Time to stack the odds against the Royal Navy who so far have trounced the French Navy good and proper in one-to-one encounters. Two French third-rate 74's (with a total of 154 guns, er do the math?) come across a mighty second-rate RN 100 gunner "alone" at sea. It was thought that the 100 gunner would be such a devastating force in a fight the French were still likely to be blown away. Will it be the hour of the French Sea-Wolves or more broken French match-sticks floating in the sea? The scene is set below, bottom for the French, top for the British):
The fleets slowly converge with the French being slightly favoured with the "weather gauge" as the wind is blowing across at the British ship (a very nice GHQ 1/1200 model from another wargamer) so the Brit would have trouble trying to sail at the French as he would have head into the wind. The "weather gauge" was a random factor not written into the scenario (see below):
The French Commander or should I say Admiral (me) decided to take the initiative and close the range with the Brit (see below):
By choosing to close the range in the same fashion again for another consecutive turn (can anybody else see the parallel with The Battle of the Denmark Straits?) rapidly decreased the distance but caused the Royal Navy Commander to burst at the seems with an opportunity to deal a 100 gun bow -rake, though a long range (see below):
The Frenchman had the luck of the devil as the British gunners uncharacteristically missed. The helm was brought about and the lead French shipped fired. Tears and gaping holes in the British sails boasted of good French dice rolls. (see below):
The French had yet to bring the full squadron broadside into play as the French formation was turning in succession. This evened up the tactics rather than letting the French duo split up right from the start. The second French ship is constrained to play follow the leader until circumstances (such as battle damage) dictate otherwise.
PS I think the sea is pretty cool, being a relatively cheap table covering (that never saw a dinner service placed on it). I will have to keep an eye out for one!