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I am Carrion the Black Hand, lord of the Ashfields brother to Kaine!! The God king. While Kaine is busy defending against the Sun Empire's holy war, I am planning a naval invasion. The plan is to attack the Sun Empire's Golden Fleet that is anchored off the coast of the Dragon Isles, then land in White Hearth and put it to the torch. The problem is that I do not have much of a fleet to work with and less time to build a larger one. The Golden Fleet will outnumber us three to one and most of my ships are for troop transport. Now I like boarding ships and killing all the crew like everyone else but the Sun Empire know this. They will use smaller ships (Cogs) to shoot at my Galleons then move away before we can hit them, then their own Galleons will come to finish us off.

My son Ivan came to me with a solution to my problem: living in the grey wastes near Cold Harbor is a tribe called the Sea Singers. They are known for taming and riding whales, even riding them into battle with rival tribes. They have answered my call to arms and will soon arrive in Iron Port, with all 500 riders and their War Whales. They will be of great use to me in the battle to come.

I will now hold a war counsel, now my advisers i ask you: What would be the best way to use these War Whales in the coming naval battle?

Info:

The War Whales' numbers consist of mostly: Killer whales, Humpbacks. Even some Blue whales and Sperm whales (but only a few of them) and (sigh)...one Narwhal (I will add any cool Whales that get mentioned).

The Sea Singer riders can hold their breath for ten minutes at a time (I can train my own men to hold their breath for three if some need to ride with them (but only Sea Singers can control the Whales), the Sea Singers are also master bowmen and harpooners.

The smiths of Iron Port are some of the best in the world, so we can use them, if the whales need amour or some form of battering ram or better saddles.

I will just point out that there is no magic involved.

The tech level is high medieval 1400 century, steel plates are a thing but gun powder is not on the scene...yet

For more info about Kaine see also: Why Would an Enemy Army Retreat if they Will Die Anyway

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    $\begingroup$ OK, put that in your question as a parenthetic. "...high medieval (circa 1400 but no gunpowder)." $\endgroup$ – JBH Aug 27 '18 at 6:08
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    $\begingroup$ Well, you obviously need Narwhals $\endgroup$ – dot_Sp0T Aug 27 '18 at 7:14
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    $\begingroup$ War Whales in Narhwal Warfare? Whel that's ghreat - Sean Connery. :) $\endgroup$ – SZCZERZO KŁY Aug 27 '18 at 7:58
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    $\begingroup$ Are the tamed whales like horses, needing direct guidance from the rider at all times, or they are more intelligent and can go on riderless missions? $\endgroup$ – Alexander Aug 27 '18 at 16:24
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    $\begingroup$ @Creed Arcon Ok, looks like asking the whale "Go to that ship, fetch its rudder and return!" is too much to ask of them. Basically, diving is a great tactical strength, but we can't do much human diving with 1400's technology. $\endgroup$ – Alexander Aug 27 '18 at 16:44
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I've changed my mind: Simply have the whale riders destroy the rudders of your opponent's ships. Just imagine, you have everyone you can making spare rudders as you sail off to confront the enemy navy. They face you, ready to overwhelm you, when suddenly a hundred whales pincer them from the other side, destroying their rudders one after another.

You encircle the now helpless ship, giving them two options, surrender, or die. Let your whale riders crush a few boats that are more vocal about never surrendering. As boats surrender, slowly relocate their crews to small boats to be pulled behind, keeping them in a separate place so they can't revolt.

Drag back as many boats as you can back to your port, and hide the others somewhere that you can recover them later. Rush home quickly and have new rudders installed on the larger vessels. This is where all those rudders you had built become important.

Now you have the enemies fleet all to yourself, and you can sail it straight back to them. Since the battle should have taken a while, no one will be suspicious when it takes a while for the boats to return. Except as soon as you land in the harbor, you turn their own vessels against them, landing your troops and turning any weapons they had against them. Boom, you've turned their own asset into your asset, shifted the tide of war easily, and made a military maneuver that will literally go down in textbooks.

-----------___________________--------------_______________------------ Whales can easily destroy boats, just have your whale riders swim underneath the boats and flip them over or smash their hulls, both by landing on them after jumping, and smashing them from below. Killer whales are faster and should aim for small vessels or escape boats, and blue whales should target major vessels. Save the sperm whales as a back up in case reinforcements are spotted, and then give orders accordingly. Take no prisoners unless there is a complete surrender, in which case capture the boats that you want, and sell off the ones you don't need. POW can be used as collateral to get reparations after you win, if you aren't planning an annexation. If you are, then just take no prisoners to begin with.

Addition: Mostly sperm whales sink ships, but it's reasonable to assume any whale can sink a wooden ship equal to its length.

Bonus: You should have one guy who rides a narwhal because it "looks cool" even though it's nowhere near as powerful as the other whales.

https://www.whalingmuseum.org/learn/whale-attack

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  • $\begingroup$ +1 but would that not harm the whales a LOT (at least with the bigger ships) $\endgroup$ – Creed Arcon Aug 27 '18 at 6:37
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    $\begingroup$ @Creed Arcon If they land on it maybe, but just plowing into it hard enough to flip it should be fine. Sperm whales can definitely ram ships if they wanted, since it's happened before. On at least one occasion a humpback broke the mast of a 33 foot sailboat after landing on it intentionally, which suggests whales could attack in this manner. But no matter what, whales can always just target the rudders, which would turn the ships into sitting ducks. Actually, I may change my answer to simply "destroy the rudders". $\endgroup$ – Clay Deitas Aug 27 '18 at 6:45
  • $\begingroup$ I would not like to be riding a whale during one of these ship-destroying manoeuvres. $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Aug 27 '18 at 8:38
  • $\begingroup$ @JoeBloggs I assume they can release their grip on the whale temporarily for the maneuvers, but yeah, it wouldn't end well if you can't. Maybe the rudder smashing wouldn't be too bad, but I'd hate to be between a humpback and the ship it's about to land on. $\endgroup$ – Clay Deitas Aug 27 '18 at 8:42
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    $\begingroup$ @BaldBear the way the scenario reads I imagine most people aren't prepared for whale warfare. Sure in the future they may do something like that, but it seems like a waste of iron to reinforce a ship from whale attacks that you've never heard of before. $\endgroup$ – Clay Deitas Aug 27 '18 at 20:49

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