CDG 20 Winners!
We present the winning entries for the Combat Decision Game in issue 20 of Armchair General Magazine, Nelson at the Nile, 1798:
COA#1- We will attack in two columns, one along the shoals and other from the seaward side. First, we will subject the northern French Van to a murderous crossfire. The Can will be completely at our mercy because we hold the weather gauge which will prevent the center and rear of the French fleet from rendering any support to the upwind north. We will systematically reduce the French fleet from north to south as we are propelled by the wind, our superior seamanship, gunnery and audacity because tonight “La chance sourit aux audacieux” (luck smiles at the bold).
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COA #1- Break up the British fleet into two columns, one flanking the port side running southward, parallel to the fleet; the other heading south down the starboard side straight for the l’Orient. Nelson and the Vanguard will head the starboard column, the port column will be headed by the 2nd ablest officer.
Surprise is our biggest ally, we need to get in close and hit their masts and gun decks from both sides causing the maximum amount of damage before they can bring together a broadside. The entire operation requires a quick, decisive strike that will render the enemy unable to capitalize on superior firepower.
By advancing and infiltrating the enemy I am takng advantage of one of our greatest strengths, the greed, experience, and aggressive initiative of a British naval captain. With the two column approach I am putting my captains in a position where they do not have to be micromanaged, insuring quick,, effective battlefield decisions.
Hit them where it will disrupt the chain of command. One column coming down on the flagship l’Orient will disrupt the French command, putting the pessimistic French captains into confusion. The French rely on more centralized chain of command than the British and once that chain is broken, it could tip the balance of the battle.
The risk of a shifting gale endangering the port column is outweighed by the ability to throw a hard first punch and placing the whole of the French fleet on the lee gage, giving the British tactical initiative. The shallows can be navigated by just observing where the French ships Serieuse, Artemise, and Diane have chosen to anchor.
British have to rely on outmaneuvering the superior firepower of the French fleet, and by placing the French on the lee gauge, I am forcing them to beat upwind to engage our fleet.
Eat well tonight captains, and be sure to tell your cooks how to prepare your frog legs tomorrow!
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San Antonio, TX
COA 2 is too risky. By coming from the deep sea at the point of the French flagship l’Orient and then veering south does not dispose of the entire French fleet, and it allows the Northern French ships to possibly flank the British fleet trapping it between them and the southern French ships. COA 3 is likewise bad as a fire ship might allow early warning to the French and spoil a surprise attack. COA 1 is the only plan that combines all the elements to the advantage to the british. The advantage of surprise attacking at dusk, the smaller british ships should be able to handle the shallows and still maneuver. The wind factor is in their favor attacking this way. They will be able to hit the French fleet with broadsides from both sides and move quickly south right down the French line, taking full advantage of speed, wind, and superior british gun crews. It would be difficult for the south French ships to move against them. By utilizing COA 1 the French should be able to destroy or cripple ¾ of the French fleet before the south French ships can even react. It should be a swift and total victory.