Saturday 30 December 2017

Xmas Present Haul (Part 1) WW2 Soviet Infantry (Winter)

Egged on by a local club whose members are about to start a 28mm WWII Summer to Winter Stalingrad Campaign using the Chain of Command rule-set I hinted to my wife a nice new shiny box of toys might be needed. I dutifully walked away and "imagine my surprise" when Santa had left a special pressie (see below): 

It took me a (tortuous) while before I could "open to touch and assemble" them as I first had to assemble a "stand alone [but for how long will it be left standing?]" child basketball hoop and then configure a couple of mobile phones (the devil's toy!) not to mention helping look for (as in Search and Rescue mission) "lost Lego parts"!

They look really nice (he says as he yet again descends into WWII multi-scale madness), watch this space fpor a progress report or two in the near future ;)

Friday 29 December 2017

Painting up the 1:600 Airfix HMS King George V (Part 1)

Back Story:

This kit was purchased "last century" (circa 1995 methinks or maybe even earlier) showing how old it is by the brittle nature of its plastic. Even then it was one of those re-release Airfix ships kits that I knew I "had to get when I saw it" otherwise it would be on my "missed and lost my chance to make it forever list" (another close call was the Fairey Battle - that is all but "decalled"). I missed HMS Repulse at the same time and it took me a decade before Airfix re-release that one courtesy of the Airfix "James May Spitfire revival". It was constructed, he says in slight disbelief that I managed to get it that far, circa 2001-2 when I had "time on my hands" (yes I was a post-graduate student) but remained in its raw plastic state for the next fifteen years "in the loft". Now after my recent run out with the Sink the Bismarck demonstration game it's time has finally come. There may even be a chance to sail it on the lawn in 2018 in a large scale Fletcher Pratt re-run of the destruction of the Bismarck, who knows.

Stage 1: Raw Plastic and in bits (see below):

Airfix Primer "Battleship Grey" Grey (01) applied with "most" bits place together - time has not been kind to those brittle masts I may have to yet replace them with brass wire (see below):

A Black Vallejo Wash is applied to emphasise the shadows (see below, looking a bit over the top at the moment, however a grey "base colour" is next):

And also by complete coincidence the KGV model fits into snugly into a wine box purchased from ALDI :) The only disappointment is the brittle nature of the masts (partly to do with the old plastic) which means I will have to revisit them with copper wire at a later date (see below):

Believe me it feels like an achievement simply getting this far, twenty years down the lane, give or take a year ;)

Next Stage: Timeline sometime in the New Year! What colours to paint with?

Thursday 28 December 2017

DBA Version 3.0: Sparta v Argives (Part 3) The Replay

The Argives after their poor PiP point roll have but one attack that "bounces" back. There is an "air gap" between the two opposing armies. The Argive General braces himself for the Spartan counterattack (see below):

The Spartan King decides to launch his right but refuse the left (otherwise it would be "turned" dangerously the next turn, akin to the Argive position the previous turn). The Arives bounce back but as the dice fall  one Argive spear is cut down by being doubled (see below, Argive 2 Spartan 1):

While the Argives were nibbling away at one end (the Spartan left) the Spartans have broken the Argive middle as well as turning their end (the Argive left). This is a very dangerous development as it fragments the Argive line and creates three points of attack. The Spartans also have scope for extending their left by an additional hoplite Spear stand. The Argives need to respond quickly (see below):

Not being blessed with a great many PiPs the Argive General concentrated in sending in his own General (hoplite Spear) stand against the helot Hoard stand, flanked by a stand of Psiloi (2 PiPs). With odds of (5 to 1) the helots die bravely being doubled. The only other combats result in a stand-off in the middle (which looks ominous for the Argives next turn) and a favourable push-back (despite 3- 5 odds in the Spartans favour) on the Argive left helps to merely straighten the line up. As seemingly always in wargames the carefully placed terrain piece means that as a certain critical point the 'toy soldiers' cannot stand-up straight (see the bottom left of the picture and the two stands of Argive Spears falling back up the hill). Argives 3 Spartans 1 .. what can the Spartans do? (see below):

