Battle Tactics on a Pirate Ship

In order to be a pirate throughout history, you needed to know more than just how to sail a pirate ship and drink rum. You needed to know how to conduct battle at sea as well as close combat. Pirate ships were war machines par excellence and the first rules of becoming a pirate captain was how to conduct your ship during times of battle.

Battle Tactics on a Pirate Ship

Pirate Ship Artillery
Prepared for battle day and night, pirate ships were equipped with what was at the time cutting edge technology – cannons! In order to put these cannons into use, the pirate ship would need to swing to one side in order to target its enemy. Some ships would only have cannons on one side, while the meanest pirate ships and war ships were renowned for having cannons on both sides.

Ammunition
A lot of physical strength was required to work the cannons, and the pirate captain would have to decide what kind of ammunition was required for his specific objective. For example, to best sink the enemy ship, round cannons were used for their greater accuracy, however, if the captain of the pirate ship wished to keep the enemy vessel as a prize, chain (split) shot would be used to destabilize the ship without too much irreparable damage. However, this kind of ammunition could only be used at close range.

For maximum bloodshed at a greater distance, what was called carcass ammunition would be used. This ammunition burned poisonous fumes that would either kill of disorientate the enemy, burning on contact with the ship.

Close Combat
It was also common for most of the crew and captain to leave their pirate ship in order to battle with their enemy in close combat. Pirates would swing on ropes to board the enemy ship where the battle would continue with cutlasses, daggers, swords and guns.

Life on a pirate ship was rarely dull, but incredibly dangerous. The Marigalante pirate ship cruise, however, promises to be far from dull, with the only danger being that you will have the time of your life!

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