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Thread: Earl April, 1814

  1. #1
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    Default Early April, 1814

    The Chesapeake is a British lake. The Concerned Citizens of Baltimore seize an opportunity to intercept a British post ship off Poole's Island. Two schooners and a brigantine sail down the Patapsco to challenge it...

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    Later that day...the Chesapeake is still a British lake.

    Eric (De Ryuter) and two other friends joined me today for an afternoon of sailing little plastic ships on a table. Eric's schooner led the bold attack against a British 28 gun post ship. We managed a tidy line ahead for our approach to our adversary.

    In the first exchange, the schooner following Eric was converted to a single masted sieve. Shortly after that, Eric's schooner was perforated. The post ship went east of Poole's Island and the schooners went west, bringing a lull in the action. My brigantine was pushing hard to come up to the action from the rear of the line.

    In the picture above, we've reformed our line north of Poole's Island. I'm now in the middle with Eric in the rear.

    North of the island things got hot again, and I scored some significant damage on the British vessel, but we Americans were definitely feeling the imbalance of fighting a genuine warship with three privateers.

    The Americans couldn't win, but the British couldn't catch us if we ran away. Maybe next time....
    Last edited by Dobbs; 01-30-2024 at 16:01.

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    Eric sent me some additional photos.

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    Here is the first exchange of fire. James' schooner, the second in line, cost Jim's post ship its headsails. In exchange, the post ship's broadside tore away more than half of James' hull and brought down the whole mainmast.

    Note the very nice line ahead we managed to form. Of course, my brigantine is a little laggardly.

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    Clearing the island. The two schooners went west, I followed the post ship east. This British aft broadside hollowed out Eric somewhat.
    Last edited by Dobbs; 01-29-2024 at 04:27.

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    I actually did get to fire once or twice.

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    ...as well as receive fire.

    Ultimately, we hurt the British, but not as badly as we ourselves were hurt.
    Last edited by Dobbs; 01-29-2024 at 04:29.

  5. #5
    Admiral of the Fleet.
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    Thanks for that litttle action Dobbs, and Eric for the additional photos.

    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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    Good to see your small ships on the table and a War of 1812 scenario. Lovely.

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    A pleasure to share. Thanks for the rep, Paul.

    It was great to be able to have a number of folks over and play a game. My ships have been languishing far too long. Hopefully the next mission will happen in about two weeks.

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    Admiral of the Fleet.
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    Look forward to seeing your next game 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.

  9. #9

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    It was a fun game and thanks to Dobbs for hosting. The schooners only hope was to plink away at the larger ship with some concentrated fire before we were riddled with shot holes! My schooner was down to a one chit pull rather quickly and at the end limping home with pumps fully manned. One hull box left!

    This is with Dobbs' shot weight rules in play - Our 6 lb guns were -2 damage and the post ship had 9 lb guns which were -1 damage. Still, I think both sides pulled a number of critical hits that affected the outcome - the British set several of the schooners on fire and dealt a nasty mast hit.

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    My thought with shot weight is that a 6 pdr doesn't have much straight up damage power (hence the -2), but the special hit chances remain the same. Any size cannon ball can damage a rudder, or a mast, or start a fire...

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    It was amazing how tough the post ship was. She was basically a watered down Amazon, with one less damage box. She still had just over half her hull when we called the game. Of course my brigantine was still fairly unscathed, but if we'd stuck to it, the Americans would have had to replace some ships rather than repair them.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dobbs View Post
    A pleasure to share. Thanks for the rep, Paul.

    It was great to be able to have a number of folks over and play a game. My ships have been languishing far too long. Hopefully the next mission will happen in about two weeks.
    My ships have been languishing too - well the SoG ones. Obvious some iron/tinclads from the American Civil War saw the game table recently. My plan is to play the next SoG campaign mission tomorrow.

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    I look forward to hearing of your adventure, Paul.

