For other uses of the term, see Galley.
|Belongs to||Most Factions|
|Guns||4 (all bow chasers)|
|Produced from||Fishing Fleet or higher|
|Cost||430 SP/330 MP|
Galleys are propelled by both oars and sails, with cannons on firing platforms above the rowers' heads.
Although made obsolescent by the rise of broadside-firing sailing ships, galleys still have a place in naval warfare. The wind (or its lack) does not limit their movement and, if well handled, galleys can run rings around sailing ships. A galley has a reasonable amount of firepower for its size with cannons on a firing platform, or with a full gun deck above the rowers (on a design called a galleas). Up to five men work each oar; these are convicts (at best) or slaves (at worst). The life of a rower is hard, brutal and can be short: chained to their oars, they will go down with the galley if it flounders.
The galley’s main disadvantage is its vulnerability in heavy seas: it would almost certainly sink in a full Atlantic seaway. It is most useful in relatively calm waters such as the Mediterranean or Baltic. These smaller seas also help keep a galley close to port: the large crew size means that they cannot venture far from a supply port, making them unsuitable for trans-oceanic voyages.
Historically, the galley survived for a long time as a practical warship in sheltered waters. The Ottomans, Swedes and Russians all used them in their battle fleets. As late as the 1790s they were still in use in the Baltic and the Mediterranean (C. S. Forrester has his famous fictional hero Captain Horatio Hornblower face Spanish galleons in one encounter). North African corsairs also used galleys, as they had a ready supply of European slaves to serve in them.
As they are partially oar-powered, galleys rely somewhat less on wind power than most other ships. While their guns are few, the ones they do carry inflict very heavy damage, and a small fleet of galleys is easily capable of quickly sinking larger, more expensive ships.
Galleys carry many distinct disadvantages. Even in calm waters, they have a much lower top speed than their more sail-focused counterparts; though they make up for this shortcoming somewhat with their oars, their speed is unremarkable in any circumstance. Their sails are very fragile and can usually be completely destroyed with just one good salvo of Chain Shot; their decks are open and Grape Shot can easily destroy half of their crew with just one or two salvos. Finally, though they are more durable and better-manned than Light Galleys, their cannons are somewhat weaker, and their larger profile makes them an easier target.
Ottoman galleys are very slightly more expensive to train and maintain than those of other factions.
|Empire: Total War Ships|
|Light Ships||Brig • Galley • Light Galley • Race-Built Galleon • Sloop • Xebec|
|Frigates||24-pounder Frigate • Admiral's Flagship, 5th Rate • Carronade Frigate • Fifth Rate • Razee • Sixth Rate • USS Constitution|
|Ships of the Line||Admiral's Flagship, 1st Rate • Admiral's Flagship, 3rd Rate • First Rate Ship of the Line • Fourth Rate Ship of the Line • Heavy First Rate • HMS Victory • Second Rate Ship of the Line • Third Rate Ship of the Line|
|Trade Ships||Dhow • Fluyt • Galleon • Indiaman|
|Support Ships||Bomb Ketch • Rocket Ship • Steamship|