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Usually ships are equipped with one or more cannons. In this case, a very big cannon is equipped with a hull and a couple of masts. The Tartarus is not an elegant ship, if "ship" is the correct term… basically it is a sturdy barge, masted as a ketch and designed to carry a large siege mortar. Floating batteries are not very seaworthy and, although they can sail in open waters, their maneuverability is very low, so they are usually towed by other ships to their destinations. Moreover, due to their backward sail configuration and to their sturdy hull, they can't reach a great speed even with wind in favour. These ships, however, are far from being a deadweight for a fleet, since their several weaknesses are well compensated by a huge firepower. Mortars are very heavy, compared to naval cannons, and have a terrible recoil… however, they can also throw an explosive shell at a distance of almost two miles! Differently from most artillery pieces, a mortar is fired at a very high angle; therefore, the shot will follow an elegant arch and will fall almost vertically on its target, easily surpassing walls or ramparts. For this reason, mortar ships are usually employed in naval sieges, to shell the fortifications from a safe distance. However, they can be very effective against enemy ships too: with a short fuse, the shell will explode above the deck, in a deadly rain of fire and splinters; with a long fuse, the shell would easily pierce the planks and explode inside the ship, for instance in a crowded gundeck. The Tartarus is manned by sailor and artillerymen of the Mardierian Legion, an Oleander unit of volunteers and expatriates. Here you can see two of them loading the mortar, that uses two large bags of gunpowder... ...to send the enemy a "candy", that is almost fifty kilograms of iron, gunpowder and bad intensions! For obvious reasons, the Tartarus carries a considerable amount of explosives, so it should remain prudently far from enemy cannons… sane people don't enter a battle with a floating powder magazine! Spare masts or heavy logs are sometimes used to build improvised barricades at about half ship: this should better balance the recoil of the mortar and protect the ammunitions, or at least this is the hope of the sailors.. being on a floating battery, in case of an enemy attack, would be as dangerous as being in front of its cannons! The signalling flags, used to communicate with the rest of the fleet… "Oleon expects every man to do his duty!" (semi-quote) The captain, or chief gunner… it depends if you consider te Tartarus a ship or a battery! Well, I hope you enjoyed this ship! The sails are intentionally primitive, but I hope I didn't go too far in that direction! This project started with a hull I built and discarded for its awkward shape and a mortar I built with no good reason… putting them together was quite fun, even if the mast look somehow wrong. Historically, floating batteries were usually old, sturdy ships or robust rafts, towed near to the enemy harbour and loaded with guns too big to fit on a conventional ship. They had a very low maneuverability, and were extremely vulnerable to enemy counterattacks. However, they were quite cheap and could literally send a hell of iron and fire on the enemy fortifications. After some successes and some failures, floating batteries were gradually substituted by purpose-built ships, fully rigged and equipped with "normal" cannons too. At the very end of sail age, armoured floating battery appeared on the battlefield once again, before being made obsolete by steam-propelled monitors and ironclads. BTW, probably you can easily how I'm employing my spare time due to the "stay at home, stay safe" policy!
Hey-ho, Gentlemen of luck and wind! Have an enemy fort to destroy? Or bored of your own? Got a bunch of ships-of-the-line on the horizon? Broadside is too ordinary for you? Bomb ketch is definitely the one you need! more hr pictures are on flickr as usual: https://www.flickr.c...157658214854751 Bomb Ketch Lamia by George Ozerov, on Flickr Two or More Masts - with Gaff or Bermuda Rigged Sails - 4C