Yesterday gave me the opportunity of giving my Suffren & Hughes collection of ships a run out as we played through the Battle of Providien. This game follows on from the Battle of Sadras, 17th February 1782 which we played back in February last year.
|Map of the battle from Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy Magazine|
As with the Sadras game I was using the "Eight Bells" app on the Ipad to moderate the game together with the ideas on signalling to the fleet covered in "Kiss Me Hardy" both covered in the previous post. I took further inspiration from fellow DWG member Eoghan Kelly and his great article "Indian Ocean Frolics" covering this and the other battles in the campaign published in "Wargames Soldiers & Strategy" magazine issue 63 which is available as a PDF from Karwansary at £3.90
Wargames Soldiers & Strategy Magazine Issue 63
|Suffren's line, on the left, closes on the British line, with the white breakers top right indicating the proximity of the reef.|
The Battle of Providien came about after Admiral Hughes' fleet was spotted by Suffren escorting transports and supply ships. Several days followed with the British successfully avoiding action as they made progress towards their base at Trincomalee, Ceylon, modern day Sri Lanka.
|Le Vengeur, 64 guns, a third rate copper hulled former East Indiaman, commander Captain M. de Forbin|
However Suffren was not to be denied his battle and the two fleets came to action off the coast of the island close to Providien which gives its name to the battle. As at the Battle of Sadras, Admiral Suffren had the wind gauge, but both commanders were painfully aware that the wind was blowing on shore and the low water reef line was a reminder to both commanders of the risks of grounding.
|The battle commences as the French fall into line and open fire with chain shot at British rigging|
|The two fleets assume their positions with signalling frigates left and right|
|HMS Superb 74 guns, centre, Hughes' flagship, catches fire under attack from L'Orient 74, Capt. Dupas de la Manceliere|
|L'Orient, centre, was a fast ship, and her speed forced her out of line, coming into musket range as she worked her way along the British line|
|Hughes signalled his line to turn the French and the battle became close and furious at the head of each line. The reef waited the badly damaged.|
|The Superb is now well alight as her crew attempt to fight the fire and the French|
Thus our game ended with what looked like a marginal win for the British with their capture of Le Flammand, being eclipsed by the loss of their commander and his 74 gun flagship, C'est la guerre.
Thanks to Tom, Steve H, Steve L and Ian for a very entertaining afternoon in the Indian Ocean, with much fun had by all. The Eight Bells app whist providing a fast fun alternative to dice and record keeping is showing its need for an update as it seems to lock up occasionally on ISOS 8, which was a bit frustrating, but didn't stop the game.