Rupert kills more men than Cecil B. de Mille

Thousans of 'em!

Thursday's visit to The Gambia was indeed a doozy. Having spent two days capturing a stranded slaver and then taking another day to drag her off the shoal on which she was glued, Rupe and the lads were just sitting down to breakfast when what charges over the horizon?

Remember the heroics to capture Temperance in the first place?

A swarm of deadly little pirate craft full of angry and greedy Dutchmen (and their international friends). With his own crew tired and reduced and only a skelton crew on the now refloated slaver, our hero performed a minor miracle...... 

Here is an extract from the full account of the action together with some photos

March 10th 1652 - lower reaches of The Gambia

This new enemy was a flotilla of pirates under Jeroen Degeyter, a notorious lieutenant of Joost Koopman. And it was on a tip-off from this privateer-overlord that these mainly Dutch vessels had followed the Royalists at a distance into the Gambia awaiting a chance to pounce. Having observed from afar the isolation and weakening of Swallow in its duel with Temperance, the propitious moment was nigh. Degeyter ordered a rush on the trapped and battered pair. Although precarious, Rupert’s position was not hopeless. No attack could be made from the larboard side so encirclement was impossible. The enemy must approach through narrow channels thus, his broadsides had a perfect field of fire. He was though, vulnerable from the south if they swung in against his bow. 

Encouragingly, two boats ran aground on the approach. Another pair charged directly at Temperance but failed to grapple her exposed starboard side. She fired and ruined the first which attempted to pass behind and escape. The Vliegende Vis ran aground on exactly the same shoal Temperance had sat upon for three days, and promptly sank in the shallows. The demoralized crew came under musket fire from the shore party guarding the slaves. When the fighting was over, considerable booty was recovered from this wreck. The second vessel, a small pinnace names Rode Roos got lines aboard and in a contest of mutual annihilation, the decks of both were cleared with no victor. Temperance lay undefended as further ships approached. Degeyter had manoeuvred skilfully to board Swallow from the bow, avoiding any damaging fire on the approach. His blood up, Rupert led a frenzied counterattack which slaughtered the pirate crew and captured Degeyter. 

His 10-gun flagship Fortuin was first of three unfortunates to fall to the prince. Undeterred by the capture of his chief, the master of Kattenoog an 8-gun ketch, ordered his men over onto Swallow. She too was dispatched in short order. A third battered vessel drifted into Swallow’s quarter. She had been ripped up by the only broadside Rupert’s gunners were able to get off as the onslaught commenced. Greatly slowed and damaged, Maanlicht was carried by the current against the Royalist ship and quickly captured although during this final melee, the gallant Portuguese navigator Rui Galopim was killed leading the counter-boarding party. 

Fighting had been underway for sometime when Defiance under Brooks, arrived in support. She had done well to beat into the wind across the wide river. Revenge had considerably less luck. Two outlying pirate vessels had collided causing one to be abandoned by its crew. Brooks brought his ship alongside and took the empty Zeewolf. Of the remaining four vessels, two sustained damage but were able to make their escape whilst the others turned around and fled.