Dated: September 23, 2007
The American Civil War was the last fought in the U.S. to employ Napoleonic tactics of out-in-the-open face-to-face firing lines. The weapons simply became too effective and deadly. At the same time, it signaled the end of the wooden war ships and the introduction of steel ships - ironclads. European nations were already using variations for coastal defence. The Confederate States were quick to adopt the use of steel armour. In an attempt to catch up, the Union gave the go-ahead for Swedish born John Ericsson's design. In 100 days the U.S.S. Monitor was commissioned on January 30, 1862.
On March 9, 1862, the first sea battle between two ironclads was fought at the Battle of Hampton Roads between the Monitor and the C.S.S. Virginia (formerly the steamer Merrimack). The day before the Virginia had sunk two wooden Union ships with little effort resulting in the greatest loss of naval lives since then until Pearl Harbor (over 120 and 240 souls respectively). The next Battle was a "draw" after a day-long exchange of cannon balls which resulted in no significant damage to either ironclad vessel. Considered a success by both sides, naval warfare, and the sailors role, lifestyle, and duty would change forever.
On December 31, 1862 the Monitor was sunk by a storm at sea while being towed to the South. The scans are a "significantly downsized 1/72 Scale" scratchbuilt of the U.S.S. Monitor. This is 12 inches long, whereas a true 1/72 scale would be somewhere over 30 inches. Yet it can still house sailors, the turret rotates, turret top opens, and it exibits the main details and design of the original, yet is desk-top friendly. This design incorporates the latest upgrades of sloped sides around the pilothouse, and a tall smokestack done in the summer of 1862. The tents were used on other ironclads on river-duty. You can see HaT's forge right there on shore to be sure the last work was accomplished.
By Dave Hennen
Many thanks to Mr. Hennen.
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