  14. #14
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    Great news gentlemen. It looks like this year is getting off to a better start than the last one.
    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.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dobbs View Post
    I look forward to hearing of your adventure, Paul.
    The game is done - lots of close in work between the battle wagons. Very Trafalgar-esque thanks to a scenario by Rob. (I think it's Robs. It's the 2016 March Scenario, Après la tempête).

    Quote Originally Posted by Bligh View Post
    Great news gentlemen. It looks like this year is getting off to a better start than the last one.
    Rob.
    It certainly is for me. Although I seem to have almost dozen different projects on the go. Four of them nautical (Sails of Glory 2016 campaign, Mad for War 17th Century Anglo-Dutch wars, American Civil War ironclads and Pirates/New World skirmishing via Blood and Plunder. I'm also back to building more Wings of Glory planes - 2 X F2B and 2 X Rumpler C.IV Valom kits about half done. I've also got the land side covered with Franco-Prussian War 28mm skirmish figures, 28mm Samurai figures for Test of Honour (or Clash of Katanas) and not to forget the 15/18mm stuff - Byzantium/Islam/Crusader Kingdom and Napoleonics.

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    Yes Paul that one is indeed one of mine, done in the days before I started my own 3D scenics and long before I had my dedicated war room.
    I hope you enjoy playing it as much as I enjoyed it myself.
    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 good to see so many AAR's being posted as they are what I enjoy the most.

    Another interesting small ships action Dobbs, if not too successful for you and Eric. Your schooners will have to pick on someone their own size I think. Have you increased the range of shot? That first picture with the opening salvo appears to be at a range greater than the range rule, although it could easily be the angle of the photo.

    The scenario Après la tempête was a multiple ship pile up for me. Close quarters manoeuvre is not my strong suit.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vagabond View Post
    The scenario Après la tempête was a multiple ship pile up for me. Close quarters manoeuvre is not my strong suit.
    Perhaps one of the reasons it took me so long to play the game; and, in the end, I let the AI charts dictate manoeuvres.

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    I have played AI against AI as well. I designed the system to want to hang between short and long range, so collisions are reduced.

    Good observation, John. The standard combat rulers are 15cm (6 inches) short range and 30cm (12 inches) long. I increased short to 7 inches and long to 14, which works out to 1 and 2 cables (600 and 1200 feet) in scale terms.

    The increase of ranges also gives more maneuver room. Also, one ship’s base has to contact the other's hull for a collision.

  20. #20
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    I like the collision rule Dobbs. I will adopt it. I will also try out a range stick with your dimensions.

    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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    Those are still rather on the short side (IMO). By top metal, most guns range to 600-700m, carronades rather further (albeit needing to use the graduation of their notched dispart sight for intermediate ranges.)

    Long range fires can still be pointed with reference to the masts to ~1200m, perhaps further. Outside 1200m fires become very random. Unless, you have conditions suitable to low angles of fire and ricochet, where the shot will carry with 'good' line to up to 3000m without rising above the hull. Coastal batteries are often sited with a roughly 1 mile range in mind and sited to give ricochet fire, while being sited too high to receive ricochet from vessels.

    Effectiveness is usually higher close in, bnt not by as much as the 'raw' increase in hitting space and penetration might suggest, as there is a desire to 'point' and to use reducing charge conditions at shorter ranges - first smaller charges, later double shotting etc, from the 'distant' charge range.

    Smaller guns don't carry enough velocity to long range to be a meaningful threat - but larger guns and the heavy carronades will stretch their effect sufficiently far to cover these longer ranges with full charges.

    British 'short range' practice tended to prefer sighting by quadrant/quarter sight (their PB wasn't any of the definitions of PB in use anywhere, but was a bastardised version of several - the range for which shot fired level strikes the water, lifted by a small angle which is suitable for raising that range to the approximate horizontal, and sometimes then re-stating the higher range to the water ~ which is a very odd of defining something which can be placed at various different heights... French But en Blanc is far easier to comprehend, and was continued into the age of sights - the far distance at which the trajectory intersects the line of sight, through a mark on the breech-ring (or top of tangent sight) to the mark on the top of the muzzle swell (or with the short tangent scale a mark on the top of a dispart mounted near the trunnion/reinforce (the muzzle masks the line of sight at higher elevations, and a longer tangent scale is issued which works against the muzzle swell).

