Naval Weapons and Combat

Ballista: A ballista is a tension-based weapon that resembles a large crossbow. Ballistas may be mounted either on the decks of ships or through portholes on lower decks. Ballista for naval combat are generally of modest size, firing spears that weight circa 20kg. However, some larger ships have been mounted with the largest variants of siege-ballista which can fire missile of up to 75 kg. Due to the difficulty of aiming a ballista aboard a moving ship, larger quantities of smaller weapons are generally preferred. In the cases were large siege-ballista have been mounted on warships, the goal is to have a weapon capable of puncturing the hull of an enemy ship.

Onager: This is the other land based siege engine that has been modified to become a mainstay of naval combat. An onger is a torsion powered catapult that fires projectiles at a comparatively low angle. This makes the onager usable in naval combat at modest ranges, as opposed to catapults variants that have a high projectile arc (such as a trebuchet) as it these would make it practically impossible to hit anything from the deck of ship. Onagers generally fire either heavy stones with the aim of damaging the enemy hull, or bags of shrapnel or small stones with the intention of clearing enemy decks and damaging sails.

Marines: The most reliable and consistent naval weapon is a well trained complement of marines. Soldiers that have been trained and equipped for ship-born combat, marines will attempt to storm the opposing deck and capture the enemy ship once the opposing vessels are alongside one another (or to fight off the opposing marines). While some of the ship-bound siege engines will occasion manage to sink an enemy ship, most of naval combat if focuses on crippling the enemy ship to either escape, or close and storm the deck.

Archers: Archer firing from one deck to another is another method for harassing the enemy vessels before closing. Archer’s general strategy tends to be harass the enemy crew and wound their marines before closing. To minimize necessary manpower, the marines on many ships will server as archers before the melee begins, although larger warships will carry dedicated complements of both. Naval combat tends to feature bows with a heavy draw and weighted arrows, as lighter munitions have little change of reaching a target before being blown off course. Volley fire is the only viable strategy for ship to ship combat, as the density of fire is required to have any affect. Even the most talented of archers has little chance of picking out a mark aboard moving ships, unless the range is close and the wind still.



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