The Serene Republic of Venice and the Ottoman Empire had a varied relationship over the course of centuries, being both trading partners and rivals for control of the waters of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Adriatic Sea. As part of the 3rd Venetian - Ottoman War, the Ottomans moved to seize Venetian territories in the Aegean. This is an account of a minor action during that conflict, occurring in the shallow waters of Proktor Island, a small and largely worthless bit of rock arising from the Aegean Sea, and covered with scrub and guano.
The Ottoman squadron, dispatched by corsair-turned-Admiral Hayreddin Barbarossa Pasha to scout the are and harass Venetian shipping, encountered an evenly matched Venetian squadron, part of the fleet commanded by Genoese born Admiral Andrea Doria. The six Ottomans galleys, seen in the foreground (the other three ships are purely decorative) are, left to right, the Stag, the Panther (yellow), the Crescent (blue), the Lion (green), the Sea Horse (orange), and the Bull. The Crescent is a larger Galley called a Laterna, and is acting as the Flagship for the squadron.
Spotting their rivals first the Ottoman squadron took the initiative. The rules used were a lightly modified (chiefly be deleting everything pertaining to sailing, and increasing the distances for my large 15mm models) version of Ganesha Games' Galleys and Galleons. These are fairly simple rules. Each ship has three dice which are used to determine how many actions each ship can take. For each die that is greater than or equal to the Quality rating of the ship (for this engagement, all ships of both sides are a "3"). A "1" is always a failure, and a 6 is always a success. The ships are activated one at a time; if a ship fails to roll *any* successes, that and any remaining ships get to actions for the turn, and the initiative passes to the other side. The Stag rolls poorly, scoring but a single success.
A galley can move forward (row) up to 10" per successful action, up to a maximum of 2 actions spent on rowing.
The Stag has now done so.
Having no actions remaining, the Ottomans must select the next ship to act upon.
Each of the remaining 5 Ottoman ships score 2 successes (rolls of 3 or more). With all of them being out of range of their opposition, all five ships row forwards 20". View from behind the Venetian squadron at the end of the Ottoman phase of Turn 1.
The Venetian ships, left to right are: the Dolphin (dark blue), the Griffon (light blue), the Saltire (dark red, Laterna), the Fleur-de-Lis (red), the Wyvern (purple), and the Kraken (black). The first three ships to the left, the Dolphin, the Griffon, and the Saltire, have all scored 2 successes and hence they all row forward 20" towards their opposite numbers.
The other two Venetian ships on their right also roll up 2 activations, and move forwards 20". When the Fleur rolls, however, it comes up all "1's"! It may not act at all, and play passes to the Ottomans for turn 2.
Overview of the action from behind the Venetian Fleet at the start of Turn 2.
The Ottomans opt to start with the Panther, and she rolls 3 successes. Allah be praised!
The Lion uses one action to row forward 10", a second to fire it's heavy bow gun, and the third to reload the gun. To determine the effect of shooting, both sides roll a D6, and add their Combat Value (3 for all ships in this engagement, except 4 for the larger Laternas) plus any modifiers. If the total is higher than that of the target, and the die roll is even, one hit is scored; if a 6 is rolled for LONG range fire only, a critical damage roll must also be made. If the score of the shooter is twice that of the target, then 1 hit is inflicted and a critical damage roll made. If the shooter's total is triple that of the target,, then 2 hits are scored plus a critical damage roll. In this case, the Panther rolled a 1, plus 3 for it's Combat rating = 4, vs 3 plus 3 for it's combat rating = 7, so there was no discernible effect.
On the other side of Proktor Island, the Lion rolls up 3 successes! It rows forward 10", shoots its bow cannon, and reloads it (one action each). It's shooting score is 1 + 3 = 4 vs 2 +3 = 5, so it misses.
The other Ottoman ships all managed to row forwards, with the laggard Stag has caught up to the others. View is at the end of the Ottoman phase of Turn 2.
The Venetians start out Turn 2 with a literal BANG: the Fleur-de Lis scires three successes and rows forward to within close range, shoots its cannon, and reloads. It adds 1 for close range fire so it's shooting score is 6+3+1 = 10 to 6+3 = 9. Since the Fleur rolled higher than its target, it hits! Since the fire was NOT long range, there is no critical hit, however. When a ship is hit, it exchanges one of its activation dice for a Black die. These can be rolled for activation like regular die, BUT if a Black die rolls a "1", Bad Things happen and the ship must roll on the "All at Sea Table".
Next, the Wyvern (middle ship) also rolls three activation. It rows forward to close range, and shoots with both it;'s heavy Bow Cannon (black smoke) and it's soldier's small arms (white smoke). In the event, both shots miss, and the Cannon and soldiers are now "unloaded". *
The Dolphin (foreground) also rolls 3 successes, and also rows forward, and shoots with both its cannon and soldiers at the Stag. The soldiers hit inflicting 1 damage, but the cannon triples the targets modified roll and inflicts 2 hits plus a critical. The target now has 3 black dice. Any ship with 3 black dice is considered crippled. It is liable to strike and/or have other Bad Things happen to it, and i also penalized in combat. The Critical hit roll is 2 D6, here an 8. On the critical hit table, this is "Hull Damage", and an additional hit ()black die) is suffered. The Stag now has FOUR Black dice.
* The rules state that small arms cannot be fired if any of the ships cannons fire or reload in the same turn. Galleys were crammed with soldiers, and thus I thought this rule silly and declared it null and void for Galley warfare.
