Battle Royal - Maurice at the Careenage


The work party crossing open ground from lagoon to careenage

Maurice watched the attack develop from an observation platform near the river. Groups of warriors emerged from the undergrowth and under a hail of arrows, parties ran toward the log barricades. The irony of English muskets in African hands, turned upon their former owners was not lost on the defenders as the sailors came under fire. The prince had less than twenty men to defend the position. 

The Komban attack is furiously prosecuted

These were split evenly into two groups, each commanded by a junior officer. The English relied in no small measure on the tireless support delivered by the sloop Defiance. She lay anchored as close to the bank as was safe and kept up a relentless cannonade from her starboard guns for the entire action. Well aimed salvoes did great harm and drove back several attacks. Although the assault was general it fell heaviest on the westerly position nearest the treeline.

Brooks, commanding the sloop Defiance gave outstanding support to the shore parties

The sailors held the Kombans only briefly before warriors scrambled over the log barricades. Prince Maurice found himself surrounded by formidable enemies - the warband’s leader, his shaman and a terrifying character in a death mask whom the prince was to later recall ‘appeared to be possessed by daemons and impervious to pain’. Maurice placed himself in considerable danger to assist the hard-pressed men at the barricade but, one by one, they fell. A young officer Matthew Hancock, whom the

Matthew Hancock was heard to shout 'I am an MP, get me out of here!'

prince knew had fled England after a scandal, was the last of his comrades to go down, dying under multiple blows from stabbing spears and war clubs. Alone and with no immediate hope of rescue, the young prince kept at bay his deadly adversaries, managing to knock the medicine man out of the fight, severely wound the daemon and compel the chief to flee into the bush. When the fighting subsided, it became clear the English had held the careenage. The work party miraculously navigated the mayhem without loss, their final approach covered by reinforcements from the lagoon garrison. Although the tribesman managed to penetrate the perimeter they were ultimately repulsed.

Maurice assists the wounded Hancock against the Fearless One!

Afterward, work details gathered the bodies of over forty Komban warriors who were thrown into hastily dug pits. Three prisoners were taken, one of whom was the badly dazed shaman felled by Maurice. Another was a young warrior whose bravery during the fight had been noted by the prince and others. He remained ready to die within the careenage when all his brothers had melted back into the trees. Maurice offered quarter and the chance to serve as bodyguard to the royal personage.

A long way over open ground.. will the work party make it?

Kebba was his name which the English mispronounced as Keby. He accepted the invitation and became devoted to Maurice. Nine sailors had been killed or so badly wounded that they were unable to continue as part of the company. Defiance had consumed a considerable quantity of powder and shot during the action. 

Reinforcements from the lagoon march to save the beleaguered defenders at the careenage.

Her commander Robert Holmes was at that very point being badly wounded on the other side of the river in the capture of Temperance. In command at the careenage was his extremely capable second, Mark Brooks.

The last survivor of Hancock's section was shot down by a Komban marksman.