Friday, July 5, 2013

The Ships of Rebel Raiders - The Gunboats

Rebel Raiders on the High Seas is a strategic game of the Civil War which focuses on the role of the navies on the rivers, along the coasts and on the oceans.  While most ships are represented by generic counters for Ironclads, Blockade Runners, Gunboats, Screw Sloops and, of course Raiders, there are cards and corresponding counters for many individual vessels.  This series presents those cards and offers a glimpse into the history of these storied ships.

Part II – The Gunboats:  CSS Gaines

The CSS Gaines is the only Confederate gunboat with its own card (CSN 72) in Rebel Raiders on the High Seas.  Most Rebel gunboats had brief and unhappy lives, but the CSS Gaines is unique.  First, she was actually built as a warship; most other Confederate gunboats were, well, boats to which they stuck on some guns – or sometimes even just one gun.  Unfortunately, the shipyard at Mobile was under pressure and used unseasoned wood.  She was given high-pressure boilers that gave her some decent speed – even when the yard layered two inches of iron plating on her she could still make almost 10 knots.

(It is because of this iron-plating that the CSS Gaines is treated as an Ironclad during combat: see card below).

The CSS Gaines had a single eight-inch rifle and five 32-pound cannon.  Lt. John Bennett led her and his crew of 130 into battle in Mobile Bay in August 1864.  She took heavy damage and he had to run her aground off Fort Morgan in order to give the crew time to abandon ship.

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