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Credible and authentic playstyle pyrate/buccaneer/privateer/filibustier/corsair gameplay in Naval Action Discuss history and share roleplay captain diaries. Review film, music and books.
  1. What's new in this club
  2. Another admirable work from Benerson Little and this time he takes the focus to the other side of the coin with a in depth approach to the "pyrate" problem faced by powers and civilizations since antiquity. What is fascinating is the down to earth ( or should i say to sea! ) presentation of each era solutions while completely avoiding a rationalization of contemporary knowledge and hindsight. Little takes us into a voyage to the time he portrays and presents with clarity the challenges faced by the ruling powers, same as the opportunities open to criminal sea rovers. This is a important aspect, for me, as it places my mind onto the strategical/operational and tactical options when having to deal with pirates and free from modern pre-conceptions and tactical options outside the scope of what was available at the time, which is also a issue breaker because many things we take as modern... aren't. There's a chronological sequence and a linkage between all - the hunt for pirates. From antiquity, and even before that with linkage between myth and recorded history mainly hellenic culture, mediterranean powers, passing through the dark ages sea raiders, medieval world and through the discovery age and grand age of sail up to modern days. While "Sea Rover Practice" was very focused on the ship, crew and captain, Pirate Hunting is very much focused on tactics and operational logistics and how they worked and how they failed with the reasons behind them. This is a must have if you are into age of sail subjects or pyracy subject as a whole. It is not a revisionist work, i really loathe those, but a factual analysis of pyracy and how established powers fought ( and fight ) them on the sea and on the land into their lairs. I got myself the hard cover edition which is really good binding, old style, with a beautiful illustration dust cover. The prices vary but is not a expensive acquisition.
  3. In peace, or war, all sailors have a common enemy, the sea itself. It was wherever possible considered a duty save as many souls as possible and in just about every battle efforts would be made to save friend and foe alike, sometimes even while still under fire. So strong is the conviction that life is paramount among sailors that no captain would knowingly leave survivors in the water unless his ship was in imminent danger, even as late as 1982 and the Falklands conflict where news footage shows the lengths to which sailors go to save men and ships if they can. Even so despite all efforts men are sometimes left in the water, Submariners who don't have room for survivors, in early in WWII would sometimes ensure ships boats had at least a compass, knew where they were and and base course to safety, until it became too dangerous for U-boats to spend too much time surfaced, one commander even signaling the British Admiralty giving them one of his victims position for rescue, the German Admiralty were not impressed by this particular Captain's actions and ordered that such an event would not happen again due to the ability of the Royal Navy to track signals to source. Sadly tragedies happened too, while engaged in picking up survivors from KMS Bismarck a submarine was reported in the area, and HMS Dorsetshire was forced, with great regret, to leave a large number of survivors in the water. The worse case I have heard about, was, the USS Indianapolis, torpedoed after delivering the A-bomb to Tinian losing 300 in the sinking itself, 890 of her crew got away safely into the water, of those, 316 survived after 4 days of persistent shark attacks including her Captain Charles B McVay III who was the only Commander to lose his command and stand Courts Martial for failing to order the abandonment of his ship (acquitted) and hazarding his command for which he was convicted, he was, eventually cleared of all blame in 2001 by Act of Congress and signed off by President Clinton.
