The Wind And The Lion

The Wind And The Lion
German gunners range in on the U.S. Marines as they cross the vill. Figures are Old Glory German Sea Battalion conversions. Archway by Miniature Building Authority.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

SMG Annual Regatta - 2017

                                          SMG Annual Regatta - 2017
Every year the South Florida Miniatures Gamers, (abbreviated SMG) hold the SMG Annual Regatta in December. We usually play a game of "Limeys and Slimeys" in 15mm. Two very long time members, Jorge and Capt. Ron have run this game annually for many years, possibly for the last 10 years. They have built and painted up very impressive and beautiful fleets of 15mm 1800's era sailing ships of various sizes and types from every known 15mm manufacturer. This year however Jorge had decided to run the SMG Annual Regatta in 25mm! Since Jorge and I had built and painted a pair of 25mm ships for Bill Moreno's awesome Yorktown extravaganza game which we assisted him with running at an HMGS-South con in Orlando we had a base of ships to start with. Normally we field well over 20 ships in 15mm so this was going to be a challenge starting with only (2) vessels and only (2) months to plan. Several of us had a few unpainted ships but not enough time to get them done in time. Jorge had kitted out my ship with rigging and sails and transformed it from a basic ship to a beauty. I had another built and slightly painted ship that needed a lot of work, but he said he could get it done in time. That gave us (3) ships to start with. The next challenge was a scenario to give us direction. With only (3) ships and an average of 10 people showing up per game out of a possible 30+ within our local area things were looking bleak. We weren't going to play our standard Napoleonic naval engagement or war of 1812 battle with only (3) ships. Since I have a large fleet of dhows and xebecs in 25mm in my colonial collection for my The Sword And The Flame games it was a natural choice for Jorge to design a game based off the coast of Africa.

Jorge had designed a tight scenario where a French 32 gun frigate was escorting a trio of various sized unarmed cargo vessels from ports in Africa back to Marseille. One of the cargo ships was transporting a French lord and lady of high importance intent on getting back to France. In the vicinity of this small fleet was a 24 gun British frigate heading back to its posting from a recent leave. The villains of this scenario were Barbary Arab pirates intent on capturing the cargo ships while attempting to maneuver their way out of range of the French frigate's deadly 32 guns! Thus the scene is set....

The (3) French cargo ships leave port at sunrise escorted by the 32 gun French frigate "Toulon". A single rider slips away from the docks and heads to the nearby bay and stronghold of a notorious  Barbary Corsair, chief Ali Bin Hidin. A few shekels change hands, commands are barked, and shortly there after five heavily armed native dhows and xebecs leave port intent on intercepting the French fleet while still in relatively shallow waters where their flat bottomed boats and shallow drafts still have an advantage. Due to their lateen rigs and sails their faster rate of speed might allow them to catch the fleet before they hit the open ocean.

        The French fleet leaves a port in off the Horn of Africa for Marseille.

                                             The Arab fleet gives chase.

A British frigate shadows the action. These nations are currently at peace.

Out of the haze of the morning sun several sails appear upon the horizon. They aren't allied ships, the alarm is sounded and the crews stand to. Gun ports are opened and the cannons loaded. Marines and sailors climb the rigging and man the fighting positions in the masts.


The fast moving zebecs and dhows give the French escort a wide birth and cut in behind the transports. The wind changed course favoring the attackers which increased their speed. This same coarse change slowed down the French transports, and made the French commander's decision to lead the small fleet rather than trail it more fatal than it could've been.

The waves crash against the hulls of the zebecs as their vessels heave to. The sail rigging ropes are pulled tight as the sails catch the most wind possible to close with their enemies. One zebec Captain so intent on closing with his prey fails to see the British ship maneuvering into position behind him. As the zebec closes in on the nearest French transport ship the British cannons spit lead and fire. The British Captain has achieved the holy grail of naval combat, a rake!

