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.
The two forces closed with each other and SWIFT turned downwind but refrained from opening fire at that range.
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.
SWIFT and Le Fortune collided and fouled their rigging and grappled each other. HARRIER closed and grappled Le Fortune. Papillon turned behind Le Fortune planning to rake SWIFT.
A broadside full of grapeshot caused Le Fortune's crew to hesitate before boarding.
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.
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.
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.
SWIFT and Le Fortune finally managed to un-foul as they continued to drift downwind.
Papillon exchanged broadsides with HARRIER.
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.
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.