  4. Some of the most terrifying battles of the age of sail weren't between the big fleets or the big sisters the frigates. By statistical comparison the amount of casualties was always higher at the 6th rate encounters, and lower unrate, where tallies of 40 plus wound and dead are not uncommon. If we remember that many Brig-sloops-of-war or brig sloops had a crew of 120 roughly, including officers and marines, so forty hands is a third. They had a nominal crew of 120-130, and was not a rated ship in the Royal Navy, being just below the 20 guns of the sixth-rated smallest frigates. This meant that typically only a mid level commissioned officer (Commander) would be in charge, – sometimes a senior Lieutenant, but never a post-Captain, – for this the ship was too small. In addition to the Captain, the complement would typically be: two Lieutenants, a few midshipmen, the Master, the Surgeon, the Purser, and the ships’s standing warrant officers, the Carpenter, the Gunner, and the Boatswain. Plus about 15-20 Royal Marines (RM), commanded by a Sergeant RM. Adding the ratings brings the crew up in 120-130 count range. But isn't only the casualties that make these unrated vessels notorious in every aspect of the age of sail. Their flexibility to suit multiple roles was unparalleled and they would fit all roles really, apart from standing in a line of battle. Our vessel of today's (his)story had been assigned the task of attacking signal fortresses all along the coast. This requires excellent seamanship, civil connections, leadership and above all, daring and gallantry facing danger. But the story doesn't involve land parties nor the destruction of land facilities. Year is 1808 and near Cape Trafalgar, May 7th at daybreak. HMS Redwing, Thomas Ussher captain. 98 men and boys aboard. With the Cape bearing at WNW and six miles out, a Royal Navy vessel sights, along the shore, a group of 19 sail, seven armed and 12 trade vessels. The British vessel, the brig-sloop Redwing, equipped with 16 carronades, of 32 pounders, and two long sixes for chase, sailing with very light winds and turning often did approach the enemy formation which she didn’t do before 7AM at which point both parties were within point blank. The Spanish handed the sails, formed close and arrayed in a well formed line and closed distance to the Redwing, no doubt with intentions of boarding her. The guns arrayed against the British were fearsome; two schooners of 60 men each and each equipped with two long 24 pounder and two long 8 pounders, assisted by gunboats. Number 3, of 35 hands, packing two long 24s and one long 36. Number 6, of 40 hands and one long 24 and finally number 107, being the weakest, handed with 35 souls and fitted with two long 6 pounder. Add a mistico of four 6 pounders and a felucca of four long 3 pounders. Total count of the Spanish line, 22 guns, of which 7 were 24s on top of the 36 pounder, and roughly 271 men. We must see this as it is, the sheer difference of shot weight may not seem much but while the British captain had to always engage close, the Spanish could effectively blast her out of the water from afar given their fearsome long cannon. But, as noted in the Naval Chronicle… “(...) Nowise daunted, notwithstanding, the Redwing endeavoured also to close, in order to decide the business quickly, and, if possible, to secure the merchantmen.” Captain Thomas Ussher ordered ball and bags of musket ball to be loaded in all the carronades. Each bag contained perchance some 500 musket balls in addition to the regular solid heavy shot. At pistol range this decision proved terrifyingly effective. Plus commanded the vessel to sweep behind the enemy and cut any option to proceed leeward. So, with the Redwing closing in and the Spanish escort lined closing the distance, the stage was set for a very violent battle. A chance encounter in, otherwise, empty sea. The Diligente , the Spanish commander ship, followed by the Boreas and the rest of the line, Ussher did order, to further encourage the Spanish to come close and try to board, the boarding netting to be hauled down and “the crew ordered to give three hearty cheers”. No firing orders were to be given until pistol shot. Discipline facing such odds was paramount and there was no leeway allowed for error with the forces arrayed against them. Then she opened with everything she got, with the gun crews training the guns as close to the waterline as possible. The Diligente was struck with such ferocity that the proved open fore and aft and went down with all hands after giving in with two heavy rolls. The Boreas had exactly the same fate, hit with such violent charges from the Redwing. At pistol shot range the carronades simply proved their worth as long as discipline could be held. At 9AM gunboats tried to make it for the coastline, panicking and in total disarray. But this decision proved fatal as they wrecked in the surf and all hands perished along with the helpless wounded. It