Basic Ship Edit
A steam frigate is a transition stage ship. It represents the transition from sail to steam powered ship by utilizing — both sail and steam powered. The basic steam frigate essentially added a steam engine to a traditional frigate. The steam frigates were usually single-decked, with anywhere from 18 to 36 guns on both broadsides, not counting the possible bow and stern chasers. They were universally three-masted ships and carried a square rig. As for the steam propulsion, a steam-frigate could have either paddle-wheels like the Empire of New Briton Isles, or propellers like the Lemurians. Their power plant, on this world, ranged anywhere from a simple walking-beam engine, to a power double or triple-expansion engine.
History (real world) Edit
The steam frigate on this world evolved from the desire or navies to be able to sail in any direction, regardless of the wind's direction. After the end of the Napoleonic wars, navies began experimenting with steam propulsion, drawing on individual advancements, such as those made by Robert Fulton, to apply to their ships. The first successful steam ship, the Clermont (Robert Fulton), heavily influenced the later experiments of navies, particularly the Royal Navy, in the 1820s.
The first problem was selecting suitable ships to upgrade to steam propulsion. In the Royal Navy, the ships were classified by "rates" that numbered "First Rate" to "Sixth Rate". The first rate ships were the most powerful and valuable ships in the Royal Navy. In fact, any ship from first to third rate are traditionally termed "Ships of The Line" even though the term technically extends down to sixth rates. The navy eventually decided to convert their sixth and fifth rates, their traditional frigates. The frigate's role during this period was scouting, screening the enemy fleet, and commerce raiding, and, in some cases, pirate hunting. It made sense because, if these ships had steam power, they would able to sail anywhere and disrupt any trade and communications much faster and effectively. In addition, they were relatively expendable and numerous, so if any accident happened, the navy would not lose a capital ship.
Eventually, the secrets of the Royal Navy were leaked to the rest of the world and by the 1870's, the steam frigates were the most numerous steam ship type in the world. However, technology continued to march on and these ships were eventually outclassed by the more modern, sail-less, steel-hulled ships of the 1880's and 1890's.
In The Destroyermen Edit
As in the "Old World" the steam frigate has become the most numerous and popular ship in the "New World".
Though the American/Lemurian Alliance wasn't the the first to use steam power in Destroyermen's world, they by far have the best quality of steam ships, next to the League of Tripoli. The steam frigates or "DD's" of the Grand Alliance are considered superior to Imperial or Dominion analogues. The three classes of DD's are Scott, Haakar-Faask, and Dowden. All three of them are highly similar with triple-expansion steam engines, three masts, and screw propulsion. The major differences between the classes are mostly size and armament. However, the newer Scott class of DD's also has an armored belt, protecting the boiler room, machinery and magazines. In fact, if the Scott class were to exist on our world they would actually be characterized as a third-rate boardside ironclad.
The steam frigates of the Empire are very similar to the ones used in our world during the 1840s and 1850s, though they aren't organized into classes. Imperial steam frigates/DDs have side paddle wheels with armored boxes and mount anywhere from 24-40 guns of any caliber between 20 and 30 pounds. Their top speeds remain at between 13 and 15 knots, however, newer and better ships are under construction which will use screw propellers and iron hulls.
The DominionThe steam frigates of The Holy Dominion usually classified as "heavy" frigates. As the Imperials, the Dominion utilized paddle wheels on steamers. The Dominion steam frigates usually have red and gold sails and their hulls looks more like a cross between a frigate and a galleon - with high forecastles and aftercastles. The majority of Dominion steam frigates are used in Atlantic, almost all Pacific Dominion frigates are still sail ships.
The use of steam power by the Grik is a recent innovation, just within the last year or so. The Grik, rather than utilizing the traditional western frigate design that their enemies use, decided that all their fleet should be armored. For their inspiration, the Japanese designers used the design of the Kotetsu, the ironclad ram build in France, that served in the Japan Navy in 1860s-1890s. The Grik Azuma Class cruisers are ironclad warships and despite their crews gunnery skills and are not as high of a standard as the American/Lemurian/Imperial DD steam frigates, they do pose a serious threat with their well-protected hull and powerfull armament.
The Other Americans Edit
Gvien that Fred Reynolds and Kari Faask's contact with the "Other Americans" or "Los Diablos del Norte" claimed that they were from the Mexican-American War of 1846-1848, it is safe to assume that they too have steam frigates, and part of the reason The Dominion kept their steam fleet in the Caribbean was to keep these Americans in check.