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Thread: AAR: Apr - Copping a Packet

  1. #1
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    Default AAR: Apr - Copping a Packet

    Captain Johan Puke stood in the Royal command room aboard the King's own vessel, Amphion. Though formally a Turuma, a rowed archipelago frigate, it was actually an almost unarmed pleasure craft, luxuriously decorated. The room itself had a sky light and below a central table on which a map lay. His Majesty himself was not present but Schoutbynacht Nordenskjöld studied the map carefully looking for the place he was to show. Johan's thoughts wondered. His Majesty's Ship. Every ship in the fleet was His Majesty's Ship. Was, HMS Amphion even more His Majesty's Ship than all the others? This monstrosity, for he considered her as such, was the only widely known ship that Henrik af Chapman had failed when designing her. He was not sure if it was all his fault though, as Johan had heard of His Majesty changing the specifications along the construction in more than one instance. Everyone in the navy knew of the maiden voyage where His Majesty had had to change ships when the weather got bad.
    "Där! Där är det. Den befästa flodmynningen." the Nordenskjöld exclaimed, interrupting Johan's thoughts, pointing at a small symbol of a fort near the mouth of a river.

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    Johan stood on the forecastle of his frigate HMS Venus. The Schoutbynacht had commanded him to capture a small Russian corvette carrying something very important. He never told him what, though. Could it be that he himself didn't know? If they met on the open sea HMS Venus, being a larger, heavier frigate could have no chance of catching a smaller and most likely faster Russian corvette. He hoped to surprise it by closely following the coast. He was getting close and beyond the next bank there should be a bay with an island and the fort. Would the intelligence be correct? Would the ship be there?
    The outlook called out "Skepp i sikte!" He saw a mast top over the dune. Johan sighed in relief. Another mast top appeared, and a third. But they didn't fit. He realized there were two ships.

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    As HMS Venus came fully around the sandbank Johan got the full view of two small ships of maybe 16 guns under the guns of a small stone fort. They had raised anchors and were taking aboard the crews of ship's boats that had been going between the two ships.

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    "Närma oss till stranden!" Johan told the helmsman and HMS Venus turned to close with the beach. "Ställning till babords kanoner!" Johan ordered and watched as the larboard guns was run out.

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    The two small Russian ships split up, the closest setting course straight at him and the further started circling the island. He knew they both needed to get past him to reach open sea and he was not going to let them.

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    Turning sharply to starboard HMS Venus showed her broadside and fired as soon as the small enemy corvette was close enough for long range fire. Since so small ships were very vulnerable to his heavy guns Johan hoped to disable the first ship quickly and therefore opened fire as soon as he could.

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    Seeing the main topmast coming down Johan hoped he would be able to disable the fast little ship before it could get away and therefore kept turning sharply. There were some damage to the sails from it's return fire but Johan didn't really fear the small 6 pounders he guessed was the enemy's armament. The quick little corvette continued along the coast and the other corvette already became visible around the island.

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    The larboard broadside didn't reload in time to fire a full broadside at the second corvette but only fired a few guns before the crew was ordered to serve the starboard broadside. That corvette was closest to getting away and therefore his primary target. His broadsides both had effect partly due to the small ships being so vulnerable, but the returned broadside had no effect the light cannon balls bouncing off or sticking in the side without penetrating.

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    HMS Venus raced alongside the Russian corvette. It's name turned out to be Слава. It looked very worn. He was surprised over how much damage his two broadsides had done. Number three and five gun's ports was a single gaping hole. The main topmast was partly still dragging in the water and he could see a few bodies still laying on the deck.

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    Johan ordered to fire a parting broadside and turned his attention to the other corvette. He ordered "Babords roder" and HMS Venus started falling off. But the corvette fired all three cannons still working before striking her colours and a ball struck the top of the rudder locking it in place. Johan cursed loudly and ordered the rudder to be repaired quickly. He needed to be agile when hunting such nimble little ships.

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    The approaching Russian small corvette were turning just enough to catch HMS Venus in her broadside. The larger ship's larboard broadside thundered and heavy balls struck the hull and sails of the small ship. The returned fire whipped up the sea not far behind the Swedish frigate.

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    Johan commanded "Ror över! Klart att vända genom vind!" and the just repaired rudder went hard over. The heavy frigate turned starboard all the way through the wind while the small corvette closed in.

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    Johan ordered the starboard broadside to fire. It rumbled as the guns fired almost in succession.

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    A few cannon balls from the Russian corvette struck the bulwark and one pierced the vicinity of Johan, the wind taking his hat off. As a jungman returned it to him he was studying the effect his broadside had had. The heavy cannon balls had holed the enemy in several places and she ran low in the water. Not as low as she was sinking but it clearly showed she could not take much more beating.

