Sunday, 24 July 2011

The VOC jacht Duyfken

Finally I present the third in the series of 'ship studies', the Dutch jacht (reconnaissance/privateering vessel) Duyfken - on in English, the Little Dove. Built in 1595, the small vessel was used extensively by the VOC (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie) in the East Indies until her abandonment in 1608. In 1606, she was the first European vessel to reach the shores of Australia.

The full scale replica was built at Freemantle WA in 1999.

Displacement - 110 tons burthen
Length - 19.9m
Beam - 6.0m
Draft - 2.4m
Speed - 7 knots
Armament - 8 small cannons

The Duyfken at sea:

The Duyfken docked at Coffs Harbour in 2006:

The following timeline was opportunistically appropriated from, I can claim no credit or responsibility for any of the content.

CE 1595
Duyfken is built about 1595 in the Netherlands. A fast, lightly-armed ship probably intended for small valuable cargoes or privateering.

CE 1601

Selected as the jacht, or scout, for the "Moluccan Fleet" sailing to the Spice Islands.Duyfken's captain for this voyage, Willem Cornelisz Schouten, with Le Maire, would later discover and name Cape Horn after the city of Hoorn.
On Christmas day the five ships of the Moluccan Fleet reach Bantam (Banten), Java and encounter a blockading fleet of Portuguese ships totalling eight galleons and twenty-two galleys. They engage this fleet in intermittent battle until driving them away on New Years day. This is a turning point in history: the undisputed dominance of the Iberians (Portuguese and Spanish) in the Spice Trade to Europe is over.

CE 1602

Warm welcome in Bantam
Warm welcome in Bantam, repair to battle damage. Survey of Jakarta Bay, where the Dutch would later build Batavia their capital in the Indies, then sailing by way of Tuban, East Java to the Spice Island of Ternate. Loaded cloves at Ternate then to Banda for a cargo of nutmeg. Sent on a voyage of exploration to the east.

The newly-formed United Dutch East India Company (VOC) is granted a monopoly on trade to the Spice Islands by the Dutch government. On the voyage home from the Indies Duyfken is separated from the larger ships in a storm off Cape Agulhas, southern Africa. Duyfken reaches the Netherlands two months ahead of the larger ships early in 1603

CE 1603

In December Duyfken sets out on a second voyage to the Indies in the VOC fleet of Steven van der Haghen and with Willem Janszoon as skipper.

CE 1604

The VOC fleet captures two Portuguese ships in Mozambique Channel and sails to the Spice Islands via India finally reaching Banten, Java on New Years Eve.

CE 1605

Duyfken is in the fleet that recaptures the fort of Van Verre at Ambon in the Spice Islands from the Portuguese. Later in the year she is selected for another voyage of discovery to the south and east, but first she is sent to Bantam Java for urgently needed provisions.

CE 1606

Early in 1606 Willem Janszoon and Jan Roosengijn take Duyfken southeast from Banda to the Kei Islands, then along the south coast of New Guinea, skirting south of the shallow waters around False Cape and then continuing east-southeast until they reach and chart the shores of Australia's Cape York Peninsula.

CE 1607

Duyfken may have made a second voyage east to Australia. Later in the year she is sent to Java to get supplies for the beleaguered Dutch fortress on Ternate.

CE 1608

Engaged in a five hour battle with three Spanish galleys. In June Duyfken is sent with larger ships to capture the fortress of Taffaso on Makian Island. A month later she is brought inside the reef at Ternate for repairs. It seems that she was hauled on her side to repair the bottom but this caused further damage and she was judged unrepairable.

Handy links:
ABC report on the replica
Building the modern replica
VOC historical society

Saturday, 16 July 2011

A great slaughter of Scots

Last night I played two great games against the Lowland Scots of Alanus Dux Homunculorum (check out his excellent blog here). Disclaimer: Please note that all nationalistic jibing and slander expressed throughout this post have been added for gaming flavour only. They do not reflect the beliefs of any of the players involved with the games - not even Mr Hotspur himself....

