible / plausible, who is going to prove you wrong?

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Thank you all for your thoughts about the cannons.

I've added the two extra cannon ports to each hull half. I cut rectangles of Tamiya tape to the size required, then positioned them on the hull as cutting guides. The forward one had to line up with a gap in the shrouds. A couple of holes came out a smidgen oversized so were corrected with Evergreen strip.

Evergreen strip was also placed each side of the cannon ports to replicate those on the main deck. It's possible these are actually gun port doors, in which case they should be wider.

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Guns. Having done some quick reading, I think I will position the guns as follows:

The four heaviest 60 pdr cannons will be on the gun deck at the ships waist. This seems to be the strongest part of the ship and has most space for handling the guns. Just aft of these will be the four next heaviest 30 pdr demi-cannon for similar reasons.

Eight of the twelve 18 pdr culverin will be placed on the main deck with remainder in the first and last ports of the gun deck. 

The 9 pdr demi-culverin would be my f'ward and aft chaser guns. It seems these were the largest that the not so strong stem and stern areas could handle. The eight remaining ones will be placed in the hull sides: four in the new gun ports I just opened up and four at the lower gun deck positions.

That leaves the six 6 pdr saker: two will go in the fo'c's'le and the others on the half deck.

 

Building this model has highlighted some problems that must have beset the real Ark Royal....

 

The 18 pdr guns on the main deck are quite long (13 ft). At 1:144 scale, they would be 27 mm long and there is not enough space for them on the deck. (I think Revenge had 6 pdr saker's in this position, these having a length of 8-9 ft (18 mm) and the kit's ones are of this length). These long cannons are going to look out of place compared to what we normally see on a  galleon's deck. That made me do some check measurements.

Ark Royal's keel length was 103 ft (31 m), compared to Revenge's of 92 ft (28.0 m). The keel length of the model is 215mm, which scales out at 1:130. However - conveniently - it works out at 1:144 for Ark Royal. Ark Royal's beam was 33 ft which is 70 mm at 1:144 scale. The model is 68 mm, so again a good match. Given the quite small difference in size, the amazing thing is that Ark Royal was 550 tons compared to Revenge's 464, some 50 tons of which was from ordnance (I guess most of the rest being ballast!) giving her the firepower of a much larger warship such as Victory (source: Osprey Vanguard Series 159). 

This obviously explains why it was said that the ship rolled more than others. This must have been particularly bad with the guns rolled out. I wonder whether they had to roll the guns out of both sides to maintain the trim?

With the guns pulled back and the port doors closed, it must have been really difficult to move fore and aft: there being gratings along the centre of the deck. Hence Jeff's comment earlier about how the quarterdeck was extended to the fo'c's'le by a pair of wide gangways on later ships. But I wonder whether Ark Royal had these?

 

Given there are five different sized carriage guns on Ark Royal, but only two sizes in the kit, I have made a search for other candidates. Cornwall Model Boats offer quite a few so I have ordered a selection to see whether they will be suitable before resorting to making something myself. I think the model is going to look odd "bristling with guns" and I am thinking of having the 18 pdrs on the main deck somewhat shorter than 27 mm, otherwise they won't fit in the available space.

 

The main parts of the hull have all been given a good soak and scrub to remove mould release agent, blood, sweat and dust from the butchery I have given them. The many large ejector marks and shrinkage dimples have been filled and ready for sanding. 

 

Thanks for looking and, again, I'd appreciate hearing your views,

 

Pat

Edited by patmaquette

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Your research and analysis on you guns and their locations is commendable, way beyond my thinking process on these older subjects.

 

Stuart

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Pat

 

Tonnage in the sixteenth century was an arbitrary volumetric number unrelated to displacement. In theory, it measured how much space there was within the hull. In practice, it was not a very good indicator. Up to the 1650s, the usual English formula was multiplying the length (an undefined measurement since it could be on the keel, on the gundeck, or overall) by the maximum beam by the depth in hold (the distance from the main deck to the top of the keel) and dividing by 100. Obviously, this formula ignored any consideration of the shape of the hull (bluff or sharp bow and stern, deadrise or not) so a box would generate the same tonnage as a prism. Consequently, the weigh of armament was not related in any way to a warship's tonnage.

 

Your analysis for the disposition of the guns is very thorough and rational. One other thing you might consider is that, until the 1650s, there is a fair amount of evidence that guns were lashed run out in action and loaded from outside the hull (the crew hanging through the ports) and that long guns often were stowed and lashed parallel against the sides when not in action, so the problem of excessive length you bring up may not necessarily be too great.

 

Hope this helps

Maurice

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8 hours ago, patmaquette said:

at the ships waist. This seems to be the strongest part of the ship

Gidday Pat, that's a very good point, one I had overlooked. The square stern was the weakest part of the hull, which is why raking broadsides were so devastating in later years. And I don't think the gangways I mentioned were used that early. Well done on all the research.

 

6 hours ago, mdesaxe said:

Tonnage in the sixteenth century was an arbitrary volumetric number unrelated to displacement.

I've heard that too, it was a measure of hull volume, not weight, although I never knew how it was calculated.

 

     Regards, Jeff.