The Spartan King (again not blessed with great PiP dice, as in "what a time to roll a one") decides to crush the Argive centre by "closing the door". The result however is more a product of DBA 3 than DBA 2. The factors are Sparta 3 (Spear +4 - 1 for an overlap) and Argives 4 (Spear 4 -1 for overlap but +1 for flank support) but if the Argives lose they die. The result if  is "another stand-off" a good result to say the least for the Argive (see below): 

The Argives having seen the Spartans claw themselves back into the battle are at this point merely glad to have a chance to end it. Receiving three PiPs their options are limited but under further inspection only two PiP are required. The vital PiP is spent on the Argive General to close the door on another Spartan hoplite Spear and hopefully "end the battle". The battle line advances in support, which could also mean a dead Argive hoplite in the middle (gulp). The third PiP is used to move the left hand side Psiloi into the rear of the Spartan rear. If the battle lasts another turn it may yet come in useful.

The final round of combat .. the Argive General leads a successful attack and kills the Spartan hoplite Spear so thus winning the battle. In addition another Spartan hoplite Spear falls in most unusual circumstances [Argive Spear attacked to the front but flanked +4 but -1  for being outflanked yet +1 for friendly side support = +4 and +5 dice roll = +9 total versus the Spartan Spear +4 but - 1 for it too being flanked -1 = +3 and +1 dice roll =  +4]. The 5:1 dice roll sealed its fate and means the Spartans are doubled and killed. Final score: Argives 5 Spartans 2 (see below):

Rematch two ends. Two wins for the Argives. One match to the. 'master. and one match to his 'apprentice' or 'troubadour'. Another game is scheduled for the new year. Until then best wishes to one and all for the New Year.

Wednesday 27 December 2017

DBA Version 3.0: Sparta v Argives (Part 2) The Replay

The Argive General is staring into an open "air gap" where some Spartans 'used to be'. The temptation is to rush forwards and 'massacre the helots' (5 v 2 factors) trying to get a 'quick double'. However clearer thinking held sway. Simply by holding the battle line in a solid formation the isolated Spartan hoplite to the right could alternatively be attacked (at 5 v 2 factors) with the naughty Psiloi 'closing the door' from the rear - meaning a 'push back' is turned into a kill. The hoard of helots are going "no place in particular fast" as my father used to say (see below):

With a terrible dice throw (in the circumstances) of three PiPs the Argive General can organise the right flank attack to his desires, but the left remains a tad perilous. He would much have preferred to see the left most hoplite expand out and the other Argive Psilio move into the rear of the Spartans. This however is the best he can make of his lot (see below)

The combat resulted in somewhat mixed outcomes. The hoplite trap was successfully sprung and a second stand of Spartan hoplites is lost (Argives 2 Spartans 0). The army count has now swung in teh Argives favour, 10 to 9 in hoplites (Spear) and 2 Psiloi to 1 Hoard. It is a case of making those numbers now count. Elsewhere the Spartans were generally pushed back on their left but bounced the Argives back on their right. One problem was noticed at this point, remembering "when" a flank element becomes eligible to "close the door" on an enemy stand. For ease, we called it when a stand starts a phase on an enemies flank. The Argive had two concerns, his far left was about to be turned and there is an isolated Argive hoplite unit which is vulnerable to a local Spartan counter attack in the right half of his attack. The Spartans are sure to take advantage of these circumstances (see below): 

As expected the Spartan "master" hits where it counts. The furthest right units flank as the battle line surges forward. On the left he is content to just attack in the one place he can win, no point endangering his helots. In ancients: "Fight with your best and don't fight where you don't have to" (see below):

However fickle fortune favours the Argives. They are just pushed back along the line which is a moral Argive victory. The Spartan King is wondering if he should have risked move by throwing a Spartan Spear far in the Argive rear (see below):

The situation is ripe for a decisive Argive attack bit a disastrous roll of 1 PiP means that the Argives are forced on the defensive. The final left-most Argive hoplite extends left to cover the Spartan hoplite threat anything else would leave the Spartans too much "low hanging fruit" to pick (see below): 

Next: The Spartan counter-attack!

