Weather beaten? Tangier, March 5th 1666


The game set up looking from the northwest with Sir Jeremy Smith's ships in the foreground

With most ships becalmed the galley Qdis races away from her squadron

Turns 1 - 4

The battle began with the wind dropping and every ship bar the galleys being becalmed. These two vessels pulled away from their squadrons and the currents gently carried the English ships inshore whilst pushing Abudullah’s and Karim’s squadrons east and out to sea respectively (diced for). This situation continued for the first four turns with the only gunnery coming from the Portland which tried to interdict Bariq. The salvo fell well short as the galley pulled away toward the west and the incoming merchantmen.


Qdis approaches the drift English ships from the east on T2


The guard ship Portland's guns were way beyond range as she tries to deter Qdis T2

Turn 5

The wind rose from the north east and the Berber squadrons used strategic movement to get closer toward the English. The galleys were now within tactical range preventing Smith’s squadron invoking the strategic move option.



Turn 5: the galleys close on Smith's ships. Tangier is top right of shot. Taken from north west.

Turn 6

The small English vessels put to sea from Tangier and by this time the large privateer Najam Shamal and Abdullah’s own ship the Sayf were cruising across the approaches to the harbour to block the passage of enemy reinforcements putting to sea to support the inbound ships. The galley Qdis opened the account by landing shots on Africa Merchant.



Turn 6: Smith's ships are being surrounded by smaller faster Berber vessels.

Turn 6: Leaving safety. Eagle is not ready for sea but the two smaller vessels bravely head out of Tangier.

Turn 7
Eagle finally cast off and headed out of Tangier trailing behind the lighter craft which were by now out in open waters. Despite being manned only by a skeleton crew the Portland had reloaded and raked Najam Shamal with a well-placed broadside.

Further west and out to sea a general engagement had begun as both Karim’s and Yusuf’s leading vessels wove in and out of the larger and slower English ships. Africa Merchant continued to receive attention from several Berber vessels but when Mary was offered the opportunity to rake the xebec Saqr the damage was so severe that the Berber ship caught fire and was temporarily out of action.


Turn 7: Saqr is raked by Mary - she promptly catches fire.

Turn 8
The English had the initiative and made excellent use of it. The close nature of the combatant vessels and the Berber desire to board and capture resulted in the dhow Qut (Cat) being rammed by Africa merchant and so badly damaged that her demoralized crew were easily repulsed during an attempt to board. She drifted west partly submerged and almost abandoned. Saqr’s crew were unable to get the fires under control and she drifted burning fiercely off the starboard quarter of the Africa Merchant whilst under fire from Molly. The slower Molly was lagging behind and the wolves circled waiting for their chance to pounce and under fire from the xebec Saeiqa.

Turn 8: The beginning of the end - Eagle sails directly into a hail of shot in the approaches to Tangier.

Despite her weeks at sea,  Mary’s veteran sailors served her guns well and destroyed the small dhow Bnt Jamila as it snuck upon the larboard quarter of Africa Merchant with a view to boarding. Mary sustained some damage from Nasir.

Eagle’s attempt to clear the channel out of Tangier found her heading straight into the broadsides of the two prowling Berber ships. Ten hits ripped her apart stopping her dead in the channel and partially de masting her.



Turn 8: Numerous Arab ships now weave in and out of Smith's strung out squadron.

Turn 9

At this crucial moment the wind dropped again and all vessels except the galleys were becalmed, drifting with the currents and at the mercy of fate. The crews of all vessels used the downtime to reload but the crippled Saqr was now abandoned by her crew as she had burned down to the waterline. Molly’s guns finished the hulk which slipped under. Africa Merchant had the wrecked Qut still lying off her starboard side and the dhow ‘Afeea now drifting aimlessly on her port side. Her overworked crew managed only feeble fire whilst serving the guns in both directions.



Sayd and Najam Shamal hover around the sinking Eagle drawing great satisfaction from this major 'kill'.

The crippled Eagle sat motionless in the channel and was reduced to a hulk so riven with shot that it slowly sank in directly in the main route to the harbour.


Turn 9: As every other ship drifts the two galleys make their attack run from the north west.

Turn 10

The galleys had come about and lined up their attacking runs on the drifting merchantmen. ‘Afeea drifted onto the wreck of Jamila taking damage from the jutting shards or timber. The drifting Berber vessels around Tangier hove under the guns of Dragon which smashed the upper deck of Sayf putting several guns out of action and wounding many crewmen. Saeiqa lying abaft Molly continued to pepper her with impunity.




Turn 10: every ship is drifting with the current except the two galleys Bariq and Qdis.

Turn 11

Dragon’s perspiring gunners were able to reload in the stifling heat and wrought further misery aboard Sayf which, lying at a disadvantageous angle could do nothing in response. The range was well found and the second broadside knocked all of her guns out and left her drifting helplessly a few hundred yards off the Mole. Desultory fire mirrored the lifeless air in the open sea battle and an attempt to grapple the Molly by the galley Bariq was unsuccessful.




Turn 11. Smith watches the enemy surround his precious charges and is helpless to support them.

Turn 12

The windless conditions took both the damaged Qut and Africa Merchant onto the wreck of the Saqr and as the English seamen tried to free their vessel the galley Qdis came along portside and dozens of ferocious pirates clambered aboard quickly overpowering the crew. Her master surrendered and the Berber had their first prize! Bariq’s determined and greedy pirates again attempted to grapple and board the Molly. This time their attempt was successful and although Molly’s crew gave better account of themselves the old Molly also surrendered to the victorious Berbers. All of this happened only a couple of hundred yards from the powerful Mary which drifted with guns pointing in the wrong direction. Her crew cursed but could through nothing more damaging than Anglo Saxon profanity at the gleeful Arab sailors.



Turn 12: Boarded and captured. The merchantmen fall to the Pirates.

Turn 13

The wind picked up and had move a few points now blowing from the east meaning that Mary was facing straight into it and in irons. Notwithstanding some fumbled attempts, the Berbers got both damaged merchantmen in tow and gathering themselves together headed west hugging the coast.

Enraged but impotent Sir Jeremy Smith vented his rage on the small dhow Rabi which was blown out of the water as it sailed under the guns of the Mary whilst attempting to escape with the rest of the Berber fleet.



The Berber fleet will have two new vessels when next it puts to sea.

Two valuable English ships and their cargoes secured and almost as importantly an English warship blown to pieces and sunk in the main approach to Tangier harbour. King Charles and the governor of Tangier would be most unhappy with the war at sea today.