Centre-battery ship

Centre-battery ship

The centre-battery ship was a major warship and a development of the ironclad ships. The man behind the design was the newly appointed Chief Constructor of the Royal Navy, Edward James Reed. The centre-battery ships had their main guns concentrated to the middle of the ship in an armoured citadel. The concentration of armament amidships mean the ship could be shorter and handier than a broadside type like previous warships. In this manner the design could maximize the armour in a limited space while still carrying a significant broadside. These ships meant the end of the full deck broadside warships.

The development of major warships in the latter half of the 19th century was extreme. New designs were obsolete by the time of commissioning. The first centre-battery ship was the HMS "Bellerophon" of 1865. The previous Royal Navy ironclad design, represented by the HMS "Warrior", had proven to be seaworthy, fast under power and sail - however, when under sail alone, she had left much to wish for in terms of seagoing qualities.

The disadvantage of the centre-battery was that, while more flexible than the broadside, each gun still had a relatively restricted field of fire and few guns could fire directly ahead. The centre-battery ships were soon succeeded by turreted warships.

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