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    While reloading HMS Venus made turns first to larboard and then to starboard to try to keep up with the corvette. This made HMS Venus cut the course of Фёдор with her starboard broadside perfectly aligned along the length of the heavily damaged corvette. Johan was confident that that raking broadside would surely make them sink or strike. The thundering guns spoke just as an unusually high wave hit the ship. The cannon balls flew out toward their target.
    "För högt!" a dismayed Johan cried out. A few balls leaped across the deck of the small corvette, wreaking havoc among the few visible men but most passed between the main yards and the deck only to make splashes in the sea beyond the foe.

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    Both ships turned starboard and came close to each others. Musket shots rang out and more of the few standing men on Fjodor fell. Last they had touched in Finland to make some repairs, fill their water, and take on supplies they had also received replacements from the Drottningens regemente. These were serving as båtsmän, which was the Swedish Örlogsflottans version of marines. These now showed that even though they were not used to the sea, they were good shots.

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    The corvette Fjodor tried to get away by standing on and turning slightly downwind while HMS Venus was reloading and trying to get a broadside to bare. Johan realized that Fjodor was on the very verge of succeeding and in a last attempt to catch the small Russian ship he turned hard larboard and had the guns fire as soon as they bared. One after one they went off from the very aft most gun and forwards, the smoke almost clearing before the next shot. As he came up into the wind he could see that Fjodor had finally struck.

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    Johan himself led both the parties taking possession of the captured Russian ships, ordering all of the crew to be put in the hold. Searching the closest ship Слава first, he found nothing. The hold only had food and common supplies. He searched the captains cabin but found nothing out of the ordinary. He could not read the log book but it looked like he expected a Russian log book to look like.

    He continued to board the second ship, Фёдор. As he quickly climbed up the side he realized that Russian officers and differently uniformed soldiers were carrying very heavy, small chests from below and were trying to get them over the side of the ship. Drawing his pistol he ran up to the men by the bulwark and put his pistol to the neck of the man closest to succeeding. The man froze and the Swedish båtsmän that followed their captain took control over the chests. With great anticipation Johan ordered one to be opened. The lock was unceremoniously hacked off by a boarding axe and the lid opened. When Johan saw the gleam of the gold he had suspected, and felt a tinge of greed he realized he shouldn't have opened the chest for all to see on the deck. He demanded the keys from the Russians but the officer by the bulwark threw them into the sea. The opened chest was tied closed by rope and they were put in the boat. Johan remained on deck as the rest of the ship was searched but nothing more out of the ordinary was found. He went into the boat and set out towards HMS Venus.

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    Something bothered Johan. He was not content that Слава had had nothing. Was she just a decoy? That would have meant that they were supposed to be found together. He was sure there was something he had overlooked. The officers would be let out of the hold when the ships would head for Karlskrona, and then they might have the opportunity to destroy what he was looking for. He gave the command and the boat took him to Слава instead. He searched all the officers cabins and found a small hidden compartment in a bland little cabin. It contained several written pages that were not in Cyrillic. Johan thought that the owner was probably more than just what it said on the muster, but who it was would most likely be hard to find out. Russian seamen was not known for their cooperation even if the language barrier was overcome. He left it at that and returned to his ship.

    As he came aboard Johan ordered the chests to be put in the great cabin and six båtsmän to stand guard outside. Standing on the quarterdeck while it was done he turned his attention to the documents found. They were written in French. Through his rudimentary French he gathered they were written by what he guessed was a Danish spy somewhere in Stockholm collaborating with the Russians. He wasn't entirely sure he was right and needed to consult his books to verify. He returned to his cabin passing the six guards. Sitting down with a french lexicon he couldn't help but look at the small chests. It was as if the weight of the gold drew his attention. He stood and walked over to the chests trying to guess their value. Squatting by the one with a hacked off lock he untied the rope and opened it. Grabbing a hand full and letting the coins fall between his fingers he thought of how these riches could make his life easy, but if he tried to trade with Russian minted coins he would be arrested. He suddenly stared at a coin in his hand. It didn't have the profile of Catherine but a crowned lion. A Danish gold coin. He started going through the coins counting and sorting them. He found almost one twentieth to be Danish. These were probably proof of a collaboration between the two states but they could also be spent in Stockholm without raising too many eyebrows...
    Last edited by TexaS; 03-18-2018 at 03:55.

  2. #2
    Admiral of the Blue.
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    Another story line with a nice twist in the tail Jonas.
    You are really excelling yourself as a teller of Sagas.
    I also enjoyed this one very much.
    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.

  3. #3
    Captain
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    Yes, I thought that twist would be fun. I got the treasure and the letter and wanted to build up to the upcoming scenario.

    My roots as a gamer comes from roleplaying games and when playing miniature games with good looking miniatures I easily wonder off in my imagination.

  4. #4
    Admiral of the Blue.
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    Well I appreciate your wanderings very much Jonas.
    More of the same please.
    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
    2nd Lieutenant
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    Hugh

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    Im glad that you have had the time to catch up. I cant wait to see what you make of the 2017 missions!

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