Ironclad for Civ7

Jan 10, 2019
This is an iconic unit of the Industrial Era (in some Civ games the unit was Battleship, which actually grew out of Ironclads). What should Civ7 iterations of Ironclads be?
1. Graphical representations
A. ACW River and Coastal Ironclads. (many of which of Union Ironclads originally belonged to US Army rather than US Navy), Coastal only.
B. 'Armred Frigates' (Pre-ACW Ironclads which was the French invention). Oceangoing warship with Sails & Steam propulsions.
C. 1880s 'Steelhull' designs. The likes of Civ5 Ironclads, and Chinese Ding Yuan class (By this time Ironclads were called Battleships).
D. Pre-Dreadnoughts. like IJN Mikasa (The only 'survivor', which itself an end result of Meiji Restoration, which elevated Japan into an Imperial Superpower rivaling many Europeans and in the same time 'Big Brother of Asia'. The ship itself however was British works. Japan only completed one class of 'domestically built' Pre-Dreadnought BB SHORTLY AFTER British Royal Navy commissioned HMS Dreadnought in 1905).
2. Unit class (combat characteristics)

Personally Ironclads are ranged warships, the Industrial era 'Melee choice' should be either Torpedo Craft or Armored Cruisers.
The most acceptable graphical representation should be either Pre-Dreadnoughts or the likes of Ding Yuan class. or at least those that shown traces of sail masts but with one main gun battery (of two rifled cannons) fore and aft


3. Enabling Tech
A. Steam
B. Steel
C. Precision Engineering (To make rifled cannonry)

Here is a French pre-dreadnought ship, looks like some amazing steampunk warship and was actually inspiration for the battleships in 'Howl's moving castle' -film.

Should be slow but have a ranged atttack.
Could be situated between frigate/ship of the line and battleship in the tech tree.
"Ironclad" covers a host of different ships. Naval architecture from the 1850s to 1900 probably changed faster and more comprehensively than at any other time in history. The first 'ironclads' were simply wooden ships complete with full sailing rig with a steam engine and propeller added, and some wrought iron plates. Then they progressed to iron and steel-hulled ships, then to all-steel construction, while the iron clad protection became steel and then steel alloy armor plate. Armament started as muzzle-loading smoothbores, rapidly went to muzzle-loading and then breechloading rifles, 'quick-firing' smaller guns, and then smokeless powder long rifles, all mounted in everything from simple broadside decks to barbettes, turrets, 'central batteries' and even open platforms.
Oh, and because of one incident at the Battle of Lissa in 1866, they kept building them with Rams!

The most iconic and even outrageous ironclads built were by the French and Italian navies between about 1865 and 1890. The French had the most pronounced 'tumble-home' hulls ever built, in which the sides sloped inward from the waterline while the bow sloped forward and down to the ram, making the ships look like metal versions of Cyrano de Bergerac. The Italians mounted massive muzzle-loading guns in open barbettes in the middle of the ship and then threw fanciful-looking aerial bridges over them - but their ships were some of the fastest ironclads ever built.


This is the French Redoubtable, showing off the ram at the bow. It was the first warship built with a steel hull, launched in 1876.


The Enrico Dandolo of the Italian navy, with 4 17.5 inch guns mounted in two massive Central Batteries. Launched in the 1880s, they had finally stopped trying to carry a full set of sails and masts in addition to the steam engines and all the coal required.

These were both 'capital ships', so successors to the Ships of the Line and ancestors of the Dreadnaught Battleships
^ So much design diversities through eras and with techs involved.
And Ding Yuan main battery looks not so in tune with later 'Pre-Dreadnought' designs. I'm not sure if Ding Yuan design is flawed so it contributed to Beiyang Fleet's defeat in the wars against Japan (Whom by then had outdated 'First Generation Ironclads' and their best ship was a cruiser made in France).
Then what should represent Ironclads best?
Given the restrictions of time inherent in any game spanning 6000 + years, I think all the "Ironclad Variations" have to be reduced to the minimum. I think that could be done with:

Coastal Ironclad - based on the USS Monitor, a coastal vessel available from about 1860 CE representing the earliest ironclad ships which had very short range on steam power because of primitive engines and also had some serious design flaws that made them dangerous in high, open seas. Not only did the USS Monitor sink in a storm off the American coast, but the British Royal Navy also lost two ironclads, the HMS Captain and the HMS Vanguard wrecked at sea before 1875.

Fleet Ironclad - based on the capital ships built from about 1875 to 1890: pick almost any design, French, Italian, British, Chinese - these used increasing amounts of steel instead of wrought iron and a bewildering variety of breech-loading, muzzle-loading, rifled shell-firing guns, 'quick-firing' guns, torpedos and rams. These have the graphical advantage that many of them finally did away with the sails and masts of the earliest ironclads, making them graphically distinct from early sailing Frigates and Ships of the Line.

The Coastal Ironclad would be a New Ship, not upgraded from earlier models, because in fact the navies weren't sure how to classify them: most of them by older definitions were Frigates or even Sloops, but were heavier, better protected and almost as well armed as Ships of the Line! The Fleet Ironclad would be in the line of upgrades between Ship of the Line and Dreadnaught Battleship - the capital ships of their day.

Protected Cruiser - the successor to the Frigate, the steel-hulled ships of the end of the 1870s to 1900: earlier wrought-iron armored ships simply didn't have the speed or range to take over the duties of the 'cruising warship' like the sailing Frigates, but the development of steel hulls and better engines changed that. A good model would be the 'Elswick Cruisers' built by Armstrong in Britain for export - the first being the Chilean Esmerelda in 1884. These would be an Upgrade from Frigate
^ With the two first variants. Then
- Civ6 Ironclad represents Coastal Ironclads (USS Monitor and CSS Virginia along with 'Army operated Warships' (How US Army organized river ironclad units which usually supervised by Navy?), did US Army uses Army terminology to call these things before they trasferred these ships to the Navy later on?)
- Civ5 Ironclad represents Fleet Ironclads

And what should Costal Ironclads combat orientations be? 'melee' like galleys or ranged?

Did 'Protected Cruisers' counted amongs 'Ironclads'? since the areas with armored protections were all interior just like modern warships today like the Burkes, Ticoes, and Kirovs (These were more or less 'Naked' ships from the outside. some conversations with any dudes who worked in these ships said that only engine rooms , fuel tanks, munition storage and missile batteries are protected with 'soft' Aramid armor, none at hulls, a collission accident or basic suicide bomb can punch a big hole in these ships, think of what happened to USS Cole (A burke) in 2000).
Maybe good upgrade paths would be:

Frigate-cruiser-missile cruiser
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