Tuesday 26 December 2017

DBA Version 3.0: Sparta v Argives (Part 1) The Replay

We knew we had to play this one again. I was excited as the rules seem to be much more dynamic (than I remember DBA 2.x when we played) last time. However I had been giving spear a +1 rear support .. but that was wrong. How will it effect game play? Likewise would 12 a-side make a difference? There was only one way to find out. Again we randomly rolled for sides. Highest gets Sparta .. this time I played Argives and as defender I chose the terrain. Importantly the attackers chooses the baseline so "don't go building the Maginot line" as you won't get to man it! (see below, Sparta chose to rest her flank against a tree and put the Spartan King to the Right naturally - one issue I have with the [no support for rear rank] is that I can see no reason not to have a 'long thin line of hoplites' however this means you cannot fit them into the deployment zones so have unnatural "column wings"):

Note: The defender chooses terrain, the attacker the orientation of the battle field and baseline sides, but the defender moves first which seems to balance out nicely in game play.

As history suggests I deployed my General to my right so a "revolving wheel of battle" can be expected. As the attackers deployed light of their left I am hoping much mischief will come of my Psilio in the woods and extra hoplite stand, plus General hoplite stand will avail me on my right. The helot hoard will be trying to keep out of the woods at all costs. The only ugly thing I see is the hoplite column for both armies on the left hand side of the picture. I have a heady six PiPs to play with so I push my Psilio forwards (2), my main battle line forwards in a group move (1 - excellent value 7 stands moved for 1 PiP), expand one hoplite out to my right flank with an individual stand tactical move (1) and through two more individual stand moves I expand out one stand to my left (perhaps I need only have spent one PiP in a column move). The only thing to note is that the battle line have to be constrained to the movement limit of the speed of the expanding hoplites, so they didn't two base widths forwards. As this was not a competition wargame we could discuss in game design terms was happening and what was a reasonable out, rather than reverting to "laser cut measuring tools" [I remember seeing that advertised once for DBM players] and Barkerite scripture reading. In out reasoned ruling the hoplites travelled a base depth less, so as we are playing with 15mm armies the hoplite battle line moved 65mm forwards and expanded a hoplite stand to either side (see below):   

The Spartans were hindered by a poor PiP dice roll (2) so in a similar fashion moved their battle line 65mm forward and expanded to their right by one base, leaving the Spartan King no longer on the right of their line. However on with the battle, there was no time for these niceties there was a battle to fight (see below):

It should could as no surprise that I jumped at the chance to push my Psilio forwards; to occupy advantageous positions on both flanks. The key move to me was the Psilio in the woods to get into the flank or rear of the Spartan holite phalanx. I was just as happy if the Spartan wanted his Helots to mix it up with me. The Psilio on the left was more subtle as his job was to lurk menacingly without being caught, worry the Spartan by perhaps luring off a hoplite stand to chase him and perhaps at a later stage worry a Spartan from the rear if you pardon the expression (see below, I also ;like the fact that there is little or no wriggle room now, it is going to be a stand-up hoplite clash - push of spear!)

With no hanging about the Spartans came forwards expanding to either side. On their right they contemptuously ignored my Psilio and lengthened their battle line to "10v10" both sides with an overlap to their respective right hand sides. On their left the Spartan hoplite was constrained by the woods so is out of supporting play for this turn. The Helots warily tirn to face the hidden Psilio in teh woods (see below, all ready for the first round of combat using DBA V3.0 combat rules correctly this time): 

Combat ensues and is a little more of a grind (without an additional +1 for hoplite rear support) but is still better than DBA V2.x IMHO. In summary: The "ends" can get hurt. The battle takes the form of a revolving door which is a classical hoplite battle shape. The Spartans push forwards with their right and are pushed back on their left with an unexpected catastrophic loss of a Spartan hoplite stand fighting the Argive General.

