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Historical resources about age of sail

Discussion in 'The Blind Parrot' started by samoja, Feb 7, 2016.

  1. samoja

    samoja Powder Monkey

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    So recently
    i got back into Empire Total war and it sparked my interest about age of sail, because while naval tactic was pretty straight forward naval exploits were rather interesting, however i found rather few resources about it online, i generally had to hunt down information, for example i wanted to know about trade ships, now while everyone is familiar with famed galleons and to lesser extent indiamen i wanted to know about smaller, more common vessels operating in this time, galleons and indiamen were almost pocket battleships in their own right, i found one small trading sloop that apparently mounted a few (like 6 or 7 IIRC) 1 pounder cannons, i was unaware cannons even came in this small size, however i was unable to find any further info on those, i was also interested in general about different types of armament various ships would mount at this time (from merchant ships, to navy to pirates and privateers) but again, little to no information, can somebody suggest a good site for this kind of information?
     
    Robert Nutter likes this.
  2. Robert Nutter

    Robert Nutter Serving Victoria Provisional QA Tester 3D Artist Storm Modder

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    You came to the right place!

    I tend to hover around the National Archives collections (which ironically is where ETW got its ship designs). A lot of first hand info. A LOT. For ships in particular, the collections have a vast quantity of almost every (mostly British) ship from the period. Not sure if other countries have equivalent collections, though it's likely. To be honest I learnt a huge majority of what I know on the subject from general AOS-period books and wikipedia. I see something I don't understand in a book, I'll jump on wikipedia! So long as you corroborate things on google and continue the research elsewhere (if you're interested), you can't go far wrong. :onya Just ignore all these people who say Wiki isn't all that reliable. I'd say its a good 97% there as far as historical articles are concerned at least, and serves as a great tool for pointing you in research directions.

    I have a literal list of sites though so if you're interested in anything in particular regarding those smaller ships, I can point you at a few.

    Archive catalogue - National Maritime Museum

    Also, many countries seem to have one of these portals, which are absolute gold mines for discovering new classes/types of warship:

    List of Royal Navy ships - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    For traders, there's probably a similar list on there. But here's an interesting one which can probably tell you just about anything if you dig deep enough:

    Research guide C1: The Merchant Navy: Tracing people: Crew lists, agreements and official logs

    I know these are all British examples, but I find it unlikely other developed countries won't have similar sites set up.

    EDIT: Whilst I've always been interested in the AOS, ETW certainly fed that passion! Have you tried AUM (additional units mod)? It adds loads of ships, most of them more accurate (and cooler) than the ones in NTW! :sail
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2016
  3. samoja

    samoja Powder Monkey

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    Thanks, haven't played around with mods really, but i would like a mod that decentralizes the navies, historically as far as i can tell navies only operated in fleets during war times and for specific purpose, more often then not they were out alone, searching for prizes maybe a mod could make it so larger ships and fleets are slower on the campaign map, and have AI break it's fleets somewhat to cover more ground, if there's one thing i don't like about ETW naval stuff it's that you don't really get a feeling for how busy the sea was, with ships going everywhere.
     
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  4. Robert Nutter

    Robert Nutter Serving Victoria Provisional QA Tester 3D Artist Storm Modder

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    Not wanting to deviate into ETW too much, but I must say I like that idea; and I'm not entirely sure if such a mod already exist. I know Darthmod for ETW decreases (or could be increases :/) army/navy path distances so that could do something...most mods fiddle with that though so you may just need to do some trial and error. I understand ETW isn't a hard game to fiddle with, so if you know how you can do it yourself; personally I'm playing on OSX so probably can't help much there though. In NTW, I know a fleet gets slightly reduced movement if you have sail-only ships vs the steamers, so perhaps there's something like that in ETW to play around with? And in my experience the AI break their fleets too much...large scale battles in late game are extremely hard to come by. That's why mods tried fixing this by making AI fleets more cohesive. Though I think I know where you're coming from; it'd be good to have more effective micro fleets as opposed to loads of sloop spamming.

    As for the lone ship....I always did think the 6th rate (aka ETW's only actual Frigate...the Carronade version doesn't really count) was horribly underpowered and outclassed, whereas the pirate/spanish galleon can easily take on a 3rd rate. The 5th Rate can take down absolutly anything with its massive range and chainshot, but the 6th just gets bullied by two or more sloops/brigs, meaning you don't dare send them out alone. Seems almost like CA wanted it to serve purely as a scout ship within larger fleets (which to be fair it does quite well), but not for the player to perform frigate duties ie recon/patrol/hunting/long range recon etc. It does seem like a whole chunk of gameplay missed out. :shrug

    Anyway, I'd recommend NTW Darthmod if you're after the most accurate AOS experience in a TW game. He rebalanced the hell out of it :D
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2016
  5. samoja

    samoja Powder Monkey

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    Yeah, it's probably an inherent drawback of turn based format, but to be honest most games misrepresent pirate life from what i saw, i found a list of EIC ships: Ships of the East India Company i only went trough about 1/2 of the letter A but for now only one ship was taken by pirates, more by privateers and most of this ships actually carry no weapons, some carried a complement (mostly up to 20 guns though some did carry 32, caliber is under question however) but it seems vast majority were unarmed, including the one ship i found that was captured. Most pirate sloops from what i gather only carried 6 or 7 small guns, against even light navy ships they would be outclassed but they mostly dealt with unarmed sailors who, even if they had any weapons were often more likely to surrender then face the possibility of being killed. Anyway apart from great galleons and indiamen (who were mostly joint stock ventures of number of shareholders) most trading vessels would be mad to try to take on even small military ship, and that's what frigates and the like were for in real life, they were raiders to disrupt enemy shipping, similar to privateers only with prize money instead of loot, they were not meant to engage ships of the line and indeed it was considered unsporting for a ship of the line to fire on a frigate unless fired upon first, so frigates were mostly used for raiding shipping and hunting down other frigates and smaller ships, USS Constitution and it's sister ships were also used to blockade ports belonging to Barbary pirates but those had no large ships of their own.
     

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