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Thread: 2015 Solo Campaign Mission 11 - The Captain's Dilemma by ShadowDragon

  1. #1

    Default 2015 Solo Campaign Mission 11 - The Captain's Dilemma by ShadowDragon


    The Captain’s Dilemma

    My version of the 2015 Campaign scenario, The Captain’s Dilemma, by Bligh:

    It’s evening but there happened to be few customers at The Rusty Anchor – a favoured drinking establishment of the local pirates of Barataria Bay. At a table sat the nefarious Captain Hal Sparrow and opposite him was the obvious Royal Navy officer, despite his best efforts to dress occasion appropriately, Horatio Attenbridge. The RN officer “in disguise” spoke first.

    “So Gabriel won’t join us against his arch enemy, Lamontagne?”

    “As tempting as that would be for Gabriel, he’ll not ally with the Royal Navy since Admiral Wellesley evicted us from British territory. We know – it’s all the doings of that scoundrel Cunningham and his slanders, but it’s not a slight that can be ignored while keeping the loyalty of his people.”

    “I understand, but a battle is coming and it will be even odds without Gabriel’s buccaneer fleet.”

    “Hmmm…I can’t say I wouldn’t mind a fight but I won’t go against Gabriel.”

    “Well, at least it’s not a fight where the enemy will be at an advantage. I’m proud to say I had something to do with that.”

    “Sounds like you’ve got a yarn to tell, Horatio. Do tell us more.” Hal signalled for more brandy as this seem like it would be a good yarn.

    “By the most amazing fortune, while becalmed, I captured a French 3rd rater and along with it information on the location of a squadron of two 3rd raters and a frigate that were to join Lamontagne’s fleet. This would have given the French naval superiority. When I brought this information to the Admiral and it was resolved that we should destroy this squadron before it could reach Lamontagne. By rights Cunningham should have commanded the raid but the Admiral didn’t have confidence his tactical acumen and arranged a “can’t refuse” diplomatic mission for Cunningham. So I ended up in command of the raid.”

    “The French were holed up tight in a harbour well protected by forts, but there was a weakness that could be exploited. The position had a small creek up with a bomb ketch could sail and lob shells on the French ships forcing them to a slow destruction or to come out. Here was the real weakness of the French position, the entrance to the harbour was narrow and no more than one ship at a time could exit allowing their ships to be destroyed one by one.”

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    According to the information the French had the 80-gun Bucentaure, the 64-gun Artesien and the 40-gun Carmagnole.

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    My command, in addition to the bomb ketch – the Swan, would be the 100-gun Royal Sovereign, the 74-gun Spartiate and the 32-gun Cleopatra.

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    The Cleopatra would play a key role. It would wait at the harbour mouth – spotting for the bomb ketch and serving as a bait for the French. The two ships of the line would hover further away and only move in once the enemy was exiting.

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    Eventually the mortar’s shelling forced the French to make sail to exit the harbour.

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    The first ship to make way was the Carmagnole.

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    As the Carmagnole moved in range, the captain of the Cleopatra held fire. By my orders his guns were loaded with double-shot to make the most of the inevitable raking shot the Carmagnole would present. This would be the Cleopatra’s chance to best the superior Carmagnole.

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    Meanwhile, I signalled that the Spartiate should turn, tacking across the wind, to support the Cleopatra.

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    The Cleopatra held fire until the Carmagnole was in the narrowest part of the entrance and could not turn to either side without running aground. When the Cleopatra fired its broadside one could not have hoped for a better display of gunnery. Practically every cannonball struck the Carmagnole – down the entire length of the ship. The damage was horrific – both the fore and main masts were lost. As we discovered later the captain had been killed instantly and it was the 1st lieutenant that struck the Carmagnole’s colours.

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    The momentum of the Carmagnole carried her to larboard – clearing the way for the two more powerful French ships to exit the harbour. The Cleopatra was no match for these ships. Following the orders I had given her captain if he were to face these larger men of war, she cut the anchor holding on station and turned downwind.

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    The Spartiate was more manoeuvrable than the Royal Sovereign and was the first to reach the harbour entrance. Her timing was perfect for a murderous, raking broadside on the next French ship – the Artesien. The Artesien managed a reply but did little return damage.

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    The Royal Sovereign was next and added to the woes of the Artesien. Ahead, as the Spartiate turned away to stay out of the reach of the guns of the fort, a lucky shot from the Bucentaure took the mizzenmast of the Spartiate.

