The High Seas


Naval campaign game 5: All hands to the oars!

Darkness and fog - ideal for an escape bid from a potentially hostile harbourNovember 23rd, 1688: CopenhagenChaos reigns supreme in England. The invasion by Willem of Orange less than three weeks previously has caused the army to disintegrate. The naval service is in turmoil, torn between loyalty to its old commander in chief and King, the officers and men weigh the options for their individual and collective futures.Amidst the warmth of a harbourside tavern in freezing Copenhagen, a conclave of naval officers and merchant captains loyal to King James secretly discuss removing their vessels from port and sailing for Scotland or even Ireland. The Danes already hire thousands of troops to the Dutch and their Imperialist allies. An aggressive move may prompt King Christian’s soldiers to arrest the foreign sailors and impound their ships. To further complicate matters, the English 2nd rate Neptune is at anchor near the Danish naval yards and her captain is a notorious anti-papist and agitator against the King.Tur

» View Source Article

Naval campaign game 4: Tocht's raid April 1664

Set upTocht's squadron has sailed down the Channel and is approaching Plymouth. Several English warships are at anchor in the open waters south of the Hoe. Tocht has a mind to destroy as many vessels as possible. He has not spotted any sail in the Channel thus far and nothing significant is moving around the squadron at anchor. It is difficult to tell what size and state of readiness the enemy vessels are but clearly, they are 5th rate or larger, he suspects 3rds.Time to sail into the jaws of the English haven!T2 attack runTurns 1 to 3With a light southerly at their backs Tocht ordered the 2nd rate Delft and fireship Oranje into the anchorage to wreak as much havoc as possible. He chose to keep his powerful flagship De Zeven Provincien and the 3rd rate Eendracht patrolling the approaches so as to interdict any English manoeuvres to windward and prevent his squadron being bottled into the bay and destroyed. End of T3On Delft’s approach the English offered only ineffectual long-range cannon fire from a small fo

» View Source Article

Naval Campaign game 3: Baert's Baptism!

March 19, 1689Scenario name: Schomberg's reinforcementsBaert has word of a troop convoy bound for either Hoylake or Belfast. It is carrying English and Dutch soldiers to Ireland to fight King Louis's cousin James II. His ships left Dunkirk three days ago and are approaching the convoy from the north and windward. He is ordered to sink or capture as many of the transports as possible. The convoy is escorted but Baert is not sure how many warships have joined since it left Walcheren four days ago. It may have picked up more escorts at sea as it has taken a long time to reach the current position. The French state sponsored privateers operating out of Dunkirk were given a wide brief. As long as France's enemies suffered and the King's coffers swelled, anything was permissible.Jan Baert with six ships put to sea several days ago awaiting the imminent appearance of a troop convoy bound for either Hoylake or Belfast depending on where King William III wished to assemble reinforcements to bolster Old Schomberg'

» View Source Article

Naval campaign game 2: Free trade? De Ruyter's first scenario

Set upPeter's Dutch squadron under legendary commander Michiel de Ruyter has its first outing.De Ruyter - September 1664 off the Gold Coast/GhanaScenario name: Free trade?The Dutch East India Company (VOC) has been building trade via Gold Coast ports for several years. The English have become increasingly interested in bolstering their cash strapped economy and its own Royal Africa Company has enlisted the support of warships to restrict Dutch trade and enhance English commercial reach. Two large merchantmen are three months overdue in Amsterdam. De Ruyter's squadron was ordered to sea to find them. He has tracked the VOC merchantmen to a bay controlled by the RAC where they are being 'detained' for unpaid duty on goods to be shipped to Europe via English waters. The vessels are being protected by an English warship and lie at anchor under the guns of a large fort. The wind is blowing offshore making an approach to the coast difficult. My interpretation of Peter's plan - he sent it, I took notes and work

» View Source Article

Naval Campaign game 1: Sovereign of the Seas?

14th February 1665: Off the Isle of WightScenario name: Sovereign of the SeasHis Majesty King Charles II demands that every foreign vessel passing through English waters acknowledges his position as Sovereign of the Seas. In so doing each ship must lower its colours when an English warship is within sight. Although not at war, tension with France is mounting due to its support for the Dutch Republic which may soon fight England. A French squadron sailing from Brest to Boulogne appears to be ignoring the convention and has thus attracted the attention of an English patrol leaving the Solent.The table set up His Majesty King Charles II demands that every foreign vessel passing through English waters acknowledges his position as Sovereign of the Seas. In so doing each ship must lower its colours when an English warship is within sight. Although not at war, tension with France is mounting due to its support for the Dutch Republic which may soon fight England.End Turn 1Ship movements in the English Channel ar

