Tuesday, July 9, 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: USS Hatteras, The gunboat that took on the CSS Alabama

USS Hatteras (USN Card 16) was a civilian steamer outfitted as a gunboat and sent to blockade Key West and later Galveston.  There she was surprised and sunk by Raphael Semmes and his storied raider, CSS Alabama (CSN Card 63).    Prior to that fatal engagement, however, USS Hatteras captured seven blockade runners (hence her speed advantage as noted on the card).

USS Hatteras died well that day in January 1863.  She was chasing down a vessel that had identified itself as HBMS Petrel – but when Commander Blake brought his ship in close, Semmes showed his true colors and declared by signal “We are the CSS Alabama.”  The duel was fought at under 200 yards, with the USS Hatteras at first giving as good as she got with her 32-pounders…but after being holed and set afire, the Union warship was forced to strike.

Battle on the board: USS Hatteras vs CSS Alabama combat in Rebel Raiders

USS Hatteras is a Gunboat.  In a battle in Rebel Raiders she fires one die.  As her target is a Raider, she needs a 5 or 6 to hit and sink CSS Alabama.   (Her card does not give her any advantage in combat, only in searching for Raiders and Blockade Runners.)

CSS Alabama is a Raider.  In a battle a Raider also fires a single die – but her chances to hit and sink a gunboat are slightly better – a 4,5 or 6.   CSS Alabama, however, being a singularly epic man of war (her commander, Raphael Semmes, bridled at being labeled a “pirate” and sought out the USS Hatteras in part to prove that he was not afraid to take on an armed opponent) adds a plus to her die in combat (as per the bonuses listed on (CSN Card 63) - so, CSS Alabama thus rolls one dice, and with that bonus now needing a 3, 4, 5 or 6 ;  which apparently in the real war she rolled, and down went the USS Hatteras, which rolled her single die – but missed.

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