After three days at sea the Privateer and the Revenge sat together on the ocean, close enough to communicate, far enough apart for the rolling ocean to keep the hulls from crashing together. They were sitting under the light of a half moon in a clear cloudless sky, the winds that had plagued them on the last leg of their journey had all but died off but the in going tide was rolling them from side to side.
The good captain knew that such a calm cloudless night would lead to a densely foggy morning on the coast. In fact he was hoping for it, the thicker the better, for the thicker the fog the more it would hide them when they unleashed their attack.
The decks of both ships were a buzz with activity, only a handful of crew members, those who’d already done a long day shift getting them where they were, slept in their bunks, the rest of the crew were preparing for battle. Along the port side of both ships the crew readied the cannons, more than thirty cannons along the side of each ship loaded and prepared to attack. Stacks of cannon balls laid neatly beside each cannon, easy to grab and quick to reload. On the starboard side boats for the landing and final ground based attack where being prepared. Pistols, cutlasses, ammunition, anything that could be used as a weapon and wasn’t already stored on their person were stacked in the boats.
The good pirate captain was taking every precaution needed to enjoy success from this battle. It was their first real battle, not counting the final battle of Morgan which he quickly realised as information about Morgan’s brutality came to light was always going to be an unfair fight weighted in their favour. He’d trained them hard, trained them well and pushed for the crew to be ready for this attack which he himself had been planning for more years than he could remember. With two ships and two crews the good captain knew his odds were good, the small village they were attacking was relatively defenceless, if things went the way he planned casualties would be low but the rewards would be high.
The good captain watched over his crew readying themselves for battle, in less than an hour they would begin their final approach on the small island village. He’d spent a good part of the last three days drawing up maps from his own memory, maps that showed they coastline they would be attacking. On each map he marked the ruined buildings, the walls where the enemy could hide and the location of each gun turret he knew to be there. When each map was populated with as much detail as he could list a map was given to the captain aboard the Revenge and he kept one for himself.
It had been a long while since he’d last drifted past the island and he knew things could have changed but it was a risk he had to take. In the years he’d been watching the island very little had changed, he knew that was a guise, the islanders using the broken down unchanging landscape to fool passes by that the island held no reward, but there was always a seed of doubt. What defences lay on the island where they could not be seen? The lack of visible progress was not something that the good pirate captain took lightly.
Before dinner the previous night he’d fully briefed his own crew of where they were attacking, what landmarks they would attack, where the boats would make land and where the ground crews would begin their attack. He explained to them the risk, explained to them the goal and explained to them the rewards, not one pirate argued when they were asked if they were ready for battle. After dinner the good captain had repeated the briefing upon the Revenge and received the same cheering response.
Looking towards the east the good captain could see the sea fog beginning to roll in from the eastern horizon, his estimation had it engulfing both ships well before sunrise. Of course it would have been easier to sail into position under the cover of night but with the half moon, no clouds and the flaming torches the crew still needed to light the deck of the ship the risk of being seen was higher, far better to use the thick sea fog to mask their arrival.
The ocean surrounding the island was deep and clean, there was no rocky outcrops and no coral reefs to contend with, the risk of a shifting sand bar that wasn’t there any time the good captain had sailed by previously was present but that was a risk any time a ship neared a shore line. In all the risk of damage to the ships was low and sailing toward land using the sea fog as a mask far outweighed being seen early and alerting the small village to the pending attack.
The good captain watched and waited as the sea fog engulfed them, although daylight was slowly following the sea fog there was little daylight within the mist. When the good captain could barely make out more than a silhouette of a huge ship where he knew the Revenge to be he slowly counted to 300 then gave the orders to ship out beginning their approach on the unsuspecting island.
The captain knew that no matter how much the crew had trained canon fire was often inaccurate in that they could not be aimed precisely at a target, for that reason they were also somewhat ineffective. However what he also knew was that with the fire power of two ships and the ability to pound the coast line with up to sixty canon balls at any given time accuracy wasn’t as important as the strength of the attack.
Something else the captain knew was that the attack from the ground canons always had greater range, his ships needed to be less than 300 yards off shore, closer if he could arrange it, for maximum attack strength, a distance well in range of land based cannons. The village could potentially fire blindly into the fog and take a ship down without even knowing it. That was why when the time came and the good captain ordered the strike the crew were told to go hard and show no mercy.
While knowing the distance he was from shore in such a thick fog did involve luck it also involved good captaincy. They’d be firing blindly so knowing the surroundings and being able to picture where they were on the water as if the fog wasn’t there was his most valuable asset. Because of the distance between the two ships and the thick fog communication between the ships wouldn’t be possible so when the good captain gave the order to attack there would be a delay of a few seconds before the captain of the Revenge called his crew to arms and began their attack. This few seconds was something the captain was using to his advantage, knowing they were under attack the villages wouldn’t be expecting the second barrage of cannon fire so quickly from only one ship, with luck the second barrage would take them by surprise.
After several minutes of quiet sailing, the crew all on edge and ready to attack the good pirate stopped the ship. The Revenge stopped less than thirty meters behind them. Two crews side by side, two crews ready, two crews waiting for the word.
Then from the navigation deck of the Privateer came the call of the good captain.
Previous Pirate story here.