Naval warfare factsTechnology quiz
HMS Victory is the only surviving example of a ship of the line. Where does the name "of the line" come from?
She could be used to form a line of battle. The line of battle was a naval tactic in which ships form a line, so each ship can fire its broadside without fear of hitting a friendly ship. As breaking of the line ruined this tactic, only the powerful ships (called "ship of the line") were used.
What was the typical attack method of the Roman navy?
Boarding. Since the Romans were primarily a land-based army, they lost several sea battles due to lack of naval skills. The corvus, a boarding ramp with two steel spikes, was the Roman answer to this problem. It secured Roman naval dominance in the Mediterranean Sea for several centuries.
Why in the past were European ships built with high wooden "castles" fore and aft?
To improve ship defense. These were built to better resist boarding, commonly used in the naval warfare (especially by pirates). Boarders needed to attack these castles with great difficulty, while archers or harquebusiers could sweep the enemy decks.
In naval warfare of the Age of Sail, what was the most desired way to fire at the enemy?
Fire towards stern. Although each shot of raking fire is more likely to miss the target, it will cause more damage when successful. In addition, the targeted ship will have few or no guns able to return fire. A stern rake tends to be more damaging than a bow rake because the shots are not deflected by the curved and strengthened bow.