Note: Spartan hoplite spear end up left unsupported with a double overlap (+4 -1 -1 = +2) versus spear, General and flank support (+4 +1 +1 = +6). Spartan rolls low Argive high and "doubled" KIA.  

Looking good from the Argive perspective (see below: Spartan 0 Argive 1):

Next: Can the Argive General take the initiative on the "wooded right" while holding firm on the Argive open left flank?

Monday 25 December 2017

Happy Xmas Everyone

I hope you have a Great Xmas and wishing you all a Happy New Year in 2018
Peace on Earth.

PS: Hope Santa brought some nice toys for everybody ;)

Sunday 24 December 2017

Strelets Arab Revolt Figures

Psst: Don't tell Santa but I opened one of my presents early (the "Elf on the Shelf" moves to the naughty corner), the 1/72 Strelets Arab Revolt Figures. I saw these courtesy of getting my older brother a model kit from Hannats online store and I simply could not resist them. I actually blame The Miniature Zone and his excellent Bolt Action Western Desert Game AAR for putting the idea into my head. He used the old Airfix Arabs figures but sadly I could not get my hands on them so I jumped at the chance of getting the Strelets ones (see below):

Thirteen figures per sprue and four sprues equals 52 figures, you cannot complain about that! My only regret now is not getting the mounted camel box too. Maybe in the New Year. I was thinking of using these to spice up Western Desert games. They are brilliant for Arabs, Bedouin Guides attached to 8th Army or DAK or even LRDP (or SAS) posing as Arabs. Enigmatic don't you think? Quite heavily armed too, as there are four Vickers HMGs and four Lewis LMGs included in the pack.

Saturday 23 December 2017

Sci-Fi Project: The Yeater (Part 5)

The remaining 15 Yaeter (GZG New Israeli Gruntz) make it to the painting tray (see below):

These with 3 others not needed for the OoB will complete my 15mm Sci-Fi "troop collective" of 40 troopers (see below, Note: I was still painting the bases of the LHS figures but these were two mirroe formations [which do not correspond to valid Star Gruntz OoB]):

The WIP (doing) has moved to DONE. So on a distant rock, circling a distant sun with a crimson stained horizon; some forty humanoid figures traverse the landscape. They trudge on foot but on fact are highly advanced elite light infantry making their way to a secret objective (see below):

The original Yeater group of three Squads and a Command Team with Sniper Close Support Pair have been supplemented by another Squad, a Heavy Laz Support Team and three Sniper/Scout Pairs. They all look very nice IMHO .. sigh of relief "job done". Here is a couple of close up shots (see below, Dust-Side with the fourth Yaeter Gruntz Squad):

On point with a Sniper/Scout Pair (see below):

As the infantry foot soldiers are now complete it is time to consider the various "vehicles" these bods (aka the Yaeter) need. One suggestion is the Star Wars "Snow Speeder" for a little bit of aerial "fast Support" to help with tough targets and distracting the enemy during the extraction phase of operations (see below, the figures inside are close enough to 15mm to be viable):

These should see some action in early January 2018 .. keep watching the skies and this space for more breaking news ;)

Friday 22 December 2017

Thursday 21 December 2017

Scenery: Airfix Resin House (20mm or 1/76)

