At the annual public miniature wargames exhibition at Kirriemuir on Saturday, 10th November, Oldmeldrum Wargames Group won third prize for their demonstration game of the Battle of Bantry Bay 1796 using miniature fleets of the Napoleonic  era.  Twenty clubs from Scotland and the north of England participated in the event with games inspired by history ancient and modern and fantasy.

Robert, Alistair, Ross, Mike R, John & Roger

Robert, Alistair, Ross, Mike R, John & Roger

The Battle of Bantry Bay was selected by the club as an ‘alternative history’ scenario. A real invasion attempt did happen at this time but the French were scattered by the worst winter storms in living memory and as a result of additional losses inflicted by the British navy, had to abandon plans to invade Ireland for the time being.

The French main fleet arrives, but are they too late to save the day?

The French main fleet arrives, but are they too late to save the day?

The club played the situation that might have occurred had the weather been more favourable. The display attracted interest from many members of the public, who asked the club about the 1:1200 scale ships, the authentic scenery and the fast play hex-based rules – Beat to Quarters – that moved the action onwards on the table top.

The "King George" smashes its way through the French line - the beginning of the end for the French!

The “King George” smashes its way through the French line – the beginning of the end for the French!

The British and French teams were randomly selected from the club and the object of the game for the British was to try to prevent the invasion of Ireland by sinking or capturing the French transport ships anchored in the bay. At the end of play the outcome was drawn, because the French transports were still in danger of being sunk or captured. The British first rate ‘King George’ managed to break the French line, losing two of her masts, but in a touch of Nelsonian valour succeeded in boarding the French ship that she was grappled with and captured her as a prize vessel!

Words: Alistair Massey
Photographs: Mike Travis

Links: Beat to Quarters rules by Dave Gifford (d.gifford@fastmail.fm)
http://www.freewargamesrules.co.uk/uploads/7/0/8/1/7081303/btq.pdf

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