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"Nymphe vs Clιopβtre, 18th June 1793 - final part" Topic

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18th Century
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525 hits since 11 Jul 2018
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Red Trotsky Red11 Jul 2018 3:37 a.m. PST

The third and final part of my Post Captain AAR

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP11 Jul 2018 4:54 a.m. PST

Great AAR – and the rules seem to give a very "period feel" to the game

Blutarski11 Jul 2018 6:17 a.m. PST

Hi RTR -
Once again, congratulations on a wonderfully written, illustrated and presented AAR. Clear, concise and entertaining – no one can ask for more. Your work would serve well as a tutorial.

A couple of comments -

> This action demonstrated quite well the importance of maneuverability in a one-on-one engagement of this sort.

> A wheel hit should not, by rights, totally commit a ship to sailing strictly straight ahead. If the wheel alone was shot away, the rudder could still be controlled by use of "relieving tackle" attached to the tiller below deck; the downside would be a delay in transmission/execution of rudder orders from above to the party handling the tackle below and a loss of fine control/precision (there was a reason why the wheel was situated upon the weather deck). If all possible control of the rudder was lost (say the tiller below-deck was shot away) a ship could still be maneuvered in a crude (and very limited) manner by use of her sails. A ship on a close-hauled or beam reach point of sailing (depending upon wind strength) had a limited ability to change her heading by shivering fore- or after-sail; likewise, a ship on the quarter reach could achieve a similar limited effect by loosing or taking in after-sail. Things would get more challenging, however, for a ship sailing before the wind.

> The boarding took place over the stern of Nymphe, with the resulting melee presumably having been fought aft of the mizzenmast; this is where the ship's wheel would have been located. I'd suggest that the effort to repair the wheel should have been suspended so long as the melee was in progress.

> Same argument in relation to the unfouling effort: The Nymphe had been fouled at her stern, which is where the boarding melee was in process.

> Once fouled with a boarding party across to the poop of the British ship, Captain Mullon might well have ordered a party to secure Nymphe to Cleopatre. Had that been achieved, odds are (IMO) quite good that Nymphe would have been taken and brought back to Brest in triumph.

Above comments offered in a strictly constructive sense.


Red Trotsky Red11 Jul 2018 1:49 p.m. PST

Thanks Frederick.

Blutarski, thanks again for the insight.

When a wheel is lost it only takes 6+ minutes (two turns) to repair so I assume it is use of some sort of relieving tackle setup – but I must admit you know much more about this then I.

During the boarding action the French failed their grappling attempt but still managed to cross over through the fouled rigging. I have asked a question over on the ODGW forum whether further grappling attempts could be made after boarding – I do not know enough about the subject to know if that happened.

The rules do not permit cutting of grappling hooks when an enemy boarding party controls a deck area, I assume it is the same for unfouling. I do not know what the designer's intent on what is happening when an area is being contested during a boarding action. It could be a general melee or maybe just fighting around the edge of an area. I guess that maybe the reason why repairs and cutting free is still permitted in contested areas. I could see how it could be seen both ways and it would be easy to house rule either way.

Blutarski11 Jul 2018 6:14 p.m. PST

One very challenging frigate scenario which I have greatly enjoyed both as a player and host is an encounter set in 1814 off Cape Ann, Massachusetts pitting USS Constitution against two British 1100 ton 18-lbr frigates, Junon and Tenedos. This engagement is, strictly speaking, fictional. But the forces did historically come into contact, with Constitution managing to evade the British in the prevailing misty weather.

It makes for a very touchy fight (at least under my AoS rules), with victory usually going to the side making the fewest mistakes. I'd be happy to pass along the details of the scenario if you're interested.


BrianW11 Jul 2018 9:41 p.m. PST

You sir, write a gripping AAR! I've enjoyed every part of it.

Red Trotsky Red12 Jul 2018 12:05 a.m. PST

Thanks Brian.

Blutarski, please do pass along the details – looks like it would be an interesting next fight. I have WarArtisan templates for 18 and 44 pdr frigates and I would like fight a battle with the famous Constitution.

Blutarski12 Jul 2018 12:53 p.m. PST

Hi RTR -

Here you go. Look forward to your AAR!

Engagement off Cape Ann, Massachusetts – April 3, 1814
USS CONSTITUTION versus the British Frigates


Historical Background
At about 7am on April 3rd, 1814 and only some forty miles ENE of Cape Ann, the American 44-gun frigate Constitution, homeward bound after a lengthy West Indian cruise, discovered the British frigates Junon and Tenedos approaching on her starboard bow about eight miles to windward and threatening to cut her off from her destination of Marblehead. With his ship worn from six months at sea and laden with prize cargo, Captain Charles Stewart was not anxious to risk an engagement against such odds. In the historical event, Captain Stewart was able to take advantage of the very misty weather to slip by his opponents and reach safety.

This scenario assumes that the British were able to force an action.

