Thursday, May 14, 2020

Age of Sail - Invasion Barges

I have been working on a modified set of hex based naval rules (called KAOS) for fighting medium sized Age of Sail battles on hexes based on the old Avalon Hill Wooden Ships & Iron Men rules and using ships from the Sails of Glory range.

I plan to use a playing area with 40 mm hexes but for this test (under Corona-isolation) I used the grass green 35 mm hex playing are that I had readily available and hastily made ship bases.

British briefing:
A smuggler, flouting the Continental Blockade, has reported two invasion barges anchored behind the lighthouse in Baie de Phare on the on the west coast of Normandy. These must be captured or destroyed. The barges are reported to be nearly 120 ft in length, rigged as a corvette and armed with 12 x 24pdr cannons. They do however appear to be very short-handed. In addition to your own HMS SWIFT (7) 18-gun Sloop you will also have HMS HARRIER (8) 18-gun Sloop and HMS WEASEL (no number) 10-gun Cutter.

French briefing:
Two invasion barges with skeleton crews, on their way up the channel to join the National Flotilla located in the port of Flushing in the Batavian Republic, were damaged in a gale and took refuge in Baie de Phare on the west coast of Normandie where they are anchored behind the lighthouse. The current westerly winds making their location unsafe, you are ordered to proceed with utmost dispatch to give them all necessary help so that they can continue their journey with safety. In addition to your own Bonne Citoyenne (5) 20-gun Corvette you will also have Gaieté (6) 20-gun Corvette.

Because of the Corona situation, the battle was fought via a Skype link.

HMS SWIFT with HMS HARRIER following in her wake and accompanied by HMS WEASEL leaving Plymouth Sound and heading out into The Channel.


Entering the Baie de Phare, the British Sloops HMS SWIFT and HMS HARRIER were close hauled under easy sails with the wind from starboard They were accompanied by HMS WEASEL under full sails. Entering the Baie de Phare at the same time were the French Corvettes Bonne Citoyenne and Gaieté, broad reaching under easy sails with the wind from larboard. 

Anchored in the middle of the bay were the two French Invasion Barges. I didn't have any models to represent anchored ships so ships under way had to be used.

They started 12 hexes apart, just out of cannon range. The wind marker shows the wind blowing from the bottom of the picture.


1)
Bonne Citoyenne and Gaieté headed towards both the British and the anchored invasion barges.

SWIFT and HARRIER headed towards the French and then turned downwind. Under full sail, WEASEL turned downwind heading for the invasion barges.


2)
Still under full sail, WEASEL approached the stern of the nearest invasion barge. WEASEL opened fire and the broadside was returned by the invasion barge. However, because of the lack of crew, the invasion barge could not reload her starboard broadside.

SWIFT and HARRIER turned towards Bonne Citoyenne and Gaieté. Both side withheld fire.



3)
Still under full sail, WEASEL crossed the stern of the invasion barge and opened up with a raking fire. WEASEL also reduced sail.

SWIFT and HARRIER exchanged broadsides with Bonne Citoyenne and Gaieté.


The wind now backed 60 degrees and started blowing from the bottom right hand corner of the pictures.


4)
WEASEL grappled the invasion barge, which struck without WEASEL's crew needing to board.

HARRIER exchanged broadsides with Bonne Citoyenne. Gaieté withheld fire with her starboard broadside.


5)
SWIFT crossed the stern of WEASEL and opened fire on the Bonne Citoyenne.


6)
SWIFT grappled WEASEL. Bonne Citoyenne collided with WEASEL but failed to grapple.

HARRIER exchanged broadsides with Gaieté.


7)
Bonne Citoyenne grappled WEASEL and a boarding action was fought between them with SWIFT's boarding party in support.

HARRIER and Gaieté exchanged broadsides. 


8)
Grappled together, Bonne Citoyenne, WEASEL and  SWIFT drifted downwind. The boarding action continued.

