Monday, September 30, 2013

Somewhere Off Gibralter -- a Napoleonic Naval Engagement

Back in May several of us gathered at Gnome Games East in Green Bay for a little Napoleonic naval action.  The rules were Form Line of Battle.  We opted for a straight up fight between equal forces.  We formed into two teams.  The British side, commanded by myself and Michael, consisted of a single 100 gun SOL and three 76s in one squadron and a second squadron consisting of four captured 60 gunners.  The allied French/Spanish fleet commanded by Charles and Larry was identical.  The setup and die roll gave the Bristish fleet the weather gauge and so we set out to be aggressive.  Commanding the British flagship, Royal Sovereign, I endeavored to lead the attack "in the Nelson manner."

 The initial deployments.

 The British flagship Royal Sovereign (at right).

As the engagement opened the British fleet began an easy turn to port while trying to stay ahead of the closing Franco-Spanish columns.

The fleets close.  The Bellerophon ("Billy Ruffian") doesn't catch quite the breeze that her squadron mates do and drops behind a bit.

             Royal Sovereign catches the stiff breeze better than the rest urged on by the admiral to close with the enemy.  She opens the engagement with her port broadside.

 As the Franco-Spanish squadrons advance, the sovereign breaks their line firing a point blank double shotted opening volley into the stern of a Frenchman.  The Frenchman promptly strikes his colors.  The Admiral though has gotten his flag into a spot of trouble.  Her wheel is shot out in the return fire and she is left to drift in the midst of the enemy fleet.
The battle devolves into a general Melee as the British ships rally to the stricken flagship.  In the chaos the Admiral falls, and Sovereign's captain, made of less stern stuff, surrenders to the French.  The only thing left is to take her back!


The lagging Billy Ruffian closes at last with two Frenchmen.  She takes some licks on the way in, but gets to engagement range.  The enraged Brits redouble their efforts, and Bellerophon severely damages both Frenchmen.

In the end, several of the British ships are heavily damaged, but the Allied fleet escapes with 2-3 fleeing vessels.  A British victory!

It was a nice afternoon of old school naval gaming.  All four players had a great time.  Thanks to Bob for running this for us.


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