Action report of a game using “A Sprinkling of Nobility”; a set of rules to guide naval tactical wargames set during the grand age of sail
Scenario 1 is a simple meeting action between two Fifth Rates cruisers.
After a quick debate – English ship is the Attacker. Swedish is the Defender.
Wind Strength is Fresh Breeze and rolls determine it is blowing from E.
A RN cruise frigate, under Master and Commander O’Snaggles spies a Swedish ship rig in the horizon. A fresh breeze has been blowing steadily, good wind to grab the prize and sail back home.
The English frigate Full Sails broad to the SW.
– “Maybe a 12 pounder sir ! Seems like a 26.”
– “Al’right…straight at her !”
The Swedish crown ship is also a Fifth Rate frigate, the SKF Bork, KommandeurKapten Arn Schklopp commanding, Full Sails broad heading NW.
– “Kapten ! Ship bearing on our steerboard quarter !”
– “Ha ! Steady course, keep her easy ! Maybe them just want to talk…”
The HMS Invictus flies ! The sailing master keeping the teams on station with all hands and suffering Strain. Kapten Schklopp orders to turn close reduce plan. Crew gets Strained keeping the SKF Bork in such a close course while gathering the sheets.
HMS Invictus is at perfect trim and at Full sail turning will take time, options are to go Ahead and change sail plan. With the enemy still over point blank the commander decides full ahead and strain again. The commander of the Bork had a moment hesitation and almost made the signal to turn downwind but decided to keep her steady a bit longer. The RN frigate might have the wind but his swedish crew has the meatballs.
The English ship has maybe ran too much and has definitely fell out of wind too much for comfort. A turn to beam is ordered and the crew complies without any additional effort. Batteries are order to be run out…
– “NOW!” – yells Kapten Arn.
The rigging crews of the SKF Bork respond to the order. The ‘lady’ makes a perfect smooth turn to broad reach putting the british ship in guns sight.
– “Batteries at the ready !”
– “Rolling from the front ! Make it count, aim high !”
– “FIRE !”
Shot and chain rip through the HMS Invictus rigging. Damage is noticeable.
– “Damn these swedes fight like french…” curses O’Snaggles.
The damage to the rig lines, cables, blocks, shrouds, and the tops really under stress does toll into the ship having to be kept without major turning.
– “Keep her run steady. Run the guns out again, aim low.”
– “…damn he’s good…” – mutters the commander of the Invictus as the Swedish frigate performs one of the cleanest wears he ever saw.
– “Guns at the ready !!!!” is heard on both ships gun decks. Swedish again aim high, British at the waterline.
The rolling thunder of the guns from both ships happen almost at the same instant. The Bork crew again make it count and cuts the rigging of the English frigate. The aim at the waterline was “borked” and a sudden roll send most of the shot high provoking some sail damage.
Being to windward is not a sure win but certainly gives more options. The trick is to not get carried.
English ship goes broad and try to close the distance. It might lose the gunnery angle for a moment but it might be worth it.
Swedish frigate keeps the momentum and having to gain time and space, as it had to reload all batteries, decides to extend out of gunnery range.
Neither ship has a shot. Gun crews reload and take a sip of grog.
Commander O’Snaggles sees the opening and gets the rigging crews in haste to get into position and with a perfect jib turn puts the HMS Invictus in that dream position with sights coming up at the stern of the SKF Bork.
Katen Schklopp had anticipated it and as it sees the evolution happening, orders hard to steerboard to counter the major threat. Swedish crew is on top of their game even if fighting from the leeside…
Again the rolling thunder erupts, both frigate’s batteries aiming at the waterline. The Bork fire from the lee flies above the rails and hits mast and cable and shrouds. The Invictus fire is on target. The water “boils” around the Swedish frigate !!!
– “Jib around again, let us pass at pistol from behind ! Batteries, ready, on my signal ! Boarding platoons, behind the rail. Let’s go lads !!”
Both ships rigging get entangled as the English frigate passes astern. Swedish crew hurries to try to to cut free… The RN lads are certainly exuberant with the prospect of taking to the enemy deck and claim the prize !
Failing to cut free fast enough and having limited options, Schklopp draws his sabre. What a mishap…
– “Prepare to repel boarders ! Marines to the stern !”
Note: A mistake was made during this sequence of events but the entire situation evolved in such a manner that the enthusiasm of resolution took over. Even is the ships became entangled the boarding crew of the English frigate still had to roll for Grappling and pull both ships together and lock them.
Carnage aboard the Bork as the English 12 pound shot rips through the entire length of the Swedish frigate, from stern to bow. Crew is seriously Shocked.
The combination of both ships getting entangled, the accurate stern rake and the sudden assault leaves the Swedish frigate crew in complete shock… but there’s still a fight in them…maybe.
Kapten Schklopp surely commands respect and the crew keeps battling but is on the brink of collapse with so much Shock.
The rule – “always Offer an Honourable Surrender” – is invoked and to avoid more unnecessary bloodshed the SKF Bork commander decides to strikes colours.
Victory for the Royal Navy.