My Workbench

Saturday, April 21, 2018

GHQ 80 Gun French SOL Indomptable

I just finished another ship of the line for my growing French fleet, this time a GHQ Sane-Border class 80 gun ship Indomptable. Her sister ships were Bucentaure, Neptune and Formidable. She would also have been similar to the Tonnant which fought on the British side at Trafalgar. Designed by Jacques Noel Sane, Indomptable was laid down at Brest dockyard, launched in 1788 and completed in 1790.

In 1794, under command of Admiral Villaret-Joyeuse, Indomptable put to sea on May 16 with 24 other ships of the line, several frigates and corvettes. Their mission was to meet and escort a merchant fleet coming from America carrying much needed grain and other essentials vital to the French economy. On the way they captured a Dutch Lisbon convoy. British Rear-Admiral Montague pursued Villaret with a small fleet. Meanwhile Admiral Howe's larger British fleet was racing to join Montague for support and confronted Villaret first on May 28. Indomptable was not directly involved. There was a second action at 8 a.m. the following day, however it was not until 1:30 p.m. that Indomptable came under fire from Vice-Admiral Hood's Royal George (100) and Rear-Admiral Gardner's flagship Queen (98). During this engagement Indomptable and Tyrannicide suffered considerable damage. Indomptable was then engaged by Barfleur (98) and Orion (74). Despite suffering further damage and increasing casualties, Indomptable continued to fight on for over an hour with her colors flying until she and Terrible were rescued by Villaret's ships driving down to give assistance. Severely damaged she was sent home escorted by Monte Blanc.

Indomptable took part in the ill fated expedition to Ireland in 1796. On July 6, 1801 Indomptable, Formidable (80), Desaix (74), and Muiron (40)  had sailed through the Straits of Gibraltar and anchored off Algeciras. At that position they were attacked by Rear-Admiral Sir James Saumarez's squadron of five ships: Caesar (80), and 74's Audacious, Hannibal, Pompee and Spencer. During the action Indomptable ran aground trying to warp further in shore. For two hours the firing was heavy on both sides both Captains Moncousu of Indomptable and Lalonde of Formidable were killed. The attack was unsuccessful as the French ships were well supported by shore batteries.

Trafalgar: On October 21, 1805 Indomptable lay at the center, seventeenth from the van of Villeneuve's combined Spanish and French fleet. Ahead on her larboard bow lay Santa Ana (112), on her starboard bow San Justo (74) and astern on her larboard quarter Fogueux (74). Indomptable started firing her larboard broadside just before noon at Collingwood's approaching Leeward Division. As Collingwood's Royal Sovereign (100) crossed the stern of Santa Ana and ranged up on Santa Ana's starboard side, Indomptable raked Royal Sovereign and continued firing into her starboard quarter from a distance of 500 yards. After Belleisle (74) had crossed and raked the Santa Ana in turn she then ported her helm and turned across Indomptable's stern to rake her. Fougueux intervened and poured a couple of broadsides into Belleisle. Suffering few casualties, Captain Hubert chose to carry Indomptable away from the battle and made for Cadiz at close to 1 p.m.

On October 23 Indomptable took part in Commodore Cosmao-Kerjulien's rescue attempt of the damaged British prizes from the battle. In company were Neptune, Pluton, Rayo, and San Francisco de Asis, along with frigates Cornelie, Hemione, Hortense, Rhin, Themis, and the brigs Argus and Furet. After clearing the harbor the wind rose to gale force. As the French approached, ten British ships cast off their tow lines and formed line of battle. Kerjulien's ships were outnumbered and damaged, but the frigates managed to retake Santa Ana and Neptuno. Indomptable took on Bucentaure's 500 survivors before turning back for Cadiz. The next morning on October 24, Indomptable ran aground off Rota and, battered by the heavy seas, she quickly broke apart with terrible loss of life. Including those taken off Bucentaure, nearly 1,000 men perished.

Length of Gun Deck = 194'
Beam = 51'4-1/2"
Depth in Hold = 23'2"
Tons Burthen = 2231
Complement = 690

Lower Gun Deck = 30 x 36 pounders
Upper Gun Deck = 32 x 24 pounders
Quarter Deck = 12 x 8 pounders
Forecastle = 6 x 8 pounders
Poop Deck = 6 x 36 pound Howitzers
Single Broadside Weight = 1112 pounds

Here is the completed model. The foremast and mizzen with sails are GHQ with the lower masts replaced with music wire. The mainmast is scratch built with Davco sails. The bow sprit and stay sails are scratch built.

References: The Ships of Trafalgar - The British, French and Spanish Fleets October 1805 by Peter Goodwin - Keeper and Curator of HMS Victory


Paul O'G said...

Gorgeous! I am in awe of your skills and your ship collection

A Miniatures Hobby Room said...

Thanks Paul, but my skills pale against a few others I know.

Stew said...

How many French ships is that for you?

Ship looks fantastic per usual. Very pretty. 😀

El Grego said...


A Miniatures Hobby Room said...

Thanks again Stew
My French fleet is not all that big. I have 15 completed ships but only 8 SOL's: 1-120gun, 2-80's, 5-74's, 1 each 40g frigate, 24g corvette, 22g corvette, 18g brig, 16g brig, 12g cutter, and a 10 gun lugger. Unbuilt I have another 120 gun, two 76/80's, two 74's, two 40's, one 36, one 24, three 20', and two 12's

A Miniatures Hobby Room said...

Thanks Greg
Hey, are you going to make it to Enfilade! Saddly I am working again.

El Grego said...

Vol, I do not think that I can make it to Enfilade either...

Brian Weathersby said...

Very nice Vol! Since you said the sails are GHQ, how did you get rid of the metal between the sails and masts? Or, do they not do that any more with their ships? Also, how much extra work does it take to replace those lower masts like you described? At any rate, she is a beauty.

A Miniatures Hobby Room said...

Hi Brian,
The bits between the mast and sail is very thin and easily removed with a Xacto blade. Same with removal of the lower mast. Once removed, just drill a hole in the fighting top platform and shove in the new mast.