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View Full Version : AAR Après la tempête, Action of 20 march 1798, off Diamond Point



TexaS
03-24-2016, 07:18
The small British squadron, consisting of HMS Victory, HMS Superb and HMS Indefatigable, led by Admiral Croft, had been blown off station by hard weather, but the squadron had had time to prepare with hatch covers secured and topgallant masts taken down on deck well before the high winds struck. As the winds had lessened the squadron, almost untouched, quickly returned against the wind tack upon tack with their masts restored.

Admiral Croft's dinners were unusually late by the service's standards, lavish but informal affairs. He had a warm, hearty laugh that he used often. His wife Sophie who accompanied him, his flag-captain John Russel, the two invited captains Edward Foster and Frederick Wentworth together with all the officers and the chaplain of HMS Victory, sitting at the big table in her great cabin, were fully satisfied after a great dinner. The admiral's port was very good but had gotten stuck on its rounds at the chaplain, Mr Collins. When the first lieutenant had asked if Mr Collins knew the Bishop of Norwich the answer had been "Yes, I do!" followed by a long anecdote that was desperately needing a point about the Right Reverend Manners-Sutton, his wife Mary and any important people connected to him. He was interrupted by a "Yes, yes, he's a terribly good chap, but he always forgets to pass the port." from the admiral, causing amusement but it escalated to a roar of laughter drowning the hesitant reply "I'm not sure, but I can't say that he does. He has a great memory and..."
The laughter was dying down when the admiral was told by an interrupting steward:
"There's signal from the Indefatigable, sir. Sails on the horizon."

21202

The dinner ended abruptly when the officers stood up, some a little unsteady, following their Admiral from the table. They all gathered on the quarterdeck, in their full dress, trim gleaming reddish gold in the last rays of the setting sun, studying the distant royals in their telescopes. After a few quick orders the captains returned to their ships and the squadron set a course closer to the harbour to intercept any ship trying to run the blockade. It turned out to be a small squadron, most probably French, trying to use the dark of the night to slip in. They had been a few minutes early and had been betrayed by the quickly clearing weather. The night was free of any wisp of clouds with stars shining bright and the moon close to full. The evening's light winds soon died down completely and the two squadrons were becalmed during most of the night. Early on some attempts to tow the ships by boats were made by the French, but there appeared to be a lack of boats and it was abandoned.

21203

With the dawn came a breeze from the south filling the sails and the two squadrons started on colliding courses. HMS Victory had the signal for "Form line of battle" flying. Admiral Croft stood tall on the quarterdeck in his undress uniform with his telescope under his left arm. His wife Sophie appeared on deck and queried him about the enemy ships.
"My dear, It is a well matched force." he said contently studying them in his telescope "There's an Ocèan-class 118 gun first rate followed by two Téméraire-class third rates and a frigate. I would say that the first rate is the Ocèan and the next ship... No, that's a Tonnant-class eighty gun ship. The Téméraire-class ship should be the Révolution. I think I recognize her and those two named are supposed to be in those waters."
"But that is not well matched! They have a ship of the line more than us." she protested.
"That may be, but we have the best seamen in the world. Our courage and gunnery far exceeds that of the French." but after a thoughtful pause he added "You'd better go below. There's going to be some hard fighting today." She left him with a kiss on the cheek and a "Take care dear and don't send Frederick into trouble."
"Oh! He can manage that all by himself." the Admiral thought to himself, smiling and nodding in agreement.

21204

Standing on his quarterdeck Captain Frederick Wentworth studied the approaching French ships in his telescope. Their manoeuvres confused him.
"What the devil are they up to!" he exclaimed.
"Sir! Our line is turning into the wind in succession." came from the midshipman Mr Martin.
"Mr Weston! Let us fall a little to the leeward before turning to compensate for us being faster." the captain ordered the master, adding "and make sure to keep us out of range of that fort."
"The Victory is close-hauled at full sails, sir." Mr. Martin continued.

