Assassin's Creed Wiki
Assassin's Creed Wiki
This article is about the ship class. You may be looking for the memory of a similar name.
AC4 El Arca Del Maestro

A Spanish Man O' War, El Arca del Maestro

The Man O' War (plural: Men O' War) was a type of large warship operated by, among others, the British, French, Spanish and Portuguese navies. The term "Man O' War" itself was not a strict naval classification, unlike frigate, brig, or schooner, and was instead casual terminology used for any grand, imposing ship boasting multiple gun decks. Most Men O' War of the 18th century were properly classified as ship of the line; they often functioned as flagships for fleets due to their tremendous firepower and durability.


Golden Age of Piracy[]

During the early 18th century, the Man O' War was among the most well-armed class of warship in operation throughout the Caribbean. Each ship of the class bore three masts, and was capable of fielding up to a hundred guns over three decks; on top of this, they were fitted with mortars, chain-shot, heavy shot and fire barrels, and the sheer amount of material used in their construction made them extremely robust. However, despite all of these major advantages, Men O' War possessed a major weakness in terms of their speed. As they were very slow, a well-armed, smaller ship could outmaneuver their broadsides and still land hits to destroy them.[1]

AC4 The Royal Fortune

The Royal Fortune

One of the few Men O' War to fly the pirate colors was Bartholomew Roberts' Royal Fortune, which originally belonged to the Portuguese Navy before being stolen by Roberts with Edward Kenway's assistance. In addition to its side and bow artillery, the ship was also outfitted with stern cannons, ensuring that it could return fire from any direction.[1]

To mark them out from each other, British Men O' War typically had yellow and black painted hulls, while Spanish ones had a reddish-brown coloration. Although not as common, pirate hunter Men O' War also existed and were distinguished by their red and black hulls and red sails.[1]

Men O' War also operated in the South China Sea. In 1725, the crews of the Fenghuang and a Dutch East India Company ship captained by Jan van Aert were attacked by two Spanish Men O' War near the Philippines, forcing them to surrender and head to Manila. There, they were promptly arrested by the local Spanish authorities, due to Jan being implicated in the assassination of Governor Fernando Manuel de Bustillo Bustamante y Rueda six years prior.[2]

Seven Year's War[]

During the Seven Years' War between Britain and France, the Templar Shay Cormac faced numerous Men O' War in the North Atlantic with his ship, the Morrigan. Most notably, Cormac fought against French and Assassin warships, due to him being allied with both the British and Templar Order. In Rogue, British Men O' War retained their appearance from Black Flag, French Men O' War had blue and white painted hulls with white sails, while Assassin Men O' War had brown hulls and orange sails.

ACRG-Ship battle

The HMS Pembroke fighting in the Battle of Louisbourg

Despite being abundant in the North Atlantic, Men O' War were extremely uncommon in the River Valley, as the waters were too shallow for a ship of that size. Near the end of the war though, the French managed to get a Man O' War into the River Valley, using its mortars to bolster their firepower in the region.[3]

James Cook was the captain of a Man O' War, HMS Pembroke, during the Seven Years' War. Shay was the helmsman of the Man O' War during the Battle of Louisbourg.[3]

American Revolution[]

In the years surrounding the American Revolutionary War, the Assassin Connor faced many Men O' War along the East Coast with his ship, the Aquila, and was able to destroy them all, making the trade routes along the coast safer. These Men O' War possessed a significant weakness to chain-shots, which could destroy their masts and cripple them, making them an easier target.[4]

Legendary ships[]

Main article: Legendary ship

During the early 18th century, there were five "legendary" Men O' War that roamed the four corners of the Caribbean, each with their unique naval warfare styles and construction. Three of them belonged to the Royal Navy while two sailed under the flag of the Spanish Navy.[1]

These five ships were significantly more well-armed, faster and armored than any other Men O' War in the Caribbean, and provided a significantly greater challenge to any would-be attacker. Their distinguishing characteristics made them notorious throughout the Caribbean, and they were feared by servicemen and pirates alike.[1]

AC4 El Impoluto

El Impoluto, one of the legendary ships encountered by Edward Kenway

Each of these legendary ships was eventually sunk by Edward Kenway's Jackdaw, and their supply of gold—20,000 reales on average—claimed by the pirate's crew.[1]

Another pirate, Alonzo Batilla, also encountered several legendary ships as he traveled across the West Indies. Each ship contained a great sum of coins and occasionally a lost file could be found after a ship had been sunk.[5]

Years later, around the time of the Seven Years' War, there were seven more of these ships roaming the corners of the North Atlantic, all equipped with heavy armaments and supported by other ships. One of these ships was the fearsome Storm Fortress, under control of the Assassins. However, Shay Cormac defeated her and the other five ships by using the Morrigan.[3]

Notable Men O' War[]

Legendary ships[]


  • In the Assassin's Creed III memory "Biddle's Hideout", Richard Clutterbuck erroneously referred to the plural of Man O' War as "Man O' Wars", as opposed to the correct term "Men O' War".
  • Weaker classed Men O' War often lacked front cannons. [citation needed]
  • In Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag and Rogue, regular Men O' War can be either level 36, level 49, or level 60, while legendary ships are level 75 (except for the Storm Fortress, which is level 99).
    • Also in Rogue, after beating the main story, there are no more Men O' War at level 60 that can be found in the open sea, as only the Assassins are in control of level 60 Men O' War and the order is eradicated at the end of the campaign. They can still be recruited into Shay's fleet by replaying the memory "Cold Fire" in Sequence 6. Shay must ignore the objective and sail straight to Assassin controlled Anticosti where a level 60 Man O' War and level 29 Frigate will spawn, as this memory takes place prior to the destruction of the Colonial Order. Shay must be quick as these ships have a tendency to spawn and immediately despawn unless the Morrigan does damage to them as soon as they spawn.
  • In Black Flag, British Men O' War are painted in a colour scheme remeniscent of HMS Victory, Admiral Horatio Nelson's flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar. HMS Victory remains a registered Royal Navy vessel and is kept in permanent dry dock in Portsmouth, where she remains the only surviving ship of her class in the world.