The Krieg Pirates, also known as the Pirate Armada (海賊艦隊 Kaizoku Kantai?) due to their sheer size, were East Blue's largest and most feared pirate crew led by Don Krieg. They consisted of a fleet of fifty pirate ships and five thousand pirates that posed as a fearsome force until the fleet was decimated by Dracule Mihawk. Due to their actions and role, they are the main antagonists of the Baratie Arc.
Krieg's flag is a standard Jolly Roger with two hourglasses to the sides, to show to their victims that their time is up. Krieg's skull is displayed with sideburns on its cheek bones, similar to the ones Don Krieg himself has.
Krieg Pirates was militarily the most powerful pirate crew in the East Blue, due to their vast numbers of men, weapons and ships. However, contrary to their reputation as the toughest crew in East Blue, the Krieg Fleet appears to rely on numbers and skulduggery over actual strength, individual crewmen appearing less skilled than their counterparts in other East Blue crewsmen, with Don Krieg, Gin, and Pearl being the only ones with any real fighting abilities out of the remaining one hundred surviving crew members; however, the cooks of Baratie did claim that the remaining one hundred crew members were tougher than the other pirates they chased away in the past. Krieg's idea of rebuilding his fleet was simply to draft the various pirate crews littered across East Blue, further proving his care for numbers over individual strength.
The crew overestimated their own strength against Hawk-Eyes Mihawk and the Grand Line itself, leading to them losing forty-nine ships and most of their soldiers. Only the flagship with 100 men returned alive due to luck more than skills. They were later defeated by Luffy and Sanji. Don Krieg himself relied on weaponry, believing with enough weapons one can win anything, a mistake that cost him and his crew victory. Krieg keeps his crew together principally using fear, despite how mad and ridiculous some of his orders may seem, his crew will follow them out of fear of death, which is another factor that limits their strength. However, some members like Gin have genuine respect for Krieg. All members are given a gas mask to protect themselves from Krieg's MH5 poison gas bomb, which is strong enough to decimate a village.
When Krieg started out as a pirate, he hijacked a Marine ship and used that as a guise to start his pillaging. He eventually built his armada, reaching a number of 50 ships and 5000 soldiers. While taking advantage of their numbers, it did not stop them from using skulduggery to take down their foes, such as raising a white flag as a ruse to unsuspecting foes or using poison gas to wipe out villages. Due to their active pillaging and high numbers, the Marines saw the Krieg Pirates as a deadlier threat than the more powerful but docile Arlong Pirates.
After terrorizing East Blue for an unknown amount of time, Krieg eventually tried to conquer the Grand Line. His fifty ships departed, but on the seventh day after entering the region, the entire crew was wiped out by "Hawk-Eyes" Mihawk. Before the flagship was taken down, a storm suddenly arrived and it managed to retreat, carrying Krieg and his 100 surviving crew members back to East Blue. After that ordeal, the crew was left weakened from hunger and injuries. Gin, the Combat Commander and Krieg's right-hand-man, disguised himself as the captain to lure Fullbody away from the rest of the crew. He was eventually captured and was left to starve for three days.
The crew was first seen when a starving Gin went into the floating restaurant, Baratie, and demanded food after escaping Fullbody's guards. Due to his lack of money and status as a pirate, he was kicked out, but Sanji took pity on him and gave him a free meal. Delighted, Gin returned to his crew and brought all of them to the Baratie. When Don Krieg recovered his strength, he revealed his intentions to steal the Baratie for his new flagship, rebuild his armada with other pirate crews found littered within the sea, and then return to the Grand Line with Zeff's logbook as a guide. This shocked the crew, who were feeling gratitude towards the chefs and did not want to go back to the pirate graveyard, but out of fear of their captain and because one member was shot for voicing his opinion, they complied.
However, as luck would have it, Mihawk had followed them and destroyed their last ship. However, once he defeated Roronoa Zoro, who had challenged him to a duel, he decided that he had enough fun and left everyone to their own devices. Krieg decided to continue his attack, and his crew overwhelmed the cooks of the Baratie. However, Monkey D. Luffy and Sanji managed to turn the tables around and even overpowered Pearl, commander of the second division, until Zeff was taken hostage by Gin. Eventually, Gin attacked Pearl, stating that he alone would deal with Sanji. However, when Gin was forced to kill Sanji, he came to a tough decision and went against his orders. In response to this, Krieg released a deadly poisonous gas bomb in an attempt to kill him.
After a long battle, Luffy managed to defeat Krieg, but even after the battle was over, Krieg unconsciously got up and demanded to continue the battle, only to be knocked down by Gin. Gathering the entire crew in a small boat, Gin declared that as a dying wish, he wanted to bring his captain back to the Grand Line like he wanted and set off.
- The Krieg Pirates is the only main antagonist group of an arc that does not possess any character followed in a cover story.
- The Krieg Pirates have the 2nd lowest known group bounty, right after the Bluejam Pirates with at least 17,700,00.
- One Piece Manga and Anime — Vol. 6 Chapter 45 (p. 9) and Episode 21, Krieg is mentioned and his strength is recognized by a Baratie chef.
- Krieg - 17,000,000
Gin - 12,000,000
- SBS One Piece Manga — Vol. 8, Fan question: the hourglasses on both sides of Don Krieg's skull and bones are supposed to indicate a threat to the enemy, but were hourglasses really used for that meaning? At that period in time...
- One Piece Manga and Anime — Vol. 6 Chapter 53 (p. 3) and Episode 25.
- One Piece Manga and Anime — Vol. 7 Chapter 60 (p. 10-11, 14) and Episode 27.
- One Piece Manga and Anime — Vol. 8 Chapter 69 (p. 8) and Episode 31, Yosaku's mentions Arlong's strength.
- One Piece Manga and Anime — Vol. 6 Chapter 48 and Episode 23, Gin describes how Krieg's fleet was decimated by Mihawk.