21205

"That French line is in total disarray. Their captains must all be new." Wentworth muttered to himself. But suddenly the line ordered itself and the frigate broke off. "That line appeared from nowhere. What were they doing? Now they have a better formed line than us. If Superb could just keep a steady course."
"I believe it's due to her newly coppered bottom, sir." the first lieutenant Mr Dashwood suggested.
"I don't care for using us in the line." Wentworth carried on, "I don't care for it at all. We should be harassing the enemy with raking broadsides, as I'm sure that frigate of theirs will do, or face other frigates. We have no place in a line of battle."

21206

21207

As the two first rates aligned to greet each other with broadsides Wentworth watched them from the back of the winding short line. The French flagship spewed out flames and smoke hiding her hull completely. The smoke drifted closer hiding any effect of Victory's answering broadside. Victory herself had her decks covered as the smoke drifted over her and off to leeward. As Ocean came into sight he stared in disbelief. She looked untouched.

21208

Ocèan bore away to steer clear of the island and the signal she had hoisted must have told the line to turn and attack as that was what they did. All but the French flagship fired at HMS Victory, the French frigate raking her.

21209

21210

Wentworth watched the French ships come closer. The enemy flagship was still turning, directing it's bow at him running before the wind. He could see the men gathering on the forecastle. "Is he going to try to board me?" Wentworth thought.
"Stand to your guns!" he roared. "Wait for it!"

21211

Ahead of him he registered heavy broadsides from Victory and Superb raking the approaching French ships and saw the main topmast and the entire foremast go by the board of Révolution. As the Ocèan pointed her bowsprit straight at him Wentworth yelled "Fire!". The Indefatigable's broadside roared in a unison bang. The thick smoke enveloping the ship was a familiar and comforting smell but now it was in his mouth and throat too. He roared "Reload!" at the top of his lungs and felt his throat growing coarse. As the smoke drifted past he first caught a glimpse of Rèvolution showing blood running red from the scuppers and the colours coming down. She had struck. Then Ocèan appeared and was heading for the frigate, still turning. Wentworth could see the gaping holes in the huge bow that was less than a hundred yards away, closing fast. He saw many dead and wounded and perhaps more of an orange light than her firing guns could explain. Was she on fire?

21212

"Helm to larboard, if you please, Mr Weston" Wentworth commanded and as the ship turned, the wind shifting to running, Indefatigable slowly increased speed. Ocean still closed but more slowly and French marines started firing at the exposed crew of Indefatigable, her poop being well below the French first rate's forecastle. The long Tonnant-class ship fired her foremost guns at Indefatigable, one after the other. Apart from some holes in the top sails a few shots struck the side doing little damage. The fire was answered by the well trained British gunners that fired their second broadside after an exceptionally quick reload of the heavy 24 pounder guns. Wentworth shifted his attention aft and noted few men perched on the bowsprit of the first rate ready to board as it came closer and closer reaching over the poop nearly entangling in the rigging. More men gathered behind them.
"Marines aft!" Wentworth roared and a bullet struck his hat off his head. Drawing his sword he met the French boarders dropping from the bowsprit and charging down from the poop. A French sailor closed, attacking by swinging a boarder's ax. Wentworth parried and sidestepped the heavy strike, putting his hessian boot in the attackers groin and thrusting him away. A shot rang out over his shoulder and a group of red coats passed him charging aft. Even though becalmed by the first rate's huge sails, Indefatigable still outran her. As the gap widened between the ships the French boarders realized there would be no reinforcements and they were heavily outnumbered. They threw down their weapons in surrender.

