The Naval Battle of Cherbourg 1904

The entire French fleet present (mostly) at Cherbourg, bar the Henri IV - curresntly MIA...

Last weekend I had the privilege to command the French fleet at the fictional 1904 Battle of Cherbourg, a 'superbattle' created and run by Ed (who also ably commanded the Russian fleet). 

Pitting an Anglo-French Allied fleet against a joint Imperial fleet of the Russians and Germans, the scenario takes place after an imagined escalation of the Dogger Bank incident

The Allies view at the start of the battle

Such hasty alliances and limited communications in battle made for an interesting experience, as did the involvement of other bloggers as various naval ministers and our general superiors gave us specific orders separate from the overall objectives of our joint forces. Zzzzzz took the role of Gaston Thomson, the French Minister of the Navy, and gave me some superb orders in French - they aligned nicely with my overall approach and plan so I didn't have to disobey them too much. 

The manoeuvring begins...

Technically I had overall command of the Allied fleet but in reality myself and the British commanders shared the same general strategy and I did nothing more than make a suggestion or two. I didn't discuss anything with them until the morning of the battle, keeping in the spirit of the role-playing element where we wouldn't have much time to sit and plan. So many thanks to Zzzzz and to my excellent allies Mike and Dan. 

The lines develop

Thankfully luck prevailed, through our own fortune (and the misfortune of the Imperial fleet) and the Allied fleet was victorious and La Manche/English Channel was successfully defended. 

I was also similarly lucky in winning the individual objectives for the glory of France - although my primary objective was to have more than half of my battleships survive which ended up being a bit of a cheat for me as I had the most overall.


I've spent much of the time running up to the battle putting together an unnecessarily detailed background for my in-game persona, Vice-Amiral Joseph-Emile Meunier. For my own amusement I'll be publishing a handful of posts of this background here shortly. It's been an interesting way to learn about the intricacies of the nineteenth-century French Navy. It also gave me a bit more investment in making sure his flagship survived, rather than just treating the ships as throwaway units (which is why I love our 'supercampaigns' everything has a context and consequence).

The final lines
Thanks again to Ed for the superb efforts in creating and organising the game, and being a fine opponent along with Ollie; to Mike and Dan for being excellent allies, Zzzzzz for taking the time to put together my orders (in French), and to Admiral Drax, Dai and Paul for your orders to the players. It was one of the best games I've ever played. 

Full details on the battle, and the view from the other side, can be found on Ed's excellent blog post.

Attempted photo reconnaissance, the superb Russian fleet board

Vice-Amiral Meuniur (as Lieutenant circa 1871), looks familiar...

Comments

  1. And an incredible battle it was too. I knew you were up to something, taking those sneaky photographs... the French fleet looked amazing on the table too, by the way.

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    1. Haha I was just impressed by the sheer organisation. It was bloody brilliant, thanks again for all of your hard work. Thanks muchly sir, have another post on the fleet in the works

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  2. Glad you got into this so thoroughly Keiron. Looks like a fantastic day of indepth gaming.

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    1. Definitely a testament to Ed's efforts, but it's also a period of history that I'm particularly interested in - anything nautical is always a bonus too. It was a great day of gaming, was good to have you on board (pardon the pun).

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  3. Awesome! Looks like it was a hoot!

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    1. It was an absolute hoot, and a very memorable game

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  4. Excellent portrait Adm Mournier ! I can smell the cognac and garlic...

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    1. Naturellement Minister, I did say I'd bring us victory or die trying

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