View Full Version : AAR Mission 7 The Fireship. Preamble.

08-08-2015, 12:42
Captain's briefing.

Even though the Sun had set half an hour ago, the warmth of the tropical evening was enough to preclude the use of the Sybelle's cramped Captain's cabin. Sitting on the deck with his chosen men about him Captain Charles Dymock outlined the scheme once more.

" So gentlemen, we know from an informer that there are three Privateer Frigates moored alongside each other in the bay of Gonaves Saint Domingue.


Whether they have letters of Marque or not is of no interest to us.


Two are definitely French and the other a Don.
As we are now at war with both nations we are at liberty to clean out this nest of vipers sitting squarely on our trade route. To that end we will use the Sloop Swan as a fire ship.


Boatswain Phipps will command, and once in the harbour at point X on the chart.


he will lash the wheel, set the slow match and rendezvous in the longboat with Amelia who will follow you in. The enemy should be alight by then,


or have slipped cables and be on the beach, and in all the commotion as the fire spreads.


We will be able to slip out past the Batteries on the headlands in the dawn light, before they can be manned .


Questions gentlemen? No right then take your stations, and we will hit them at 3 bells of the morning watch".


08-08-2015, 12:44
July Solo Mission. The Action.

By the following evening Dymock and Phipps were off the coast of Saint Domingo and nosing down towards Gonaves bay.


As the Sun went down, Captain Dymock gave the order to run out the guns and sway out the longboats preparatory for towing astern. No point in trying to do it silently in the dark as they approached the forts.


Sound carries a long way over water at night. All the Marines wrapped their Locks in rags to prevent any unintentional discharge.
As darkness fell and with preparations made Sybelle and her explosive consort headed towards the bay.


It was easy to pick a way between the headlands, as each fort had a leading light set up on the outer works.


"Just prey there is no boom across the inlet." Phipps whispered to his helmsman as the fireship led the way towards the harbour mouth.
The seaman in the chains passed back the word. "15 fathoms deep and a sandy bottom."
"Good! Slap bang in the middle of the channel according to the chart."

The guns on the headland remained silent.

As the ships entered the narrows, all hell suddenly let loose from both headlands.



The trap was sprung.

The Fireship was hard hit and a small fire was started in her mainmast.

Men were down and it took Phipps all his effort to keep way on her whilst the skeleton crew fought the fire and repaired the damage.

The next salvo was split between the two ships, and was less well aimed, but did rend a foresail on the Sybille, and more crew fell on board the Swan.


The landward battery lost the ships in the darkness and balls wined harmlessly over the Swan as she pressed on into the harbour.


Meanwhile Dymock was giving the unloaded batteries both his broadsides, hoping to keep the gunner's heads down.


Now clear of the Forts Swan was just about to come about and head for the ships at anchor, when the first moored vessel opened up with her forrard guns.


All the hands making ready for the turn were caught at the halliards and mown down to a man.


One mast came crashing to the deck adding to the carnage, and Phipps wounded by a falling block, with insufficient men to handle the ship had no alternative but to take to the longboat.


It was over in seconds.


Dymock following in the Sybille, and under fire from the harbour battery, had no option but to come about himself, and pick up survivors from the longboat.


Still under fire from the anchored Sloop at the end of the line of ships he started to withdraw with musket balls wining across the Poop deck. One so close that it even snatched at the epaulet on his shoulder.


By dint of superb navigation and seamanship, with the rising wind on his quarter, he barely managed to avoid being driven aground on the headland as he made for the exit of the bay.


Turning to within a point of the wind, and visible to the battery on the cape in the lightening dawn sky, he weathered the point.


Giving his tormentors a parting broadside for good measure, he fled the harbour under full sail.


As he turned, the main battery on the Fort lurked in readiness again, as the dawn came up.


Both batteries erupted once again, but this time the speed and altering course of the Sybille must have disturbed the aim, for less damage was done than on entry to the port.


Sybille's reply was equally dismal. So close to the Fort, even on the up roll the port battery could not bear on the battlements, and ploughed into the ridge below the fort.
The starboard broadside did better considerably damaging the revetments on the headland, and felling gunners with fragments of stone from the parapet.


All that Dymock could do was now run back for Jamaica with his tail between his legs, complimented with a last salute from the headland before his battered ship was completely out of range.




08-08-2015, 12:44
The Butchers' Bill.

Sloop HMS.Swan.AI Struck. Master Phipps wounded.Not on the Captain's list.


HMS. Sybille. P. Captain Charles Dymock RTP. 50 % damage.


French Privateer Sloop Le Fortune. AI. Captain Francoise Bazin. Minor damage. Captured the Sloop HMS Swan.


Two unknown moored Frigates. AI. undamaged.

Two coastal batteries. Cape battery badly damaged. Main battery slight damage.



08-08-2015, 12:54
Can't wait to see how this one turns out. I just started setting this up as well.

Union Jack
08-08-2015, 14:00
Bloomin' eck Rob, you're getting these in faster than I can post the results on the spreadsheet! Go for it.

08-08-2015, 15:30
With this speed you will be first of all in the campaign to play all scenarios to date, even though starting later.

It should interesting to see it played out.

I still have June to write and I don't know if I can build a terrain as needed for this. I will have to try at least.

08-08-2015, 15:42
Bloomin' eck Rob, you're getting these in faster than I can post the results on the spreadsheet! Go for it.

Got to catch up ASAP because Malta calls me back. No not Malta as Nelson knew it either.

08-08-2015, 17:17
Got to catch up ASAP because Malta calls me back. No not Malta as Nelson knew it either.

Are you talking about those silly planes again? :question: :hmmm: :wink:

08-09-2015, 00:58
Got it in one. I'm a Time tart.

08-09-2015, 13:46
Another inspiring AAR, Rob. I'll confess I never considered the 3 anchored pirate ships to be ready to fire on the fire ship or the escort? I'd assumed most of the crew were ashore drinking and doing what pirates do? Oh well, Neil did say we could tweak and play this however we wanted.

Union Jack
08-09-2015, 16:03
Rob if ever an AAR was deserving of rep this is it. By god man you played this fair and square. Well done. No shame. You'll just have to sneak in there and sink them all with gunfire, of course and retake the Swan too. And blow up both batteries and capture all the pirates to boot. And......

08-09-2015, 16:06
I had been reading a Naval adventure in the Spring where the Islanders sent drum messages to alert the Privateers when a ship was in the channel so that they could intercept it. I thought they might just be ready for the British attempt. However facing into the wind they could not easily get into a good position to fire. The Brig on the end could pot a spring on and turn slightly to get her guns to bear. I did draw the line at Heated shot for the Batteries because I doubted Privateers would have the means to get ovens ready in the time even if they had them.

Union Jack
08-10-2015, 00:32
And that Rob is what makes a great AAR.

08-10-2015, 02:28
Very well told story of a less fortunate mission.

I was also surprised by the pirate sloop firing, but it definitely made it harder.

08-10-2015, 02:30
And I could add reputation to you again! :happy:

08-10-2015, 02:36
Very well told story of a less fortunate mission.

I was also surprised by the pirate sloop firing, but it definitely made it harder.

I can only put down the failure on the Fireship to lack of Seamen.:wink: