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Thread: Hook, Line, and Sink Her

  1. #1

    Default Hook, Line, and Sink Her

    This solo AAR is a playthrough of Capn Duff's Trojan Horse scenario.
    https://www.sailsofglory.org/showthr...e-Trojan-Horse

    May 1779 It felt good to back at sea thought Captain James Favorsham savoring the smell of the sea and the cold sting of the Channel mist from the quarterdeck of his command, the HMS Vanguard. The Vanguard had spent the previous month and one-half in Portsmouth being repaired and refitted after its two recent battles, one with the American Bonhomme Richard and French frigate Courageuse in which both enemy ships were severely damaged but managed to escape under the guns of Fort Angelique (Limping to Safety), and the other with the French frigates Unite and L’Inconstante, both of which were destroyed (Limping to Safety part 2).

    The word of the Vanguard’s victory over the two frigates reached Plymouth before the ship did and Favorsham was treated as a hero upon his arrival. But the escape of the other two ships nagged him to distraction and he could not enjoy the several dinners held in his honor. And there was a rumor circulating throughout the Admiralty that the Americans had fit out another former East Indiaman with even more guns than had been on the Bonhomme Richard. This rumor had made him even more impatient to set sail.

    “Ahoy on deck, two, no make that three ships boats adrift two points off the larboard bow,” shouted the lookout.

    What’s this all about Favorsham thought to himself and ordered the Vanguard to heave to and recover the boats, but not before he called for the marines to beat to quarters. A group of sailors, merchant seamen by the looks of them, came aboard and were ushered below to be fed saying they had not eaten in three days. The last man, presumably the captain, asked for an audience with Favorsham. The captain, a Scot, told Favorsham that his ship, the Merchantman Ipswich, had been taken by an American pirate, the Bonhomme Richard, and after a brief but bloody fight, he and his men had been put in the boats without food or water. After learning the American had sailed away in a westerly direction, Favorsham sent the man to rejoin his crew.

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    Per Favorsham’s orders, the Vanguard set all sails aloft and alow and headed westerly. Extra lookouts were posted and a double rum ration was promised to the first man to spot the raider. After three hours a sail was spotted on the horizon and an hour later it was confirmed to be an East Indiaman build though it flew no colors. Favorsham was surprised when the ship hoisted the American colors and turned to fight; the Vanguard far outgunned the Bonhomme Richard. Perhaps the American had been emboldened by the damage its bow raking shot had caused the Vanguard on their first meeting. Whatever the reason for the American’s brashness, Favorsham looked forward to finally finishing the business. “Clear for action,” he shouted without betraying the excitement he felt starting to build.

    He had his glass fixed on the American whose gunports were now open and at first did not realize the commotion he heard was not the men beating to quarters but of a melee between the Vanguards and the men that had been “rescued” only hours before. Normally a man able to control his emotions, Favorsham was incensed by the ruse (and probably more so at himself for falling for it) drew his sword and jumped into the fray searching for the Scot that claimed to be a captain. (Each time I drew a crew damage chit inflicted on the Vanguard, I rolled to see if Favorsham was injured). Meanwhile, the raider continued to bear down with full sails.

    It was a bloody hand to hand fight, at first the imposters giving better than they got, but finally with the full might of the ships crew and marines, the Vanguards were victorious. Valuable time had been lost, the enemy ship (Bonaventure) had closed the gap considerably and the Vanguards had not yet been able to load their guns.

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    It a time for Favorsham to play a trick. He told his men not to raise sail while the guns were being loaded and right before the Vanguard was within the Bonaventures broadsides arc he ordered the sails raised just enough to get steerage and ordered the helmsman to put hard to larboard delivering a full broadside on the surprised American. The Bonaventure’s rudder was hit and a leak brought water belowdecks.

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    The ships circled each other, the Vanguard being taken aback as it tried to come around. The English ship was exposed to the Bonaventure’s full starboard broadside while only being able to bring its aft guns to bear. But the mismatch in the number of guns between the two ships became evident as the American ship received the brunt of the damage. The rudder that had already been repaired once was again hit and a new leak brought more water rushing in.

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    The American captain should have run while he still had the wind in his favor but not knowing the fate of his men on the Vanguard he tried get close enough to grapple and board. But, to no avail, the Vanguard moved far enough away that the grapples fell harmlessly in the water. Not deterred, the Bonaventure was again able to fire a broadside which caused a fire on the Vanguard.