HARRIER fire a raking broadsides into Gaieté.


9)
The combined boarding parties from WEASEL and  SWIFT finally overpowered the crew of Bonne Citoyenne. 

HARRIER again raked Gaieté which struck her colours.

Bonne Citoyenne, WEASEL and  SWIFT drifted downwind and collided with Gaieté.


10)
The action was over, the second invasion barge was still under French colours but decided not to make a fight of it. Now the British needed to act quickly to avoid the lee shore.WEASEL put a prize crew aboard Bonne Citoyenne. HARRIER put a prize crew aboard Gaieté. SWIFT put a prize crews on both the invasion barges.

The British captains returned to Plymouth, the news of their success was telegraphed to The Admiralty and praise from Their Lordships was returned by the same method. Praise of another kind was received from their ladies, when it was time to use some of the prize money to purchase smuggled French lace and silks. 


Sunday, May 3, 2020

Age of Sail - Sloops at war

I have been working on a modified set of hex based naval rules (called KAOS) for fighting medium sized Age of Sail battles on hexes based on the old Avalon Hill Wooden Ships & Iron Men rules and using ships from the Sails of Glory range.

I plan to use a playing area with 40 mm hexes but for this test (under Corona-isolation) I used the grass green 35 mm hex playing are that I had readily available and hastily made ship bases.

This  battle was between four 18 gun ship sloops, the Royal Navy's HMS SWIFT (7) and HMS HARRIER (8) verses the French Navy's Le Fortune (5) and Papillon (6).

Because of the Corona situation, the battle was fought via a Skype link.

The two French Corvettes, Le Fortune and Papillon, left the port of Marseille, passed between Fort Saint-Jean and Fort Saint-Nicolas, and headed out into the Gulf of Lion.


With the help of the Revolutionary Committee, both Le Fortune and Papillon had been recruiting in Marseille. Le Fortune had picked up a gang of cut-throats to make her boarding party even more ferocious and Papillon had added a bunch of sharpshooters to her crew, drawn from the city's jails.

Dregs from Marseille's jails - by MW

Once out in the Gulf of Lion, the French sighted two British Sloops, HMS SWIFT and HMS HARRIER sailing towards them. SWIFT with HARRIER following in her wake, were close hauled under easy sails with the wind from starboard. Le Fortune with Papillon following in her wake, were broad reaching under easy sails with the wind from larboard.

They started 12 hexes apart, just out of cannon range. The wind marker shows the wind blowing from the bottom of the picture.



1)
The two forces closed with each other and SWIFT turned downwind but refrained from opening fire at that range.


2)
HARRIER formed line behind SWIFT. Le Fortune and Papillon continued to close. SWIFT, HARRIER and Le Fortune opened fire with their initial broadside. SWIFT managed to rake Le Fortune.


3)
SWIFT and Le Fortune collided and fouled their rigging and grappled each other. HARRIER closed and grappled Le FortunePapillon turned behind Le Fortune planning to rake SWIFT.

A broadside full of grapeshot caused Le Fortune's crew to hesitate before boarding.


4)
Papillon succeeded in her plan, raking SWIFT at fairly short range.

A vicious melee occurred with the crew of  Le Fortune against the combined crews of SWIFT and HARRIER.


5)
HARRIER left a prize crew onboard Le Fortune and cut the grapple. Even SWIFT cut the grapples but could untangle the fouled rigging.

Papillon continued to fire her broadside into SWIFT, and closed to musket range so that her sharpshooters could open a withering fire.


6)
SWIFT and Le Fortune were still fouled and drifting downwind. HARRIER tried to get free from the fouled ships.

Papillon turned across SWIFT's stern and fired a raking broadside. Then her sharpshooters picked off many of the SWIFT's crewmen.


7)
SWIFT and Le Fortune finally managed to un-foul as they continued to drift downwind.
Papillon exchanged broadsides with HARRIER.


