Battle -1722 - April 8 - Assault on Cayo de Marquis
Ships in Action:
Captain Baron James Raleigh - 3rd-Rate Warship sailing in the White Squadron
Captain Edward Winnard - 3rd-Rate Warship sailing in the White Squadron
Captain Nicolas Ramage - 5th-Rate Frigate sailing in the Red Squadron
Captain Oli Awter - 5th-Rate Frigate sailing in the Green Squadron
17 other British ships. Including 3 1st Rates, 1 3rd-rate, 3 4th-rates, 2 Mont Blanc 4th-rates, and 8 Hercules Mastercraft 5th-rates.
23 French ships, official numbers are sketchy, 2 3rd-rates, many 4th rates, the remainder 5th rates.
The Map: Arch Coastline.
The British fleet came out of the cutlass door with a westerly wind. Red and Black squadrons formed line astern while Green and White squadrons did the same to starboard of Red and Black. Contact was made to the NE, the French had spawned at the knight shield door. The French fleet made all sail to the NW towards the fort island, the British fleet followed on a parallel course, dispatching a scout to the east in order to confirm the French fleet was not trying a ruse to take the fleet from behind.
The British fleet stopped directly S of the port city, awaiting to see what the French fleet would do. Some enemy vessels were spotted near the fort, the rest clustered at the mouth of the channel separating the fort island from the mainland. Admiral Kylin Drake ordered the fleet to remain in place while Green squadron's scout returned to the line. Not long after the French were spotted moving into the aforementioned channel heading further NW.
The fleet started to move. Red Squadron was to check for any further enemy advance around the fort island, Green, Black and White were ordered to start moving north. The aim was to set up a defensive line from the town defense gun area towards the town thus blocking the French as they came to relief the town. However soon after the town defense gun was blown up by Green orders were given to stop. The situation presented some options. Red pulled up along the fort's E island and harassed the few French vessels there who then withdrew into the fort. A stalemate, or so it seemed. Admiral Drake asked captain Jack Naseby for advice as to options given the current situation. Captain Naseby's reply:
"Sir, given the French position, it would be suicidal for us to attempt a charge into the channel. However, we have a great opportunity to force them into a withering fire. I suggest forming Black and White squadrons in a line astern formation facing ENE from the island near the fort. This will force the French to charge into the muzzle of four 1st-rates, five 3rd-rates, and three 4th-rates. Even if their squadron in the fort decides to charge, they will not be able to assail our sterns with this wind and the manner in which our line is drawn up. I suggest Red forms as rear guard to charge at them if they cross our T or to chase if they do not. Green should faint to take the town, should they go in and the French charge, they are to exit at all speed and join the battle blocking the French from entering the town."
Admiral Drake asked the opinion of his commodores, all were in approval. The plan was put into action.
The Action Itself:
As per the plan, Green headed towards the port, White and Black made a simultaneous turn to port and set sail in a NW course. When the van of White and Black squadrons had reached the van and rear of Red the French fleet began to move, they had spotted the trap and a charge before we formed would be their only chance to survive. White and Black quickly turned to starboard and formed line astern sailing in a NNE course. Red moved between the gaps and headed for the van of the French line, Green doubled back and moved towards Red's position. The plan soon bore fruit.
Trapped between the British guns and a lee shore, with no room to maneuver or block each other, the French had no option but to forge ahead and try to force a gap between the land and White. Ferocious fire was brought to bear on the enemy ships, due to their position they were unable to focus their fire on the British warships. One by one, the French began to sink in a methodical, almost clinical fashion. As they rounded the tip of the peninsula the French fleet was still numerous enough to cause trouble if they made landfall in the town.
On they forged, White attempted to force the enemy further onto the lee shore, Red by this time had come about and was guarding Black's rear, Green was at the van sinking ships through their exposed bows. Black surged ahead to the town. The few enemy ships that made it to the town found themselves in the worst of places. They could not make landfall as the timer had not run out, they had the heavy guns of Black at their starboard, White at their sterns, and Green on their bows. Their fate was sealed. A few managed to escape to the E, one was caught and offered surrender to Captain Jack Naseby who accepted it. The rest of the French captains in the fort, save one, ran for their lives. The British stormed ashore and took the town by steel and musket.
Cayo de Marquis was ours.
A crushing victory for the British fleet.
Totals: 2 British vessels sunk or captured, 18 French vessels sunk or captured, four fled, one surrendered.
The battle was a textbook example of cooperation and astute leadership coupled with clever tactics. There was a set plan from the start, but when the situation changed, we were able to adapt quickly, device a new plan, and execute it without problem. Communication throughout the battle was excellent. Our gunnery was devastating, Black accounted for seven enemy vessels, White for five, Green and Red for four and two respectively. A resounding success.
"The British fleet came out of the cutlass door with a westerly wind. Red and Black squadrons formed line astern while Green and White squadrons did the same to starboard of Red and Black. Contact was made to the NE, the French had spawned at the knight shield door. The French fleet made all sail to the NW towards the fort island, the British fleet followed on a parallel course, dispatching a scout to the east in order to confirm the French fleet was not trying a ruse to take the fleet from behind."