A small Royal Navy squadron of HMS Thunderer (74) and HMS Canopus (80) spots a suspicious pair of sails on the distant horizon (see below):
The sails turn out to be a small French squadron of two ships Le Franklin (74) and the Commerce de Marseilles (120) obviously intent on conducting a secret mission for the Emperor (see below):
Despite being out gunned the Royal Navy commander decides on a aggressive strategy of cutting the enemy (French) line, so the fittingly named HMS Thunderer leads the charge. HMS Canopus and the Commerce de Marseilles have exchanged fire resulting in "sail and mast" damage to both. As HMS Thunderer blocks HMS Canopus' line of sight to the French flagship Canopus turns her attention to the Le Franklin (see below, British squadron at top of photograph, French bottom):
The ambitious "breaking the line" manoeuvre goes somewhat awry as the captain of HMS Thunderer miscalculates the relative speeds of the two ships and impales herself on a ship twice her size (a crew of over a thousand Frenchmen compared to under five hundred British sailors). This meant interested reading and re-reading of the collision rules (see below):
As a wargame the battle had to be left unfinished, in rather a shambolic state, with the French flagship being entangled with the small British 74 (HMS Thundered). HMS Canopus and Le Franklin meanwhile continued their exchanges of broadside upon broadside, leaving both in a state of mutual "de-sailing and de-masting" (see below):
Chances are the Le Franklin will succumb to the continued attention of HMS Canopus as both ships become static floating fortresses, the rate of fire from the British being better. However if HMS Thunderer cannot untangle herself from the French flagship ultimately the battle will be lost to the French.
A 60:40 probability to the French methinks ;)