Monday, July 15, 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: The Mosquito Fleet- Montgomery at Memphis

“The Mosquito Fleet” (CSN Card 81) represents the rag-tag little squadrons the South cobbled together for the defense of Memphis and Mobile Bay.  Civilian vessels to which a gun or two and crew were hastily added, and to which bales of cotton, stacks of lumber or other makeshift defenses were added, these hopelessly outclassed and outgunned little ships and their brave crews performed far better than any could expect or demand. 

The two Confederate naval officers who led those forces --- Commander James Montgomery at Memphis and Admiral Franklin Buchanan at Mobile Bay – are both represented by stand-up Leader counters and Fleet Command Boxes on the lower left of the map.  (Players may take a stack of ships and place them in a Fleet Command Box and replace them on the map with the corresponding Leader – there are two such for the South, four for the North).

Montgomery had eight ships in his “Mosquito Fleet” at Memphis in June 1862.  Undergunned and underpowered, they were no match for Colonel Charles Ellet and his seven ships, which included five ironclads and two rams.   (Two of those ships, the  ironclad USS CarondeletUSN Card 15 – and the ram, USS Queen of the WestUSN Card 38, are in the game).    Needless to say, Montgomery, though gallant, did not prevail.

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