Un Trio de Batailles Navales (2)

After our brief but brutal Frigate Encounter we moved on to a pair of SOLs (Ships Of the Line), being a pair of 3rd Rates (74 Guns). Joel was once again the French (commanding Généreux) while I again represented His Majesty’s glorious Royal Naval (on board HMS Vanguard)! “…somewhere not far from the coast of France an attempt is being made to sneak past the British Blockade by a lively French 74, but his majesties navy is up tot he task and intercepts the wayward enemy…”

Généreux vs. HMS Vanguard

The fight comes quickly, Généreux out manoeuvres HMS Vanguard but is caught unawares by her double shotted broadside!

The two vessels rapidly approach, in a game of nerves to endeavour to gain the advantage, however Généreux gains the initial advantage as HMS Vanguard mistimes her turn across the Frenchman’s bow, and gives away the weather gauge! As both ships let off their initial larboard broadsides at each other Généreux is in the much better firing position* – however is surprised by HMS Vanguard’s double-shotted broadside, which despite less guns to bear inflicts significantly more damage to the Frenchman and causes significant casualties to her crew! However the Royal Navy vessel still has it’s own fire, leak, and damaged sail to deal with!

Généreux vs. HMS Vanguard

The opponents circle as HMS Vanguard fights her fire and stems her leak…

HMS Vanguard uses her position with the wind to draw away from her opponent to buy time to fight her fire and plug the leak, the rudder damage she has caused Généreux also helping to slow the Frenchman’s pursuit. However they soon come within long-range of each other’s broadsides and a second exchange goes in HMS Vanguard’s favour again (although suffering a broken mast she causes a fire and leak and some serious hull damage to the Frenchman, who is already suffering from a depleted crew). Furthermore HMS Vanguard has finished her repairs and is now ready to aggressively close the range with Généreux!

Généreux vs. HMS Vanguard

Long-range broadsides exchanged between Généreux & HMS Vanguard and bragging rights to the latter…

Both Captains manoeuvre their ships attempting to gain the weather gauge – Généreux meanwhile, having repaired her rudder, battles with her fire and leak with her reduced crew…

Généreux vs. HMS Vanguard

Protracted manoeuvring as Généreux (on fire to right) and HMS Vanguard circle like hungry wolves…

…as she finds her self being caught in a tighter and tighter trap between the wind and HMS Vanguard! But then a piece of “misfortunate luck” sees her stray too far into the wind and be taken above, upon which she is violently thrown around over 90º and suddenly becomes the pursuer as HMS Vanguard now finds Généreux has the tactical advantage…

Généreux vs. HMS Vanguard

Généreux pursues HMS Vanguard by a stroke of misfortunate luck!

HMS Vanguard then swings around dramatically, and with a cheer from the crew makes for the Frenchman to decide things once and for all! As the two vessels close their unfired starboard guns line up and let loose their initial broadsides – again the Frenchman is in a better position, but Généreux’s greater hull damage off-sets that little and HMS Vanguard is still double shotted! Needless to say on paper HMS Vanguard should have come off best (despite her smaller broadside), but this time Ares shines his luck on Généreux! But with both vessels again suffering leaks the Frenchman has it up against him…

Généreux vs. HMS Vanguard

Généreux vs. HMS Vanguard have at it again! Double-Shotted Initial Broadside from the latter!

Both Captains turn their vessels tightly into their enemy, both with the same intent to try and bring their other broadside to bear hoping the enemy is turning the other way – the result is a collision with the slower moving HMS Vanguard scraping along the side of Généreux – with the resulting damage proving too much for the French vessel and she strikes her colours!** A hard fought but glorious victory to HMS Vanguard

Généreux vs. HMS Vanguard

Généreux vs. HMS Vanguard – the final conclusion!

* As an aside when the very first broadsides of the game were fired Généreux had the luxury of firing a larboard full initial broadside at long range (meaning 10 ‘A’ chits), or a larboard stern initial broadside at close range (meaning 6 ‘B’ chits). Joel opted for the former to maximise the number of chits drawn – however conventional wisdom suggests (at least when shooting at 3rd rates and larger) opting for less class ‘B’ chits is the better tactical choice – because individually each chit is likely to cause more damage and a lower percentage of them will be 0 damage chits (i.e. draw less chits but have higher chance each one does meaningful damage). HMS Vanguard was only firing an initial larboard bow broadside, but being double shotted she got 6 chits each of “A” and “B” – so ended up with more chits overall and half of them “B” – the result of which can be seen in the first photo above, where although HMS Vanguard suffered a fire & leak the Frenchman suffered far more hull & crew damage (although the fire would effectively make the British ship’s hull damage worse over the next 2 turns).

** Infact this was an error on my part – misread the damage between Friendly vessels rule as damage between all vessels… So should not have happened and there would have been instead Musketry & possibly Boarding Actions followed by potential broadsides next turn. Prior to the collision Généreux had only 20% Hull and about 40% Crew left, while HMS Vanguard was on about 30% Hull and 70% Crew – so the Frenchman had the winds against him in any case!

Continue on reading with our third and final engagement Un Trio de Batailles Navales (3)!

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