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Berthier
01-09-2012, 03:00
Well I'm interested to hear opinions on how the game will handle "raking" and whether a stern rake will be far more powerful than a forward one. I looked through various boardgames I have and they varied from not differentiating the two rakes at all, to doubling the stern rake compared to the forward rake to making the stern rake 1.5 more powerful.

From all my reading, which may not be much, the stern rake if done properly and timed to sweep the ship stern to bow, is utterly devastating. The casualty figures on ships raked by the finest gunners (the brits..please no arguments about the US sailors, I'm talking SOL here) were truly enormous, not just in crew killed and wounded but also in guns dismounted and other sundry damage. It was not unknown for a mast to be shot through on the gun decks.

However, I cant recall such devastation from a forward rake and logic suggests that this would be as expected. The bow of the ship is tapered therefore deflects some shot, it is more heavily reinforced for crashing through the seas so some shot wont penetrate, it is a little further from the gun deck so some shot that does penetrate will loose momentum and do less damage. The bow presents a much smaller cross-sectional target making it harder to hit. All these factors help to reduce the damage a rake through the bows could inflict. Conversely, the stern of a ship is pretty much windows and thinner timber, the stern is designed to keep the weather out, allow light in and provide accommodation space, when cleared for action there is very little between the stern of a ship and the forward guns of the gun decks. It is literally like a bowling alley with only the mast, ladders, stored supplies (down the centre line and along the sides) and the guns themselves to inhibit movement down the length of the ship. The stern of the ship is a huge expanse of flat cross-section making it easier to hit and far simpler to penetrate.

My thoughts are thus summarised here for discussion:

1) Stern rakes if well done are devastating, probably battle winning
2) Forward rakes are harder to achieve, and even if done successfully will do far less damage
3) A "partial rake", that is, a rake where only a portion of the broadside can go the length of a target ship should be severely reduced in effect for a bow partial rake, perhaps no effect at all above a normal broadside. A partial stern wake would be "partially" devastating.
4) All rakes whether stern or bow are not equal. What I mean is that an elite crew on average will do more damage and successfully implement a rake better than a green crew. The rules would therefore need to bias the liklihood of success of a rake, plus bias the damage inflicted by a successful rake towards better crews. This does not mean a green crew couldn't land the perfect rake straight through the stern windows of HMS Victory, it just means it isn't very likely. Thus poor crews will find it harder to actually hit a ship in a rake position and even if they do their timing will mean they are less likely to inflict the maximum damage.

All of these discussions of course centre around the quality of gunnery which no doubt will be differentiated but the issue of "the rake" is a complex one. I think bow rakes are actually not that effective, I'm not even convinced they should get any bonus apart from the fact that the victim cant shoot back at you! I'd like to hear of examples of any combats you may know of where the bow rake was crucial to the outcome of the battle.

The Royal Hajj
01-09-2012, 05:25
If I had to guess, I would say that raking is not modeled in the game. This is assuming a Wings of War type damage system. If they use a Dawn of War type of damage system, it's possible we might see it.

Berthier
01-09-2012, 06:22
If there's no raking it will be the first "unofficial" mod I develop! :)

Mark Barker
01-09-2012, 15:05
Stern rakes were undoubtedly the most effective but their ability to knock out a SOL with a single broadside rather overstated. At Trafalgar Collingwood's Royal Sovereign raked the Santa Ana, and then swung round to engage on the leeward side. S-A's return shot was still so powerful that it heeled the R-S over in the water by several strakes, then the two ships settled down to close range gunnery. S-A held out for another two hours before surrendering.

The accounts of the crew losses suffered by Bucentaure from Victory's stern rake are also over-estimated in the James account - the number exceeds the total reported crew losses suffered after several stern rakes from other ships (Neptune, Conqueror etc) so care is needed. 1.5 to double damage is about standard but not enough to take the ship out as a fleet unit.

The bow timbers were not specifically strengthened to resist the waves, they were thinner than the sides as they needed to be shaped to match the counters of the prow (usually steamed and then bent into shape). The curved shape would tend to naturally result in a glancing impact that would reduce the damage somewhat but they are a lot thinner than the sides. A maximum effect of 1.25 x would seem to be in order but a true bow rake is tricky to achieve.