is of note that the Redwing wasn’t untouch at all. Two 24 pound shot had cut through her fore mast, one through the main mast and another through the gammoning of the bowsprit, this on top of several other shot that had hit her and wounded on seaman. Most casualties recorded on the Redwing actually happened outboard, when Captain Ussher sent own boat to attempt to rescue the spanish crews from drowning, mainly the gunboat crews but sadly none could be rescued, but during the entire battle the boat crew suffered the one death recorded, seaman, with slightly wounded Master John Davis, purser Robert Horniman, and the previously slightly wounded seaman on the Redwing that now was on the boat, got his state worsened, listed as seriously wounded. The merchantmen, watching the whole chaos unfold, tried to disperse, with four lost in a combination of further shooting from the Redwing and crashing into shoreline surf. Seven vessels were captured, with the mistico included in the tally. Gunboat 107 and the felucca made well their escape. It is of note, on a more strategic point of view, that this action happened in the 7th of May 1808 and Spanish is allied with Napoleon’s France. Four days before a event happened that History would forever record as the El Tres de Mayo, immortalized by Goya. Of note: At the same time we see the enemies trying to defeat each other, but also see the efforts made by them to save as many lives as possible once victory was achieved, with Thomas Ussher sending boat to the rescue of the shipwrecked spanish crews. ------------------------ ( The Naval History of Great Britain from the Declaration of War by France in 1793 to the Accession of George IV, & A naval biographical dictionary: comprising the life and services of every living officer in Her Majesty's navy, from the rank of admiral of the fleet to that of lieutenant, inclusive & other assorted sources, including Dawlish chronicles, where i first found the story, Outrage at Sea book, Fitzwilliam Museum and Orders and Medals Society of America )
  5. Thanks for the interesting episode! I'd suppose the boy had some experience with the lugger rig and the pilot boat was gaff-rigged. Nonetheless an astounding example of the art of seamanship, because he had to handle the boat alone and would risk his health and probably his life each time tacking, because the french privateer most likely wasn't amused by this maneuver. And by the way, i would fire the master and the other man of the pilot boat!
  6. Sea being the sea with all its particularities and most notably wind and tides has always been the best ally and the worst opponent for any naval enterprise. You can see this clearly across the entire timeline covered by Naval Action, where the best laid out plans wouldn't work due to conditions at sea not allowing time tables to be maintained or because distances could not be covered. More often than not it became a mixture of human design and nature, where able seamen would take advantage of the "terrain" that the sea is and understand its ever changing landscape, as opposed to the rigid nature of conflict on land, where hills are hills and troops legs are not affected by winds. Due to this two particulars, the ever changing nature of the battlefield at sea and the able human behind the controls, a singular episode of a boy at the command of a pilot against a sea rover vessel is made possible. 10th January 1800 ... a singular instance of seamanship, valour, and dexterity, occurred in the escape of a pilot-boat from a French privateer. The vessel was the Amity, belonging to Bembridge, on the look-out for ships. About ten in the morning they discovered a lugger privateer about two miles distance, which they could not perceive before in consequence of the morning being hazy. There being little wind, the enemy was rowing with thirteen oars on each side and fast approaching. The master of the pilot-boat thought it best to leave his vessel immediately, there being no other means of escaping, he and another man, therefore, got into their small boat, and desired James Wallis, the boy, to come also but he bravely answered - "he would remain by the vessel, whatever might be the consequence". Thus resolved, he gave them his watch and all the little money he had, with the little request they would give to his father; they promised to perform his request, and immediately left him to his fate when the privateer was only a quarter of a mile distant. In a few minutes she shot up under his lee quarter, with an intention to grapple the pilot-boat; and having fresh way, lowered her main-topsails and lug sail. The lad observing their design, just as they were in the act of heaving their grappling irons, put his helm down and went about, whilst the privateer fired small arms and swivels into her. This manoeuvre obliged them to make sail and tack; when they had made all the sail they could, the young man with great judgement, tacked, and weathered them about the length of the lugger: the privateer having gained his wake, tacked also. The youth continued to tack every time the privateer set her sails, which was repeated sixteen or seventeen times: they likewise constantly fired when near, and particularly when crossing at a distance, never more than thirty yards. After manoeuvring in this dexterous manner for above two hours, a fresh breeze, happily sprung up: the pilot-boat was then on the last tack, and had gained about a cable's length to windward, when she crossed the privateer, which after firing all their swivels and small arms, bore up and left him. - British Trident Vol. IV - - Clark's Battles of England - - Gentlemen's Magazine Historical Chronicle VOL IXX -
