Saturday, February 28, 2004
I just ran the Battle of Portland, and I controlled the Dutch, with the difficulty set to hard. This time, I attacked the main body, and left Monck's squadron to later. I won 60% to 0%, with Monck's flagship, the Vanguard as the last English ship still fighting. There were many ships combining against the Vanguard, but she was finally sunk by gunfire, with the Amsterdam Admiralty ship Achilles on her port side, and the Amsterdam Directors' ship, the Groote Liefde, on her starboard side. The Vanguard actually sank, rather than surrender.
This is the first time that I have won, as the Dutch, when I attacked the main body, first. Again, I only maneuvered the Dutch ships with destination points, and I maneuvered groups rather than individual ships.
I ran the Battle of Portland scenario, with success. I had the difficulty level set to "hard" and took the Dutch side (as usual). The Dutch won 57% to 0%, with the last surviving English ship being the small frigate, Nightingale, which had tried to run away.
I always maneuvered only using destination points, although on several occasions, I set a destination point for a single ship, either when it had become separated, or in another case, to be able to rake a larger English ship.
My tactics, as usual, were to first attack the single squadron, cruising to the Northeast, near the coast. In the real battle, this was George Monck's squadron. A nice feature of Ballhausen's book is that he has pictures that show the layout of the squadrons, as well as the starting wind direction.
In the real battle, the Dutch attacked the other squadrons, first. Frank Fox says that they came close to winning the battle on the first day, as they were able to board the second rate flagships. However, they ended up losing the battle, as they started to run out of ammunition, having wasted some bombarding land fortifications.
In any case, what I find are a winning way to fight, is to sail in such a way to divide the enemy fleet, by "breaking the line", or as is the case in Privateers Bounty, sailing in between ships that are generally sailing in lire abreast, towards your fleet.
As an experiment, I may try attacking the main body, first, before I deal with Monck's squadron.
I just ran the Battle of the Kentish Knock scenario, with myself as the Dutch, and the difficulty set to hard. I won my best victory in that scenario by 57% to 0%. The battle devolved into a chase, where the English 2nd Rate Andrew and several frigates were running to the Southeast. The last ship to be destroyed or taken was the frigate Ruby, which had been sailing away, at something like full speed. Several Dutch ships, with full sails set, caught the Ruby, and zigzagged across her stern, until she surrendered.
I took the suggestion of a friend and tried using destination points for groups of ships. That turned out to be incredibly good. With the difficulty set to "Medium", the Dutch, under my control beat the Swedes 72% to 0%, in the Battle of the Sound scenario.
I want to try other scenarios, as well, to see how well it works. My basic fleet tactic is to break the enemy fleet into two pieces, where one is usually smaller than the other, and then sail back and forth, between the two parts. The enemy ships come towards the fleet, and get raked and destroyed.
Wednesday, February 25, 2004
I am in the process of "filling in" ship and captain names into the list outline that I have from an unpublished manuscript from July 1653. The document lists the 105 ships that took part in the Battle of the Gabbard, but has very few names. Using the breakdown by admiralty, and the information about the fate of ships in the list, it is pretty easy to know exactly what ship is listed, in many cases.
Tuesday, February 24, 2004
With respect to Privateers Bounty and Win98/ME compatibility, a limitation in a machine with Windows ME is that the OS will not use more than 512MB of PHYSICAL memory. There is still plenty of virtual memory to use. If Privateers Bounty has limits, it is because the program was hired wired to only allow for a limited number of ships, not because it is limited by Windows 98/ME.
Monday, February 23, 2004
I am now compiling the Dutch order-of-battle for the Gabbard. I had started this about 7 months ago. The list is based on a document from the Nationaal Archief, in the Hague, that lists the Dutch fleet of 105 ships, by admiralty, but actually names only a few. However, many names can be inferred, plus the published sources list many names.
Sunday, February 22, 2004
I was able to successfully run the Battle of the Sound scenario through to victory. I can only conclude that the Dutch did really well, in the real battle, as the Dutch were out-numbered and mostly outgunned. In the simulation, the Swedes actually got a lead, in the early part of the battle. As the battle progressed, the losses were proportionally comparable.
However, the situation eventually reached a descernable tipping point, as the Dutch fleet broke the Swedes in half, and kept tacking back and forth. Swedish ships started sinking and surrendering. The Dutch won by continually delivering raking fire to the larger Swedish ships. The Kronan (74 guns) was the second-to-the-last ship to surrender. The last was the Västervik.
My next scenario will be for the Battle of the Gabbard (the Two Days Battle). I have an accurate list that shows how many Dutch ships there were from each admiralty, directorate, and chamber of the VOC. I had made an attempt, late last year, to analyze which ships were actually there. The list I have (from the Nationaal Archief, in the Hague) lists only a few ship names. There are numerous references in The First Dutch War and Schetsen uit de geschiedenis van ons zeewezen to ships and captains, so I should be able to at least do a good estimate of which ships took part in the battle.
The English fleet seems easier, as there are two published lists. One is contemporary, and reprinted in The First Dutch War and the other is R.C. Anderson's attempt to refine that list.
Because of limitations with Privateers Bounty, I will have to scale down both fleets, anyway. I will retain what I believe to the the fleet organizations, at least
While running my Battle of the Sound scenario, I conducted my most successful fireship attack, to date. I sailed the four Dutch fireships at the Swedish northernmost squadron, and set at least two ships afire. I was surprised, as well, that mostly Swedish ships caught on fire, from gunfire, and perhaps only one Dutch ship, the Noorderkwartier ship, the Eendracht (38 guns).
I set up the scenario with the four fireships together, at the rear of Pieter Florissen's "Rear" squadron, all sailing to the Southwest.
Saturday, February 21, 2004
I finished my initial version of the Battle of the Sound for AOSII Privateers Bounty. I was playtesting the scenario, when my computer hung so badly, that I had to do a hard reboot.
Even with the "Difficulty Level" set to "Medium", it is a very balanced scenario, when done as a solo game with the Dutch against the Swedes. I suspect that if you play the Swedes, you will be able to really do a lot of damage to the Dutch fleet. The Swedes have several very large ships (the Kronan and the Viktoria, as well as some very substantial 54-gun ships. The Dutch only have the Eendracht (72 guns) and the Brederode (58 guns), of that size. Pieter Florissen's flagship, the Jozua only carried 50 guns.
The Dutch had been further ahead, but the Swedes flanked the Dutch fleet, and when my machine froze up, I was maneuvering to break the Swedish fleet into two parts.
That is the way to do a great deal of damage: break the line, and then go on alternative tacks, sailing back and forth. I would like to be able to play a battle all the way through, before I release the scenario for others to play.
I expect to do a revision, after I receive a document, from August 1658, that has armaments for most of the Swedish fleet that took part in the battle.
Friday, February 20, 2004
I just fought my best battle against the English in the Battle of the Kentish Knock scenario. The scenario starts with the English fleet sailing South, and then altering course towards the Dutch. What works so well was to bunch up the Dutch ships and steer to the West-Northwest, so that the bulk of the Dutch ships concentrated against the generally smaller English ships on the South of the formation. After separating and sailing past, the entire Dutch fleet came about and sailed to the East-Northeast.
In this, the two toughest English ships, the Sovereign and Resolution were in the Northern end of the English fleet. Altering course in the opposite direction maintained the Dutch in the position of having broken the English line. The new heading tended to put the Dutch into the position of raking the English.
The English fleet was pretty much written off, by the mass Dutch formation, that that only the Sovereign and Resolution, with a few companions, and to the Northeast, the Triumph and Lion survived. The Dutch got into position to, enmass, rake the large English ships from the bow and stern. The Resolution surrendered first, and then was sunk. The Sovereign was harder, but eventually surrendered. The remaining Dutch got in position to rake the remaining two English ships, and eventually, to catch the larger between fire on both sides, as well as raking positions. The Lion, being smaller, was eventually sunk by gunfire. When the Triumph, surrendered, that was the end of the battle.