The Brits took enough penetrating damage from their approach at Trafalgar for the "round bow" (a stronger if less elegant design taking the thicker timbers round as far as possible) to be introduced in the later Napoleonic period, so it had some effect but was much less feared than the stern rake.

Good discussion - I like your logic on crew quality/timing, this is reflected in the most modern of the board wargames - GMT's Flying Colors.

Best regards,

Mark Barker
The Inshore Squadron

Berthier
01-09-2012, 18:53
The drawing of cards for damage wouldn't preclude the rake being included in the game. Two mechanisms immediately come to mind. Firstly a raking ship could simply draw more damage cards. Alternatively a raking ship could have any damage from a card increased by a factor of 1.5 or 2. The first option would be the easiest to implement. The definition of "rake" could be as simple as being in the firing arc of the firing ship but being not having said ship in your own firing arc- this may be a bit simplistic but would probably work in the context of the game.

Berthier
01-09-2012, 20:23
Mark
The bow timbers being thinner I hadn't realised, so strike that point!

Thinner timbers hit at an angle would have a thicker cross-section to penetrate than thin timbers struck perpendicularly, but whether this equalised their resistance to penetration compared with the side timbers is probably still unlikely though.

The raking of the Santa Anna is an interesting one as she was a four decker presumably not all four decks suffered the full brunt of the broadside, which would have enabled her to fight on. It would be instructive to know her casualties by gun deck (as it would be for all the ships involved)...not that I think those figures are published.

As a final point on raking the size of the firer and the target, by size I mean deck numbers, would have been yet another factor as to the damage inflicted. A four decker raking a two decker would be firing over the top deck and clearing the main deck with it's top gun deck rake whilst the reverse situation of a two decker raking a four would see damage to lower gun decks but perhaps not the topmost unless fired at very close range "on the up" to effectively do a deflection shot through multiple decks.

The Royal Hajj
01-10-2012, 00:12
The drawing of cards for damage wouldn't preclude the rake being included in the game. Two mechanisms immediately come to mind. Firstly a raking ship could simply draw more damage cards. Alternatively a raking ship could have any damage from a card increased by a factor of 1.5 or 2. The first option would be the easiest to implement. The definition of "rake" could be as simple as being in the firing arc of the firing ship but being not having said ship in your own firing arc- this may be a bit simplistic but would probably work in the context of the game.

Either of those could work. Andrea said they switched from cards to chits for DoW because it was too expensive to make all the extra cards needed in DoW and that pulling 5-6 cards for some of the shots ate thru the deck to quick. I would think the same thing would apply here. In fact, I would guess that they went with chits so they could represent the different weight shots (similar to A, B, C, D chits in DoW). I could see them allowing an additional "A" damage chit (same as consecutive shooting in DoW) for raking.

I do not see them having us do math to work out damage... that goes against the "hidden complexity" design philosophy of Andrea.

If they do include raking, I would look for it to be determined very similar to tailing in WoW/DoW.... shots entering the back of the base within range count as raking,

David Manley
01-10-2012, 00:20
Having chatted with Andrea on a few points some time ago I think it is safe to say that raking will be covered in a manner which is acceptable to the group here.

Berthier
01-10-2012, 03:57
Hmmm David knows stuff but he's not talking ;)

Next topic!

David Manley
01-10-2012, 15:25
Well I asked if raking would be covered, and if there'd be a differentiation between bow and stern rakes and he said yes :)

Killick
01-11-2012, 04:35
I agree I cannot see the game without raking

Mark Barker
01-12-2012, 14:51
I agree I cannot see the game without raking

You won't have to - trust David he speaks the truth :)

Just to note that Santa Ana (mentioned earlier in the thread) was not a 4-decker - she was a standard Spanish 112 with 3 decks.

The only "4 decker" was the Santisima Trinidad, and she was in fact a 3-decker that had been rebuilt with the fo'c'sle and quarterdeck joined together by planking in the waist, this allowing a battery of 8-pdrs to be mounted. (Bit like the spar deck on those big Yankee frigates).

Although often touted as the "largest ship in the world" she was in fact no bigger overall than a standard Spanish 3-decker and smaller than the class of French 3-decker 120s (such as Imperial and L'Orient).

She did mount close on 140 guns and like most Spanish ships was of excellent build quality.

