East Indies Campaign

Campaign: Suffren v. Hughes The British send Admiral Sir Edward Hughes to the East Indies to advance their war against Hyder Ali, the Sultan of Mysore. To hinder those plans, the French send a fleet ultimately under the command of the Admiral Pierre-André de Suffren Saint-Tropez. The result is a string of naval battles that will determine the control of the East Indies.

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Cuddalore 20 June 1783

Mark McG
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Penshurst
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During the winter, both fleets remained relatively passive, waiting for the threat of monsoons and hurricanes to diminish. During this lull, two important events occurred. First, Hughes was substantially reinforced, now having advantage in numbers and quality over his French counterpart. Second, the dreaded Hyder Ali had died in early December. This latter event provided the British with the impetus to recover their losses in the region and set about to recapture Cuddalore. This operation began in earnest in early June, with Hughes’ fleet providing support. Suffren, anchored in Trincomalee, set out immediately upon learning of the British activities and sighted the British fleet on 13 June. For several days monsoon winds kept Suffren from bringing action against Hughes. Hughes moved off, trying to gain the weather gauge in the tricky monsoons.

Finally, on 20 June, the winds held steady enough for Hughes to accept Suffren’s invitation for one final battle, the victor of which would determine the fate of Cuddalore. Action continued hotly for several hours with high casualty rates among the crews, but relatively little rigging damage. No ships were taken during the fight. Eventually, Hughes was forced to break off and return to Madras, owing to shortages in both men and water. Cuddalore, and the British forces trying to recapture it, was left in the hands of the French. This was the final naval battle fought during the period of the American Revolution.


Turns: 10, Maps: AB, Wind Direction: 6
Audacity: British (0), French (1)

Starting behind in the VP score, I knew the English would have to close with the French and use their numbers and carronades to heavily damage the French fleet more than the English.

This was both hindered and aided by the French holding the wind gauge. The English approach would be slow, but the French couldn't just turn and run.

So from Turn 1 the English wore towards the French line, closing gradually and slowing a few ships, especially at the rear of the French line, Artesien was swifly dismasted. The French concentrated on the flagships, wounding King and slowing the commands.

None the less, by Turn 4 the English had moved into carronade range and the hull hits started to mount up. La Hannibal caught fire and immediately exploded, whilst Inflexible and Burford also caught fire, with Inflexible extinguishing the blaze, but being dismasted in Turn 5.

In Turn 4, the French lead ships wore into the English line, matched by Bickerton's small lead command. By Turn 5, the English rear could break the French line at the rear, damaging Sévere and Annibal, though not as much as hoped. From here the French rear disintergrated, with both Severe and Annibal striking, Artesian being captured, with only Hardi putting up much of a fight.

In the van, the French van wore back towards the English line, shadowed by Bickerton. Gibraltar was dismasted, but towed by Defence, whilst Exeter and Inflexible were dismasted. Sultan and Burford (still on fire) were similarly dismasted, with Sultan taken under tow. The English fleeet was terribly damaged aloft, but more than compensated by the terrible damage dealt to the French fleet in the hulls.

By Turn 8, the VP score sitting at
English: 28.5
French:12
the French ran up the white flag.

there was probably 4 VP more for each side in play, so a reasonable call, and the result is equivalent to the full 10 turns.

Victory Points:
French: 12 VP damaged and dismasted Exeter, dismasted Inflexible, Sultan, Gibraltar, Burford.
Britsh: 28.5 VP Dismasted Fendant, Damaged, Flammand, Heros, Argonaute, Illustre, damaged and struck Annibal & Sévere (likely captures), Dismasted and captured Artésien, Hannibal exploded

French lost 144 Hull, 74 Rigging + 3 manpower(adding to the 26 Hull, 25 Rigging + 2 manpower unrepaired)

British lost 74 Hull and 121 Rigging (adding to the 1 Hull + 1 Manpower unrepaired).

