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[Free Republic of Texas]

[TXS] Texas Republic - Episode 3 - Jazz Cabbage Super Brig The Grimm Reaper

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**NOTE -- Originally posted to Reddit on May 31, 2019

My fellow Texians...I come to you with sad news from the Republic of Texas of grid F10.

When I joined my crew this night, it was reported to me at once that members of the Jazz Cabbage nation were issuing threats and warning our small island residents of a pending attack. My captains reported that messages were exchanged and it was indicated to the aggressors that our governor (myself) was not yet available for comment. The reply from Jazz Cabbage was flatly that there was no time to wait for a reply.

A black and red brig flying black sails was soon reported off our southern harbor. Before we could man our stations the brig parked behind our harbor walls and opened fire into the harbor. This hostile action was utterly without provocation but my crew and I were more than eager to return them with a warm Texas welcome! We raced to our ships!

I tried to calm my crew and urge patience as I sprinted to the harbor walls. But in our haste to make a good showing and offer our visitor a stand-up fight we already had ships pulling out away from their docks. Afterall, it was just a single brig and we easily outnumbered her. Based on recent experience we hoped for a fight where we might squeeze out an advantage.

Giving honor to her namesake, the brig [TXS] Davy Crockett was first into the fray! Thinking back to our Texas hero of history, Crockett was one of the last defenders of the Alamo of 1836. He and the men of less than 200 fought to the very last and the Crockett sailed into battle hoping to stand toe-to-toe with her enemy....for better or worse.

As the two brigs circled outside the range of our harbor cannons and mortars, the galleon [TXS] San Antonio mustered all hands to action and pulled out from her moorings. But her inability to maneuver in such tight quarters with dueling brigs took her far out of range of her cannons and fighting the wind to beat back to the fight.

As for myself, I took command of the galleon [TXS] Alamo and made ready to push off. I suddenly realized that her crew were yet off-island on leave to the nearest Freeport. (ie: she was severely under manned...only her forward-most cannons were manned and ready. She was not ready for battle!)

Seeing my delima, I abandoned the Alamo and swam for my personal flagship, the brig [TXS] Rio Grande. She was a sixteen-gun brig with a mix of both large and medium cannon. Not an ideal fashion for a war brig, but I hate only being able to fire in straight lines abeam. As the Rio Grande pulled away from the docks and rigged full sail, the Crockett sank under the far superior firepower of the offending brig. Her captain eagerly cursing us all for our slow response and call to arms. Totally understandable, but I was however in no place to remedy the loss. We sailed now with a singular focus...Victory or Death!

The galleon San Antonio was making for the hostile brig, Grimm Reaper, and the Rio Grande came out to meet her head-on. We passed gunport to gunport and my crew let fly a full salvo of cannon....as did the Reaper. Planks and armor were shredded instantly and several crew cried out as even some of my cannon were destroyed! The fire swivels on the Reaperswept my decks as we passed and my forward sail hand leapt to his death with his uniform on fire!

I too, was a casualty with that first pass...and my ship limped forward to a stop as the sails came down and her guns fell silent....I had issued an order to fire a broadside, not a standing order to fire at will... *sigh*

When I woke after what seemed like an eternity, the crew was all about in chaos! Below decks were filled with smoke and debris littered the gun deck from stem to stern. The spray of the ocean rushing in from the forward bulkhead made the run amidships treacherous but I did my best. With planks in-hand I returned to the forward compartment and waited for the debris to clear and slapped planks into place. Now back to the fight, or so I thought.

As I came above deck, the Reaper was firing again. Her cannons landed devastating blow after blow and I barely made it to the ship's wheel and issued all guns to free fire before I was cut down once again. My ship and her crew would fight without me for the next two-minutes!

While I was out, the San Antonio finally got into range on the Reaper and the two were exchanging fire. The captain of the Crockett made it aboard the Rio Grande and was attempting repairs when I found my way out of the surgeon's cabin. I asked him to demo the ship's wheel so I could put one on the middle deck out of harm's way. We accomplished the change of command in brief order and I resumed control of the ship, only now being below the deck armor I had no visual to my surroundings. None the less, I issued the order to go to full sail and I pulled up the Atlas map to see where the fight was.

I was sailing blindly under full sail directly ahead. As my view cleared, I realized that the Rio Grande was entering the harbor at a full gallop. Her sails pushing her to speed with nothing to stop her but that large shipyard directly ahead!

We plowed into the shipyard and two more planks disintegrated in the collision. What a fool I was for not checking my bearing before issuing the order to go all ahead! Damn the luck!

I pulled what resources I had and loaded the smithy. Surely two planks was not beyond my ability to repair and get back into the fight! But only one could be fashioned from the materials at-hand. And where once you could demolish structures to regain materials in time of need, now an unanchored ship somehow expels all demolished materials without even so much as a single fiber to be put to good use.