As an interesting "what if" unit the British admiralty (obviously impressed with the number of guns that the Spaniard mounted) toyed with building their own 4-decker after Trafalgar. She was judged impractical and too expensive, but the project went as far as a beautiful model which still exists in the NMM collection. The 'Duke of Kent' as she was to be called would have been truly immense and was designed to carry no less than 170 guns !

Best wishes,

Mark Barker
The Inshore Squadron

csadn
01-12-2012, 15:08
As an interesting "what if" unit the British admiralty (obviously impressed with the number of guns that the Spaniard mounted) toyed with building their own 4-decker after Trafalgar. She was judged impractical and too expensive, but the project went as far as a beautiful model which still exists in the NMM collection. The 'Duke of Kent' as she was to be called would have been truly immense and was designed to carry no less than 170 guns !

Floating Brick with performance to match.... :)

Berthier
01-12-2012, 20:36
Damn always getting those Spanish "santas" mixed up!

David Manley
01-13-2012, 00:02
Floating Brick with performance to match

Having a series of 85 gun broadsides in your line of battle could be interesting though :)

This talk of rakes reminds me of a discussion we had in the office a while back on the design of AoS warships and the significance of a raking attack. I guess its partially down to popular naval fiction that the rake is seen as such a devastating and decisive action, but putting our designers hat on we wondered if this really was the case. Looking at the design of a typical frigate or liner its obvious that, with only a modest impact on the design and operation of the ship, you could incorporate a protective bulkhead towards the stern and in the bows to give an equal degree of protection to the hull from raking fire as from a broadside attack - possibly even enhanced protection given the relative areas under consideration. The fact that this was not done (and from what I can see was never seriously considered) would suggest that, whilst as an individual event they could be highly effective, the overall impact of raking fire on naval operations was pretty low on the list of "sore thumbs" - certainly below cost and crew movement aspects.

csadn
01-13-2012, 16:29
Having a series of 85 gun broadsides in your line of battle could be interesting though :)

Maybe -- I still think it'll have a hard time keeping up with, and staying in, formation.


This talk of rakes reminds me of a discussion we had in the office a while back on the design of AoS warships and the significance of a raking attack. I guess its partially down to popular naval fiction that the rake is seen as such a devastating and decisive action, but putting our designers hat on we wondered if this really was the case. Looking at the design of a typical frigate or liner its obvious that, with only a modest impact on the design and operation of the ship, you could incorporate a protective bulkhead towards the stern and in the bows to give an equal degree of protection to the hull from raking fire as from a broadside attack - possibly even enhanced protection given the relative areas under consideration. The fact that this was not done (and from what I can see was never seriously considered) would suggest that, whilst as an individual event they could be highly effective, the overall impact of raking fire on naval operations was pretty low on the list of "sore thumbs" - certainly below cost and crew movement aspects.

That, or the designers and The Establishment (note capitals) saw the problem, and chose to ignore it, in the time-honored tradition of People Who Aren't Getting Shot At throughout history.... >:)

Mark Barker
01-14-2012, 07:43
Floating Brick with performance to match.... :)

This from the nation that put the USS Pennsylvania to sea ?

Once ...

Without her full complement of guns ...

and then kept her in ordinary as she was too expensive to keep in service until the ACW when she was destroyed by fire, thus creating the unenviable record that the only US First Rate ever lost as a result of military action was in fact destroyed by Americans ? :o

Who says we Brits have the monopoly on naval incompetence ? :)

As I mentioned previously there was an attempt with the round bows and sterns to give some fore-and-aft protection from penetrating shot. I presume that one of the reasons that transverse bulkheads were not considered because of the thickness of wood you would need to stop shot - inside close range you would require 2-3 feet of oak. Anything less and you would just contribute to the splinter hazard. If I remember correctly you needed free transverse working room and access to the capstan for anchoring etc, so anything blocking that access would need to be temporary and able to be struck down, like the cabin dividers. (PS Straying dangerously close to David's professional area here - although we are both used to dealing with more contemporary materials !).

I did some research for Clear for Action a few years ago on raking and how difficult it was to achieve a genuine "down the whole length of the decks" shot so popular in fiction, I'll see if I can dig it out.

Best wishes,

Mark Barker
The Inshore Squadron

Mark Barker
01-14-2012, 10:40
I'll see if I can dig it out.



Here we go. Obviously CFA tracks individual positions of ships down to the millimetre and the bearing of each individual gun down to a degree, the fact the computer is doing all the hard work in the background means that you can apply a complex solution like this without bogging the game down. Actually we went down a different route if I remember properly but the discussion is still valid and I hope of some interest...

