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  • T1, R1, Prng 11: European Fighting Cog vs Fighting Carrack

    In your opinion, which of these two warship types was most significant, influential and/or effective?
    Feel free to apply those criteria as you please, along with any others you think appropriate.
    Note: Suggestions for some additional criteria are at the foot of this post.


    According to the criteria as you see and apply them, please vote for your preferred candidate in the attached poll.
    If your chosen criteria are significantly different from those suggested, telling us what they are and why you used them would be helpful.





    20. European Fighting Cog 12th - 14th Centuries


    The cog was a type of small-to-medium sized ship built initially for trade but also commonly adapted for warfare.
    Cog hulls ranged from about 15 meters to 25 meters in length (49ft to 82ft) with a beam of 5 to 8 meters (16ft to 26ft); the largest cogs being able to carry up to about 200 tons.
    Cogs first appeared during the 10th Century (900's) and gradually became more widely used.
    By the 12th Century a number of non-Mediterranean European powers had adopted them as their primary type. This was particularly true for much of the Baltic region.
    Cogs were often at least partly clinker-built (hull planks overlapping at the edges) particularly in the earlier years. The timber used was generally oak or other hardwoods common to that part of Europe.
    Many cogs were provided with both "forecastles" and "stern castles" on their superstructures; for defence in commerce and for use as fighting ships when required. Some, however, had stern castles only.
    Many early cog types were both oar and sail powered but as time went by and sails were improved, oars became much less used.
    Some early cogs were fitted with a single mast but typically, the standard arrangement became a main mast and foremast.
    The sail plan would typically be square-rigged but a substantial number of cogs used lateen sails, especially by the 14th century.
    I think it is quite reasonable to consider the cog as an intermediate step leading to the likes of carracks and caravels, which in turn led to the galleons of the 16th and 17th centuries.

    This first example shows a late 12th century armed cog.





    In this drawing, we can examine a (probably) 13th or 14th century cog both in overall and "cut-away" views.
    It has the less common but generally more effective lateen sail plan.





    This photo shows us a modern reconstruction of a Hansa cog, dating from about the 14th century.
    It is towards the larger end of the size range and has a relatively large forecastle as well.
    The term "Hansa" refers to the Hanseatic League.
    This was a confederation of merchant guilds and their market towns, originating in the northern German region from the late 12th century.
    The Hanseatic league grew across that general area and came to dominate trade in the region for the better part of three centuries at least.







    22. European Fighting Carrack 14th - 17th Centuries


    The carrack (also called nau by the Portuguese) was developed from the late 13th to the 15th century.
    It was the immediate predecessor of the galleon and pioneered most of the salient features of that later type.
    Carracks were, typically, three or four-masted ocean-going ships; essentially, developed from the cog but on average, somewhat larger.
    Sail plans were usually either square-rigged or, more commonly, a combination of square and lateen.

    As with the cog they were used for trade and for warfare.
    They also got used for exploration; especially to the New World (the Americas); and for the trans-Atlantic slave trade, among other things.
    Carracks continued in use for some time beyond their heyday; and after they had evolved into the first galleons of the 16th century.

    Carrack hulls were typically carvel built.
    That is, rather than being "clinker built" with the external planking having overlapping edges, the planks or strips of wood were laid edge-to-edge.
    This offered the possibility of higher speeds due to a smoother and more streamlined finish to the hull.
    It depended on revision of internal framework design, which gave equal or better external rigidity without the need to overlap the planks.
    Indeed, when properly done the resulting hull strength was at least as good, if not better, for the same or lesser overall weight.

    The main differences between carracks and galleons were in the combination of hull shape and relative prominence of certain features.
    For example, galleons generally tended to have a proportionally smaller forecastle than carracks, although the high and prominent sterncastles remained in some designs, particularly those of the Spanish.
    Galleons were also eventually developed to carry heavier armaments and were built to larger sizes.
    Essentially then, the galleon was a more highly developed, sometimes larger, carrack.

    This first picture is a "cut-away" drawing of Vittoria (Victoria), a Spanish carrack used in Ferdinand Magellan's voyage to the East Indies.
    It was also the first ship known to have successfully circumnavigated the World.
    The expedition set out with five ships on August 10, 1519 but Vittoria was the only ship to complete the voyage.
    She returned home on September 6, 1522. Unfortunately for Magellan, he was killed in the Philippines and therefore never made it back.





    This second picture illustrates the Flor do Mar, a Portuguese carrack built in 1502.
    She was intended for the Portugal-India run and was one of the finest vessels of her time.
    At 400 tons displacement, she was also the largest carrack to date. Flor do Mar served very well for her relatively short life.
    She was lost in a storm in the Strait of Malacca, sinking during the night of 20 November 1511, off Timia Point in the Kingdom of Aru, Sumatra.





    This final picture shows the Mary Rose, an English carrack built and serving during the reign of Henry VIII.
    She was launched in 1511 and was one of the largest and most effective carrack warships built, having had a successful career spanning some 33-34 years.
    Mary rose sank during an engagement with French galleys in 1545.







    Well then, my friends ... what say you?
    Which of these warship types will you vote for?


    Suggested additional criteria you might wish to consider, along with any others you deem appropriate.
    (Note: Some of these could be considered already covered by Significant, Influential and Effective)

    Which warship type ...
    • was the best?
    • was the greatest?
    • was the most widely used?
    • had the greatest longevity in service?
    • was the most versatile?
    • represented the best value for the cost/effort invested ("bang for the buck" in today's language)?
    • was the easiest to operate?

    Any other criteria you have applied (please tell us what they were).
    37
    20. European Fighting Cog 12th - 14th Centuries
    10.81%
    4
    22. European Fighting Carrack 14th - 17th Centuries
    89.19%
    33

    The poll is expired.

    Last edited by panther3485; 19 Aug 17, 03:41.
    "England expects that every man will do his duty!" (English crew members had better get ready for a tough fight against the combined French and Spanish fleets because that's what England expects! However, Scotland, Wales and Ireland appear to expect nothing so the Scottish, Welsh and Irish crew members can relax below decks if they like!)

  • #2
    THe Cog may have been the old workhorse that lead to the Carrack, but the Carrack was the one that went out and explored the world and exploited its own gains.
    "Why is the Rum gone?"

    -Captain Jack

    Comment


    • #3
      A correction - the Carrack was not developed in the 14th and 15 th centuries. They are mentioned in Spanish documents in the 13th century and were already in widespread use in the Mediterranean by the beginning of the 14th mainly by Venetian and Genoese forces. They were the first type of European ship to be cannon armed. They appear to have developed from the single masted Northern cog with the addition of a mizzen mast.
      The shipbuilders of Bayonne in the French Basque country are said to have first sold Northern cogs to Mediterranean merchants and navies. They were taken up there and largely replaced earlier Mediterranean two masters. Bayonne later appears to have been amongst the first to build Carracks outside of the Med. However take up in Northern waters appears to have been late compared to their use in the Mediterranean in Britain the English navy acquired their first one in about 1410.
      Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
      Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by MarkV View Post
        A correction - the Carrack was not developed in the 14th and 15 th centuries. They are mentioned in Spanish documents in the 13th century and were already in widespread use in the Mediterranean by the beginning of the 14th mainly by Venetian and Genoese forces. ... <snip>
        You could be right but I was going on this, from wiki:
        A carrack was a three- or four-masted ocean-going sailing ship which was developed in the 14th and 15th centuries in Europe.
        It's pretty much the first thing the article says, right at the top:
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrack
        A very definite and unequivocal statement, I think.
        So if it's not correct I am, first, surprised and second, unhappy with wiki.


        ...Edit:

        Looked a little bit further and found this opening piece in an online extract from Britannica:
        "Carrack, sailing ship of the 14th–17th centuries .... "
        https://www.britannica.com/technology/carrack

        However, if I can see clear evidence of Carrack development, to any significant degree, in the 13th Century I may still be inclined to correct my opening text above.
        I guess it's not impossible for both wiki and Britannica to be wrong.
        Last edited by panther3485; 16 Aug 17, 05:33.
        "England expects that every man will do his duty!" (English crew members had better get ready for a tough fight against the combined French and Spanish fleets because that's what England expects! However, Scotland, Wales and Ireland appear to expect nothing so the Scottish, Welsh and Irish crew members can relax below decks if they like!)

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by panther3485 View Post
          You could be right but I was going on this, from wiki:

          It's pretty much the first thing the article says, right at the top:
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrack
          A very definite and unequivocal statement, I think.
          So if it's not correct I am, first, surprised and second, unhappy with wiki.
          "The name carrack was not new , it appears in Spanish documents before the end of the 13th century"

          The Sailing Ship Romla and R C Anderson, Harrap, London 1926, page 117
          " Put not your trust in princes nor".......in Wiki!
          Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
          Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

          Comment


          • #6
            "The name carrack was not new , it appears in Spanish documents before the end of the 13th century"
            The Sailing Ship Romla and R C Anderson, Harrap, London 1926, page 117
            Originally posted by MarkV View Post
            " Put not your trust in princes nor".......in Wiki!
            OK, that's the name carrack, but what did it actually apply to? What was being physically developed and put into service?
            Also, please see above my edit and extract from Britannica online, which also refers to the carrack being of the 14th and 15th centuries. No mention of the 13th.
            Don't get me wrong, though. I'm happy to adjust things to include the 13th century; I just need a slight bit more convincing/clarification.
            For example, was it near the end of the 13th? (This is suggested where you say, in your quote, "before the end of the 13th century").
            I could easily make it "From the late 13th through the 15th centuries", or something like that. No problem.
            Last edited by panther3485; 16 Aug 17, 05:50.
            "England expects that every man will do his duty!" (English crew members had better get ready for a tough fight against the combined French and Spanish fleets because that's what England expects! However, Scotland, Wales and Ireland appear to expect nothing so the Scottish, Welsh and Irish crew members can relax below decks if they like!)

