The Artésien class included five French 3rd rate ships of the line, built at Brest to a design of Joseph-Louis Ollivier. They were armed with 64 cannons and had a designed crew of 570-580 men. They were armed with 26 24–Pounder guns in the lower deck, 28 12–Pounder guns in the upperdeck, and 10 6–Pounder guns in the quarterdeck and the recastle.
The Protée was built in 1772 and designated as flagship of a convoy directed to India, departing with other ships as escort, transporting troops and ammunition. On 23 February, off Spain, the convoy met Rodney’s fleet; Duchilleau, commander in charge, tried to lure the British by continuing on the same bearing, while the convoy escaped, escorted by the other ships. The British fleet chased and captured Protée.
This ship pack can also be used to represent the French Artésien Class ship-of-the-line “Eveillé 1772.”
After being captured off the coast of Spain by Lord Robert Manners, the Protée was commissioned in the Royal Navy as the third rate HMS Prothee. She was converted to serve as a prison ship in 1799, and broken up in 1815. Eight of her small cannons were purchased by John Manners, 5th Duke of Rutland and are currently at Belvoir Castle, Leicestershire. The cannons are still fired on special occasions, such as weddings and the Duke’s birthday.
This ship pack can also be used to represent the British Caton Class ship-of-the-line “HMS Argonaut 1782.”