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Peter Goldman

Use of anchors in combat

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What was the possible strategic use of anchors during combat? Any historical reference? Any ideas how anchors could be implemented in NA? What was the length of a rope that anchor had? (thinking how deep in the sea you could drop one).

Very nice website with lots of lots of information that I found:

http://www.ageofsail.net/aoshipwd.asp?sletter=anchor;iword=2

Edited by Peter Goldman

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1 hour ago, Peter Goldman said:

What was the possible strategic use of anchors during combat? Any historical reference? Any ideas how anchors could be implemented in NA? What was the length of a rope that anchor had? (thinking how deep in the sea you could drop one).

Very nice website with lots of lots of information that I found:

http://www.ageofsail.net/aoshipwd.asp?sletter=anchor;iword=2

 

the length of an anchor rope was 110 fathom

what is about 110x 1.884 meter =207 .24 meters

of the dutch  admiralty standards for a SOL

rope length were measured in vadem or fathom

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fathom

Edited by Thonys

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The only vessels that normally would of anchored would have been the Bomb Ketches or Mortar Brigs they used bow and stern anchors as they had to be stationary to fire their Mortars, they would also take turns on the capstans to shift their aiming point laterally. It was often dangerous work as a stationary target and they would sometimes work with a Frigate which would if the winds were favourable tack back and forth engaging the batteries with their own guns or keeping enemy ships from interfering with the bombardment, they may even provide Marines to storm the Battery palisades in some cases.

More usually Batteries would be taken by marines at night, the guns spiked while other ships would use cutters to 'cut' out ships anchored in the port. Oddly neither method was used when Nelson sailed into Aboukir bay and decimated the French fleet at the battle of the Nile sailing dangerously close inshore of the French to do so, more so as it was a night action, it was also, I think not the only action  where a small number of British warships actually anchored broadside on to engage the disengaged side of the French fleet.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Nile

The only other reason I can come up with is if a ship grounded they would use a stern anchor to winch off the shore, In battle it left the ship very vulnerable to boarding either by cutters or shallower draught vessels.

Edited by Sir Lancelot Holland

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I'm no naval historian (I just read Wikipedia :lol:), but here is my understanding of the famous scene in the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie when the Interceptor club hauls as a last-ditch effort to shake the pursuing Black Pearl*  and whether there could be any historical context:

Club hauling is something that could be done. It is basically dropping an anchor to force the ship to make a sudden turn and stop forward motion. It was very risky to do, since you are trying to change the ship's direction of motion almost instantly and the bitts (large posts) that the anchor rode (nautical term for the anchor line, chain, and other ground tackle associated with it) was tied to would have to be sturdy enough to take the strain caused by such a maneuver. Furthermore, you'd need to most likely cut the anchor free after the maneuver and continue sailing away from whatever danger (perhaps a lee shore) caused you to have to club haul in the first place. Losing one of your ship's anchors is not something a captain would willingly do unless he had a good reason to do so. I'm not sure if it was a tactic ever used in actual combat or not, but it would be neat to see it in game (see the suggestion below)

 

Another use for the anchors was kedging: using a small anchor (the kedge anchor) to move a ship. This was one of the main tactics used to free a grounded ship if the rising tide wasn't sufficient enough to lift the vessel naturally. The kedging process is simple: the ship would send out a boat, towing the kedge a distance from the grounded ship; the kedge would be released and the rode tightened slowly to allow the kedge to set; once set, the ship could be (hopefully) freed by winding the rode on the capstan and thus pulling the ship off of the obstruction. This method of kedging could also be used to move a ship against the wind (very slowly, obviously).

 

Some interesting things about anchor line, while a ship may carry a certain amount of line dedicated to the anchor, the ship would certainly have enough excess line to splice on enough to anchor in almost any harbor, or off any shore, the captain would want to.

The length of line that you'd need to put out is called scope. You want to have considerably more line out than the water is deep: a general rule of thumb is that a 3:1 scope is the minimum for a good hold, and 5:1 or better is more reliable (7:1 is preferred for many modern anchors). This means that, if you were anchoring in 100' of water, you'd want 300' of anchor line out, at least. The type of anchor used on these ships would have been the same type that we see in game on the ships. They generally hold very well in most bottom conditions and don't require a perfect amount of scope to function reliably; although, as with almost any anchor, more scope is better.