    Carronades and field and coastal guns with tangent sight equipment could be pointed to 'several' or 'many' discrete pointings with the service charge (or any suitable reduced charge for special purposes), while the standard naval gun was pointed by one line of metal, and up to 5 discrete charge conditions, which allow a spread of ranges along this single 'direct' line of sight. Laying by quadrant requires more 'luck' - the correct range needs to be estimated, the correct quadrant for the combination of heeling angle and necessary superelevation of the piece, the correct instant of fire without a visual sighting on a vessel which is moving with the sea (not applicable to coastal guns).

    The ballistic performance of the AF 32pdr guns is sufficient to give fire to ~1250 to 1500m by the short tangent, and 2350m by the long tangent... and while the absence of sights does limit the 'Napoleonic' era firing - direct pointing can cover from ~1200m to the top of the mast (intending to fall to the hull), 560m by direct pointing to a discrete point at distant charge, 500m with full charges, 415m with reduced charge and 180 to 265m for the reduce and double (btm/top shot), all MPI, for average shot, and with powder equivalent to Ponte de Buis. Later guns (and French guns) have more taper built in and will range a bit further, with less hitting space and penetration. Carronades have much more taper, and will carry to 700-800m by their line of metal, with intermediate steps on the dispart giving 'discrete' aimpoints during the Napoleonic era, later also replaced by tangent sights on the breech ring and simpler reinforce (and for long scale) muzzle tube dispart blocks.

    For guns, the effective combination of hitting space, momentum lost in penetration of a 'thin' side combine to give a 'flat' performance between the range for distant charge and the range for mean performance of double shot. The individual charging conditions have a falling hitting space and penetration (which can combine with an increasingly 'substantial' hull side to 'lift' the collapsing effectiveness near the maximum range for an expected penetration. 'Single charge' weapons such as carronades will have the same 'falling' performance, very effective closer in, zero 'flat' and falling effectiveness further out. With carronades and the faster of the two 'reduced, double' shot having similar performance for the same size of shot, but larger shot being very much more effective than smaller shot (12pdr gun is at best only barely reaching the effective performance of a 32pdr carronade, and is usually hitting less hard and less effectively (if somewhat more often, which only partially makes up for weakness of fire)).

    Note that in 1804 the OB required all broadside QD/FC guns of 9pdr and 12pdr to be replaced on line ships and frigates with 32pdr carronades (24pdr if the 9pdr equipped vessel cannot support the heavier type) - and while this was partially reversed for 'inboard' carronades in the wake of rigging in 1806, the change of mounting and modification to rigging details saw a nearly total replacement on these lines into the 1820 and 1830s as sights were mounted to extend ranges of accurate fire. The French went further, with the complete replacement of 12 livre guns and smaller on ships of the line - with 36 livre iron carronades, and 18 livre chase guns - for a 120 gun ship, this is 50 carronades, an increase from the prior establishment of 16 carronades on the gaillards and 34 12 livre guns.

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    Regardless of the power of a period gun...

    At a range of 1 cable (600 feet), 1 degree of arc covers roughly 10 feet. Therefore if you held your hands out in front of you with the pointing fingers together, you could conceal a 100' ship. At 2 cables, the hidden ship could be 200 feet long.

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    I think a line can be seen, where the RN saw no advantage to the excessive power of the 42pdr, not being useful enough at the 'moderate' ranges actually used, to compensate for the additional bulk, crew requirements and weight, and cost of ammunition.

    The 32pdr is 'ample' at 400yds in reduce, double shot, so the gun is more than sufficient for firing at longer ranges with single shot, and the gun points well in line of metal at 1 degree to 620yds, with a hitting space on a screen of 16yds/ft of height, plus the depth of the target, with superior penetration to the other charging states at their shorter ranges.

