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Thread: AAR. Mission 2. Our ships were British Oak.

  1. #1
    Admiral of the Blue.
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    Default AAR. Mission 2. Our ships were British Oak.

    Lt. James Roberts surveyed the 74 towering above him from the deck of his first command, the Sloop Bridget. Having rescued the Frigate from the French in his last voyage, despite the Captain and all other Officers being killed or seriously wounded, the Lords of the Admiralty had seen fit to promote him 2nd Lt. and reward him further by giving him command of the Sloop.
    He was now in company with the Inshore Squadron, and more directly serving in the early warning capacity of a Frigate. The 74 was keeping a close watch on the French Port of Gonfleur, where it was suspected elements of the French fleet were taking shelter.
    The present role of the Bridget, was to take on board the Marines and several gun crews from HMS. Vanguard the 74 in order to invest and capture a small fort on the island blocking the Roadstead outside Gonfleur.


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    From this commanding position observers could look right into the harbour and ascertain the readiness to sail of any vessels within the inner harbour.
    HMS Vanguard was positioned to delay such an eventuality until the inshore Squadron could come up.
    As soon as darkness fell, the two ships crept up over the horizon, and Bridget put ashore the Marines and sailors, within the hour and without any alarms the fort had been secured, most of the Marines were back aboard the ship, leaving a few to protect the gunners in case of an alarm being raised.
    Bridget returned to the Vanguard, disembarked the Marines, and then made all sail to inform the Admiral of the Inshore squadron that the Fort was secured.


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    As dawn broke, Captain Merrick of the Vanguard, could just make out a signal flying from the Forts flagstaff. Through his glass, the flag Lt. announced " Making our number, followed by Frigates making sail sir".
    As the affirmative was made in reply, the signal flag disappeared to be replaced by the tricolour as would be expected to be on display to any ship making sail from the harbour.


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    The scene was now set. With the island and fort masking her presence from the port, Vanguard was readied for action, without the usual beating to quarters which would carry across the bay.
    Merrick now played a waiting game tacking back and forth behind the island until he could ascertain down which channel the enemy would emerge.


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    Meanwhile, two French Frigates with the wind dead against them were being laboriously towed out of harbour by the ships boats, and a warping cable. The boats rowed out with the ships anchor, dropped it in the channel, and then the crew turned on the capstan to move the ship up to the anchor. Then the whole slow process was repeated.
    Thus it was well into the forenoon watch before the ships were clear of the harbour and turning out of the wind could start to make sail. each ship chose a different passage in order to keep out of the way of their consort.
    Soon another signal was read on the forts flagstaff, and Captain Merrick was ready to put his plan of attack into effect.
    As the wind veered a couple of points, Merrick had the steersman put up his helm, and trimming sails, the 74 emerged from the south side of the island to attack the frigate using the easternmost channel. The attack was timed to coincide with the Frigate passing under the guns of the fort.
    Surprise was total, and the Frenchman was assailed from both the for quarter and the aft quarter simultaneously.


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    Although the French replied, the broadside of the 74 was devastating wreaking havoc on the two decks of the Frigate. The upper deck resembled a charnel house with bodies everywhere. The scuppers running red, and several cannon ball holes 'tween wind and water.


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    Meanwhile, in the north West Channel the second Frigate had taken several Red hot shot, from the island's other battery. Very little damage seemed to have been done, and it was soon out of range.

    However, it was still in extreme range from the Vanguard, whose other broadside did good service. The windage of the passing shot must have fanned one of the heated shot from the fort into life, for a small fire broke out in the fo'c'sle.

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    Return fire from the aftermost battery of this frigate did little but superficial damage to the 74 at this extreme range.


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    The first Frigate was now trapped up against a lee shore by the Vanguard, and putting the helm over a couple of degrees Captain Merrick now edged even closer to the Frenchman until he was so close alongside that he could clearly read the name 'Unite' on the bows, just as the first musket ball from the marksmen in the Frenchman's tops gouged a white scar in the deck at his feet.
    With his guns now reloaded, Merrick replied to this insult with another thundering broadside, this time using Grape.
    For the second time the Unite's decks were swept clean of crewmen, and her sails twitched as the balls ripped large rents through the canvass.


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    The paltry response from the Frigate, dismounted one of the 74s carronades, and tossed it's crew about like rag dolls. Other than that no damage was noted.
    Having finally weathered the headland, Unite came about onto an Easterly course, to escape the 74 by outrunning it, before any masts went by the board.
    Not to be so easily foiled Merrick had already given the order to helm a lee, and the ponderous bulk of the Vanguard was already swinging around in the wake of the Frigate.


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    Knowing full well that he could not win a stern chase against the Unite, with all it's masts still intact Merrick allowed the 74 to continue to turn into the wind, gambolling on being able to get off one more shot, with the Starboard battery now reloaded.
    Crossing the stern of Unite, and starting with the forrard Carronades, each gun captain squinted through the pall of smoke and raked the Unite as his gun came to bear. In a few seconds the stern of the frigate was a complete shambles with a gaping hole where the captain's Gallery had once been. The carnage between decks was unmanageable, and within a few minutes, the French colour was struck, by the remaining Senior Officer.


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    Caught head to wind, and in stays, Merrick took the opportunity to dispatch a cutter with a prize crew over to the Frenchman.


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    Having witnessed his comrades plight, and with the fire now extinguished, but still under attack from the Fort, the other Frigate seized his chance, whilst the Vanguard was getting underway once more, and coming about, ran for home.


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    With the pumps going, she ran the gauntlet of the fort, and although receiving more heated shot, escaped back towards the harbour before the Vanguard could come up.


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    Seeing the Frenchman flee back into Gonfleur, Merrick hove to, took off the landing party, and stood out to sea with his prize, to await the return of the Bridget with fresh orders from the Admiral.


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    The Butcher's bill.

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    HMS Vanguard.


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    The Battery.


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    Hermione

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    Unite. (Prize)

    Rob.

  2. #2
    Captain
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    Very fun, good read.

    Congratulations on the prize.

  3. #3
    Admiral of the Blue.
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    Cheers Jonas.
    Makes a nice change from the last mission which was an absolute catastrophe.
    This time I was very lucky with the dice rolls, and am getting better with understanding my movements.
    Bligh.

  4. #4
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    A great report with excellent supporting photos. I really enjoyed reading it.

    I have been considering playing these solo scenarios.
    Visit "The Wargames Room":
    http://thewargamesroom.wordpress.com

  5. #5
    Admiral of the Blue.
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    Give it a go Keith.
    It is quite relaxing, and you can soon make up a back story to cover what maneuvers your ships make and what cards come up. I was amazed when my hot shot set fire to nothing on Hermione, but a chance long range one the next turn from my 74 did, so I just used the excuse about the smouldering ball buried in the woodwork. Aparently that happened quite often with red hot shot. The hands doused it, and some time later the core heat reached the surface of the ball and re ignited the fire in what was already charred and prepped up timber.
    Rob.

  6. #6
    Vice Admiral of the Red.
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    A very good A.A.R,. Rob! Thank you very much for posting it.

  7. #7
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    Another corker there Rob. Well done and a prize to boot. (REP to follow when able to).

  8. #8
    Admiral of the Blue.
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    Thanks Neil.
    Glad you enjoyed it.
    Rob.

  9. #9

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    How did I miss this AAR? Nice photos and a great narrative as usual. Cheers!
    "It's not the towering sails, but the unseen wind that moves a ship."
    –English Proverb

  10. #10
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    Roster sheet updated.

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