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Sails of Glory» Forums » Sessions

Subject: 1812: US Navy attempts to bust a blockade! rss

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Xander Fulton
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The British blockade has been strangling our commerce, and making this war of Mr Madison's ever more painful by the day. Fortunately, we have some recently fitted out ships in port, a few British ships from the blockade are straying foolishly close to our coast, and the wind is just right for an attempt to break the blockade!

The result is inevitable!


(Freedom from tyranny! Freedom of trade!)

Situation

A Fulton, Captain of frigate USS Constitution, in company with sloops-of-war Atalanta and Thorn, to put to sea and engage British ships in blockade of our port; sink, burn, or otherwise render them unable to maintain their station.

G Hebbron, Captain third-rate HMS Vanguard, in company with frigate HMS Amphion, enforce general Embargo or Stop to be made of all ships and vessels whatsoever belonging to the citizens of the United States of America now within or which shall hereafter come into any of the Ports, Harbours or Roads within any part of His Majesty’s Dominion together with all Persons and Effects on board such Ships and vessels.

August 1, 1812
Wind coming from the North, medium strength

Report, USS Constitution

The plan for our approach was to split USS Constitution to the East, and approach the British 3rd-rate wide, so as to seize any opportunity to make a raking pass of her. Atalanta and Thorn would instead approach from the opposite direction, maintaining close distance to the coast through which our coastal batteries could provide some limited covering fire.

As our ships put to sea the wind was approaching from the North, blowing straight south with medium strength. However, the wind, today, was not to be relied upon - hardly before we even cleared the harbor entrance, it began swinging into an inland blow. As a result of the slightly different tacks the two groups of our ships were taking putting us at marginally different angles to the wind, its unexpected change of direction broke up our formation quickly. Constitution found herself slowing into a facing wind, however a maneuver planned to take advantage of this ended up resulting in her being completely backed against the wind as it changed its direction.

Within moments, our ships were facing disparate directions, with little opportunity to improve the situation as USS Constitution was already being blown astern. Unfortunately, this proved to be ideal for the advance of the British ships, which had plotted courses to begin to spread out.



Attempting to compensate for the wind and rejoin the battle, Atalanta and Thorn plotted turns into the British fleet - however the wind betrayed us, again, in changing directions back - blowing the ships even more rapidly towards the British and positioning both sloops to receive raking broadsides.



Thorn took the worst of it, as a full raking broadside from HMS Vanguard tore into her from the bow forward, shattering the hull of the ship - she exploded violently in the salvo, taking all hands with her. Atalanta came off much less badly, with nearly no damage to the ship aside from her exposed crew suffering horribly.

Unfortunately for Atalanta, this respite was brief, as her planned turn was now exaggerated by the wind's direction, and she accelerated directly between the banking RN ships...



The raking volley into her aft from HMS Amphion finished her off, and her shattered hull sank beneath the waves.



USS Constitution had just managed, after battling the wind, to enter the edge of firing range from HMS Vanguard - not just close enough to witness Atalanta's final moments, but to receive a small (partial) broadside from HMS Vanguard.

Ultimately, I was not worried about it much, as it was a long-range shot and not the full broadside (only 4 yellow chits, how bad could that be?)...



!!!!!!!

I...it....just...

Masts shattered, the wind again turned directly into the face of USS Constitution, leaving her randomly blowing back and forth while the crew attempted to battle the leak and repair the mast. Focusing crew on repairs, we got the mast back up and some of the hull damage repaired while pulling away from the British ships, although the wind changed direction once more to stall our retreat! HMS Amphion and HMS Vanguard took the opportunity of our misfortune to reduce range, and deliver brutal close-range broadsides into us as they sailed past, breaking our newly-repaired mast in half. Musket fire from both ships doubled down on the terrible canon fire, winnowing the crew down to a bare skeleton of what was needed to run the ship.

With the ship leaking, a mast broken, and fires breaking out from the next round of enemy fire - the crew abandoned all attempts at fighting the ship, and our priority became simply returning to shore. The overconfidence of the British gave us what little luck we had, that day - their ships swung very wide past us, assuming we would be dead and idle long enough that they began loading double-shot. However a final turn of the wind - at last in our favor - and the crew abandoning the weapons and muskets for repair work, allowed us our chance. We approached the coast; reducing sail to drop anchor just below the guns of our larger coastal battery.



After-Action Report

This was our first game playing with variable wind states, as well as the special damage rules, and while we nailed the special damage...we were a bit over-eager at first on wind movement (changing direction on a single movement token coming up, rather than requiring two). Astonishingly, it didn't get MUCH better when we figured out that mistake - the wind was fairly reliably changing direction every other turn, still (technically better than EVERY turn, which it had been doing, but good grief - couldn't draw a blank direction-change chit to save my life!)

As to the damage - while I focused on reporting my side's damage, there was SOME damage to the British. Atalanta and Thorn had both poured salvos into Amphion, while Constitution briefly plinked at the Vanguard. In the end, Amphion was in almost as bad a state as Constitution - although in pure damage, no broken masts, leaks, or fires. (No surprise they had so little special damage - Constitution managed to draw a broken mast chit *twice*, and I don't recall her ever drawing but maybe 2-3 damage chits that DIDN'T have a special damage effect on them.)
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Mayor Jim
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Great report...nice pics! Thanks...
 
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I legally own hundreds of polyhedral assault dice!
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Very spectacular! Well done!
 
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Xander Fulton
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MayorJim wrote:
Great report...nice pics! Thanks...


Thanks!

Sadly, top pic is somehow not winning the monthly photo contest, yet. Sadness and despair!
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Mayor Jim
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I gave you a vote...good luck!
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Xander Fulton
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MayorJim wrote:
I gave you a vote...good luck!


Hah - thank you! And a thumb for you, sir!

(I'd offer a tip, as well, but the monthly contest rules make that pretty explicitly forbidden for the contest list entry. Instead, I'll point you in the direction of another thread of mine, if you have any feedback for this or any other of my game pics!)
 
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John Di Ponio
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Excellent job! I haven't had this game on the table for quite a long time. I know there are new ships coming out and I have to get this back in the rotation to justify acquiring the new vessels.
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Xander Fulton
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JohnnyD wrote:
Excellent job! I haven't had this game on the table for quite a long time. I know there are new ships coming out and I have to get this back in the rotation to justify acquiring the new vessels.


No more US Navy for the next wave coming, though. soblue

AFAIK, we only even get one more ship in the wave following that one (Bonhomme Richard - presumably alongside several other East Indiamen under other flags), and nothing announced beyond.

If only (*cough*) there were some other obvious candidates...
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