Pirates on the attack: Every man for himself!
This is how the Pirates, Corsairs, Buccaneers and Filibusters prepared and captured their prey. They approached the keel of the ship as close as possible and jumped on the other deck.
All together to the boarding of the ship
Seeing a group of cruel pirates about to board your ship created panic among the crew. The passengers could already imagine a life of slavery, if someone did not pay their ransom soon. The women paid another price as well, finding themselves in front and in the hands of a group of pirates without any consideration, ready to do whatever they wanted with them.
The warning and the preparation before the Boarding
They warned with a cannon shot of what could happen to them if they did not obey the order to stop sailing.
Preparing the cannons, as a warning
The corsair ships were well armed
Always ready for a brutal and merciless combat, if they did not surrender first. Taking advantage of the speed of their ships, they soon caught up with the merchant ships. And they showed no mercy if they had not surrendered in time and had to fight.
Preparation before the fight
A light and fast ship
In order to capture their prey, they needed to catch up with them first. That is why they chose light and fast ships. Loaded with the essentials, provisions and weapons.
The sails had to be carefully repaired in order to take advantage of the power of the wind.
The hull of the ship had to be well cleaned of mollusks and marine vegetation, so that it could glide easily through the sea.
They depended on their firearms
For them, their weapons were their working tools. Their life depended on their perfect preservation. To clean the weapons, to conserve well especially the firearms. Pistols, muskets, blunderbusses, arquebuses, were very insecure weapons.
Being gunpowder weapons, they had to be well cleaned and dry. If they got wet, they could no longer fire. Being in a marine environment, it was very easy for them to get wet or damp.
Not being able to fire the firearms in the middle of the assault or boarding, could mean death.
The flag was the warning of the probable pirate attack.
A warning in the form of a black or red flag
The most common pirate flag was black, although it could also be red.
The Pirate Flag, the last warning
Black or red flag
They used to deceive their victims, using other flags. This way they could get as close as possible without arousing suspicion.
When they were close to the ship, they used the pirate flag to frighten them and make them surrender.
Some used the black flag as a warning. If the ship did not surrender, they would raise the red flag, indicating that they would kill everyone. This caused dread in the crews of the ships.
The ships they raided were usually merchant ships, sparsely crewed, and without soldiers. So they did not usually find in them, people of arms, which could be real rivals in combat.
Masts and rigging were a tangle of ropes, and each one had its own use.
As soon as they could, they would throw hooks to the other boat to catch it.
Among so much rigging it was easy for a hook to become entangled.
Ready for a brutal and merciless boarding
A hail of shrapnel before the boarding
If the ship did not surrender, the pirate boarding began after a few cannon shots to break some sails, so as to slow down the ship’s advance. They would throw abundant shrapnel on the deck, with the shrouds so that the crewmen would have to protect themselves and clear the deck of the ship.
They fired at the helmsman and crew to prevent them from maneuvering the ship.
With the deck almost deserted, and watched from afar with their muskets always ready to fire, they could approach and launch themselves into the boarding.
In the boarding, if there had been resistance, they killed and often tortured their victims.