Friday, August 22, 2008

Law of the Gun

Seeing the makeshift mainmast topple, Captain Correteaux ordered the helm hard over to starboard. The inertia of the falling mast continued to carry it on the southerly course, and it crashed over the port side gunwales into the sea below. Seeing the sloop's new course, the chebec swung hard to port to run alongside. The crews could see each other plainly across the few yards that separated them, the sloop's crew seeing its worst fears confirmed in the moorish habit and complexion of the chebec's crew. Musket fire from both ships broke out, and the chebec's crew began casting grappling lines over the sloop's damaged port gunwales to draw the two ships close enough for them to board.
The Pharaon's deck crew dashed from grapple to grapple with cutlasses cutting the lines as quickly as they were thrown over, as the momentum of the two ships carried them past one another. Both ships loosed another broadside at point-blank range, and the concussions and smoke rendered the ships nearly invisible to one another.
As the smoke began to clear, the two ships continued to separate, and Captain Correteaux could see that his crew had indeed succesfully severed every one of the dozen grappling line the corsairs had thrown over. Tacking back to port, he was able to put the chebec, slowing now to attempt to come about again on the Pharaon's stern, once more into range of his port broadside. His portside guncrews again unleashed their fire into the chebec. While it had been difficult to gauge the damage inflicted in the first broadside, it could now be seen that all of the guns of the chebec visible on either side of the waist of the chebec were now blown off their carriages.
The chebec indeed made no effort to return the broadside, but instead made one final tack to port, which, when matched by the Pharaon's continued pivot to keep the corsairs in view of its broadsides, resulted in the chebec's acceleration of its cadence, bearing away to the northwest. The crew and officers of the Pharaon cheered loudly as the chebec's mainsails fluttered back up and its stern retreated steadily from view. Correteaux viewed the shrinking profile of the chebec with satisfaction.

"Barsanio, a tot of grappa for the crew, and two tots for the gun crews are very much in order, I believe."


Oldsmoblogger said...

Grappa, indeed. Those fellows earned it.

ColCampbell50 said...

A nice little battle report. I like your idea of using the WhizKids ships. Our group has been using the galleys for Renaissance naval warfare and I plan of using the various sailing ships for 18th Century naval warfare.