I think we can assume that the solution for Sails of Glory will be a lot more straightforward !

Best regards,

Mark Barker
The Inshore Squadron


Thoughts On Raking

890


For the purposes of this discussion we will define a rake as being where a shot can penetrate through the weaker stern or bow timbers and pass down the ship as far as the mainmast.

The diagram above shows the extreme path of shot from either side of the centreline that can satisfy this criteria. As can be seen, shot striking from outside this arc will strike a glancing blow to the hull or quarter galleries and will not penetrate.

[As an aside, the maximum penetrative effect of shot would seem to be when it impacts at 90 degrees. Hoste and Douglas were dismissive of the effects of volleys of distant raking fire while in a manoeuvring battle, and the glancing angle at which most of the shot would hit may account for this. Is there a case for some reduction in the overall effectiveness of quartering fire striking the hull, with damage caused rising again as a rake is achieved ? One to ponder, and it could be the answer to Tom's apparent problems with brittle SOLs, rather than mess around with hull damage values.]

We have calculated the raking arcs for a 12-pdr frigate and for the Victory, which come out at 15 and 17 degrees respectively. For playability purposes, it is suggested that a firing ship has an opportunity for a rake where its firing point lies within 10 degrees of the centreline of the target ship (i.e. an arc of 20 degrees).

All other naval games apply a simple rake bonus once the firing ship is deemed to be in such a position. If we understand the damage system for CFA properly, it opens the possibility of a far more realistic graded effect.

Simply put, the closer the firing point is to the target centreline the further the shot can pass down the hull and the more damage will be caused.

For a bow rake, this will yield a maximum of 150% of the normal damage and a maximum of 200% for a stern rake. We suggest a damage bonus based on a normal distribution, dependant on the angle off the centreline as follows:-

Angle Bow Rake Stern Rake
10 6 8
9 12 16
8 22 29
7 35 46
6 52 67
5 69 92
4 92 122
3 112 149
2 132 176
1 145 193
0 150 200

Question:- when CFA decides how many guns actually bear, does it decide for each gun individually ? If so, there may be three types of gun:-

Those that are do not bear (i.e. outside 25 degree firing arc) No fire
Those that bear and are outside 10 degrees of the target centreline Normal Damage
Those that bear and are within 10 degrees of the target centreline Variable Rake Bonus

If the number of guns that can fire is calculated as a block, then the raking bonus will need to be determined from the position of the mainmast of the firing ship to the centreline of the target.

In terms of damage effects, raking bonuses should cease to apply in excess of 400 metres range.

The additional damage should certainly apply to crew casualties and number of guns overturned, however there may be a case for the bonus to apply to the hull damage caused as well.

In the case of a stern rake, not only will the shot come in through the windows, it will also strike the transom and counter timbers, which are close to the waterline and significantly thinner than the hull framing timbers. Presuming hull damage represents a general loss of hull integrity, shot hitting this area may well do more overall damage than an equivalent weight of fire on the broadside.

David Manley
01-14-2012, 15:55
Who says we Brits have the monopoly on naval incompetence ?

LCS? DDG-1000? :)

csadn
01-14-2012, 17:49
This from the nation that put the USS Pennsylvania to sea ?
Once ...
Without her full complement of guns ...
and then kept her in ordinary as she was too expensive to keep in service until the ACW when she was destroyed by fire, thus creating the unenviable record that the only US First Rate ever lost as a result of military action was in fact destroyed by Americans ? :o
Who says we Brits have the monopoly on naval incompetence ? :)

Most US naval screwups (like that _Pennsylvania_; or the DDG-1000 and LCS) are the result of the aforementioned "people who aren't going to be shot at on board these tubs, and thus do not care". (It didn't help that explosive shells were coming into service at the time _P_ was built, which effectively rendered it, and every other ship like it, obsolete at a stroke.)

Besides: The Navy made up for it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Pennsylvania_%28BB-38%29 . :)

On-topic: Figure any shot which passes through the "aft" side of the card qualifies as a rake -- much like _WS&IM_, one has to account for the movement of the ship over the course of the turn; and if memory serves, British ships had "flexible" gun mounts, which allowed guns to be aimed in a direction other than "90 degrees from the hull side".