    The French patterns of guns are routinely fought at their line of metal ranges of approximately 1.5 degrees for the heavier patterns (reducing for lighter calibres in the galliard pattern), so these have longer ranges of 650m+ for the heavy gun by Revolutionary War tables - more by tables from the 1820s.

    John Clerk suggests that the receiving of fire from multiple enemy ships in many of the 'lasking failures' is indicative of ranges of fire of 1200m+, and is agreed with by Adm Rodney, who clarifies 'pistol shot' as being 400yds (and seldom obtained) in a footnote (though pistol shot will carry beyond that, it is a fairly 'long' carry, so this may be a misstatement of musket shot, but it is distinguished from musket shot being half gun shot).

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    David, just to clarify, are you saying that sailors of the time considered a range of 4 football fields to be musketshot or perhaps even pistolshot?

  25. #25
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    I have fired both a period pistol and a musket, and can assure you that even with a rifled barrel at 400 yards with a pistol you might as well try shooting at the moon. The muskets we used would hit a man aimed for in the torso but above that I have no ides as the firing range officer at the RAF station would not let us fire at the 150 yard targets, because too many shots were going astray. On a ship you also would need to deal with the motion caused by the wind and water.

    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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    Yes, this is what Adm Rodney appears to have written. If you put a 14" carbine calibre naval pistol in the hunes and fire it level it will carry somewhat beyond 400m. Depressed to the horizon it will be a bit shorter, but still reach ~400yds +

    A pistol on the poupe will reach around 370 yds fired level, and would only require a very slight impetus upward on firing to carry to the claimed 400 yds.

    Of course the effect of fire at the distance it will carry is going to be ... modest, but that doesn't detract from the range that it will reach under the conditions of fire in the 'point blank' quality used within the RN.

    Muskets will reach ~600yds under similar conditions.

    Again, effectiveness is not equal to the distance of carry, but the distances are noted for the relatively position of the fleets/ships, not for the firepower the pistol or musket is actually providing.

    (As a comparison to later gunnery, the maximum carriage/battery angle at 13.5 degrees is at least double the 'effective' range and that is at least double the 'battle range' - for a gun reaching to around 2400yds, the effective range would be 1200yds and battle range 600 yds - which as 'half gun shot' equals 'musket shot' is consistent with a 400/600/1200 range for pistol/musket/gun.

    Maximum, maximum ranges for the three types (pistol, musket, heavy gun at around 900m, 1200m, 4960m...which are clearly not reasonable ranges to use for any purpose (pistol and musket, because they will be entirely random, gun, because it cannot get close to the elevation needed on a standard truck carriage.)

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    It seems that Admiral Rodney is saying that a particular weapon can throw a particular ball X distance. Does he say anything about at what range it becomes practical to aim?

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    The specifying of pistol shot is a term of art for the relative position of two vessels (seen frequently in descriptions of 'close engagement') - that this seems to refer to 400 yds casts a new light on the interpretation of these 'close in fights' - this being at roughly the range of double shot pointed by the line of metal, or single shot fired "at" the horizon (ish).

    Musket shot and 'half gun shot' are given as being the same, which would reasonably be ~3 cables or ~600 yds, which is roughly the line of direct pointing with the distant charge, and gun shot would then fall at roughly 1200 yds with a superelevation of between 2 and 1.5 degrees (RN/Fr pattern heavy guns).

    The diminution of charge and use of double shotting at shorter ranges gives a fairly 'flat' effectiveness between 300 and 600 yds (or 400-650m for the French patterns - which throw somewhat higher and thus have a lower effect when they arrive further out - a 36 livre gun "points-like" a 24 pdr, but is closer to a 42 pdr when outside the ranges of direct pointing. French point their lighter guns to a shorter distance - English use longer guns and higher elevation to try to stretch their light guns further (though with a diminishing of the effect).

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