Oceanic galleys

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
6,046
Portugal
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.
If you are referring to the 1588 Armada, and not the 1582, the 4 galleys were the Portuguese that Frank81 mentioned in the post #6. And they didn’t reach the destiny.

The Neapolitans were galley type of ships and were galleasses, that I mentioned in post #2, and then with Frank81.

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?
Good link “de re militari” is a good site. The Neapolitan galleasses were built to operate in the Mediterranean, they were included in 1588 Armada since Filipe II was also king of Naples.
 

Triceratops

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
3,016
Late Cretaceous
This is from wiki, re Lancaran, warships from SE Asia:

In South East Asia, the lanacaran was the equivalent of the European galleass, although its tactical uses were different from those of European vessels. The Lancaran was usually equipped with bow-mounted cannon and side-mounted swivel guns.The soldiers of the South East Asian navy customarily fought with boarding actions, so quick firing side-mounted swivel guns were used to counter this. Acehnese large galleys (galleasses) reached 100 m in length and 17 m in breadth, having 3 masts with square sails and topsails; they were propelled by 35 oars on each side and able to carry 700 men. The lancaran was armed with 98 guns: 18 large cannon (five 55-pounders at the bow, one 25-pounder at the stern, the rest were 17 and 18- pounders), 80 falcons and many swivel guns. The ship was called the "Espanto do Mundo" (terror of the universe), which was probably a free translation of "Cakradonya" (Cakra Dunia). The Portuguese reported that it was bigger than anything ever built in the Christian world, and that the gunnery on its forecastle could compete with the firepower of galleons. There were reported to be a total of 47 of them during Iskandur Muda's reign.
 
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Vaeltaja

Ad Honorem
Sep 2012
3,693
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:
Battles, Sweden, 1700s (2)
Technology had actually advanced quite a bit from however. Galleys (and 'half-galleys') as such were fairly common early on in the struggles for Baltic Sea (from 1700 on wards) but soon started to become obsolete since other ships could do their role better. Galleys were largely relegated into a role of a troop transport - in essence the army provided rowers for one direction and the ship would then either wait or sail on skeleton crew afterwards - in which they were fairly good for such short distances.

On one hand galleys were in part replaced with 'archipelago frigates' which were essentially row-able sailing ships except that they typically were difficult to row and far from stellar sailing ships since they were made for shallow waters. The Swedes build who series of these (Turuma - Wikipedia, Udema - Wikipedia, Hemmema - Wikipedia and Pojama - Wikipedia - wikipedia has good pics on all of these) all featuring much heavier armament (typically in chaser & broadside style) than galleys while have greater endurance as well - Udema type even had centerline gun armament on rotating mounts which was fairly rare at the time. The more maneuverable role of galleys was taken over by gun sloops (~ 15 - 20 m long sail/row boat with 24 pounder stern and bow chaser, kanonsloop) and gun yawls (11 - 15 m long sail/row boat with 24 pounder stern chaser, kanonjolle) which were possible because the advances in metallurgy allowed boats of that size to mount 24 pounders... Since it was meant for coastal operations some of the small ships had their armament mounted on carriages so that they could be brought to shore while landing troops (so could be used as sort of a landing craft). I doubt those count as 'galleys' however.

Gun yawl with its stern chaser:
 
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Frank81

Ad Honorem
Feb 2010
5,140
Canary Islands-Spain
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.
Neapolitan galleases had different performance:


La Girona - She ran aground in Ireland with 1,300 people during a storm in midnight (she rescued lot of men before this massive catastrophe)
San Lorenzo - She ran aground in Calais after the brulotte attack
Zúñiga - She landed in Le Havre and returned home one year after the campaign
Napolitana - She returned to Laredo

Neapolitan galleases sustained heavy fighting with the English ships, accounting some of the little known damages inflicted to them


--------


The Spanish thought they needed galleys on the northern seas, and a hot debate followed: use or not use galleys. Some Spanish sailors, as Pedro de Zubiaur, insisted there were no need of them and fought just with round ships, with great success; others, as Juan del Águila, made good use of galleys for amphibian operations in Great Britain and the Netherlands. To some degree, both were correct.

However, the Spanish squadron of galleys in the north suffered a fatal blow when the Dutch badly mauled them at the Battle of the Narrow Seas, 1602



https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/27/Vroom_Hendrick_Cornelisz_Dutch_Ships_Ramming_Spanish_Galleys_off_the_Flemish_Coast_in_October_1602.jpg
 
Last edited:
Oct 2011
487
Croatia
I have been looking at Irish galleys, at it seems that - compared to Mediterranean galleys - they generally had a) higher freeboard and b) raised prow. Both of these seem to be adaptations to handle waves: consider "Atlantic bow" on 20th century battleships, which is extended both vertically and horizontally, increasing sheer and freeboard.


So I am thinking they might have looked similar to Xebec:


Found some discussion here as well:
16th century west coast Irish galley, 1/24 scale, scratch built - RC Groups
Irish Galley c.1580 by Deperdussin1910 - 1:24 - Radio - Scratch - POF
 
May 2019
218
Earth
You know this discussion got me wondering... did Europeans ever use galleys in the Americas? I could see them being useful as fast-attack craft for guys like the French corsairs who went after Spanish shipping in the Caribbean, or as patrol boats for the Spanish in their colonies...
 

Tercios Espanoles

Ad Honorem
Mar 2014
6,679
Beneath a cold sun, a grey sun, a Heretic sun...
You know this discussion got me wondering... did Europeans ever use galleys in the Americas? I could see them being useful as fast-attack craft for guys like the French corsairs who went after Spanish shipping in the Caribbean, or as patrol boats for the Spanish in their colonies...
I seem to recall the Continental Navy operated a few.