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Saturday, March 27, 2010

How mismatched were the Shannon and Chesapeake?

My attention was taken to the fight between the British frigate Shannon and the American frigate Chesapeake, during the War of 1812. I wondered just how mismatched the two ships were. This is the data for the Shannon:
LGD: 150ft-1-1/2in
LK:  125ft-2-7/8in
B:    39ft-9in
D:    13ft-9in

Guns: 28-18pdr, 10-9pdr, 8-32pdr carronades

This is the data for the Chesapeake:
LGD: 151ft
LK:  126ft-7in
B:    40ft-11in
D:    13ft-9in

Guns: 28-18pdr, 2-9pdr, 16-32pdr carronades

On paper, they seem pretty well matched, although the Chesapeake had the disadvantage of so many carronades, so that an enemy might fight beyond their range. The Chesapeake was said to have a crew of new recruits, while the Shannon was commanded by Philip Broke, a premier British frigate captain.

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