The 21st October marks the anniversary of the greatest naval battle in military history. We take a look at the celebrated battle, and look at replicating the game using the Black Seas rules system!

After pursuing the Admiral in charge of the Franco–Spanish Fleet, Pierre-Charles Villeneuve, to the Caribbean and back, Admirals Lord Nelson and Collingwood engaged the enemy. On the 21st of October 1805, just off the southwest coast of Spain, west of Cape Trafalgar, near the town of Los Caños de Meca, the two mighty fleets finally engaged.

What followed was arguably the most famous naval battle in military history.

England Expects That Every Man Will Do His Duty”

– Admiral Nelson
British FleetFranco-Spanish Fleet
Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson
·        HMS Africa (64)
·        HMS Victory (104)
·        HMS Temeraire (98)
·        HMS Neptune (98)
·        HMS Leviathan (74)
·        HMS Conqueror (74)
·        HMS Britannia (100)
·        HMS Agamemnon (64)
·        HMS Ajax (74)
·        HMS Orion (74)
·        HMS Minotaur (74)
·        HMS Spartiate (74)
·        HMS Royal Sovereign (100)
·        HMS Belleisle (74)
·        HMS Mars (74)
·        HMS Tonnant (80)
·        HMS Bellerophon (74)
·        HMS Colossus (74)
·        HMS Achille (74)
·        HMS Revenge (74)
·        HMS Polyphemus (64)
·        HMS Swiftsure (74)
·        HMS Dreadnought (98)
·        HMS Defiance (74)
·        HMS Thunderer (74)
·        HMS Defence (74)
·        HMS Prince (98)
·        HMS Euryalus (36)
·        HMS Naiad (38)
·        HMS Phoebe (36)
·        HMS Sirius (36)
·        HMS Pickle (8)
·        HMS Entreprenante (10)
Admiral Pierre-Charles Villeneuve/Admiral Francisco Gravina
·        Neptuno (80)
·        Scipion (74)
·        Rayo (100)
·        Formidable (80)
·        Duguay Trouin (74)
·        Mont Blanc (74)
·        San Francisco de Asis (74)
·        San Agustin (74)
·        Heros (74)
·        Santissima Trinidad (136)
·        Bucentaure (80)
·        Neptune (80)
·        Redoubtable (74)
·        San Leandro (64)
·        San Justo (74)
·        Santa Ana (112)
·        Indomptable (80)
·        Fougueux (74)
·        Intrepide (74)
·        Monarca (74)
·        Pluton (74)
·        Bahama (74)
·        Aigle (74)
·        Montanes (74)
·        Algesiras (74)
·        Argonauta (80)
·        Swiftsure (74)
·        Argonaute (74)
·        San Ildefonso (74)
·        Achille (74)
·        Principe de Asturias (112)
·        Berwick (74)
·        San Juan Nepomuceno (74)
·        Cornelie (40)
·        Hermione (40)
·        Hortense (40)
·        Rhin (40)
·        Themis (40)
·        Furet (18)
·        Argus (16)

Nelson’s tactics were brutally simple – charge straight at ’em. Conventional wisdom held that the most efficient way to engage the enemy fleet was in a column, exchanging broadsides until one side retired. Forever unconventional, Nelson decided to take advantage of his crew’s exceptional gunnery skills and maximise his firepower by forcing a hole in the enemy line of battle and blasting them to pieces with a storm of shot.

The only drawback – weathering the fire of the whole enemy fleet, directed at his ship’s vulnerable sterns. Weather conditions left both fleets practically becalmed, and some British ships were under fire for over an hour before they could bring their own guns to bear.

Despite taking a ferocious battering from the French and Spanish ships, the two columns of British ships thrust their way into the enemy line of battle, their own double-shotted broadsides wreaking absolute havoc. Nelson’s flagship, HMS Victory was at the very heart of the battle, locked rail-to-rail with Redoutable. 

In the ensuing boarding action, Admiral Nelson was felled by a mizzen top sniper. Despite the loss of their commander, the British columns piled into the Franco–Spanish line, overwhelming those ships still fighting the centre and driving off both van and rearguards.

The Leeward Line

Black Seas comes complete with a scenario covering the whole battle from start to finish. In addition to this, we’ve chosen to zoom in on the head of Collingwood’s leeward line, focussing on his close-range confrontation with the Spanish first-rate Santa Ana! Written by A. Langton, this fantastic scenario will allow you to get to grips with Black Seas and experience the chaos of Trafalgar, all at once!

This scenario is free to download: Trafalgar Leeward Line!

The British victory at Trafalgar broke the back of French naval power for the best part of a decade. Napoleon’s grand amphibious invasion of England was forstalled, and his continental empire would be defeated on land before the French navy recovered its strength.

Sail into Action!

Black Seas focuses on the golden age of sail, which encompasses the period between 1770 and 1830. During this period of maritime warfare ships were beautiful and deadly machines of war.
The Black Seas rules allow you to recreate the thrilling naval battles of the Age of Sail in all their glory. Utilising a unique and innovative initiative system based around the most important factor of sail-powered combat: the wind. Additional rules enable you to fight in a ‘line of battle’, engage shore batteries, rake your enemies with withering initial broadsides or capture vessels in heroic boarding actions. All while avoiding such hazards to navigation as fog banks, fire ships and shipwrecks.

Looking to recreate Trafalgar? Get sizeable fleets which include optional figureheads and backplates for many of the ships presents at Trafalgar with our national starter sets:

One Step Further!

Our 3rd Rates of Renown box sets contain even more of the vessels that sailed to battle at Trafalgar!

1 comment
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like