Friday, 20 February 2015

Napoleonic Naval Action

 British and Spanish ships clash on the Spanish Coast 1804


The Spanish ships leave port
After the excitement of last weeks YG birthday party, it was time to clear up the house, take the headache tablets and get back to some proper gaming blogging.

Stocking up on provisions before leaving the dock.
Over the last couple of weeks we have been having a spot of Napoleonic Naval at Castle R, another collection we haven't played with for a while. I first started these in the early 90's, the Leeds club I belong to used them for a demo game that year. I've added a ship or two every now and again but most of these models are over 15 years old now, each one takes an age to make, base, paint and rig but they are worth it. Special 21 gun salute to Rod Langton of Langton Miniatures who sells the bare metal.

Lets have a bit of sailing practise said the Spanish Admiral

Rayo a Spanish 100 gun 1st Rate
The scenario was a Spanish Fleet leaving port for some sailing exercises being caught in the open sea by a smaller British patrol, let the action commence. Our rules are ones I wrote for that display game all those years ago. We selected our ships and the randomly rolled for crew and captain ability.

One of our ship control cards, we use counters to record sail setting etc

The Spanish Fleet consisted of two squadrons,

Rayo  100 guns, Poor Captain, Average Crew
Neptuno 80 guns, Good Captain, Poor Crew
San Augustino 74(L) guns, Ave Captain, Poor Crew
San Ildefonso 74(L) guns, Ave Captain, Poor Crew
San Leandro 64 guns, Ave Captain, Raw Crew
Nuestra Senora de los Mercedes 34 guns, Ave Captain, Raw Crew
Carmen 40 guns, Ave Captain, Raw Crew

San Augustino in action

Squadron two

Santaissima Trinidad 136 guns, Poor Captain, Ave Crew
Argonauta 80 guns, Poor Captain, Ave Crew
San Juan Nepumoceno 74(C), Ave Captain, Raw Crew
Montanes 74(L), Very Poor Captain, Raw Crew
San Justo 74(C), Ave Captain, Raw Crew
Santa Gertrudis 34 guns, Good Captain, Ave Crew
Ascuncion 34 guns, Ave Captain, Ave Crew

Not a bad crew / captain roll up for the Spanish only the famous Montanes (famous in that the whole of the Leeds club burst out the name loudly in a poor Spanish accent every time its name is mentioned) had the worst possible combo and Santa Gertrudis was almost the equivalent of Old Guard.

Not used in this game, my personal boat, the signal flags spell out "Ken's Ship", showing her age now with the rigging sagging a little bit.

The British turned up with two small Squadrons

HMS Dreadnought 98 guns, Good Captain, Average Crew
HMS Venerable 74 (C) guns Ave Captain, Good Crew
HMS Mars 74 (L) guns, Ave Captain, Good Crew
HMS Aigle 36 guns, Inspired Captain, Elite Crew

and

HMS Neptune 98 guns, Good Captain, Average Crew
HMS Tonnant 80 guns, Good Captain, Good Crew
HMS Ardent 64 guns, Inspired Captain, Good Crew
HMS Boadicea 38 guns Good Captain, Good Crew


Not a particularly good roll up for the British with lots of average stuff and being outnumbered 10 to 6 and then the random wind direction favoured the Spanish. The two fleets sailed towards each other, the superior crews on the British ships making light work of sail setting, the Spanish not so much, the game turned when the second Spanish Squadron sailed away from the other to avoid a lighthouse and rocky outcrop.

Spanish ships open up at long range.
The first Spanish Squadron was starting to get fire from both sides and losing the fight, just as the second Squadron came into long range the lead two Spanish ships Rayo and Neptuno started to have morale problems, starting by refusing to close with the enemy, they then started to retire from the action, Neptuno eventually striking her colours with only 1 row of hull boxes left.


With two ships out of the line the first Squadron was in big trouble, the three remaining ships with no way out opted for the heroic, they prepared grapples and boarders. That was the last thing the British expected and two of the three ships didn't have boarders assembled.

Six ships locked in combat.
You have one chance with a Spanish ship locked in combat and that's in the first round of melee, sadly for them they only managed a draw and two narrow defeats. They bravely fought on but after three turns the colours were struck and the British had three prizes. The second Spanish Squadron got in range just as the British were leaving and gave Tonnant a nasty surprise with a stern rake. Neptune, Dreadnought and Tonnant were all badly damaged and would have needed repair at port, but they had captured San Ildefonso, San Augustino and San Leandro respectively so the crew would have some time ashore to spend their prize money.

The white dot of surrender
Enjoyable game, we had some landlubbers scratching there heads with wind direction and sail settings but everyone soon picked things up.