Sunday, November 22, 2009


Back when I had a bit more money, er, back when I used credit more freely, I used to to have $40 a month to spend on gaming. I also had an Old Glory Army membership and frequently I'd just deposit my cash there. It meant I could be a bit more adventurous with my miniatures purchase, and by god I was. I picked up a couple of the Merrimac Shipyard cogs.

No self-respecting Hundred Years War miniaturist could possibly have a complete collection o' stuff without cogs. After all, there are all those famous sea battles to fight-ummm, and errrr!!???. Actually there are a few, the most famous being Sluys and 1340, and the battle off Winchelsea in one of those years between 1337-1453. There were also smaller actions of French galleys raiding the English coastline or attacking ships in the wine trade.

In any case my economic realities collided with miniature purchases and I was never able to acquire the hundreds of cogs needed for Sluys, or even the fifty or so for Winchelsea, but I do have two. They are going to serve me well for a game I want to run at Enfilade based on the Black Prince's attack on the suburb of St. Jean outside of Caen in 1346.

So what the heck is a cog? In the 14th and early 15th century sea travel was pretty chancy. Naval engineering had not progressed to the point that vessels could maneuver through a contrary wind. Cogs were bargelike vessels with a single mast and sail and a rudder. They could be 30-300 tons and built as merchantmen to haul cargo between England and the Europe. The were deep enough draft to provide a fairly stable platform in the channel and North Sea, providing the wind was favorable and there was no storm. During wartime, the king basically pressed these cogs into service and nailed large fighting platforms on to the bow and stern to hold archers, men at arms and light artillery.

These two will see service soon.


DeanM said...


Wow, those are really cool. I was always intrigued with the Battle of Sluys. I've only read very abbreviated accounts of it though. Dean

David Sullivan said...

I always knew that some day the allure of the cogs would suck you in.