PENTECONTER Greek galley

The vessel depicted on this stamp I could not find a drawing of her on the internet, but she was given as a 600 BC used Greek cargo galley. On the stamp is depict a one row vessel with a ram bow. At that time the Greeks used a penteconter Greek galley for war, piracy and transport.

The penteconter, alt. spelling pentekonter and pentaconter, also transliterated as pentecontor or pentekontor (Greek: πεντηκόντορος, pentekontoros "fifty-oared"),plural penteconters was an ancient Greek galley in use since the archaic period. In an alternative meaning, the term was also used for a military commander of fifty men in ancient Greece.
The penteconters emerged in an era when there was no distinction between merchant and war ships. They were versatile, long-range ships used for sea trade, piracy and warfare, capable of transporting freight or troops. A penteconter was rowed by fifty oarsmen, arranged in a row of twenty-five on each side of the ship. A midship mast with sail could also propel the ship under favourable wind. Penteconters were long and sharp-keeled ships, hence described as long vessels (νῆες μακραί, nḗes markaí ). They typically lacked a full deck, and thus were also called unfenced vessels (ἄφρακτοι νῆες, áphraktoi nḗes).

Homer describes war ships during the Trojan War of various numbers of oars varying from twenty-oared, such as the ship that brought Chryseis back to her father, to fifty-oared, as Odysseus’ ship that had fifty men and as many as 120 men of the Boeotian ships.

According to some contemporary calculations, penteconters are believed to have been between 28 and 33 m (92 and 108 ft) long, approximately 4 m wide, and capable of reaching a top speed of 9 knots (17 km/h; 10 mph). However, modern reconstructions of penteconters, as well as other ancient ship designs such as triremes, manned by modern untrained amateurs, attained that top speed fairly easily on initial sea trials, which implies that the top speed of that type of ship in the ancient era had to be substantially higher. Ancient Greeks also used the triaconter or triacontor (τριακόντορος triakontoros), a shorter version of the penteconter with thirty oars. There is a general agreement that the trireme, the primary warship of classical antiquity, evolved from the penteconter via the bireme. The penteconter remained in use until the Hellenistic period, when it became complemented and eventually replaced by other designs, such as the lembos, the hemiolia and the liburnians.

Libya 1983 100dh sg 1304, scott
Vietnam 1986 3d sg 991, scott1689


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Postby aukepalmhof » Tue Apr 28, 2009 9:29 pm

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François Joseph Paul de Grasse was born in 1722 in Bar-sur-Loup, France, he was the tenth child of a well know family of that place.
After his birth, not one year old, his father suddenly died, and his mother and an aunt did take care of him.
When he is 12 year old he became a member of the Maltese Order, and he commenced his maritime education in Malta, under command of Grand Maîre Manoël de Vilhéna on board of a galley.

1737 He returned to France and he joined the French navy.
During the war of the Austrian Succession 1740-1748 he did see much action.
During the Seven Years War (1756-1763) he got command of the LA CHRISTINE one of the vessel special designed to carry troops or equipment for a landing in England, the landings never took place.

When King Louis XV in 1765 ordered that the coasts off Morocco had to be cleared of pirates, de Grasse was there, the French used chebecs, very fast vessels that could sail in shallow waters, to destroy the pirate nests along the coasts.

1776 He was appointed commandant of the INTRÉPIDE a ship-of-the-line armed with 74 guns. He got orders from King Louis XVI to assist and supply American privateers at sea.
When he returned in France he was sick, also his wife and daughter had died, when he was at sea. He asked for leave after arrival, but the King denied his request.

Was present at the Battle of Ushant in July 1778.

1781 Was appointed commander in chief of the French Atlantic Fleet, and promoted to Lieutenant General.
March 1781 he left with the fleet on board of his flagship VILLE DE PARIS to escort a large French convoy of merchant ships for the West Indies. The convoy arrived safely in Fort Royal, Martinique. Then he had to cooperate with the Continental forces in the American Revolution.

After arrival first he was looking for the British fleet in the Caribbean waters , but the large French fleet was no match for the small British fleet and Admiral Hood avoided a battle. The French fleet captured Tobago

Then he sailed north with his fleet, of 26 warships, and 15 transport vessels loaded with equipment, arms and stores. Also on board were three regiments French infantry, total 2500 men. During the passage he lost two warships due to fire, the INTRÉPIDE and INCONSTANTE, on arrival on 29 August 1781and after landing his troops and stores to strengthened the French and American forces around Yorktown.
He took up position in the strategic waters of the Chesapeake Bay, to blockade any relief for General Cornwallis at Yorktown what was under siege of the French and American forces.
When a British fleet sailed from New York to break the blockade, the Second Battle of the Virginia Capes took place on 5 December 1781.
The battle was won by the French when they drove off the 19 British warships under command of Admiral Thomas Graves, and the blockade was not broken, due to this battle Yorktown fell in the hands of the French and American forces. Both squadrons suffered considerable structural damage but not any vessel was sunk.

04 November 1781 the French fleet sailed back to the West Indies, where the British fleet took revenge on the lost battle off Chesapeake Bay.

After arrival in Haiti he was committed to a combined French and Spanish plan to seize British held Jamaica. While waiting fore reinforcement he took some British held islands in the Lower Antilles in early 1782.
After the provision and reinforcements arrived the Grasse with his fleet and a large troop convoy sailed from Saint Domingue on 08 April 1782 to meet a Spanish naval force.

The defeated British squadron after repair had sailed also south and joined the British fleet in this waters what were under command of Admiral Rodney.

The British fleet intercepted the French fleet off the Iles des Saintes just south of the French Island Guadeloupe on 12 April 1782.
De Grasse could save his troop transports but in the battle what is now know as the Battle of the Saints was his fleet defeated.
De Grasse flagship the VILLE DE PARIS was captured and Admiral de Grasse was taken prisoner and taken to Jamaica, from they’re on board HMS SANDWICH he was brought to London.
He was treated with respect and after some time was sent home.

After arrival in his home country he accused many of his subordinate ship captains at the battle of abandoning their stations. After a lengthy court battle at Lorient he won his case, but his navy career was over.

He retired to his estate outside Paris at château Tilly.

Then in 1786 he returned to Paris, where he died on 14 January 1788. He was buried in the Saint Roch church and his heart was buried in the church at Tilly.

France 1972 50 + 10c sg 1955 (the vessel depict on the stamp can be his flagship VILLE DE PARIS)

Source Blauwe Wimpel. An Encyclopedia of Naval History by Anthony Bruce and William Cogar.
Some web-sites.
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