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 pictures
The 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 have been quietly building this in parallel with the more military English, Dutch and French ships and so, this gets me back round to Tangier and a little scenario set in March 1666.........


Sir Jeremy Smith in the Mary leads Molly (left) and Africa Merchant (centre) south into Tangier

In March 1666, Sir Jeremy Smith commander of the Tangier Fleet is at sea onboard the 3rd rate Mary. His journey from England as convoy to two large merchantmen has been uneventful.  On the fifth day of March and within sight of the Moroccan coast, sails become visible to the south, south east and east. He knows that ships of his own command would not appear at various compass points simultaneously so near to Tangier harbour and so he signals for all vessels to ready themselves for battle.


Karim's squadron hugging the coast from the west and inshore of Smith

The Mission

Smith must escort the two merchantmen safely into Tangier. The Berber corsairs must capture the merchantmen afloat and escape with them.


The Fleets


English at Sea

Mary3rd rate: Veteran crew. Long at sea: reloading on +1

Africa Merchant: Large Merchant, Drilled crew. Black powder: limited to 5 broadsides.

Molly: Large Merchant, Drilled crew. Slow. Seaworthy: can make an extra turn each move.



Abdullah's Flag squadron with the converted old Spaniard on the right - Najam Shamal. The Sayf leads


English in Tangier

Portland:4th rate Guardship: Drilled skeleton crew. Reloading on +1. Firing as 5th rate, Flag officer.

Dragon:4th rate Guardship: Drilled skeleton crew. Reloading on +1. Firing as 5th rate, Flag officer.

Portsmouth: Brig, Drilled crew.

Lilly: Fast yacht, Drilled crew.

Eagle:5th rate: Drilled crew. Reloading on +1. Shallow draught.


Portland and Dragon are permanently moored as guard ships near the approach to Tangier harbour. Eagle is making ready for sea but cannot leave port until 21 is accumulated by rolling 1 x d6 per turn.


Total 470 points



Yusuf's squadron on a convergent course with Smith's ships (off shot to the right) Tangier in distance

Berber Flag squadron

Najam Shamal: 4th rate: Veteran crew, Slow: Seaworthy, Soldiers aboard.

Sayf: Xebec: Drilled crew, Fast: Deep draft, Soldiers aboard, Abdullah Bey’s flagship

Bariq: Xebec galley: Drilled crew. Soldiers aboard.


Karim’s squadron

Saqr: Xebec: Drilled crew, Fast: Light guns

Qdis: Xebec galley: Drilled crew, Fast: Long at sea: reloading on +1

Qut: Large dhow: Drilled crew.

Rabi: Small dhow: Drilled crew.


  Yusuf’s squadron
Nasir: Xebec: Drilled crew, Fast: Heavy guns

Saeiqa: Xebec: Drilled crew, Fast: Seaworthy

‘Afeea: Large dhow: Drilled crew.

Bnt Jamila: Small dhow: Drilled crew.


In a successful boarding action, all Berber vessels add +2 to their die throw per combat round to simulate their complement of pirates bent on capturing enemy vessels.


Total 470 points





Part 2 details the action.