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Know World fleet sizes

by Jesper Andersen

I recently bought Stormwrack (awesome book BTW!) and started looking at a conversion of the fleet information given in the Gaz series. I want to convert the OD&D ship types to 3E Stormwrack types and finish the Masters and Commanders thread that I began long ago.

However, I have run into some problems, mostly because there are some discrepancies between the fleet information given in the Gaz series and the ship counters in Gaz 4.

This is the information that the counters give us:

Navy of Karameikos:
4 small galleys, 2 large galleys, 3 small sailing ships, 1 large sailing ship, 1 war galley = 11 ships

Navy of Ylaruam:
3 small galleys, 5 small sailing ships = 8 ships

Navy of Ierendi:
2 fireships, 6 small galleys, 3 large galleys, 1 war galley, 2 longships, 4 small sailing ships, 2 large sailing ships = 20 ships (including 2 fireships which aren't officially part of the navy since they belong to the mages of Honor Island).

Navy of Vestland:
4 longships = 4 ships

Navy of Soderfjord:
9 longships = 9 ships

Navy of Ostland:
6 longships = 6 ships

Navy of the Five Shires:
2 small galleys, 3 small sailing ships = 5 ships

Navy of Minrothad Guilds:
2 small galleys, 12 small sailing ships, 6 large sailing ships = 20 ships

Navy of Darokin:
3 small galleys, 1 large galley, 4 small sailing ships, 2 large sailing ships = 10 ships

Navy of Thyatis:
15 small galleys, 7 large galleys, 1 war galley, 12 small sailing ships, 5 large sailing ships = 40 ships

When compared to the Gaz series which say that:

1) "There are currently 8 ships of the line in the Navy, though more could be commissioned in times of war" (Gaz 1, page 26)

2) "The Royal Navy is under Admiral Jarren Kindle's command. He oversees activities of more than 36 ships. The Royal Navy includes 20 galleys and sail ships of various sizes, not including the twelve fireships on Honor Island. The rest of the navy is made up essentially of privateers". (Gaz 4, page 29)

3) Ostland has three brigades of 882 men each. Combines with the king's Personal Guard they number 3600. In addition Hord can call on 5-10,000 more men from his subjects. (Gaz 7, page 12-13)

4) Ragnar the Stout can muster three 900-man units from the clans. (Gaz 7, page 20)

5) "...the hin navy consists of 2 war galleys, 4 very old large galleys, 2 small galleys and 12 small sailing ships. Another dozen or so old, battered ships can be commandeered or hauled out of beached retirement in wartime...the navy as a whole is laughably small in both ship size and numbers." (Gaz 8, page 12-13).

6) "Darokin has only a small navy, since it does not have a large coastline or a great deal of territorial water to protect". (Gaz 11, page 18).

7) "The Minrothad Navy consists of 10 ships" (Gaz 9, page 25).

So, while the Ierendi navy counters come close to the reported fleet size (18 vs. 20 / 2 vs. 12 for fireships), the fleet of Karameikos consists of three ships fewer than the counters (8 vs. 11) and the Minrothad Navy is only half the size of the number of counters (10 vs. 20). Even worse is the "laughably small" navy of the Five Shires which is more than four times as big (22 vs. 5) which makes it more than twice the size of Karameikos' navy and even greater than Ierendi's Royal Navy!!!

If we figure that King Hord of Ostland can put just half his brigades and Personal Guard army in ships, and there can fit 60 sailors/marines into a longship in 0D&D, he would need (3600/2/60=) 30 longships - five times more than the counters give him.-

And what is up with Soderfjord, the nation where the jarls cannot agree on anything, having the largest fleet in the Northern Reaches?

Apart from that, there are some discrepancies between information in the gazetteers and the counters:

- the Agate is mentioned as the ship of the Merchant Prince Nosmo Beldan (Gaz 9, page 55-56) but on the counters it is marked as the flag ship of the Minrothad Navy.

- the Radiant is called a small sailing ship (Gaz 9, page 62) but the counter shows it as a large sailing ship.

And ships like the much-talked-about the Eagret (Gaz 9) and the Bloodsail (Gaz 8) are not even on the counters! (Possibly more ships, I haven't checked all the gazetteers that thoroughly).

Because it is hardly realistic that the Five Shires have two war galleys (according to Gaz 8) and the Empire of Thyatis has only one (according to the counters), I guess we'll have to completely re-figure the numbers for the fleets in the Known World. Thyatis should definitely have more than 40 ships when we look at how wast a sea area their empire covers. But what is a realistic number?

The Turkish fleet at the battle of Lepanto in 1571 numbered 290 galleys and 120,000 men. When the Spanish Armada set sail for Great Britain in 1578 it consisted of 130 ships and 30,000 sailors and marines, set against the British navy of 102 vessels and 15,000 men.

But the nations of historical Europe are hardly comparable with the Known World, are they?

Converting # marines and sailors

Another problem faces us, when we convert the number of marines and sailors in the navies, from 0D&D ship types to 3E ship types.

A small sailing ship or a small galley could carry 10 sailors and 25 marines

In 3E D&D, a Cog carries 20 sailors, a Dhow 25 sailors and a Pinnace just 15 sailors. A Trireme carries 100 people (70 of which are rowers).

A large sailing ship or a large galley could carry 20 sailors and 50 marines

In 3E D&D a Caravelle carries 30 sailors, a Junk 50 sailors, an Ironclad 120 sailors and a Greatship 500 sailors!

A 3E Dromond (medium-sized galley) carries 200 persons (100 of which are rowers).

A war galley could carry 30 sailors and 75 marines

A 3E Galley carries 300 persons (160 of which are rowers).

Clearly, if we convert all the old 0D&D large sailing ships to Greatships, the contingents of marines in the nations of the Known World are going to be rather different.