Monday, 22 November 2010

Naval Manouevres.....

New Byzantium has a small but convoluted coastline, with one good major port, a second reasonable one, and a large number of small bays and coves dotted with fishing villages. One of the growing problems with its emergence as an (officially, anyway) Christian state has been the growing menace of Barbary (and other) Corsairs.

The Corsair nations of North Africa were among the first to recognise New Byzantium as an independent state, it took a while for the Basileos and his court to work out that all this meant was the pirates therefore saw them as no longer an Ottoman province, and thus fair game.

However, over the last decade, especially since New Byzantium's miltary success in 1750-51 (or more accurately, it's not losing) led to the Truce of Edirne with the Sublime Porte in 1751, the raiding has become progressively worse - the Byzantine Foreign Office believe that the Turks may even be aiding and abetting these Pirates with local bases.

So, what to do?

There has been a major attempt to woo the British, offering the main harbour of Byzantion as a naval base as part of a deal for Britain to fund Byzantine military activity against Britain's opponents on the continent, but so far the perfidious Albions have been far more interested in jaw-jaw than war-war. 

The Byzantine Admiral,  Periplos, who claimed to haver served in the French Navy as a young man (what he is less keen to admit is that it was as a Galley slave) has felt out of his depth for some time, and recently recruited the French ex-Corsair (and now Boucannaire) Commander Pierre Villaineuse , who recently had to leave his native Caribbean island of St. Jacques for mysterious reasons.

Villaineuse's first step has been to hire some of his Caribbean cut-throat friends and their ships, and has thus incurred the disapproval of Byzantion's well to do (but also the enthusiastic approval of its harbour gals) and now has raised the Admiral's ire by arguing for Byzantium to create its own "Corsair's Charter".

The Emperor was rather interested in all the talk of spankers, feluccas, sloops and tartanes until he realised that the sailors also referred to ships as "she"

The Court can see the potential problems this may cause diplomatically, but on the other hand a self-funding Navy makes a strong case for a strapped-for-cash statelet. As for the Byzantine seafaring folk, they are all for it. "Villaineuse has brought us into the 18th century", said Captain Kostas Bravos, captain of the sloop Ionnas B.

Old Salts on the docks noted that the Corsair's Charter would just legalise what Bravos and his ilk do anyway under the guise of "coastal trading"....


  1. Well, if the Basileos wants a Navy, he has no alternative choice, seemingly?

  2. His Eminence is fed up of complainants banging on the door of the Palace wailing about Corsair looting/plundering/etc.

    A Privateer Navy seems like a good idea, except the beard that they are most likey to tweak is the Turk.... and one can imagine a hothead like Cap'n Kostas Bravos doing just the wrong thing :-)

  3. Hotheads are not fools -well, not inevitably nor permanently- and know the Ottomans' capacity of reprisals is an order of magnitude higher than that of Bizercca and the like.

    Would the Basileos appreciate a shipload of Pirettes? Precedents are known in our 'alterante' 18th C.

    About precedents, Theodora is an interesting one indeed; do you know the Drake & Flint 'Belisarius' series? Not bad, and even in 18th C. gaming I'm not against experimentating with chariot-mounted multiple rocket launchers -a form of limited and rather inefficient 'pre-steampunk'- but when at the end Belisarius and its Indian enemies use machine-guns and radio it's out my favorite wargaming period.

  4. I play the Corps du Vin (my French 7YW outfit) as an "Empire" force in Warhammer, complete with Steam Tank and rotating cannon gun :-)

    New Byzantium was built with half an eye on a WHFB Empire army as well :-)

  5. Good news indeed!

    Re. the Byzantine Navy, it cannot be excluded that the Monte-Cristan (all-female) Service de Documentation Exterieure infiltrate one observer or three among the crews -masquerading as males, of course: we call such a mission 'Operation Jackaroe'.

  6. WHFB? Then, what about fire siphons / flame throwers? 'Greek fire' was a Byzantine speciality...

  7. Yes, I think a Greek Fire rediscovery is needed!