Re: Bombs in Unusual Places
Mil Goose wrote:
In Rayner's The Long Fight, it mentions, in the action between the San Fiorenzo and the French 50-gun Piemontaise, that as part of her armament the Piemontaise had a bomb slung from her yards ready to drop on any enemy vessesl she could close on. In the case of the San F it wasn't successful, but in the Appendix of the book, it states that the Terpsichore was in action against the French Sémillante when the latter was "able to release one of her bombs, and although it killed the crews of four of the miship guns it neither damaged the guns themselves nor stopped their being fired....."
The bombs mentioned here (both battles fought in 1808) seem to have been larger than what was used in the battle between the American "Bonhomme Richard
" (40) and HMS "Serapis
" (44) off Flamborough Head in 1779.
In that earlier encounter, a Scottish sailor, William Hamilton, aboard the American ship, climbed out on the mainyard and dropped several small bombs onto the deck of the British frigate. One of these small bombs (grenades) fell through an open hatch and detonated below, igniting some gunpowder. The resulting explosion (causing the damaged mainmast to topple, a flash fire that set men ablaze, and dismounting a number of guns) was critical in causing the British captain, Pearson, to surrender the "Serapis
" to John Paul Jones.
Even though, in Mary's post above, the impression is given that the bombs were larger since they was slung from the yards (tied aloft), I wonder if those bombs were really that much larger since they functioned as similar antipersonnel devices leaving the guns ready to be fired by a new crew. In Jones' battle, he was extremely fortunate that the bomb dropped upon the "Serapis
" chanced to explode near some gunpowder.
for a brief account of the "Bonhomme Richard
" - "Serapis