Baltic 57mm Firepower

During the Dansk-Hanseatic war (who doesn’t remember that like yesterday?),  Christoffer, son of the Dansk king Waldemar IV Atterdag was killed in action by a cannonball on 11th of June 1363 during a sea-fight. This is one of the first instances of warships using cannon at sea.

The picture below is of a ship much more advanced than the galleys of the 14th century. Its the 238-foot long, 640-ton HSwMS Helsingborg of his majesty’s Swedish Navy. She is the second in the new class of Swedish Visby-class corvettes. These ‘stealth ships’ are constructed with a sandwich design consisting of a PVC core with a carbon fiber and vinyl laminate with good conductivity. Good conductivity and surface flatness means a low radar signature, while good heat insulation lowers the infrared signature and increases survivability in case of fire. The composite sandwich used is also non-magnetic, which lowers the magnetic signature. Composites are also very strong for their relative weight, and less weight means a higher top speed and better maneuverability. The composite weighs roughly 50% less than the equivalent strength steel.


The Helsingborg‘s angular design reduces its radar signature (or radar cross-section). Jan Nilsson, one of the designers, told BBC News Online: “We are able to reduce the radar cross-section by 99%. That doesn’t mean it’s 99% invisible, it means that we have reduced its detection range.” Even the 57 mm cannon barrel can be folded into the turret to reduce its cross-section.

Speaking of 57mm guns, that’s her Bofors Mk3 ripping off at 220-rounds per minute. In US service the Mk 3 is known as the Mark 110 Mod 0 and is in use on the new Legend-class National Security Cutters of the USCG as well as the two classes of Littoral Combat Ships (with some issues). The mounting has 120 ready rounds, and a total of 1,000 rounds in mounting, each a 6.1 kg (13 lb) shell with a range of 17,000m.

Besides the 57mm hood ornament, she carries 8 × RBS15 Mk2 antiship missiles,  4 × 400 mm torpedo launchers for Type 45 torpedoes, Mines, depth charges, and has provision for a dozen 127 mm ALECTO anti-submarine rocket launchers and 8 × Umkhonto SAMs.

So, there you have it, a stealth ship powered by state of the art gas turbines and diesel engines, still packing naval cannon some 600-years later.

Take that Christoffer.


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About laststandonzombieisland

Let me introduce myself. I am a bit of a conflict junkie. I am fascinated by war and warfare, assassination, personal protection and weaponry ranging from spud guns and flame throwers to thermonuclear bombs and Soviet-trained Ebola monkeys. In short, if it’s violent or a tool to create violence it is kind of my thing. I have written a few thousand articles on the dry encyclopedia side for such websites as, Univesity of Guns, Outdoor Hub, History Times, Big Game Hunter, Glock Forum, Firearms, and Combat Forums; as well as for print publications like England Expects, and Strike First Strike Fast. Several magazines such as Sea Classics, Military Historian and Collector, Mississippi Sportsman and Warship International have carried my pieces. Additionally I am on staff as a naval consultant and writer for Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine. Currently I am working on several book projects including an alternative history novel about the US-German War of 1916, and a biography of Southern gadfly and soldier of fortune Bennett Doty. My first novel, about the coming zombie apocalypse was released in 2012 by Necro Publications and can be found at as was the prequel, Chimera-44. I am currently working on book two of that series: "Pirates of the Zombie Coast." In my day job I am a contractor for the US federal government in what could best be described as the ‘Force Protection’ field. In this I am an NRA-certified firearms, and less-than-lethal combat instructor.

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