We’re sorry but we are currently still working on support for IE6 because of its non-compliance with common web standards. In the meantime, please consider upgrading to Internet Explorer 7, FireFox, Apple Safari, or Google Chrome.


Empire: Total War Heaven

You must be logged in to post messages.
Please login or register

Empire: Total War - Naval Battles
Moderated by Pitt, Awesome Eagle

Hop to:    
Welcome! You are not logged in. Please Login or Register.8 replies
Empire: Total War Heaven » Forums » Empire: Total War - Naval Battles » Chain Shot and Maneuver
Topic Subject:Chain Shot and Maneuver
posted 06-19-11 00:46 AM EDT (US)         
I wrote this in response to a question on the main discussion board.

The twin pillars of my naval tactics are attacks on the enemy’s sails and maneuver. Sails are the weak point of every fighting ship, save those with oars or steam. A fighting ship that has been immobilized can be captured at my leisure.

In order to attack an enemy’s sails effectively, I need to position my ship directly downwind from the enemy’s ship. Ideally, the enemy will be sailing directly with the wind so that his sails are full and taut when my chain shot hits them. In any event, my objective is to inspire the enemy to chase my ship as close to direction of the wind as possible. For the moment, let’s assume I’m using a sloop against an enemy’s frigate. I maneuver my sloop in a serpentine—a series of S shapes—at maximum gunnery range for my sloop. As my sloop turns broadside to the enemy’s frigate, the sloop fires a broadside. Immediately, I turn my sloop away and into another split-S so that the other broadside can fire. Repeat as necessary. It will take a few salvoes to reduce the integrity of the enemy’s sails by half. It may take twelve or fifteen more broadsides to effectively immobilize the enemy frigate, but I seldom use a sloop for that job.

Against another sloop or brig, I have to change tactics. My sloop is quite vulnerable to counter-fire from small enemy vessels with comparable maneuverability. More than once I have delivered a broadside against the enemy’s sails, only to have the target drop his sails, turn, and fire a broadside of his own against my sloop’s sails. This sort of thing usually results in an immediate loss of half of my sloop’s sails, which effectively takes my sloop out of the fight. To prevent this, I run a course as close to the wind as possible ahead of the enemy sloop or brig and parallel—not directly in front of the enemy. Over several seconds, I edge my sloop’s bow towards the enemy’s track, maintaining full sail the whole time. When I reach about 45 degrees to the enemy’s track, I cut speed to half sail and turn to deliver a broadside. The instant the broadside goes out, I go back to full sail and resume my course running straight ahead of the wind. This tactic usually takes me out of the enemy’s field of fire just in time. Once the enemy’s sails have been reduced by half, he’s essentially out of the turning fight.

Sloops are useful against other sloops, brigs, sixth rates, fifth rates, and fluyts. Galleons are a bit too tough for sloops to tackle reliably, as are fourth rates and larger ships. Even fifth rates present certain hazards because they have forward-firing cannon. Some will use brigs against galleons with success. I prefer to use sixth rates against galleons and fourth rates.

Once I have reduced an enemy vessel’s sails by half with chain shot, I vector in a frigate or heavier ship to finish the job of destroying the enemy’s sails completely. This done, I approach the crippled ship from behind and rake her with grape shot. Fifth rates and fourth rates are quite useful in this role. It is seldom necessary to board an enemy’s ship to cause her to surrender, although one should be prepared to do so. Against very large enemy vessels, very large friendly vessels firing grape shot may be necessary. Though I have never constructed a second rate ship-of-the-line myself, I like to keep one on-hand with my most important fleets to compel the enemy to surrender quickly. A broadside of grape shot from a second rate settles the matter quickly.

In the 150 or so naval engagements I have fought, by far the most useful ships have been my sloops and fifth rates. My sloops have the speed and agility to get into a favorable firing position or just stay out of the enemy’s gun range, while the fifth rates combine good maneuverability, firepower, and survivability. Whatever a fifth rate can’t outgun, she can out turn and outrun.

The musket is for fixing and softening the enemy. The bayonet is for destroying him.
posted 06-19-11 10:17 AM EDT (US)     1 / 8       
I use similar tactics. You should add some screenshots and/or diagrams and post this in the articles forum.

"It is impossible to enjoy idling thoroughly unless one has plenty of work to do. There is no fun in doing nothing when you have nothing to do.
Wasting time is merely an occupation then, and a most exhausting one. Idleness, like kisses, to be sweet must be stolen." -- Jerome K. Jerome

"Some people become so expert at reading between the lines they don't read the lines." -- Margaret Millar

ERADICATE CONDESCENSION! (That means don't talk down to people.)
posted 06-19-11 01:04 PM EDT (US)     2 / 8       
Thank you! I just started a Dutch campaign, and was with your strategy, able to capture approximately 10 pirate ships in three battles!

But I still have problems with the major ones. So much micromanagement!!!

First large battle was against the french channel-fleet. I had 5 ships and they had 6. I lost that one. I think it was because I used a single column. Thus my lighter ships came into the heat of battle. They sank/surrendered fast, giving the rest of my ships a morale shock, and the rest of the fleet routed

I then tried a custom battle with the same conditions, but this time I used two columns. They looked like this:

Column 1:-------Column 2:
5th rate--------Brig
----------------6th rate

I attacked their fleet with Column 1, and ordered Column 2 to sail around, out of the enemies range of fire, and attack them from behind. Attacked from two fronts the enemy got squashed.

