Monday, 11 January 2010

Pre-Dreadnought Photos: Part 3

Some more entries now, from the SteelonSand Photographic Archive :-).
First off, we have above a postcard image of what I presume is a French Torpedo Boat, No 82, in that the photo was taken by a M. Laurent-Nel of Rennes, and the background is formed by the rather nice-looking Citadel at Pourt Louis, Morbihan, which is in southern Brittany between Brest and St. Nazaire.

The boat itself, according to the battleships-cruisers website, must lie somewhere between Nos 75 to 125, and there is a small image there that matches the one in the photo above. These seem to be boats built between 1888 and 1895 or so, no idea of capabilities though, I'm afraid.
(Scroll down about half way, beyond the Mistral Class, to image of Boat 84)

Following on with the TB theme, we have an excellent image from Japan of a flotilla of five of their boats, during the Russo-Japanese War. Can't be exactly sure about the provenance, as to whether this image was actually taken at the time the caption states, but it no doubt shows contemporary craft. Interesting to see apparently a number of different colour schemes, and judging by the thickness of the funnels, a number of different types.
Could these be the 16th Torpedo Boat Division of Wakabayashi, that featured a mix of a single Shirataka class, HIJMS Shirataka, and type 67 Class and 39 Class boats, that were present at Tsushima and the Yellow Sea?

In any event, it's a nice grouping, but I think you'd need to be quite an expert to get to the bottom of which is actually which. (So not me then...!)

Next we have a view of the Japanese Cruiser Asama, completed 1899, which had been part of the Allied Power's fleet during the Boxer Rebellion, and of course later had a role at Tsushima. Interesting here is the dark colour scheme with the double bands on the funnels, battleships- cruisers has a similar photo which is dated to circa 1911.

EDIT: Actually, on reflection, I think that this is not the Asama after all, having been looking at my Navwar model of this ship recently - she's far too sleek for an armoured cruiser.....that and the fact that I just realised it says 'Takasago' in Japanese on her stern! (Albeit in reverse - the negative must have been back to front.)

See Takasago here:

That's more like it:

Now for a look on the other side of the fence, as it were, with some vessels of the Tsar. These appear in contemporary stereoview photograph cards, which were so popular in the late Victorian and Edwardian Eras, viewed through a pair of lenses attached to a frame holder for the image, to give a form of 3D perspective. That's right, forget Cameron's Avatar - these are the real deal- this is Stereography!

Below we have, from Underwood and Underwood, a view entitled "War Dogs of the Far East-Russian fighting ships in the fortified harbour of Port Arthur". This image was taken just prior to the conflict in 1904/05, and was released as part of a series of 'reportage' style views with details of the conflict on the reverse - no Sky News or CNN in those days.....

A close up of one half of the image; the back of the card identifies the Cruiser Pallada, with three funnels to the left of the frame, the Peresvyet, again three funnelled to the right of frame, and next to her, with the indented topped four funnels, the Varyag.
I can't hazard an identification of the single funnel vessel immediately behind the dark Torpedo Boat in the left foreground, or the two-funnelled ship beyond. Take your pick, I guess from the following list (Scroll Down about half way- be aware, this downloads as a PDF file):

EDIT: Having taken a good close up look at the photo again, I'm going to vote for the two funnelled ship in the centre rear to be the Rurik; twin row of portholes, triangular looking visible ratlines from the masts, and bowsprit removed as per fifth photo down in left hand column on this page:

Things are a lot clearer in this next one, issued by the Keystone View Company, U.S.A.
It is entitled "Russian Pacific Fleet", and is again a photograph contemporary to the Russo-Japanese War, although the card itself seems to have been issued during WWI.

Here we can again see the characteristic indented funnel tops of the Varyag, accompanied by a Petropavlosk class Battleship. I'm going to stick my neck out here and identify her as the Sevastopol, based upon the heights of the three heavy steam pipes, the central one of which appears higher than the funnels either side; lovely view of the pair of midship turrets, anyway:

Hope you've enjoyed looking at these, next time will be some postcard views of French heavyweights, and an intriguing mystery......


  1. I always find it very nifty that they kept their sail masts even though no sail would really get those heavy ships under weigh.

  2. Have to hang out your washing to dry somewhere......

  3. I particularly liked the torpedo boats pics . . . I hadn't seen any close-ups of them before.

    -- Jeff