Smokestacks on ships are called “funnels,” for those who don’t know. During the early days of steamships, the number of funnels correlated directly to the number of boilers. However, that didn’t remain the case for long. Multiple exhaust flues could connect into a single funnel. In fact, that quickly became standard design practise. Show me a ship with thirty boilers… easy. Show me a ship with thirty funnels… I won’t hold my breath. I’ve never seen any ship with more than six.
On the left is the second of the river cruisers. This one focuses more on offense and less on stealth. I brought up the funnels because it is standard practise to build river cruisers with a single funnel, so that, from a distance, they resemble harmless ferries. Up close, the mistake is unlikely to be made, but over a distance of a kilometre or so, through trees and thick fog, one might not know if the approaching steamship was just another cargo steamer or a deadly river cruiser.
So, what’s the logic behind multiple funnels? Well, a more efficient exhaust system makes for a more efficient ship (more funnels, less coal burned, to a point). The ram adds to that as well, which is why so many large ships have them. In addition, there was no need to disguise ships deployed to the eastern border, only those that remained well within the mainland territory to fight rebel factions.
I plan to make one more river cruiser design before moving on the river dreadnoughts, of which there will be at least two.