Action - 1721 - April 20 - Split up off Spanish Town
Ships in Action:
Captains of the Squadron
Captain the Baron James Raleigh - Capricieux Mastercraft fifth-rate
Captain Anton Pryde - Heavy Hercules fifth-rate
French Captains of Les Elites
Captain Barbaros Hayrettin - Hercules Sleek fifth-rate
Captain Phil LOSEILLE - Interpid fifth-rate
Captain Boris deMontford - Capricieux Mastercraft fifth-rate
Captain Genofeva Zenzlhuber - Hercules Sleek fifth-rate
After a brief cruise in the waters around Spanish Town in which a sail of eight patrolling vessels had been sunk, the British fleet resolved to attempt to bring a pirate vessel to combat. The pirate declined an engagement however and so the fleet instead regrouped north of Spanish Town.
There a couple of French fifth-rates were spotted to the NW. The British fleet sailed to engage and closed in on a Captain Barbaros Hayrettin. His ship proved too fast however, and he managed to sail clear of the British fleet. The order was then given for the fleet to dock at Spanish Town as a dangerous group of elite French frigate Captains were spotted to the NE consisting of those two frigates previously spotted with the addition of two new vessels.
Captains Raleigh, Pryde and Wilmore managed to dock in Spanish Town. However, Captains Blatchford and Collister were jumped by the French fleet. Captain Hawke managed to quickly arrive at the scene but contrary winds held the three Captains at Spanish Town from joining for a brief moment.
When they finally arrived this meant that they entered the combat from a fair distance which unfortunately meant that at the outset of the combat the four French frigates could engage only two British fifth rates and a sixth rate until the reinforcements could arrive.
The Action Itself:
The engagement opened with a very heavy fire aimed directly at the Centurion. She sustained serious damage in the first few minutes of combat and her crew was forced to focus entirely on repairs. It would not hold however, as she recieved the concentrated fire from the well trained crews of four French fifth-rates. The Centurion was forced to strike her colours as she was on the verge of sinking.
The Centurion was sunk within minutes and the rest of the British fleet soon followed as the French Captains and crews displayed excellent gunnery and seamanship.
A complete defeat.
The unfortunate turn of events of our fleet being split up was, in my view, mainly the cause of the loss. If all our ships had been present at the onset of the battle, it would have been a damned near-run thing, but with half of our fleet elsewhere, we stood little chance against the Captains in question.
Consequently, if I were to designate a lesson learned from this encounter, it would be that we ought stay close together in red zones than we did.