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The Basic naval Tactic of Ramming

Though worn, the ram is clearly visible on the bow of this Tyrian warship. This image is of a Phoenecian trireme of the city of Tyre, a type used by the Carthagenians and later copied by the Romans who also used the quinquireme, which was developed from the Phoenecian trireme. The ram was a piece of offensive armament employed by Mediterranean rowd warships until the Eighteenth Century. The Battle of Lepanto, fought in 1571 between the forces of Venice, Spain, and the Pope on one side and the Ottoman Empire on the other, was the last great sea fight between rowed warships and at which the ancient technique of ramming was used.

The most basic naval warfare tactic used by the Romans and all ancient seafaring nations was to ram an enemy vessel. then send marines aboard to slaughter the survivors. This required oarsmen who were in excellent physical condition and who had for many long hours practiced the teamwork and split-second timing that made the difference between a quick victory and a floundering, clumsy defeat.


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