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Elena

How to split 2 ships and chase only one?

6 posts in this topic

As usual, I need some brainstorming with you, seasoned pyrates, so please help.

A pirate ship - and most of them weren't too big - wants to attack what they think to be two (also small) merchant ships travelling together. But most likely they can't fight two ships at once, so they need to separate them and attack one. Any ideas how to separate them? 

(The strategy isn't necessary to actually work - just to sound logically to the pirate crew when hearing it). Because they are going to lose anyway...

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Perhaps appear as a ship in distress to lure one or both ships closer?

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You're assuming the merchant ships would fight. The majority of period accounts suggest merchant ships wouldn't. If the pirates ran their flag up, a merchant ship would try to outrun them more often than fight. It's probably just as (and perhaps even more) likely that they would just surrender without resistance. When ships resisted capture, they expected the pirates would punish them if they were caught by doing a variety of things including beating them, sometimes with swords, slitting their ears and noses, marooning them or possibly sinking or burning their ship.

Five men who had taken a ship created "a black Flag, which they merrily said, would be as good as 50 Men more, i.e. would would carry as much Terror [in the minds of their prey]". (Captain Johnson, A General History of the Pyrates, 2nd ed., p. 417)

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Additionally, if the pirate ship sailed toward two unescorted merchants, there's a good chance that they would split up and each sail what they thought to be their best point of sail to outrun the pirates.  In this case, depending on the relative positions of the vessels with regard to the prevailing winds, if the pirate ship attacked a more windward vessel, it's possible that the leeward vessel would not be able to beat to windward in time to help.

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Thank you, Coastie and Mission! I think this was what the crew needed to hear! <3  (In truth they won't split and will fight, catching it in the middle, because they are less merchant ships than the villains believe ;) )

Edited by Elena

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You got the deserved credits for your help here under "Thank you" graphic (but the thread will be visible most likely since tomorrow. Today the November issue of the Chronicles isn't going to be released yet. However, I posted it already as a reminder because tomorrow will be a busy day and I might forget to publicly share my thanks for you).

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