Campaign Score
French: 97 VP
British: 109 VP
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Mon Nov 1, 2021 11:32 am
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Trincomalee 3 September 1782

Mark McG
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After Negapatam, initiative in the Bay of Bengal turned decidedly to the French. Suffren met up with two additional ships carrying 600 troops to affect the capture of Trincomalee. This they accomplished by the end of August 1782. Hughes, who was in port in Madras, was informed of the French intent, but did not act upon the knowledge immediately.
When he arrived with his fleet at Trincomalee, he found the port in French hands and Suffren’s fleet ready to sail. With the clear knowledge that he wouldn’t be anchoring at Trincomalee, Hughes wore off back to sea. Suffren followed, his fleet still in disorder as it exited its anchorage. Both commanders were somewhat confused by each other’s actions. Hughes kept away from Suffren, but made no attempt to run. Suffren would move in and then fall back. Finally, during the afternoon of 3 September, Suffren made his move and ordered his fleet, still in disorder, to close on Hughes. This proved a tragic miscalculation as much of his fleet could not get into formation before Hughes surrounded and raked it at both ends. Casualties were fairly even between the two fleets, but the French suffered substantially more damage to their vessels, including the Héros, who lost her mainmast late in the day. With both fleets seriously damaged, daylight failing and the threat of monsoons, Suffren returned to Trincomalee and Hughes to Madras.


Turns: 14, Maps: AB, Wind Direction: 6 (Breezy)
Audacity: British (1), French (0)

The only wind change here was on the final turn, where the wind force dropped from Breezy to Normal. Aside from the pleasure of seeing the variant Wind Adjustment table in action, the wind remain unrelentingly behind the French, which gave them control of the engagement.

The English line turned back and forth several time in battle, hoping for the wind change, or a French error, but there was none of either, and the French concentrated on the end of the English line, sweeping closer when the initiative went their way.

Without a wind change to change the situation, this is a winning tactic and a safe one. St. Michel was dismasted by English fire, and there was plenty of rigging damage to the French fleet, but the breezy conditions never really slowed them down.

One particularly annoying French trick was leading the line with a Frigate (Consolante) who used the gentlemanly behaviour of the English fleet as a shield for the ships behind. This frigate eventually sauntered into the English line, let off both broadsides, and managed to bolt away with hardly a scratch after some very poor English return fire.

Otherwise the French picked on the English tail one by one, Worcester was almost dismasted, caught fire, and the blaze dismasted her, and she immediately struck. This caused the French something of a dilemma about whether to grapple or not, and eventually Consolante was risked, who grappled and the fire spread to her. But the French luck held, and both fires were extinguished.

The next two ships, Magnamine & Monmouth were both damaged, but managed to pull away to safety. La Flammand had entered battle with a deal of damage retained, and needed just 2 Hull hits to be damaged. The first was easy enough, but then 4 successive shots at the hull produced just a R damage result. Quite maddening, and then the French woke up to what was going on and tried to shield her with other ships. In the last turn a smal gap opened and Sceptre managed to score the goal, the final Hull hit to flip her to damaged.

In the final turn, the French made an effort to overwhelm Superb, coming very close to damaging her. However, they had neglected the ferocity of English firepower up close, and Sévere took both broadsides from Superb up close, which left her damaged instead. Sévere has not been a lucky ship.

Hughes and King were both wounded in this battle, but the Men of Iron special rule has saved them many times now.


Victory Points:
French: 8 VP Captured Worcester, damaged Magnamine & Monmouth
Britsh: 6.5 VP Dismasted St. Michel, Damaged, Flammand & Sévere

French lost 53 Hull & 98 Rigging (adding to the 11 Hull, 29 Rigging unrepaired)

British lost 56 Hull and 27 Rigging (adding to the 1 Hull, 3 Rigging + 1 Manpower unrepaired).

French repaired 16 Hull & 70 Rigging (9 British VP)
British repaired 56 Hull & 30 Rigging (10 French VP)

Campaign Score
French: 85 VP
British: 80.5 VP
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Fri Oct 22, 2021 5:26 am
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Negapatam (6 July 1782)

Mark McG
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Negapatam
6 July 1782—The battle of Providien was costly. Both enemy fleets put into friendly ports to recover and continue operations where possible. While in Negapatam, Hughes discovered Suffren was a short distance north, where he had captured several British transports. On 5 July Suffren sailed into view and Hughes put out to attack. They met in similar formation to that at Providien, but this time with their vans clashing first. During the melee, several ships from both sides got turned around. As their respective fleets withdrew to safer distance, these ships remained locked in melee; the Burford and Sultan against the Sévère and the Worcester and Eagle against the Brillant. During the action, the Sévère lowered her colors. As her opponents ceased fire and backed away, she caught a fresh wind, raised her colors again and promptly raked the Sultan in support of Brillant. Both fleets managed to withdraw in reasonable order, but again with heavy casualties. The Brillant alone had lost 47 killed and 136 wounded, over
one-third of her crew!


