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Thread: AAR: Feb - A new venture

  1. #1
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    Default AAR: Feb - A new venture

    The Swedish frigate HMS Venus, a 44 gun ship of the Bellona-class designed by Fredrik Henrik af Chapman, had heaved to next to the Russian transport Нева. It was a 450 ton ship carrying naval supplies across the Baltic Sea, but now it had been captured by the Swedish Major Johan Puke. ([Pˈʊkɛ])

    The captain of HMS Venus was pacing from side to side over the 30 feet wide quarter deck. He didn't like being stuck next to the transport. He didn't like to loose several good men to man the ship and he didn't like to take on board prisoners, not that there were many prisoners. It had had a small crew. Neither the Russians nor the Swedes themselves, put large crews, or even large enough, on their transports. The prize crew had just left when he heard the cry: "Skepp i sikte!". It was the lookout that had seen an unknown ship. The report came down that it was a ship of the line straight ahead. Johan knew what that meant. There would be no Swedish ships of the line where they were and no neutral nations would have any business sailing a ship of the line this far north on the Baltic Sea.

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    "Klart skepp till drabbning!" Johan commanded and the drum started beating. He went to the forecastle and watched the ship of the line get closer. He was frustrated at being stuck. His was a fast and manoeuvrable ship. Now he watched the approaching Russian ship tack and slowly getting closer. He had only sent a skeleton crew to the transport, it was bad enough, but they would not be able to set all sails especially not when close-hauled and tacking against the wind.

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    The Russian ship slowly became more visible and using his glass he could see that it was a large ship of the line of 74 guns. He could easily outrun her but with that transport, he would have to make sure it could get away before being able to use his own ship's excellent sailing capabilities. "Se för fan till att sätta fart!" Johan snapped, telling the crew to hurry up as he returned to the quarterdeck.

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    "Neva! Dikt styrbord! Gå dikt bidevind!" he shouted to the transport as soon as the sails were starting to appear, ordering them to go to hard starboard and then close-haul. He heard the prize crew's reply repeating his order.

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    He followed in a wider turn to cover the slower transport, confident he could catch up at any time he wanted. The Russian ship had tacked to follow them.

    Johan ordered "Klart att vända genom vind!" which was answered by the crew repeating the order. "Lofva! Hal upp på bommen!" The spanker turned to the wind and when the wheel reached its end the next order came, "Halsar och skot!", followed by "Hal dör. Loss akteboliner!", all repeated by the crew.

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    The newly drafted farmhands and the nervousness caused by the approaching larger Russian ship made the crew perform worse than he expected. Johan repeated the order as used by civilian ships "Akterhal!". It didn't help much. "Loss förboliner! Brassa om för!" His frustration began to show in his commands "RUND FÖR, FÖR HELVETE!".

    The master commented "Vi drejsar." when the ship was taken back. Johan ordered "Ror över!" and the rudder was shifted. "Skärp för!" "Hala brassarna!" Johans orders could not compensate for the slow work fast enough. HMS Venus had made a mess of the tacking.

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    They had fallen off way more than Johan had expected. Now it would be impossible to avoid the heavy 74 gun ship's broadside as he had planned. "Fall av! Ställning till babords kanoner!"

    Johan ordered "Roder midskepps!" The Russian ship turned into the wind showing it's intimidating broadside. Johan gave the command "Öppna elden!". The drummer started a long drum roll. "Fyr!" was called out by the gun captains and the broadside was fired, drowning the drum roll completely. A moment later the Russian broadside struck the frigate. A shower of splinter struck several men on deck and the helmsman screamed out. It was both with pain and for the rudder loosing it's bite. He was barely wounded, only knocked off balance, but a man reported that the top of the rudder had been shot off.

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    Johan shouted out orders balancing HMS Venus with the sails and she continued straight while her crew reloaded. The Russian ship had tacked and the Swedish broadside had made her loose the main topmast. Johan sighed. The Russian crew had quickly balanced their ship masterfully and in spite of the unexpected damage hadn't miss stay. Johan had a good view of the 74's stern gallery seeing the name of the ship. He told his secretary to note it down as he couldn't for the world remember it, "Святой Великомученик Пантелеймон". He whished he had held the fire a little longer and waited for this opportunity. If he could just keep this relative position. The enemy ship still dragged the mast and was hampered by it. "Babord gir!"

    As the cannons started running out again the frigate tried to keep her position raking the enemy. The very second the last gun ran out the broadside thundered. The balls struck the big ship hard. The mizzenmast came down just as the crew were rigging a new main topmast. In his glass Johan could see the Russian sails being sprinkled red, and the stern gallery taking several cannon balls breaking most of the glass.

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    "Dikt babord!" he ordered and followed the Russian ship that was turning windward, chasing the transport Нева. What could it be carrying? A first glance from the boarding seamen had reported naval supplies. Johan noted that even though he had hit it hard, the huge Russian ship seemed to be almost unaffected by the broadsides except for the damage to the masts.

    Wise from the heavy damage from the Russian broadside Johan fell off to get out of range as the Russian ship of the line turned into the wind, tacking once more to try to get a shot at the transport.

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    HMS Venus made a starboard turn to line up it's broadside against the tacking Russian ship. Johan held his breath when the best alignment of the Russian broadside came and went. Too many Russian seamen had been needed to succeed with tacking the damaged ship. Johan quickly realized that if the Russian ship's rigging could be decimated he could place his ship outside the dangerous broadsides and rake her at leisure. He shouted the order "Höj! HÖJ!" to the gunners trying to cripple her rigging. As HMS Venus Broadside spoke out it was answered by only a few Russian guns that could bare.