Now I have plenty of "kit" (metal/plastic, resin balsa and glue), far too much kit ever to paint in some cases but I lack scenery. I tend to rely on the charity of others or clubs. I now bitterly regret some 3-5 years ago at Xmas not jumping of the great "Airfix resin building sale", being sold off at half price or less (in hindsight, such a wonderful thing, a bargain and a half). Instead of those "ruined buildings" I went for big stupid models I will probably never build (though they came in glorious big shiny boxes for sure). So when I was wandering around Hobby Craft I saw that they were selling one (a single lonely last model on shelf) at half price (£5 to you and me), in nice "ruined French Cafe". On a whim I took a chance and was mightily impressed (tinged with the regret I have just expressed) as the resin was clearly moulded, high detail and just right for 20mm (or 1/76 as advertised). A very nice piece of kit. This means I have three WW2 ruined houses to put together and paint. The Airfix Command Post (which I got for sentimental reasons), this resin kit and a Valiant house [will has a cunning Russian Doll aspect to it]. All suitable for Chain of Command or Cross-Fire wargaming as figures can nicely fit inside (see below):

Over Xmas I plan to try and gather together various bits and bobs together to see if I can put together a WWII urban/sub-urban battlefield (again CrossFire or Chain of Command .. or rather how short I am on "other material". I have an inkling to explore the newer MDF laser-cut kit too, but they do look awfully expensive, well from memory at least. Any tips from fellow wargamers would be very warmly appreciated ;)

Wednesday 20 December 2017

Provocative Titles from The History of Wargaming Project: Innovations in Wargaming Volumes 1 to 3

Dear Santa,

Please bring me something "thought provoking" this Xmas. Such as (see below, "Ping as if by magic" something appeared via Amazon Prime):

For those who have trouble reading the tilted titles they are the: Innovations in Wargaming Series from The History of Wargames Project by John Curry and various talented people associated with the Wargames Development group and people who put on the CoW (Conference of Wargamers) events. Boxing Day reading is now sorted ;)

Thank You - Santa (or rather those people who love and know me and simply ask what would you like this Xmas, other than the "socks" we are also getting you)!

Tuesday 19 December 2017

17th Century [Hypothetical] Anglo-French v Dutch Naval Clash (Part 4) Finale

"Run for home" as the Flying Dutchman tears away from the teeth of the storm (top right). The French and British desperately clasp and claw at the coat-tails of the Dutchman, but with a running wind behind them the Dutch seem homeward bound. The second Dutch man-o-war is now quite out of the reach of the Royal Navy as a British battleship exchanges fire with her (see below):

Brutal vengeance is taken on the second and third man-o-war in the Dutch line of battle. The disabled Dutch third ship is doomed, exchanging shot with both British and French facing over 2:1 odds and being much more static due to the loss of much of their sails (see below):

The crowded middle and flotsam and jetsam of torn and shredded sail litter the sea. Critically the second Dutchman has lost her some of her sails. Escape for her is now highly unlikely. Her Captain knows his duty to his Admiral and is prepared to exact a dear price for the life of his ship and crew (see below):

In these final moment the British and French Squadrons form line of battle to sail by the de-masted Dutch ships and mercilessly pound them into submission. This is more of a punishment to the insolent Dutch who have stolen their treasure from beneath their very noses (see below):

Looking more like a yacht-race than a formed line-of-battle the wind gathers in the sails of all sails as the (futile) stern chase begins. Dutchman number two is still fighting like "a fury" (see below): 

As the British and French Squadrons are no longer capable of catching the Dutchman they call a halt to the chase. They are more likely to meet additional Squadrons of Dutch or the Dutch coastline. The French Admiral is the more despondent as he now fears he has lost the "most". His explanations (or rather excuses) will probably fall on deaf ears. The Royal Navy Rear-Admiral can lay the blame on his counterparts shoulders. He tried to close with the enemy but was hindered by the Dutch fire-ships and the (lack of) tacking ability of the French who (in the British Admiral's words) both endangered his ships and lost him valuable time (see below):

