|Unit Information||Game Strategies||History|
With the onset of the Industrial Age, Western civilisation began to experience a degree of technological and economic mastery hitherto unknown for centuries. One of the areas impacted by this was the production of iron, which made it cheaper and easier to work with. The more reliable and more economical supply of iron thus meant that a new chapter in naval history was about to be written: the age of metal warships.
The Gloire was the first ironclad warship, a ship that was protected by a layer of iron on its hull. Built by France during the 1850s, Gloire resembled a fully-rigged man-o'-war, but for all accounts was revolutionary for her time. She carried the all-new Paixhans guns for broadside attacks (which could fire powerful explosive shells) and a screw propulsion system. Despite these innovations, however, Gloire was still in essence a classic Early Modern tall ship, albeit with greater firepower and manoeuvrability.
Later Ironclads developed into fully iron hulled ships, but the true breakthrough was with USS Monitor. In contrast to Gloire, Monitor carried her guns not in broadside, but in a protected rotating turret which allowed her a greater field of fire in contrast to earlier ships of the line and the "paddle frigates" and "screw frigates" of the day which like Gloire were still constrained to broadside actions.
Once steel production reached acceptable degrees of economics of scale, it was now time for a new metal warship — the Dreadnought, named after HMS Dreadnought (laid down 1906CE). This ship had the full-iron hull, but instead of having a battery of heavy guns and some secondary guns, this ship was an "all-big gun" ship, with its entire weaponry comprised of the heavy guns on its deck. The Dreadnought served as the basis of all future battleships in the years to come.