East Indiamen were large merchant ships, sailing under the flag or major European trading powers on behalf of the powerful East India companies, trading and enriching them. While their main purpose was to transport goods and passengers, they were often well–armed to defend themselves, but they were normally not very fast. The crew and number of guns was widely variable, depending on the kind of service the ship was doing.
The Duc de Duras was a merchant ship which regularly sailed half way around the world on behalf of the French East India Company. Her design allowed her to be quickly transformed into a warship in case of necessity to support the navy. When the French East India Company dissolved, all its ships were “adopted” by the French Navy, including the Duc the Duras. Purchased by King Louis XVI of France in early 1779, her size and new armament made her the equivalent of a 50–gun 4th rate ship of the line.
This ship pack can also be used to represent the French ex–merchant ship “Dauphin 1766 (1770)”.