Balance issues

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    invisible officer

    The main French quality problem was the blockade. Harbor service for long times. In peace they had a merchant sailor register that gave them easy access to trained sailors. Like with the army the mens had been liable to military service. The French had the concept of the gunner matelot, trained gunners in army style. But often men are taken away for army land Service.

    The RN had access to the biggest merchant navy. But only via pressing. So they had a good base at start of war. And that core was able to sail a ship until all the landlubbers learned. EIC, whaler and privateers Crews could not be pressed, so some of the best did not serve.

    Worse, the large increase until 1814 brought many officers into positions that had been of medium quality. Men that would get no ship in peace time, living on half pay. And the pressing did not bring many more true sailors. So in 1812/13 many crews had been a low training, esp. in gunnery. London paid just for a few training shots and many captains lacked the funds to buy more.
    The best RN SOL crews are those that served for years in blockade service.

    The Spanish had the same blockade problem the French had. No sailing training in harbors. And few gunnery against moving targets from an unstable platform.

    French and Spanish tried land gunnery Training but that did not teach the moment the barrel has the right angle.

    The US Navy was the best. Because it was small. They had far more good officers than vessels. But even they had crew problems, privateers paid better.


    Admitedly without the national rules I played a couple of games British versus Spanish. The Spanish did score some smashing victories. The last game was scenario 2 Letter of Marque. The Brits had a 3rd rate, a frigate and four brigs. The Spanish had a 3rd rate, a frigate, two brigs, a large merchant and a small merchant. The Brits had slightly more points. Nevertheless the Spanish managed to get the Merchants off the oposite side of the table unharmed. The Brits lost the frigate and a brig. The Spanish lost a brig. It must be said that the Brits were highly unfortunate in having their frigate bow raked by it’s opposing number at point blank range and full impact including a critical damage. The latter precluded the Brit to pass skill tests. As it suffered so much damage it had to take a skill test of strike the colour, the latter happened. Thus the Brits were not able to block the Spanish route to safety whilst the 3rd rate was kept at bay by the Spanish 3rd rate.

    Frankly I do enjoy playing with the Spanish (even when using the national rules) as it offers so much more of a challenge. And yes, it can be done.

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