View Full Version : AAR. May Scenario Who fired the first shot.

08-02-2015, 06:31
At anchor in the Harbour, Kingston Jamaica.



As Rear Admiral Thomas Jackson got up from the chart he had been studying donned his Frock coat and began to pace back and forth in his day cabin in deep thought. It was obvious to him that from all the signs his Frigate captains had brought that a renewal of the War with France was imminent.

From well outside the harbour at Martinique, it was easy to see from the foretop of his Frigates sent to spy out the land that all the French ships within the outer basin had now got their masts crossed, and some already had sails furled.


It was no surprise to him when that morning Captain James Roberts' Frigate Amelia had put into Kingston with the news that a French Squadron had been seen making its way up from the Azores not six days earlier.


Dictating some quickly prepared orders to his captains, he summoned his Senior Post Captain and commander of his Flagship, Captain John Merrick to join him. Within a minute he heard the Marine guard snap to attention as Merrick arrived outside his door. A knock followed by his Steward Carter.
"Excuse me Admiral. But Captain Merrick is here sir."
"Show him in Carter." Boomed the Admiral.
"Good day John. Take a seat. Port?"
Within minutes both of them were poring over a chart of the Windward Channel.


"Do you think we can prevent a union with the Squadron in Martinique John."
"If we sail with the tide we should be able to catch them here sir."
"My very thoughts John. Make a signal for all Captains to repair aboard the Flagship to receive sailing orders at 7 bells of the forenoon watch."
"Aye aye Admiral."
He saluted, and with that John Merrick left the Admiral to his pacing and thoughts once more.


08-02-2015, 06:32

Five days later discovered three 74s under the overall command of Rear Admiral Jackson shadowing a French Squadron of three 74s and a First rate along the Windward channel heading for Martinique.


As no notifications of hostilities between the two Nations had as yet been received both Squadrons were content to shadow each other as the French headed to join up with the rest of the ships in port.
Early on the morning of the fifth day a sail was sighted to the SW, and in the forenoon a French Frigate under full sail made up to the French Flagship. Signals were exchanged, and it then bore off to the NE.
As nothing changed, admiral Jackson assumed that it was just a routine exchange of messages.
The following morning saw a sail bearing down on the Fleet from NE.


As soon as it was seen to be a 74, a flurry of signals broke out on the masthead of the French First Rater.
The Lead ship in the French line made as if to turn across the bows of the British line toward the oncoming 74.

Through the glass Jackson's Signals Officer could now make out the numbers signals on the halliards of the new arrival. She is making our number Captain, followed by her own. It's the Zealous sir."
Signal flags rattled up and down the shrouds once more.
"She is making another signal sir. It's War."
" Very well Mr Groves, make general signal to all Captains. Engage the enemy as agreed."
As the van of the French Squadron began to turn to Starboard, the lead ship in the British line "Goliath" Captain Peter Townsend put his helm to port and neatly cut the enemy line, astern of their leading two ships, Generaux and Le Swiftsure and ahead of the Flagship the Three Decker Commerce De Marseilles commanded by Contre-admiral Henri Purcell.


As his guns came to bear both Starboard and Port batteries delivered a vicious raking fire. The Carronades doing especial carnage on the lower deck of the Swiftsure, and setting two small fires on the Flagship.


Next in line to turn was the Vanguard, and the Swiftsure now fully aware that it was war raked its bow with what serviceable guns it still possessed.


Meanwhile, beating into the wind Zealous closed with the lead French ship Generaux, and leaving it no sea room turned neatly across it's bow and raked it from stem to stern, whilst the Marines in the Foretops picked off men on the deck of the Frenchman.


Townsend, now gave the order to turn to starboard and run before the French Flagship. All the while the patter of balls from the Marines and French sharpshooters raining down onto the decks of both vessels.


As Vanguard continued its approach, it was now engaged by Commerce de Marseilles at long range, and although it could only reply with its forward battery ignited another small fire on the French Flagship. Receiving a damaged foresail and holed tween wind and water in return, both crews went into action to repair the damage sustained.


