The Battle of the Eight.

The Battle for Bouvet Island’s secrets.

A common misconception is that the Battle of the Eight actually involved all eight fleets and expeditions present, however, several of the fleets where not actually fitted for combat, the Nipponese Envoy’s fleet considered of only three ships, all of whom only carried basic weapons to fight of the common pirates, whereas the English Expeditionary Fleet considered of fifteen Ships-of-the-line, fully prepared for both combat and exploration.

Due to that fact, the early negotiations quickly saw the distancing of the Japanese, the Compact Fleet and the Dutch, as neither of their expeditions had any mayor offensive armament.

That left the English, Spanish, Zulu, Roman Imperial and the League fleets to contest about the Island.

Following is the details of the separate fleets:

The English Expeditionary Fleet:

Fifteen Ships-of-the-line:
Six Man-of-War.
Six Frigates.
Three Armed Merchant Marines.

The Spanish Royal Fleet:

Eight Ships-of-the-line:
Four Man-of-War.
Four Frigates.

The Zulu Exploratory Fleet:

Twelve Ships-of-the-line:
Six Man-of-War.
Four Frigates.
One Troop Transport.
One Armed Exploration vessel.

The Roman Imperial Marine:

Seven Ships-of-the-line:
Three Man-of-War.
Three Frigates.
One Troop transport.

The League of Free Traders and Merchants:

Five Ships-of-the-line:
Four Man-of-War
One Experimental Ironclad.

The Navies where not evenly matched, but several of them had advantages against the others, the battle was drawn.

The Battle began in the early hours of the 17th of March 1724, with clear weather and naught but the birds and a few whales as witnesses, except for the three expeditions who did not participate in the battle.

The First Skirmish started with a standard manoeuvre from the Roman Imperials, who using their usual methods, engaged the Spanish Navy by quite simply sailing directly into their opponents ships trying to either ram or board the hostile vessels, except the Troop transport, who made use of it’s superior speed to get around the enemy lines and engage one of the Spanish Man-Of-War, one of the Spanish Frigates who hadn’t gotten into position did try and intercept the Roman ship, but could not catch up with the vastly faster vessel.

The end result was an almost total tactical defeat for both sides of the engagement, as the Roman Imperials simply lost to many men to operate their ships, and the Spanish simply lost their Man-of-War to the Roman boarding actions, thus effectively rendering both of the combatants out of the battle for Bouvet.

The Second Skirmish started only fifteen minutes after the end of the first, when the English and Zulu forces clashed together, the English commander, an Admiral Lord Grünenberger, who got his position exclusively thanks to his connections and title, proved to be an utterly incompetent commander, and simply groups his ships together in a largely useless group and ordered them to “Fire on the enemy, surely we can win by simply throwing enough cannon balls at them”.

The Zulu commander, where not appointed due his blood or family, he was a good and solid officer who had worked his way to the top, of the old English families from the Cape area, he admitted a sudden level of irony in that he, an person of English blood, commanding a Zulu fleet, would engage a German noble commanding an English fleet.

Grand Admiral Benjamin Sanders performed an almost flawless edition of the old “crossing the T” manoeuvre, thus decimating the vast majority of the English fleet.

Only three English frigates managed to escape the battle, the rest of the proud English Navy was sent to sleep with Poseidon, the Zulu Fleet lost a single Man-of-War.

A final player remained; the illusive League ships had maintained their distance from the Anglo-Zulu engagement, waiting the result of the engagement.

An as the Zulu force regroup, their numbers still superior to the League fleet, the third and final part of the Battle for Bouvet Island began.

The Third Skirmish began with long-range bombardments from the League vessels, using long-range mortars; the League commanders also placed their most powerful ships, the experimental ironclad “LS Unfathomable”, as the lead ship.

The League had no frigates or any other support vessels at their disposal, however, the vastly superior firepower did manage to eliminate three of the Zulu frigates before the Zulu even came in range with their own guns, and severely damage most of the remaining fleet.

The Zulu fleet did, however, manage to execute a perfect pincer move, and managed to severely damage on of the League battleships, whereas the lone troop transport managed to board and neutralize an enemy ship.

Thus rendering the League fleet severely crippled, the lead ship sent out the disengagement signal and quickly withdrew.

The way was now opened for the Zulu to occupy the island they had originally discovered, in a gesture of peace, they invited the withdrawn expeditions of the Compact and the Nipponese envoys to participate in the exploration of the mysterious city.

When the Dutch ships approached the island, the Zulu simply opened fire, having not forgotten the Dutch treachery that resulted in the battle.

Thus ends the Battle for Bouvet Island, join me again tomorrow, for the final feature, the Lost City of Bouvet Island.


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