Bomb Ketch
Bomb Ketch
Belongs to All factions
Crew 45
Guns 14 (6 cannons on each side; 2 howitzers)
Firepower 960
Range 750
Accuracy 60
Reloading skill 20
Hull strength 1124
Speed 16
Maneuverability Low
Tech requirement Explosive Shells
Produced from Dockyard
Cost 1190 SP/945 MP
Upkeep 290
The Bomb Ketch is a ship type in Empire: Total War.
Bomb Ketch Icon


The "bomb" is a floating weapons platform, usually adapted from a small, two-masted ketch. The whole ship is considered around a single large-calibre mortar.

Strongly-built bomb ketches must withstand the recoil of repeated mortar discharges. Often chains replace the rigging ropes nearest the mortar to prevent muzzle blast damage. They are the only naval vessels to carry and use explosive shells, making them a hazardous assignment. As a mark of all their explosive qualities, they often had volcanic names! The fact that the ketch should be at anchor in order to fire accurately also makes them easy targets for any return fire.

Bomb ketches are not good sailing ships. The mortar has to be on the centre line, with a clear vertical field of fire. This means that the masts had to be aft of their ideal positions, making the ship handling qualities rather poor. With these limitations in mind, however, they are a powerful addition to any admiral’s firepower. The ability to deliver shells by indirect fire (lobbing shells into fortifications, for example) is very useful.

Historically, the bomb ketch was a French invention, but other nations perfected the idea. The British mounted the mortar on a rotating platform so that it was no longer necessary to move the whole vessel to change aim. “The Star-Spangled Banner”, the US national anthem, commemorates these ships with the line “the bombs bursting in air.”

General InformationEdit

The Bomb Ketch is a support ship. It carries two mortars as its primary armament, which are inaccurate but potentially devastating if they do hit enemy ships, breaking masts, killing crews and damaging hulls. It has a greater range than most other ships from which to fire its mortars (which it fires directly in front of the ship, rather than on its sides). Unlike land howitzers, bomb ketches can only fire one type of ammunition: explosive shells which generally detonate when they approach sea level, although sometimes they harmlessly detonate too high in the air and sometimes they fail to detonate at all. The generally slower movement of ships mean that Bomb Ketches can often get multiple volleys off before coming in range of enemy guns.

The bomb ketch is only lightly armed with cannon and has a very weak hull. It is also more prone to explosion than any other ship in the game. These characteristics make it fare very poorly in a direct engagement.

Some factions' ship statistics are different from others; differences are listed below (traits that to not differ are not listed).

Type Accuracy Reload Skill Hull Strength Speed Morale Cost Upkeep
Standard 60 20 1124 15 6 1190 290
France 70 20 1140 16 6 1330 330

Great Britain

60 35 1176 15 7 1260 310
United States 60 30 1176 15 7 1225 300
Light Ships BrigGalleyLight GalleyRace-Built GalleonSloopXebec
Frigates 24-pounder FrigateAdmiral's Flagship, 5th RateCarronade FrigateFifth RateRazeeSixth RateUSS Constitution
Ships of the Line Admiral's Flagship, 1st RateAdmiral's Flagship, 3rd RateFirst Rate Ship of the LineFourth Rate Ship of the LineHeavy First RateHMS VictorySecond Rate Ship of the LineThird Rate Ship of the Line
Trade Ships DhowFluytGalleonIndiaman
Other Ships Bomb KetchRocket ShipSteamship

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