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Sloop was in the Royal Navy in the 18th to mid-19th century the name given to an unclassified, ie from the rank classification of warships not captured Marine vehicle from a naval officer with the rank of commander was ordered.

In the 20th century, the British Navy called sloops smaller warships, which were mainly intended for escort and submarine hunting .

Origin and meaning of the term sloop

The warship name sloop has its origin in the single-masted type of ship of the same name . They formed the smallest armed naval units in the 17th century for support tasks such as communication and reconnaissance and, unlike larger ships, were not classified. These vehicles initially had a lieutenant as a commander, but without an additional officer, but above all no navigator or sailing master (English sailing master or master for short ). Because support vehicles in naval warfare became more and more important in the course of the 17th century and mainly operated offshore, a navigator was also necessary. This gave rise to the rank of Master and Commander , a commanding naval officer who was also a navigator.

The now expanded range of uses made it necessary to use rigging types that were more suitable for the high seas as well as the general increase in size of the units, so the group of support vehicles was expanded to include other types of sailing ships (see also under rigging types). The traditional connection between the rank of Master and Commander and an unclassified naval vehicle remained and ultimately led to the fact that from now on differently rigged units were also referred to as sloops . As the sloops continued to grow in size and importance , the commanding officer was assisted by a sailing master, in common parlance the term Master and Commander was shortened to Commander until it became official in 1794.

Skirmish between the British brig loop HMS Peacock and the American full ship loop USS Hornet

Any naval unit led by a commander was a sloop . Basically, of course, this means that commanders only command ships that were also built as sloops . However, larger, formerly classified were ( in the six ranks banded ) units of commanders are commanded, in particular disused units that were divided to the port services. With the appointment of a commander as a commander, these ships became a sloop . This practice sometimes took on absurd traits. In 1804, the Rocher du Diamant rock off Martinique was conquered by the British, expanded as a battery and placed under the command of a commander . From then on the rock was listed as sloop HMS Diamond Rock in the lists of the Royal Navy .

Correctly, the sloop in the Royal Navy is not a type of ship, but the name of a naval unit of whatever type led by a commander ; a translation into German for “ slup ” (or even, despite the same root word, “ sloop ”) is therefore not applicable.

Types of rigging

While sloops in the 17th century were initially single-masted (corresponding to the sloop ship type ), brigantines and ketches were also referred to as sloops towards the end of the 17th century, and a little later there were also sloops with Schnautakelung . Around 1750, analogue of the modern breakthrough frigate type , there was also the first full-rigged ship -Sloops (Brit. Ship-sloop ), which until the end of Segelkriegsschiffsära were actually sort of a small frigate. The full ship sloop was mostly called a corvette in the navies of other nations . In the 19th century came Bark - and savers rigs added. However, the vast majority of sloops had brig rigging , which was adapted in 1779 for sloops of the Royal Navy. Of these brig loops there were u. a. two classes with over 100 units each, the Cruizer-class and the Cherokee-class (see also HMS Beagle ), the most frequently mass-produced sailing warships.

Examples and features

  • Mortar ships as ketch or full ship with one or two mortars and up to 14 cannons or carronades , from 200 to 400 tons in size.
  • Schnauzer and ketchup with up to 14 cannons and around 250 tons in size.
  • Briggs with 10 to 18 cannons and / or carronades from 180 to 400 tons.
  • Full ships with up to 20, later 28 cannons and / or carronades of around 250 to 500 tons.

Sloops had a crew of 65 to 125 men, the larger units also had up to 30 marines. In addition to the master and commander and the sailing master, there was also at least one lieutenant from around 1760/70.

The tasks of the sloops were mainly message transmission, reconnaissance, coastal protection, escort protection and in less important sea areas also the use as cruisers .

The US Navy also used the term sloop around 1800 , but only for small full ships of 20 cannons. After 1815 these ships were known as corvettes .

Sloops in the 19th and 20th centuries

Royal Australian Navy sloop HMAS Yarra (commissioned in 1935)

Around 1840 the sloops became less important as a sailing warship. In the following, new sloops were mostly small steam-powered support units with additional ship or barracks, initially as paddle steamers and from 1850 also with screw drive. They were not intended as combat units, but rather took on tasks such as sending messages and customs surveillance, often in distant sea areas. These late sloops were often built using composite structures, such as the HMS Gannet, which still exists today .

Even during World War I and World War II , the Royal Navy designated certain vehicles as sloops . What was meant now - with a speed of 16 to 18 knots  - were quite slow escort ships, primarily for fighting submarines. They were distinguished from the corvettes and destroyers escort by a greater range, which is why they were predestined to accompany convoys in remote areas. In particular, the sloops of the Black Swan class proved to be highly successful submarine hunters, often grouped in special hunting groups.

Web links

Wiktionary: Sloop  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations