Pursue Slavers or Rescue Slaves (RAR!)

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What do you do?

Rescue the slaves
9
82%
Get the slavers
2
18%
 
Total votes: 11

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Zor
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Pursue Slavers or Rescue Slaves (RAR!)

Post by Zor » 2020-11-02 03:20pm

In this scenario you are the captain of a new steam frigate named the Emanicaptor. She's the first of her kind, sixty meters long, 7.5 meters wide, has two gun decks with twenty 12-kilo cannons and twelve 20-kilo carronades, three 20-kilo long chase guns (2 forwards, 1 aft) and a 200 kilowatt engine driving a pair of paddle wheels and a crew of 250 sailors and 50 marines with breastplates, cutlasses, flintlock pistols and Ferguson rifles. She's the deadliest thing on the seas and was built specifically to deal with a constant threat to your Republic's people: slavers. Long story short there is a militant theocracy with a crusader mentality and while their Holy Orders of monastic warriors and common born conscripts are currently occupied elsewhere they have been sending out slave ships to your coastline to burn towns, round up all the people they can carry and sail them back to the Theocracy to toil on the estate's of their elite, mining complexes or in manufactories under the lash. So far, the Emanicpator has destroyed two such slave galleons and as it stands it is moving in with a third which had by all indications been recently involved in a slave raid. The slave ship can go 16kph, your ship can do 20 and for the last three hours you've been gaining on them. They have been trying to sail into a large storm ahead (which they're about 40 km from), but that's still a fair ways away. Now they are six km away which means that in fifty minutes they'll be in range of your chase guns and within 80 minutes (which involves some maneuvering and not just moving in a straight line) they'd be in broadside range (about 400 meters) where you have both superior maneuverability and likely have twice their firepower at least.

However they've done something unexpected. They filled their four launch boats and two makeshift rafts cobbled together out of wood and barrels with people and cut them behind their ships. By the looks of it, these were probably enslaved townsfolk and farmers that they'd captured. In total probably about 240 citizens of the republic and about 80% of the typical capacity of your average theocracy slave galleon, give or take a couple dozen. In short the Captain of the Slave Galleon probably decided that cutting his losses was his best course of action. Loosing the extra mass has allowed the slave ship to gain another 1.5km of speed.

Now before you is a choice. Your Duty here is to protect the Republic and it's People Against their Enemies. Right now there are about 240 of said people out in the ocean approximately a hundred kilometers from land stuffed to the gills in launches and piled onto crude rafts, many of whom would not be sailors and by all indications they don't even have oars. Currently they are drifting apart and there is a good chance they could capsize. Collecting them is doable, but it would mean decelerating and collecting the passengers from each craft. A task which would likely take at least an hour and likely more than two. You can fit all of them on the Emacipator, though it will be cramped and for everyone's sake it would be advisable to unload them ASAP. All the while the Slave Ship would be sailing away as fast as she can into the storm which it most likely will get to. Sufficed to say that both your ship and theirs can handle said storm and get to the other side, but you'd you'd be lucky to be able to see anything a hundred meters away and the chances of interception would plummet. It will be back and it will most likely operate as part of a squadron of two or three ships in future raids. And while you can save up to 240 Republic Citizens, 50-100 others will end up in the Theocracy's Slave Markets.

On the other hand, you could sail on by and intercept the slave ship before it reached the storm, blasting her into splinters in a fight where the Emapcipator would have the edge. You could sink her or take her as a prize, ending it's slaving days. At the least you should be able to cripple the Slave Galleon requiring a costly lengthy refit while killing and maiming of it's raiders and sailors. Either way a blow against the Theocracy's slaving efforts today and in the future. But if you do it, most likely the storm would hit the slaves left adrift and the poor sods would end up drowning. Either action would be considered valid by the nature of your orders and by the codes of honor of the Republic Navy with some of your peers and superiors preferring either option.

Do you go after the slavers, most likely condemning the drifting slaves to a watery grave or do you rescue the slaves letting slavers who will come back to do more slaving escape?

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bilateralrope
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Re: Pursue Slavers or Rescue Slaves (RAR!)

Post by bilateralrope » 2020-11-02 03:45pm

I rescue the civilians. Save the most lives I can in this instance.

As for the long term, I can't see it making much difference unless our Republic is willing to retaliate against the Theocracy.

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Re: Pursue Slavers or Rescue Slaves (RAR!)

Post by LadyTevar » 2020-11-02 04:20pm

Rescue your people.
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Re: Pursue Slavers or Rescue Slaves (RAR!)

Post by LadyTevar » 2020-11-02 04:21pm

MOVED TO MORE APPROPRIATE FORUM
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Re: Pursue Slavers or Rescue Slaves (RAR!)