The final wreckage of battle lays strewn across the playing cloth. The Dutch flagship has escaped with the "treasure" (material, moral and perhaps even more of the personal variety) and the French and British Admirals are left distinctly red-faced. Naturally they will try and make the most of the two captured Dutch warships when towed into home waters. For official consumption the treasure was "chests of silver and gold" from the Indies but in reality? As previously mentioned, though sailors are notorious in their tall-tales but some swear oaths on Davy Jones Locker that the most precious form of treasure taken that day was the mysterious lady and the "man in the (iron?) masked cowl". Sailors speculate how much (if any) treasure you could really load from a ship in the midst of battle? (see below, the final watery battlefield): 

A riveting little scenario that completely immersed all the players and umpire into a gripping story line. It also served to introduce another two players to these naval rules allowing perhaps for bigger battles in the future. As it is I will end it in true Jack Sparrow (Pirates of the Caribbean) fashion with the waving figure of the Dutch Admiral and damsel at his side, not forgetting cast of cut-throat (or noble - delete as applicable)  musketeers swords raised disappearing into the sunset (or rather the murky North Sea gloom).

I now have the sudden urge to make more ships ;)

Monday 18 December 2017

17th Century [Hypothetical] Anglo-French v Dutch Naval Clash (Part 3)

The "middle phase" of the battle starts. A long line of ships of various nationalities are now intermingled amid the din of battle. The British and French squadrons (left of picture) obstruct each other "tacking" while the middle and rear Dutch warships set upon the rear French ship (frigate/fire-ship) at a advantageous 2:1 odds, trading vicious blows. The Dutch Admiral has meanwhile "with his eyes fixed on the goal" pulled alongside the merchantman and a boarding action ensues (see below):

The British and French Squadrons have completed their tacking and now spurred on by the wind close to the two Dutch ships that have interposed themselves as a barrier between the entangles merchantman and Dutch Flagship. The British fire-ship now tries to make an influence on the battle (see below):

The two Dutch rearguard ships suffer critical mast damage which means that they won't be able to escape, nevertheless they fight on to ensue success of the overall mission. It seems that the crews have been primed for their mission and fight with grim determination. Desperate men obviously given desperate pay for their services, I would suggest paid in advance to their families. They are fulfilling their part of this Devil's bargain (see below):

The Boarding Action: The exact events of the boarding action are clouded in conjecture, shrouded in mystery and fable. One account is as follows:

"It started as a fierce and confused melee, but suddenly a hush descended upon the deck as a horn pierced the air, followed by a challenge in French to the captain and master of the ship. The details are unclear, but the merchantmen seems to have been protected by a company of special (Cardinal?) guards whose Captain pushed the merchant master (a regal looking French Officer) rudely out of the way, then suddenly there are other French (musketeers?) who came from the Dutch ship duelling with these special French guards(?). Their swordplay was so distinctly flamboyant and French in the "old style". The "normal" French sailors and marines simply stood back and watched (these Cardinal Guards were evidently very unpopular). The Dutch at this point also seemed to play no active part in the boarding. The climax of the duel ended with the villainous (Cardinal) Captain, obviously losing, threatening to kill a mysterious female passenger. The silenced French master of the ship intervened and was mortally wounded. The French sailors and marines enraged turned upon the special guards and threw them overboard weighted down with cannon balls. The Master and Captain with his dying words ordered the ship scuttled and ordered all true Frenchmen on-board to join pledge their allegiance to the Countess and her "true heir" and go board the Dutchman with her. Around him knelt the mysterious band of French (musketeer?) boarders who raised their swords in salute. In a matter of minutes the merchantman was abandoned, ablaze and the crew were in boats or on the Dutchman"

Note: The above account has been discounted as a concoction of pure sea-folk fiction and the work of a drunkard hack listening to too much tavern talk and penning lies to keep himself out of a debtors prison. Others however have kept more open minds ... and maintain the actions of the battle in general were extreme and outside the realm of pure reason; the Dutch seemed to be driven by a reckless battle madness outside of tactical objectives, as if something higher was at stake and there seemed to have been a band of foreign mercenaries of sorts on the Dutch flagship.

