Merchantmen (Trade Ship)
Merchantmen NTW
Appears in Napoleon: Total War, The Peninsular Campaign
Belongs to Nearly factions in Europe and Peninsular campaigns
Crew 52
Guns 12 (6 on each side)
Firepower 41
Range 450 (round shot)/300 (chain shot)/150 (grape shot)
Accuracy 40
Reloading skill 30
Hull strength 410
Speed 16
Maneuverability Low
Morale 7
Produced from Trading Port
Cost 500
Upkeep 40
Unit Cap None
Merchantmen NTW Icon
Merchantmen are a type of trade ship in Napoleon: Total War and The Peninsular Campaign.


The merchantman is built for trade, although it does carry a few light guns for defence.

This trade ship is neither blessed with speed nor firepower and can be outmanoeuvred by most naval vessels. It is built for trade, and its low upkeep costs mean a large profit from each journey. If trapped it can defend itself slightly and maybe even drive off very weak attackers, but merchants are not fighting men, and their low morale and the ship’s light guns are unlikely to last long against a real warship.

British merchant trading was the strongest in the world during the Napoleonic era, and this position was protected by the Navigation Acts first passed in 1651. Trade with British colonies had to be carried out using “British bottoms” or British ships, not to mention British ports and mainly British crews, effectively squeezing out any competition. Other nations tried similar protectionist policies, but without as much success. Despite this legal help, British merchant owners were not without their difficulties; the Royal Navy used press gangs to recruit seamen for the ranks and experienced merchant sailors were the first to be targeted, forcing merchant owners to pay high wages for less able seamen simply to run their ships.

General InformationEdit

Merchantmen are the default trade ships, available to nearly every faction in the Europe and Peninsular campaigns. With less than half the construction and upkeep costs of Indiamen, Merchantmen are the superor choice of trading ship in terms of profitability. Dhows are technically more profitable due to their slightly lower upkeep costs, but dhows cannot be built or replaced; merchantmen can be fielded nearly anywhere. However, merchantmen are nearly harmless in combat, and their low morale and weak hull strength ensure that they are captured or destroyed easily. Merchantmen benefit greatly from protective military fleets nearby, though some trading nodes are remote enough for them to carry out their function unmolested even without protection.

For those factions lucky enough to have access to trading nodes, merchantmen represent easily the best option for making money: a merchantmen can pay for itself within a turn or two of trading on trade nodes, compared to the dozens of turns most buildings require to pay for themselves. Conversely, however, merchantmen are a risky investment as they may be attacked by fleets of hostile factions, while constructing economic buildings is a relatively safe option.

For more information on how trade functions in Napoleon: Total War, see Trade and Trade Node.

Napoleon: Total War Ships
Light Ships BrigGalleySloop
Frigates 24-gun Frigate32-gun Frigate38-gun FrigateCarronade FrigateRazee
Ships of the Line 106-gun Ship-of-the-Line122-gun Ship-of-the-Line50-gun Ship-of-the-Line64-gun Ship-of-the-Line74-gun Ship-of-the-Line80-gun Ship-of-the-Line86-gun Ship-of-the-Line98-gun Second RateHMS ElephantSantissima Trinidad
Steam Ships 38-gun Steam Ship80-gun Steam ShipIroncladSteam Paddle Frigate
Trade Ships Dhow (Trade Ship)Indiaman (Trade Ship)Merchantmen (Trade Ship)
Support Ships Bomb KetchRocket Ship