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Bligh
02-03-2016, 05:29
Preamble.


19775

The thick walls of Government house, Bombay Castle did little to dispel the humidity of the afternoon heat. Captain David McBride felt the trickle of sweat run down his neck and disappear into the damp collar of his uniform coat. for the umpteenth time since the Mid Day Gun he fidgeted with the dress sword draped across his knees.


19776

The clerk behind his desk looked up as the Double doors to the Inner office were thrust open by one of the Secretaries.

" Captain McBride the Governor will see you now."

Stiffly McBride got to his feet, adjusted his sword, and placing his cocked hat firmly on his head strode toward the Governor's' Office.


19777

Jonathon Duncan Governor of Madras, and controller of The Honourable East India Company's vast interests in the region, stood up, rounded the huge heavily carved desk on which were piled numerous document bearing the Seals of the Company, and shook McBride firmly by the hand. "Good to see that you have recovered David. We were worried that our most enterprising captain may have been lost to us after you took that Ball from those Sumatran Freebooters".

"Just a flesh wound sir," The totally embarrassed David replied in his soft Scottish accent.

" Nevertheless, many a good man has been carried off by wounds such as that one you had, turning infected in this climate."

All told you came off pretty well with a prize, and only five men wounded apart from yourself."

McBride felt a twinge run down his left side at the thought of the wound that the panga had inflicted only two months previously.

"Now to business." Duncan reached back across the desk and picked up one of the sealed packets, handing it over to David.
" As you know EIC "Cormorant", was damaged far more than your crew in the battle, and is not yet ready for action. The Commandant of the Bombay Marine and I have therefore given you command of the HEIC "Nottingham." She is a Madras Teak built 44,and I think you will find her sailing qualities far better than the old Cormorant.


19778

You will find your commission in that packet, and here" he added handing McBride a second packet," are your orders.
Now that the formalities are completed will you take a dram David.
Much later, McBride left Government House and made immediately for the Nottingham.
Once aboard he read himself in, sent two able seamen to collect his sea trunk from the lodgings, and entering the Captain's cabin,


19779

hung up his now sodden woollen Dress coat, and breeches, donned his seagoing uniform,

19781


and sitting at the desk sent for his Steward and the Purser. Turning to the packet he broke open the seal, and read his orders.


Couched in the flowery language of the diplomats at the Castle it stated that he was to proceed to the vicinity of the Isle de Bourbon, and Isle de France to seek out and destroy the French Privateers who had been preying upon the Company's Merchant shipping. Also to assist any vessels of the Royal Navy who were undertaking the same task, until such a time as his ship needed replenishing. He was then to proceed to the Cape, repair and replenish stocks, and return to Bombay via the Mozambique Channel.


Two days later with his stores taken on board and a full crew, he sailed out of the bay, passed the castle,



19780



and said goodbye to Bombay and its oppressive heat, bound for The Isle de France.

19782

Kyte.

Bligh
02-03-2016, 05:30
AAR Mission 20 A new Venture.



19790


It was the 10th day of the voyage. The weather had been kind and the Frigate had made good going running before a fair breeze.



19791



From the mid day reading and the log the Master put their position at 15 degrees South and 60 East some 500 miles North of the Isle de France.

Mr Davis the Master had just gone below to return the Sextant to the cabin, when the lookout in the fore top hailed the deck.
"Sail two points of the Starboard bow Cap'n. Looks like a merchantman running South."

Within the hour Nottingham had overhauled the Merchantman which looked like an Indiaman, but was not displaying any colours or Company pennant.
As the Nottingham got nearer Captain McBride could see that her master was making an attempt to hoist more sail.


19812

"Deuced funny." McBride remarked to Calloway his Number one. What do you make of that James?"
"Looks as if she's trying to run sir." James replied.
"Just what I was thinking. Midshipman Ross make a signal for her to heave to."
"Aye aye sir." and Ross scampered off to the flag locker.


In a few minutes the hoist was made, and through his glass David could see that the Officer on the Merchantman was scrutinizing the signal.
However, there was no attempt to comply, so after a couple of minutes, David casually remarked to his First Lieutenant.

"James, run out the long nine and put a shot across her bows."


19792


AAs the shot ploughed into the water just ahead of the Merchant's bow, a sudden flurry of activity could be discerned on deck as sails were hurriedly backed off and the ship came up into the wind.
As The Nottingham drew alongside, David took the speaking trumpet and informed the Master of the Cumbria, for that was the name which could now be clearly seen painted on the transom, that he was about to be boarded.


19793


"Away the Jolly-boat Mr Sewell McBride" said to the Boatswain, and within Five minutes, Calloway was reporting across from the Merchant, that the ship had been sailing under a French Prize crew. That they were now safely stowed in the hold, and the Master and his remaining men were ready to continue, if the Captain McBride could spare five of his Marines to guard the prisoners.
Having questioned the French Prisoners, it was ascertained that they came from the French Frigate Lupus, 40 which had taken the Cumbria three days ago, and then made off to the South.
The Jolly-boat had hardly been hoist aboard, before there was another hail from the tops. "Sail fine on the bow, and heading to cut across our heading."
"Make all sail and get us underway Mr Davis. We'll take a look at this one too."

"Aye aye sir."

"Up to the tops with you glass James and see what you make of her."

"Aye aye sir."

In a couple of minutes, Calloway was reporting from the Fore-top yard.

"She's a Frenchie sir. Looks like a Seventy four or Eighty."


19794


"Very well Lieutenant. Come on down, and clear for action if you please."