The highly trained and motivated British gunners lay waste to one of the zebecs. The cannon balls hit home, shredding the zebec, cutting the masts, setting the vessel alight, and sinking it within moments.

Though no love is lost between the British and French the Brit Capt of the Circe could not stomach the fate of a European crew left to the fate of a merciless foe..... thus he unleashes death upon the zebec Capt and its crew sending them to the bottom of Indian Ocean.

 Despite loosing one of their own ships the pirates are undeterred and relentlessly continue their attack. Nervous French Sailors and stalwart Marines on the transport ships grab arms and prepare to repel borders.

The French Capt has realized his mistake in leading his column rather than trailing it as the zebecs and armed dhows swarm his convoy. He changes course and crosses the wind to face the enemy and bring his broadsides to bear.

The change in course of the wind has lifted the Arab sailors' spirits as their sails fill with wind and they close upon their pray. The cat and mouse games ends with the zebecs coming into contact, grapples are thrown, muscles aching and coiled, men hiding behind gunwalls intent on boarding the enemy vessels.

Vicious fighting ensues, one of the transports manages to miraculously beat off the intruders due to the heroic actions (very good die rolls) of the crew and Marines, they cut the grapples and temporarily escape off the table. The other two transports are not so lucky. Despite the added firepower of the French frigate which has come about, and some successful melees the two transports finally succumb to the Barbary onslaught once multiple vessels attacked each ship at the same time.

While the French were fighting off the Barbary scum the English Capt reads aloud a letter picked up at port. War has been declared and the French and British are currently at WAR! Thus the plucky English Capt orders his crew to stand to, load the cannon, and open the gun ports. He sails into position and lets loose a broadside into the Toulon. Luckily for the French a wave rose just as the cannons discharged their ordnance and their fire was largely ineffective. Or, did the English gunners just loose heart and were reluctant to fire on another European ship whilst in African waters and surrounded by Barbary pirates and aimed their guns purposely low?

The Toulon returns fire with devastating results. After trading a couple of broadsides the English ship decides they are out gunned and break off the fight. The French Capt returns his attention to his devastated convoy, or what is left of it. Before the Toulon can come about again the transports strike their colors and are being re-crewed by pirates. The game was called at this point with the French commander being deemed to have miserably failed in his duties. What awaits him at home is suspect.

The fate of the transport crews is unknown and the French Govt has lost all hope of securing any of their safe return. The cargo has been lost as well. Worst of all the Lord and Lady Bergeron had also been captured once the last cargo ship was chased down. Their fate is still unknown......

A fun game was had by all! I for one am looking forward to next years SMG Annual Regatta 2018. What will Jorge and Capt Ron have in store for us? Another 25mm game or 15mm, AWI, Napoleonic, SYW, China Sea action, or Pirates of the Caribbean????????

Naval action at the South-Florida Miniatures Gamers (SMG) clubhouse in Fort Lauderdale Florida affectionately called "Das Krieg Haus".

I'm not sure of all the models used in this game but I will note which ones I know.

European Ships
French frigate: Made by Old Glory Shipyard:
Old Glory 25mm figs

Zebecs and Dhows
Richard Houston, ordered from:
Crews: I used many different figs from many different manufacturers and ranges. Some are infantry figures converted to be gunners.
Marines: Foundry - Sikh Wars
Sailors - Old Glory - Ansar, Eureka - Turks, Foundry - Zanzibaris, etc.


  1. Phil, Thank you for taking the time to read the post and comment. The game was big fun.

    Your blog is outstanding sir! I've just signed up to follow it.

  2. Willie, I'm glad you like it sir. Thanks for taking the time to post!

  3. Sorry I wasn't there! The report was amazing. Looking forward to the next one.

  4. What an awesome looking and playing game!!! Can't believe I missed reading this for so long but happy I finally found it tonight!

  5. Glad you found it too buddy. It really was a blast. It looks like this year's SMG Annual Regatta will be in 25mm as well since some club members have purchased more 25mm ships!