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Thread: AAR: Feb. Solo Campaign. Making Headway

  1. #1
    Midshipman
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    Bob

    Default AAR: Feb. Solo Campaign. Making Headway

    After Action Report
    To: Jonathon Young, Commodore
    From: Stephen Decatur Jr., Captain HMS Vanguard

    Re: The Action of July 27 - August 4, 1795

    Sir:
    Vanguard took its station blockading the small port of Lau Trec at 7 bells of the morning watch, 29 July 1795. Our ship has been patrolling outside the harbour mouth since that time. We have sent three fishing boats back to the town. Their crews must have spread the word, because there hasn’t been so much as a rowboat trying to leave the harbour since that morning. We are also sending boat traffic to other ports rather than allowing them to enter the port.

    2 August 1795
    I ordered 1st Lieutenant R. C. Williams to present a plan that would capture the batteries on Ile de Roche tonight. I urged stealth in his plan so that the inhabitant of the town would not be aware of the British take-over of these defenses.

    At two bells of the 2nd watch Mr. Williams presented his plan to several ship’s offices and myself. The final plan was very much like the one Mr. Williams devised. I assigned him to lead the party ashore. At the ringing of the second bell of tonight’s watch five boats from the far side of Vanguard and, with muffled oars, land on the sandy beach on this side of the island. His first task was to hide the boats from prying eyes. His second obligation was to follow his plan, but be flexible when applying his plans to accommodate for unanticipated events that will make themselves known. Quiet and surprise will be the watchwords for the night raid.

    Three shots and the clash of swords were all that was heard, and then the signal was given that all went well.

    The party dawned their captives’ uniforms and then settled in to a military routine to keep suspicions to a minimum. Only French was spoken to the town’s people who brought food and water. The landing party forsook their pint of grog with the promise of wine to replace it with when their duty was done. I later found out that a fifth of the men were casualties, both killed and wounded, in the raid. Midshipman H. H. Forester may lose his right eye do to a sword cut.

    The purser will include a copy of the plan in the ships records.

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    4 August 1795
    The sails of two large ships, to big to be frigates, were seen making their way to the mouth of Lau Trec Harbour. I couldn’t imagine anyone would try to run the blockade as the wind was blowing down the middle of the harbour’s channel. They would have a horrible time trying to leave.

    I question the seamanship of the vessels that approached our position. I’m sure that every sailor knows the impossibility of what they were trying to accomplish.

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    Midshipman Christopher Clark was placed in charge of the schooner, Witch, and sent to warn the rest of the squadron of the breakout attempt. This was his first command of a ship.

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    He took full advantage of the attributes of a schooner to sail up wind and went on his way without incident. As of this writing he has yet to return.

    The ships turned out to be the Duguay-Trouin and Le Swiftsure, both 74s. Duguay-Trouin was first out of the harbor, flying the squadron commander’s flag. She immediately came into the wind. It took her an hour, by my watch, to get within range of the batteries on Île de Roche.

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    Mr. Williams raised his true colors and opened-up with the battery’s starboard guns just as Duguay-Trouin did the same. Considerable damage was done to the fort and worse yet three quarters of the men were either wounded or killed.

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    Lt. Williams could only fire his port guns once before seeing to the wounded. Which he did as Duguay-Trouin rounded the port side of the island, but without much effect.

    Mr. Williams was able to cobble together enough lightly wounded men to help man the port side guns and were of use to me in the events to come.

    Duguay-Trouin found herself in irons once again where she stayed for the rest of the action. They had no room to tack or turn around. Poor fellows.

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    Duguay-Trouin opened up on the fort as H.M.S.Vanguard gave her first broadside of the day to the French ship with minimal effect. We did get Capitaine Deux Intelligence Artificielle’s attention away from the stricken fort.

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    I swung Vanguard around to present my port broadside to the struggling Frenchmen and fired before he had a chance to load. The fort joined in and together we did much damage. I called for Duguay-Trouin’s surrender but her captain refused.

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    I grappled with the French who gave Vanguard one last broadside.

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    After a brisk fight she was captured.

    The officers and crew looked on as Le Swiftsure grounded herself blocking the mouth of the harbour. For the next few days, we watched the French struggling to get their ship out of the harbor mouth; so far without success. I hope to see young Mr. Clark and a replacement for me so that I may present to you the French Ship of the Line Duguay-Trouin and her captain and crew.

    I assigned Lt. Eli Sox, 3rd Officer, to begin repairs on the Duguay-Trouin and Lt. E. S. Holmes to make repairs on Vanguard.


    Sincerely,
    Stephen Decatur Jr., Captain HMS Vanguard



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    PS. I am pleased to see the entire squadron sailing over the horizon with our schooner Witch.

    S. D.


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    1. Captain Stephen Decatur Jr. (P)/Ship: Vanguard / Unharmed / Victory over Duguay-Trouin and Le Swiftsure, grounded by the wind.
    2. Lt. Roger Clark Williams, 1st Officer, Vanguard / Unharmed / Victory over Ile de Roche Batteries, Commanded the prize crew, Duguay-Trouin
    3. Midshipman Christopher Clark, Ship: Vanguard / Unharmed / Command of Witch
    4. Midshipman H. H. Forester, Ship Vanguard / Wounded, lost an eye
    5. Capitaine Deux Intelligence Artificielle (IA)/ Ship: Duguay-Trouin / Captured, Unharmed / Lost ship, Failure to break the blockade, 4 August 1795
    6. Capitaine Trois Intelligence Artificielle (IA)/ Ship: Le Swiftsure / Unharmed / Ran aground, Failure to break the blockade, 4 August 1795
    Last edited by Bos'n; 08-08-2015 at 14:31.
    Bob

    Rules are rough approximations of what you think I might do!

  2. #2

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    Very nice!

    Photos, flags and presentation are all 1st Rate. I really like the stand up displays you used for the chit draws.
    "It's not the towering sails, but the unseen wind that moves a ship."
    –English Proverb

  3. #3
    Captain
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    I have the same praise to give. It is a great AAR and I love those stand-up-displays.

  4. #4
    Master & Commander
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    Cheers for the steer to the AAR Bob otherwise I would and did miss it. Loved the imbetween actions, the Witch etc. Added to the story. Well worthy of REP.

  5. #5
    Midshipman
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    Quote Originally Posted by Union Jack View Post
    Cheers for the steer to the AAR Bob otherwise I would and did miss it. Loved the imbetween actions, the Witch etc. Added to the story. Well worthy of REP.
    Thanks for everything. Are you the solo points person temp. or is this permanent?
    Bob

    Rules are rough approximations of what you think I might do!

  6. #6
    Former Admiral of the Fleet
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bos'n View Post
    Thanks for everything. Are you the solo points person temp. or is this permanent?
    Neil has graciously been managing the solo campaign roster in my absence.
    “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” ― Plato

  7. #7
    Admiral of the Blue.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Union Jack View Post
    Cheers for the steer to the AAR Bob otherwise I would and did miss it. Loved the imbetween actions, the Witch etc. Added to the story. Well worthy of REP.
    Well Neil I missed the whole thing until just now, so I will go and read it.
    Rob.

  8. #8
    Admiral of the Blue.
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    Having finally read the account of your glorious action Bob, and seen the artists sketches of the action I can say that there is a lot to be learned from your graphic presentation. i must get some stands for the damage done ready for next season.
    Thanks for a superb narrative of the action.
    Rob.

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