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The Orkney Wargames Club meets

in Kirkwall on Thursday evenings.


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Action off Toulon, 1811

The Age of Fighting Sail, Post Captain, 1/1200 scale

This was the evening of the wargame club’s AGM. Usually that involves a lot of dull bureaucratic stuff, dreary reports by office bearers and a loss of valuable wargaming time. . This time though, the dull but necessary bit was over by 8pm. That still left us a few hours of gaming time.Usually, we pack stuff for a small naval game, as its quick to set up and usually plays out in whatever time we have left This was no exception – we brought along some 1/1200 scale frigate models, and four of us set to it.In theory, we’d made the game a blockade one, where two French frigates had slipped out of Brest in the night, and had got past the main blockading fleet. Now, two British frigates were trying to stop them getting out into the Mediterranean.In this game, Bart commanded the Cornelie (40), Campbell the Hermione (40), while Alisdair and German Michael took the Shannon (38) and Aeolus (38) respectively. As the fifth wheel on the truck, I resigned myself to acting as the umpire. The French had the advantage of an offshore breeze, so they could pretty much choose where they wanted to go. The British players had to react to them.The trouble was, German Michael is an inveterate landlubber. He started off by sailing in completely the wrong direction, and then tried tacking – and failed. So, that left Aeolus out of the fight for most of the game. Taking advantage of that, Bart’s Cornelie headed straight for the ShannonMeanwhile Campbell’s Hermione followed, keeping between her and Michael’s Aeolus, which was still trying to reach the scene of the impending action. The game proper began when both Cornelie and Shannon exchanging broadsides at close range. The French got the worst of it, but undeterred, Bart decided to put his ship alongside the enemy. This was a sensible move, as the French had a bigger crew. So, a tense boarding action followed, with Alisdair holding his own, at least at the start. Numbers were beginning to tell. Then, to cap it all, the Hermione appeared, and came alongside the other side of Shannon So, eventually, Alisdair was forced to strike. This might have been avoided if the Aeolus had come up to support her, but for some reason she didn’t, preferring to fire at the Hermione at long range. So, the game ended with a rare French win.To be fair, for this particular game we didn’t give the British any real advantage in crew quality. Their only bonus was their ability to reload their guns faster than the Frenchmen. Still, it was a good clean win for Bart, achieved by ganging up on the enemy, and using the wind to close fast and board.All in all it was a good, fun game, and a nice way to wash the stuffy taste of an AGM out of our mouths. Still, I tip my hat to those who step forward onto the club’s management committee, and help keep the South East Scotland Wargames Club running smoothly over the coming year. That allows the  rest of us to concentrate on the fun business of shuffling lead. 




5 Responses “Action off Toulon, 1811”

  1. Derek
    9th December 2018 at 3:37 pm

    The people on the committee mostly don’t want to be there, but stay because they know that somebody has to do it if the club is to keep going.

    You should be glad that we are willing to put in the work that enables you to enjoy your wargaming.

    • 9th December 2018 at 11:21 pm

      I do appreciate them, Derek. Having served on the committe, I understand just how tedious and thankless it can be. I’m just glad the necessary intrusion into gaming is limited to just once a year..and that the AGM is kept mercifully short.

    • 14th December 2018 at 11:56 pm

      In days gone by when I was Chairman I used to preload the nominations for committee posts well in advance of the AGM. I maybe twisted an arm or two but usually managed to make members feel that they had volunteered for the post. In some cases I had more volunteer than posts.

  2. Jim Duncan
    16th December 2018 at 8:07 pm

    Nice boats by the way.

    • 16th December 2018 at 8:12 pm

      Ships, dear boy. Ships.

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