Ker-bloop! Alas, poor Stag, we barely knew ye! Any ship with 4 hits sinks immediately.
Over on the other side of Proktor Island, the Venetian Flagship rolls a single activation (Flagships have a special rule whereby they *always* have at least success and need not even roll one of their dice; that one automatically succeeds. The Saltire shoots it's bow cannon at long range - rolling even and with a higher score than the target it scores a hit!
The Griffon acts next. Needing a "3" for a success, normally it would have scored only one. However, another special rule for flagships is that any ship within distance (10" for my purposes) of its flagship adds 1 to all of its activation dice. Thus the "2" becomes a "3", and failure becomes success. Well, buckle my swash!
The Griffon uses one action to row forward into close range, and the second to shoot its cannon at the Sea Horse. It manages to have a final score that is double that of its target (8 vs 4). I made a mistake here and counted that as 2 hits plus a critical, but it should only have been 1 hit plus a critical. It must have been God's will. The roll for the critical hit was an 8 on 2D6, and we now know what that means, right Galley fans in the Gallery?
Right - Hull Damage. The feckless Sea Horse gets an additional Black die (this one actually justified by the rules, even). Ouch!
The final Venetian ship rolls up a single activation (it is too far from the Flagship to benefit from its influence). Impressed with the effects of cannon fire this turn, the captain orders a long range shot at the opposing Bull. 1 shooting at a 6 - not a chance, and the shot goes a mile wide, leaving the Kraken's cannons unloaded.
Overview at the end of Turn 2.
The Ottomans start out Turn 3 at a significant disadvantage - one ship sunk, one crippled with 3 black dice, and two others with 1 Black die. The Venetian squadron is in Pristine shape... at least so far!
The Panther goes first, as it is within distance of the Flagship; it rolls three successes even without the aid of same, and shoots both the cannon and its soldiers at the Wyvern, then reloading the former.
The soldiers miss (rolls of 4 vs 5, final score is a tie which misses), but the cannon score a hit (roll of 2 vs 2 - with the bonus for close range, the shooter's score is higher and even). 1 Black die for the Wyvern now!
The Ottomans shift over to the other side of the Island, with the Bull scoring three successes, and thus rowing forwards to close range, and unloading at the Kraken with both its cannon and its soldiers. Unfortunately for them, both miss (1 vs 5 with cannon, no chance, 5 vs 5 with the soldiers, with close range modifier their total score is higher but odd).
Next up the Lion. Her captain chooses NOT to roll its Black die, not wanting to risk rolling a "1" and the resultant Bad Things, thereby rolling just the two regular dice, and scores 2 success. He chooses to shoot its cannon and then reload them. The die roll of 2 vs 1 results in a final score that is higher and even, so one hit is inflicted on the Venetian flagship, and it gets a black die for its collection.
The skipper of the unjustly crippled Sea Horse decides that it is better to be bold than to be beheaded by the Pasha for cowardice, and makes a big roll of all three of his Black dice. Fortune favors the bold, and all three come up successes, with nary a "1" to be seen! The sea Horse rows forwards, and both the cannon and the soldiers fire. Their luck runs out at that point, with both shots missing. Cursed infidels!
Situation at the end of the Ottoman phase of Turn 3. I am using the cork as a "buoy" to remind myself whose turn is next, as I play out this action in short spurts in the evening after my 12 hour shifts at the Hospital. In the background are the five shelf units that hold 95% of my collection. I actually will need to get one more shelf unit soon...
View from the Venetian side at the start of their phase.
A few words about the ships... the bulk of them were acquired from Bill Abrams (who authored the long running "Sapper's Report" in The Courier) roughly 20 years ago now. There are 6 regular Galleys and 2 larger Laternas. I think all 8 cost me $40 including shipping. They are entirely scratch built The hulls are based upon sculpted and sanded wood blocks, and the other components are basswood, plus lashed dowels for the masts, and scratch made paper sails, that come in both furled and unfurled versions, and slip over the ends of the yards. . There are thin metal tubes in the middle of the stern of each ship[ for adding flags on fine brass rods; I have yet to utilize this feature. They have clever "Oar Boxes" on each side that hold the Oar banks for each side, which are made of card. The oar banks themselves are bade of a thin strip of wood, with a series of thin dowels glued along their length to represent the oars. Bill flattened out the ends to make them even more like oars. I liked them so much that I made some like them for my other ships.
When I acquired them they were nice but rather plain. I painted on "gilded" trip for the bow and stern, added shields emblematic of the ships name and in its colors to the stern and the castles in the front, and painted the gunwales in the ship's color with devices appropriate to each ship. The bow of each ship has an opening to accommodate the one large bow-firing gun. The other 4 Galleys plus the Galleass (which is the ship that started it all) and the Cog and the Nef seen in the background are all resin, made by Old Glory/Merrimack Shipyards. They come with 15 mm crew figures, and other figures were 15 acquired as needed, most notably a lot of roughly 100 painted Museum Miniature Ottoman figures that Joe spotted for me in the flea market at Historicon more than 20 years ago as well. I think they cost me $1 per figure, which I was delighted to pay as I really don't like painting 15's at all. The crews for the "Christian" ships were all painted by me. I have a few more such figures that I might paint... some day! There are a number of posts about the ships themselves with more close up details on the blog about 5 years ago, here.
The duel between the Panther and the Wyvern resumes. Although the Wyvern scores three successes and fires both her guns and soldiers, it achieves no hits (The 3 vs 3 wins with modifiers, but is odd so no hit inflicted).
To be continued...
To be continued...