'We have consulted the pilots about any improvements which seemed likely to avail against1
the crowding of ships in the narrow harbour, as well as against the force on the enemy's decks, which in previous engagements did us so much harm, and we have adopted them as far as we had the means.
Many archers and javelin-men will embark, and a great number of other troops, whom if we were going to fight in the open sea we should not employ because they increase the weight of the ships, and therefore impede our skill; but here, where we are obliged to fight a landbattle on ship-board2
, they will be useful.
We have thought of all the changes which are necessary in the construction of our ships, and in order to counteract the thickness of the beams on the enemy's prows, for this did us more mischief than anything else, we have provided iron grapnels, which will prevent any ship striking us from getting off if the marines are quick and do their duty.
For, as I tell you, we are positively driven to fight a land-battle on ship-board, and our best plan is neither to back water ourselves nor to allow the enemy to back water after we have once closed with him. Recollect that the shore, except so far as our land-forces extend, is in their hands.