In the first engagement, the Honourable Harry Hotspur led his men north in the name of good Queen Bes to put a halt to Scottish opportunistic depredations. He managed to recruit two companies of demi-lancers, a company of border horse, two of billmen and one each of longbowmen, militia pikemen and plantation militia (obviously home from the Dublin Pale for the holidays!?). He was opposed by some Scottish laird whose name has already been forgotten by the court chroniclers. The mangy northerners managed to put together four companies of border horse, two companies of targeteers, one company each of militia pike and militia shot together with a single saker. 
The battles are drawn up for... battle. Scots to the north, Hotspur to the south.
Hotspur started with a mild advantage as a spy in the Scots lines passed him information of the enemy deployment. Due to the presence of the saker, the English were forced to take the offensive. Early on, Hotspur maintained strict order over his companies as they closed on the cowardly savages.
The English surge forward as Scottish partisans fire at the English horse from the woods.
English border horse are enveloped as the longbowmen pull back to make way for the billmen.
The Scottish laird commits himself to battle as his militia shot retire.
As Hotspur rode to the aid of his failing border horse, he left the longbowmen heading east to the other flank. However, once the archers passed out of their lord's direct control, their recalcitrant captain decided that it was time to head off home for some Yorkshire puds. 
The English borderers flee as Hotspur presses home into the Scots targeteers. In the background, the English archers wander away from the action.
The Scottish right flank gives way in a cascade of routing reivers. Hotspur's pursuit leads him straight into the waiting gunners who took the opportunity to soil their breeches.  
The Scots submit to the obvious moral superiority of their English betters. Their Laird suffers a thorough raddishing and is sent packing back across the border.


In the second engagement, the Lowland Scots again mustered a force under the lairdship of Someguy MadSomething (NB: this may not be an accurate rendering of his actual name). He only scraped together a small battle consisting of three companies of border horse, two of targeteers, and one each of savage highlanders and militia pike. Opposed were a mass of wild Irishmen led by the brave Conor Roe - two companies of galloglass, three companies of kern, two each of bonnachts and kern marksmen along with a priest and a company of Spanish-trained targeteers. The Irish numerical superiority left them spoiling for the fight. 
The Irish kerns (all of whom were out of command range) impetuously move forward.
The Scots horse start forward against the exposed kern.
The first of the Scots border horse strike home. 
Aware that his kern were about to be decimated, Conor Roe leads the rest of his lads forward to envelope the Scottish right. He was well aware that decisions would soon have to be made whether to commit more companies to save the kern or abandon them to their fate.
More kern rush forward from the woods to support their kin.
The Irish begin their envelopment of the Scots right.
The pressure from horse on the Scots left flank was too much for the kern who broke and fled in a wave of panic. Meanwhile, the Scots infantry were hard pressed by their Irish counterparts on the opposite flank and centre.
As the kern break and flee, one company of Scots horse, believing the battle won, pursue their foe into the woods.
The Scottish infantry break and flee leaving the border horse feeling a bit lonely. At least the Irish didn't insist on raddishing the laird before they sent him back o'er the water... 

So in a real turn around compared to my traditional role of defeatee. My boys actually did me proud in both games. Of course I did write the rules and in the second game I did have quite a handy numerical advantage so I shouldn't crow about it too much. 

Still... a victory is a victory whichever way you paint it...

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Something wicked this way comes...

Introducing the third of my warbands for Ganesha Games' Song of Blades and Heroes - The Shaman of the North.

This band of northern wanderers have come south to match their savage power and arcane knowledge against the civilised (black powder wielding) folk of Ballybogside and the Grand Duchy of Cheddar. 

Sycorax (crazed and lame shaman)
Points: 93
Special rules: magic-user, short move, terror

Loosely inspired by Shakespeare's "blew eye’d hag" (The Tempest 1.2.269), my Sycorax model is the lame Celtic witch by the same name produced by Gorgon miniatures. Her reputation as a crazed witch warrants the application of magic user and terror special rules while her physical ailment slows her down to short movement. 

Sabre-toothed Tiger
Points: 70
Special rules: animal, big, dashing, opportunistic, stealth

The Sabre-toothed tiger (smilodon fatalis) combines the ambushing traits of a big cat (stealth, opportunistic, dashing) with the size to bring down any opponent. The model is by Reaper.

Golden Eagle
Points: 80
Special rules: animal, flying, long move, running blow

The Golden Eagle is the lord of the skies in the wind-swept north. He is based on the base stats for an eagle provided in the SBH supplements, with the addition of the running blow trait. The eagle is a 10mm scale giant eagle by Eureka.

Feral Peon
Points: 54
Special rules: berserk, long move, savage, slow

The feral peon is Sycorax's favourite minion. He is slow to spring into action but always eager to rip into all who oppose his master's wishes. The wonderful sculpt is a Wendigo by Malifaux.

Sycorax and her warband have not yet been tested in battle, but will shortly be added to the running set of honours found at the 'SBH warband battle honours' page --->HERE

In other news, following their 9th successive defeat, the Duchess of Cheddar's Own Companye of Foote has been disbanded. The best ratmen have been recruited into a new elite companye led by the dashing Captain Erasmus Sedgemoore van Squeek. Their warband roster will shortly be updated.