The Author's Views
The Author's Views
A dispute between Antwerp and Francesca about the coffee importing monopoly was the public reason for a disagreement however its rapid escalation made the Government of the Britannic Empire concerned that Francesca had designs on the Batavia port, concerned enough to intervene. On November the 5th Francesca announced a blockade of the port. When the Britannic Empire declared Antwerp an open port and any attempt to close it would be met by force. The Franciscan Naval Minster ordered the Brest Squadron to 'Sweep the Channel'. To reach Antwerp from the main naval port at Brest the Franciscan fleet must sail up the Britannic Channel. It was here that a Britannic naval squadron intercepted the would be blockaders.
The weather was set fair as the Franciscan fleet steamed up the Franciscan Sea. Admiral Illumine his flag set on the older La Galissonnière commanded two other central battery ironclads Ocean and Colbert, also accompanying his were the ram Cerebere and the monitor Tonnerre. He for one could not see the Britannic Empire even attempting to stop this mighty force. So it came as some surprise when the plumes of smoke appeared on the horizon. A frantic few minutes called the fleet of five ships to battle stations and all was ready as the three Britannic vessels hove in to view. The Britannic Navy had mustered three vessels HMS Scorpion the channel watch vessel and two powerful ironclads HMS Temeraire and HMS Alexandria.
The two fleets closed the range with the slower Scorpion falling astern of her two consorts, until Illumine saw his chance swinging his line of ships into close range with his five vessels he could overpower the smaller separated Britannic fleet. In shock he saw he had mistimed his turn the rest of the fleet was still to complete the manoeuvre as the La Galissonnière faced the two Britannic vessels alone.
The exchange was brutal at short range the combined Britannic batteries hammered the La Galissonnière while the thicker armoured of the Britannic vessels shrugged off the Franciscan reply. With fires raging and her guns largely silenced the La Galissonnière turned away as belatedly the rest of the Franciscan fleet intervened. Unable to fire her slow-firing guns the Alexandria swung out of line and attempted to ram the smaller Tonnerre but as both vessels took damage in the collision the Tonnerre managed to sail passed the larger vessel. However the Colbert a much larger vessel accepted the challenge of the Alexandria and rammed her head on. The battle now split into two parts revolving around the fate of the Scorpion and the Colbert.
As the mass of Franciscan marines from Colbert stormed the Alexandria the Temeraire sailing around the end of the Franciscan line and shielded from the rest of the fleet continued to pound the La Galissonnière who finally succumbed to her the relentless fire. Meanwhile as the remaining three vessels of Illumine's fleet concentrated their fire on HMS Scorpion. Initially the Franciscan fire was appalling as the plucky Scorpion closed the range on the larger Ocean. Finally however even that abysmal fire took it toll and the Scorpion sank beneath the waves, but not before some telling hits on the Ocean.
With the dispatch of the La Galissonnière the Temeraire finally was able to influence the desperate battle for the Alexandria. Turning around the Temeraire struck the flowing mass of the Colbert and Alexandria adding her marines decisively to the gallant battle. The Colbert was taken and not a moment too soon for the Alexandria's defenders. The remaining Franciscan free to manoeuvre closed and pounded the entangled Britannic ships, who unable to bring their guns to bear could not reply. The crucial moment had arrived. The Temeraire managed to untangle, though the badly battered Alexandria and Colbert remained entangled. As the Franciscan gunners frantically tried to reload the Temeraire slipped between the Ocean and the ram Cerebere. Firing her remaining guns and the new Whitehead Torpedo at point blank range while the entangled Alexandria fired the few guns which could bear the Ocean surrendered to the fires and waves. The Battle was over, the two smaller Franciscan vessels after picking up their admiral from a small lifeboat beat a retreat back to Brest.
The Britannic navy had sunk two ironclads and captured a third for the loss of the older smaller Scorpion. The Alexandria was barely afloat and would require a major repair as indeed would the Temraire. Deprived of a blockading force and more interested in her southern borders Francisca reached a diplomatic agreement with both Antwerp and the Britannic Empire.