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Thread: August: Under false colours

  1. #1
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    Default August: Under false colours

    Once more Johan af Puke was patrolling the Baltic sea, but this time in the south of the Baltic sea. The Vice Admiral Nordenskjöld had ordered him to cruise an area very close to Denmark. Their position was south of Langeland heading east. Johan could see land far to the north. He was standing in shirt sleeves on the poop deck feeling the warm wind caressing him. He took out his tobacco box, felt his pockets for his forgotten tinderbox and started packing his long chalk pipe. While working on his pipe he ordered fire to be fetched. Lighting it he drew long draws looking at the beautiful sky starting to turn orange in the late afternoon. Johan felt completely at peace. The sound of the look out yelling "Skepp i sikte!" pulled him back.

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    Last edited by TexaS; 10-30-2018 at 09:21.

  2. #2
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    Johan could see sails over the sand banks and went down to the quarterdeck. He had seen from the look of the rigging that the unknown ship was about the same size as HMS Venus he was sailing.

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    Feeling confident he steared closer. As they aproached the unknown ship it turned out to be like a frigate of comparable size and the colours looked Russian. Johan ordered, "Klart skepp till drabbning!"

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    Johan ordered "Klart att vända genom vind!" which was answered by the crew repeating the order.

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    When passing between the sand banks the frigate turned hard to starboard and showed Russian colours. Johan ordered "Lofva! Hal upp på bommen!" The spanker turned to the wind and when the wheel reached its end the next order came, "Halsar och skot!", followed by "Hal dör. Loss akteboliner!"

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    Venus fell off on her new course and started closing with the Russian frigate.

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    The Russian frigate was heading back when Johan ordered "Styrbord gir! Redo babord bredsida." making sure that larboard broadside was ready. The enemy fell off slightly showing the stern enough to reveal the name, Нарва.

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    The guns went off in quick succession throwing their cannon balls at the Russian frigate.

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    Most guns fired a little high, but several hit the main topmast and cut rigging making it topple over and fall into the water on the lee side. The return fire from the Russian frigate hit the hull of Venus but did not very much damage.

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    The order "Fall av! Babord gir!" was given and Venus turned to follow Narva as she was turned by the dragging mast.

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    Hard working Russian sailors were hacking away on the rigging to free the ship of the dragging mast but before they were successful she struck a sand bank. The rear most guns fired as Narva came to a sudden stop.

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    Narva struck hard, damaging the hull, unhinging the rudder and causing casualties. She was stuck.

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    Johan held fire and ordered to take in sails to place Venus in a position to rake Narva.

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    The rear most guns of Narva still bore and at that close range they did damage the hull of Venus and caused a lot of casualties but it was still not much compared to the devastating broadside Venus fired into the stern of Narva.

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    Laying at anchor Venus men reloaded as fast as they could. Soon the guns were run out and the next broadside hit the already mauled stern of Narva. A few guns still answered.

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    While only taking some hull damage, Venus fire destroyed the rudder and continued doing much damage to the stationary frigate.

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    The men were tiring in the heat, both from the summers day and from the quickly fired cannons.

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    The next broadside wasn't answered by Narva, her guns having been silenced. The upper deck was open for Venus guns to wreak havoc among the gun crews. The Russian colours finally came down.

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    Johan sent his premiärlöjtnant to take possession and prisoners were taken aboard. There was no cargo in the hold, but in what was left of the Captains cabin there were a few crates of bottles of clear spirits. It was brought back to Venus. The simple lables said Vodka and tasting it Johan decided that it was not to his taste. He wanted his snaps to be flavoured, not plain. Besides, Johan thought it might be best to avoid stronger drinks in the heat of the summer and these were strong. They would be better used to warm him on cold winter nights.
    Last edited by TexaS; 10-30-2018 at 17:09.

  3. #3
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    "Skepp i sikte!" a jungman reported through the door to the great cabin. Johan looked up from the book he was reading and answered he would be on deck in a moment. He was soon draped in his bad weather coat and stepped out into the drizzle and shrugged. The ship was almost empty of crew that didn't absolutely need to be on deck and not many of them in the light winds. Looking over the side he saw that the sighted ship was a frigate. Johan ordered "Klart skepp!" and as the drum started beating the frigate was filled with activity. Maneuvering for position the ships approached each other cautiously. Johan looked at the opened gunports and the decidedly warlike apperance of the unknown frigate.

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    The Danish ensign unfurled from the spanker of the frigate and hung wet and limp in the weak wind. It wouldn't be surprising if it turned out to be true so close to Denmark, but also being a good disguise, Johan kept his guard up.

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    A shot was fired across the bow and Johan shouted in his speaking trumpet, "Lägg bi och skicka en båt med kaptenen och alla dokument."

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    A bit surprisingly the ship complied and put a boat in the water and crewed it with men any navy would be proud of and Johan could see the captain in a Danish naval dress uniform climb down into the boat. He sent for his own dress coat and hat and ordered his båtsmän to be put on parade on the quarterdeck. As the Danish captain came onboard the Swedish båtsmän stood at attention and the visiting Captain's salute was answered by Johan who invited him to the great cabin.

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    Almost an hour later they emerged on deck again and Johan ordered one of the crates of vodka that had been captured to be lowered into the Danish boat. Johan saluted the Danish captain and said, "Adjö kapten Bugge. Lycklig resa."

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    Last edited by TexaS; 10-30-2018 at 11:26.

  4. #4
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    "Skepp i sikte!" was heard from the look out. Johan stood on the forecastle with his looking glass. The ship was partly obscured by a sand bank but he already knew it was a ship of the line. It was too big to be one of the more common merchants travelling the Baltic sea, brigs, cats and luggers. It could be a Swedish 62 going to Karlskrona but that would most likely go by Öresund. The most probable option were ships trying to avoid the Swedish coast. Enemy ships.

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    Johan ordered HMS Venus to be close hauled to gain him the weather gage, should it turn out to be an enemy ship. It was indeed a two decked ship of the line of perhaps 64 guns, but Johan wasn't sure of what nation it could be. When the blue and yellow ensign broke out at her mizzen, a few men cheered and the tension was noticeably relaxed. Johan wasn't convinced. He ordered "Hissa den hemliga signalen och skjut svenskt lösen!" HMS Venus hoisted signal flags and fired two guns to windward. The unknown ship took a long time answering, but it was the correct answer. It was a Swedish ship.

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    Johan was ordering ansvarsstyrman to sail close enough for speaking distance, still keeping the weather gage, and avoid placing them in the broadside, when the order for the Captain to report aboard was hoisted on the 64. When it tuned so he could clearly see the poop deck he recognised the class. She was one of Fredrik Henrik af Chapman's ships, one of the Wasa-class ships that he himself longed for.

    Sitting in his boat being rowed to the ship of the line that was Tapperheten Johan admired her lines. Climbing up the side he felt a warmth spread with every feature he noted. When stepping onto the quarterdeck he was greeted by Carl Magnus Wagenfelt, her Captain.

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    Last edited by TexaS; 11-01-2018 at 15:24.

  5. #5
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    Finally all three encounters are finished.

  6. #6
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    And very fine encounters they are too Jonas.
    I enjoyed every turn of the sand glass.
    looking forward to your next mission.
    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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