For every naval officer, in fiction or reality, the frigate was the ideal and much sought-after command. As dashing as a modern destroyer, the frigate offered the excitement of independent service, with the prospect of a glorious single-ship battle or a fortune to be made in prize money. Their actions have been the stuff of history and sea fiction for generations, but the ships themselves are hardly documented at all.
This book seeks to redress the balance, to describe the design, construction, armament and fitting of individual classes, to look at the factors influencing their development, and to analyse the many roles they were expected to perform. Backing the main narrative are detailed tabular data on all classes, including the prizes captured from opposing navies - French, Spanish, Dutch, Danish and American - with comparative information on aspects like performance under sail. The book is largely based on new research, and while primarily devoted to frigates has much original material on more general issues, like the constructional experiments prior to the adoption of Seppings diagonal system, and the improvements to guns, mountings and powder during the wars of 1793-1815. Illustrated in depth mainly with the original plans, the book also includes photographs of models and contemporary prints. With the information provided here, for the first time readers can now discover not only which were the most highly regarded frigates in the fleet, but also why.
Author: Robert Gardiner
Title: Frigates of the Napoleonic Wars
First Published by: Naval Institute Press
Date: August 2000