SUGGESTION:

As for using anchors in game, I'd like to see us have the ability to club haul our ships, with risks involved. Here is how it would work (lets assume an 8kn speed while doing this maneuver, more damage would be done at higher speeds, and less at lower speeds):

  • 2 opportunities to club haul at any time in a battle (representing the fact that most large ships carried at least one anchor on each side)
  • upon activating the club haul, there is a 10 second delay where the graphics of the anchor falling is seen and you wait for it to set on the bottom
  • when you club haul, your ship's turning speed is related to the speed you were sailing at: the faster you were sailing, the faster and farther you can turn before your ship stops completely, but you take more damage
  • upon the first club haul, your ship goes into reload shock for 15 seconds, you lose 5% side HP, 10% structure HP, and 15% mast HP
  • upon the second club haul, you go into reload shock for 15 seconds, lose 5% side HP, 15% structure HP, and 25% mast HP
  • you can hold the club haul for as long as you want, but once your ship loses all speed, you will simply be anchored and 0.0kn in battle, but you have the ability to manual sail and turn very easily on your anchor

What this will do is give the skipper the opportunity to pull off a high-risk high-reward maneuver: he risks his masts and a decent chunk of his ship to perhaps do the maneuver that allows him to escape his fleeing enemy on the other tack, or board an unsuspecting opponent. Once again, the damage done to your ship is proportional to the speed at which you release the anchor: dropping anchor at 2kn doesn't hurt your ship at all, dropping anchor at 12kn is almost guaranteed to get  you de-masted. Club hauling a narrow ship like Lynx or Rattlesnake at high speed could even result in a capsize. The numbers I gave for damage values would probably need tweaking, but this is definitely a risky maneuver that you likely won't come away from undamaged.

 

Note:

*The astute observer will recall that, even though more than two minutes passed without the Pearl firing her bow chasers (actually, I don't think the Black Pearl has any chasers at all) to keep Interceptor tagged, the fleeing ship did not magically disappear and sail away unharmed...:P

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Would have, ffs, not would of!....Would've.....contracted would have...

Edited by seanjo

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I am only aware of one thing, a reference I've seen in the Aubrey-Maturin series in which anchors would be mounted on springs to gain better maneuverability. I always thought this was because this would shift the center of gravity one direction port or starboard, hence creating a list and an improved turn rate. Of course it sounds like something from a ship of the line, being large and sturdy enough to do so.

"Club-Hauling" sounds illogical. Firstly you're risking your anchor which is an important piece of equipment and essential for docking (hence the significance of the Spanish cutting their anchors at Gravelines), second you cannot control the violent turning motion, third you stress the rigging, fourth you lose your speed, fifth you screw up your trim.

Edited by _Masterviolin

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As far as I know dropping the anchor to change direction has never been attempted in combat and for good reason. Some of them has been mentioned, but the stress on the riggings, masts etc would've wrecked the ship - assuming ofcourse the ship didn't capsize in the manouver. The entire hull wasn't built to withstand the pressure and the manouver would happen so fast that the yards would've to be adjusted rather quickly to avoid too much stress on the masts.. Could it be done? - perhaps but highly unlikely and not in combat.

 

EDIT: Use of anchors was implemented in the battle of Copenhagen (1801), as far as I'm aware the latter construction of the Kastellet (an artificial island with a navalbattery built on) closed the gap in the defensive line of the harbour negating the need for the danish fleet to position in trench. The nature of Copenhagen harbour and shallows meant that manouvering the fleet was ill advised - the brits ran aground with their two lead vessels (which were then hammered by coastal batteries) and only when Nelson threatened to kill any and all war captives did the defences rest. The anchors were in place to ensure the danish fleet didn't drift out of position and into dangerous shallows. On a sidenote: In 1807 the brits burned down the city due to the difficulty of accessing the danish fleet in port (undeclared war, and the first terrorbombing of a major european capital).

Edited by Bearwall

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No not a Disney movie @Sir Texas Sir If the battle was fought near land such as the examples above, Copenhagen and the Nile, ships could and did make use of anchors if tactically necessary. I believe Nelson order his ships to anchor next to an opponent in these battles - this would gave a more stable firing platform as well.  One method was to use "springs" in order to turn the ship to present her broadside to an enemy ship. The French fleet at the Nile had springs attached to their anchor lines. 