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The size of a ship was measured in 'Tuns'. The Tun being the largest cask of wine available.  A 100 Tun ship could hold 100 Tun casks of wine. The original initial weight of the cask filled with wine was about 2280 pounds. Allowing for the weight of the wood cask (allowed at 280 pounds) the weight of wine was about 2000 pounds. The 'Tun' became Ton and its size and weight, as was the size and weight of smaller casks and contents were standardised for taxation purposes. That is why a 'hundred-weight' is 112 pounds and not 100 pounds, its the sum of the contents [wine] and the weight of the cask together. It is also why there is the 'standard' ton, the 'short' ton and the 'long' ton. The standardisation of casks & weights afair was done by Edward 1st 

 

The square end transom was not a 'weak' point on any ship. In fact it was stronger than the bow. It normally had three layers of 6 to 9 inch oak whereas the sides had two layers. At the bow the planks were thinned to be more pliable to bend. The transom also held the rear end of the sides together, it carried the weight of the rudder. Most ships carried no more than 6 or 8 modest sized guns on the transom. It was an easy place to attack.

The reason a rake was devastating was in that the decks were open along their length. All cabin partitions were stored away during battle leaving the decks clear along their length.  A 4 inch / 9 lb iron ball shot will go down the length of that ship killing and maiming anything it encounters, it will dismount a small gun. it will go through the thin-ish wood of partitions and even gun carriages. People imagine that an iron cannon ball is like a football, easily stopped - its not. A 4 inch cannon ball will travel up to 2 miles inflicting death and destruction, only at about 2.5 miles is its inertia slow and weak enough for it to be stopped. The ships fought at no more than 400 yards [less than 1/4 mile] and even attached to each other and the weight of shot was so much greater.

There is the true story of an Ensign at Waterloo. He saw a 3" [4 lb] ball trundling along the ground, having been fired from a French cannon some 1 mile away (yes, you can see and track a shot). The Ensign put his foot out to stop the cannonball, it took off his leg up to his knee, the ball bounced, went through two horses, a man, through a wagon before embedding in a tree.

 

edited to correct a mis-typing

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Gidday Black Knight, I read that the stern was the weakest but I admit to being no shipwright. Thanks for the correction. 

     I understand about the shot travelling the full length of a ship. Also the firing ship's broadside would have been concentrated, firing a rolling broadside as it passed its target's stern.

Regards, Jeff.

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A minor detail but a hundredweight is 112 pounds, not 118. A hundredweight is eight stone (8 x 14 pounds).

 

The question of why guns were lashed in place in action is quite interesting, Believe it or not, the whole array of tackles we see used for shipboard artillery only came in regular use around 1725. Before that, for about 75 years there were tackles to haul guns outboard after they recoiled but the tackle used to haul guns inboard was one of the outhaul tackles repurposed temporarily. Prior to that, while tackles were used on occasion, the standard was to haul the breeching tight and leave the guns run outboard, thus avoiding having to deal with recoil (but making reloading more difficult). There are some interesting sketches by van de Velde illustrating the contortions guncrews went through to reload in this situation.

 

Maurice

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7 hours ago, Silenoz said:

Interesting build and discussion...

I agree, a very interesting exchange with useful information for the build and some fascinating background (I wondered what short and long tons were about!).

It is making my build a lot more enjoyable, so thanks to all.

 

22 hours ago, mdesaxe said:

until the 1650s, there is a fair amount of evidence that guns were lashed run out in action and loaded from outside the hull (the crew hanging through the ports)

 

15 hours ago, Black Knight said:

It normally had three layers of 6 to 9 inch oak whereas the sides had two layers.

So maybe I allow 18 - 24" from the hull outsides to the gun carriage when I come to set the amount of cannon barrel that sticks out. I'll see how that looks when the cannons I ordered arrive.

I read today that the cannons have a circumference around the barrel at the touch hole of 10 calibers. I think that simplifies to a diameter of just over three calibers at that same point. I'll use this as one of my checks on selecting the new cannons, as well as the length.

 

5 hours ago, mdesaxe said:

the whole array of tackles we see used for shipboard artillery only came in regular use around 1725. Before that, for about 75 years there were tackles to haul guns outboard after they recoiled but the tackle used to haul guns inboard was one of the outhaul tackles repurposed temporarily. Prior to that, while tackles were used on occasion, the standard was to haul the breeching tight and leave the guns run outboard, thus avoiding having to deal with recoil (but making reloading more difficult).

That is valuable information that should also make my task of adding the ropes to the cannons somewhat easier.

 

5 hours ago, mdesaxe said:

There are some interesting sketches by van de Velde illustrating the contortions guncrews went through to reload in this situation.

 

I found this on the Royal Museums Greenwich website whilst spending a most enjoyable time looking on Google at Willem van de Velde's work - a truly inspiring artist.

https://prints.rmg.co.uk/products/loading-guns-and-lacing-on-the-fore-bonnet-pw6464

 

Thanks again to all for your interesting and helpful contributions,

Pat

Edited by patmaquette

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Do not forget that some of the guns were breech loaders which did not need running in for re-loading. They were on wood slide carriages,. Drawn to their firing position they did not use recoil retaining ropes which allowed other guns on wheeled carriages to run into the ship. The ropes used to haul these breech loaders into position were secured and kept the slide carriages from moving. The slide carriages could also be manoeuvred so that the guns could fire at an angle out of the gun port. Elizabethan (Tudor) wheeled gun carriages and guns were roped by way of ropes to the gun carriage unlike the later eg Napoleonic guns which were roped by way of a rope around the cascable ( the big ball on the breech end) Tudor guns were pulled tighter than the later guns.

But which guns were the breech loaders? Usually the middle sized calibre ones.

As for taking up room in the ship. A ship like this was purely a War-ship. There was no need of comfort for the crew. The crew would and did sleep, live daily, eat and rest, on top and around their guns. Between 6 and 8 men to a gun formed a 'mess'. Some would sleep on the decking between guns, some would have hammocks - the senior seamen did, not the average sailor or powder monkey.

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