It’s fascinating to think about the evolution of naval warfare. Once upon a time, our ancestors harnessed the wind in their sails and set out in wooden ships across the open ocean, uncharted, unknown. 

They were adventurers. Explorers. Warriors. Their vessels were simple but effective. Just like the old street hustlers, making do with what they had.

As time went on, the game changed. More prominent players stepped onto the scene. Galleons. Frigates. Ships of the line. Each one was more advanced than the last. It was like watching the rise of the Mafia. Every new technology is a power play, a statement.

And now? Now we’ve got nuclear submarines, silent and deadly, prowling the ocean’s depths. Talk about a power move. 

So how did we get here? How did we go from sails catching the wind to submarines diving hundreds of feet below the surface? That is the journey we’re about to embark on.

From Oars to Sails: The Age of the Vikings

SOFREP original art

The story of naval warfare begins in earnest around the 8th century with the Vikings, those Scandinavian seafarers and traders who struck fear into the hearts of European coastal communities. 

Their longships, masterfully constructed from sturdy oak with overlapping planks, were built for speed and maneuverability. Powered by oars and a single square sail, these vessels could carry up to 60 hardened warriors. 

Their sleek and shallow hulls worked for both the open sea and for navigating the narrow rivers of Europe. The Vikings became masters of hit-and-run tactics, their swift and agile vessels allowing them to launch sudden raids before disappearing back into the sea’s vastness.