Un Trio de Batailles Navales (1)

As I mentioned in my Setting Sail with Sails of Glory post I’ve been keen to get my teeth into playing the rule set recently, I’ve always been keen on Age of Sail naval gaming, and while I enjoyed playing the Langton Rules (Hoist the Signal for Close Action) – both full and fast play variants – and some other rules (like Fire As She Bears) I have always been looking for something with the right feel for me – which to be honest is something akin to the mechanics in the old Warhammer “Man o’ War” rules from the 1990’s. Sails of Glory seems to offer the feel of “Man o’ War” for the fun side, and obviously a better feel than the latter overall for age of sail tactics, so that while still just a game it contains enough historical content to at least give the impression of having a vague simulation aspect as well!

Frigate Encounter: HMS Concorde vs. Courageuse

Frigate Encounter: HMS Concorde (left) and Courageuse manoeuvre to gain the weather gauge!

Having played a couple of solo games (When The Fog Lifts & Our Ships Were French Oak And Hearts of Oak Our Men), I recently caught up with fellow Auckland gamer Joel McNelly and we spent an afternoon playing a series of single ship actions utilising the full range of advanced and optional rules.

The first action was a simple 5th Rate action with a pair of 32-gun Frigates doing battle – the French vessel Courageuse (Joel) against HMS Concorde – with both nations at war and the vessels stumbling upon each other in the mid-Atlantic, a duel immediately ensued. Both vessels closed on each other endeavouring to gain the weather gauge over their opponent, manoeuvring for an advantage. HMS Concorde gained the marginal advantage of loosing off her forward starboard broadside first, causing notable damage to the hull and also the rudder!

Frigate Encounter: HMS Concorde vs. Courageuse

HMS Concorde draws first blood against Courageuse…

Some cunning (but risky) sailing by the French (Joel) and a lack of foresight from the cocky HMS Concorde saw the latter sail straight into a deadly bow rake from the French vessel!  Luckily Courageuse had suffered enough damage from the first broadside of Concorde that it resulted in her only having 60% of the firepower she might have had for the rake – still she dealt out some good damage to HMS Concorde, with hull & rudder damage, and numerous crew casualties!

Frigate Encounter: HMS Concorde vs. Courageuse

…but Courageuse responds with a bow rake of HMS Concorde!

Courageuse now pays for her daring manoeuvre, having swung fully into the wind she is taken aback and flung around as HMS Concorde sails past at point blank range and looses off a full broadside and musketry, to which the French can only reply with some erratic and inconsequential musketry… Concorde’s fire is deadly – not only causing crew casualties and massive hull damage, but also breaking a mast and causing a fire onboard! Courageuse may be in trouble…

Frigate Encounter: HMS Concorde vs. Courageuse

Taken aback & busy reloading her broadside Courageuse receives a point blank volley from HMS Concorde…

As Courageuse’s crew complete her rudder repairs they are now faced with managing both a broken mast and a fire…

Frigate Encounter: HMS Concorde vs. Courageuse

Courageuse looking the worse for wear after 2 broadsides from HMS Concorde…

Both vessels begin to come around to engage each other again, HMS Concorde has repaired her rudder damage, but Courageuse is battle a broken mast and an ongoing fire on board… Even as the latter gets on top of her fire, both vessels swing into range of each other’s aft broadsides, and open fire – HMS Concorde has the advantage in weight and dishes out more significant hull damage and a leak on the brave but desperate Courageuse, who can only reply with some minor hull & rudder damage to Concorde.

Frigate Encounter: HMS Concorde vs. Courageuse

On fire and down a mast Courageuse gets the worst of an exchange of broadsides!

And with that it’s over – in a brisk but brief action Courageuse is forced to strike her colours as her crew still fighting the fire are now faced with a leak and their ship all but demolished and about to sink (as much as a wooden ship can sink)! A victory for the Royal Navy and HMS Concorde.

Frigate Encounter: HMS Concorde vs. Courageuse

The state of Courageuse at the point she strikes her colours (the fire is almost extinguished)…

Next up – 3rd Rates in action – we do battle commanding 74-gun ships of the line! Read more: Un Trio de Batailles Navales (2).

Frigate Encounter: HMS Concorde vs. Courageuse

HMS Concorde at the conclusion of the action.

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  • The Wargames Room

    A French captain used a similar manoeuvre against me in an earlier engagement, raking my own ship in the process. I don’t recall that I recovered.

    I look forward to the reports on some of the next games, though I have heard rumours…

    • HMS Concorde is made of stern stuff and gave those jolly Frenchmen what-for for their impertinence!

      And yes – I’m sur eyou have heard rumours… 😉

  • The Wargames Room

    I believe the context for our game was I kept gaining the wind and in this game a different counter was used, and rather effectively IIRC.

    Last Friday five of us deployed for two games. The British had three 3rd Raters against a French 1st Rater and a third rater. We used the standard rules which actually moved the games along nicely. The outcome was a British victory followed by a French victory. Very enjoyable.

    • Yes – indeed some cunning sailing by the Royal Navy if I do say so myself. And yeah looking forward to doing some bigger battles with more and bigger ships! And some with Multiple Sloops & Frigates!

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