Friday, July 3, 2020

Age of Sail - The Admiral's Nephew

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 have also a set of campaign rules (KAOS CAMP) which can be used to follow the adventures of the captains through the scenarios.

Because of the Corona situation, the battle was fought via a Skype link. 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
Captain Kestrel of the 18-gun sloop STORK was called into the Admiral's cabin aboard the flagship, HMS PRINCE, anchored in The Sound. Kestrel was there introduced to the Admiral's nephew, a young and up-and-coming Lieutenant commanding the 10-gun cutter WEASEL. Kestrel was to take his ship along with the WEASEL and another 18-gun sloop HAZARD to patrol the channel looking for French prizes and to give the Admiral's nephew his first enemy action in command of his own vessel. The three ships headed out into The Channel from Plymouth with the morning tide. Late  in the day, as the sun was beginning to set, they spotted two French ships.

The officers of HMS STORK - by MW
Captain Kestrel and his trusty First Lieutenant 

French Briefing
You have been ordered to sortie out from the naval base at Brest and attack any British shipping in the channel, hopefully picking up some nice prizes coming in from the Atlantic. As well as your own 28-gun frigate La Bayonnaise, you will be accompanied by her sister ship Brune. You were patrolling up and down, across the channel, when as the sun was beginning to set you spy three vessels, smaller than yourself, heading down the channel towards the ocean.

Start)
The British sloops HMS STORK(6) and HMS HAZARD (7) accompanied by the cutter HMS WEASEL were broad reaching under easy sails with the wind from starboard. The French 28-gun frigates La Bayonnaise (11) and Brune (12) were running under easy sails.

The two forces started 12 hexes apart, well out of cannon range. The wind marker shows the wind blowing from the bottom of the picture.



1)
The French frigates continued downwind. The British sloops continued forward, but the Admiral's blue-eyed boy in WEASEL turned downwind and crossed the bow of STORK forcing her Captain to let her sheets fly to loose way.


2)
Even the British sloops now turned downwind so that both forces were now sailing in parallel.


3)
The French frigates continued downwind. The British reduced sail and let the French move ahead.


4)
The French frigates and British sloops continued downwind. WEASEL reduced sail to let the sloops move ahead.


5)
The French frigates continued downwind and then La Bayonnaise turned in toward the British. The British sloops continued downwind and yet again WEASEL reduced sail to let the sloops move ahead.


6)
La Bayonnaise continued to close her enemies with Brune following in her wake. STORK turned in to meet the French. HAZARD continued downwind and WEASEL reduced sail to let her pass.


7)
La Bayonnaise opened fire and raked STORK. Brune closed with STORK. HAZARD continued downwind and WEASEL reduced sail to let her pass.


8)
La Bayonnaise and Brune fired their broadsides into STORK and she returned fire. WEASEL reduced sail to let HAZARD pass across her bow.


9)
La Bayonnaise and STORK exchanged fire as did Brune and HAZARD. WEASEL followed along behind HAZARD.


10)
La Bayonnaise fired into STORK causing her to strike her colours. Brune and WEASEL exchanged broadsides. HAZARD fired into La Bayonnaise causing severe damage to her hull.


As night fell, the damaged La Bayonnaise decided that discretion was the better part of valour and turned towards Brest with HAZARD following for most of the night before loosing her in the dark. Brune's final broadside did grave damage to WEASEL's hull and then Brune turned to follow her sister ship towards Brest.

STORK signalled WEASEL to remain in company. Luckily for Captain Kestrel of the STORK, his carpenter was among the best in the fleet. Together with the crews of STORK and WEASEL he worked tirelessly throughout the night so that when dawn came both the hulls were repaired.

STORK and WEASEL were soon joined by HAZARD and they returned to Plymouth where they anchored in The Sound.

The flagship HMS PRINCE soon signalled for Captain Kestrel to repair onboard accompanied by the Admiral's nephew. Luckily for these two, the carpenter's work was so good that both their vessels appeared to be in good order, at least when seen from the flagship.

The admiral was so pleased to see his nephew returned that he handed out bumpers of port. On hearing his nephew's report, he decided that he must be reward for his gallant fight against the French frigates of much superior force. He resolved there and then to take the STORK away from Captain Kestrel and give her to his nephew. His nephew was worth such a vessel, blood always tells, and after all the admiral had never once heard Captain Kestrel say "balcony".

