Sunday 2 April 2017

Battle of the Rocks 1793 - Sacré bleu!

Another Sunday and another game in the shed-o-war with Posties Rejects, but this time we had a couple of trainee Rejects in attendance. My own young Padawan joined me to see what a large wargame looked like, up to now she has only played 6mm wargames on a very small table. We were also joined by Dave's son Oliver who has played with us before (at last years Broadside show). Today they both had a chance to play a large Napoleonic Naval game. 

The French fleet are at anchor in and around the harbour of Toulon. Two of their ships are our on patrol. Meanwhile two British squadrons are fast approaching the coast charged with the objective of destroying the French before they can get into deeper waters. 

The battle started to go awry for the French almost immediately. First the patrol ships failed to spot the approaching British and proceeded to blunder into the middle of the enemy ships. Secondly the fleet in harbour had to be manned and prepared to sail. We had to roll to see how long this would take and nearly all would take two or three additional turns before they could even move. And last but not least the wind was blowing straight towards the harbour so just getting our ships out and moving would take several turns. 

Order of Battle
British - Surjit & Ian
   B1 - 110 Guns - Ville de Paris (Ship of the Line/Flagship)
   B2 - 80 Guns - Canopus (Ship of the Line)
   B3 - 74 Guns - Thunderer (Ship of the Line)
   B4 - 74 Guns - Implacable (Ship of the Line)
   B5 - 74 Guns - Leviathan (Ship of the Line)
   B9 - 38 Guns - Tamais (Frigate)

Spanish - Oliver & Emily
   S4 - 74 Guns - Bahamas (Ship of the Line/Flagship)
   S7 - 34 Gun - Claira (Frigate)

French - Lee & Dave
   F1 - 120 Guns - Commerci de Marseille (Ship of the Line/Flagship)
   F2 - 76 Guns - Le Hoche (Ship of the Line)
   F3 - 74 Guns - Le Superbe (Ship of the Line)
   F4 - 74 Guns - Le Pompee (Ship of the Line)
   F5 - 74 Guns - Le Revoli (Ship of the Line)
   F6 - 40 Guns - La Pomone (Frigate)
   F13 - 74 Guns - Duguay-Traven (Ship of the Line)
   F14 - 74 Guns - Patriote (Ship of the Line)

The Action
The French Fleet in harbour and at anchor just outside. In the distance the British fleet approaches

The city and harbour with my three ships waiting for their crews to return from the local taverns and brothels! 

Meanwhile outside the harbour the remaining ships under the command of Dave wait for their crews to return and remain at anchor.

A closeup shot of the last one of my ships begins to move. 

I brought the Young Padawan with me this time. A chance for her to try out another game in another scale. 

Meanwhile the Duguay-Traven starts gets hit with the first of several stern rakes that tear through the gun decks and crew. 

The British fleet converges on the French who are still trying to extricate themselves from the harbour and unfavourable winds. 

The Duguay-Traven is now on fire and drifting with a broken rudder. 

The French fleet is still trying to break out of the harbour but the British are bearing down on their position. 

Now two more ships enter the arena...the Spanish have arrived and they are on the British side. 

At last we have started to bring our fleet into something resembling a line. My two remaining vessels in the harbour have to risk collision to get out but maybe now we can mount a proper defence. 

Looking out from the harbour to the sea battle beyond. The French line begins to pass the British line and both side unleash their broadsides...

Ok so that plan didn't work so well for the French! Two of Dave's
ships are now on fire!

Things are getting messy. The French ships have taken serious damage and the feet is still scattered and divided. Meanwhile the Spanish ships are starting to close the distance and take a part on behalf of their British allies. 

Oh Bugger! The French flagship Commerci de Marseille gets raked across the stern and suffers a serious fire resulting in an explosion. Its pretty much over for the French. 

The French fleet is scattered, seriously damaged and still struggling to produce a cohesive defence. 

The final insult. My two remaining ships manage to extricate themselves from the harbour but before they can do anything one of the British ships cuts between them dishing out damage and fire to both French ships. 

One last throw of the dice. My one undamaged ship, Le Revoli exchanges broadsides with Oliver's frigate Claira in a vain hope to sink something British. Alas it was never to be. 

All the ships on fire are French... Its fast becoming our signature look for this game.

The end. With four sunk ships and two more on fire the French have been soundly thrashed by the British and Spanish fleet. 

The Victorious commanders! 

The only bright spot for the french... the Duguay-Traven was raked with five stern attacks and at one point had a damaged rudder, was drifting and had lost nearly half its guns. Somehow this ship not only stayed afloat but was able to put out the fires and mend its rudder. Against all the odds it survived the battle.

Do I have to do this bit. The French defeat was so complete and total any analysis seems meaningless... We rolled poorly for re-crewing our ships which meant they were unable to position themselves for the British attack. The headwind also made movement (when it started) harder. To be fair the British used the wind to their favour and handled their ships well from the beginning so we can't blame everything on the weather!

However the big 'win' for the day was the enjoyment of the two trainee wargamers who got to see what a big game looked like. Both seemed to enjoy the day, even if they spent a large amount of time just trying to manoeuvre into a firing position. 


  1. What a wonderful report, beautiful fleets and harbour!

  2. Gorgeous. Good to see the kids involved - I got my 14 year old to join in a game of ASL on Saturday evening! *sniff sniff* Sorry about the tragic outcome!

  3. Replies
    1. Postie did tell me but I forgot! He's using a stripped down and adapted version of some old ruleset. They are designed to produce a relatively conclusive result in a reasonable time period...we'd never get games this size done in a day otherwise!

  4. Fantastic report and scenery - just getting to test out some napoleonic naval - what ruleset are you using?

  5. nice table what holds the hexes in place with players leaning over the table? Its always great to get the kids involved - I started my grandson when he was 6 and now he has his own Historical Miniatures Blog! Final point: The occurance of ship board fires in battle seemed much more prevalent than my reading of the period would suggest, Comments?
    Dick Bryant

    1. The exes come in sheets so these aren't individual tiles and each section clips to the next so they hold in place pretty good.

      This isn't a period I have researched (these models and rules belong to Postie) so its hard for me to comment n the prevalence of fires. The rules are meant to be simple and streamlined so I guess some 'reality' has been sacrificed for playability.

  6. Nice looking game. I see your dice rolling hasn't improved since my departure!! I do miss the war games - the only downside to my move!

    1. Postie said him and Dave played like a couple of Tarts???

  7. Excellent looking game Mr H. Shame I couldn't make it! Looks like you might have needed my help?

  8. Wonderful tabletop game and very nice report !

  9. Great AAR and photos. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this.


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