View Full Version : AAR. April Solo mission. "Between a rock and a hard place."

04-06-2017, 13:40
Part one. Hobson's choice.

Captain Rupert Hobson of the Frigate HMS Orpheus watched with a sense of disbelief as the American Privateer Thorn headed for the channel between the Isles de Sacre Coeur and Leon.


No sooner was it in range and running full before the wind than the Battery on the Sacre Coeur opened up on the tiny Sloop and scored two waterline hits at extreme range.


Putting over his helm, Captain McGruder steered away from the barrage, and seemed to have escaped almost unscathed. Then it was the turn of the Battery on the Leon promontory to add its plunging fire to the drama , as one seaman plummeted from the tops where a hole had appeared in the Main topsail, another ball scored a hit on the gun deck.


Still the brave little ship pressed on and clearing the narrows ran for the channel farthest from the dominating vast Fort St. Just with its fifty 48 pounders on the opposite headland.
Just as it seemed that the Sloop had slipped out of the jaws of death, the guns built into a field fortification on the low lying sand spit of the Islet known as de Rey gave vent to their fury.


Front raked by double shot at close range the little Sloop shuddered under the impact. Her steering shot away and half the crew dead or dying, she shed her masts one after the other, and lying hulked before the guns of de Rey, Captain McGruder, who was incredibly unhurt amongst the carnage all about him was forced to raise a white flag of surrender.


With a sigh Hobson closed his spyglass and turning to his first remarked to him.
"A very brave but foolish American, that Captain, to risk his ship just in order to save a day's extra sailing around these cursed French Isles.
Port your helm Mr. Smith and hold her North by North West."

"Aye aye sir."

Little did Captain Hobson realize that within 24 hours he would be having to plot his way through those very same waters that had just claimed the Thorn.


04-06-2017, 13:40
AAR. Part one.

They had met up with the Portuguese Indiaman just before dusk. Hobson had signaled them to heave too, and with much ado about nothing the Master had grudgingly complied. The news when it was finally extracted was very worrying. Not two hours previously he had been also stopped by a French 50 escorting a Troopship bound for the nearest British Island. This could only mean one thing, and it was obviously the duty of Captain Hobson to warn the British Resident and Garrison as quickly as possible.

This would entail running the gauntlet that he had witnessed the Privateer trying to do that morning. Suicide or not it had to be attempted.
As his ship put about, Hobson was already pondering on what he had learnt from the action of that morning.

The only thing which sprang to mind was that he could plan his attempt for just before dawn, and approach out of the darkness into the dawn. He had the rest of the night to refine his plans.


As the false dawn broke in the East the ships company were sent to Battle Stations, and the Orpheus slipped along the coastline heading into the jaws of Hell.
With a fair wind at her back she moved quickly towards the mass of Fort Leon
looming above them on the headland.


They were almost abreast of it before a trumpet blared fort a discordant racket which signaled their discovery to the whole garrison of all four fortifications.


Within minutes came the thunder of the Fort's guns. Fortunately obviously horridly aimed at the ghost passing by as most shots went high, only damaging the sails. Unfortunately the same could not be said for the de Sacre Coeur battery. Situated on a low island it had a better silhouette than the headland fort and the shot came bounding in with an ominous rumbling sound.


One 24 pounder ball hulled the Frigate twixt wind and water, whilst a rebound from the surface of the sea took down a gun, its crew, and a Midshipman before lodging in the foremast.
Thanking their lucky stars for the escape they were through the choke point well before the guns could be reloaded. Captain Hobson now brought his ship to port and weathered the cape as closely as he dared with a lookout in the chains observing for the telltale white foam that signified outlying rocks.


He had seen the third batteries smoke that morning and although he did not know its exact position, he was not about to get raked like the Sloop had been earlier.
Nevertheless, just as he rounded the cape and started to lose the wind under the towering cliffs the Battery which had been given more time to ready itself fired a double shotted first time volley at the extreme edge of close range. Hugging the coast had not quite paid off.


The balls ripped into the side of the Frigate, hulling her again, shredding sails and parting shrouds, and finally bringing down the already weakened foremast in a welter of falling blocks, tackle and seamen. The devastation on the Quarter deck was hardly less. The master was down, one of the steersmen had been cut in two by a passing ball and Smith, the First Lieutenant was looking ruefully at the place where his right hand had been.


Astoundingly everything had totally missed Captain Hobson, and with the ship now beyond the battery, and sailing somewhat erratically, as the crew tried to cut adrift the fallen mast and rig a jury in its place, it was at least still afloat, just.


As the dawn finally came up, Hobson listened to the clanking of the pumps, and he wondered if he could squeeze enough speed out of the battered Frigate to get the warning back in time.




04-06-2017, 13:41
AAR. Part two.


Work was hastily carried out to make Orpheus seaworthy, and eventually she limped into harbour with the news of the pending French Landings.
The only ship in port was the HEIC Nottingham, and as soon as he received the information Captain McBride recalled his shore parties and readied the ship for battle.


Unfortunately the news was too late for McBride to pick his battleground, for no sooner was the Nottingham almost out of sight of land than the enemy hove into view.


McBride could not therefore, as he would have wished, avail himself of the wind gauge, it blowing strongly from the North.


As the ships closed McBride put up his helm in an attempt to cut the leading frigate off from its consort.

The French with the wind advantage thwarted him, however, by turning down wind, and the only resort was for Nottingham to follow the turn and exchange long range fire.


The opening broadside showed that the Frenchman was no novice as one of Nottingham's t'gallants went by the board. Otherwise the exchange was fairly even.
After the opening flurry, the French came about in line as the Frigate which could now be observed as the Leander strove to cover the troopship.



