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 “KARTERIA’ THE FIRST STEAM WARSHIP IN WAR (1826)”

Dimitri G. CAPAITZIS

The Royal Institution of Naval Architects

Historic Ships, International Conference, November 2009, London



The Greeks, then fighting for Independence, were pioneers in steam warships. In 1825 they ordered ‘Perseverance’ from Brent, Deptford and steam engines from Galloway, Smithfield.

Completed in May 1826 she sailed, reaching Greece in September, and was renamed ‘Karteria’. Built at the instigation of the great English Philhellene Frank Abney Hastings, who inspired the design, helped in the construction and commanded the ship on her passage and in war, the ‘Karteria’ was in many successful battles at Phaleron, Oropos, Volos, Salona, Vasilathi, and was the first ever steam warship in war action.

A 125ft long, 25 wide, 400 ton, 4-masted schooner with two engines run on steam from coal-fired boilers, 16 rpm, 84 horse, driving port/starboard paddle wheels and 6 knots. Originally she was to have one 32 pound gun forward and one aft, and two 68 pounders in the middle, fired in turn with the ship rotating by her paddle wheels. Red hot shot was to beused, which was l

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