This article is about the ship class. You may be looking for the memory of a similar name.
AC4 El Arca Del Maestro

A Spanish Man O' War, El Arca del Maestro

The Man O' War (plural: Men O' War) was a type of large warship operated by, among others, the British, French, Spanish and Portuguese navies. The term "Man O' War" itself was not a strict naval classification, unlike frigate, brig, or schooner, and was instead general jargon used for any grand, imposing ship boasting multiple gun decks. Most Men O' War of the 18th century were properly classified as Ship of the Line. They often functioned as flagships for fleets due to their tremendous firepower and durability.


During the early 18th century, the Man O' War was among the most well-armed class of warship in operation throughout the Caribbean. Each ship of the class bore three masts, and was capable of fielding up to a hundred guns over three decks; on top of this, they were fitted with mortars, chain-shot, heavy shot and fire barrels, and the sheer amount of material used in their construction made them extremely robust. However, despite all of these major advantages, Men O' War possessed a major weakness in terms of their speed. As they were very slow, a well-armed, smaller ship could outmaneuver their broadsides and still land hits to destroy them.[1]

One of the few Men O' War to fly the pirate colors was Bartholomew Roberts' Royal Fortune. It was also outfitted with stern cannons, coupled with the ones positioned on its sides and bow, ensuring that it could return fire from any direction.[1] To mark them out from each other, British Man O' Wars had yellow and black painted hulls, while Spanish ones had a reddish-brown coloration.

Some time later, during the Seven Years' War between Britain and France, Templar Shay Cormac faced numerous Men O' War in the North Atlantic with his ship, the Morrigan. Most notably, Cormac fought against French and Assassin warships, being allied with both the British and Templar Order. Men O' War were extremely uncommon in the River Valley, as the waters were too shallow for a ship of that size. Near the end of the war, the French managed to get a Man O' War into the River Valley, using its mortars to bolster their firepower in the region.[2]

James Cook was the captain of a Man O' War, HMS Pembroke, during the Seven Years' War. Shay was the helmsman of the Man O' War during the Battle of Louisbourg.[2]

In the years surrounding the American Revolutionary War, the Assassin Connor faced many Men O' War along the East Coast with his ship, the Aquila, and was able to destroy them all, making the trade routes along the coast safer. These Men O' War possessed a significant weakness to chain-shot, which could destroy their masts and cripple them, leaving them an easy target.[3]

Legendary shipsEdit

During the early 18th century, there were five "legendary" Men O' War that roamed the four corners of the Caribbean, each with their unique naval warfare styles and construction. Three of them belonged to the Royal Navy while two sailed under the flag of the Spanish Navy.[1]

These five ships were significantly more well-armed, faster and armored than any other Men O' War in the Caribbean, and provided a significantly greater challenge to any would-be attacker. Their distinguishing characteristics made them notorious throughout the Caribbean, and they were feared by servicemen and pirates alike.[1]

Each of these legendary ships was eventually sunk by Edward Kenway's Jackdaw, and their supply of gold, 20,000 reales on average, claimed by the pirate's crew.[1]

Another pirate, Alonzo Batilla, also encountered several legendary ships, as he traveled across the West Indies. Each ship contained a great sum of coins and occasionally a lost file could be found after a ship had been sunk.[4]

Years later, around the time of the Seven Years' War, there were seven more of these ships roaming the corners of the North Atlantic, all equipped with heavy armaments and supported by other ships. One of these ships was the fearsome Storm Fortress, under control of the Assassins. However, Shay Cormac defeated her and the other five ships by using the Morrigan.[2]

Notable Men O' WarEdit

Legendary shipsEdit


  • Although the plural for "Man O' War" is "Men O' War", in the Assassin's Creed III memory "Biddle's Hideout", Richard Clutterbuck referred to them as "Man O' Wars".
  • As noted by Shaun Hastings in the Animus 3.0 database entry for Naval Ships, the Men O' War of the 18th century are technically ships of the line, "Man O' War" being common British nautical slang.
  • In the gameplay demo of Black Flag, Men O' War can unleash several volleys in its front cannons, but in the final version, it can only fire a few.
  • The strength of a Man O' War and its number of cannons depend on its 'Ship level', ranging from level 36 to level 60, with Men O' War of the lowest levels lacking front cannons.
  • The Man O' War is the only ship with a specific Captain's Cabin entrance while generic ships of other classes have none.
  • Despite having stern cannons, generic Men O' War never fight using them though specific legendary ships such as the Pilgrim, Cauldron, Argonaut, Sceptre and the Royal Fortune do have rear defense, the former four which can launch burning oil, and the latter which can use fire barrels. The only other Men O' War that can fire stern cannons are the HMS Pembroke and the Nosso Senhor da Compreensão, but only because when they are piloted by the player characters, Shay Cormac and Edward Kenway respectively.
  • While Shay and Edward could capture several Men O' War for their fleets, privateers and pirates never actually captured any Men O' War or Ship of the line in real life as they were the most powerful ships during the 18th century.
  • The Man O' War's design in the game seemes to have been inspired by the HMS Victory, a flagship of Admiral Horatio Nelson and the last Man O' War preserved in real life located at London.


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