View Full Version : Possible Convoy Senario

03-18-2018, 15:50
Working on a small senario for GamingHoopla Con in April. (Mundelein Illinois...)

A small group of merchant men, escorted by 1+ Frigates are attacked by a few Frigates...
These are not the East India Merchantmen...just 'regular' merchant men.

I would appreciate opinions on the following....

1. Should the merchant men have cannons? I am thinking of 1-2-1... Maybe not all of them either....

2. I am planning on giving the merchant men 1 'crew' for musket fire, if necessary. (would more be accurate?) It would last 7+ boxes with 3 more 0's before total crew loss.

3. For the Merchant men I am going to use SoL's with modified charts but they are not allowed Full Sail. (Keeps them slow and clunky)

4. But the merchant men would still have 4-5 Hull...hard to sink...

5. If any cannons...the merchant men could only shoot short range (attackers would have to stay off or gamble.)??

Appreciate any opinions in advance. (And, yes I know, this is purely theoretical)

03-18-2018, 19:42
Bear in mind that it was not the responsibility of merchant crews to sacrifice themselves to protect cargo. That's what the navy is for. If the merchant can't escape, surrender is entirely acceptable. It's not like they're dealing with pirates.

03-18-2018, 19:47
I've been thinking about the same type of scenario, only with one frigate guarding a collection of merchants. Then two sloops attack. It would be like a game of Wack-a-Mole, with the frigate having to decide whether to recapture merchants or go after the sloops.

03-18-2018, 23:38
I believe that the usual tactics were to deal with the escort and then pick off the merchant vessels at leisure.

03-19-2018, 03:16
I like the idea but with a National ship accompanied by a sloop attacking a Frigate escorted convoy. How does the solo Frigate Captain respond to a wolf and a fox attacking his lambs? Will the lambs scatter, and will any Country ship present put up a bit of resistance before striking. As Dobbs says Merchants had nothing to lose with cargoes over insured at Lloyd's, and crews regularly exchanged. Unless he was a part owner of the ship or had a private consignment stashed aboard there was little point in contesting the fight as long as the attackers were not pirates. In which case resistance was indeed futile.

03-19-2018, 07:13
A tactic that the Baltimore clippers used was to lure the defending warships downwind, then use their superior upwind capabilities to rampage through the convoy before the warships could get back. There was no profit in fighting it out with a warship if merchant prizes were your target.

I have two clippers built just waiting to test this strategy. They're not powerful enough to take on a 32 gun frigate, but it can't match them maneuvering.

American victory conditions: get merchants
British victory conditions : save merchants, drive off clippers

03-19-2018, 08:55
That sounds like a good strategy if the enemy are foolish enough to come rampaging after you downwind Dobbs.
Then you are probably dealing with British Frigate captain's mentality so unless you come across a Pellew or Cochrane you are probably onto a dead cert. Chinless Captain Cholmondeley-Warner no brain:shock: will fall for it every time.:clap: I know! He served under me.:steer::cannonboom::surrender::smack:


03-19-2018, 15:15
Still... It is the oldest trick in the book.

(If the book you're referring to is Master and Commander as this is the trick the xebecks try when Aubrey is on his first command ever. Not even the newly promoted hot head Jack Aubrey fell for that one.)

03-19-2018, 15:45
Thanks for all the comments but they are not answering my base questions....
Movement for Merchantmen.....should it be slower and clunky?
I don't think Merchantmen would automatically surrender...but maybe after 1/2 damage...And I do think they would have at least 1 musket fire back.

What ships and stats do you all use for these merchantmen?

03-19-2018, 15:57
It wasn't uncommon for merchants to have too few crew to serve all cannon of an entire broadside and to loose more guns to fire muskets?
I wouldn't make that decision.

Edit: What too few would mean would rather be four men to a gun that in the navy would have a crew of nine. This would in game terms perhaps be two to three turns for a reload and not necessarily lower firepower.

03-19-2018, 16:39
How about, if they tack (spend any time in the red arc), they have to start from a speed of 0 upon exiting the red arc? This shows that they don't have the men to handle the sails as efficiently as a man-o-war. Also, maybe a 25% reduction in cargo value for each box of damage lost?

I think your idea of not allowing full sails is a good one, as merchantmen typically did not have t'gallants or the crews to handle them.

03-20-2018, 02:39
I have never allowed Merchantmen top speed other than fore and aft rigged. Also your idea about starting from 0 when executing a tack will be taken on board by me Dobbs. I also make all Merchantmen use the speed of the slowest ship when in convoy.

03-20-2018, 03:23
I have a vague memory of there being a scenario on the official Ares site where the merchant wasn’t allowed any maneuvers at all. Just move straight ahead. Those were not Indiamen. Don’t really know why as the sailors were skilled seamen, very much experienced at sailing.