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    But once the Vanguard was able to bring its aft guns to bear once more, the business was finished. The survivors that were rescued from the sea this time were treated a lot more warily than their shipmates had been earlier in the day.

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    Hats of to Chris Capn Duff for a fun and imaginative scenario. I decided to use the 62 gun version of the Bonhomme Richard to be my Bonaventure as it fit in with my campaign storyline. The Vanguard was able to dispatch it fairly handily. Had I used a 64 as Chris recommended in the original scenario it might have been a much closer battle. As it was, the AI outmaneuvered me other than on the opening shot, and I did have several beneficial chit draws so perhaps a replay would have a different outcome.

    In the interest of brevity, I did not post some of the pictures of the ships closing and circling each other. In looking at the pictures I did post, I probably should have included the wind indicator as there was no other point of reference to explain the movement of the ships and my personal preference is not to picture the movement cards.
    "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.
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    Congratulations to both Chris for this unusual scenario and to yourself Anthony for presenting us with a most entertaining AAR.
    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 of the Fleet
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    Glad you enjoyed the scenario, it looked good and well fought

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bligh View Post
    Congratulations to both Chris for this unusual scenario and to yourself Anthony for presenting us with a most entertaining AAR.
    Rob.
    Thank you Rob. Thank you for the Rep points as well. Anthony
    "It seems to be law inflexible and inexorable that he who will not risk cannot win."
    John Paul Jones

  5. #5
    Admiral of the Blue.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Capn Duff View Post
    Glad you enjoyed the scenario, it looked good and well fought
    My pleasure Chris. They say the old ones are always the best, and thanks to this bevy of new shipmates taking the plunge we seem to be getting a good few of overlooked scenarios reinvented in some very ingeniously constructed and well told AARs.

    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.

  6. #6

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    Great gonnes, another AAR!!

    At this rate you'll be onto the 2022 Campaign scenarios in no time.

    for another victory. You have to watch those sneaky AI charts, they can catch you unawares.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by ShadowDragon View Post
    Great gonnes, another AAR!!

    At this rate you'll be onto the 2022 Campaign scenarios in no time.

    for another victory. You have to watch those sneaky AI charts, they can catch you unawares.
    Thanks Paul. Thank you for the reputation points as well. I'm having a great time playing all the different scenarios. There are plenty of solo campaign scenarios to keep me busy for a long time! I like that the AI always gives me a run for the money.
    Anthony
    "It seems to be law inflexible and inexorable that he who will not risk cannot win."
    John Paul Jones

  8. #8
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    That was an interesting scenario by Captain Duff and well played and written by Captain Continentaleye.

    You refer to your Campaign, is this something based on a series of battles or something more substantial in scope. I've been intending playing a 30 day commerce raiding game based around the Master and Commander book but can't seem to get my head around the sailing rules I want to include. Dobbs has an interesting chase system that I've yet to use but as the raiding ship will chase prizes and run away from warships then that and the effect of weather are probably the 2 main elements. I was going to just use the days weather forecast to create weather but that was in Febuary, now it's too benign to have as much effect as I would like.

    I'd be interested to hear what you are doing.
    Cheers

  9. #9
    Admiral of the Blue.
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    You could look at the forecast for the day in the part of the world in which you are playing your game John. As for the weather being too benign, just give it a few days, or I don't know my North Derbyshire weather!

    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.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vagabond View Post
    That was an interesting scenario by Captain Duff and well played and written by Captain Continentaleye.

    You refer to your Campaign, is this something based on a series of battles or something more substantial in scope. I've been intending playing a 30 day commerce raiding game based around the Master and Commander book but can't seem to get my head around the sailing rules I want to include. Dobbs has an interesting chase system that I've yet to use but as the raiding ship will chase prizes and run away from warships then that and the effect of weather are probably the 2 main elements. I was going to just use the days weather forecast to create weather but that was in Febuary, now it's too benign to have as much effect as I would like.

    I'd be interested to hear what you are doing.
    Cheers
    John, I don't have my campaign completely mapped out. I have an overall idea of what I want. I am doing an AWI campaign and have a list of captains from France, England, and the United Colonies (as the Americans initially identified themselves.) The first scenario, Limping to Safety I designed myself and then I searched this site, old Wooden Ships & Iron Men scenarios (including those from the General magazine), and read both historical and fictional books about the period to find scenario ideas. I let the results of my most recent completed scenario dictate the path of the next scenario. When I'm stuck on what the next scenario should be (like now with Captain Favorsham), I switch to playing another country.