- – -

American Order of Battle
USS Constitution – 44 gun Frigate – 1400 tons (Br) – Average Speed
Captain Charles Stewart
Armament – [30 x 24lbr Long] + [24 x 32lbr Carr]
Crew: 450 men – High Morale – Elite gunnery

> Constitution, being of sturdy construction, should sail and maneuver as a frigate but possess the defensive characteristics of a 1400 ton two-decker 64.

> Constitution has unlimited dismantling shot available.

- – -

British Order of Battle
HMS Tenedos – 38 gun Frigate – 1100 tons (Br) – Average Speed
Captain Sir Hyde Parker (flag)
Armament – [28 x 18lbr Long] + [10 x 9lbr Long] + [8 x 32lbr Carr]
Crew: 300 men – High Morale – Veteran gunnery

HMS Junon – 38 gun Frigate – 1100 tons (Br) – Fast Sailer
Captain Clotworthy Upton
Armament – [28 x 18lbr Long] + [2 x 9lbr Long] + [16 x 32lbr Carr]
Crew: 315 men – High Morale – Poor gunnery (no "firing on the down roll")

> British have no dismantling shot.

- – -

Initial Tactical Set-up
Wind Moderate, blowing out of the North.

The Constitution sets up first anywhere in the SE quadrant of the table. Junon may set up anywhere in the NE quadrant of the table but must be more than 600 yds from Constitution. Tenedos may set up anywhere on the table except the SE quadrant and must likewise be more than 600 yds from Constitution. Constitution declares its sail setting, followed by the British ships.

Constitution's Goals
The objective of Constitution is to escape from her British pursuers.

- – -

British Goals
The British objective is to capture or destroy the Constitution.

- – -

Victory and Defeat, Ending the Engagement
> British may claim victory at the end of any game turn in which Constitution (a) strikes, (b) sinks, or (c) is suffering from a fire out of control.

> Constitution may claim victory at the end of any game turn in which she has (a) reached a position more than 600 yards to the W of her opponents and (b) neither British ship is able to match her speed.
- – -

Notes to Game Master
> British players should not be aware of Constitution's Goals, other than the fact that the Massachusetts coast lies to the West..

> The game master should emphasize to the British players the reputation of Constitution as a Fast Sailer; despite the fact that she is an Average Speed ship in this scenario.

> The American player should not be informed of the status of Junon as a Fast Sailer.

Mr Astrolabe12 Jul 2018 12:59 p.m. PST

Very engaging AAR Trotsky, & also clarified some uncertainties I had on the rules. Thanks for the effort!

Stew art Supporting Member of TMP17 Jul 2018 12:10 p.m. PST

finally got around to reading this. Very Nice and good read.

I'm gonna have to head over the ODGW forums and take a look see!

Red Trotsky Red18 Jul 2018 3:17 a.m. PST

Thanks for the encouragement, everyone… Stew art ODGW forums are a little slow in answering my questions.

Here is the USS Constitution and HMS Tenedos & Junon – ready for my next battle…


Mr Astrolabe18 Jul 2018 12:31 p.m. PST

Hi Trotsky, I looked at the Wartisan models a while ago (I'm guessing its them) How long do they each take to make & do you find they stand up to gaming OK?
They look great by the way.

Red Trotsky Red18 Jul 2018 1:12 p.m. PST

Hi Astrolabe,

Yes, they are War Artisan models. I am getting quicker at putting them together, the first model took some time. The base model without the rigging takes, for me, about 30-40mins of work time – but longer in real time due to waiting for glue to dry.

I was anxious about the rigging, to begin with, but as I rig more the quicker I am getting – approx another 30-40mins. The joy of PVA glue is that it is invisible when dry and so the more I do the less I worry about it.

The larger models are easier to construct and rig. I purchased the 1:600 scale Sloop & Corvette "Party Pack" and printed them out at 1:900 and they took a little longer as they are a little fiddly – but look good.

As to the durability I can only hazard a guess – they definitely feel tough especially when the rigging has set – I use cotton thread infused with PVA – I have dropped one on a wooden floor from about 5ft and it suffered no damage. I don't see any reason why they would not last. The masts are made from florist wire, which is tough and does not bend easily.

I am no modeller and am on a limited budget but I am pleased with the results – they are substantially cheaper than cast models – on the WarArtisan website there is a link to download a sample model – I did that to see if I could master the construction process – it can be found under the 1:900 Scale Cardstock Model Ships link.

Red Trotsky Red19 Jul 2018 12:08 a.m. PST

A comprehensive reply to my questions and clarifications has been posted over on the ODGW forum – thanks to Cpt M:


Stew art Supporting Member of TMP19 Jul 2018 3:28 p.m. PST

Thanks for asking and thanking for posting link.
Makes the loss of the bowsprit much more dire!

Red Trotsky Red21 Jul 2018 1:33 a.m. PST

For those that play Post Captain I have put together a FAQ file from responses here and over at the ODGW site.

A link to the file is here: link

I will try to keep it updated.

Stew art Supporting Member of TMP23 Jul 2018 10:22 a.m. PST

Nice! Thank you!

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