8)
SWIFT and Le Fortune were now under way and heading downwind.

HARRIER fired a raking broadside into Papillon's fore. Papillon returned the broadside and even opened up a brisk fusillade with her sharpshooters who continued to pick off British crewmen.


9)
Papillon's hull was looking leaky, but the British had suffered heavy crew losses and now had a third ship to man. So as Papillon plugged the holes, the British headed away downwind.


The British formed up looking to protect Le Fortune and the prize money that her capture meant. This discouraged the Papillon from giving chase.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Age of Sail - Frigates in the Bay

I have been working on a modified set of hex based naval rules (called KAOS) for fighting medium sized Age of Sail battles on hexes based on the old Avalon Hill Wooden Ships & Iron Men rules and using ships from the Sails of Glory range.

I plan to use a playing area with 40 mm hexes but for this test (under Corona-isolation) I used the grass green 35 mm hex playing are that I had readily available and hastily made ship bases.

This  battle was between four 28 gun frigates, the Royal Navy's HMS CONCORDE and HMS CLEOPATRA verses the French Navy's Hermione and Embuscade.

Because of the Corona situation, the battle was fought via a Skype link.

HMS CONCORDE and HMS CLEOPATRA leaving soundings somewhere WSW of Scilly as they enter the Bay of Biscay beating SW towards the Groyne.


Out in the Bay of Brittany, CONCORDE with CLEOPATRA following in her wake, were close hauled under easy sails with the wind from larboard. Having recently left Spain, the Hermione with Embuscade following in her wake, were broad reaching under easy sails with the wind from starboard.

They started 11 hexes apart, just out of cannon range. The wind marker shows the wind blowing from the bottom of the picture.


1)
The French closed with the British and then turned up into the wind. CONCORDE turned downwind with CLEOPATRA still following in her wake. All broadsides remained silent.


2)
The sailing masters now sensed that a wind change was about to happen.

CONCORDE and Hermione continue forward and exchanged broadsides. CLEOPATRA and Hermione were still too far away to be able to engage an enemy.


3)
The wind backed 120 degrees (and is now blowing from the top right corner of the picture).

The captain of the Embuscade had misjudged the wind change and was now in irons. CONCORDE and Hermione continued to exchange broadsides.


4)
CONCORDE rakes the EmbuscadeHermione continues to fire on CONCORDE.


5)
CONCORDE and Embuscade exchange broadsides. CLEOPATRA and Hermione exchange broadsides. Hermione sets full sails.


6)
CONCORDE and Embuscade continue to exchange broadsides. CLEOPATRA opens fire on Hermione with chain shot doing terrible damage to the Hermione's full sail rigging. Hermione returns fire.


7)
CONCORDE yet again rakes the Embuscade. CLEOPATRA continues to fire on Hermione with chain shot; Hermione's full sail rigging is shot to pieces. Hermione returns fire.


8)
CONCORDE and Embuscade yet again exchange broadsides. CLEOPATRA and Hermione exchange broadsides.


9)
With her rigging shot to pieces, Hermione flees the battle, repairing and splicing as fast as she can. CONCORDE and CLEOPATRA head for the Embuscade


10)
CONCORDE and CLEOPATRA concentrate on the Embuscade. Hermione has fled from the picture. 


11)
Both CONCORDE and CLEOPATRA fire on the Embuscade who returns fire.


12)
CLEOPATRA closes in to finish off the damaged Embuscade. CONCORDE sets off to chase down the Hermione.


13)
A close range broadside from the CLEOPATRA causes the Embuscade to strike her colours. CLEOPATRA sailed on past, preparing to turn, board and capture the Embuscade, but before that could happen she exploded. Flaming debris descended all around the CLEOPATRA, but luckily without doing serious damage.


14)
CONCORDE continued her long stern chase to catch the Hermione.

The wind veered 120 degrees, back to its original direction blowing from the bottom of the picture.

The Hermione turned around to face her pursuer.