Turns: 10, Maps: AB, Wind Direction: 3 (Breezy)
Audacity: British (1), French (0)

With just 10 turns and starting 24 hexes apart, the English start with Full Sails to try and cross the gap ASAP. 2 turns of sailing gets them just outside canon range, with Hughes turning to pick on the straggling Ajax, whilst King forms a line along the windward flank. French have dropped back slightly to leeward to concentrate their line. Essentially a classic pincer movement.

Turn 3, the wind changes 1 point clockwise, changing the scenario dynamic, and taking Hughes' command from reaching to beating, and taking King's position from secure to vulnerable. A moment for tactical re-consideration, since Ajax now seems out of reach.

Turns 4-5 the English re-dress, and prepare to round the French line. A single ship, the Maggie-may is sent to try her luck against a badly slowed Ajax.

Turn 6 the wind changes clockwise again, again taking Hughes to beating and thwarting his attack, and giving the French the wind gauge over King. King now has moved from secure to in danger.

In turns 6-7 the French sail across the gap, out distancing Hughes and taking King's line from behind. King turns away, but good initiative rolls for the French and fantastic shooting rolls make short work of the Burford, and damaging Isis. Hughes wears about in pursuit, but can never reach the French properly.

Turns 8-10 are French pounding away on King, damaging Sultan and capturing Burford.

Meanwhile, the Maggie-may in an excellent display of sailing crosses Ajax's stern and rakes her, bringing down the masts and damaging her to sinking. Ajax strikes, and then Maggie-may flubs the 80% grapple attempt to capture her.. twice.

I've rarely seen a scenario just so determined by lucky wind rolls. Completely undid all the English efforts at critical times. Between those rolls and the failure to capture Ajax, this turned a good English chance into a fiasco and defeat.

Victory Points:
French: 9 VP Captured Burford, damaged Sultan and Isis
Britsh: 4 VP Damaged & dismasted Ajax, Dismasted Sévere

Post Battle exchange of Burford for Flammand (captured during Providien) on an ‘as is basis’ , meaning the recipient bears the repair costs.

French lost 47 Hull & 67 Rigging +2 Manpower (adding to the 20 Hull, 7 Rigging and 2 Manpower unrepaired)

British lost 47 Hull and 53 Rigging (adding to the 2 Hull + 1 Manpower unrepaired).

French repaired 56 Hull & 45 Rigging + 2 Manpower (12 British VP)
British repaired 48 Hull & 50 Rigging (11 French VP)

Campaign Score
French: 67 VP
British: 65 VP
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Mon Oct 18, 2021 7:04 pm
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Providien (12 April 1782)

Mark McG
Australia
Penshurst
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Providien
12 April 1782 - In the month after their first engagement, Suffren and Hughes returned to their respective ports to refit. Both of their missions continued, Hughes in his fight against Hyder Ali and Suffren in his attempts to disrupt British operations. In early April, Suffren learned of two ships arriving from Europe to reinforce Hughes, the Sultan and Magnanime. Suffren sailed out to intercept the reinforcements before they could join Hughes, but when he spotted the British fleet, he discovered he was too late. Hughes turned his ships to engage Suffren for the second time. The two fleets approached on the same westerly tack to within gunshot. The two commanders, eager to engage each other, ordered their flagships to within pistol shot of each other, resulting in each fleet taking opposing arc formations, tied in melee in their centers with most action involving two British ships (the Superb and Monmouth) and three French ships (Héros, Orient and Brillant). The battle lasted for roughly four hours, with these five ships taking the brunt of the damage in one of the bloodiest actions to date.

Turns: 30, Maps: AB, Wind Direction: 6
Audacity: British (0), French (1)

Result

French: 15.5 VP
Burford dismasted, Monarca dismasted, Superb dismasted, Magnamine damaged and struck, Worcester damaged, Monmouth damaged and captured

lost 117 Hull, 116 Rigging & 4 Manpower


British: 23 VP
Flamand damaged and captured, Artesian damaged and captured, Vengeur damaged and dismasted, Orient damaged, Severe damaged, Annibal dismasted, Ajax damaged and dismasted & Suffren wounded

lost 82 Hull, 78 Rigging & 1 Manpower


Bloody hardly describes it.. carnage is a better description.
Preservation of force went right out the window in this brutal melee.

The battle started pretty slowly, with some long range firing and maneouvre for position. English were pulling some moves to get the wind gauge when a Turn 6 wind change turned against them, and they fell back rapidly on Turn 7 to regroup. We very nearly ended the scenario there with hardly a hit scored between us. However, we continued on after a pause, with the French closing in on the regrouping English.

