First Rate Ship of the Line (ETW unit)
|First Rate Ship of the Line|
|Turns to build:||2||2||2||2||2|
The first rate is the largest type of “ship of the line of battle”, intended to be the centre of any fleet. These are very expensive and powerful vessels.
While these warships are among the most powerful vessels afloat, they are poor sailors, being both slow and unresponsive. This is not a serious shortcoming because, armed with around 100 cannons firing 32-, 24- and 18-pounder balls on their three decks, they can fire a terrible and destructive broadside. They carry a crew of over 800 sailors, gunners and marines and have more artillery than most land armies. Their cost, however, is a drawback and few navies can afford to build or maintain more than a handful of them.
Historically, first rates were never common, and hardly ever sent to overseas stations. They existed purely to fight in set-piece battles, and were not used for mundane duties such as protecting merchantmen, policing the seas and hunting down privateers.