The third report from round two of the campaign.. Jan Baert kidnaps a very important person dear to King William and burns some Scottish assets in the process. Taking on no less than twelve enemy ships he runs for home!
|Baert's ships approach the island chain.|
westerly winds created heavy seas and made sailing extremely challenging for
Baert’s four ships as they nosed northward.
|The Clyde coastal protection squadron dogs the steps of Baert's ships.|
A flotilla of small craft had been
in pursuit since Baert broke cover and although these were too small to face
the Dunkirkers in open battle, their commanders had displayed skilful
seamanship in the chase.
|Baert's squadron - the kidnapped 'secret personage' is aboard one of these ships - but I didn't know which one!|
As Baert approached the archipelago south east of Mull
he split his force, sending the Adroit
forward through the main channel
whilst he led the other three ships north-east toward another gap in the
islands. The enemy ships maintained their close pursuit of Maure, Alcyon
|English brig and pink.. they searched but could not find....|
commenced when Columba
, a 16-gun brig and the 10-gun sloop, St Andrew
opened fire on Alcyon.
The smaller vessel hit the target. These vessels
were part of an experienced coastal squadron very familiar with the waters and
relentless pursuit of privateers and smugglers.
|Table set up|
On the south-west horizon a
further squadron of four small ships hove into view and sped towards the
archipelago trailing behind Adroit
his ship to bring his few guns to bear on Alcyon
and his crew were able
to land more shots upon Alcyon
|The little Scottish ships attempt to head off Baert's escape.|
Scottish ships were able to catch up with the privateers in the eastern channel
but, this was their undoing. The yacht Rosebank
sailed too close to
Baert’s flagship and was literally blown apart in full view of every vessel in
|Baert's squadron splits up with Adroit heading through the central channel alone.|
This greatly discouraged the remains of the squadron which veered
eastward but still found itself entangled with the larger French ships. Columba,
which had been badly damaged by a stern rake from the heavy-gunned Alcyon,
her rudder jammed to starboard and ran aground on a small island. The rocky
headland bit into the hull holding the brig fast and sealing her fate.
|Battle erupts! The small Scots vessels open fire on Alcyon and find the target.|
|Panorama at the end of turn 3|
|The second coastal squadron arrives - it will see heavy action|
| T4 The end of the little yacht Rosebank - Maure blows her apart at 50 yards|
trouble for Baert appeared in the form of two homeward bound merchantmen
returning to Scotland from resupplying the Protestant garrison of Sligo.
These compact vessels appeared in the western approaches as the second squadron
of coastal ships began to close the distance on Adroit
|T5 the newly arrived Scottish ships navigate the tricky archipelago|
By now, Adroit
had almost re-joined the rest of the squadron which was led by Maure.
faster moving yacht Margaret
and the sloop Mirin
opened fire on
Baert’s flagship causing damage along the length of the hull. Thistle,
brig of 10 guns opened fire on Adroit
and also found her mark.
|T6 End - Some of Baert's ships are through but not out of trouble yet|
Scottish vessels stung the larger enemy ships like angry Scottish wasps* but could not find the
combined hitting power to inflict the necessary damage to impede progress
despite accurate gunnery in heavy seas.
*For non-Scots reading this, I can say from my many travels abroad, there is no angrier or persistent insect on the planet that a Scottish wasp.
|Comte rakes the little Mirin just before the Scottish vessel successfully boards her.|
intense phase of this running fight occurred at this point. Comte
crossed the bow of Mirin
raking her from close range. Alcyon
back marker of Baert’s squadron glided past the stranded Columba
pounded her to bits on the rocks where she lay with a starboard broadside
delivered at musket range.
|T7 End - lots going on as little Scottish ships get pounded by the bigger French privateers. Mirin fighting for her life.|
Off the port side of Maure,
the yacht Margaret
was so badly damaged by the heavy guns of Baert’s ship that she immediately
struck her colours. Adroit
, with Thistle
in a similar position
undertook exactly the same action but with even greater effect. The brig, with
her upper structure almost totally swept away, also struck. This deluge of fire
compelled the unengaged fourth ship of the squadron Stag
, to veer off to
the south and disengage.
The Scots ships meted out punishment in return with
the two merchantmen Annandale
ranging on and hitting
from several hundred yards out. The lightly armed yet doughty Mirin
braved the incoming fire and grappled the much larger Comte.
Dunkirkers were so taken aback by this unexpected and bold move that in the
initial phase of the fight the outnumbered Scots swarmed across her deck from
the portside and took the fight to their enemies.
|T8 End The English frigates have arrived but Maure has slipped through the net.|
ships had more or less cleared the archipelago but were somewhat strung out and
all had to some extent, been damaged. At this point a much more serious threat
appeared as two English frigates on patrol arrived from the north with guns
cleared for action. Hunter
managed a single broadside on the fast
before the privateer was beyond reach and clean
The other ship Mermaid
manoeuvred to shoot at Maure
before she too disappeared in the heavy
seas to the north. In haste, Mermaid
cut across the path of Stag
which was unable to take evasive action and rammed the frigate astern. The brig
came off worst by far.
|T9 End French prizes and Scots casualties rack up|
winds changed direction to north westerly and picked up making sea conditions
very hazardous. As sailors worked hard to keep their vessels safe, Maure
slipped through the loose cordon and was away as had been Adroit.
sudden wind change had caught many ships unawares. Both raw and seasoned crews
struggled with vessels caught in irons for several turns. Only sporadic
firing took place with the civilian crew of the merchantman Kingdom
successfully landing shots on Comte.
|T10 Fire as your guns bear!|
reaching at speed, slipped by Alcyon
which was stuck with her nose
in the wind. The frigate pummelled the privateer but could not hold position
and was rapidly carried downwind and away. The prize crew put aboard Margaret
could no longer keep her afloat in the pitching sea and she sank taking a dozen
or so of Baert’s men down along with the few survivors of the earlier gunnery
duel. The proximity of such a jumble of ships attempting to stay afloat and
fight a battle resulted in numerous near misses and near groundings.
|T13 Disruption from heavy seas|
The damaged Thistle
vainly attempting to escape was abandoned by her prize crew and foundered
almost immediately. The gallant little Mirin
now barely afloat but
piloted by a prize crew from Comte
was easy prey to Kingdom
she swept by and promptly sunk the limping sloop which was already lying very
low in the water.
|The Kingdom in flames! T15 the magazine goes up - no survivors.|
As the sea
disrupted all plans it appeared the battle was over. The merchantman Kingdom
had been carried south through the eastern channel and was at some distance for
the majority of the struggling ships. Well astern of her to the north, Comte
opportunity to rake and promptly did so. Her heavy guns tore through the
lightly build Kingdom
and the rearward powder magazine exploded in a
ball of fire. Kingdom
disappeared completely without survivors because no vessels were anywhere near. The weather
continued to create a risk to life and this allowed the damaged Alcyon
to break loose and attempt to re-join the rest of Baert’s
squadron. The remaining Williamite ships were carried south on the strong
|Parting shots - the privateers and their cargo slip through in the heaving seas.|
I was informed by Gerard-Jan via a password protected file after the scenario was finished that the 'important person' was being transported on Comte
- the last vessel to make it through the Williamite cordon! Coincidentally, Comte
was also the vessel attacked and boarded by Mirin
which initially looked as if her revenue men and coast guards might prevail against the privateers.
|Just WHO was so important to King William?|