Friday 19 April 2024

Black Seas: Pirates of 1812

I've managed to make serious inroads into my Black Seas pile of shame...

And my mate Darren has finished the North African coastline terrain he's providing for our Black Seas game at the Illawarra Plastic Modeller's Show which has become our club's annual showcase. Well, he's a perfectionist, so he claims he still has some finishing touches to add - forts and the like. Looking pretty speccy to me though!

So although this week's primary game at the Wollongong Wargamers was ADLG, we decided to also lay on a preliminary run though of the scenario we will be putting on at the show. The idea is to have as many different squadrons as possible on the table to maximise opportunities for audience participation:

Those US 'Frigates' really were huge! 

The scenario was set up to maximise the Barbary Pirate's opportunities to benefit from shallow water, rocks and shoals.

As befits neutrals in the War of 1812, they could not be fired upon unless they commenced hostilities against either the US or matter how threatening their course and speed...

The table was set up with the RN and USN fleets at opposing table ends. Caesar and Daniel were the RN team, Caesar having three 36 gun frigates and Darren three brigs, ideal for coastal work...

The three corsair squadrons widely separated along the Barbary Coast, benefitting from the wind at their backs....

Minh took command of a Xebec squadron (blue strip sails) whilst Phillip led three galleys out of the harbour.

They owed nominal fealty to the notorious Corsair chieftain Al Bailey Al Tripolitana, who also took personal command of another Xebec squadron (red stripe sails).

For my sins I was appointed to command the US Frigate squadron, 

flying my flag on 'Old Ironsides' herself, the USS Constitution, with USS President, both frigates of 44 guns.

The British lost no time closing the US squadron, which were struggling in the wind which had immediately veered to the south east, forcing me to steer a point to PORT, trying hard not to sail off the edge of the world!

The corsairs lost no time closing the British fleet, but remaining just inside the rocks and sandbanks.

Except for the aggressive Al Bailey, who headed straight out to blue water!

The Royal Navy opened the ball with their bow chasers - hardly anything to bother Old Ironsides!

The two US Frigates responded in kind, their powerful initial broadsides seriously damaging the lead British frigate.

But meantime the pirates were edging ever closer to the Brits, some from behind, some from the flank - what where they up to? The British detached the Brig squadron inshore, just in case the pirates were up to no good...

Al Bailey led his squadron hard to leeward of the British Brig squadron - surely this was an unfriendly act?

The fragile peace between the Barbary States and the British Empire was ripped apart by the devasting close range broadside that followed...

Retaliation was swift and condign!

Leading to a pirate Xebec striking its colours.

Meanwhile the RN Frigates and US Frigates had continued their exchange of fire before drawing apart, the American frigates still constrained by the wind...

and with both crews fighting raging fires!

But the British had no time to celebrate - Minh's second Xebec squadron had carefully manoeuvred to deliver a devastating close range stern rake to  Darren's beleaguered Brig squadron!

However, the pirate's lack of gunnery training showed, with all shots missing!

As dusk fell over the North African coastline, peace broke out once again.