Berthier
01-14-2012, 23:00
Yes there was a capacity to shift the gun slightly to change the shooting angle, not sure how quickly this could be done though.

There seems to be some controversy here. "If" effective raking was so difficult why did the RN experiment with rounded bows after Traflagar as Mark says in response to casualties from their approach?

"If" the stern rake was not considered worthy of building to protect from, why did the RN strive to position themselves to rake their opponents or didnt they do that all? Was it simply a) they couldn't get shot back at and b) they were just sailing to another position (eg- piercing the Allied line at Trafalgar but then going alongside to fight it out toe to toe. At the Nile, Nelson did not position his ships in a raking positions to destroy the French he sailed between them to get to the the landward side (raking them on the way no doubt) to blast them from their non crewed side. May be anchoring in a raking position would have limited the guns he could bring to bear if he was close to his target.

Interesting questions...and since the game is so long away all we have to debate!

David Manley
01-15-2012, 03:12
I don't think there is any real debate as to the potential effectiveness of a well delivered stern rake. To my mind it becomes a question as to whether expending the design effort in countering effects and the effects that the design change has on whole ship operations is outweighed by the benefits. Its that old "cost / capability" tradeoff question which bedevils designers today. There are some pretty nasty threats out there which could be defeated by measures incorporated in a platform's design, but the likelihood of encountering that threat may be very small, or the cost or physical impact of implementing the mitigation may be so great as to make the design completely impractical. I won't discuss naval examples - too close to the "day job" - but take an extreme land vehicle example; heavyweight ATGW and large calibre tank guns are a threat on the modern battlefield. it is possible to design an armoured personnel carrier to similar levels of protection to a main battle tank to give a high probability of defeating the threat. But its not done because the resulting platform would weigh a hundred tonnes and would be completely unaffordable. Plus the OA (presumably) shows that that actual risk to APCs from those threats is relatively low because of the way the vehicles are employed, likely enemy tactics etc. So I guess it was with rakes - whilst the effect of a well delivered one was great the perceived likelihood of it happening plus the imbuggerance to the crew and the cost of defending against it outweighed the action damage benefit.

Mark Barker
01-15-2012, 14:21
if memory serves, British ships had "flexible" gun mounts, which allowed guns to be aimed in a direction other than "90 degrees from the hull side".

The ability to train the guns fore and aft was indeed a British innovation, but this was quite early on in our period (early 1780s). By spacing the ringbolts holding the guns farther apart, the arc of possible fire was double from that previously obtained, so that each gun could fire 45 degrees forward and aft to give an firing 'arc' of 90 degrees. By the period that I understand Sails of Glory will be representing this practice (first noted in action at the Saintes in 1782) would have become universal. Training the gun was by hauling in one rope and letting out another - hard manual work but pretty quick with a decent crew.

Mark Barker

The Inshore Squadron

Mark Barker
01-15-2012, 14:36
There seems to be some controversy here. "If" effective raking was so difficult why did the RN experiment with rounded bows after Traflagar as Mark says in response to casualties from their approach?

"If" the stern rake was not considered worthy of building to protect from, why did the RN strive to position themselves to rake their opponents or didnt they do that all? Was it simply a) they couldn't get shot back at and b) they were just sailing to another position (eg- piercing the Allied line at Trafalgar but then going alongside to fight it out toe to toe.

At the Nile, Nelson did not position his ships in a raking positions to destroy the French he sailed between them to get to the the landward side (raking them on the way no doubt) to blast them from their non crewed side. May be anchoring in a raking position would have limited the guns he could bring to bear if he was close to his target.

Interesting questions...and since the game is so long away all we have to debate!

Interesting indeed... !

Remember that most battles of this time were fought in linear formations intended to keep the arcs clear for broadside fire and specifically to protect the weaker bow and sterns of the ship in formation.

Trafalgar's bow-on approach was the exception, but it was the only fleet battle British ships designers of the 1820s had to go on. From contemporary plans and photographs you can clearly see the built-up bows for added protection in these areas. The round sterns were never popular, possibly because they looked hideous !

When we reconstructed the tracks of the British ships at the Nile from the logs we found that they all either sailed round the end to engage from landward or hauled round to follow Nelson from the seaward side. As noted all of the ships rounding the head raked the Guerrier and Conquerant. Already weak, these ships were effectively out of action within around 15 minutes.

