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Thread: 2015 Solo Mission - Our Ships Were British Oak by Continentaleye

  1. #1

    Default 2015 Solo Mission - Our Ships Were British Oak by Continentaleye

    Our Ships were British Oak, and Hearts of Oak Our Men

    “I think you’ll find this madeira quite tolerable,” Commodore Edward Percy said to Captain Thomas Scrope of HMS Valleta, his dinner guest for the evening on the Squadron Flagship, the HMS Malta. “Andrews and the Griffon did well finding that French ship in the fog,” he continued moving to the main topic of the evening and the true reason for inviting his long-time friend to dinner.

    “I heard he plucked an American scoundrel out of the sea with vital information about where a French squadron should land some much needed troops to help their cause in the West Indies,” Scrope replied more as a statement than a question.

    “Just so. Now I suspect the French will send a few more of their ships to protect their convoy now we know of their plans. I venture to say they’ll pull from L’Sucre, and that is why I’ve called you over,” he took a sip of the madeira.

    “Ah, and you’ll give the Valleta the honor of putting an end to their journey?”

    “No, I need you and the Valleta nearby if the majority of the enemy fleet decides to sail. I need to borrow some of your marines to go along on a mission I’ve assigned to Captain Isnor and the Defense. I want him to intercept any ships coming out of L’Sucre but there is an inconvenience of a pair of island batteries at the mouth of the harbor. Isnor thinks he can surprise the batteries and neutralize them if given a few extra men.”

    “Isnor’s a crafty fellow. If any one can pull it off, he’s the one. I shall send the marines presently. This wine is quite tolerable by the by.”
    Several hours later, the marines from the Valleta and two contingents of sailors from the Defense approached the island. The sailors used muffled oars and the sky was moonless, good conditions for a surprise raid.



    After landing on the beach, Marine Lieutenant Darby and one contingent of the sailors captured the West Battery without incident, the sentries being asleep. Sergeant MacAfee and the other contingent of sailors were not quite as fortunate, but after a brief but bloody battle they captured the East Battery. (A roll of 3 on the night action table. I assigned two boxes of permanent crew from the Defense to assist the temporary crew).

    The marines stoked the furnace so the first shot from either of the batteries would be heated shot. After that they would fire regular round shot. Darby signaled the Defense of the raid’s success. Meanwhile, the Defense hove to until morning when the lookout shouted, “Deck there, sail ho, at least two ships making for the harbor entrance.”



    “Mr. Kent, go aloft and tell me how many and what rate are leaving the harbor,” Captain Hugh Isnor ordered Midshipman Kent who raced up the shrouds with a glass over his shoulder.

    “Two line ships sir. The first a 74 (Aquilon) and the second bigger and a might slower. An 80 I should think” (Neptune). (I rolled a 6 which called for two 74s when determining ships. I only had one so I selected the Neptune as the second ship).

    “Thank you Mr. Kent. You may come down now.” And then to First Lieutenant Markham, “It appears the lead ship is going to keep the island to its starboard, lets make haste to cut her off. Set full sails. Perhaps the fort will be able to slow her down.”

    An eternity seemed to pass as the two French ships labored out of the harbor against the wind. The Defense, now under full sails and with the wind, responded much faster as it turned to starboard. Sergeant MacAfee ran up the British colors and the sailors in the East Battery fired the heated shot as the Aquilon came within its firing arc causing damage but alas, no fires. If the French had been surprised by the fort’s change of hands, the quickly overcame it and returned fire to good effect.



    “I fear we’ll find ourselves in trouble with the shore if we try to cross her bow,” Isnor said to himself under his breath and reluctantly ordered the helmsman to steer further to starboard. “Lieutenant Markham, wait until our full broadside bears then you may give the order to fire.”

    The coordinated fire of the Defense’s larboard broadside tore into Aquilon, causing sail damage, a leak and killing or wounding many of the French crew.



    The Defense turned directly in front of the Aquilon so that it appeared they were both of the same line formation. Some of the sailors in Aquilon began repairing the leak while their shipmates exchanged fire with the East Battery. Meanwhile, the Neptune finally brought its guns to bear and unleashed a devastating broadside on the West Battery causing major damage and killing Lieutenant Darby instantly. The battery fired simultaneously and the heated shot caused a fire on the Neptune.