19795


As the Marines side Drum rattled, the well drilled hands stripped the ship for action.
I'll have the guns double shotted and run out Mr Forbes."Mcbride said to his Second, Charles Forbes.
With that The Nottingham bore down on the Frenchman, just as the Cumbria got underway and turned to tack North away from the action.


19796


With the wind aft McBride had the advantage over the larger ship, and decided to make the most of his advantage. Making as if to pass the oncoming 74 on its starboard side, he waited until the last second and then came about, cutting across the enemy bows, before the French Captain had time to react.


19797


"Fire as you bear."

The thunderous roar of the double shotted guns, and Carronades, deafened the whole crew as the balls thundered into the bow of the Frenchman devastating the tween decks, throwing men and guns aside like toys. None of which could be seen by David as the smoke rolled back across the pair of ships.



19798


The damage had been tremendous. A quarter of the crew were down or wounded. The hull was breached in two places and a fire had broken out near the main hatch. The shaken seamen were trying to deal with the damage as the Nottingham came about and swept along the port side of what had now turned out to be Le Berwick.

Nevertheless, what was left of the French gunners gave a good reply, and Nottingham suffered in her turn, as her Main top-gallant came crashing down amid a welter of blocks, tackle, and the odd seaman bouncing into the netting.


19799


With her steering also compromised, for a few minutes she was totally uncontrolled, and bore away, only managing to return fire with her stern most guns, but at least managing to bring down one of Le Berwick's Mizzen sails in return.


19800


The Merchantman, meanwhile had attempted to make good her escape, but had only succeeded in sailing to close to the wind, and been taken aback.


19801


This had allowed the Le Berwick time to sort out her damage and begin to overhaul the Merchantman, whilst McBride was clearing wreckage, and desperately trying to come about.


19802


As The Nottingham picked up the wind once more, it was the Frenchman's turn to falter, and getting his ship in irons allowed Nottingham to overhaul him.

Both ships then exchanged a broadside.


19803


With both ships still in disarray, neither managed any telling shots this time.


19804

However, a long shot from Berwick's other battery hit the Merchantman's steering and she veered into the wind.


19805


Once again David brought his ship up to the Berwick's Starboard side. He was now close enough to see the Officer's on her Poop looking towards him in consternation.


19806


As he closed even more, the French Captain tried to bear away, and this proved to be the beginning of his undoing.


19807


As the broadside rumbled out this time, the French shot high, and only accounted for a few of David's hands in the rigging.

Nottingham's return Broadside, took out not only men but another sail. reducing the French ships speed even further.


19808


In retaliation the French Marines musket fire brought down a few more hands in the tops.



19809


Nottingham was now sailing very erratically due to the damage to sails and rigging, and started to drift away from the larger vessel.



19810


Her broadside was still effective, however, and the next exchange not only brought down the Berwick's Mizzen Topmast, but the associated sails and stays from the main. This was all she could take, and with her ship unmanageable and her drew decimated she struck.



19811

This left David with the unenviable task of having two prizes to deliver to Cape Town, before resuming his cruise in search of the marauding French Frigates.


Bligh.

Bligh
02-03-2016, 05:30
The Butcher's Bill.


EICS Frigate "Nottingham". Captain David McBride.

40 % damage, 220 Killed and wounded.


19814


Merchantman "Cumbria." Master and Commander John Pierce.
Steering shot away. Three casualties.


19815


Le Berwick French 74. Capitan Jean de La Roche.
Heavily damaged. 450 Killed and wounded.


19813



Struck to Nottingham.

Bligh.

Hjl
02-03-2016, 09:39
Oh wow! I cant wait to see this!

Dr.Maturin
02-03-2016, 10:05
The mouth waters! How long do we have to wait?

Bligh
02-03-2016, 14:20
With a fair wind and no distractions, the sailing qualities of the EIC Nottingham should see McBride in the vicinity of the Le Isle de France within about ten days.

Bligh.

Bligh
02-04-2016, 14:22
There you are me hearties. All done and dusted.
Bligh.

Union Jack
02-04-2016, 17:45
Prize Money:
+6 Capturing the Merchant
+6 Capturing larger vessel

Renown:
+1 Capturing the Merchant
+3 Capturing larger vessel

HEIC Nottingham:
4 hull damage. 1 free repair = 3 hull damage
8 crew loss. Take 1 crew from merchant and 1 crew from Frenchman = 6 crew loss.

Bligh
02-05-2016, 02:24
Cheers for that Neil.
Will you please make crew and ship up to strength from my prize money.
Rob.

Torrence
02-05-2016, 03:28
Very fine action! Your Nottingham fought quite well.

Union Jack
02-05-2016, 07:24
Consider it done.


Cheers for that Neil.
Will you please make crew and ship up to strength from my prize money.
Rob.

Bligh
02-05-2016, 08:47
Very fine action! Your Nottingham fought quite well.

Thanks Richard.
I was a bit worried about sending it up against a 74, but felt if I could give it a big smack at the start I could even the odds.
As it worked out the 74 played into my hands by only deviating from the straight slightly. Any more and I would have lost my rake.
After that it was playing catch up all the time.
Rob.

Union Jack
02-05-2016, 10:03
I'll have to make sure James Bolivar gives the Nottingham a wide berth if ever he sees her sails on the horizon!

Bligh
02-05-2016, 13:14
It certainly is a mean fighting machine, and I have not even looked into this teak like iron sheathing thing nor the extra speed that the Indian design seemed to be able to generate. With only five more games this year it hardly seems worth bothering with all that, if it can take on a 74 and beat it.
Rob.