The Boarding Pike

Age Of Sail

While our modern sensibilities cause us to look askance at primitive weapons, like boarding pikes, they were incredibly effective weapons. One has to consider that under the best of circumstances the reliability of flintlock firearms was problematic. When used at sea they were often unreliable. The most reliable weapons for boarding enemy ships or repelling boarders were the point and edge weapons available to the crew. Cutlass, boarding axe, and boarding pike.

While most useful for repelling boarders, the boarding pike was a formidable offensive weapon. As we recounted in The Taking of Banda, when Captain Christopher Cole attacked this Dutch outpost he had his men armed with boarding pikes in anticipation of frequent tropical downpours making their muskets inoperable.

Boarding pikes were about eight feet long and stored in beckets around the masts.

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