description description

View of a gun pontoon


View of a gun pontoon

Wollant, Johann Friedrich Ferdinand

Title Leupe: Plan van de Canoniere nummer b, (getuigd.)

This draft is part of a series of ‘plans of obstruction’ made after 1780 (see VEL 2020-2027). Important to this obstruction were designs for cannonboats or canoniere which moved by sails or oars to hinder hostile vessels. The shallow draught of the boats were an advantage over most other ships when tide was low. Nonetheless, the balance between maneuverability and a shallow draught was difficult to maintain. The armament in this design seems far too heavy

also in the literal sense

for the light, unstable pontoon craft with a low freeboard and shallow draught, even if they would be considerably ballasted. The relatively thin sides would have offered the cannoneers no protection at all, and apparently the pontoons were unable to sail under their own power. A floating battery as shown here would have been a sitting target for the artillery on enemy ships and possibly would have been sunk by the first hit. This plan was presented in 1793 and never put into effect.

The cartographic style allows for an almost certain attribution to Johann Friedrich Ferdinand Wollant. This sideview shows a rigged ‘canoniere’ under sail which displays all the characteristics of the model Wollant recorded in Cayenne in 1781.

Scale-bar of 40 Amsterdam feet = [approximately 1 : 82].

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Sources and literature

Heijer, H. den, Grote Atlas van de West-Indische Compagnie = Comprehensive Atlas of the Dutch West India Company, II, de nieuwe WIC 1674-1791 = the new WIC 1674-1791 (2012)