Help support TMP

"Weapons Check | The Fireship" Topic

6 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the Age of Sail Message Board

Areas of Interest

18th Century
19th Century

342 hits since 20 Apr 2019
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP20 Apr 2019 9:41 p.m. PST

"Fireships were vessels that, when filled with combustibles or explosives, could be floated or blown into enemy ships to disable or destroy them. In the age of sail, fireships could wreak their flaming havoc with terrifying rapidity. They could also force an enemy fleet to break anchor or split its formation. Although fireships date to ancient times, their use peaked between the late 16th and early 19th centuries in Europe, during which time their design and deployment became increasingly sophisticated.

A central fireroom, packed with flammable materials, provided the point of ignition; tin or wooden fire troughs—themselves filled with combustibles—quickly channeled the blaze throughout the ship, and fire barrels vented flames up to the sails and rigging. Gunpowder charges in fire ports on each side of the hull would blow them open as the blaze took hold, ensuring a good flow of oxygen into the interior of the fireship…."
Main page

Have anyone wargame with Fireships?
If the answer is yes… which are the rules?

Thanks in advance for your guidance.


Blutarski21 Apr 2019 7:19 a.m. PST

Yes, once or twice only, using my (unpublished) Steer to Glory rules. I don't use them any more. They are complicated to properly model, take up a lot of time to play out on the tabletop and consequently tend to completely overpower the game.


Personal logo War Artisan Sponsoring Member of TMP21 Apr 2019 10:37 a.m. PST

The biggest problem with including fireships in a wargame scenario is that they were utterly unsuccessful against vessels that retained any freedom of movement. Fireships (and bomb vessels) were only effective against targets in very restricted waterways (like estuaries or harbors) or which had been anchored, disabled, or run aground.

It's challenging to come up with an interesting scenario in which one player's role is to sit and await destruction.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP21 Apr 2019 3:17 p.m. PST



Vincent22 Apr 2019 10:08 a.m. PST

Fireships were predominately used in the large fleet battles of the 17th century. If a player was running multiple ships, and an opponent was immobilized (either due to de-masting or running aground), then a fireship could be used.

They were specialty vessels with a specially trained crew and are an interesting tactical weapon of that era.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP22 Apr 2019 10:39 a.m. PST

Thanks also!.


Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.