  7. Got this from Twitter, I think this has its place here... Link here: https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/5573/page/1 (thanks to Game-Labs )
  8. Thank you. https://www.amazon.com/Bermuda-Privateer-Nicholas-Fallon-Novels/dp/1590137442
  9. Fantastic thread, wonderful history....thank you for sharing 😊
  10. I would like to recommend a fairly new age of sail book series. There is one book currently available with another due this November. The author is William Westbrook. His first book its titled 'The Bermuda Privateer'. The second book, due to be released in November 2018, is titled 'The Black Ring'. The first book was very fast paced with lots of action. Overall, I wouldn't put it in the Patrick O'Brian category, but if you want a very fun and relatively quick read, then I would suggest the author. Think Patrick O'Brian without all of the character backstory. Although I love the Patrick O'Brian style, this series is refreshing for it's brevity. A good end of summer read. o7 Captiva
  11. Now for the American version of events. The following comes from the Newburyport Herald and Country Gazette (Massachusetts), of October 18, 1814. "... On the 11th, Nantucket bore north, about a quarter of a mile distant from the land, discovered a frigate off Gayhead which gave chase and came up with a fresh breeze, while we were becalmed. At 3 PM we took a breeze and took the Douglass in tow. The frigate was about four leagues from us At [/} the wind died away calm. At 7 P.M. was obliged to come to anchor, and supposing the frigate would send her boats to attempt to capture us, [we] prepared accordingly. At 8 P.M. a signal was made from the prize that the boats were coming - soon afterwards discovered them - five in number, and in a few minutes they were alongside. The action commenced and continued for 20 minutes, when the enemy were repulsed in every attempt to board, and obliged to surrender. When the launches and barges left the frigate, they had on board 104 souls including the officers. One launch having on board 48 men was sunk with only two men saved; one which had 32 men on board at the commencement of the action was taken possession of, she had 8 men killed 20 wounded and 4 unhurt, the three others drifted from alongside the brig with the current without a man to be seen in them (supposed thy must have been killed or wounded), and had not a boat to go after them, and had only 4 men left not killed or wounded. The barges were two on each side and one under the privateer's stern. The barges and launch were from the Endymion frigate. Kept the launch with their prisoners in it along side all night, not daring to let them come on board, as we had only 8 men left for duty. In the morning permitted Mr. F. Ormond, 2nd lieutenant, 3 midshipmen and one masters mate, to come on board and after they signed a parole, pledging their honor for themselves and the rest of the prisoners (25 seamen and marines) that they would not serve against the United States during the war until regularly exchanged, sent them ashore at Nantucket, not knowing the situation of the place with the British. At The commencement of the action, the Price of Neufchatel had 40 men at quarters, including officers, (and had 37 prisoners on board) of which 6 were killed, 15 severely wounded, 9 slightly wounded and 10 unhurt. The next day sent 17 prisoners on shore, and put them in the hands of the Martial, and also sent on shore all of our severely wounded men. ... On Friday ... saw the Endymion also at anchor in Tarpaulin Cove. She had sent a boat to Nantucket to inquire what had become of her barges and men. ... The boats which drifted from alongside the privateer, at the end of the action, had been picked up by her [Endymion] The report was that nearly all were killed and wounded in them."
