THE BATTLE OF TRAFALGAR
(yet again) in Hong Kong - 2nd November, 1996
by Andrzej Cierpicki
The November meeting saw the third HKSW re-enactment of the Battle of Trafalgar, the previous one having been played in 1992 at the Police Training Unit in Fanling, and the first, at the Mariner's Club in Tsim Sha Tsui, way back in 1988. As on previous occasions, an amended set of board game rules, "Wooden Ships & Iron Men" (Avalon Hill) was utilised, played on several cloths with superimposed hex grid to regulate movement.
Fourteen admirals, 6 British, 5 French & 3 Spanish, set sail a little late in 61 ships in an attempt to improve on history.
The gallant crew at the start of the battle; the British are on the right
Admiral "Horatio" Esland, commanding the British fleet, chose to emulate his courageous predecessor by attempting to cut the 'T' of the combined Franco-Spanish flotilla, under the command respectively of Oliver "Take No Prisoners" Silsby and Pedro "que?" Hunt,. In this, he largely succeeded, and the battle developed into three essentially separate actions.
The battle soon turned into a confused melee, with the Allies choosing to fire at the rigging in an effort to reduce the manoeuvrability of the British fleet. In return, they were raked by round shot, the British trying to pound the French and Spanish into submission.
The battle was approaching a crucial point, with several ships dead in water, and others close to striking due to the punishment they had taken, when darkness descended.
The opposing fleets engaging, the Spanish 74 gun "Monarca" at the rear
In other words, we ran out of time. The final tally was 4 British ships dismasted, the Africa (64), Temeraire (98), Royal Sovereign (110) and Bellisle (74) and 1 Spanish ship that had struck its colours, the Montanez (74). The game was accordingly declared a draw.
In the thick of the action (note the intense concentration!)