Luckily for the admiral, there was a frigate in Plymouth Dock, the captain of which had gone up to London to take his seat in Parliament. So together with words of weak praise - but no more port - this was offered to Captain Kestrel.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Age of Sail - Get the Treasure Home

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 have also a set of campaign rules (KAOS CAMP) which can be used to follow the adventures of the captains through the scenarios.

Because of the Corona situation, the battle was fought via a Skype link. 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:
After the capture of the treasure galleon, a Spanish 74 named Nuestra Señora de las Nieves, the frigates PHEOBE and DRYAD escorted the captured Spaniard northwards towards England while the CAROLINE headed off on a separate mission. The  treasure galleon had only a skeleton prize crew, with the Spanish crew confined in the hold without their officers. The ships passed the Groyne and headed out into the Bay of Biscay. As they neared soundings somewhere WSW of Scilly they sighted two strange sail ahead. These sail turn out to be two French 38-gun frigates patrolling.

French briefing:
You are patrolling the western entrance to la Manche, North-West of Île d'Ouessant in the 38-gun frigate Hébé with her sister ship Sibylle in company, when you spot three sail coming up from the South-West. You identify the first two sail as British 36-gun frigates and the third sail as a much larger vessel, probably an East Indiaman and as such a very nice prize indeed.

The British frigates HMS PHEOBE (4) and HMS DRYAD (9) followed by the captured treasure galleon, Nuestra Señora de las Nieves(2), were broad reaching under easy sails with the wind from starboard. 

The French frigates Hébé (11) and Sibylle (12) were broad reaching under easy sails with the wind from larboard. They could now see that the third British sail was not an East Indiaman, but instead a rather battered Spanish ship of the line.

They started 14 hexes apart, well out of cannon range. The wind marker shows the wind blowing from the bottom of the picture. 


1)
The French frigates continued to close with the British. 

PHEOBE reduced speed in order for DRYAD to close up the gap.


2)
Hébé, PHEOBE and DRYAD turned downwind, Hébé and PHEOBE exchanging broadsides as the did so.


3)
Sibylle followed in the wake of Hébé. Both French frigates opened fire.


4)
The British frigates PHEOBE and DRYAD collided and fouled their rigging.

Hébé with Sibylle still followed in her wake, turned in front of the British and opened fire. Sibylle's fire raked DRYAD.


5)
PHEOBE and DRYAD attempted to un-foul their rigging.

The Spanish treasure galleon was raked by Hébé, while Sibylle continued to fire into DRYAD.


6)
Hébé boarded the Spanish treasure galleon and a melee was fought. Sibylle continued to fire into DRYAD.

PHEOBE and DRYAD attempted to un-foul their rigging.


The seamen now spotted that a change in wind was on its way, the wind was going to veer.

7)
PHEOBE and DRYAD drifted downwind while still attempting to un-foul their rigging.

Sibylle continued to fire into DRYAD.

Hébé's crew, aboard Nuestra Señora de las Nieves, released the Spanish crew from the hold and the opened fire on the DRYAD.


The wind now changed direction, veering 120 degrees. The wind now blowing from the top left corner of the picture.


8)
PHEOBE and DRYAD were now no longer fouled and under way. 

Almost all of Hébé's crew were now manning Nuestra Señora de las Nieves, only a skeleton crew was aboard the frigate.

A broadsides from Sibylle caused DRYAD to strike her colours.

PHEOBE raked the stern of the Nuestra Señora de las NievesNuestra Señora de las Nieves returned fire and a lucky cannon shot killed the PHEOBE's captain.


9)
PHEOBE, now with full sails set, moved out the the French ships' arcs of fire. 


Sibylle boarded and secured the DRYAD. Hébé's crew secured the Spanish prize.

The French watched as the PHEOBE disappeared into the distance towards England, two prizes were enough for the French, they let PHEOBE escape.

The French sheeted home and headed for the naval base at Brest.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Age of Sail - The Treasure Galleon

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.

Because of the Corona situation, the battle was fought via a Skype link. 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:
The Admiralty has received intelligence that the Spanish are sending a Treasure Galleon named Nuestra Señora de las Nieves (74-gun Ship of the Line) under the command of Juan Esteban de Ubilla from La Habana in the Americas back to Cadiz in Spain. You have set up a chain of three 38-gun frigates – HMS PHEOBE (9), HMS DRYAD(10) and HMS CAROLINE(4) - across the Treasure Galleon’s probable course.