  12. From the PRO in Kew, Reference numbers ADMI/507, XC 22779A "[To:] Honorable Alexander Cochrane, K.B. Admiral of the Red, and Commander in Chief, , Etc, etc, Superb at Halifax 15th November, 1814. Sir, It is with extreme regret I do myself the honor to transmit to you herewith, a copy of a letter and its enclosures dated the 11th Ultimo, which I have received from Captain Hope of His Majesty's Ship Endymion detailing the particulars of a gallant but unsuccessful attack made by the boats of that ship under the direction of Lieutenants Hawkins, Armond, and Fanshaw on an enemy privateer, under circumstances so trying and difficult as to reflect the highest credit on the officers and men engaged in the occasion and whilst I deplore with Captain Hope the loss of so many valuable lives it is a consolation to [illegible] the spirit with which the attack was renewed affords an ample proof off the determined coolness and bearing of the officers and men, and that valor of His Majesty's Subjects was ... displayed. ... I have the honor to be, Sir, your most obedient humble servant Henry Hotham, Rear Admiral" Hope's Letter: "Copy, Henry Hotham, Rear Admiral His Majesty's Ship Endymion Off Nantucket, 11th October, 1814. Sir, I have the honor of informing you that yesterday returning to my station, a ship and a schooner were discovered to the Westward of Nantucket nearly becalmed under the low land endeavoring to pass between that island and the southern shoals. From the offing we continued to chase them until evening. The wind then entirely left us as it had previously done with the vessels in shore, who had made no progress whatever. I sent all boats under the command of Lieutenants Hawkins, Armond and Fanshaw. In approaching the ship, an alarm was fired; the boats had been previously rowing up under a shoal and had not felt the effects of a rapid tide which they almost instantaneously became exposed to; the second barge, in taking the station assigned by Lieutenant Hawkins, on the schooner's starboard bow, having her larboard oars shot away instantaneously was swept by the stream athwart the first barge, thereby all the boats became entangled, and it is with extreme concern I acquaint you that the attack was in consequence at the moment was only partially made. Notwithstanding this disadvantage at the first .... and every exertion that human skill and determined bravery could devise was resorted to , to revive the contest and they succeeded in again getting alongside, but not in the positions intended; their failure therefore is to be ascribed in the first instant to the velocity off the tide, the height of the vessel's side, not having channel plates to assist the men in getting on her deck and her very superior force. (A schooner of the largest dimensions, the Prince de Neufchatel, three hundred and twenty tons, eighteen guns, long nine and twelve pounders, with a complement of one hundred and forty men of all nations, commanded by Mons. Jean Ordsonaux) the boats painter now being shot away, they again fell astern without ever being able to repeat the attack, and with great difficulty regained the ship, with the exception of the second barge which I have every reason to believe sunk alongside the schooner. In transmitting this report, I can not help but deplore the unhappy issue of the enterprise, it would be great injustice to the officers and men of the boats if I omitted to say that their bravery and coolness is deserving every praise, I therefore sir beg to impress you with the belief that in no instance could either the officers and men have conducted themselves with greater determination than on the present occasion. I lament exceedingly the deaths of Lieutenant Hawkins, and Mr. Dalzeel, midshipman, who fell early in the action with many other seamen and marines. Enclosed you will find a return of the killed and wounded. the ship that was in company with the privateer is the Douglass at Nantucket on their parole. Signed Henry Hope. From Lieutenant Armond I learn that as much as we have suffered on this occasion, the enemy's loss was still greater, fifteen only of their crew having escaped the well directed and devastating fire from the boats." [Note: then followed a detailed list of the casualties by name, which I will omit.] Total Killed ,17 Total wounded and died of wounds, 45 [including the surgeon, severely wounded!] Total killed and wounded, 62." Here is the entry of the Captain's log of the Endymion, 11 Oct., 1814, reference ADM51/ 2324 XC1084: "At 4 light airs and variable. Calm and fine. out boats. sent them manned and armed with 105 men and officers in chase of the schooner, which we supposed to be a privateer and her prize and anchored S.W. from the S. end of Nantucket. Burnt blue lights and rockets to send our position to the boats. The enemy opened a fired on the boats which continued 20 minutes. Midnight calm and fine. 3 AM calm and fine. The launch, barge, cutter and gig returned being repulsed by the enemy with the loss of 10 killed and 31 wounded, lieuts Hawkins, Armond, 4 mids and 30 seamen and marines missing with our yawl. Daylight weighed and hoisted in the boats, and made all sail to the westward
  13. I bet dollars to donuts that Warren was named for General Joseph Warren, MD, killed in action at Bunker Hill. You may also note the Pine Tree in the canton of the flag of the Continental Army.
