an HMS American Cultures collaborative production

The ironclad was a steam propelled warship invented by the French in 1859. It was invented because of vulnerability of the wooden warships to exploding shells. The ironclad has iron and steel plates to protect the ship from exploding shells. Many were built to be able to use the torpedo and the ram, which were thought to be the most important thing in navy tactics.The iron clad was going to be used as a high sea battle ship, a defense ship, and a long range cruiser. When ironclads became very important ships in the navy, wooden warships and navy strategy became obsolete, because the iron clad could rip a wooden ship to shreds. It could also fire at long range which changed the tactics of fighting. They were first used in the Civil War at the Battle of Hampton Roads, where the USS Monitor and CSS Virginiadueled it out. The iron clad name disapered in the late 1890s when the new armored ships were invented and were then called armored cruisers.They were very successful in the Civil War.
The first battle between ironclads: CSS Virginia/Merrimac (left) vs. USS Monitor, in 1862 at the Battle of Hampton Roads