The wind chose this moment to veer slightly from due south by a couple of points which aided the Nottingham more than the French.


Making full use of the wind Nottingham came about and raked Leander's stern with its first Port broadside.


As each gun Captain pulled his lanyard the balls ploughed through Leander's Gallery turning all before them into matchwood. The tiller ropes parted and for a time Leander wallowed totally unmanageable.

As she finally got away McBride followed her about hoping to pour another broadside into her stern. Unfortunately this brought him under the guns of the troopship and a lucky shot started a fire on the foredeck, whilst another ball hulled her.


Both ship bore away.


This gave Nottingham chance to Rake the Troopship, and score some telling hits on both ship and crew.


Then the wind which had been fitful veered back to South.


Favorable to all ships, they maneuvered for an advantageous position once more.


Nottingham was now in a stern chase, and gradually overhauling the Troopship.


The wind now backed a further two degrees, blowing off the ships Port forrard quarter.


Leander luffed up into the wind to cover the Troopship and try to bring her guns to bear.



The broadside fell short of the Nottingham, but served notice to McBride that the fight was by no means over yet.


McBride turned onto the opposite course, and using his deft captain's ability came about right smartly.


This was just enough to get another long range raking shot on the transport which took some fresh damage below the waterline.


The wind now veered two further points to the west.


As McBride followed the troopship it came up into the eye of the wind and tacked after the Frigate.


This gave the Nottingham a long shot with its aft battery which did little damage.



Nottingham then also tacked and a few minutes later got a better line on the troopship hitting it once more on the waterline.


Gradually Leander came back into the scene after wearing ship.


McBride was not to be denied his prey, however, and landed another broadside on the hapless Transport.



The wind maintained a S Westerly aspect.


With the wind behind him, another subtle change of course and McBride landed another full broadside on the troopship, which was now masking the Leander.


Before Leander could come about to cover the troopships stern, one last raking shot did for it and its Master was forced to strike.



In return Nottingham took more damage from the Leander, and lost some steerage.


Leander should now have been able to escape, but made the fatal error of being caught in stays.


This allowed Nottingham to give her the forrard guns.


McBride now decided to end the matter by boarding Leander, and putting the helm hard over the two ships came into contact amidst a smattering of musket balls from the tops of both ships.


Buoyed up by their Captain and grenades from the tops Leander's crew managed to repel the first boarding attempt from the Nottingham.


Finally getting a footing on the Leander's deck the fight continued.


As more grenades took their toll and more men poured up from Leander's lower deck the tide swung against the boarders.


The Nottingham's crew just could not get the upper hand and were beaten back across the main deck and onto the Leander's poop.



Finally forced to relinquish the French ship, they fell back onto the Nottingham.


The French also had lost so many men that they were unable to renew the action, and both crews stood off simply observing each other across the widening gap, neither with enough unwounded men to even set a sail.


Eventually small boats from the Orpheus and Merchantmen in the harbour plus part of the Garrison had to put out and take the French ships in tow, with a dozen able seamen to help get the Nottingham underway.


04-06-2017, 20:07
Looking good so far!

Im still trying to work out what im going to use to represent the terrain.

04-08-2017, 07:58
The Butcher's Bill.


1. Ships name………………………….HEICS Nottingham.
Type of Ship………………………...48 gun Super Frigate.
Captain's name……………………..David McBride.
Returned to port (RtP)………………RTP.
Captured (C) ………………………..
Killed in action (KIA…………………
Total hull boxes undamaged………4.
Total crew boxes undamaged…..…Nil.

.........................2. Total burdens of all enemy ships sunk or captured 9.
.........................3. Did the Nottingham meet its goals? Yes.




04-08-2017, 08:09
If you don't have any of the card terrain of the official release Hugh just cut up some paper to represent the shape of the landscape Hugh. You can paint it green or flock it if you want to add realism.

Union Jack
04-09-2017, 02:56
That hurt.

Ship and crew long gone,
Long will she be in the yard.
McBride his duty done
Sipped a drop and pondered
On a day hard won.
The price to pay
and none can say
To her duty no delay
None more brilliantly shone.

04-09-2017, 07:30
Not a bad Eulogy for the good ship Nottingham Neil.
Guess I get shore leave for at least July then.:wink:

Union Jack
04-10-2017, 08:23
Best I could do from me scuppers Rob.

04-10-2017, 08:46
Good to hear from you again Neil, or should I call ye the Bionic Long John? :wink:

Union Jack
04-10-2017, 11:45
Dunno if'n it's the same length yet.

04-10-2017, 12:35
I'm sure it will do at a stretch!

04-29-2017, 12:18
Spreadsheet Information:

-Troop Ship = 5 tp (you really wrecked her)
-Leander = 7 tp (4 for the burden, 3 for the undamaged boxes)
-Total = 12 tp

-Hull Damage = 0 tp (5 boxes are fixed for free)
-Crew Replacement = 4 tp (5 boxes are replaced for free)
-Total Cost = 4 tp

Jack’s Union Bank Balance:
-Previous Balance = 20 tp
-Deposits = 12 tp
-Withdrawals = 4 tp
-New Balance =28 tp

(Your ship is fully repaired and manned, and ready for June’s adventure)


04-29-2017, 12:32
Thank you very much Bob.
I feared much worse than that!

05-01-2017, 00:46
Thank you for your good AAR's, Rob! :thumbsup:

05-01-2017, 01:28
Glad you enjoyed it Dave. It makes it worth the time and effort when a couple of you post back.