Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Mediterranean Skirmish

The chaps at the Berkeley Vale club seem rather taken with Form Line of Battle. And quite rightly so, IMHO :) Anyway, for their second outing I thought it would be good to try an action with smaller ships rather than ships of the line. Smaller in one sense, but bigger in others as I decided to try the rules out sing my collection of 1/450 Peter Pig "Pieces of Eight" ships. These are lovely models and I really wish Martin would add just a few new models to the range. They are full of character and have a natural advantage over 1/1200 Langtons in that they are extremely rugged and hence perfectly suited to club evening play. 

The French "line" approaching

Anyway, the scenario was a 3 way battle set in the Mediterranean in the late 1700s. A British landing force and civilians are being evacuated in a couple of transports from an anchorage in the face of an oncoming French force comprising a small frigate and five schooners and sloops. The British force comprises two small frigates and two brigs. Unbeknownst to either a squadron of wiley Algerine pirates is also in the offing, touting a couple of xebecs and two dhows, packed with warriors of Allah. The aim of the game is simple - whoever gets the transports off the table wins.

The French commanders, Rodger and Andy, plot their next moves

Brevity and the passage of time precludes a detailed account of the action, but the key points were this. The French attempted to work around into the bay to attack the British from the rear, whilst the Algerines (bravely, but rather uncharacteristically) mounted a full-on charge. This was met with thundering broadsides, but some clever manoeuvring did get one of the xebecs into a position where it could slow the progress of one of the transports. However, by this time the French were assailing the British rear and were in a perfect position to scoop up the delayed transport, the British warships having been drawn ahead of this ship and thus not in a position to support. As the evening drew to a close I surveyed the state of the table and called a narrow French victory. Well don Rodger and Andy!

The Algerine squadron braces itself for a broadside from the leading British frigate

The game worked just fine with the Peter Pig models and so its likely that the majority of our FLoB games will be those featuring smaller ship actions. Next on the order of play - gunboats and cutting out missions
Towards the climax of the battle - the French squadron (left) closes on the British rear

An earlier phase of the battle, as Steve drives the British squadron towards the oncoming Algerines


  1. Never done a three-way game, but I can see that it would work just fine with the card-based initiative system.

  2. David, where do the xebecs cone from? I don't recall those being part of the Peter Pig line.

  3. Models and land formations look really good! Nice to see some chaps enjoying themselves .... Jeff