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Thread: AAR August 2016 "The Signal Tower"

  1. #1
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    Default AAR August 2016 "The Signal Tower"

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    Rabi AL-THANI 22, 1216 A.H.

    The Story

    “I tell you, excellency, the Spaniard is heavily laden and will be in the cove for another few days only,” said Jani. “Be careful though, there is a signal tower on the heights.”
    Jani ibn Ishmael was the second officer aboard the merchantman Naym Abhr, but more importantly, he was Murad Reis’s spy. Murad had made a small fortune off of the information this man gave him and the information was always correct.

    “If this is true, we will make a tidy sum; if not, I’ll find you!” grumbled Murad as he laid a piece of silver under his cup and slid it to the informant. The admiral left quietly knowing the tale was true.

    Meshuda, the old American merchant schooner, captured by the Barbary corsairs, slide out of the harbor at dawn the next morning. She was fitted out with 28 guns and a crew larger than what a ship her size should hold. If the winds held, she would reach the islet in two days time.
    By midday of the second day, Meshuda was looking every inch like the merchant of her former days. By sundown, she ambled her way across the mouth of cove where lay the Spanish frigate Sirena, riding low in the water. On the hill overlooking the little bay was the ruined Roman fort showing that someone, at sometime, thought this rock was worth protecting.

    Murad sailed his ship over the horizon, dawned his deep red sails and waited for darkness.

    “Adami, my friend, you are still not well enough to lead the raid on the signal tower. Your injuries were too great and the time has been too short since that terrible battle for the attaché, spit on him!” said the admiral. “Who do you suggest we send in your place?”

    The reply came quickly, perhaps too quickly, “Excellency, we have a young man of exceptional talent; who is loved, yet respected by the men. With time and opportunity he may grow to be very valuable to you. Maybe even grow to command one of the ships in your fleet.”

    “Who is this sapling of an oak?”

    “ Bushra-i-Caironi, the Egyptian lad, Excellency.”

    “But is he ready for this opportunity?” asked Murad.

    “He is brave and resourceful, Excellency. It is his time.”

    “Then we’ll send Bushra with 30 of our best fighters and we’ll see what he will do.”
    The attack was to be silent, no guns that could alert the sailors on the boat. A quick, silent, deadly kiss goodnight, then return to the ship that is all.

    Two longboats, 30 Barbary pirates and young Bushra pushed off from Meshuda into the night.

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    _____________________________________ . _____________________________________

    As the sky began to lighten on the eastern horizon, the figures of Murad and Adami could be seen staring at the island and the signal tower above. Their expressions belied the concern they had for the fate of young Bushra and his raiders, but also what their apparent failure would mean for action this morning.

    “What could have happened to them?” asked Adami, “Surely if they were successful, they would have returned by now.”

    “I fear that our presence may be known. Let’s see if the Spaniard is still in the nest.”

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    The schooner sailed into the wind, an advantage she had over her square-rigged sisters. As she rounded the headland, a trumpet blast was heard from Sirena, still anchored in the protection of the cove. Her sails were furled, her crew just now being aroused, three longboats were still on the beach.

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    “They are surprised,” exclaimed Adami smacking his hand on the ship’s rail, “Bushra! Allah be praised!”

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    Mufasa, the lookout stationed atop the main mast could see tiny figures boiling out of the hatches in response to the bugle’s alert. Like ants, they swarmed to all parts of the deck, up the shrouds and onto the yards. Within minutes the anchor was being raised and topsails, topgallants, and royals falling into place. She began to move, slowly at first, then picked up speed.

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    The Spanish captain turned his ship into the wind and sharply tacking so that his course was directly opposite Meshuda’s.

    Meshuda responded by beginning to turn away from Sirena, but delivering the first shots of the engagement with her portside rear division. Fire broke out and a gaping hole appeared as devastation rained on the Spaniard.

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    “We get nothing if the quarry burns,” screamed Marad, “ Aim high I tell you! Watch the wind, she’s turning,” he warned.

    “Hard to starboard, I say!” putting his hand on the wheel and pulling down hard. The ship responded with agility, directly into the changing wind. The quickness of the turn allowed Meshuda’s rear division on the starboard side their turn to fire.

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    The admiral’s hand was still on the wheel when the weakened broadside from Sirena struck his fantail. His arm stung from palm to shoulder. Fearing a broken wrist, he still managed a screaming command for repair crews to check the rudder for the damage he knew must be there.

    The shifting wind caught both ships, already close-hauled, forcing their noses sharply into their turns.

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    “We must bring her about, Adami,” yelled Murad.

    “Hard to port, Yusef,” commanded Adami, “Coming about, hard-a-lee.”

    Meshuda began to swing her bow through the wind; the deck began to shift underfoot. Some lines were loosened while other were made taut. Sails snapped and began to fill with new wind. As Meshuda’s heading changed her stern was now presented to Sirena’s opposite forward batteries, which ripped into her sails.

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    The maneuver place Sirena directly in the sights of Meshuda’s port broadside. The cannons roared, heavy iron crashed into the Spaniards sides and fire, once again, erupted from her main deck.

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    “Don’t burn little bird,” Murad pleaded to the heavens, “don’t burn.”

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    Sirena tacked and Meshuda crossed her path. The Spanish crew could be seen putting all of their efforts into extinguishing the blaze.

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    The ships began to separate. Murad turned his ship back into the wind and gave his adversary one last desperate shot from his rear guns skipping canon fire across Sirena’s deck. This was too much for the Spanish captain and he struck his colors and doused his sails.

    In the distance, Murad and Adami could see a single longboat rowing out to meet them. The cost of silencing the signal tower must have been expensive.

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    Five points of treasure were captured from the Spanish ship.

    Meshuda

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    Sirena

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    Bob

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

  2. #2
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    Wow, Meshuda totally dominated that one! A good result for the crew!

  3. #3
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    Excellent AAR Bob, very enjoyable
    Last edited by Capn Duff; 11-17-2016 at 07:25.

  4. #4
    2nd Lieutenant
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    Do you mean Bob? This is his AAR. Not that I mind getting credit, it is good :)

  5. #5
    Captain of the Fleet
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hjl View Post
    Do you mean Bob? This is his AAR. Not that I mind getting credit, it is good :)
    Ah, yes, well spotted Hugh, I hang my head in shame and ammended, silly me, I need to clean my glasses more

  6. #6
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    Likewise Chris.
    It was my fault trying to get all the mail done in the few minutes before we left for Bristol.
    Rob.

  7. #7
    Admiral of the Blue.
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    Great action Bob.
    I like your special chips. May have to pinch those.
    The pictorial rendering complemented the commentary excellently.
    Thoroughly enjoyable, thanks.
    Rob.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bligh View Post
    Great action Bob.
    I like your special chips. May have to pinch those.
    The pictorial rendering complemented the commentary excellently.
    Thoroughly enjoyable, thanks.
    Rob.
    Your welcome, mate.
    Bob

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

  9. #9
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    Superbly done Bob.

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