Zealous managed to anchor in a raking position, but from all accounts coming to where you wanted to be was really tricky at Aboukir Bay and many ships messed up their anchoring. That's why Bellerophon and Majestic found themselves in unpleasant positions.

Alexander (a late arrival), eventually passed through the line duting the night (as part of the movements when L'Orient caught fire) and Leander (just a 50, therefore not strong enough to tackle a SOL directly) also took a raking position on L'Orient and Franklin.

David's comment on a well-delivered rake is telling, much easier to get a true raking position when the enemy are immobile (Nile), or just making headway (Trafalgar). With two ships fighting and constantly changing their relative positions - very tricky.


Best wishes,

Mark Barker
The Inshore Squadron

csadn
01-15-2012, 14:40
At the Nile, Nelson did not position his ships in a raking positions to destroy the French he sailed between them to get to the the landward side (raking them on the way no doubt) to blast them from their non crewed side.

I can answer this: Nelson did not put his ships in raking positions due to a lack of space between the French units; trying to park his ships in what gaps there were between the French units would have resulted in too many tangled-up ships (and the chance of boarding attempts which typically ensued), and would have prevented his ships from moving further down the French line once the ships at the "head" end had been dealt with.

As it was, the northernmost French ship (_Guerrier_) got the living s*** raked out of it by at least five British ships.

Berthier
01-15-2012, 23:49
Yes Chris you are correct about the Nile, only two ships I think pierced the closely aligned French line of anchored ships (Leander and Alexander?) I should have checked that before making my comment!

David Manley
01-16-2012, 07:02
We used the Nile as a demonstration game for the NWS back in the late 1990s. In the majority of cases the game ran roughly according to history. We would sometimes treak things a bot (allow the French to react more effectively, reducing the effects of disease, stores and low crew numbers, etc.) On one occasion one of the British players did decide to try and thread his way between the anchored French ships. His lead ship managed it OK (just) but the second became fouled and the third nearly piled into the stern of the second. Needless to say this did not lead to a straightforward British victory on this occasion!). Attempting to manoeuvre in the narrow spaces was way too tricky.

Mark Barker
01-16-2012, 14:38
Yes Chris you are correct about the Nile, only two ships I think pierced the closely aligned French line of anchored ships (Leander and Alexander?) I should have checked that before making my comment!

Daniel,

I would not worry too much, many of the standard histories shows ships going through the line (Audacious being a usual suspect) with no evidence from the ships logs.

We did a refight for the 200th Anniversary in Portsmouth with some of the descendants of the original Nile Captains - if you would like to see ship tracks and a write up then have look at the link below.

http://www.inshore-squadron.co.uk/page13.html

Best wishes,

Mark Barker
The Inshore Squadron

csadn
01-16-2012, 15:59
I would not worry too much, many of the standard histories shows ships going through the line (Audacious being a usual suspect) with no evidence from the ships logs.

Funny -- most of the maps and other depictions I've seen don't show any of the British cutting the line. Closest I've been able to find is some depictions of _Leander_ slipping in between _Peuple Souverain_ and _Franklin_. I suppose there might have been some "line cutting" as a result of the British ships which went around _Guerrier_'s prow attempting to get clear of the shoal water; and/or as a result of _Heureax_ and _Mercure_ going adrift and running aground, leaving a hole through which the Brits could pass.

Mark Barker
01-17-2012, 15:11
Funny -- most of the maps and other depictions I've seen don't show any of the British cutting the line. Closest I've been able to find is some depictions of _Leander_ slipping in between _Peuple Souverain_ and _Franklin_. I suppose there might have been some "line cutting" as a result of the British ships which went around _Guerrier_'s prow attempting to get clear of the shoal water; and/or as a result of _Heureax_ and _Mercure_ going adrift and running aground, leaving a hole through which the Brits could pass.

When we did our research for the 200th Anniversary several of the "classic" sources showed this so we went back to the drawing board - the original logs.

James, Laird-Clowes and Tracy all show Audacious sailing straight through. Books published after 1998 are more accurate - Lavery's 'Nelson and the Nile' has lots of supporting detail, the Osprey volume on the Nile published last year is very nice. If you are after the French side then Michelle Battesti's 'La Bataille d'Aboukir' has many references not available anywhere else.

Best regards,

Mark Barker
The Inshore Squadron