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Stronger than Demolition Ship. Filled with explosives. Self-destructs when used.
Age of Empires II description

The Heavy Demolition Ship is a naval vessel in Age of Empires II that can be trained at the Dock once the Imperial Age is reached. It is packed with explosives that blows up enemy ships, Docks, land units caught in shallows, and anything too close the shore. It has better armor (although still very little) and a much stronger and larger explosion than its predecessor. Since they are suicide units, they may be referred to as the Petards of the sea (even though they were introduced in the game before Petards).

Unit availability
Available Unavailable

The * indicates that the civilization can fully upgrade their Heavy Demolition Ships, i.e. gets Dry Dock. Faith and Heresy are not taken into account because they only contribute to their combat strength in a very situational manner.

The ^ indicates that the civilization has at least one civilization or team bonus or a unique technology that benefits the combat strength of the Heavy Demolition Ship.


Heavy Demolition Ships are very good against other ships, especially Fire Ships and fully loaded Transports. Heavy Demolition Ships explode when killed, dealing blast damage to any nearby units. However, they do not cause friendly fire damage, so any nearby allied units will not be damaged.

Like its predecessor the Demolition Ship, its tactics resemble those of a cruise missile. The Heavy Demolition Ship and its predecessor are the fastest military vessel in the game (especially with Dry Dock researched), much faster than most naval units, making it capable of chasing down enemies. It can cause great damage when it hits and will destroy most ships in one shot, but since it is a suicide unit it may not be worth the resource cost. It all depends on the exact situation. Heavy Demolition Ships are useful against the Galley line if they manage to approach to them, excellent against Fire Ships, and devastating against Transport Ships. They do worse against the heavily armed and armored Turtle Ship. However, in sufficient numbers (3 to 1), they can be the only effective way to destroy them quickly in the water. Longboats are a severe threat to Heavy Demolition Ships.

Heavy 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 Heavy Demolition Ships by distance.

Further statistics[]

Unit strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Transport Ships, Fishing 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%)

Civilization bonuses[]

  • Berbers: Heavy Demolition Ships move 10% faster.
  • Celts: Heavy Demolition Ships can convert herdables even if enemy units are next to them.
  • Chinese: Technologies that benefit Heavy Demolition Ships are 20% cheaper. Heavy Demolition Ships have +50% HP.
  • Persians: Heavy Demolition Ships are created 20% faster. Careening and Dry Dock are researched 20% faster.
  • Portuguese: Heavy Demolition Ships have +10% HP and cost -20% gold. Upgrades that benefit Heavy Demolition Ships are researched 30% faster.
  • Vikings: Heavy Demolition Ships are 20% cheaper.

Team bonuses[]


The Age of Kings[]

  • Heavy Demolition Ships have 60 HP.
  • Shipwright reduces the wood cost by 20%.

The Conquerors[]

  • With patch 1.0b, Shipwright also decreases train time by 35% now.
  • Heresy introduced.

The Forgotten[]

  • Heavy Demolition Ships have 70 HP.

The African Kingdoms[]

  • Portuguese: Heavy Demolition Ships cost -15% gold.

Definitive Edition[]

Dynasties of India[]

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


  • Heavy Demolition Ships cause the second greatest amount of base damage in the entire game (140), only Trebuchets have greater damage output (200).
  • Berber Heavy Demolition Ships with Dry Dock researched are the second fastest unit (2.024), behind Berber Trade Cogs with Caravan (2.5047), thus they are also the fastest military unit in the game.
  • None of the four civilizations introduced in The Last Khans and neither of the two civilizations introduced in Dawn of the Dukes has access to Heavy Demolition Ships. As a result, none of the Eastern European civilizations have access to it.
  • After the building style changed to East Asian for the Vietnamese, none of the Southeast Asian civilizations have access to Heavy Demolition Ships either. The Southeastern Asian style Heavy Demolition Ship is unique to the Dravidians.


Demolition ships eventually were made larger and filled them with explosives of greater power, especially gunpowder. This heavy demolition ship resulted in greater explosions and a greater chance of damaging or destroying one or more enemy ships. It could be devastating against a large target or many enemy ships caught traveling close together.