15)
CONCORDE and Hermione collided and became fouled. The captain of the CONCORDE ordered his crew to grapple, board and take the Hermione. But the 's crew came out of the melee victorious, and instead CONCORDE was captured.


At the end of the day, honours were equal.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Age of Sail - Off the Brittany coast

I have been working on a modified set of hex based naval rules (called KAOS) for fighting medium sized Age of Sail battles on hexes based on the old Avalon Hill Wooden Ships & Iron Men rules and using ships from the Sails of Glory range.

I plan to use a playing area with 40 mm hexes but for this test (under Corona-isolation) I used the grass green 35 mm hex playing are that I had readily available and hastily made ship bases.

This second battle was between four 74 gun ships of the line, the Royal Navy's HMS BELLONA and HMS VANGUARD verses the French Navy's Commerce de Bordeaux and Generaux.

Because of the Corona situation, the battle was fought via a Skype link.

HMS BELLONA closely followed by HMS VANGUARD leaving Spithead for a cruise in The Channel.


Off the coast of Brittany, HMS BELLONA with HMS VANGUARD following in her wake, were broad reaching under easy sails with the southerly wind from larboard. Having recently left Brest, the Commerce de Bordeaux with Generaux following in her wake, were broad reaching under easy sails with the wind from starboard.

They started 12 hexes apart, just out of cannon range.


1)
Both squadrons headed towards each other, with the French lead ship, Commerce de Bordeaux, turning downwind at the last possible moment and opening fire with her starboard broadside at medium range without the British being able to return fire.


2)
The french closed with the British, while HMS BELLONA copied the French previous tactic and turned downwind to fire of her larboard broadside raking the Generaux.


3)
The Commerce de Bordeaux turned downwind to bring her starboard broadside to bear. HMS BELLONA continued downwind with HMS VANGUARD following in her wake. The Generaux turned close hauled into the wind bringing her larboard broadside to bear on HMS VANGUARD. All ships fired off a broadside.


4)
The British ships turned to close the French. The Commerce de Bordeaux continued downwind, while the Generaux fell off to regain speed and manoeuvrability. Commerce de Bordeaux fired upon HMS BELLONA and HMS VANGUARD raked the Generaux.


5)
HMS VANGUARD and the Generaux exchanged broadsides.

HMS BELLONA collided with the Commerce de Bordeaux and they became fouled. HMS BELLONA grappled the Commerce de Bordeaux and then boarded whereby a melee occurred.


6)
HMS VANGUARD and the Generaux continued to exchange broadsides.

The captain of HMS BELLONA realised that the Commerce de Bordeaux had a large crew which was wearing his down and attrition would eventually beat him. So he ordered the his crew to un-foul the ships and cut the grapple.


7)
HMS VANGUARD and the Generaux were now running parallel downwind while continuing to exchange broadsides.

HMS BELLONA and Commerce de Bordeaux were now moving under sail again and exchanged broadsides By this time HMS BELLONA's rigging was looking shabby and her speed reduced.



8)
HMS VANGUARD and the Generaux were still running parallel downwind while continuing to exchange broadsides. The Generaux  now had severe damage especially to her hull.

HMS BELLONA and Commerce de Bordeaux continued their duel. Both fired broadsides into their opponent, but HMS BELLONA managed to cross the Commerce de Bordeaux's stern and fired a raking broadside at point blank range.


9)
The Generaux struck her colours as HMS VANGUARD fired a broadside raking her stern at point blank range.

HMS BELLONA and Commerce de Bordeaux continued their duel. Despite having more damage to hull and cannon, Commerce de Bordeaux had an advantage because she was still more manoeuvrable than HMS BELLONA.


The Commerce de Bordeaux used her superior speed to retire from the action. On HMS BELLONA, the boatswain set about splicing the rigging, but it would never be repaired in time to catch her opponent.

HMS VANGUARD took possession of the Generaux.