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"Pour encourager les autres " Topic


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Renaissance
18th Century
Napoleonic
19th Century

318 hits since 3 Jan 2019
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP03 Jan 2019 1:50 p.m. PST

Has anyone gamed the naval portion of the Siege of Minorca?

This is the battle where Admiral Byng was forced to fight with a fleet and ships in very poor condition.
He was supposed to relieve the fort on Minorca but the equal size French fleet prevented him.
He withdrew, and was court martialed for "failing to do his utmost." Under the Articles of War, this was punishable by Death.
He was acquitted of cowardice.
The jury unanimously recommended clemency, but George II being George II, he refused.

Byng was executed by firing squad "to encourage the others".

So. Has anyone gamed this? And what were the victory conditions in place to encourage the British Admiral?
Were his ships downgraded to show their poor condition?

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP03 Jan 2019 1:54 p.m. PST
Blutarski03 Jan 2019 10:52 p.m. PST

Go here
link
- for Adm Byng's report on the battle.

Don't put too much stock in Byng's claim that the French van had been "driven out of the line"; it is equally as likely that the French van was simply falling off to keep a discreet distance from the British line.

Byng's plan of attack was fairly conventional, tactically speaking; he had equalized the number of ships in his line to match the twelve French ships arrayed against him and ordered them to close each with her opposite number. What foiled Byng's plan was the sudden and unexpected loss of INTREPID's fore-topmast to French dismasting fire, which put her aback and caused her to fly up into the wind out of control. This in turn forced the following ships to themselves throw all sails aback in order to avoid potential collision with their next ahead, throwing the British line into considerable confusion. A possible causative factor may be the poor physical state of Byng's force, which represented the scrapings of the fleet reserve, ill-manned, ill-provisioned and hastily despatched. Check the launch dates of the British ships to see how elderly they were in comparison to the opposing French ships.


British Fleet

60 DEFIANCE L. 1744 1100t [24 x 24] + [26 x 12] + [10 x 6]
50 PORTLAND L. 1744 1000t [22 x 24] + [22 x 12] + [6 x 6]
66 LANCASTER L. 1749 1500t [26 x 32] + [26 x 18] + [16 x 9] over-gunned, slow
68 BUCKINGHAM L. 1751 1400t [26 x 32] + [28 x 18] + [14 x 9] over-gunned, slow
64 CAPTAIN L. 1743 1200t [26 x 24] + [26 x 12] + [12 x 6] over-gunned, slow
64 INTREPID L. 1740 1300t [26 x 24] + [28 x 12] + [10 x 6] ex-French
64 REVENGE L. 1742 1300t [26 x 24] + [26 x 12] + [12 x 6]
60 PRINCESS LOUISA L. 1744 1100t [24 x 24] + [26 x 12] + [10 x 6]
64 TRIDENT L. 1742 1300t [26 x 24] + [28 x 12] + [10 x 6] ex-French
90 RAMILLIES L. 1749 1700t [26 x 32] + [26 x 18] + [26 x 12] + [12 x 6] crank, slow
74 CULLODEN L. 1747 1500t [28 x 32] + [28 x 18] + [18 x 9] very slow by reputation
60 KINGSTON L. 1740 1100t [24 x 24] + [26 x 12] + [10 x 6] over-gunned, slow

- -

This was the first major operation of the French Toulon fleet, so one may arguably assume that the ships were in decent shape; they were fairly new ships, with none more than about ten years old. Note that the French had four 74's and an 80 that would not have been out of place ten years later in the War of the American Revolution pretty powerful ships. It is anyone's guess as to what the state of training and health of the crews were, but it does bear consideration that the outnumbered French Navy had fought well during the War of Austrian Succession only ten years previously; I rated half as Trained and half as Poor. Keep in mind that the French ordnance pound was approx. 1.08x heavier than the English variety

French Fleet

64 L'ORPHEE L. 1749 1400t [26 x 24] + [28 x 12] + [10 x 6]
50 HIPPOPOTAME L. 1749 1100t [24 x 18] + [26 x 12]
74 REDOUTABLE L. 1752 1700t [28 x 36] + [30 x 18] + [16 x 8]
64 SAGE L. 1751 1400t [26 x 24] + [28 x 12] + [10 x 6]
74 GUERRIER L. 1753 1700t [28 x 36] + [30 x 18] + [16 x 8]
50 FIER L. 1749 1100t [24 x 18] + [26 x 12]
80 FOUDROYANT L. 1750 2000t [30 x 36] + [32 x 18] + [18 x 8]
74 TEMERAIRE L. 1753 1700t [28 x 36] + [30 x 18] + [16 x 8]
64 CONTENT L. 1746 1300t [26 x 24] + [28 x 12] + [10 x 6]
64 LION L. 1751 1400t [26 x 24] + [28 x 12] + [10 x 6]
74 COURONNE L. 1749 1700t [28 x 36] + [30 x 18] + [16 x 8]
64 TRITON L. 1747 1400t [26 x 24] + [28 x 12] + [10 x 6]

- -

Victory & Defeat -
Byng's objective is clearly to drive the French fleet from the approaches of Minorca and Port Mahon. If the French are able to simply stick around, they win. My suggestion with respect to determining victory/defeat is as follows:

> Each intact ship in the battle line counts one point. The Brits therefore have 13 points to start and the French 12 points.

> Each ship which strikes, blows up, sinks or is disabled aloft (cannot sail) counts -1 against its side's point score.

> When the difference between the point scores of the two sides exceeds 3, the side with the lower score is considered to have been forced to withdraw from action and the side with the higher score is declared the winner.

Very late here; signing off. Hope this helps, or at least amuses you.

B

Yellow Admiral04 Jan 2019 1:42 a.m. PST

War Artisan did it at the SYW Con in 2016. I was really sorry to miss this game, I've always wanted to play that battle. Minorca 1756 and Toulon 1744 are both on my bucket list.

- Ix

Blutarski04 Jan 2019 6:22 p.m. PST

Just an item of interest. When we played Minorca, the French won the game by taking advantage of their superior ship speed. They would shoot up the British from a distance as they tried to close. When the British neared the range for hulling fire, the French line would turn away and re-open the distance – wash, rinse, repeat. It took a while, but the patient French shot up the British ships aloft so badly that they ultimately could barely maneuver in an organized way and conceded the game.

I also noticed that the frustrated slower British fleet ultimately attempted to close the faster French by turning more aggressively downwind. This then offered oblique fire bonus damage opportunities for the French fire.

The conclusion I drew from gaming the battle was that Byng's only real opportunity rested with a timely wind change that would somehow place the French at a big disadvantage.

B

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