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Thread: Germanic Ships

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    Germanic Ships

    Germanic Ships



    The most known Germanic ships were those of the Vikings, however; the other Germans also constructed ships and recently ships have been found in Germany that almost had the same design as those of the Vikings.
    The Germans were known for their excellent shipbuilding and their ships outsailed even the most modern Roman vessels, they also used their ships for different purposes; the Romans crafted big and heavy battleships to fight at sea while the Germans saw ships as fast troop carriers, ships were also used for fishing and exploring.
    Germanic ships were long and narrow, this aerodynamic shape allowed them to sail much faster than most other ships in those days, they also layed less deep in the water which allowed them to enter shallow waters; the Vikings used this possibility to enter rivers to attack cities further inland.



    Construction:
    Germanic ships were clincker-built; a long, massive beam was bended upwards at both ends and used as keel; then planks were fixed on it, following the line of the keel and overlapping the one below.
    Nails were driven through the overlapped boards and through a small metal plate after which they were clenched over to fasten them, to make the ship waterproof ropes were impregnated with tar and fitted into the open slits between the planks, when the ship was released into the water, the water-soaked wood extended and formed a completely waterproof hull.

    The Germans adapted their ships to the task it was going to perform; a fishing boat was smaller and broader while a warship was longer, narrower, and had more oars for faster movement.
    The Scandinavians for instance invented the Drakkar ("dragon" or "dragon-ship") in the 11th century as heavy warships for huge coordinated attacks on the enemy and even sea battles, the largest drakkar was the "Ormen lange" ("long Serpent") which offered room for 60 rowers.
    The most common ship was the Knorr, a vessel used for carrying cargo and trading; it could carry 20 tons of cargo and had 4 to 7 pairs of oars (though it mainly relied on its sail), it could carry 15 to 20 men.
    Another ship used by the Scandinavians was the Buza, it had much in common with the Knorr, only then it had a higher cargo capacity but a deeper draft.



    Most Germanic ships were built for distance; they could be used on the high seas and were even used to cross the Atlantic ocean, there were also smaller ships for coastal sailing like the Byrþing ("wind-thing" or "sailer") and the Ferja ("ferry"), the most famous Germanic ship is the Oseberg ship that was in fact a burial ship built solely for this ceremonial purpose.
    Decorations were often added to the bow and stern tips like dragon heads or snakes, the Scandinavians also gave their ships names like "fast serpent" or "gliding wind".
    Earlier ships had much similarities with the later ships used by the Vikings, a good example is the Nydam ship that dates from the 4th century AD, ships of this type were used by the Anglo-Saxons to settle England.
    The words "larboard" and "starboard" are also adopted from Germanic shipping terms; on Germanic ships the rudder was placed on the right side of the ship instead of in the middle, therefor they named the right side of the ship "steering board".
    Ships were always moored with the left side towards the wharf to avoid damage to the rudder.

    An interesting type of ship used by the tribe of the Suionians is mentioned by Tacitus:
    "The shape of their ships differs from the normal in having a prow at each end, so that they are always facing the right way to put in to shore. They do not propel them with sails, nor do they fasten a row of oars to the sides. The rowlocks are movable, as one finds them on some river craft, and can be reversed, as circumstances require, for rowing in either direction."


    http://www.geocities.com/reginheim/ships.html


    Die Sonne scheint noch.

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    The Viking ships flexed with the ocean. This was important since you either have to go with the flow or overpower the ocean. Overpowering the ocean, if that is ever possible, must await all metal ships. Roman ships were more rigid which was OK for the Med. but not the North Sea.

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    The longships were fully developed around the 800s. A Viking transport longship has been discovered near Meols, Wirral (peninsula North West of England) which dates about 1000 years ago. Of course, there are some people who don’t believe the Vikings settled so early in the British Isles.

    This design of the Vikings’ innovative naval architecture which was superior at its time was implemented into many other cultures’ ships at a later time.

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