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    The partial broadside still did serious damage to HMS Venus. Some guns tore loose and were tipped over. There were other guns which had unusable gun ports and there were several gaping holes in her sides, but all above the waterline. The Panteleimon, as Johan called the Russian ship, did not take much damage but the main mast came down, this time shot off not far above the deck.

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    The Panteleimon started turning to windward. Was she still going after the transport despite her crippled rigging? There was no chance of her catching the admittedly slow transport. HMS Venus also beat to windward preparing to tack once more.

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    "Nu djävlar ska de få se på segla. Sätt mer segel!" Johan said ordering courses and a few staysails to be set to try to get windward of the Russian ship.

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    As the Panteleimon started to tack Johan turned leeward to try to get in a favourable position, but was caught by the rear guns of the Russian ship. It took a heavy toll among the already limited crew of HMS Venus, especially considering the prize crew and that the frigate not really was being able to fight both sides even at her compliment. The answering broadside didn't do much damage. there were some balls that bounced one or two times on the water and then struck the side of the heavy enemy ship.

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    Falling off to get away from the awfully effective heavy Russian guns Johan still noted smoke still emanating from the enemy ship. She wasn't firing but on fire!

    Confident that the captured Russian transport Нева had escaped to safety HMS Venus could start a game of cat and mouse. Johan just wasn't sure who was the cat and who was the mouse. He had serious damage to his ship and had lost a great deal of his men, but several broadsides, admittedly comparatively weak even though he had 24 pound guns, had hit the enemy and added to that the fire combined with the severely damaged rigging made the much bigger and stronger Russian ship vulnerable.

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    To get back the initiative Johan manoeuvred to gain the weather gage. The big Russian ship showed how unmanageable it was by mostly stumbling about.

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    Finally tacking and bearing down on the Russian ship Johan had to struggle to keep out of the broadsides and catch the Russian's rear but it finally worked.

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    He got a long range broadside that raked the stern of the enemy ship, several of the balls skipping on the waves before hitting. As soon as the smoke had drifted away he studied the Russian ship. It's stern gallery was severely damaged but that was mostly cosmetic. She had had her fore topmast shot off about midways, her mizzen topgallant mast was gone and the main mast was only a stump, less than a fathom high. There was visible damage to her hull but not much. Not nearly enough to fill him with confidence.

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    As the Panteleimon tacked, HMS Venus wore.

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    Turning back toward each other Johan caught the Russian ship with a long range stem rake. He saw the big ship getting holed in the waterline and ordered to tack quickly and keep pounding them as they were fighting the leak.

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    The Russian fire power had weakened considerable and even though his own ship was precariously damaged Johan ordered HMS Venus to move in closer for the kill. He made sure to stay out of the deadly full broadside of the Russian ship but couldn't avoid all the guns. As the two ships closed the broadside from HMS Venus thundered out answered by the few guns being trained around to catch her. Their fire was clearly weaker than before.

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    As the ships closed both crews were working frantically to reload their guns. Johan constantly shouted orders to keep his frigate in a good position trying to both keep out of the deadly broadside of the Russian ship of the line and perhaps even raking the enemy. He wasn't that lucky though and he did not want to wait for a better position but fired as soon as the guns ran out.

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    As HMS Venus turned to larboard away from Святой Великомученик Пантелеймон Johan noted an orange glow. Looking closer through his glass he saw fire spreading below deck aboard the Russian 74 gun ship. She already lay low in the water and he suspected that the Russian ship could not take much more damage. He ordered the frigate to make an easy larboard turn. It would give them time to see the state of the Russian ship. His suspicions came true. Seamen jumped from the ship instead of fighting the flames. He knew there was nothing he could do for them. The raging fire would heat up the guns and those loaded might not only fire into him but even explode, not to mention the whole ship exploding. HMS Venus was already in a too sorry state for him to risk his ship any further.
    "Påbörja reparationer. Jag ämnar nedteckna batajen." Johan said leaving the deck.
    Last edited by TexaS; 03-04-2017 at 12:13.

  2. #2
    Master & Commander
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    Neil

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    A fantastic engament. Love the language, some easy to follow too, the pics are awesome. Well worthy of REP.

    Please more of the same, you've been sorely missed.

  3. #3
    Captain
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    Thank you very much!

    I'm working on the pictures. All six scenarios for 2016 are played.

    They will be up as I have the time to make the last touches.

  4. #4
    Admiral of the Blue.
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    Rob

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    I can only echo Neil's comments Jonas.
    What a gripping encounter. I never expected your Frigate to wear down that 74. The masts going by the board and the fire were a tribute to the positioning of your ship to get the most advantage from your guns.
    After a rather exciting day at sea myself this was just what I needed to complete my evening.
    Thanks for posting it.
    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

  5. #5
    Captain
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    Thank you for your kind words.

    The encounter took very long time to play as I circled the big ship looking for better positions. I got a real beating by the broadsides I took...

    HMS Venus had only one and a half box left and two crew when it was over.

    Two fires and a leak made very much difference even though I was hoping for that fourth broken mast. I would say I was lucky in the draw of damage but for the Russians almost never drawing any zeros.

  6. #6
    2nd Lieutenant
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    Hugh

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    Bravely done taking on a 2 decker with your frigate. Did you play all of these in a few days? That sounds like a good way to spend a weekend!

  7. #7
    Captain
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    No. They have been laying around waiting to be finished for some time. Months for the oldest.

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