Oceanic galleys

pikeshot1600

Ad Honorem
Jul 2009
9,960
I am doing a bit of research on galleys and galley warfare, and I realized that Mediterranean galley types - such as trireme, or Byzantine dromond - were completely useless for oceanic warfare. So which galley-type warships were used in the Atlantic ocean? And were and which galleys used in Indian ocean as well?
The galley could be useful as a sort of "amphibious assault craft" in some cases away from the Mediterranean. This type of ship was used in the Spanish assault on the Azores in 1582, and it was intended as a close-in coast vessel for the Armada invasion. As I can recall there were four galleys as part of the Armada, but all four were unable to make it across the Bay of Biscay (a very stormy body). I don't know if they tried that again with the other "armadas" that failed in the 1590s.

^^ EDIT: I must have been thinking of something else as Triceratops's post above references a Wiki with the four Armada galleases, and no mention of them not making it across the Bay of Biscay.

I think the galleas was intended as a galley only with heavier fire power, but I can't be sure. The English in the 1570s rebuilt two galleases as "raze built galleons," perhaps realizing that the previous type of ship was of less use as an ocean going warship. From what I recall, these two ships had a good length-to-beam ratio, and were ideal for the rebuild. Rather than oars, they mounted a broadside of about 10 guns (X 2) plus smaller pieces.
 
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Triceratops

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
3,016
Late Cretaceous
Found this:
Ships and Fleets in Anglo-French warfare, 1337-1360 » De Re Militari

@Triceratops Thanks. But were any of these shps designed for use in Atlantic, or merely pressed into service to fill in numbers?
Not sure. The French Admiral Pregent de Bidoux brought his galley squadron from the Mediterranean to the Channel in 1512.
In calm waters, which sometime happen even in Northern waters, the galley has an advantage over a sail powered ship.
The galley can also carry a large gun along its' centre line. A larger weapon than sailing ships mounted on their broadside, for example La Reale, the Christian flagship at Lepanto, had a 48 pounder cannon on its centreline.

The Swedes and Russians were using galleys in the 18th century in the Baltic.

From wiki:

The French King had Pregent de Bidoux bring 6 galleys from the Mediterranean in the late autumn of 1512, and by the end of March 1513 a sizeable French fleet had been mobilized. On 10 March 1513 the Earl of Oxford died, and Howard became Lord Admiral. On 19 March he sailed from the Thames, reaching Plymouth on 5 April. Without waiting for his supply ships, he set out from Plymouth and found the French fleet, which retreated into Brest. Howard lost one ship on a hidden rock, and on 22 April was attacked by Bidoux's galleys, whose heavy guns sank another ship. On 25 April Howard decided to attack the galleys with his smaller boats known as row-barges. Howard led the attack on Bidoux's flagship in person. During the fighting he was forced over the side of the galley and drowned by the weight of his armour. Both his body and his silver whistle, the Lord Admiral's badge of office, were found three days later, and delivered to Bidoux at Le Conquet, who sent the armour as a trophy to Princess Claude, the French King's daughter, and the whistle to Queen Anne.
 
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pikeshot1600

Ad Honorem
Jul 2009
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@Triceratops

As far as the Swedes and Russians using galleys in the Baltic, there was a great deal of amphibious warfare in that sea. The littoral has a lot of shallow, coastal areas with barrier islands and many river estuaries. These galleys enabled the naval powers to operate in places their ocean going fleets could not access.

Some pretty good examples are in:

Jan Glete, "Amphibious Warfare in the Baltic, 1550-1700" in D.J.B. Trim and M.C. Fissel, eds., Amphibious Warfare, 1000-1700, etc. (Brill, 2006).

The technology had not changed much in the 18th century. ;)
 

Triceratops

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
3,016
Late Cretaceous
I am doing a bit of research on galleys and galley warfare, and I realized that Mediterranean galley types - such as trireme, or Byzantine dromond - were completely useless for oceanic warfare. So which galley-type warships were used in the Atlantic ocean? And were and which galleys used in Indian ocean as well?
Something to read, though it does concentrate on Mediterranean warfare:

 
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May 2019
215
Earth
How did they mount broadsides on those galleys, given that the oars are taking up most of the lower deck? Was it all topside? Or did these sorts of ships tend to only have bow and stern guns?
 

Triceratops

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
3,016
Late Cretaceous
@Triceratops

As far as the Swedes and Russians using galleys in the Baltic, there was a great deal of amphibious warfare in that sea. The littoral has a lot of shallow, coastal areas with barrier islands and many river estuaries. These galleys enabled the naval powers to operate in places their ocean going fleets could not access.

Some pretty good examples are in:

Jan Glete, "Amphibious Warfare in the Baltic, 1550-1700" in D.J.B. Trim and M.C. Fissel, eds., Amphibious Warfare, 1000-1700, etc. (Brill, 2006).

The technology had not changed much in the 18th century. ;)
The largest naval battle ever fought in the Baltic:
https://archive.fo/20120630221842/http://www.algonet.se/~hogman/battles_1700b_eng.htm
 
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Triceratops

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
3,016
Late Cretaceous
How did they mount broadsides on those galleys, given that the oars are taking up most of the lower deck? Was it all topside? Or did these sorts of ships tend to only have bow and stern guns?
The Galleass carried a broadside battery as well as guns fore and aft.

From the galleys I've looked at all the guns were in the bow firing forward.
 
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Oct 2011
467
Croatia
How did they mount broadsides on those galleys, given that the oars are taking up most of the lower deck? Was it all topside? Or did these sorts of ships tend to only have bow and stern guns?
Guns were sometimes placed between rowing positions, but these were limited in calibre. Large guns were placed on forecastle (galeasses).

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-xwWSOmOQbmg/VctzxEfNDlI/AAAAAAAA1Hw/glLuuspBfns/s1600/galleass+02.jpg
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-MRkdkl5a1eU/Vctz2iQ2auI/AAAAAAAA1H4/ZU40h0-ISjA/s1600/galleass+01.jpg
 
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