HNoMS Skorpionen - Monitor

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HNoMS Skorpionen - Monitor

Strange looking but beautiful vessels

TYPE: Monitor, formerly known as Tower vessel
BUILDING SITE: Carljohansværns Verft, Horten
LAUNCHED: 30 October 1866
HOIST COMMAND: 15 June 1867
CONSTRUCTION COST: 286 000,- Speciedaler

1867 Original


2x 270mm NO1 Rifled Muzzleloader cannons
*Caliber: L/12.5

  • Weight: 18430 Kg
  • Mounting: sled shooting of iron with recoil brake in tower with tower turning

1x 76.4mm NO1 Rifled Muzzleloader cannon

  • Caliber L/12.6
  • Mounting: boat shooting as boat shooting

1885 small upgrade


2x 270mm NO1 Rifled Muzzleloader cannons
*Caliber: L/12.5

  • Weight: 18430 Kg
  • Mounting: sled shooting of iron with recoil brake in tower with tower turning

1x 76.4mm NO1 Rifled Muzzleloader cannon

  • Caliber L/12.6
  • Mounting: boat shooting as boat shooting

1x 12.17mm Winborg & Palmkrantz machinegun

  • 10 Barrels

1897 Remodeled


2x 124mm Cockerill cannons

  • Calibre: L/44
  • Mechanism: Semi auto
  • Aiming: Nordenfelt’s screw mechanism
  • Armour: In barbett of wrought iron armor
    -The protection is a common shield in nickel steel
    -30mm Front
    -25mm Sides and Roof

2x 65mm Cockerill cannons
*Caliber: L/43

  • Mechanism: Semi auto
  • Aiming: Nordenfelt’s screw mechanism
  • Placement: Brigdes
    *Armour: The shield are a light curved shield of nickel steel
    -Plate: 20mm

2x 37mm Hotchkiss revolver cannons

  • Caliber: L/20
  • Placement: On deck
  • Operated by one man, buttstock in shoulder and the cannon has to be cranked
  • Armour: Light shields made of special steel
    -Plate: 5mm

1867: 1.470 ton steel hull
1897: 1.524 ton steel hull
Lenght: 60.90m
Widht: 13.80m
Depth: 3.48m

Tower: 298.45 mm
Sides: 120.65 mm
Deck: 25.4 mm
Material: Steel and wrought iron armor

Eigne: Horizontal single-expanding steam engine
Power: 330 IHK
Speed: 7 knots (12.96 km/h)
Crew: 80-85 men

1867: Trial in the Baltic Sea
1872: Department trip
1897: Remodeled
1905: Mobilized for service in the Outer Oslofjord
1905: Command canceled on 16 October
1908: Sold to Stavanger Skibs-Ophuggings CO A/S for scrapping

A little about the Monitor-ship’s background
Firepower, protection and movement are key military concepts that have also been weighed against each other within the development of naval destroyers, of course to some extent with economic aspects. The experiences of the Crimean War had shown that the age of sailing ships was over. The British gradually switched to steamships, and with HMS Warrior from 1859 they had also begun experiments with partial armoring of their southern ships. The idea of purifying the factors of protection and firepower came from the Swedish designer John Ericcson, and it is no coincidence that it was precisely during the American Civil War that it would win its first honors.

During the winter of 1862, the southern states had converted the old steam frigate Merrimac into a sort of armored fortress, which could also be used as a battering ram. the floor was peeled down to the waterline and reinforced. On the hull, a large Kasemat was built, 53 meters long, with sloping sides that received 51 cm pine planks, plus 10 cm oak planks, plus double armor plates. The reinforcement on each side was 1x 15cm rifled cannon and 3x 23cm smoothbore cannons plus guns in the bow and stern.

On 8 March 1862, the Merrimac, which had now actually been named Virginia, attacked a force of Northern vessels of three sailing frigates and two steam frigates at Hampton Roads near Norfolk. They went straight for the North States’ fire which bounced off the armor and they sank two frigates and killed 250 men. Even they only had 2 dead, some loose armor plates and some engine problems

The Northern States had long been aware of the Southern States’ plans and the aforementioned John Ericsson had, in competition with several constructors, been commissioned to construct a vessel that could compete with such a flying fortress in defensive operations. He then designed the vessel which was called the Monitor, and which gave its name to this type of vessel. The monitor was smaller than the converted frigates. It had almost the entire hull under water. The freeboard (?) was very low, with a thick log cushion, and on top of this solid armour. The deck was also of course armored and there was only one gun turret on the deck, which in return was heavily armored and rotatable, and which provided space for 2 large 28cm guns. Monitor only stuck 9 feet, as opposed to Merrimac’s 23 feet, and consequently had higher speed and somewhat better maneuverability.

As chance would have it, just as the day after March 9, 1862, the Merrimac was about to return to Hampton Roads and complete its destruction, the Monitor arrived on the scene of war and was able to take the battle for the Merrimac. It was a long battle in which neither vessel could sink the other. The Merrimac had a higher rate of fire, and as the Monitor achieved its objective by stopping the Merrimac, it was considered by many to be the victorious party

The Norwegian Monitor’s
Norway had 4 Monitors, Scorpionen, Mjølner; Thor and Trudvang. these are simlar in armament but their history is a little bit different, and some specifications. but this is mainly about the first, Scropionen.