By Turn 15 the French grabbed initiative and closed on King's group of 64s that had been sailing independently. It was a dramatic turn, with Monmouth damaged, and English maneovre getting off some good broadsides, and critically, wounding Suffren (even with the Men of Iron rule!).

From here on in it degenerated from being 2 fleets sailing as fleets into 2 English commands vs 1 French command with mounting damage to both sides. The English 64s had taken a bit of hull damage, with Monmouth striking and being captured, Worcester being damaged and sailing away, Magnanime (Maggie May) being damaged, and shamefully striking after making it behind the English line. The French had taken a lot of rigging damage closing up, and started to suffer once within carronade range.

From here, King managed to extricate his command from imminent danger except Monmouth who was captured. Hughes tacked his command to cover King's withdrawal, and to bring the 3rd Rates into the battle, who did some carnage at close range. Flamand appeared to have a magnet aboard, with every shot hitting hard. Shout out to Hero for failing the tack..

With Hughes closing in, Suffren wounded, and mounting rigging damage and both Flamand and Severe damaged, the French position looked shaky. T18 was the turn I would have re-gathered the French fleet and taken stock, and as the English, I would have backed away. Flamand was lost, but the rest was salvagable. By Turn 21 Ajax had been dismasted, and Flamand captured, but separation was still possible.

However, it was not to be as the French crossed the front of the English line, and yet again the smashing began. By this stage, masts were tumbling and damaged ships weren't uncommon. The leading French ship, Artesien had ventured too far and had been savaged, struck and then captured. We also began to see the more absurd effects of the towing ships being stacked rule, which created even more chaos.

By Turn 25 it was enough, and we agreed to end the battle for the lack of ammunition. Both fleets were gravely damaged and many ships vulnerable to striking. It seemed timely to call a cease fire, exchange prisoners and refit.

Post battle (after VP assessment), Monmouth was exchanged for Artesien on an "as is" basis, meaning the burden of repair falls on the original owner. Being two 64s of equal VP value that seems entirely in the spirit of the Eighteen century, and overcame the question of where the new crew would come from.

Flamand remains captured by the English fleet, but being somewhat a unique ship in Flying Colors (a 50 gun 3rd Rate), the campaign rules about replacement make little sense (the nearest lower replacement being a frigate). So she will likely languish damaged in port as a (semi-floating) battery.

Suffren recovers from his wound, but not yet from his shock and dismay at English firepower up close.

French repaired 96 Hull & 115 Rigging + 2 Manpower (24 British VP)
British repaired 80 Hull & 80 Rigging (18 French VP)

Campaign Score
French: 47 VP
British: 49 VP
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Sat Oct 2, 2021 5:33 am
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Sadras

Mark McG
Australia
Penshurst
NSW
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Sadras
17 February 1782—In early March 1779, Admiral Edward Hughes sailed for the Indian Ocean to secure trade and to assist in combating Hyder Ali, the Sultan of Mysore, with whom Britain was at war. For several years, Hughes sailed the Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal without interference. This calm ended when a French fleet under Admiral Suffren sailed into view on 15 February 1782. Hughes’ fleet raised anchor and pursued the French fleet. Two days later the fleets engaged for what would be the first of several engagements between these two admirals.
https://threedecks.org/index.php?display_type=show_battle&id...

Turns: 12, Maps: AB, Wind Direction: 6
Audacity: British (1), French (0)

Result

French: 4.5 VP (Exeter damaged & Struck 2VP, Hero damaged 2.5VP)
Note: Since Exeter wasn't captured, she slid away in the darkness to rejoin the British fleet.

lost 9 Hull & 33 Rigging

British: 0 VP

lost 46 Hull, 32 Rigging & 1 Manpower

A scenario where the British worked hard to gain the Wind Gauge, only to see the wind change counterclockwise into their face TWICE!

French repaired 20 Rigging (2 British VP)
British repaired 44 Hull & 35 Rigging (9 French VP)

Campaign Score
French: 13.5 VP
British: 2VP

You can see here how the VP costs in Repair are actually the majority of the VP scoring.
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Mon Aug 30, 2021 1:55 pm
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Campaign rules & Optional Rules

Mark McG
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Optional Rules (as per the Deluxe Rulebook)
4.1 End of the World
4.5 Defensive Fire
4.7 Awash ships
4.9 Short Sails
4.10 Men of Iron
4.11 Manpower losses
4.12 Turn in Succession

TOWING RULE REPLACEMENT (4.4a)
Initiating a Tow
Moving ship must attempt to grapple the ship to be towed in it’s movement activation.
The stern of the towing ship must be adjacent to the bow to the towed ship.
Grappled roll Success on 0-4 (50/50).
A successful grapple immediately stops the active ship
Note: this is just like normal grappling, except stern to bow rather than side to side.