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by panther3485 View Post
              OK, that's the name carrack, but what did it actually apply to? What was being physically developed and put into service?
              Also, please see above my edit and extract from Britannica online, which also refers to the carrack being of the 14th and 15th centuries. No mention of the 13th.
              Don't get me wrong, though. I'm happy to adjust things to include the 13th century; I just need a slight bit more convincing/clarification.
              For example, was it near the end of the 13th? (This is suggested where you say, in your quote, "before the end of the 13th century").
              I could easily make it "From the late 13th through the 15th centuries", or something like that. No problem.
              From the Mariner's Museum America's National Maritime Museum

              Carrack or Nao
              The Carrack or Nao (meaning ship) was developed as a fusion between Mediterranean and Northern European-style ships. The carrack first appeared, historians believe, in the late 13th and early 14th centuries. The Spanish and Portuguese developed a particular type of ship to trade in the Mediterranean Sea and the North Atlantic. The hull was rounded in the stern and it carried a superstructure of an aft and forecastle. These ships carried two, three or four masts and a combination of square and lateen sails were used. The main mast always carried a square sail while the mizzenmast carried a lateen sail. The square sail was used for speed and the lateen rig allowed for maneuverability.
              http://ageofex.marinersmuseum.org/in...=shiptype&id=5
              Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
              Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

              Comment


              • #8
                Excellent!
                OK, that's good enough for me, now. Will adjust accordingly.
                (Would also +1 again but not allowed to yet.)
                Anyway, thanks once more for some valuable feedback and input.

                Edit: Done.
                • Main heading for period of significant usage as fighting ship, for purpose of the poll, now starts with 14th C instead of 15th.
                • First line saying "was developed from" changed from 14th C to late 13th C.

                Thanks again.
                Last edited by panther3485; 16 Aug 17, 07:24.
                "England expects that every man will do his duty!" (English crew members had better get ready for a tough fight against the combined French and Spanish fleets because that's what England expects! However, Scotland, Wales and Ireland appear to expect nothing so the Scottish, Welsh and Irish crew members can relax below decks if they like!)

                Comment


                • #9
                  The main difference to me is the Carrack was around longer. It does look top heavy to me.

                  Pruitt
                  Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

                  Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

                  by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    My first impulse was to cast another vote for the Carrack.
                    It probably deserves to win because it was more advanced and better suited to use as a warship, as well as possibly making some contribution to galleon development.
                    However, it seems to me that a fair bit of what we see in the Carrack was learned from long experience with the Cog.
                    It could therefore also be argued that at least in part, the Cog laid foundations that were essential for development of the Carrack and other later types.
                    As such, I'm thinking it deserves more than the paltry 2 votes it had when I lined myself up for this poll today.
                    So now, it has 3 votes.
                    Last edited by panther3485; 27 Aug 17, 00:29.
                    "England expects that every man will do his duty!" (English crew members had better get ready for a tough fight against the combined French and Spanish fleets because that's what England expects! However, Scotland, Wales and Ireland appear to expect nothing so the Scottish, Welsh and Irish crew members can relax below decks if they like!)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by panther3485 View Post
                      My first impulse was to cast another vote for the Carrack.
                      It probably deserves to win because it was more advanced and better suited to use as a warship, as well as possibly making some contribution to galleon development.
                      However, it seems to me that a fair bit of what we see in the Carrack was learned from long experience with the Cog.
                      It could therefore also be argued that at least in part, the Cog laid foundations that were essential for development of the Carrack and other later types.
                      As such, I'm thinking it deserves more than the paltry 2 votes it had when I lined myself up for this poll today.
                      So now, it has 3 votes.
                      Nicely put, but I still voted Carrack because it was more of a warship.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I think that if one was evaluating success as a ship rather than as a warship the Cog would come higher given that they carried almost all the Western world's sea borne trade for centuries (even in the Mediterranean). It could carry big loads and withstand rough seas, didn't need too big a crew (a must in a merchantman) but was slow and not very manoeuvrable.
                        Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
                        Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

                        Comment

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