21213

Turning his attention to the surrounding battle Wentworth noted that the Tonnant-class 80 gun ship now identified as Formidable had followed Superb and as Superb tacked and Indefatigable fell off Formidable now ran between the two British ships in a perfect position to rake them both in their vulnerable sterns. He could see the captain angrily shouting orders while all guns were being reloaded. He turned to the master and told him to keep turning.
"I would like you to wear ship, Mr Weston. Continue larboard turn." he said trying to keep calm as the rush of the physical fighting died away. He noted he still had his sword in his hand and sheathed it, glancing for his hat.
"She follows us, sir" came the bright voice of midshipman Mr. Martin still staring at the huge first rate ship looming abaft.
"I thought as much. Mr Dashwood, Larboard broadside may fire as they bare."
Looking to starboard he saw HMS Victory deliver a bow rake to the unfortunate frigate Comète, but could not see any details.

21225

"Mr Weston, It would be unfortunate if the Ocèan managed to board us. I suggest we fall off a little to widen our turn." Wentworth told the master.
"Aye aye, sir." came the reply, followed by an order to the helmsman, "Two points to starboard!"
The Victory lay on an almost parallel course turning to engage Ocèan. Wentwort felt relief, as he knew he was in over his head in the fight with the powerful first rate, but with a little help it could be done. He was careful not to show any feelings though. A Captain is always in command of his feelings as well as his ship.

21214

Ocèan fell off the wind again turning toward Indefatigable showing her full broadside to Victory, but the guns were silent as the decimated crew was busy fighting fires started by previous damage. Wentworth saw his own guns run out. With the larboard broadside ready he ordered:
"Hard larboard!"
Indefatigable turned as quickly as a well handled 32 gun frigate. That was part of why he loved his ship so much.
"Fire!"
The broadside hit Ocèan's bow hard, raking her once more. When the smoke had cleared Wentworth saw that the big French first rate had had enough and the colours were coming down. Abaft he could see Victory bearing up and firing away joined by Superb near the island, probably at the frigate somewhere on the far side of Ocèan.

21215

Wentworth shifted his attention to the fort overlooking the entry to the harbour, studying it in his telescope. He could see gunners ready by their big guns, at least 36 pounders. He thought of the effect heated shot could have on ships, how a doused shot could still start a fire minutes after the crew thought it safe and
"Prepare to tack ship!" he roared to the crew.

21216

21217

The boatswain's pipe sounded the call. The ship bore up and turned through the wind without loosing her headway. She caught the wind and quickly gained speed. Wentworth, as most captains, loved his ship dearly and one of the things he loved about her was how close to the wind she could sail and how very little leeway she had. On the starboard bow Superb came speeding down wind to cut off Comète from the harbour entrance. The ships prepared for boarding but as they closed Victory's and Superb's broadsides shot off all her masts and hardly a man was left alive on deck.

21218

Looking back he could see Victory tacking as to follow him, but she had stern way and would fall far off to gain speed before close hauling. Thought a good sailer she was still a first rate. He calculated that Indefatigable could go to the windward of the surrendered Comète, laying there a completely dis-masted hulk even her bowsprit shot off, and close to the big island in time to stop Formidable from slipping into the harbour under the protection of the fort.

21219

21220

Indefatigable flew forward close hauled even though only carrying battle sails. To leeward Superb showed that she too was a great sailer, the heeling showing her glittering new copper. Formidable came to meet them heading for Indefatigable. Wentworth told his first lieutenant "Mr Dashwood, prepare a boarding party from the starboard guns. There may come some hard fighting."

21221

21222

"Brace!" Wentworth roared taking hold of a back stay. The Superb turned sharp through the wind, bringing her guns to bare. The heavy guns of the two third rates and the heavy frigate spoke out almost simultaneously drowning the sounds of the muskets. The French colours slowly twirled down into the sea between the third rates, shot from the mast. A stunned silence, following the thunderous noise, was broken by a groaning as Formidable's and Indefatigable's hulls touched and they grinded to a stop. There was a great anticipation as the boarders started climbing the side of the higher third rate. The French had not made any attempt to raise new colours. First lieutenant Dashwood stormed over the railing only to find the French lowering their weapons and saying "Je me rends".

21223

21224

Hjl
03-24-2016, 08:23
Nice action! how did the british ships end up?

