The WAPEN VON HAMBURG historical background
In the 17th century the German Empire was a rather loose federation that had only limited naval power. It could not give its trading vessels a protection by an organized escort system. Especially the Mediterranean routes were endangered by corsairs of the Barbary States of North Africa, who were masters in using their fast and light chebecs.
In the years 1662 - 1667 the City of Hamburg lost altogether 13 trading vessels to pirates, and the shipping of the city was nearly disrupted. In 1667 the citizenry decided to build two strong warships as “convoy ships”. They were the Leopoldus Primus and the WAPEN VON HAMBURG.
The Leopoldus Primus undertook 33 long journeys, until she was broken up in 1705.
The WAPEN VON HAMBURG was built in the Deichtor shipyard in Hamburg by a Dutch shipbuilding master. The ship took up service in 1669. The ship served as an escort vessel on voyages to Malaga, Cadiz, Lisbon and north till Spitsbergen. In October 1683, on a trip to Cadiz, suddenly a fire started in the forecastle and rapidly spread throughout the vessel. The fire eventually reached the gunpowder depot and caused a terrible explosion that destroyed the ship.
To replace the lost convoy ship a new Wapen von Hamburg (II) was built in 1686 and 1687, which was used until 1719.
On 12 November 1720 a third ship of this name was launched. A contemporary dockyard model of this vessel in 1 : 16 scale still exists. It is displayed in the Museum für Hamburgische Geschichte.
The WAPEN VON HAMBURG (III) in 1724 went on a trip to
Spain, but was severely damaged by a storm off the Dutch coast and had to
return to Hamburg while the rest of the convoy continued their journey.
Only in 1727 the ship was used again as convoy escort on a journey to
Portugal and Spain.
After 1734 the WAPEN VON HAMBURG was anchored as floating battery to strengthen the southern flank of the Hamburg defenses. In 1737 she was sold by the Hamburg Admiralty to a shipping company and used as trader.
Details on history of the three ships, plans and photographs of the dockyard model are in a book by Heinrich Reincke und Bernhard Schulze, "Das Hamburgische Convoyschiff Wapen von Hamburg III", Arbeitskreis Historischer Schiffbau e.V., Cologne and Museum fuer Hamburgische Geschichte, ISBN 3-931874-00-2, Weyers Druck, Brilon 1998.
Especially the third WAPEN VON HAMBURG is well documented in archives.
On this webpage today's common German way of spelling “Wappen von Hamburg” is used for the designation of the files, so that the search engines may find this page more easily. However, the historically correct name of the ship is “Wapen von Hamburg”, in the way of writing at that time.
The WAPEN VON HAMBURG ship model, photos, description and dimensions
This model is a true masterpiece. It was built by Mr.
Viktor Ovcharov, Sevastopol, Ukraine, with much love to details. The
ship model was built to plans in the book of Heinrich Reinke and to
photographs taken from the dockyard model.
The sails are excellently represented, one can easily imagine the force of the wind in the rigging. This impression is enhanced by giving the model a slight listing to lee.
The flag shown is the flag of the Hamburg Admiralty.
Please take your time to have a good look at the set of photos. There are several views of the entire ship model and closer views of hull, deck and rigging. If you click on a photo you will get that photo in high resolution. Only these high resolution photographs show how much work and handicraft ability were put in the model. If you use Microsoft Internet Explorer, Google Chrome or Firefox, press F11 to minimize navigation bars and have a larger screen with the photos.
This model of the WAPEN VON HAMBURG (III) is 1 : 50 scale. Length is 127 cm, width 54 cm, height 115 cm.
This model is not for sale. The pictures and the data are shown in the gallery of the ship models sold only to let enthusiasts and model makers enjoy the photos and maybe get ideas or some guidance, if someone builds such a model by himself.