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Thread: AAR: Aug -The Signal Station.

  1. #1
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    Default AAR: Aug -The Signal Station.

    The heavy frigate HMS Venus was sailing along the northern coast of Harjumaa of Estland or Eesti as the locals called it. That coast had been part of Russia for 60 years, but few in Sweden really called it Ryssland and neither did any living there. The frigate had visited a very small fishing village and traded with the inhabitants. Talking to them had at first been hard as Johan Puke, Captain of HMS Venus didn't speak Finnish more than a few words but the newly promoted högbåtsman Brita Hagberg were born in Finland and had distant relatives on this side of Finska viken. She could get by using a Finnish dialect, and knowing some Estonian, well enough. Apart from fish and fresh water they got wind of a Russian frigate of 36 guns, called Ярославец that was known to be anchored near a signal station not very far away along the coast. The problem would be not being seen from the signal station while approaching and therefore not being able to catch the Russian frigate.

    Late evening, it was raining from grey skies but being summer it was still not really dark. It would only be pitch black for a few hours. Johan was considering how close to the coast he dared to sail and how far he would dare to sail before it got too dark. He decided to anchor and send the boats even though it may be a little early. He hoped he was playing it safe. The landing party was put under the command of Högbåtsman Hagberg, after all she could make herself understood, which may well become vital now that they would have to walk quite some distance. Johan ordered them to hold the attack until just before dawn. He would set sail and attack the Jaroslavitz from the sea at dawn.

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    As soon as the boats left for the shore they disappeared in the dark rainy night. Johan retired below. After changing out of his wet clothes he tried to get some sleep for a few hours before the attack. Laying down he thought of the stories of Karl XII and his dawn attack at Poltava 80 years ago. They had left the guns behind to be quicker and a quarter of the army got lost in the darkness. It didn't turn out well. Would Johan suffer such set backs? Would the landing party get to the signal station in time? Would they find it? Would they succeed in taking it?

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    Johan was woken by the ansvarsstyrman. It was time. He gave the necessary orders and readied himself for the upcoming action. Stepping out on deck he noted the brisk wind off the larboard quarter. The rain had stopped but the sky was still very dark and the sun had yet to rise above the horizon. Not that he would actually see it behind the heavy clouds, but there would be a little more light.

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    The Swedish frigate was making perhaps six knots. Johan checked the distance to the coast, but it was hard to see in the darkness that still lingered. He looked at the ansvarsstyrman and his confident look assured him some. He still ordered a sounding to be made. Only an experienced leadsman could make anything near accurate soundings at that speed. "Lod öfver bord! Linan klar! Tolv famnar! Sand!" was the answer and he was confident enough to order more sails to be set. They would be coming up on a small island next to the signal station. Just beyond it would be the bay where the frigate was supposed to be.

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    The HMS Venus was doing ten knots when she came round the island with full sails in the first light of the day. There was no sign of how the attack on the signal station had fared, but that was probably good news. If the alarm had been raised it would have meant a failed attack. The Jaroslavitz was still at anchor in the bay, but there was activity on deck. They were raising anchor and setting sail.

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    Johan ordered starboard rudder presenting the larboard broadside to the Russian frigate. The guns thundered out throwing the cannonballs hard into the side of Jaroslavitz. Knowing that the crew were not at the guns Johan expected his broadside not having much effect except possibly destroying a gun or two.

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    "Ror över!" Johan ordered. HMS Venus shifted her rudder as fast as possible turning straight at the Jaroslavitz that was still setting more sails and loading her guns.

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    HMS Venus was very close to the enemy frigate, the bowsprit very nearly tangling in the spanker when the very aftmost guns of the Jaroslavitz fired straight into the stem of the Swedish frigate doing some damage to the hull. Her reply was much more powerful. The ready starboard guns spoke out as they aligned with the stern of the Russian frigate. The 24 lb balls broke the glass of the stern gallery, smashing the name spelling out Ярославец, continuing along the gundeck doing their grim work with frightening efficiency.

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    HMS Venus once again shifted her rudder and turned her spars. Jaroslavitz turned larboard but as the wind hit the frigate, no more being leeward of HMS Venus, the weakened mizzenmast fell, not even leaving a stump above deck. The mast slid down the main shrouds and hit the water with a splash.

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    Johan ordered "Roder dikt styrbord" tightening his starboard turn. The dragging mizzenmast made the Jaroslavitz turn starboard too and Johan lined up for another raking broadside, but when moving in behind the Russian frigate and the first guns firing into the already smashed in stern Johan saw the Russian colours being hauled down. He ordered the guns to cease firing. When the smoke drifted away he could see that many more causalities had been caused by the half broadside.

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    Last edited by TexaS; 05-29-2018 at 10:16.

  2. #2
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    Well woven story line and some expert photography.
    I loved the one of the darkened lookout tower.
    That was a very well executed attack carried out in the true tradition of the Swedish Frigate captain.
    Thanks for posting it Jonas.
    Rob.

    P.S. It also gave me a chance to test Google Translate. I now know what a högbåtsman is.

    R.
    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.

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    I saw that google translate gives it as boatswain, but the term högbåtsman was up until 1823 an nco for the båtsman, which was a marine. I'd say högbåtman would rather be a sergeant of the marines at that time.

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    Very nice report and pics Jonas, nicely done.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the extra bit of information Jonas.
    That makes it even more interesting.
    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.

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    Well done Jonas. A nicely done piece of action.

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    A picture of a båtsman by the way...

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    Using an axe! Not cricket old chap.

    Quote Originally Posted by TexaS View Post
    A picture of a båtsman by the way...

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  9. #9
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    Boarding axes were quite useful. They could be used for more than just fighting.

    And perhaps old viking traditions die hard...

  10. #10
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    Great picture Jonas. Do you have any more naval servicemen in pictures?
    I am about three quarters of the way through "Naval Wars in the Baltic" by R C Anderson.

    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.

  11. #11
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    Not really at hand, no.

    I'm sorry to say I've already wasted more time here than my preparations for the convention allows... But I really wanted to get the next part of Johan's adventures posted.

  12. #12
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    Well thanks for that Jonas.
    Pictures can wait.
    Do enjoy your convention, and thanks again for posting the next installment about Johan.
    It is always an enthralling read, and i almost forgot to rep you for 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.

  13. #13
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    Thank you, Rob!

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