|Fourth Rate Ship of the Line|
|Belongs to||All factions|
|Guns||58 (27 on each side, 2 bow chasers, 2 stern chasers)|
|Produced from||Drydock or higher|
|Special abilities||Top Gallants|
|Cost||1820 SP/1230 MP|
The Fourth Rate Ship of the Line is a ship type in Empire: Total War.
The fourth rate is the smallest vessel styled a "ship of the line" (of battle), carrying as many as 60 guns.
Ships of the line of battle are the mainstay of fighting fleets: strong and stable gun platforms for battering enemy vessels into submission. The designation of “fourth rate” for ships of this size is a British Royal Navy one, and covers a number of designs, all with very similar handling and combat power. All fourth rates are square-rigged, two-deck ships, with up to 60 guns on board in a mixture of calibres: usually a mixture of 24-, 18- and 12-pounders, with the heavier guns mounted on the lower deck.
Even though fourth rates are obviously smaller than the third-rate 74s, their firepower is much lower than a simple number-of-guns comparison would indicate. There is no structural strength or space for coping with the recoil of massive guns. As a result, a fourth rate may only have half the weight of fire of a larger ship, although partially it makes up for this by being a handier sailing vessel, especially in shallow waters.
Historically, it was obvious by the 1750s that ships of this size were not tough enough to stand in the line of battle against larger vessels. Over time, various admiralties removed these smaller battle ships from the active service, or sent them to minor stations where they were unlikely to encounter powerful enemies. Some survived as converted transports.
Fourth rate ships are the smallest true "ship of the line." Although only marginally larger than 5th rates, they have stronger hulls and greater throw weight, carrying 54 cannon of various sizes. Well able to hold their own in a pitched battle, they are useful and flexible warships.
Fourth rates are the lightest ships to have the inferior range of 400. This means that they have a distinct disadvantage against Fifth Rates, which can kite them relatively easily.
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|
|Light Ships||Brig • Galley • Light Galley • Race-Built Galleon • Sloop • Xebec|
|Frigates||24-pounder Frigate • Admiral's Flagship, 5th Rate • Carronade Frigate • Fifth Rate • Razee • Sixth Rate • USS Constitution|
|Ships of the Line||Admiral's Flagship, 1st Rate • Admiral's Flagship, 3rd Rate • First Rate Ship of the Line • Fourth Rate Ship of the Line • Heavy First Rate • HMS Victory • Second Rate Ship of the Line • Third Rate Ship of the Line|
|Trade Ships||Dhow • Fluyt • Galleon • Indiaman|
|Other Ships||Bomb Ketch • Rocket Ship • Steamship|