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Flagships for cruiser fleets

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Jason
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Flagships for cruiser fleets

Post by Jason on Wed Oct 24, 2018 5:00 pm

I have been thinking about flagships for fleets recently. Now if you are a naval power that can build 100 or 120-gun ships then you have a "natural" flagship for your battle fleets.

However for fleets of cruisers, such ships aren't practical (for obvious reasons). In a game I am planning on raising a fleet of corvettes and I want it to have a designated flagship. What would be a suitable vessel to be a flagship for such a fleet?

Ok, another corvette might be the obvious answer but, well, it seems boring. Any size frigate seems too big (but is it?). Or is a Large Sloop a suitable flagship?

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Re: Flagships for cruiser fleets

Post by count-de-monet on Wed Oct 24, 2018 6:09 pm

In my version of France, I have three Corsair Fleets under my control. Each of the Corsair Captains, Ren Trouin, Sieur du Gu (Hercule), Jean Bart (Railleuse) and the Count de Forbin-Gardanne (Neptune) have named flagships. Their fleets are mainly corvettes, with a couple of frigates. The flagships are Heavy Frigates. Have no idea if these are the right class of ships historically, but for cruiser fleets France and a single Heavy Frigate leading them.
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Jason
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Re: Flagships for cruiser fleets

Post by Jason on Wed Oct 24, 2018 6:18 pm

That's interesting. I had ruled Heavy Frigates out straight away as the difference in size made me think there would be operational issues with where corvettes and Heavy Frigates could operate. Did you find anything like that was an issue?

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Re: Flagships for cruiser fleets

Post by J Flower on Thu Oct 25, 2018 4:16 am

It may well be a question of crusing speed as well, If the Hvy Frigates sail slower than the other ships in the flotilla then it may well hamper the operatioal capabilities of the whole, maybe build a crusier with an enlarged captains/ Admirals cabin, or give the ship brass cannon to mark it out as a special ship.

Hvy Frigates are Small Ships of the line & are slower than crusiers in general .

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Re: Flagships for cruiser fleets

Post by count-de-monet on Thu Oct 25, 2018 7:37 am

As Game 9 players can confirm, during a recent conflict with england , using Corsairs only the English mercantile shipping took some heavy hits. The presence of a heavy frigate in each fleet didnt give any obvious draw back
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Re: Flagships for cruiser fleets

Post by Rozwi_Game10 on Thu Oct 25, 2018 11:00 am

If its a Frigate Squadron then a type of frigate under the command of a senior captain (in years served).

If its a Cruiser Squadron comprising of ships smaller than frigates then a sloop, or a large sloop, or, if you're French, a corvette, under the command of a junior captain - the other vessels being under the command of a (senior) Lieutenant (though a bit uncommon) or a Master (Master and Commander to use an old Royal Navy rank).
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Re: Flagships for cruiser fleets

Post by Kerensky on Thu Oct 25, 2018 12:15 pm

Hi Jayson, I checked back on some ‘cruise times’ from South America to Spain. If you have the ‘improved sail & rigging’ on Frigates or Frigatas, you will be operating at optimum speed (i.e. comparable to travel times
to Corvettes).
I don’t have exact comparators for heavier classes.
You can pair with any, irrespective, but the trade off would be firepower for speed. If you are boating around in North Sea, I would not worry to much, but it will kick in if you are going on round the world anti-pirate cruises...

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Re: Flagships for cruiser fleets

Post by J Flower on Fri Oct 26, 2018 4:12 am

In G10, with the French Corsairs there were reports of Hvy Frigates not being fast enough to overhaul some of the merchant shipping they were trying to catch, that was the information that I used to make my point above. It may of course be completely & utterly wrong.
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Re: Flagships for cruiser fleets

Post by revvaughan on Fri Oct 26, 2018 5:55 am

I would put a frigate in place as the flag just based on it being the next size up. If I had Frigata's I would make it that since they have a better chance of keeping up.
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Re: Flagships for cruiser fleets

Post by Rozwi_Game10 on Fri Oct 26, 2018 10:41 am

It all depends on what type of work you intend to use the vessels for. Open sea sailing, with pursuing, fighting and capturing other vessels? Fast scouts, messenger ships, diplomatic transport and escort? Will they be working open sea, inshore, coastal sailing, navigating river-ways where able?

Number of masts. Types of sail setting. Weight of shot and number of guns. Thickness of ships timbers. Each ships draught, for water displacement and minimum water depth that can be sailed through. Keel design. Number of ships crew, for sailing and fighting and boat work.

Frigates are going to be left high and dry if an unrated, smaller vessel decides to sail in shallower waters, over reefs or into an estuary, with the frigate left unable to follow or having to stand off and wait.

Cutters with a retracting keel mechanism can be rather handy little sailing boats.
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Jason
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Re: Flagships for cruiser fleets

Post by Jason on Fri Oct 26, 2018 7:33 pm

Many thanks for the comments folks Smile You have answered my question...but I'll not say any more so as not to give away my cunning plans Wink

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Re: Flagships for cruiser fleets

Post by Stuart Bailey on Sat Oct 27, 2018 6:03 pm

J Flower wrote:In G10, with the French Corsairs there were reports of Hvy Frigates not being fast enough to overhaul some of the merchant shipping they were trying to catch, that was the information that I used to make my point above. It may of course be completely & utterly wrong.