The best example is from the Battle of Plattsburgh on Lake Champlain in 1814. The US fleet anchored in a line and awaited the British attack. The US commander used kedges to turn his ship around and present the undamaged side at a critical moment in the battle:

"Macdonough ordered the bow anchor cut, and hauled in the kedge anchors he had laid out earlier to spin Saratoga around. This allowed Saratoga to bring its undamaged port battery into action. Confiance was unable to return the fire. The frigate's surviving Lieutenant, James Robertson, tried to haul in on the springs to his only anchor to make a similar manoeuvre, but succeeded only in presenting the vulnerable stern to the American fire. Helpless, Confiance could only surrender. Macdonough hauled in further on his kedge anchors to bring his broadside to bear on HMS Linnet. Pring sent a boat to Confiance, to find that Downie was dead and the Confiance had struck its colours. The Linnet also could only surrender, after being battered almost into sinking."

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Plattsburgh

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@DeRuyter I know the comment was more meant as a joke as how would we use any of the examples in game in actual combat other than maybe using it toe make the Mortar Brig more stable while using the Mortars, but the other things are a bit more complicated and prob not something that can easily be used in game for actual combat.

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In the case of the ship that Wasa is based on (Crown Prince Karl Gustav), it was caught by the Russians because it failed to hoist its anchor as fast as the other ships it was travelling with. And when it did, it drifted and struck a shallow, which damaged the lower portion of its main mast and the flooding reached the powder room, due to which they couldn't fire back for long and eventually had to give up.

Not sure what avenues of interesting gameplay it could lead to. If OW sailing was more complex, it would've been interesting if ships would be drifting about and at risk close to shore, prompting people to anchor themselves and then taking X seconds to hoist it - if caught in combat while still anchored, they're rooted in place for Y seconds, allowing for deadly ambushes (not to mention fireships catching people unaware).

Or a line of ships could maneuver, and then drop anchors, giving the aforementioned penalties, but at an increase in accuracy and decrease in heel. Imagine trying to push towards an enemy line that is perfectly lined up and raining hellfire down on ya - the feeling was pretty cool from the closest thing we've had thus far in the old style of PBs.

Edited by Aegir

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11 hours ago, Willis PVP2 said:

I'm no naval historian (I just read Wikipedia :lol:), but here is my understanding of the famous scene in the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie when the Interceptor club hauls as a last-ditch effort to shake the pursuing Black Pearl*  and whether there could be any historical context:

Club hauling is something that could be done. It is basically dropping an anchor to force the ship to make a sudden turn and stop forward motion. It was very risky to do, since you are trying to change the ship's direction of motion almost instantly and the bitts (large posts) that the anchor rode (nautical term for the anchor line, chain, and other ground tackle associated with it) was tied to would have to be sturdy enough to take the strain caused by such a maneuver. Furthermore, you'd need to most likely cut the anchor free after the maneuver and continue sailing away from whatever danger (perhaps a lee shore) caused you to have to club haul in the first place. Losing one of your ship's anchors is not something a captain would willingly do unless he had a good reason to do so. I'm not sure if it was a tactic ever used in actual combat or not, but it would be neat to see it in game (see the suggestion below)

 

Another use for the anchors was kedging: using a small anchor (the kedge anchor) to move a ship. This was one of the main tactics used to free a grounded ship if the rising tide wasn't sufficient enough to lift the vessel naturally. The kedging process is simple: the ship would send out a boat, towing the kedge a distance from the grounded ship; the kedge would be released and the rode tightened slowly to allow the kedge to set; once set, the ship could be (hopefully) freed by winding the rode on the capstan and thus pulling the ship off of the obstruction. This method of kedging could also be used to move a ship against the wind (very slowly, obviously).

 

Some interesting things about anchor line, while a ship may carry a certain amount of line dedicated to the anchor, the ship would certainly have enough excess line to splice on enough to anchor in almost any harbor, or off any shore, the captain would want to.