Towing
In the following movement phase, the towing ship can move normally, using 1 less MP. Towed ship must follow the path of the lead ship.
The towed ship moves simultaneously, with it’s bow hex entering the hex the tow ship’s stern just vacated, and the towed ship stern entering the hex that the towed ships’ bow just vacated.
Towing ships cannot use pass along or pass through movement.
Towed ships drift simultaneously, but only if the tower is drifting. Towed ships do not drift.

Towed ship fire normally, and may fire on the same MP expenditure of the towing ship. Towing and towed ships are targetted separately, with raking dependent on LOS.

Struck and Captured ships can be towed, but must roll for sinking if they move. If they sink, remove the grapple with no impact on the towing ship.
Towed ships can be grappled by enemy normally, except that being dismasted is not alone sufficient to allow grappling.

Releasing a Tow
During the status phase, the tow can be voluntarily cut. Remove the grapple marker.

WIND FORCE CHANGE
On a 0 roll for wind change, a subsequent 0 decreases the wind force by 1 strength, and a 5 increases the wind force by one strength

From gallery of Minedog3

Becalmed – ships can move 1 MP only. Wearing or tacking costs 1 MP. (reflects ship's boats towing the ship)
Stormy – Same as Breezy with the following additions. No Full Sail. All Firepower is reduced by 8.

Becalmed <-> Calm <-> Moderate <-> Breezy <-> Stormy

PASS THRU & ALONG FOULING
Whenever a moving ship passes through the same hex as another ship, roll for Collision.
If fouled, movement immediately ends and place a Fouled marker.


Campaign Rules (Variant)
- by way of explanation, after the first scenario we found the situation was that one side had 0 VP whilst the other had 2 VP, and damage bills to refit the ships far in excess of what those VP could purchase, let alone bring in reinforcements.
We also had some reservations about the scenario length, partly the standard breakoff roll which can produce some short scenarios, but especially the campaign rule which allowed ships more than 10 hexes away to withdraw. In theory this meant that the leader could simply decline battles and win the campaign.

So after some interesting discussion and suggestions, we adopted these campaign rules, which we are refining. We inverted the Campaign rules, in that repairs give VP to the opponent, rather than reduce your own stock. We also added a manpower replacement cost to cover Optional rule 4.11

VP Count
Calculate Victory Points as usual without audacity multipliers.
Additionally, repairs give the opponent VP. As will be seen, this can really differentiate the results when damage is accummulating on the fleet.
Repair Costs
8 hull = 1 VP
10 Rigging = 1 VP
4 manpower = 1 VP

added few combo options, to economise the VP use.
4 hull + 5 rigging = 1 VP
2 man + 5 rigging = 1 VP
2 man + 4 hull = 1 VP

Any excess is lost

Scenario Length:
Use scenario game turns as listed in scenario books to determine scenario end. Break checks are not use. Even if the fleets completely disengage, play out the turns unless both players agree to end the scenario.

Reinforcements
Reinforcements arrive automatically according to the Scenario schedule. No die roll required. No need to spend VP. Reinforcement tables are ignored.
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Mon Aug 30, 2021 1:35 pm
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The campaign schedule

Mark McG
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Penshurst
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These are our efforts to play this campaign, using the Flying Colors rules. Initially we set out to play the campaign by the book, but found a few difficulties. So the blog aims to both record the campaign modifications we made, and the battles of the campaign which to date have been both close to historical and rather exciting.

SCENARIO SCHEDULE:

1) Sadras 12 Turns
After Action Reinforcements:
British: Sultan, Magnanime-b
French: none
2) Providien 30 Turns
After Action Reinforcements:
British: none
French: none
3) Negapatam 10 Turns
After Action Reinforcements:
British: Sceptre
French: Illustre, St. Michel, Consolante
4) Trincomalee 14 Turns
After Action Reinforcements:
British: Cumberland, Bristol, Africa, Inflexible, Gibraltar, Defence
French: Fendant, Argonaute, Hardi, Cleopatre
5) Cuddalore 10 Turns
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Mon Aug 30, 2021 10:46 am
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