TexaS
03-24-2016, 08:48
I have to get back on that when I'm home from the convention.

From memory they were all three about half damaged...

KDz
03-24-2016, 08:57
Great AAR, great battle, great models, great terrain :clap:
:salute:

Union Jack
03-24-2016, 17:29
Let me know the damage to all ships involved and I'll work out prize money etc.

TexaS
03-24-2016, 23:38
Thank you Kamil.

Thank you for the reputation, Neil.

I will be back home Monday. As soon as I have gathered my strength I will post the ships.

Reading it again I see I will correct a few things and move a picture or two around. I stressed it a bit to get it posted before Easter.

Torrence
03-25-2016, 07:24
Very nice AAR!
From the first sad broadsides to the brutal close-ranged combat a splendid report, all in front of the great backdrop of your custom ships and terrain.
:hatsoff:

Bligh
03-26-2016, 03:50
I am overwhelmed by this AAR Jonas.
It reads like a Naval novel, and the action does my Scenario proud.
It is played out to a background of superb photographs with an eye to detail that I can only marvel at.
Everything I envisaged when I wrote the idea down is here in spades.
Thank you for bringing my scenario to life.
Rob.

TexaS
03-26-2016, 08:13
Think you for the kind words!

spiessbuerger
03-26-2016, 12:20
gorgeous diorama battle. The islands, the fort, the ships, the town in the distance ...:clap:

(was red vine or port your gaming drink?)

Comte de Brueys
03-26-2016, 12:41
Epic battle between the heavy first rates! :shock:

Intersting scenario & setup.

TexaS
03-28-2016, 13:05
Matthias, it was Croft 10 years old tawny port.

Thank you. The scenario is all Rob.

TexaS
03-28-2016, 13:10
The player squadron:

21418
Admiral George Croft, forced surrender of Révolution and together with Superb forced Comète to strike.

21419
Captain Edward Foster, shared in forcing surrender of Comète with Victory and Formidable with Indefatigable.

21420
Captain Frederick Wentworth forced surrender of Ocèan and together with Superb forced Formidable to strike.

Union Jack
03-28-2016, 23:23
Jonas do you have the sheets for the French so I can work out the prize money/shares etc.

TexaS
03-29-2016, 00:13
Yes. It's just that I installed an update for the OS and had a lot of post-convention stuff to do.

They'll be there tonight together with some corrections to the original text. Mostly corrections of language.

Redcoat
03-29-2016, 02:38
Great table-game Jonas! very realistic.
I say the same I said Bligh, if I would have reputation points, I would give you but for some reason I don't have any point available. :medal:

:beer:

TexaS
03-29-2016, 04:29
Thank you very much, Julián!

The reputation isn't from a pool of points that run out, but counted per person you want to award. That means you have given me and Bligh points before and must give to others before giving to us again. I often have the same problem when you post your phenomenal ships. I have to like them on Facebook instead...

Hjl
03-29-2016, 05:47
How is your iPad app working? Any chance you could share?

TexaS
03-29-2016, 08:14
It's really an iPhone-app but it works on an iPad too.

I've been in contact with Ares and they were very positive to it, especially as I wanted it to be free of charge.

Before I can release it I will have to sign some papers that all rights to Sails of Glory is still theirs. I don't mind giving them the source code too as long as I can still use it too.

I haven't really discussed what ships I may include but some unofficial I would guess would be okay and the starter perhaps. The rest you would be able to make yourself by modifying a copy from the ones I supply.

It might have been finished by about now if I hadn't hurt my main hand and had it in cast for six weeks before Christmas. Now I have to understand my old code and develop the rest of it. I use it by entering data about the ships in the code directly.

I have also understood that some play with a few "home rules" that I would like to make possible. (Like allowing for three broken masts instead of two as in RAW.)

I would say it might be available about some time this summer, and only for Apple iOS.