Returning to the more conventional account. As the last chest of treasure (and two mysterious passengers plus others, this was documented though some still repudiate it) are finally hauled aboard the Dutch Flagship. She casts off with an avenging pack of French and British ships in hot pursuit. One Dutch man-o-war is disabled (de-masted) and another about to be embroiled with a Royal Navy fire-ship (see below): 

The Dutch rearguard succumbs in an uneven fight, but they bravely gave their Admiral vital time he needed. Despite the efforts of the British and French wolves who surge forward to almost within touching range of the Dutch Flagship the Dutch Admiral still holds the weather gauge and the initiative (see below):

To the delight of the Dutch the wind fills the sails of the Dutchman and she surges away to the sound of terrible French and then behind them British curses. They still have two men-o-war running before the wind but it is doubtful if both can escape (see below):

Next: Can the "Hounds" catch the "Foxes" somehow?

Sunday 17 December 2017

17th Century [Hypothetical] Anglo-French v Dutch Naval Clash (Part 2)

The maelstrom erupts as the leading Dutch fire-ship bumps into the leading British "ship of the line" fails to ignite and carries on. The fire-ship crew at this point have already manned the boats and themselves sailed away. The second Dutch fire-ship clatters into the stationary British vessel and starts a fire (which disappointingly they soon manage to put out). Meanwhile the plucky French fire-ship that attacks the Dutch is severely mauled. The Dutch captain deciding to try and sink rather than de-mast the craft, which in hindsight was not the best tactic (see below, note the French Squadron closing in line-abreast): 

The British are in disarray and how the Dutch hoped they would become, effectively "out of the battle". This the odds are suddenly 1-to-1. In addition the first Dutch fire-ship has swooned into the French formation and start chaos afresh. As the French are approaching in line-abreast and the Dutch are moving in line-astern the local superiority switches to 3-to-1 in favour of the Dutch. Something the plucky little French fire-ship is about to find out as the second Dutch man-o-war is about to pass her (see below):   

The British Squadron take wicked vengeance in the second Dutch fire-ship, which is fine by the Dutch Admiral as it allows his Squadron time to form up and attack the French. Cynics would perhaps suggest the British are not adverse to see the Dutch wear themselves out on the French and thus become easy meat for the British. The Dutch maintain the 3-to-1 local superiority. The French fire-ship bumps off the Dutch second in line while the van of the Dutch fleet engages with the only French man-o-war in position to defend the valuable merchantman, which now finds itself perilously close to the action (see below):   

With the wind behind then the avenging (or cautious) British position themselves to attack the Dutch rear. However the French try they are still outgunned in the middle, their second and third ships-of-the-line are still trying to close. Better news is that the third Dutch man-o-war has lost a mast, and thus speed so will be easy prey to the British (when they show up). The bad news is that the van of the Dutch fleet has been given a clear opportunity to run down and capture the prized merchantman. While the French and British warships vie for local tactical positioning their Admirals have taken their eyes off the strategic goal. The Dutch seem to still have the initiative (see below): 

The British battleships zig-zag not wanting to befoul each others lines, losing valuable time. The British fire-ship is hopelessly out of position and won't get into the game. The French savage the rear most Dutch man-o-war whose function now is to sell herself dearly. These Dutch have stout heats and courage. The remaining two Dutch warships are in the process of overhauling the merchantman and preparing boarding parties (see below):

Slowly the British again tack into the action. They have not been helped by the shifting and strengthening winds, These (random) factors have strongly favoured the Dutch as fortune often favours the brave. The French merchantman desperately tacks away but is now withing gun range and the Dutch are sure to target her sails. She has little in way of defence and her protection lay mostly in her escorts so out of position. She is desperate to play for time and somehow rejoin their consort (see below):

Next: The Chase and Scarifice