Sunday, 27 April 2014

Preserved ironclads and old steam warships: HSwMS Sölve

In 2008 I had the opportunity to visit the Maritiman Marine Museum in Göteborg, Sweden, and whilst I was there I made a special effort to photograph the Swedish monitor, HSwMS Sölve.

It is hardly surprising that John Ericsson – the designer of the original turreted ironclad USS Monitor – was able to persuade his homeland to adopt this type of warship. The Royal Swedish Navy’s main task was coastal defence, and the monitor-type of ship was ideal for this role.

HSwMS Sölve was one of a class of ironclad monitors – her sisters were the Hildur, Gerda, Ulf, Björn, Bersek, and Folke – that were built for the Royal Swedish Navy in the 1870s. Sölve and her sisters were designed by Ericsson and d'Ailly and built by Motala, Norrkoping. Sölve was withdrawn from service in 1919, and in 1921 she was converted into an oil barge. When her useful life was over Sölve was not scrapped; instead she was donated by her owners to the Maritiman Marine Museum, where she is currently being restored.

The Sölve’s characteristics:
  • Displacement: 460 tons
  • Length: 130' 6"
  • Beam: 26' 4"
  • Draught: 8' 10"
  • Propulsion:
    • 2-cylinder horizontal engines (155 ihp) driving 2 propellers
    • 2 boilers
  • Speed: 8 knots
  • Complement: 48
  • Armament (when built):
    • 1 x 240mm BLR
  • Armour:
    • Belt: 3 inches
    • Turret: 16.5 inches
    • Conning Tower: 10 inches
    • Deck: ¾ inch
In 2008 HSwMS Sölve was moored next to an island near the museum, and looked like this:

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