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Thread: Early July, 1812

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    Default Early July, 1812

    In early July 1812, an American squadron out of New York sailed north looking for an British squadron out of Halifax. Just east of the Isle of Shoals on the New Hampshire/Maine border, the American squadron found the British squadron looking for them.

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    The wind is blowing across the short width of the board, from the islands.

    There will be more pictures to follow once Eric has a chance to send them to me.
    Last edited by Dobbs; 02-18-2024 at 04:47.

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    This is a "what if?" scenario.

    In the real world, the American squadron was President-44, United States-44, Congress-38, Hornet-18, and Argus-18. Constitution was supposed to be there but was late for the party.

    The British squadron was Africa-64, Guerriere-38, Shannon-38, Belvidera-36, and Aeolus-32.

    The two squadrons never met. The British squadron found Constitution which barely managed to escape.

    In our encounter, Africa, Belvidera, and Aeolis meet United States, Congress, and Hornet. It was definitely an old technology vs. new in that the Americans were definitely carronade-heavy. Belvidera and Aeolus had some, and Africa had none. United States had a heavier broadside than Africa at close range. Congress was comparable to an amped up Leda-class frigate. Hornet was equipped entirely with carronades and at close range could hit better than a small frigate.
    Last edited by Dobbs; 02-17-2024 at 17:49.

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    Looks as if we are in for another good one Dobbs.

    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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    The American squadron was led by James in United States. Eric (de Ruyter) commanded Congress and I brought up the rear in Hornet.

    The British were all run by my AI.

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    The squadrons close. To the left you can see the cautious nature of Africa's captain as he luffs up and lets his frigates surge on ahead. Africa's lack of commitment made it very hard on the British frigates throughout the engagement.

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    United States bears off while both Aeolus (astern of United States) and Belvidera luff up. This went very poorly for Aeolus as she received fire from Congress and United States. Even though Belvidera was right on top of United States she gets ignored and Africa takes a minor hit from United States' partial broadside.
    Last edited by Dobbs; 02-18-2024 at 08:48.

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    A few turns have passed here. James has extricated United States from between the British frigates, worn ship and ultimately luffed up. Aeolus feinted as Congress passed her to windward the turned downwind. In this picture, Congress has passed and Aeolus luffed up again. Belvidera has tacked and bore off some which has led to her current embarrassment of being fired on by United States and Congress. Africa has luffed up again, ostensibly to present a broadside, but not having a full broadside for her opening shot, holds fire. Hornet is trying to get in a punch without worry of getting hit back. I actually took a crew hit from Aeolus port stern battery while trying to hide behind my big sisters.

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    I think the chit draw here was just what Congress' opening port broadside did as a rake against Belvidera.
    Last edited by Dobbs; 02-18-2024 at 09:55.

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    Belvidera is in a rough way and Hornet closes range to use her carronades...right into Belvidera's forward broadside. Luckily it's only a glancing blow.

    The two American frigates also choose to pursue Belvidera. I don't know where Africa is at the moment, though she may be pushing to gain the weathergauge.

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    Congress delivers another raking attack. Eric definitely got the award for most rakes in this engagement. Unseen here, I believe Africa is pummeling Congress.

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    United States works over Africa a little bit while Africa reloads. Aeolus is somewhere off to the right. She is somewhat of a wreck, but still has some fight left in her.

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    Hornet harries Belvidera. Even wounded Belvidera is dangerous to a sloop of war, but my carronades are wearing her down. Off Hornet's starboard quarter, Congress is trying to get a shot in edgewise.
    Last edited by Dobbs; 03-30-2024 at 18:45.

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    The coup de grace. Hornet's carronades fire loaded with grape.

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    Okay, so I had some support from Congress. Anyway, Belvidera hauls down her flag.

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    From here the battle kind of wound down. The American frigates were too roughed over to take on Africa with any assurance. Aeolus was badly wounded, but still capable of supporting Africa. Hornet had a close call dashing under Africa's guns, but made it out the other side.