I lost my 5th rate, but sank three and captured one of the, and the remaining two got away. However I was quite lucky. I did get in a perfect shot on one of their 6th rates, and it exploded.

Any tips for helping me out in the big battles?

Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle; You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.

Sorry for my bad English, I'm a Swedish Viking

[This message has been edited by ST_TAoW (edited 06-19-2011 @ 01:08 PM).]

posted 06-20-11 03:20 AM EDT (US)     3 / 8       
There is a lot of micromanagement involved in a large fleet action, unfortunately. Get your ships out of columns. When you have an advantage in firepower, approach the enemy in a line with your lightest combatants at either end and your heavy-hitters in the middle. When you are at a disadvantage, approach your enemy on the downwind side with lighter ships than his. Leave your heavier ships behind for the time being. As his ships turn towards your lighter combatants, start firing on their sails. Keep your lighter combatants sailing with the wind. His ships with damaged sails will fall behind. This is when you move up your heavier ships to finish off his sails and slaughter his crew with grape shot.

The musket is for fixing and softening the enemy. The bayonet is for destroying him.
posted 09-14-11 09:45 AM EDT (US)     4 / 8       
Grouping and using line astern formation is ok for small numbers of ships, say 3 or 4 max if you intend to manouver, you can lead a trio of 74's around a 1st rate and pound it to mastless wodden rubble, but for large fleets, a single line is a totaly static formation.

Park up, downwind in line astern broadsides to the advancing enemy fleet, and pray they dont have fire ships, rockets or bomb ketches...
posted 09-16-11 11:29 AM EDT (US)     5 / 8       
Fire ships? I've never seen those in this game. Which country gets them?

As to the OP, I have used the 'S' sailing tactic most of the time as well and have been able to capture a 2nd rate with a fluyt that way.

Life was much easier before I developed a sense of ethics.
posted 09-17-11 03:22 PM EDT (US)     6 / 8       
No faction GETS fireships, any faction can MAKE fireships...


You have agreed to meet an opponant in a naval skirmish game, online. Your opponant is a compleat Muppet (Muppet - RN slang term - Most Useless Person Pusser Ever Trained (Pusser - RN slang, corruption of Purser - The Navy or anything of or pertaining to the Navy)).

Because he is a muppet, he has purchased the "pay for elite units that use meshes and textures you already have" Naval DLC pack, so you KNOW he will select 5 copies of HMS Victory.

You select 3 74's (Admirals 3rd Rate) because they can run rings around a 1st, stay out of its fire arc and pound the masts to matchsticks, with skillful handling.

You have points left over, soooo, you buy some cheap and nasty militarised fishing boats, small easilly killed stuff, light galleys are good too, as they can row into the wind.

You group your 3 74's into a line astern formation, and steer carefully to demast the lead Vic as they come at you, using the wind to zig zag before them, you send the cheap n nasty disposables on a fire and forget mission to sail into the middle of the enemy flotilla (set ammo to grape, right click on one of the Vics to set them on course).

When your opponant instinctivly blasts the disposables to hell and glory they WILL catch fire, and eventually they WILL explode, and since they are right in the middle of his formation of slow demasted 1sts, when they do, they will almost certainly fire his ships... And he will almost certainly have turned off the battle advice while playing land battles before trying naval stuff, so he wont know how to get his crew to fight the fires, so his 1sts will explode too, with even bigger fireballs (larger powder magazine).

Not very sporting, but it does work, and people use it.
posted 09-20-11 11:46 AM EDT (US)     7 / 8       
Oh I see. Thanks for the clarification and example. I've tried using small ships as fire ship/kamikazes against the AI but with mixed (usually less than favourable) results.

Life was much easier before I developed a sense of ethics.
(id: p90pro)
posted 09-30-11 04:47 AM EDT (US)     8 / 8       
Rocket ships are good in this role; highly flammable but still having a potent offensive weapon against large ships. Good explosions are guaranteed in any battle with rocket ships.

Rocket ships must meet the enemy head on. A single brodside can send them up and then what? Mission failed, right? Sail headlong, rockets firing, straight into their lead ship. Creep to either side of that ship and hope a broadside sets it off.
Send them off conservatively as launching them all at once could result in them all biting it too early.

An enemy down is an enemy down, right? And nailing their lead ship is always good, but the absolute best thing is to get your "fire ships" into the middle of their formation. A ship that is rapidly lost to fire will typically surrender, stop, and then explode. It makes sense to have this happen in the middle of their formation as it serves the dual purpose of isolating their lead ships and, hopefully, starting a chain reaction to get the rear ships to start lighting off. Brigs or sloops are good for this, being a little hardier than rocket ships or ketches and that much more likely to survive long enough to make it to the desired spot.

Sir, I have not yet begun to defile myself.
Swallow my pride? No thank you, Im too full of myself.
I bring you nothing but love and a shopping bag full of sexual depravity.
I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me.
Tied with Meteora (****er) for Best Sig Award.

[This message has been edited by Ecthelion (edited 10-01-2011 @ 11:24 PM).]

You must be logged in to post messages.
Please login or register

Hop to:    

Empire: Total War Heaven | HeavenGames