Technical Discussion

This is a place to have a technical discussion about the various technology used in the books. I like to keep my books PG-13 (well maybe R with some of the gore) so if you could keep that the same here I would greatly appreciate it. 

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14 thoughts on “Technical Discussion”

  1. Okay, I’ll kick off a technical discussion. At the time of the transfer of the ‘Artillerymen’, what would have been the popular guns that would have been shipped to the U.S. Army in Veracruz? The cover art shows us a gun blasting a dino; great cover, but I’d like to know if this is realistic. Could a 6-pounder (for example) damage a large critter enough?

    Perhaps a little basic education on the artillery pieces that were available would be fun as we get ready to read the story.

  2. Taylor Anderson

    Sorry Steve, I just saw this question. They aren’t going straight to my email like they used to. Have to sort that out. The gun on the cover was actually taken from a picture of my 6pdr, and yes it would do a number on even a big beastie like that at that range. Elmer Keith had a pretty good “do it in your head” ballistic energy calculation for relative “killing power,” essentially just multiplying velocity times projectile weight and dividing by 10,000. Not exact by any means, but quick and dirty and fun. Hmm. Probably not the best sentence I ever wrote for clarity. Anyway, (rounding things off), say a 180 grn 30-06 going @2800fps has a “killing power” of 50.4, then a 6pdr solid shot at @1200fps has a “killing power” of 5040. Again, not perfect at all, but if you ever shot—say, a car—with a meager 3.62” diameter solid shot, you would be mildly impressed with the penetration and kinetic energy display.
    As for types of guns available, there were 6pdrs, of course, 12pdr field howitzers, (on the same #1carriage), mountain howitzers, and even 12pdr guns. These were heavier and more cumbersome than the later 12pdr Napoleon and not as popular. Napoleons combined the role of field guns and howitzers, ultimately replacing both. They were in fact sometimes referred to as “gun/howitzers.”

  3. Brian Ledbetter

    Hi, I just finished Purgatory’s Shore, and first off, I found it an amazing book. I’ve read all the Destroyermen books, even bought the whole series, and I bought Purgatory’s Shores a few days ago. After finishing it, I was struck by a question on something that isn’t explored fully that made me begin speculating. What exactly does HMS Tiger look like, and what was her rating when she served in the Royal Navy, as well as what is her history. So this is a collection of my research to figure out what exactly HMS Tiger is, based on the information in the book and applying it to known information from the time period, as well as my idea of a possible history for HMS Tiger. This is in no way an attempt to say that this is what Taylor Anderson had planned for HMS Tiger, this is just my own opinion of what we are told.
    First, I had to figure out when Tiger was built. The book takes place in 1847, and I remember in the book, Tiger is said to be sixty years old. That would put her commissioning date around 1787-1790, with construction likely beginning roughly in 1783-1784, with launching in 1786. This narrowed down the time frame that I had to look at.
    Second, with the knowledge of Tiger’s most likely commissioning date, I can begin to piece together her rating/classification. On Page 79, De Russy says that the British ship “used to be the old fifty-gun Tiger.” With a little research, this amount firmly placed Tiger in the category of Fourth-Rate, which commonly mounted between 46 to 60 guns, according to the Royal Navy. This is also confirmed by Semmes, the ship’s first lieutenant. He says that “though her heavier guns are gone, she still bears twenty 12pdrs on the upper gun deck and ten 6pdrs on the quarterdeck and fo’c’sle, securely lashed.” (pg 145). The mention of an upper gun deck means there are at least two gun decks below the main deck, and Fourth-Rate Ships of the Line had two main gun decks. So, this confirms to me that Tiger is a Fourth-Rate ship.
    Now that I know her rating, on to the question of Tiger’s appearance. I looked at a list of British Fourth-Rates, and found two that were built around the same time as I suspect Tiger was built. HMS Leander, a Portland-Class frigate ordered in June/July 1776, laid down in March 1777, and launched and commissioned in July 1780. Leander was a Fourth-Rate, carrying twenty-two 24pdrs on her lower gun deck, twenty-two 12pdrs on her upper gun deck, with six 6pdrs on the quarterdeck and fo’c’sle, for a total of fifty guns. The other ship I found was HMS Leopard, another Portland-Class frigate ordered in May 1785, laid down the same month, launched in April of 1790, and completed in May the same year. She mounted the exact same loadout as Leander; twenty-two 24pdrs on her lower gun deck, twenty-two 12pdrs on her upper gun deck, with six 6pdrs on the quarterdeck and fo’c’sle, for a total of fifty guns. Both ships are classified as Fourth-Rates, so I used them in my research.
    Based on all this info, I think I can create a bit of backstory for HMS Tiger. She was ordered in December 1783, being laid down at the Portsmouth Dockyard in March 1784, with her design following that of the Portland-Class Fourth-Rate/Frigate. She was launched on August 23, 1787, with work completed by January of the next year. She was commissioned into the Royal Navy on May 4, 1788, entering service as the His Majesty’s Ship Tiger. Armed with a slightly heavier battery than her sisters, Tiger carried twenty-four 24pdrs on her lower gun deck, twenty-six 12pdrs on her upper gun deck, and twelve 6pdrs on her quarterdeck and fo’c’sle. She served admirably for many years, participating in battles such as the Fourth Battle of Ushant, the Battle of the Nile, and the Battle off Cape Trafalgar. At Trafalgar, she was heavily damaged, but was able to be towed back to England. After a year of repairs, Tiger set to sea again, beginning a quiet life of patrols off the coasts of India and Africa. In 1845, she was deemed too old to be of any more value to the fleet, and was auctioned off for sail. A company based in the Gulf of Mexico purchased Tiger, and after removing all of her 24pdrs and some of her 12 and 6pdrs to make more space for cargo and passengers, was used as a transport ship around the Gulf and Caribbean. In 1846, she was placed under the command of Captain Peese, the owner of the company Tiger sailed for.
    Of course, all of this is speculation on my part, but I would like to see HMS Tiger possibly more fleshed out in future books. and many more questions bubble to the surface of my mind. What is the Doms’ next move, and when will it come? How will Major Cayce prepare for the next encounter with Dominion forces? I eagerly await the next installment of the Artillerymen series, and hope it turns out well for our new cast of heroes.

    1. michael clitheroe

      From the look of things the Doms are in the process of the blood priests becoming the dominant power in their empire which explains quite a lot about about how the other rebel groups managed to hang in there for so long.
      Tiger represents a power that can give Cayce and his allies a chance to defend the coast, capture Dom ships and raise a little hell.

      Also it gives the chance to be used a template for other warships. There is the wreckage from the other ships plus cannons taken from the Doms and those from the wrecks that the allies have not yet used. With the equipment and knowledge amongst the Americans etc. they have a chance to build small blue water squadron or maybe a brown water coastal defence force to keep the Doms at bay for sometime. There may also be further crossings going forward just think what one new built steam frigate could do. What if a sister ship to Frances Napoleon came through, a 90 gun ship of the line with screw steam power talk about a game changer

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