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Filled with explosives. Self-destructs when used.
Age of Empires II description

The Demolition Ship is a naval vessel in Age of Empires II that can be trained at the Dock once the Castle Age is reached. Demolition Rafts are automatically upgraded to Demolition Ships when the War Galley upgrade is researched.

Demolition Ships are packed with explosives that blow up against enemy ships, Docks, land units caught in shallows, and anything too close to the shore.

Demolition Ships are available to all civilizations except for the Koreans.


An animation showing the explosion damage left on the two enemy ships.

Its tactics resemble those of a cruise missile, used to strike against key targets (such as fully loaded Transport Ships), dying in the process. It can cause great damage when it hits and will destroy most ships or groups of ships in one shot due to its Area of Effect damage, which thankfully does not harm friendly units. Note that even if a Demolition Ship explodes before being able to complete its attack (including if the owner presses delete), the explosion will still deal full damage. The Demolition Ship and its upgrade are the fastest military vessels in the game (especially with Dry Dock researched), much faster than most naval units, making it capable of chasing down enemies. It is very useful against tight groups of Galleys - especially using groups of Demolition Ships, most human opponents will immediately prioritize Demolition Ships when spotted - allowing other ships like Fire Ships to close the distance. It all depends on the exact situation; they are very similar to the Petard. Since Demolition Ships are available to nearly all civilizations, civilizations with poor naval technology may improvise by using Demolition Ships to even the odds. Demolition Ships are useful against the Galley line if they manage to approach to them, excellent against Fire Ships, and devastating against Transport Ships. But they fare poorly against the heavily armed and armored Turtle Ship. In sufficient numbers, however, they can be very cost effective against them. Longboats are a severe threat to Demolition Ships.

Demolition Ships can also be an excellent tool for dealing with the enemy shoreline infrastructure as they can rapidly take down enemy Docks without having to compromise other naval vessels intended to survive that can support Demolition Ships by distance.

Further statistics[]

Unit strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Transport Ships, Fishing Ships, Fire Ships, buildings in the shoreline, melee units in the shallows, Cannon Galleons
Weak vs. Turtle Ships, towers, Castles, ranged units on the shoreline
Armor CareeningDE.png Careening (+0/+1)
CastleAgeUnique.png Carrack (+1/+1, Portuguese only)
Speed DryDockDE.png Dry Dock (+15%)
Conversion defense FaithDE.png Faith
HeresyDE.png Heresy
Creation speed ShipwrightDE.png Shipwright (+54%)
Train cost ShipwrightDE.png Shipwright (-20%)
Upgrades HeavyDemoShipDE.png Heavy Demolition Ship

Civilization bonuses[]

  • Aztecs: Demolition Ships are created 18% faster.
  • Berbers: Demolition Ships move 10% faster.
  • Burmese: Researching Faith is 50% cheaper.
  • Celts: Demolition Ships can convert herdables even if enemy units are next to them.
  • Chinese: Technologies that benefit Demolition Ships are 15%/20% cheaper in the Castle/Imperial Age. Demolition Ships have +50% HP.
  • Italians: Researching Careening, Dry Dock, and Shipwright is 33% cheaper.
  • Persians: Demolition Ships are created 15%/20% faster in the Castle/Imperial Age. Careening is researched 15%/20% faster in the Castle/Imperial Age. Dry Dock and the upgrade to the Heavy Demolition Ship are researched 20% faster.
  • Portuguese: Demolition Ships have +10% HP and cost 20% less gold. Upgrades that benefit Demolition Ships are researched 30% faster.
  • Vikings: Demolition Ships are 15%/20% cheaper in the Castle/Imperial Age.

Team bonuses[]


The Age of Kings[]

  • Demolition Ships have 50 HP.
  • Shipwright reduces the wood cost by 20%.
  • Vikings: Demolition Ships are 20% cheaper.

The Conquerors[]

  • With patch 1.0b, Shipwright also decreases train time by 35% now.
  • Heresy introduced.
  • Aztecs: Cannot build Demolition Ships.

The Forgotten[]

  • Demolition Ships now have 60 HP.
  • Vikings: Demolition Ships are now 15%/20% cheaper in the Castle/Imperial Age.

The African Kingdoms[]

Definitive Edition[]

Dynasties of India[]

  • With update 61321, siege units and ships are now resistant to armor-ignoring attacks similarly to buildings.


Kings and civilizations without a naval tradition turned to a simple expedient when facing a naval engagement. They loaded an expendable ship with combustibles and a skeleton crew. The doomed ship was then sailed into contact with enemy ships and set alight. When done properly, demolition ships burned fiercely and exploded, setting adjacent enemy ships on fire also. Wooden ships sealed with pitch and outfitted with flammable rigging and equipment were at great risk to fire and explosion (once gunpowder was aboard). A demolition ship could damage or destroy ships many more times more powerful and valuable and could be used against seaside buildings.