Post by Bedlam » 2020-11-03 03:08am

Spoiler
On the other hand, you could sail on by and intercept the slave ship before it reached the storm, blasting her into splinters in a fight where the Emapcipator would have the edge. You could sink her or take her as a prize, ending it's slaving days. At the least you should be able to cripple the Slave Galleon requiring a costly lengthy refit while killing and maiming of it's raiders and sailors.
Is this our standard operating procedure when it comes to such ships? It sounds like this would result in the death of some if not all of the slaves on board anyway. If so it seems to indicate that in most cases those taken are considered expendable vs causing material losses to the enemy in our culture.

In addition will taking the freed slaves on board cause an issues with our ship, can it easily carry that many more without issue?

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Re: Pursue Slavers or Rescue Slaves (RAR!)

Post by bilateralrope » 2020-11-03 03:51am

It sounds like this is the first combat between our new class of ship and the slavers. They were outgunned so badly that we have a choice nobody thought to give us any standing orders for.

Which brings up another consideration. The Theocracy doesn't know about our steam frigate yet. They don't know how badly it outgunned these slavers. If I sink this slaver ship, it's going to take them longer to figure it out. But if I let this slave ship escape, that might get a bit of deterrence.

Do I know how the Theocracy is likely to punish the surviving slavers for such a failed raid ?

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Re: Pursue Slavers or Rescue Slaves (RAR!)

Post by Solauren » 2020-11-03 09:27am

Order my men to man and prepare the lifeboats. When we get close enough, put them down into the water.
If that is sufficient to rescue the slaves, go after the enemy ship, so I can board and capture her.

Otherwise, the civilians take priority.
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Re: Pursue Slavers or Rescue Slaves (RAR!)

Post by Sky Captain » 2020-11-04 03:49pm

Solauren wrote:
2020-11-03 09:27am
Order my men to man and prepare the lifeboats. When we get close enough, put them down into the water.
If that is sufficient to rescue the slaves, go after the enemy ship, so I can board and capture her.

Otherwise, the civilians take priority.
Yeah that was my first thought too when I read the scenario. Deploy lifeboats to reduce overcrowding in slave lifeboats to give them better chances in a storm and then go after slaver ship. If I destroy slave ship it means there will be one ship less raiding until replacement is built and potentially many more people saved than letting the slaver ship go and having it return on future raids even if some boats flip over in a storm.. Shooting at slaver ship until it is disabled enough for boarding would inevitably result in many dead slaves too. There just isn't a good answer

IIRC in real life during WWII Japanese used regular cargo ships without any special markings to transport Allied prisoners of war yet US submarines and aircraft attacked any Japanese ship in sight to cripple enemy economy knowing some of them had prisoners of war onboard. Crippling enemy economy to end the war sooner was considered more important than potential deaths of few thousand prisoners of war due to friendly fire.

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Re: Pursue Slavers or Rescue Slaves (RAR!)

Post by madd0ct0r » 2020-11-05 10:05am

My overall order is to protect my people from slavers by harrasing and preventing them from taking people now and in future.

Abandoning them to the storm is not protecting them. Abandoning them to destroy a single slave ship is not a long term solution. My sailors will talk. Morale will be ruined.

The lifeboat solution, to me, is too risky. I do not want to trust I will be able to drop them, catch the slaver, dink them, decelerate, turn, accelerate, brake and collect all these people up before the storm.

The slaver dropping their prey means they're expending time and energy for no prize, and I can rescue them, good for morale. It's behaviour I want to encourage on future slavers. Killing them on the way in is the preferred engagement.
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Re: Pursue Slavers or Rescue Slaves (RAR!)

Post by bilateralrope » 2020-11-05 12:48pm

madd0ct0r wrote:
2020-11-05 10:05am
Killing them on the way in is the preferred engagement.
Up until we build enough steam ships to retaliate against their home ports.

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Re: Pursue Slavers or Rescue Slaves (RAR!)

Post by Rogue 9 » 2020-11-23 06:58pm

This is an unusually humane slaver, as slavers go, to give his castaways the lifeboats. It was not unheard of during the interdiction of the Atlantic slave trade in the early 19th century for slave ship captains to simply chuck their human cargo to the sharks if they suspected they would be intercepted.
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Re: Pursue Slavers or Rescue Slaves (RAR!)

Post by bilateralrope » 2020-11-23 07:06pm

Were those slavers attempting to dispose of the evidence and/or were they trying to get their pursuers to call off the interception to rescue the people tossed overboard ?

Because I don't think the slavers in this scenario are trying to hide what they are doing, and slaves without lifeboats would be harder for the pursuing ship to spot. If they aren't spotted, or they quickly drown, they don't force the steam frigates captain to choose between rescue or pursuit.

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Re: Pursue Slavers or Rescue Slaves (RAR!)

Post by The_Saint » 2020-11-24 07:12pm

Putting slaves into lifeboats and casting adrift would be the slavers banking on the humanitarian nature of the pursuing vessel but otherwise making the best tactical decision they could regardless of their consideration for slaves.

If they just started chucking slaves into the ocean (and be seen to be doing so) the pursuing vessel would have a hard time finding those in the water and rescuing any or many of them so the tactical decision would have to be to close with the slaver and stop them. Slaves would probably die in collateral damage but there's a chance less would die.