In all navies it was understood that the battle at Hampton Roads was epoch-making. It was understood that the armor meant that the time for wooden ships was over. The problem was that Europe had 2,500 wooden ships and that the transition to iron and armor would take some time. The monitors were primarily archipelago vessels, and it was therefore primarily with the small coastal navies that this concept won out. For the major naval powers that operated on the world’s oceans, the monitors were less suitable, and although they also switched to armour, they built larger vessels such as the Dreadnought

In Norway, in the wake of the Crimean War, there had been a somewhat greater willingness to allocate money to the navy’s vessels. It was against this background that in 1859 it had been decided to build the steam frigate Kong Sverre, the steam corvette Nordstjernen and four steam gunboats, that there should also be room to start the construction of four new tower vessels, which the monitors were also called, says something about their supposed importance. The right-wing in politics probably also saw the monitors as a contribution to the common union defense to which they believed themselves committed, but at the same time they could be considered as nationally justified. When the last of the 4 monitors was delivered in 1872, the good times for the navy’s shipbuilding were over for a good while

The monitors according to Ericcson’s drawings were all built at the shipyard in Horten, with the exception of one vessel “Mjølner” which was built at the Motala shipyard in Sweden, probably for reasons of capacity. It was built on an iron frame, with which the yard had now gained some experience from the steam gunboats, and they were fitted with wrought iron hulls. The new Armstrong 26.7cm rifled cannons were originally chosen as main gunners. Two such were placed next to each other inside the armored tower. They stood on rails so that they could be cranked in for charging inside the tower. With a weight of nearly 20 tons per piece, it was heavy stuff. only the grenades weighed approx. 160 kg and was lifted up with a winch. the tower itself was also rotatable by hand. In addition, they had a small 76mm cannon as a “boat gunner” (?) on the accompanying steam sloop.

The monitors were equipped for practice cruises a number of times, usually two by two, together with torpedo boats or gunboats. due to the lack of conveniences, the voyages were normally made to domestic coastal waters, but sometimes they also went to Swedish or Danish ports. In 1872 they practiced together with three Swedish monitors.

The events of these cruises were few, but both commanders and royals came several times for inspections during practice, so their possible importance was certainly recognized. Mjølner undoubtedly received the most attention outside of military circles when it ran aground on an underwater reef off Kragerø, Norway, already during the test voyage in 1869. It was firmly fixed there for over a week before it was unloaded and pulled off. The underwater reef was then renamed “Monitorbåen”. (the story was probably less well known among the Germans who also went on the reef one summer day in 1940 with one of our old torpedo boats).

We can understand that the comforts were poor as the messes and cabins were below the waterline with descent through a thick hatch. BECAUSE of the storm water, it didn’t take much before the hatches had to be scaled and the artificial ventilation produced such a strong draft that candles had to be covered with gas canisters. in the engine room it quickly became sauna temperatures! up to 70 degrees Celsius it could!!

On dog watch “Hundevakten” on 17 May 1898, the non-commissioned officer met God himself in the cannon tower. “It looked dark, but suddenly I was so happy that I hardly felt like touching the deck when I walked”. The congregation “Smith’s friends” was thus created by strong hallucinations on the monitor Thor.

As part of the rearmament against the Swedes, the monitors were upgraded in 1897. The large rifled cannons were replaced with two 12.4cm fast-firing Nordenfelt guns in a common armor shield on the old tower. in addition, you got two 65mm cannons on the bridges and two 37mm revolver guns on the deck.

After this, they were also moved in pairs to the new staging ports Melomsvik outside Tønsberg and Husvik near Oscarsborg. During the mobilization in 1905, they were equipped. Thor and Trudvang were placed as protection outside Tønsberg’s fortifications and Skorpionen and Mjølner were given a similar task at Oscarsborg. After being able to take part in the celebrations in Kristiania in October, Skorpionen and Mjølner went back to Horten where they were taken out of service the same year.

Thor and Trudvang remained in circulation. Thor was first equipped during the mobilization in August 1914 before both vessels for a period from 1916-17 served in the neutrality protection around the storage base. Then it was over and they were both sold to Stavanger for scrapping, but Thor never got that far. due to bad weather, and in order to save itself, the tug had to cut the tow on 8 March 1919. Thor ran aground and sank at Hoflø. On this last voyage, in peacetime, the two oarsmen on board also lost their lives.





124mm Cockerill cannons

270mm NO1 Rifled Muzzleloader cannon

76.4mm NO1 Rifled Muzzleloader cannon

65mm Cockerill cannon

37mm Hotchkiss revolver cannon

12.17mm Winborg & Palmkrantz machinegun



HNoMS Skorpionen — ImgBB



MOST IMPORTANT SOURCE - Very valuable information

Norske marinefartøy - samtlige norske marinefartøy 1814-2008 og marinens flygevåpen 1912-1944 | ARK Bokhandel
Norsk marinehistorie | Facebookærvesen
Johan Oscar Smith: En forunderlig historie – del 2 - Bernt Aksel Larsen | Blogg
90 år under rent norsk orlogsflagg -

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