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
Australia
Penshurst
NSW
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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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