TexaS
03-29-2016, 11:14
I have updated the text and finally have the French ships:

21436

21437

21438

21439

They were pretty worn out. I seriously doubt any but perhaps the Révolution would be taken into service.

spiessbuerger
03-29-2016, 12:22
It's really an iPhone-app but it works on an iPad too.

I've been in contact with Ares and they were very positive to it, especially as I wanted it to be free of charge.

Before I can release it I will have to sign some papers that all rights to Sails of Glory is still theirs. I don't mind giving them the source code too as long as I can still use it too.

I haven't really discussed what ships I may include but some unofficial I would guess would be okay and the starter perhaps. The rest you would be able to make yourself by modifying a copy from the ones I supply.

It might have been finished by about now if I hadn't hurt my main hand and had it in cast for six weeks before Christmas. Now I have to understand my old code and develop the rest of it. I use it by entering data about the ships in the code directly.

I have also understood that some play with a few "home rules" that I would like to make possible. (Like allowing for three broken masts instead of two as in RAW.)

I would say it might be available about some time this summer, and only for Apple iOS.

great news!
My iPhone is waiting (also for a testflight :wink:)

Tordenskjold
03-30-2016, 01:27
It will be a great honor to use your App, my hardworking Swedish freind:drinks:

Union Jack
03-30-2016, 07:18
I'll get onto the extra details and damage etc later tonight.

Union Jack
03-30-2016, 14:02
Admiral George Croft
REP: +1 for winning the battle
PRIZE: +1.5/+0.5

Captain William Price (Flag Captain/Victory):
REP: +1/+1
PRIZE: +4/+0.5

Captain Edward Foster (Superb):
REP: +1/+1
PRIZE: +0.5/+0.5

Captain Frederick Wentworth (Indefatigable):
REP: +3/+1
PRIZE: +2/+0.5

TexaS
03-30-2016, 21:42
Last time I repaired the hull of Indefatigable from the prize.

If I want to repair as much as possible now, what will that look like?

I'm not entirely sure how it works. One box you repair for free? How do you fill up crew?

Union Jack
03-31-2016, 01:41
Same as repairing hull. 1 prize for 1 hull or crew repair. For each turn in port not out at sea, ie each missed scenario, repair 1 hull and recruit 1 crew for free.

I am thinking of changing this to 2 for prize money. Any thoughts on this? If that is agreeable I will go back and amend totals already worked out. This represents the fact that cash in hand works faster than waiting for port officials dithering.

Bligh
03-31-2016, 03:19
I think that with only six actions per year you are right to go to two Neil. Most damage should be repairable within three months or so.
Rob.

spiessbuerger
03-31-2016, 06:38
Same as repairing hull. 1 prize for 1 hull or crew repair. For each turn in port not out at sea, ie each missed scenario, repair 1 hull and recruit 1 crew for free.

I am thinking of changing this to 2 for prize money. Any thoughts on this? If that is agreeable I will go back and amend totals already worked out. This represents the fact that cash in hand works faster than waiting for port officials dithering.

sounds good.
as Rob wrote: there are only 6 scenarios per year

Union Jack
03-31-2016, 07:49
Ok. I'll get to work on rebutting the prize money etc tonight when I get back from work.

spiessbuerger
05-07-2016, 16:04
about the prize money: If I sum the undamaged hull boxes of the four french ships I get only 4 prize money.
Not 8.5 like in the spreadsheet. Or what did I miss?
22763

TexaS
05-08-2016, 00:03
I have no idea. I haven't looked at the spreadsheet since the battle and I'm not sure what the official rules for prize and repair finally ended up being.

Lately I have been more focused on the convention I held Sails games at.

TWR
05-08-2016, 02:53
What an outstanding after action report, it's hard to find words to express how excellent it is.

As has been said before it reads like a novel, yet it is supported by wonderful presented models and terrain. The enhancements to the already excellent models are first class. The camera angles in some photos are well considered, highlighting the models further. Truely outstanding.

TexaS
05-08-2016, 07:18
Thank you very much for your kind words.