main forward deck of a french ship of the line

- Image ID: BEBN4H
main forward deck of a french ship of the line
19th era 2 / Alamy Stock Photo
Image ID: BEBN4H
A ship-of-the-line was a type of naval warship constructed from the 17th century through the mid-19th century, to take part in the naval tactic known as the line of battle, in which two columns of opposing warships would manoeuvre to bring the greatest weight of broadside guns to bear. Since these engagements were almost invariably won by the heaviest ships carrying the most powerful guns, the natural progression was to build sailing vessels that were the largest and most powerful of their time. From the end of the 1840s, the introduction of steam power brought less dependence on the wind in battle and led to the construction of screw-driven but wooden-hulled ships-of-the-line; a number of pure sail-driven ships were converted to this propulsion mechanism. However, the introduction of the ironclad frigate in about 1859 led swiftly to the decline of the steam-assisted ships-of-the-line, though the ironclad warship became the ancestor of the twentieth-century battleship, whose very designation is itself a contraction of the phrase "line-of-battle ship."
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