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    The heavily damaged Artesian had reloaded and fired on the Royal Sovereign but with many of her crew cut down it could do little damage. By this time the Cleopatra had come about to harass the bigger French ships from long range.

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    The Artesian still had fight in her – she fired both larboard and starboard batteries at the Cleopatra and the Royal Sovereign. [Note: I think the Artesien probably should have been reloading its starboard battery but I missed that until writing this up.] The Royal Sovereign and the Bucentaure continued their ship to ship duel with fires started on both ships.

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    The Cleopatra became entangled with the Artesien so the battle went to the marines. The captain of the Artesien was hit and with few crew remaining she too struck her colours. But the Cleopatra was in danger. The Bucentaure was coming up astern of the Artesien and could make short work of the Cleopatra.

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    Fortunately the Cleopatra managed to disentangle from the Artesien but not before the Bucentaure fired a broadside into her but the damage was tolerable. A saviour was nearby – the Spartiate.

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    Our gunners served us well that day. The Spartiate got the better of Bucentaure and even the little Cleopatra managed her part by starting a second fire on the Bucentaure. With a raging fire and many crew out of action, the Bucentaure surrendered. The Artesien was seaworthy and a prize crew was put aboard her but the Bucentaure and Carmagnole could not be saved. We rescued what crew survived on those ships and then scuttled them.

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    “It must have been quite the dilemma for the French captains – staying in harbour or running the gauntlet”, said Horatio.

    “Dilemma!” roared Hal. “It was more like shotting fish in a barrel. Now let’s have another round.”

    “Are you sure you won’t join us in the coming battle.”

    “There’s qualms I have to taking on the French, Spanish or even the Americans, but I’ll not cross Gabriel. Perhaps Cunningham will lead the Royal Navy to a signal victory.”

    Horatio shuddered at the thought, but that would be a tale for another day.


    Ship Logs

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  2. #2
    Admiral of the Fleet.
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    Thanks for your AAR Paul.
    A great back story to fit into your campaign, and a well explained battle too.
    I look forward to seeing what a pigs ear Cunningham can make of the next scenario.
    Well done that man. I will see to it that Attenbridge will be mentioned in the Gazette.

    Bligh.
    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

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    Thanks for the rep, Rob.

    I'm looking forward to finishing up this campaign and catching up to John - even if he did cheat by skipping the last 3 scenarios of this campaign.

    I've decided that the final battle will be 4 on 4 as I've decided that's the maximum number of ships I can manage without too many errors or losing my mind.

  4. #4
    Admiral of the Fleet.
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    That is fine Paul.
    We always allowed amendments to account for what ships a member had. As long as the rough ballance is the same you should get a good fight out of 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.

  5. #5
    Midshipman
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    What ho Horatio. No sorry - that's another time.

    Sparkling Caribbean story Paul and a famous victory for Attenbridge. Unfortunately my tablet seems to be refusing to charge so I'm reading this on my new phone. Your photos look particularly good, although rather small but the story line makes up for them.

    Now as to cheating�� that's a strong accusation and if it wasn't from a colonial fellow it would be pistols at dawn, as it is, Nurse Shultz will probably give you something to remember, a Caster oil enema maybe.
    Pip pip.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vagabond View Post
    What ho Horatio. No sorry - that's another time.

    Sparkling Caribbean story Paul and a famous victory for Attenbridge. Unfortunately my tablet seems to be refusing to charge so I'm reading this on my new phone. Your photos look particularly good, although rather small but the story line makes up for them.

    Now as to cheating�� that's a strong accusation and if it wasn't from a colonial fellow it would be pistols at dawn, as it is, Nurse Shultz will probably give you something to remember, a Caster oil enema maybe.
    Pip pip.
    Thanks for the rep, John. Glad you appreciated the story.

    Of course, there's no accounting for the manners of a colonial, eh? And what's Nurse Schultz doing back in the late 18th/early 19th century????

  7. #7
    Admiral of the Fleet.
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    I told the Adjutant not to lend her another HG Wells novel, after reading the War of the Worlds for the T&T scenario Paul. He only went and gave her the Time Machine. With her expertise and the help of several mechanics on the Drome she came up with something which shot an elderly Major Bigglesworth back from the late 20th cent in a Helichopper or some such named flying machine, and then shipped some of us others back in time to this period.
    Kyte.
    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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