The length of line that you'd need to put out is called scope. You want to have considerably more line out than the water is deep: a general rule of thumb is that a 3:1 scope is the minimum for a good hold, and 5:1 or better is more reliable (7:1 is preferred for many modern anchors). This means that, if you were anchoring in 100' of water, you'd want 300' of anchor line out, at least. The type of anchor used on these ships would have been the same type that we see in game on the ships. They generally hold very well in most bottom conditions and don't require a perfect amount of scope to function reliably; although, as with almost any anchor, more scope is better.

SUGGESTION:

As for using anchors in game, I'd like to see us have the ability to club haul our ships, with risks involved. Here is how it would work (lets assume an 8kn speed while doing this maneuver, more damage would be done at higher speeds, and less at lower speeds):

  • 2 opportunities to club haul at any time in a battle (representing the fact that most large ships carried at least one anchor on each side)
  • upon activating the club haul, there is a 10 second delay where the graphics of the anchor falling is seen and you wait for it to set on the bottom
  • when you club haul, your ship's turning speed is related to the speed you were sailing at: the faster you were sailing, the faster and farther you can turn before your ship stops completely, but you take more damage
  • upon the first club haul, your ship goes into reload shock for 15 seconds, you lose 5% side HP, 10% structure HP, and 15% mast HP
  • upon the second club haul, you go into reload shock for 15 seconds, lose 5% side HP, 15% structure HP, and 25% mast HP
  • you can hold the club haul for as long as you want, but once your ship loses all speed, you will simply be anchored and 0.0kn in battle, but you have the ability to manual sail and turn very easily on your anchor

What this will do is give the skipper the opportunity to pull off a high-risk high-reward maneuver: he risks his masts and a decent chunk of his ship to perhaps do the maneuver that allows him to escape his fleeing enemy on the other tack, or board an unsuspecting opponent. Once again, the damage done to your ship is proportional to the speed at which you release the anchor: dropping anchor at 2kn doesn't hurt your ship at all, dropping anchor at 12kn is almost guaranteed to get  you de-masted. Club hauling a narrow ship like Lynx or Rattlesnake at high speed could even result in a capsize. The numbers I gave for damage values would probably need tweaking, but this is definitely a risky maneuver that you likely won't come away from undamaged.

 

Note:

*The astute observer will recall that, even though more than two minutes passed without the Pearl firing her bow chasers (actually, I don't think the Black Pearl has any chasers at all) to keep Interceptor tagged, the fleeing ship did not magically disappear and sail away unharmed...:P

An interesting piece, I am inclined to think that a Naval Captain would only club haul at low speed to manoeuvre his ship in tight areas like fleet anchorages where the risks of collision or grounding were present.  No captain would club haul in battle the damage done could cost him his command, even if it did not he would have run the risk of courts martial for unduly hazarding his command.

My Lords of the Admiralty were very unforgiving toward officers who lost or damaged ships through 'poor' decision making especially if such complaint was laid by an officer above him or even below him if the Squadron commander was his patron, Nelson was almost courts martialled several times, only his immense popularity saved him from offences that would see lesser Captains, even Admirals beached, hanged or shot.

 

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20 hours ago, Sir Lancelot Holland said:

An interesting piece, I am inclined to think that a Naval Captain would only club haul at low speed to manoeuvre his ship in tight areas like fleet anchorages where the risks of collision or grounding were present.  No captain would club haul in battle the damage done could cost him his command, even if it did not he would have run the risk of courts martial for unduly hazarding his command.

My Lords of the Admiralty were very unforgiving toward officers who lost or damaged ships through 'poor' decision making especially if such complaint was laid by an officer above him or even below him if the Squadron commander was his patron, Nelson was almost courts martialled several times, only his immense popularity saved him from offences that would see lesser Captains, even Admirals beached, hanged or shot.

 

also, anchor towing when introduced in the game would have a to much strain on mechanics and a too  time-consuming effort,  an even code it  to put in the game

we already have the nasty shallows feature

leave it as it is

 

 

Edited by Thonys

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When you drop sails a ship will turn into the wind, they used anchors to make a line with there sails down (in a bay or fort) in the game you can use it inside a circle.

So its not a bad idea to add it to the game.

But ofc the devs should make it "drop below 2-2.7 knots" otherwise you get the Interceptor scene or the Black sails Walrus scene.

 

Greets

Edited by NielsVisser
:)

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