    Both the Defense and the Aquilon were facing into the wind but their momentum to starboard brought them both around until they were broadside to broadside. At such close range, both ships found their mark. The Defense lost its mizzenmast and many of its crew but the damage to the already wounded Aquilon was worse. Its hull was battered and much of what was left of its crew were hit, including Capitan Jean Bursseau who was wounded, but fortunately for him, suffered only minor wounds. The Aquilon’s rudder was also hit.



    “Cut away the wreckage and fish that mast there, we cannot let that Frenchman outrun us now,” shouted Isnor. But his instructions were unnecessary, the experienced hands of the Defense had already started the repairs while their shipmates reloaded the starboard cannons.

    Captain Bursseau noting the Defense had lost a mast, saw his opportunity to escape but he knew he must first get around the island. As if to remind him that would not be an easy task, the East Battery fired killing more of the French crew but the Aquilon replied in kind. The Neptune pounded the now unmanned West Battery and continued its run to the open sea.



    Even as the French ship was begging to pull away while the mizzenmast was being fished, the Defense was able to bring its starboard forward guns to bear. Again, the accuracy of the British gunners proved deadly; more French crewman were killed and the hull began to leak. The French gunners to their credit, were able to score a few hits on the pursuing Defense. Meanwhile, Sergeant MacAfee ordered his men to run across the island to man the West Battery but even the hardened marine veteran was shocked by the death and destruction he found at the destroyed battery.



    There were only enough crew remaining in the Aquilon to repair the leak. The guns, or what was left of them could not be reloaded. The chase continued, but even with the makeshift mizzenmast in place, the Defense was slower than the Aquilon and fell into its wake knowing that before long, the Aquilon’s Captain would have to commit to turning either East or West or end up running aground. Captain Isnor guessed the Frenchman would turn East and try to make it back to the harbor.



    Isnor guessed correctly and brought his broadside to bear and deliver one final, fatal blow.



    As the French ship sank, Isnor ordered the Defense to heave to. With his damaged ship he doubted he could catch the Neptune and even if he did, he knew he was outgunned. Besides, he could not leave his men on the island and by the look of the rubble of what used to be the batteries, he knew there would be many wounded and dead to bring aboard.






    Captain Hugh Isnor/ Returned to Squadron/ Victorious- Sank Aquilon
    Aquilon sunk by HMS Defense – Captain Bursseau wounded and captured
    Neptune - Escaped
    Attached Images Attached Images               
    Last edited by Bligh; 04-23-2021 at 13:36. Reason: picture orientation
    "It seems to be law inflexible and inexorable that he who will not risk cannot win."
    John Paul Jones

  2. #2
    Admiral of the Blue.
    Baron
    England

    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Notts
    Log Entries
    18,824
    Blog Entries
    22
    Name
    Rob

    Default

    You carried out that escapade with aplomb Anthony. Well done Captain Isnor.

    I rotated your ship logs for you.
    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

    Default

    Thanks very much Rob. I really enjoyed playing that scenario. And thank you for the Rep points.
    Anthony
    "It seems to be law inflexible and inexorable that he who will not risk cannot win."
    John Paul Jones

  4. #4

    Default

    Yes, well done Cap'n Isnor. I think you had bigger odds than I did for this scenario with two 3rd rates - I had just one 1st rate ship.

    I have played scenario 'August' and have done my photos. I just need to write up the story.

  5. #5

    Default

    Thanks Paul and thank you for the Rep points. I look forward to your to reading your 'August' story.
    Anthony
    "It seems to be law inflexible and inexorable that he who will not risk cannot win."
    John Paul Jones

  6. #6
    Admiral of the Blue.
    Baron
    England

    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Notts
    Log Entries
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    Rob

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    And I look forward to it as well.

    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.

  7. #7
    Midshipman
    UK

    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    North Derbyshire
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    Name
    John

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    Another fine tale of daring do, Captain Hugh Isnor certainly had his hands full facing two ships of equal size, it's a good job the Neptune did a runner or it might have been a very different end to the story. The chaps on the island probably deserve mentioning in despatches, they did a sterling job as well.

    to the Captain

  8. #8

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    Thanks John, this was one of my favorite scenarios thus far.
    "It seems to be law inflexible and inexorable that he who will not risk cannot win."
    John Paul Jones

  9. #9
    Admiral of the Blue.
    Baron
    England

    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Notts
    Log Entries
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    Name
    Rob

    Default

    I am gutted!

    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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