Monday 1 February 2016

The Battle of Brest 1798

On Sunday Posties Rejects congregated in the shed-o-war to play a large sea battle based on the Battle of Brest 1798. Two Squadrons of French warships are sailing to join with a squadron of Spanish ships and their combined fire-power could prove disastrous for the pursuing British Fleet.

Order of Battle
British Fleet
1st Squadron (Admiral Horatio Hadley)
   (B1) Ville de Paris - 110 Gun, Ship of the Line (Flagship)
   (B3) Thunderer - 74 Gun, Ship of the Line
   (B4) Implacable - 74 Gun, Ship of the Line
   (B19) Africa - 64 Gun, Ship of the Line
2nd Squadron (Rear Admiral Ian)
   (B2) Canopus - 80 Gun, Ship of the Line
   (B5) Leviathan - 74 Gun, Ship of the Line
   (B16) Vanguard - 74 Gun, Ship of the Line
   (B9) Tanais - 38 Gun, Frigate

French Fleet
1st Squadron (Admiral Marc)
   (F1) Commerce de Marseilles - 120 Gun, Ship of the Line
   (F3) Le Superbe - 74 Gun, Ship of the Line
   (F4) Le Pompee - 74 Gun, Ship of the Line
2nd Squadron (Rear Admiral John)
   (F2) Le Hoche - 76 Gun, Ship of the Line
   (F5) Le Rivoli - 74 Gun, Ship of the Line
   (F13) Duguay-Trovin - 74 Gun, Ship of the Line

Spanish Fleet
1st Squadron (Admiral Surj)
   (S2) San Carlos - 112 Gun, Ship of the Line
   (S3) San Genaro - 74 Gun, Ship of the Line
   (S4) Bahamas - 74 Gun, Ship of the Line
   (S6) La Medea - 40 Gun, Frigate

The Action
The game started with both commanding admirals rolling to determine their quality. The French rolled a 2 while I rolled a Six! This dice role would later prove critical because it effectively determined the level of punishment each side would be prepared to take before breaking off the fight and would mean the British could loose more ships than the French before calling it a day. 

The Rejects at play - from L to R : Ian, Stuart, John, Mark & Surjit

The British keep formation and head towards the French in two lines

The Spanish arrive but it will be a few turns before they 'spot' the action and can move freely.

The British flagship Ville de Paris heads towards the French

Still keeping formation the British see an opportunity to hit the French before the Spanish arrive.

The first broadsides at effective range. 

The French Ship of the Line Le Superbe starts to burn

Another French ships catches fire as the British and French squadrons start to get closer.

Poor Gaelic seamanship sees a French and British ship collide. Neither ship can fire until they can get out of each others way. 

Admiral Hadley's squadron keeps its line and cuts straight into the French.

Both sides start to get jumbled up. Two French ships are burning but many ships on
both sides have taken damage.

The two burning ships are relentlessly targeted by the British first squadron, desperate to neutralise the French before the Spanish arrive.

The Commerce de Marseilles is hit from different sides, loosing masts and holes below the waterline another fire starts. 

The French look a little worried but the Spanish are drawing closer and will soon join the battle.

The Commerce de Marseilles has finally taken too much damage and is left a drifting wreak. 

Now its the turn of British ships (on the left of this picture) to take damage and battle fires. The British 2nd Squadron mix it up with the French Second Squadron (Ian verse John) and both sides take damage. 

Despite being on fire the British Flagship managed to pass between the French line and fire upon the already heavily damaged French ship Le Superbe. To the sound of shattering wood and the cries of drowning sailors the French ship slips beneath the waves. 

The 120 Gun Spanish Flagship San Carlos now reaches the battle and starts to fire on the British.

The British 1st Squadron exchanges long range fire with the Spanish and the French Le Pompee which has become separated from the rest of the fleet. 

Now the Implacable  and Africa turn to bring their guns on the San Carlos holing it below the waterline. The Africa also fires on the lone Frenchman Le Pompee and de-masts her. With no control and taking on water the Pompee is effectively out of the game and the French fleet has now had enough. 

The French have reached the point at which their commander has had enough and the British fleet can claim victory.

Maybe this post should actually be titled "Admiral Hadley has a really Great Day" because I destroyed or neutralised all three French casualties. Yes you read rightly, my luck seems to have changed because this means I have won all my games this year. Ian also did a lot of damage to the French and could easily have struck the killing blow had it not been for John's uncanny fire fighting ability. Despite their loss I think the French players had as good a time as us (almost). In fact their appetite for battle meant we had time for a second smaller game...but the French lost again (sorry guys). So technically this was two games and two victories for me. A bit different to last year!


  1. Great report, I dooo luv a good naval battle.

  2. Nice looking battle, beautiful ships!

  3. Nice battle. What rules did you use?

    1. Posties home grown set. Its possible they are an adaption of another set of rules (stripped down and simplified to streamline play) but I'd have to ask him because I'm not sure.

  4. Such a grand affair! Nice day for a sail, eh?

  5. I hate to pour oil on the water, so to speak, but it seems that the chance of fire was much higher than in "real life". How many ships took fire at Trafalger, for instance?

    1. No idea what the stats are on that. Most of the fires in the game were put out (the first turn on a roll of 5-6 on a d6, thereafter for two more turns on a roll of a 6). The main effect of being on fire in these rules is that the crew are too busy fighting the fire to fight the enemy and therefore the ship in question can't shoot.

      No ruleset - not even the horrendously complicated ones - can be 100% accurate. All rules are a compromise of playability over simulation and these rules are no exception. We all thought some bits were "not quire right" but on the other hand we did have an enjoyable game with a clear result at the end.

  6. Looked a fun game to play, Lee, wonder how long this winning streak will last???

  7. That looks like a lot of fun...good use of the hexon tiles!

  8. Ray ,did you aim to take any as a Prize? Which would mean you would get to keep them. BB


Thank you for leaving a comment. I always try to reply as soon as I can, so why not pop back later and continue the conversation. In the meantime, check out my YouTube channel Miniature Adventures TV