On Holding the Narrows

We met in battle in the Caribbean.

I had as my ally Frederick the Great. On another island in the archipelago were Maurice of Nassau and Henry the Navigator.

Early control of the water — particularly the narrow straight between my island and my opponent’s island — would determine the outcome.

My strategy was straightforward — locate my opponent’s island, land my explorer there, and take the trading post there if my opponents had not. Fortunately, the trading site was mine. Taking the trading site on their island early was a boon — I could produce Carib bowgunners en masse there, and thus have a credible military presence on that island. If Henry and Maurice turned their efforts toward attacking my trading post, then that would leave open other avenues of attack, other shores where I could land in force and overwhelm their colonies.

Meanwhile, I’d also claimed the unoccupied island for myself. I needed the island’s resources, and the island also fronted a long stretch of open water, which provided food stocks and whaling revenue, both of which I would need for the coming battle.

Maurice and Henry both attacked my trading post. Never in any great force — and with food coming in from my fishing, and with most of my villagers wood-gathering I had the resources to keep my population of Carib blowgunners high.

But then Maurice and Henry turned their attention to the seas. They both built forts on the narrow’s shoreline, and massive frigates were kept beneath their guns. Meanwhile, they also began preying upon my fishing and whaling fleets.

I needed to control the seas, at least well enough to land an army of musketeers, grenadiers, and cavalry, but with the fleets both my opponents had amassed, with the guns they’d built overlooking the water, I knew I would have to challenge them for naval supremacy.

Frigates, monitors, and a pirate fleet were assembled. The frigates and the privateers would challenge the enemy frigates, drawing them away from the monitors, which could shell the forts from long-distance.

I am, sadly, no Nelson, and this was no Trafalgar. Ships burned in the night. But I was able to keep my enemy’s ships at bay long enough to destroy the forts, and then I landed my army on the northwestern shoreline.

The army came under fire almost immediately — Henry sailed a fleet up the narrows at that very moment, and as my forces landed they came under fire from the narrows. My army took losses in the assault, and the survivors made it inland. They set to work attacking Henry’s town.

I had, over time, called up reinforcements from my home city — musketeers, Black Watch highlanders, even a mercenary army of Swiss pikemen. I landed this army near the trading site, and they linked up with my Carib blowgunners, and from the south this army attacked Maurice’s colony.

Frederick, too, had landed an army on the island’s western shore, and his column made straight for Maurice’s colony. Between the two of us, Maurice’s colony was quickly dispatched, and then I moved to swing north and east to catch Henry’s colony from the south. With one army already attacking Henry from the north, with reinforcments about to land on the island’s northern shore, Henry would soon fall.

And fall Henry did.

Victory was mine. đŸ™‚

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *