The Age of Fighting Sail, Kiss Me Hardy, 1/1200 scale
We were all at sea this week, playing a fun-looking scenario from the Lard Magazine 2021. A French squadron of four ships-of-the-line was on its way from Nice to Calvi in Corsica, when it stopped to take on water in the Iles d’ Hyères, off the coast of the French Riviera. This ” Squadron of Retribution” was made up of four 74’s, under the command of Commodore Quilo. Word of their sailing though, had reached the ears of the Royal Navy, who sent out a squadron to intercept Quilo. Rear Admiral Pound’s squadron (a 2nd rate of 98 guns, two 74s and a frigate) caught up with the French as two of Quilo’s ships were lying off the Ile de Port Cros, with some of their crews ashore filling water casks from a spring. Quilo’s Redoutable and Scipion still had boats ashore when the British hove in sight to seaward. It would take time to recover the men and the boats, or else leave them, and fight the coming battle under strength. The game, by the way, was played on a 6×4 foot table, dotted with islands, rocks and shoals – a tricky area to navigate through while fighting off the enemy!Quilo, played by Sean 2, decided to recall the watering parties, as his two other ships Duguay-Trouin and Pluton came up from the south to join him. Meanwhile, the British, played by Sean 1 split their forces, with the 98 gun Temeraire and the 36 gun frigate Euryalus heading for the eastern side of the island, while the 74s Colossus and Mars headed for the western side.The idea, of course, was to trap the French between the two pincers. Sean 2 though, was helped by the north-easterly wind, which slowed the British approach, and gave him time to recover his boats. It also allowed the other two French ships to join him. Once the French squadron had combined, Quilo led them out to do battle with Pound’s flagship, the fighting Temeraire, and the Euryalus. This involved a slow and tricky passage between the island’s shallows and offshore rocks and a rocky shoal to the north-east, which lay off the nearby Ile du Levant. He managed it, but the last two ships – Duguay-Trouin and Pluton lagged behind the others as the French line threaded through the narrow channel. Quilo’s Redoutable though, and the Scipion, were plunged straight into the fray.When the French game out, Sean 1 kept the frigate Euryalus to seaward of the Temeraire, and the British 2nd rate and the French closed rapidly on opposite tacks. They passed each other at close-range, with the Temeraire mauling the Redoutable as she passed, pounding her hull and knocking off her bowsprit. The Scipion though, used her first broadside to fire at the Euryalus. The Redoutable limped away to the east, her crew trying to rig some sort of jury bowsprit to let her tack. That left the Scipion to face the Temeraire alone. Fortunately the other two French 74s were coming into the fight now, exchanging long-range shots with the British flagship and her accompanying frigate. With their flagship hors de combat though, the French seemed reluctant to close in. Over to the west of the Ile de Port Cros the two British 74s Colossus and Mars were finally rounding the rocky should off the island’s western tip, and began entering the bay where the French commodore had anchored to take on water. This made it dangerous for the French to linger. So, Quilo signaled his remaining ships, ordering them to escape to Toulon. Then he sailed off and left them to it.The next turn saw the French disengage, and as the three other ships formed up and turned towards the east, the flagship Redoutable limped off the eastern table edge a little to the south of them. The three of them traded shots with the Temeraire as they passed her, who gave back better than she got. Still, no major damage was inflicted by either side, as the French made an exit from the table. In the fighting Temeraire, Rear Admiral Pound heaved to, as the crew of his flagship repaired their damaged rigging. The idea was, once the other two 74s arrived, the whole squadron would pursue the French, and ideally capture the damaged Redoutable. For Commodore Quilo, that might be preferable to the guillotine! That scrap though, was another fun game for another day.