The action now became general all along the line with ships taking and doling out fearful damage on each side.



The French Flagship now found itself attacked on both sides by the Goliath and Vanguard. It now had steering, sails and was taking on water, with many of the crew either dead or terribly maimed by flying debris.


It was at this point that the Captain fell and the Contre-admiral was forced to take command personally.
As she ran down the line in the opposite direction to the main direction of the battle Zealous took full opportunity to exchange broadsides with each Frenchman she passed.


In this exchange Le Swiftsure was badly holed several times below the waterline, although starting a fire aboard Zealous in return.


By this time both battle lines had disintegrated and ships of both sides were inextricably mixed.


With most broadsides reloading, ships continued to pepper each other from the tops and the toll of seamen steadily rose.


Meanwhile the lead ship in the French van was out of the battle and striving to cross the wind in order to get back into the fight. Being taken aback several times she was not contributing to things in any way.


As Zealous came abreast of the French Flagship, it was once again assailed from both sides and after another battering, had lost so many crew that she was forced to strike to the Goliath, who was not in much better condition than the ship that it captured.



Within minutes it took a broadside from Commerce de Bordeaux which wounded captain Townsend before he could accept the sword of the French Contre-Admiral.



Seizing his opportunity the admiral and some of his crew seized a ships boat towing astern and made their escape to the Commerce de Bordeaux, where they were taken on board by Captain Hector Berlioz.


Vanguard had now come about and exchanged with Berlioz who had masked Generau from the fight.


As she put up her helm she was now treated to fire from HMS Defence Captain James Roberts. Dismasted and set on fire, she was starting to present a sorry sight for her Admirals new Flagship.


The overall situation was now complicated further by floating hulks and the smoke from burning ships.
Although desultory fire was still taking place the battle seemed to be petering out.


The exception being Captain Mainwaring's Zealous, which was still metering out serious damage to the French rear.


finally causing the Commerce de Bordeaux to strike. This time there was no escape for the Admiral and he was forced to surrender his sword to Captain Mainwaring who put a prize crew on board her.

Moving on she exchanged a broadside with the next French ship in the line who had now worked her way out of the Melee and lost a top gallant in the exchange.


Zealous having almost circumnavigated the whole Battle now came up to take possession of the floating hulks, but before she could get a prize crew aboard was treated to long range fire from the fleeing Le Swiftsure.


As Generaux tried to escape in its turn, it was raked by Defence .


In spite of this being more than it could endure, the French ship managed to get off a final broadside into the bows of Zealous, bringing down a topsail.


Generaux then slid beneath the waves before any ship was near enough to put a salvage crew aboard.


Thus the battle of the Windward passage ended in a victory for the British with one sunk and two struck French ships.



Union Jack
08-02-2015, 11:30
OOohhhhh tantalisingly expecting an AAR and nothing......what a terrible man you are sir, terrible.

08-02-2015, 11:49
OOohhhhh tantalisingly expecting an AAR and nothing......what a terrible man you are sir, terrible.

:sly: Can't imagine who taught me that trick Neil.

08-02-2015, 13:22

Commerce de Marseilles. Contre Admiral Henri Purcell. Struck.

HMS. Goliath struck. Recaptured. Captain Townsend wounded.

Commerce de Bordeaux struck. Contre Admiral Henri Purcell captured.

HMS Defence. Captain Roberts. Returned to port.

HMS Vanguard. Captain Merrick. 50 Percent damage. RTP.

HMS Zealous. Captain Mainwaring. Badly damaged. RTP.

Le Swiftsure. Captain Etienne Mehul. Escaped badly damaged.

Genereux sunk. Captain Hector Berlioz Killed.


Union Jack
08-02-2015, 13:48
Superbly done Rob. I'll get round to updating the spreadsheet later tonight.


PS: Well deserved REP on the way!