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Thread: Artillery fire from fortifications?

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    Admiral of the Blue.
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    Default Artillery fire from fortifications?

    Whilst I was designing my card for Tripoli castle, it flagged up a few niggles which our players here in Notts have been discussing for some time. One was why the Fort cards with double aspect firing angles only have one loading box unlike the ships which can fire on either side at once, and the other concerned the firepower of the larger forts. Tripoli for instance fields over 150 large guns. A 100 gun ship has a firepower much greater than the larger forts. It would seem that some forts are under gunned. (Raffer please take note!)
    The reports and comments from Captains and commanding Admirals of the time showed a great respect for the power of these fortifications.
    To remedy this anomaly I designed this new board. Any comments on this aspect of the rules would be appreciated.

    Rob.
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    Last edited by Bligh; 09-04-2021 at 02:28.
    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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    Whilst I was at it I also did one for Tripoli waterfront.
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    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 think you're onto something here, Rob. I also like giving different fortifications defending an area their own logs rather than trying to overload a single.

    I expect El Morro would need at least three fire arcs, ditto at least one of the Danish sites.
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    I will be looking at my El Morro next, now I have learned to fiddle those pictures on the card to get an approximation of Tripoli. Then just need to try and figure out an average for what number and calibre of guns were there. To fit in the whole of Tunis as you see I devided it into three cards each with 50 guns. That also coinsides with a broadside from one side of a 100 gun ship so I could use the stats for that to get a rough estimate of the fort stats. I ignored the steady platform for the fort as I felt this could be cancelled out by the old decrepit guns available and the probable lack of live training of the gunners.

    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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    I have been knocking around the idea of the fort Burden representing the strength of the walls. For mortar attacks, the vitals of the fort are hit instead. I started compiling interesting fort guts but got distracted. Magazine, enlisted barracks, officers barracks, etc. But each one needs to change the way the fort is played when damaged.

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    For mortar fire I have just been using the chits as the rules dictate Dobbs, but have not yet had cause to employ them on a fortification. When we eventually get to recreate second Tripoli next year, all that will change. However I'm thinking that the main targets will be men on the walls in the open and the Magazine. I don't want to get bogged down too much with details as the main object of the game will still be the fight between ships. Nevertheless, any observations will be welcomed as they may well influence my approach to the subject, and get me to change my mind on some aspects of the matter, as my idea is still very much in embryonic form.
    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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    Interesting enough the only thing stopping the naval forces leveling Tripoli was that the Pasha threatened to kill his hostages.
    I think their guns were probably quite a bit worse than the major powers.

    Even French forts was somewhat ineffective when British forces boarded French ships “safely” anchored under the guns.

    I’m not sure why most forts were so ineffective but they surely were compared with what I feel the data tells they should be.

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    That is one of the reasons I make my forts fire only every three moves Jonas. Also if yo look at my upgrade the forts guns on each quadrant are only the same as one 100 gun ship. We also precloded double shotting as it was felt that old guns could not take the force of the detonation. In theory the combined firepower of the squadron should more than account for the fortifications, especially as those facing seaward rather than into the Harbour and its approaches will probably not even figure in an attack.

    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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    Quote Originally Posted by TexaS View Post
    Interesting enough the only thing stopping the naval forces leveling Tripoli was that the Pasha threatened to kill his hostages.
    I think their guns were probably quite a bit worse than the major powers.

    Even French forts was somewhat ineffective when British forces boarded French ships “safely” anchored under the guns.

    I’m not sure why most forts were so ineffective but they surely were compared with what I feel the data tells they should be.
    Something to consider might be battery density. Forts of the period had a lot more space between guns than ships and in a sport where focused broadsides was the game, that could have an impact.

    A first rate has 50+ decent sized guns in less than two hundred feet. A fort with the same spread over 200 yards perhaps would be less than a 1/3rd effective?

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    Good point Dobbs.
    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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    It's an interesting thought to consider broadsides as broadsides were mainly fired by turning the ship and only at longer ranges actually aiming the guns, while the forts had to train their guns all the time to even follow a ship's movement in its arc.

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    Come to think of it, most ships were surrendered as their moral fell. Ships fired broadsides "easily" coordinated in the cramped space of a ship. They had massive effects at short distances and were probably quite horrible even at longer distances. Did forts fire as quickly as they could or did they fire in coordinated salvos. I'm thinking the former, but can't remember any historical accounts at the moment. Perhaps they were more like army artillery?

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    As I have read it Jonas, all aspects of what you say are true to some extent. As we say here in England, "like the curates' egg it is good in parts." Some gunners were highly trained army artillerists, some disgruntled civilian volunteers, or Army pensioners, convict units etc.

    Guns varied from modern, captured, or abandoned ones from retreating armies or captured ships, to old 100 year old ones hardly ever used in their lifetimes. Not a lot of accurate information exists, except that live firing was not frequently practiced because of the expense, whereas some keen battery commanders even set out markers to estimate the correct ranges, hard to estimate over water.
    And then most gunners even when trained were used to firing with more manoeuvrable smaller guns at targets heading straight toward them or static, not traversing. That is the main reason I have upgraded the hitting power, but placed several handicaps on the range, speed of loading and inability to use double shot. I may well now need to vector in the spread of weapons along the waterfront to account for the ripple effect of the guns firing as the ship sailed past.

    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.

  14. #14

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    Rob, interesting thread.

    Perhaps one aspect might be that ship to fort engagements are condensed for game play. Considering sieges , effectively bombarding fortifications took time.

    Factors to consider:

    1) Ships have limited ammunition which might mean a need to replenish for a long duration bombardment

    2) Elevation - forts are higher up (at least some) and shot might be more plunging shot while ship guns would be firing up at a fort. How would that affect ship or fort vulnerability?

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    I do factor in plunging shot Paul. It was notoriously inaccurate because it effectively had a smaller target and no skip effect, but if it did land it caused severe damage and often penetrated all the decks even sometimes the keel. Often Forts capitulated because of the effect of bombarding the town rather than damage to the fort. As for duration, I will have to look at that further. I only really have Gibraltar and Tripoli on my radar at present. Guns on high elevation also get an extra cannister length of range added on to the end of the range ruler.
    Thanks for starting the cannon ball rolling.
    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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    Even better, Rob. I got the next campaign game played. AAR shouldn’t be too long - I hope.

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    I look forward to seeing it Paul.
    I am hoping to pull in a game myself before we go to Doncaster.
    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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