Ships even of the same class could vary a lot in speed but for game purposes page 21 of the new Miscellany Publication covers catching merchant ships with Heavy and Great Frigates.......basically you need to fit improved sail and rigging and/or Boomkins.

My way of thinking about this topic is that pre 1700 frigates are the fast nippy 5th rates used to scout, raid comercial shipping and in fireship actions. While not improved Heavy and Great Frigates are the 3rd and 4th rate warships which formed the majority of the fleets of the Anglo-Dutch wars. Think ships like the Oxford which faught in in these battles and then became Henry Morgan's Flagship. Also the class of new small Spanish line ships built with Convoy Escort in mind.

However, just as lineships were getting larger in this period so were frigates also getting larger and better armed and the smaller lineships were dropping out of the main battle line and being re-built to make them faster and better suited to other jobs.

So how due to represent the fast two decker frigates with fourty plus cannon being used by the Privateering Branch of the French Navy? Or give to non line ship commanders?

My theory is you can use an unaltered Great Frigate or even a Heavy Frigate like a male Lion in a pride. The faster frigates do the hunting like a Lioness and the commander only gets involved if extra weight is needed to deal with pesky escorts and the like. But to make sure you always have a speed advantage and can run away from lineships I think a quick re-build to fit your heavy and great frigates with improved sail and rigging, bomkins etc is in order. Just so that Richard understands that you have a streamline, nice new modern style frigate not some 4th hand Naval reject from the 1670's which sails like a "sluggee".

Or if you are feeling really flash and want something brand new which can outsail almost anything........and make anything which can catch you wish it had not bothered...... what about turning to page 16 of the Defoe Guide and treating yourself to a Escort (2-Deck large) Frigate with improved sail & rigging, improved sails, boomkins and a crack crew (French of course). And scream "Eat my wake Tuscan landlubbers!"pirat

Or
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Re: Flagships for cruiser fleets

Post by Rozwi_Game10 on Sun Oct 28, 2018 11:02 am

Obviously a hunting screen of ships will need to be able to see each other. Be able to communicate, repeat and understand sailing orders over distances to each other. Be disciplined and trained to be able to operate as a tactical unit, and not go sailing off leaving the line of vessels with a gap in it. Have some form of method to spot each other at night, should it be deemed necessary. Possibly some form of 'order of attack' or 'method of attack', pre-discussed or in written orders on how to deal with various situations. Whether the previous would work with non-military crews is up for debate, however. Being 'in sight' of a prize being taken, or actually taking part in the action, obviously has an impact on financial gain and ship discipline, should such rules be part of a prize law. Every opposing ship descending in a mad-dash on a 'red herring', at first sight, would be a fun ruse to get past a screen of ships should you know the enemies tactical doctrine.

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Re: Flagships for cruiser fleets

Post by Stuart Bailey on Sun Oct 28, 2018 12:14 pm

Oddly, the war on commerce and protection of commerce is not a issue which many players consider much when planning wars with most thought given Army and General Fleet actions and merchant shipping left to sail alone as in peace time and take their chances with hostile cruisers.

With so little protection cruisers are just put on patrol and allowed to pick off opposition merchants.

This seems a pity since most Naval Wars included a lot of non fleet action and several different theories on how best to use ships:

1) Due to geography in the Anglo-Dutch wars the Dutch were forced to assemble huge merchant convoys and use their fleet to get them through the Channel and North Sea bottle necks leading to some of the major battles of the wars. Sometimes this was not a case of ships actually sailing with merchants so much as taking the Fleet to sea and attempting to sweep the North Sea of threats to merchant convoys which were due home or trying to get to sea. The French also went in for Convoy Protection leading to battles like the Glorous 4th June which the English Claim as a great Victory over the French Fleet but the French also view as a success since while the French Fleet suffered terrible damage it protected a massive grain convoy which saved France from famine.

In this battle the English followed the tactical doctrine (later followed with passion by Nelson amd his ilk) of aiming at destruction of French Warships as a No1 priority. But it can be argued that if the English ships many of which were superior sailors to the French had got into the grain ships then the resulting famine might have brought down the Revolutionary Government or at the very least starved its Military opperations.

2) The English did some convoy Protection in high risk area's but as a rule favoured blockades of hostile ports or sea area's which enemy shipping had to cross. Partly this was geographic advantage but having so many merchant ships at sea to protect ment that it was easier to try and keep keep hostile privateers and merchants bottled up and allow English merchants to continue as normal.

What players elect to do in game is going to depend a great deal on their position and opposition but after many years of playing Rumelia I do agree with Roy that one should not think Navies are only for putting in lines and shooting at each other pirat




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Jason
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Re: Flagships for cruiser fleets

Post by Jason on Sun Oct 28, 2018 10:01 pm

I wonder if a lot of players feel the potential loss of trade income through the convoy system (caused by delays in loading, sailing, unloading) are greater than the potential losses through piracy?

Plus for smaller nation positions, you simply don't have enough ships to spare for convoy work-unless you were able to play a micro-position such as Hamburg whose navy existed simply to be a convoy protection force

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