    Currently, I'm working on a fictionalized version of an event that happened during the siege of Boston. The British were in dire need of wood to use fuel for warmth and sent smaller ships to forage for it on the Northern Massachusetts Coast (in what is now Maine). The colonists tried to prevent this. My scenario includes a British sloop of war and a lightly armed merchantman, The colonial forces will have a brig and a schooner. The gist of the objectives is the British (AI) must make it downriver and out to open sea and the colonials (me) must stop them and if they are able to capture either, or both of the British ships, they will be able to use them in a subsequent scenario. I plan on using Dobbs' rules for currents as well as having a field artillery piece or two on land for the colonial militia. I will use the Ares HMS Swan and I have completed making the brig, schooner and merchantman from GHQ models, now I'm working on the riverside terrain and when that's finished, I will give the scenario a go and see where that leads.

    Anthony
    "It seems to be law inflexible and inexorable that he who will not risk cannot win."
    John Paul Jones

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bligh View Post
    You could look at the forecast for the day in the part of the world in which you are playing your game John. As for the weather being too benign, just give it a few days, or I don't know my North Derbyshire weather!

    Rob.
    That was my intent but the crusing ground will be along the coast of Mediterranean Spain and while you get strong winds coming up through the Straights of Gibraltar or down the Toulouse gap or the Rhone they are relativly rare in May. I'm looking for weather that might mean a 2 deck ship has to keep her lower deck ports closed and so change the balance of a battle. In chase scenarios strong winds favour big ships, so a 62 or 74 could possibly catch a frigate, that sort of thing.
    Mind you with my rate of progress at the moment it will be next winter before I get it off the ground.
    Cheers

  12. #12
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    John.
    Another thought is were the weather conditions the same in the late 17/1800s?

    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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    Antony, thanks for laying out your thoughts, it sounds like a good way to go, especially for a solo campaign.
    I'm planning on a 2 player game for a couple of friends, both of them will be British commerce raiders and they are in competition with each other for prizes and glory but not antagonists. I'll pre-programe French and Spanish warship movements and use a sighting table and dice roll to provide target merchantmen.
    It will be an email postal game, so they will make decisions such as, you see a sail hull down, do you close or run, that sort of thing rather than a table top battle sort of thing.

    Look forward to seeing how your campaign pans out.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bligh View Post
    John.
    Another thought is were the weather conditions the same in the late 17/1800s?

    Rob.
    Good point but I'm going to assume so otherwise I'll have to go for a standard weather table and roll dice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bligh View Post
    John.
    Another thought is were the weather conditions the same in the late 17/1800s?

    Rob.
    Funny thing...

    Environmental scientists use old logbooks from the British navy to see how the climate has changed. They were very detailed.

  16. #16
    Admiral of the Blue.
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    I had a feeling that there were some old records, and even tests done on ancient trees told quite a tale too.

    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.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vagabond View Post
    Antony, thanks for laying out your thoughts, it sounds like a good way to go, especially for a solo campaign.
    I'm planning on a 2 player game for a couple of friends, both of them will be British commerce raiders and they are in competition with each other for prizes and glory but not antagonists. I'll pre-programe French and Spanish warship movements and use a sighting table and dice roll to provide target merchantmen.
    It will be an email postal game, so they will make decisions such as, you see a sail hull down, do you close or run, that sort of thing rather than a table top battle sort of thing.

    Look forward to seeing how your campaign pans out.
    John, I don't know if you've seen the "Smugglers Run" Black Seas supplement. It is a free download on the Warlord Games site. You might find some of the info and tables applicable to your commerce raider campaign. I think that many of the random tables and a few of the scenarios could be adapted to SGN with very little difficulty. I played through a couple of the scenarios using SGN rules with my son while he was home from college due to the pandemic. He's back to school now and I haven't looked at the supplement since he left but now I see I can even incorporate some of the ideas into my own AWI solo campaign.

    I would upload the supplement to this site but I don't want to run afoul of any copyright issues. You can find it here if you are interested: https://store.warlordgames.com/collections/black-seas

    Anthony
    "It seems to be law inflexible and inexorable that he who will not risk cannot win."
    John Paul Jones

  18. #18
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    Anthony, thanks for the link, I've downloaded the file and will look it over tomorrow.
    Cheers

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