    All in all, the battle was a draw, but that isn't how the newspapers in Boston saw it. The frigate United States fought off a ship of the line!
    Last edited by Dobbs; 02-18-2024 at 13:57.

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    The Butcher's Bill

    the British:

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    the Americans:

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    Last edited by Dobbs; 02-18-2024 at 16:34.

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    That was a hard fought battle. The frigate, United States, may have "fought off a ship of the line", but she surely looks like she was in a scrap. All grist for the Boston rags, I suppose.

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    This is a salutary lesson for the Admiralty Board, if they even deign to take notice of it. Those American Frigates are a tough nut to crack.

    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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    An enjoyable read Dobbs, I didn't realise how much I missed Sails until I read Shadow Dragons report yesterday and now this.

    From what little I know it was a bit like putting a Lightweight boxer in a ring with a Welterweight, calling them both Lightweights and trying to take some lessons as to why the heavier man won. It's pretty obvious that the American Frigates were punching way over the class of the British frigates of the times.

    Excelent game though and the Hornet was skillfully handled.

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    I was very pleased that I still had a ship after my dash past Africa. It probably would have gone differently if I had gone with my idea and tacked in front of her. Eric wisely suggested passing to leeward of her then tacking.

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    I'd be surprised if Africa (a 9 pdr castles 64 gunner) wasn't carrying carronades in 1812 - there had been a general wartime allocation of 2 24 pdr and 6 18 pdr during 1794, mostly reduced with the peace of 1802, but with the subsequent expansion of carronade armament during the middle of the first decade of the 1800s the removal of all guns except 'in the way of the rigging' for liners and except for a pair (or maybe a single shifting gun) each for chase (and optionally) retreat in frigates make the widespread repetition of the 1779 Establishments very unlikely to be generally correct.

    12 pdr guns, and even more 9 pdr and 6 pdr guns lacked the ability to carry destructively against hull scantlings to the line of metal, and 24 pdr carronades did better than the 9 pdr, and the 32 pdr carronade better than the 12 pdr. Carronades of course don't carry as well as heavy guns in the same calibre, and are handily overmatched by even the lightest pattern of the gun of common calibre.

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    None of her stats mention carronades, but Winfield states that the Inflexible Class to which Africa belonged were armed from 1794 with two 24 pdr carronades on the FC. and RH six 18 pdrs. From 1806 QD ten 24 pdr carronades and FC two further 24 pdrs. Unfortunately he does not say if this was inclusive of all the ships in the class, but it is at least an indicator.

    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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    Inflexible is one of a few 'experimental' uniform battery ships - she is an example of the type as a 64, and Goliath an example of the same change before being Razeed as a 74. This was a 24 pdr battery on the LD, 24 pdr 33cwt guns for chase and UD, and 24 pdr carronades to fill out the castles.

    It isn't quite the same as the parallel 1804 order that for the superstructure all but the chase guns on the FC/QD should be replaced by carronades when next at the gun wharf, later (1806?) modified to retain the guns mounted in the wake of the shrouds (i.e. for main and foremast) unless fitted on the outside principle (or on frigates where the lower tumblehome and smaller channels made the risk to the rigging lower, and the importance of the carronades to the firepower was necessarily higher. (Britannia in 1805 is carrying this new fit at Trafalgar, and Victory gets it on her refit in 1807 to a second rate - Phoebe is almost certainly carrying only 2 or 4 9pdrs in 1814 when fighting Essex, rather than her 1800 fit of 10 guns, with the reduced guns replaced by more 32 pdr carronades).

    Undated, but likely pre-1810, the (mod) Canada (74) had 4 9pdr on the FC (in the wake of the foremast shrouds), on the QD 6 9pdr (in the wake of the mainmast shrouds) and 8 32pdr carronades (below the mizzen channel). (Majestic was then razeed in 1813 - carrying 28 42 pdr and a shifting 12 pdr for chase on her 'spardeck')

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    I completely forgot about the uniform battery ships. That might be an interesting encounter, one of them vs. a 74 or something. The 64 gets one or two turns where it can reload in one turn because of the efficiency of having just one shot size.

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