By putting them adrift in boats then they are providing a visible and "easily" rescued group that forces the pursuing vessel to choose (rescue or chase) and by providing some small amount of 'survival' by being in boats then it forces the responsibility of death on the pursuing vessel to stop.
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Re: Pursue Slavers or Rescue Slaves (RAR!)

Post by Ralin » 2020-11-25 03:59am

And jettisons that much extra weight

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Re: Pursue Slavers or Rescue Slaves (RAR!)

Post by Solauren » 2020-11-26 08:25am

It's also possible that they enemy nation has some basic intelligence about the new class of ship (that it exists), and the slaver is dropping the slaves to make there escape, so they can return home and confirm the intelligence is true.
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Re: Pursue Slavers or Rescue Slaves (RAR!)

Post by madd0ct0r » 2020-11-27 03:00am

Solauren wrote:
2020-11-26 08:25am
It's also possible that they enemy nation has some basic intelligence about the new class of ship (that it exists), and the slaver is dropping the slaves to make there escape, so they can return home and confirm the intelligence is true.
What value does that intelligence hold?
Knowing full capabilities lets them try to design a slaver ship that can outrun our new ship, or change tactics to heavy protected convoys, but merely confirming a better quality anti slave ship exists...
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Re: Pursue Slavers or Rescue Slaves (RAR!)

Post by Bedlam » 2020-11-27 04:24am

madd0ct0r wrote:
2020-11-27 03:00am
Solauren wrote:
2020-11-26 08:25am
It's also possible that they enemy nation has some basic intelligence about the new class of ship (that it exists), and the slaver is dropping the slaves to make there escape, so they can return home and confirm the intelligence is true.
What value does that intelligence hold?
Knowing full capabilities lets them try to design a slaver ship that can outrun our new ship, or change tactics to heavy protected convoys, but merely confirming a better quality anti slave ship exists...
Every little helps, at the least it's a way of verifying that the sources which told them about the ship are likely to be telling the truth so you can believe anything else they tell you (unless they're double agents bated with that information).

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Re: Pursue Slavers or Rescue Slaves (RAR!)

Post by Solauren » 2020-11-27 10:02am

I was thinking more :
Agent to the Crown: "Sir, we've confirmed the new class of ship exists. Our officers observations would indicate our intelligence on it's firepower is probably accurate."

King: "Begin construction of the new class of ship we designed to counter it."



The slavers being that ready and willing to dump the slaves in a manner that would allow rescue screams that this was an intelligence operation to me.
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Re: Pursue Slavers or Rescue Slaves (RAR!)

Post by madd0ct0r » 2020-11-27 03:56pm

Hmm. Do we think we can outlast them economically?
It's not just the cost of the ongoing naval war which we both must bear, the other war that has their army elsewhere, they must be struggling to expand (or maintain?) their slave economy they need to supply the war effort.

It seems that once they start loosing they'll enter a death spiral.
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Re: Pursue Slavers or Rescue Slaves (RAR!)

Post by bilateralrope » 2020-11-28 01:23am

Solauren wrote:
2020-11-27 10:02am
I was thinking more :
Agent to the Crown: "Sir, we've confirmed the new class of ship exists. Our officers observations would indicate our intelligence on it's firepower is probably accurate."

King: "Begin construction of the new class of ship we designed to counter it."
Or the theocracy decides that a ship that's faster than their Galleons without using sails is impossible, especially from our nation, and the slavers are lying to cover up some stupidity on their part.

Or maybe they believe the slavers and get scared about what we will do next. They outnumbered this steam frigate 3:1 and the only way any of them survive this fight is if we let them.

Zor needs to clarify a few things. All we know for sure is that we deployed a steam powered ship while they are raiding us with sailing vessels.
The slavers being that ready and willing to dump the slaves in a manner that would allow rescue screams that this was an intelligence operation to me.
Don't forget about the two other ships that we already sunk. That's quite a costly intelligence operation.

It seems more likely that the slaves were dumped to slow our steam frigate down after they saw what we did to their companion vessels.

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Re: Pursue Slavers or Rescue Slaves (RAR!)

Post by Bedlam » 2020-11-28 04:18am

Or the theocracy decides that a ship that's faster than their Galleons without using sails is impossible, especially from our nation, and the slavers are lying to cover up some stupidity on their part.
Assuming your enemies are idiots is a very bad position to take, it's a nice bonus if they are, but you shouldn't work on that assumption.

Presumably a steam ship wouldn't just be made spontaneously, there would be prototypes, other uses for steam engines on land, a gradual development of the technology. If the enemy have any knowledge of our country they have to expect that a steam ship is at least a possibility if not that we actually have one in production.

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Re: Pursue Slavers or Rescue Slaves (RAR!)

Post by Solauren » 2020-11-28 12:02pm

It's not costly losing three ships to confirm valuable intelligence. Especially if it was say, three older ships that you were going to have to refit or scrap soon anyways.
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