» View Source Article

Naval campaign missions - the first five

Here are the first five missions for the chosen fleets in overview. One has already been fought, I have written orders from another and await the instructions of the remaiing Generals at Sea.In no particular order:De Ruyter - September 1664 off the Gold Coast/GhanaScenario name: Free trade?The Dutch East India Company (VOC) has been building trade via Gold Coast ports for several years. The English have become increasingly interested in bolstering their cash strapped economy and its own Royal Africa Company has enlisted the support of warships to restrict Dutch trade at the expense of English prosperity. Two large merchantmen are three months overdue in Amsterdam. De Ruyter's squadron was ordered to sea to find them. He has tracked the VOC merchantmen to a bay controlled by the RAC where they are being 'detained' for unpaid duty on goods to be shipped to Europe. The vessels are being protected by an English warship and are under the guns of a large fort. The wind is blowing offshore making an approach to the

» View Source Article

Meet the Fleets!

It was with interest, pleasure and gamer's curiosity that I opened the mails from participating blog members concerning the construction of their fleets for the occasional games which will be run and retold here.The first is chosen by a Dutch gamer who will go under his nom de guerre... Jan Baert or as he is known beyond the Dutch speaking world - Jean Bart.  'Terror of the Dutch' and all round swashbuckler.Born in 1650, native of Dunkirk, Dutch speaker and son of a fisherman or corsair, Jan enlisted in the Dutch navy but was unable to rise through the heirarchy being of non-noble birth. He turned privateer out of Dunkirk and through his many deeds of derring-do between 1679 and the end of the Nine Years War, became a French admiral and enobled. He raided Dutch commerce in the North Sea and Mediterrnean and burnt a Scottish castle and four villages. He won the battle of Dogger Bank in 1696 at the head of his privateer squadron capturing five ships and burning 25 more! He died in 1702.I think this is an i

» View Source Article

Your participation if you wish it....

English: From left: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 5th galley-frigateI mentioned previously that it would be fun to get some small fleets together chosen/owned by blog visitors and that I would where possible, fight out randomly generated actions and feed back the results. If lots of people participate then the game load may get onerous and your fleet may not see action too often but, we can only suck it and see.Size comparison  Dutch 2nd, English 1st, French 1st Having now used a very rudimentary points system for several games I am happy to share it  and encourage visitors including the many who don't actively post comments to send me their fleet choice which I will record and send back or publish under real name or nom de guerre on the blog. Each player could be a General at Sea or Admiral and think up their own suitably comic or heroic name.Berber Pirate squadron - six Xebecs and Xebec GalleysIf we get too many games I could potentially sub the scenario out to a blogger member to fight by prox

» View Source Article

Weather beaten? Part 1 intro : Tangier... but not as we know it Jim!

A representation of Tangier harbour in 1666. The shape is roughly that of the modern port as seen on various picturesThe English colony in Tangier has always fascinated me. I have gamed it on land and am currently in the process of assembling forces for it again in 28mm.I have gazumped that project with an extension of my Dutch Wars naval adventure. As  I always do, I try and stretch any project every which way to squeeze the maximum juice out. It was an obvious activity to check out Tumbling Dice's other ranges to find out where I could leverage them. The Napoleonic range has xebecs, xebec galleys and dhows.The Tangier Regiment (Kirke's) stand firm in the face of Berber cavalry (Dave O'Brien's collection)Some consultation with various sources informs that the Berber or Barbary Corsairs were a broad and loose amalgam of North African Arabs, privateers and renegade Europeans. Their ships were thus a mixture of Arabic and European types - A pirate fleet with a little difference was clearly on the cards.I h

» View Source Article

Foulness - what did I learn?

The blue markers indicate ships which have fired and which will need to pass a reload check before firing again.Firstly I learned that I enjoy naval wargaming as much as I did when aged nine. Then gaming involved hand-drawn and coloured plan views of Napoleonic men o'war  which sailed round my blue bedroom carpet using a rule set borrowed from the public library. I have such fond memories of those games which I think involved estimating the distance to target in inches and then writing your shots down on a sheet of paper. Does anyone remember those rules? I am talking around 1969-1972.The Foulness game was a blast. It ran eight turns and as a solo experience was remarkably pleasant. I am continually tweaking the Neil Fox two pager for the Dutch Wars and it is now up to about 10 pages but this is mostly explanations, expansion and notation for my own amusement.The biggest addition this time around was the inclusion of a 'reload' check after ships have fired. I wasn't sure about this at first but it worked

» View Source Article

The Battle of Foulness, 1st May 1672, Part 2 - Battle report.

