Thursday, March 27, 2008

Dawn March 4, 1758 Off Shetland

Narrator: As the sun slowly illuminated the cold northern waters south of the Main Island in the Shetland group, the wind began to stir again with the slight warming of the atmosphere. The Gallian fleet was sailing to the southward in three lines abreast. The eastern most line consisted of the four flutes. The two other lines to the westward had four 74s each. In the middle aboard the flagship Impenetrable....

Gallian Admiral Suthren to himself: "There they are ... dead ahead ... to the southward. I make out seven ships of the line and one frigate. We have eight ships of the line, our frigate and little Alerte. The Britannians mean business. [He looks astern.] Ah. Good. The Hesse-Engelburg squadron has exited Bressay Sound on a southeasterly heading. They will come up to seaward of my flutes. I wonder what the Britannian Admiral will think. He can't know what Kommodore Mueller will do."

Flag Capitaine Aigle: "Admiral. The odds are nearly even if the Hesse-Engelburgers do not engage."

Suthren: "They will only engage if attacked. We do not have enough of an advantage unless somehthing happens in our favour. This means we will have to disengage since our primary mission will fail if we are sufficiently shot to pieces. Signal the fleet to make for the southeast to take the advantage of the wind on our staboard stern quarter. Fall off on a bearing for Denmark."

Narrator: For an hour the wind rose slowly allowing a gradual increase in speed. Each fleet contined on these headings. Britannians heading straight north for the Shetlands and Bressay Sound. Gallians still far to the north of the Britannians angling away to the southeast. The Hesse-Engelburg squadron farther to the north on a southeasterly heading which would bring them to seaward of the Gallians, they being faster wih all frigates and one unloaded merchantman.

A Lookout Aloft Aboard Impenetable: "Deck there. DECK! Three sail of the line hull up to the eastward."

Aigle: "What flag do they fly?"

Lookout: "Tradgardland Suuuurrrrrr."

Suthren: [Looking through his perspective glass at the new arrivals.] "Well then, that gives us eleven sail of the line to their seven not counting frigates."

Aigle: "Admiral. The Britannians have shifted to the nortwestward. I think they mean to disengage with these heavy odds against them. A slower tack too."

Suthren: "We shall see. Order the fleet to make for the Tradgardland squadron. An easting Capitaine Aigle. We will join our ally and see. We must not lose our valuable cargo."

The order of battle as we know it was:

Tradgardland Squadron
Duke Karl Frederick
Wild Strawberries (90) Flagship Duke Karl Frederick commanding
Fanny (64) Captain Ulmann
Alexander (64) Captain Ekdhal

Hesse-Engelburg Squadron
Kommodore Hans Mueller
Gewitter (40) Flagship
Fechter (36)
Donnerkeil (36)
Gielfalke (20)
Johannes Sebastian (8) merchantman

Gallian Fleet
Admiral Suthren
Impenetrable (74) Flagship (Flag Capitaine Aigle)
Courage (74)
Vexation (74)
Discombobulator (74)
Audace (74)
Poseidon (74)
Acheron (74)
Mars (74)
l’Vengeance (40)
Alerte (20)

Warships en-flute carrying battalion Albany

The Britannians
7x Sail of the line
1x Frigate


Der Alte Fritz said...

22 French and Allied ships against 8 British warships?

Frankfurter said...

Naw, in this situation, the Hesse-Englburg squadron is well out of the fight, so its just the eleven to eight ... if the Britanian fleet knew that, they'd probably still engage I suspect ...
And I wonder if Hesse-Englburg will show their course soon enough for the Britanians to swing back?

Snickering Corpses said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Snickering Corpses said...

Arthur is correct, at present the Hesse-Engelburg squadron is out of the fight due to neutrality, though time shall tell if that shall remain their course.

I believe Der Alte is, however, including the Gallian transports in his count of vessels, also.

Gallia said...

Warships sailing en-flute means most of the great guns have been taken off to make more room for cargo, soldiers, etc. They are sitting ducks without protection.
Votre Serviteur

Der Alte Fritz said...

As with my namesake handle, I know little of naval warfare, terminology, etc and believe that real fighting is done on firm ground. I shall stay on land and let others fight with the ships. :)