You can’t buy boat insurance for military ships, for obvious reasons. And frankly, we doubt that anyone who saw these boats on the horizon wasted much time on worrying about it:
- Viking longboat. Designed for over sea travel long before it became fashionable, the Viking longboat was designed for one thing: carrying bloodthirsty Swedes and Danes to wreak havoc wherever they happened to land. The longboats managed to explore the new world long before that Italian guy who gets all the credit for it, but that’s OK. They weren’t after credit, they were after plunder. And that, they got plenty of.
- Athenian trireme. With 75 oars to a side, each manned by slave power, the trireme was the baddest-assed thing on the Mediterranean for three whole centuries, and the Athenians were the best when it came to knowing how to use them. Don’t believe me? Just ask any of the Persians who survived the Battle of Salamis. Over 200 Persian ships were sunk by the badly outnumbered Greek naval forces, and the rest of them went rowing back to Persia as fast as their oars could carry them.
- Barbary Corsairs. What do you get when a pirate converts to Islam? For anybody who got in their paths, it wasn’t pretty. 1,600 or so Barbary pirates caused entire villages along the Mediterranean Coast of Europe to close up shop, board up the windows, and get out of Dodge. Striking as far north as Iceland, they captured over a million Europeans and sold them into slavery in Africa.
- Queen Anne’s Revenge. OK, it isn’t the ship so much as the captain on this one. Anyone who is badass enough to put lit fuses in his beard to scare his prey into submission is no one to mess with. Actual historical accounts don’t really give any evidence of Blackbeard killing captives, making anybody walk the plank, or any atrocities beyond piracy itself, but we suspect maybe that’s because dead men tell no tales. I wonder if any of the victims had boat insurance.
- C.S.S. Hunley . One of the first functional submarines and the first to score a kill in naval combat, the C.C.S. Hunley may have only made one kill, but can you imagine the reaction from the crew aboard its victim, the U.S.S. Housatonic? The union blockade ship’s crew probably had no idea that a functioning submarine even existed. At the time, submarines were the domain of fanciful novelists like Jules Verne. The Hunley rammed an explosive charge on the tip of a 20’ pole right into the bottom of the Housatonic’s hull. Unfortunately, the Hunley’s crew never got the opportunity to savor the victory, as she sank on the way back to Charleston Harbor.
Photo via Smudge 9000