Returning to the Essex coastline to bring you the news from the fleets... whether you align with the Dutch, English or French... here it comes.The most dramatic moment of the battle seen from the north.Turn 5 Many vessels, feeling they had the advantage of opponents in gunnery duels, attempted to back sail and hold  position to secure victory. The Ruby, surrounded and taking heavy fire, was shot to pieces and the smouldering hulk was abandoned. Baillie was never found. Vrede claimed the victory.The first English ship to be lost - Ruby was shot to pieces at close range and quickly sunk.De Ruyter and Philips were locked in mortal combat which caused the rearmost Dutch ships - Edam and Haas to collide as the head of their squadron held battle position. In her moment of victory, Vrede fell under the guns of the powerful Royal Katherine the broadside of which ripped along the Dutchman's waterline tearing a large hole and causing her to list heavily to starboard. Gouden Appel bumped the small English fire

» View Source Article

The Battle of Foulness, May 1st 1672 Part 1 Battle report

The war between the English and Dutch intensifies with King Charles' fleet desperate to expunge the shame of 1667 which haunts the navy, torments national pride and the authority of the Crown.Dutch admirals are brazen and bold and have little fear of probes and forays into the very heart of home waters. One such 'cruise' is moving down the English coast off Essex and appears to be heading into the mouth of the Thames Estuary. God forbid that the republican Dutch could repeat their triumph on the Medway although the fleet is now in a much healthier condition and itself spoiling for a fight.Admiral Spragge has been sent from the Medway anchorages to rendezvous with French men o'war allied to England. The hope is of repulsing this latest Dutch piracy. Will the French fight or, is it all for political show? With the Dutch under the legendary Admiral De Ruyter to windward and sailing south east, the squadrons converge off Foulness Island.Note: De Ruyter has a +1 initiative advantage over Spragge. I introduced a re

» View Source Article

Spoiling myself

Thick of the action at Foulness.Work has been pretty all consuming of late and I have been promising myself a gaming treat for a while merely as a little carrot to keeping me wading through the grind. The naval rules have been growing in detail and feel and during my travels. A point system and some of the random elements which I like to incorporate in rule mechanics to remove player control have been added and I wanted to road test both. The collection of ships is now over sixty of all sizes and nationalities so, on Friday night I planned the battle that I wanted to fight on the following day when everyone was out and I could throw dice, take pictures and notes to my heart's content.Having completed a couple of French ships I decided on 1672 as the year of the imaginary battle and this allowed me to ally the English and French against the Dutch. I chose one of the familiar stamping grounds - the Lower Thames Estuary as the location and set about drawing up the forces.PointsBy creating a base level points val

» View Source Article

Tales from the riverbank (Medway) - revisiting the battleships

Remember these? I moved to V2 for eachI very much enjoyed customizing the Tumbling Dice models for the large English men o'war 'in ordinary' which I have shown previously in some posts. The more work I do with these 1/2400 models the more confident I get in the scope of conversions.V2s in the rear V1s to the foreI was very happy with the versions I did until I thought about simulating their partial sinking. The Navy Board decided to flood the lower decks of the ships and bottom them on the river which was about 15 -20 feet deep at their location of the tidal reach. The reason was to make it more difficult for the Dutch to board, capture and tow away such valuable assets.Royal Charles V2 Royal James and V1 Royal James which will now be used as another 2nd rate in ordinaryAngling them and removing some of the lower portions of the ships would I thought, provide an even more powerful visual perspective and be fun to simulate.Blue Squadron: HMS Loyal London V2 in ordinary Loyal London's list to port can be s

» View Source Article

Wrecked - sinking and sunken vessel markers

A French 1st rate sails past a wrecked English 1st rateI wanted to make visual representations of ships that had taken a bit of a hammering during action and used some of the Tumbling Dice wreck markers as made whilst doing some work myself withDutch wrecks for 4th/5th rates and Fireshipsbits and pieces of other ships which I had cannibalized for various reasons. These all came out quite well. The larger ships are from the Napoleonic part of the range it is easy to disguise them for use in earlier centuries.English wrecks for 4th/5th rates and FireshipsI have set them out here in the form of four Dutch and four English wreck markers to signify ships of a size between 4th rate and smaller.Three larger wreck markersThe larger wrecks I have anonymized by using plain colours in the most common - red, white and blue flags - colours used by many of the major fleets.Three deckers were used by the English, French and Dutch I have included a couple of comparison shots showing intact 1st rates sailing past the the

» View Source Article