|This article is about the unit in Age of Empires III. For the unit in other games of the series, see Fire Ship.|
"Strikes anything in the water and explodes."—In-game description
It makes its debut appearance in the third scenario of the Act I: Blood campaign, where enemy Fire Ships are used against the player's ships. They appear again in the eighth scenario of Act I and can be used to destroy the Fountain of Youth.
This burning ship explodes and inflicts a lot of damage when hits its target; however, it has very few hit points and is vulnerable to ranged attacks as it approaches. Caution is advised when encountering a Fire Ship; try to sink it before it reaches any of the player's units or buildings. If commanding a Fire Ship, try to reach the target as quickly and directly as possible, and try to avoid it getting hit, preferably by distracting the enemy or by guarding it with other ships.
"Virtually everything on a tall ship is flammable, from wooden planks and tar that seals seams to greased ropes and canvas sails, to gunpowder - especially gunpowder! Black powder ships, also called fireships, were ships set afire and allowed to drift (or were sometimes piloted by a minimal crew, who escaped before impact) into enemy fleets with the purpose of setting them afire and blowing them up. Fireships were particularly nasty when sailed into harbors to destroy immobile ships at anchor.
Fireships were used by the English Royal Navy against the larger and more powerful Spanish Armada. Unable to find a proper port or deep mooring, the Spanish fleet congregated in a defensive arc, into which the British sailed a half-dozen fireships, scattering and confusing the Spanish fleet. This allowed the smaller English fleet to engage the Spanish Armada on a more even footing."