I blame the loss of the Rio Grande on poor preparedness, unlucky navigation, and a shell-shocked captain. Dieing two times in three minutes while fighting a sinking ship is stressful work! That's my excuse anyways.

But the battle was not over.

I abandoned the wreck of the Rio Grande and whistled my crew to follow me to the Alamo. We boarded and I hastily made her ready to sail. As we pulled out of the harbor, I began assigning crew to battlestations. I placed one on the wheel and directed her to take a southern heading....last time I looked at the map that's where the fight was.

As I finished making ready the crew, I checked our bearings and announced my intention to bring the Alamo into the fight even with a reduced crew. My other captains were now weary of the battle as the San Antonio was all but lost at this point.

As the San Antonio went down we all gathered on the decks of the Alamo...this would be our last stand.

We approached the enemy brig and she made sail as if to run....but we paralleled her course and slowly closed range, almost matching her speed perfectly. She led us by a boat length, which made us easy prey for her long range cannons but she was just outside of ours. We needed more speed or I would have to take the hits until we could bear away and fire. I tried to trim the sails but the Alamo was being stubborn in the light air...and no more speed was to be had.

We ran along on a southerly course and we matched heading changes in unison. Our cannons opened fire under orders but the shots fell behind the Reaper while hers found our forward planks and decks. It was obvious by then that the brig was slowly pulling ahead of us -- she was slightly faster.

Up ahead I saw a chance to possibly turn the running sparring match into a broadside brawl where would have the upper hand of more cannon...a fleet of Ships of the Damned appeared directly in our course ahead....two galleons of low/mid level and an assortment of brigs. I steered directly for them and told the crew to prepare to receive multiple incoming cannons. I then had our gunners stand down so as to not waste ammo on the glowing fleet.

The Reaper realized what was happening and angled toward us. She passed through our firing arcs and I attempted to land a manual sighting salvo to not very great effect....and she took up position behind us on our stern. We passed through the ghostly fleet and the night sky illuminated with their glowing cannon fire. Half their cannons scored hits on the Alamo and as we cleared the two galleons I cranked hard to port...or at least as hard as a galleon will go to port.

The maneuver was almost perfect! The Ships of the Damned had been caught mostly unaware as we sailed through their midst but they turned hard in on us in pursuit......and rubbed railings with the brig as she gave chase. We were attempting to tack across the wind but the Reaper had loaded bar shot and was ripping our aft sails to pieces! We were slowing....and even though the brig got tangled up with the galleons and other fleet of the Damned, she broke free and closed on us rapidly. We lost our two aft sails and I tried to reverse back into the fleet of the Damned once more.

The Reaper took up close quarters on our aft and my captains fired medium cannons and ballista at her dark hull. Our aft planks melted away and on all three decks above the waterline one had a clear view of the engagement! Our broadside cannons were useless and our efforts at repairs were spent.

All around us cannon fire was still sounding...the brig and galleon both were sending ships of the Damned to the depths in rapid succession...but our two vessels were locked in mortal combat. In a last ditch effort, we dropped sail and waited for the boarders. As my captains yelled the enemy was coming aboard, I raised the forward handlers and pulled hard to port once more trying to out-turn the brig while she sat with her sails down and officers attempting to board us. The move worked ever so slightly as the brig broke off for a moment raising sail and trying to avoid our large cannon as we turned....she was just too fast and we barely landed anything more than glancing blows.

However, seeing as we still had some kick left in us, the Reaper turned in and went for the kill. There was no boarding action to repel nor any last hooray to be had. Once again, the Alamo was lost.

We had been soundly defeated by a far superior ship in every manner.

If there had been a chance for us to leave our mark by sending the Reaper to the bottom it was only in our minds alone. The reality of the engagement was that we were outmatched before the first cannon was ever fired.

I give much respect to the shipbuilders of the Reaper and her crew, yet I hold very little for her commander and for the manner in which the battle came about. There was no patience to await word from our leadership about the diplomatic issue at hand and the commander of the Reaper took it upon himself to enforce some unwritten rule of wrong-sided allegiance which we were wrongly accused of breaking. And to add further insult, it was plainly clear that at any time the superior vessel could have called off the attack and disengaged after seeing we were clearly outmatched.

Had the alliance between Wendigo and Jazz Cabbage been so eager to win our favor in a fight with YT, which they claimed was their honest intent, and being the good sports that we Texians are...we would have gladly taken our lumps and retreated back to our harbor to lick our wounds, salvage our wrecks and entertain a parlay for our allegiance.

But none of that happened...and in our defeat we still sportingly accepted our losses and returned to home base to begin salvage and recovery operations. All the while discussing our need for better investment in ships and cannon.

But unfortunately, the night was not yet over....

...to be continued...

 

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