50% of the Dutch fleet remained, and most were quite mobile. In the past, I have gotten caught with many surviving, but immobile Dutch ships against the two 1st Rates, and was in trouble. I quit, when I could see that the Dutch didn't have a chance.
One secret is to quickly steer ships on fire out of the way of others, to start the crew firefighting, and to steer nearby ships out of the way of burning ships.
Another secret is to largely maneuver the ships as a fleet, or at least in large groups. Also, clump ships together and use that to break the opposing line. Even though you end up masking fires, a single line is very fragile, while the clump is not.
Using these tactics, I was able to decisively beat the English. That was with the difficulty set to "Hard" rather than "Medium", as well, so it was a great triumph.
I have been consulting my copies of manuscripts from the Dutch archives for 1658. For many of the ships, I have the crew breakdown into sailors and soldiers. At some point, I will make this information availble on one of my websites. I am currently building a spreadsheet with Dutch ships for the Battle of the Sound. I did my initial cut at the Swedish fleet, although when I receive more information from Prof. Glete, I will factor that in.
Wednesday, February 18, 2004
I asked Prof. Glete about Johan Levin Carlbom's armament figures for Swedish ships, as reported in Dr. Ballhausen's book. Prof. Glete told me that the figures I gave him for the Swedish ship, the Caesar, that gave the lower tier as 26-24pdr guns was incorrect, as the number should be 22-24pdr guns. he says that the figures in Carlbom's work are essentially establishments, rather than actual guns carried. There is a list, from August 1658, that has listed the armaments actually carried for most of the Swedish ships at the battle in November.
I have made a small start on defining the Dutch ships for the Battle of the Sound scenario for AOSII/Privateers Bounty. I hope to have the scenario ready for testing, this weekend.
Sunday, February 15, 2004
I finished my spreadsheet for Swedish ships that fought at the Battle of the Sound, 1658. There is much better information available than I had imagined. My friend's website, "Sailing Warships", has been extremely helpful. I was surprised to find that Dr. Ballhausen's book has really useful information in it, from a book with which I am unfamiliar. I am going to see if I can get access to a copy, as it has gun information for Swedish ships, as well as information about when they were built, and their source.
I have started to do "data entry" into AOSII Privateers Bounty for the Swedish ships. I have at least seem of the Dutch ships, already. I have good lists for both fleets, so the Battle of the Sound will definitely be the next scenario I do.
Thanks to my friend in Finland, who has his website that has the best coverage on the web for "Sailing Warships: List of Sailing Warships from 17th to 19th Century", I am making good progress on defining the Swedish ships at the Battle of the Sound.
Since the "Sailing Warships" is a combination of many published sources and contributions from unpublished archival sources, there is nothing else that is a good, published or on the Internet.
Saturday, February 14, 2004
I realized that the best thing would be to move my sailing ship naval wargaming discussion to a new forum. At least, initially, since this will be an ongoing discussion, if not dialog, a blog would be a good place to start.
I have scenarios for Age of Sail II-Privateers Bounty for the First Anglo-Dutch War from the start, at Dover, up to and including the Battle of Portland, in early 1653. I may make those available for download from this blog, although I may just continue to supply them, as requested by e-mail.
My current project is to develop a scenario for the Battle of the Sound. I realized that this would be feasible, when I found extensive armament information about the Swedish fleet, on the Internet.
There is also a good map in Dr. Ballhausen's book, that shows the starting position of the squadrons and the wind direction. R.C. Anderson's book has a description and orders of battle for the two fleets, as well as their organization. I have, in addition, unpublished, handwritten documents from the Nationaal Archief, in the Hague, that have additional information about the Dutch fleet (especially crew and soldier data).