|Battle of Providien fought at the DWG yesterday|
I got to scratch an itch I get every now and again, namely getting the sailing ships out on the table and loosing off a bit of round-shot and chain, I have had a long standing interest in the campaign in the Indian Ocean between Admirals Hughes and Suffren which sees the pitting of two very evenly matched forces at the end of very extended supply lines having to make the best of what they had.
This period for me is more interesting that the later Republican/Napoleonic era where British dominance at sea was really only challenged by the small American navy but never in the realms of fleet actions and strategic dominance. In the late 18th century, the Royal Navy, though formidable, was not the overpowering force it would later become and thus the possibilities it throws up are that more interesting.
The campaign in the Indian Ocean encapsulates all those possibilities in two very manageable fleets of ships. The French commanded by possibly their greatest Admiral, Suffren, struggling to overcome poor junior commanders and get the best from average crews manning good ships; against a mediocre British Admiral Hughes with poor ships, in the main, but with excellent crews desperately trying to support ground operations against French land forces supporting Indian armies attempting to get the British out of India. Both commanders had to manage the risk to their forces bearing in mind that they were far from home waters and repair and resupply facilities were very limited.
One day I will do this as a campaign. In the meantime I can take pleasure in getting a few ships on the table and imagine the struggle that was the Hughes vs Suffren fight for dominance in the Indian Ocean.
If you would like to see how yesterdays game turned out then just follow the link to the DWG for an AAR of the game.
Devon Wargames Group - Battle of Providien 1782
You might also be interested in our Sadras game, run last year
Devon Wargames Group - Battle of Sadras 1782