Spanish briefing:
You have been ordered to transport a large sum of gold and silver from the mines in the Americas safely back to Spain. You have a 74-gun Ship of the Line, Nuestra Señora de las Nieves, in which to make the voyage. You have loaded the treasure in San Cristóbal de La Habana and are now bound for Cadiz. A keen-eyed lookout spots a chain off frigates across your path, and they are soon identified as Royal Navy. Unwilling to capitulate, and resigned to the fact that you cannot reach Cadiz without first sinking or disabling the faster and more nimble enemy vessels, you order the decks cleared for battle.

 Nuestra Señora de las Nieves leaving port and heading out into the Atlantic Ocean.

Actually a French 74 with a Spanish ensign added by Photoshop.

The British frigates HMS PHEOBE, HMS DRYAD and HMS CAROLINE were spread out in a chain, close hauled, heading towards the probable position of the treasure galleon. Nuestra Señora de las Nieves was running before the wind, heading for Spain.

They started 20 hexes apart, well out of cannon range. The wind marker shows the wind blowing from the bottom of the picture.


1)
DRYAD and CAROLINE continued forward while PHEOBE fell off in order to wear.
Nuestra Señora de las Nieves set her sights on the rightmost frigate of the chain.


2)
DRYAD and CAROLINE continued forward and PHEOBE continued wearing.
The Spaniard continued to head for CAROLINE.


3)
DRYAD and CAROLINE continued forward and PHEOBE completed wearing.
The Spaniard continued to head for CAROLINE.


4)
All ships moved forward.


5)
DRYAD fell off in order to wear. All other ships moved forward.


6)
DRYAD continued wearing. PHEOBE moved forward. CAROLINE turned away from the Spaniard which turned early having misjudged CAROLINE's manoeuvre.


7)
DRYAD completed wearing. CAROLINE decided to keep her distance from the Spaniard. PHEOBE turned away.  Nuestra Señora de las Nieves headed for CAROLINE.


8)
The British ships formed up together as the Spaniard attempted to close.


9)
The British ships manoeuvre in a rather confusing fashion as the Spaniard continued to close.

Now within carronade range, Nuestra Señora de las Nieves fired her initial starboard broadside into DRYAD.


10)
Nuestra Señora de las Nieves turned and fired her initial larboard broadside into CAROLINE.


11)
Nuestra Señora de las Nieves and DRYAD exchanged fire at close range while CAROLINE opened fire in support. PHEOBE was behind both ships and cannot open fire.


12)
Nuestra Señora de las Nieves raked DRYAD at point blank range, but the Spaniard's gunnery was poor.


13)
The Spaniard exchanged fire with PHEOBE.


14)
CAROLINE raked, at point blank range, the stern of the Nuestra Señora de las Nieves which in turn raked PHEOBE.


15)
Nuestra Señora de las Nieves fired a raking braodside into PHEOBE just as both ships collided. PHEOBE's crew gallantly boarded the much larger Spaniard and started a melee with her more numerous, although poorly trained, crew.

DRYAD and CAROLINE collided.


16)
PHEOBE's crew were sacrificing themselves to stop the Spaniard from escaping. They were gradually being overwhelmed by the Spaniard's larger crew, but luck was on their side and they were gaining time as DRYAD and CAROLINE charged to the aid of PHEOBE. 


17)
As the melee continued, DRYAD and CAROLINE grappled the Spaniard and boarded to aid the struggling PHEOBE.


18)
PHEOBE's self-sacrifice had gained time and the crews of DRYAD and CAROLINE tipped the balance of the melee back in favour of the British. With the captain of CAROLINE leading the boarders from the front, and after a prolonged fight, the Spaniard's ensign was hauled down and replaced with the White Ensign.


PHEOBE's brave but decimated crew returned to the their ship with their wounded. DRYAD and CAROLINE put a prize crew onboard the Nuestra Señora de las Nieves.

Damage was quickly and efficiently repaired although the damage done to the Spaniards hull required that the prisoners pump to keep her afloat. 

The ships set course for England with every man jack aboard thinking about the prize money. Even the smallest share should be enough to buy a small pub while the captain's share would be enough for a fine manor house.

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.