Friday, 11 May 2012

All at Sea

In March I published a post featuring some 'Fire and Steel' ships. This week we have had a re-run of the attempted break out by a Franco-Spanish fleet.  This time we used Navwar models and the rules a computer moderated version of those issued with 'Micro Fleets', published by Table Top Games.

I commanded the Franco-Spanish fleet and led the line with my frigates.  They were soon exchanging broadsides with their British opposite numbers, although they were getting the worst of it.  The second ship(La Medea) lost half of its batteries on the engaged side and the captain decided to come about to use the opposite  broadside.  This manoeuvring led to him becoming entangled with one of the British frigates, Africa, (which was larger) and a close fought boarding action began. 

 Meanwhile my lead ship (the Pomone) also turned to starboard to render assistance to his fellow captains.  This manoeuvre brought him in range of the main British ships of the line.  One of the British 1st rates, Thunderer, fired a salvo and the Pomone was reduced to a drifting wreck, sinking four moves later. My third frigate, Asia, managed to sail across the stern of the 'Macedonian' and inflict heavy damage with a raking broadside.


  However, seeing the Pomone sinking and the 'La Medea's' colours being lowered, the Asia decided to make a break for freedom.  For a time the captain thought he might succeed then a broadside from the frigate Centurion brought down two parts of the fore mast and whilst the debris was cleared the British frigate closed for the kill.  The Macedonian also moved towards the Asia and to save his crew the captain lowered his colours   

Observing the frigate melee from my flagship "Commerce de Marseilles' I decided to gain more sea room and cut across their rear.  Unfortunately, this led me straight into the main British force.  Turning to port the 'Commerce de Marseilles", 'Hoche' and 'L'Orion'' formed line and fired broadsides at their opponents.  For a time they seemed to be gaining the advantage, but the superior gunnery of the British began to tell. One broadside from Canopus eliminated half the Hoche's starboard guns. Unable to gain any more sea room and with a rocky shoal ahead, I decided that the only option was to turn away and return to port. Another victory for the Royal Navy, though I did manage to inflict some damage.

As an American journalist remarked following the battle of Jutland

"The German fleet has assaulted it's jailor, but it is still in jail"


  1. It's fun to pull out the "wooden ships and iron men" from time to time isn't it? Have you done any further since this game?
    (We are having occasional games of Napoleonic naval with different rules—at the glacial rate of about one a year—in an attempt to find something that we are happy to settle with. So far nothing has the right combination of enough sailing without being a game of boating, reasonable fire and damage, elegant tracking of ship damage and effectiveness.

    1. Thanks for the comments James. Actually we have not had another Napoleonic Naval game since! Nothing to do with dissatisfaction with rules, just there are so many other competing interests. I know what you mean about getting the balance right between playability and realism. Being computer-moderated at least the 'paperwork' has been kept to a minimum. I did try to contact you via the email link on your profile, but failed. If you want to contact me, my email address is