The Constitution (or commonly nicknamed Old Ironsides) is a super frigate or 4th rate Frigate, she is the biggest frigate in the game, she is also the first Vessel that cannot mount a full carronade load out..
The Constitution has quite a large armament consisting of 24pd cannons on the gun deck and 12pd cannons or 42pd carronades on the weather deck, she can mount 12pd cannons or 42pd carronades for her bow and stern chasers.
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The legendary USS Constitution is a highly popular ship in Naval Action. Currently she is the largest frigate in the game, both in size, armor and armament. She is almost the size of a 3rd rate ship-of-the-line, she is about just as long but not as tall. She behaves like a frigate in handling, as she can build up a good speed and is a bit maneuverable. However she is not as maneuverable as most other frigates and is also not the fastest. However, due to her size she is the only frigate currently that can be armed with 24-pounder long and medium guns, she has plenty of enough firepower to beat any frigate with ease.
Her weakness, however, is that she does not fare too well against the larger 3rd, 2nd and 1st rates operating in fleets, more commonly seen in Trafalgars and port battles. In a one on one engagement, a skilled commander in a Constitution can take on a rated ship of the line due to her better maneuverability and ability to adsorb some damage, but if the Constitution tries to fight like a ship-of-the-line in the larger battles or even 1v1, the advantages of her frigate design will not help her, and will be out-damaged by the superior number and larger size of guns by the other ships-of-the-line.
Here is the Sailing Profile of the Constitution. The Constitution expresses a stronger preference for sailing broad reach than any of the other frigates. She excels at point 150 and is comfortable between 135 and 165. This represents a slight shift from the smaller frigates, which typically perform best between points 135 and 150. The downside of this is that sailing anywhere near a beam reach is severely punished in terms of speed and sailing upwind is definitely not an enjoyable experience. Notably, the Constitution performs relatively better running with the wind than the other frigates, a quality not often noted by newly promoted Captains.
The USS Constitution was one of six frigates ordered as result of privateering from the Barbary pirates, most notably Algiers. The USS Constitution was mostly built out of live oak and she was designed to have extremely heavy planking. The keel was laid down on the 1st of November 1794 in Boston Massachusetts. In March 1796 peace with Algiers was announced and construction halted as the act that ordered those ships also had in the terms that if peace with Algiers happened the construction of these ships would halt, however Washington got Congress to agree to continue to construct three of the ships nearest to completion of this class of ships, the United States, The Constellation and of course the Constitution. The Constitutions launch ceremony was held on 20 September 1797 and was attended by president John Adams. Upon launch she only slid about 8.2meters before stopping, as her weight had caused the ways to settle into the ground. An attempt two days later got the ship 9.4m of travel. The ways had to be rebuilt and after about a month the Constitution was finally launched on 21st of October 1797.
War with Britain was declared on 18th of June 1812 and Isaac Hull, the commander of the Constitution at the time, set sail on 12th of July attempting to join five ships of a squadron under command of John Rodgers in the ship President. Hull sighted five ships off Egg Harbour, New Jersey on 17th of July and at first believed them to be Rodger's Squadron. However the following morning lookouts determined that they were a British squadron out of Halifax, the HMS Aeolus, Africa, Belvidera, Guerriere and Shannon had sighted the Constitution and were giving chase. Finding himself becalmed Hull acted on a suggestion and ordered the crew to put boats over the side to tow the ship out of range, using kedge anchors to draw the ship forwards and wetting the sails down to take advantage of every breath of wind. The British soon imitated the tactic and remained in pursuit. The resulting 57 hour chase in the July heat saw the crew of the Constitution employ a myriad of methods, finally pumping overboard 2300 US Gallons of drinking water. Cannon fire was exchanged several times though the British shots fell short or over their target. On 19 July the Constitution pulled far enough ahead of the British that they abandoned the pursuit.
On the 18th of August a frigate was sighted, the HMS Guerriere. Upon entering within range the Guerriere fired upon the Constitution, however doing little damage. After a few exchanges of cannon fire between the ships Captain Hull maneuvered into an advantageous position and brought the constitution within 25 yards of the Guerriere. The Constitution fired a double loaded broadside of grape and round shot which took out the mizzenmast of the Guerriere. Guerrieres maneuverability decreased and she collided with the Constitution. The Guerrieres bowspirit became entangled into the rigging of the constitution leaving only the bow guns capable of firing into the Constitution. Hull's cabin caught fire due to the shots from the Guerriere however the crew was quickly able to extinguish the fire. Boarding parties aboard both ships were ordered, but the heavy seas prevented any boarding from actually happening. At one point, the two ships rotated together counterclockwise with the Constitution continuing to fire broadsides. When the two ships pulled apart the force of the bowspirits extraction caused the Guerrieres foremast to collapse and that brought the mainmast down soon after. Guerriere was now desmasted, had lost a third of her crew while the Constitution remained largely intact, as such the Guerriere struck their colours. During the battle many of Guerriers shots bounced harmlessly off the Constitutions hull, an American sailor reportedly exclaimed “Huzzah! Her sides are made of iron” and thus, the Constitution gained the nickname “Old Ironsides”. The Guerriere was badly damaged and burned the day after.
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