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Types of French ships during the Seven Years' War

Posted: Tue Jan 14, 2020 9:45 pm
by RichardC
Looking at ship plans from the collection of the Greenwich Museum and at models of French ships of the line during the period of the Seven Years' War, there seems to be two general types, no matter who was the shipmaster:

- ships with long keel and almost vertical stern (like the Formidable 80, Monarch 74, Courageux 74);
- ships with short keel and semicircular stern (like the Tonnant 80, Foudroyant 80, Téméraire 74, Terrible 74, Centaure 74, Raisonnable 64, Modeste 64).

Is there a reason that explains why French ships of this period were almost always built along one of these two types?

Re: Types of French ships during the Seven Years' War

Posted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 11:31 pm
by Navclio
80s would have to be longer than 74s and 74s would have to be longer than 64s. Perhaps by "long keel" and "short keel" you mean within a particular gun rating. Directories of French warships in this time period would tell you the name of the designer and the date of construction. Shorter ships might be older, or the two types you have identified might have different designers. The French navy standardized on a few designs by just a few designers.

The most comprehensive and accessible directory with the information you would need is Rif Winfield and Stephen S. Roberts, French Warships in the Age of Sail, 1626–1786: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates (Barnsley, S. Yorks.: Seaforth Publishing, 2017). (There is an earlier volume covering the period from 1786 on, but the 2017 volume would have all of the Seven Years' War ships.)

An earlier, more limited series of directories was compiled by Alain Demerliac and published in several volumes, mostly in the 1990s. All French warships of the Seven Years' War would be in Demerliac, La marine de Louis XV: Nomenclature des navires français de 1715 à 1774 (Nice: Editions OMEGA, 1995). Not a lot were printed or sold and it is difficult to find, but as an older work your most convenient library might have it but not Winfield and Roberts. It's all in French, but the ship dimensions and designers are readily identifiable.

Re: Types of French ships during the Seven Years' War

Posted: Thu Jan 16, 2020 9:23 pm
by RichardC
Thank you very much for this information. I'll try to find a constant regarding constructors or time period. Thank you also for the reference, I'll try to get access to these books.