Friday, January 31, 2014

5 Reasons Why To Have Monitors In Your Fleet

As I have been going through old miniatures and trying to get them painted up for Vis Lardica painting contest I have come across a bunch of 1/2400 scale monitors. These are than added to the completed 1/6000 scale monitors I painted up last week. To be honest, I have monitors in several scales and classes.

These pre-dreadnought wonders have seen battle in several of my games of Seekrieg 4 and Frank Chadwick’s Ironclads and Ether Flyers. Often they came out of these battles with the accolades of their commanding Admiral, but not always.

These warships were common not only in the New Navy of the United States but also had a part in the battle line of the Royal Navy and the Czarist Navy. Even a cursory glance of the first two volumes of Conways shows monitors in many of the navies of this era.

And they should have a place amongst your miniatures as well. Here are five historical and operational reasons why you should think of adding them to your fleets.

Fire Power - When you want to level a fortification or turn back a raiding force fire power is what matters. Monitors are able to bring heavy guns to bear on a small platform and a limited draft.

Pesky Governors - The Governor's of coastal United States during the Spanish American War (and other fictional wars) often demanded ships to defend their coasts and ports. Instead of using battleships and cruisers, which were in short supply, the Navy Department would release monitors for protection.

While they cannot with stand a battle line they and torpedo boats could cause sufficient damage to make the enemy think twice before raiding the east coast.

Support - Monitors were able to bring fire support in most conflicts in the late 19th century and early 20th century. From the Philippine Insurrection to The Great War monitors had a place in the line. During The Great War they were used to protect the British left flank along the English Channel as well as in the destruction of the
SMS Königsberg.

Cost - As a defense vessel these are very affordable. These ship carry a similar weapon to most pre-dreadnought but at a fraction of the cost. The initial New Navy Monitors were built over twenty years and used old Civil War era monitors for scrap. The savings from these were applied to the new classes.

As these were designed to be cost defense vessels, they operated with reduced crews. There was also only limited comforts for the crews as they were rarely away from port.

 "New Navy" Monitors
 USS Kearsarge BB-5
 ~ $250,000
 $5 Million
 10" or 12" Guns
 13" Guns

Retro - Lastly these ships are so retro. They looked retro in the 1890s compared to the vessels in the American Civil War. Even more so when they were used during the First World War. There is something special (at least for me) with these ships.

So what do you think? Do these ships have a place in your navy? Let me know.

Period Battleships(1/2400 scale) to the left. Monitors in
both 1/2400 and 1/6000 scale to the right.

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