  14. Was chasing this one, thanks Vernon. So, three of the schooners were named for three congressmen that helped navigate the legal waters when dealing with prizes. Franklin Lynch Harrison add also the Warren Lee and then two more, fitted at Plymouth, Washington Harrison
  15. Battle Flag: USS Hannah: Chased ashore by British Sloop HMS Nautilus
  16. A Snow, filled with pyrates hungry at the edge of the mutiny, but ya heal them with rum, they'll follow ya everywhere... #RumRationsMod #OakCrewSpace (dont expect them to demast a ship, arrr)
  17. also the same episode as registered in Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III / 1800 / Light Squadrons and Single Ships p.56/57 Milbrook / Millbrook, 1797 Type: Experimental Schooner ; Armament 16 x 18-pdrs carronades Launched : 1797 BM: 148 tons On the 13th of November, early in the morning, the Milbrook, then lying becalmed off the bar of Oporto, descried a French ship, wearing a pendant, and, to all appearance, a frigate of 36 guns. Having under his protection two brigs of a Newfoundland convoy, and observing several other vessels in the offing, which, if as he conjectured English merchantmen, were equally an object of desire to the Frenchmen, Lieutenant Smith got out his sweeps, and pulled towards the enemy. At 8 A.M. the schooner received a broadside from the ship, which was the celebrated French privateer Bellone, of Bordeaux. Before the Bellone could bring her second broadside to bear, the Milbrook had fired three broadsides, and by the time the former had fired her third, the schooner had discharged eleven broadsides. Such was the rapidity of firing where no time was lost by running out the guns. The carronades of the Milbrook were seemingly fired with as much precision as quickness; for the Bellone, from broadsides fell to single guns, and showed, by her sails and rigging, how much she had been cut up by the schooner's shot. At about 10 A.M. the ship's colours came down; and Lieutenant Smith used immediate endeavours to take possession of her. Not having a rope left wherewith to hoist out a boat, he launched one over the gunwale; but, having been pierced with shot in various directions, the boat soon filled with water. At this time the Milbrook, having had 10 of her guns disabled, her masts, yards, sails, and rigging wounded and shot through, and all her sweeps cut to pieces, lay quite unmanageable, with her broadside to the Bellone's stern. In a little while a light breeze sprang up, and the Bellone, hoisting all the canvass she could set, sought safety in flight. Out of the 47 men of her crew, the Milbrook had eight seamen and one marine severely, and her master (Thomas Fletcher, but who would not quit the deck), surgeon's mate (I. Parster), and one seaman, slightly wounded. The loss sustained by the Bellone, as rumoured at Vigo, into which port she was compelled to put, amounted, out of a crew probably of 250 or 260 men, to 20 killed, her first and second captains and 45 men wounded. The guns of the Bellone, as already has been stated, consisted of 24 long French 8-pounders and six or eight brass 36-pounder carronades. The ship, therefore, was almost quadruple superior to the Milbrook ; and Lieutenant Smith, by his gallantry and seamanlike conduct, not only preserved from capture a valuable convoy, but added, in no slight degree, to the naval renown of his country. This became appreciated in the proper quarter, and Lieutenant Smith was promoted to the rank of commander. Also the English factory at Oporto, to evince their sense of the service performed by the Milbrook, voted Lieutenant Smith their thanks, accompanied by a piece of plate of 50£ value.
  18. Yeah, I keep a store-bought frigate in reserve to cap new AI vessels so I don't go in the negatives, financially
  19. So... live off the loot you get ? Very survival. Very pyratey.
  20. I'm trying a new thing where I play it like I play Escape from Tarkov. Cap an AI vessel, try to capture up and keep going from there. If I lose, who cares? Makes the other player happy. If I win, more's the glory!
  21. Early in the morning on the 13th of November, the Milbrooke schooner, of 16 guns, and 45 men, commanded by Lieutenant Matthew Smith, being off Oporto with two brigs of the Newfoundland convoy under his protection, fell in with a French privateer ship, of 36 guns; Lieutenant Smith at this time observed several other vessels in the offing, which he had reason to suppose was a part also of the above convoy. The vast superiority of the enemy's force did not operate on the gallant spirit of Lieutenant Smith, whose principal object was the preservation of his convoy; he therefore came to the resolution of giving the enemy battle, and in order to give his convoy a more favourable opportunity to escape, he made sail to close with her. It being nearly calm, it was eight or nine o'clock before the Milbrooke arrived within gun-shot of her antagonist, when a spirited action commenced, and was maintained with great bravery until near ten o'clock, when the enemy's colours appeared to be struck: but the Milbrooke at this time having ten of her guns disabled, the masts, yards, sails, and rigging, much wounded and cut to pieces, Lieutenant Smith could not prevent the enemy from taking advantage of a breeze springing up, and with the assistance of his sweeps to get off. In this unequal contest the Milbrooke had only ten wounded; amongst them were Mr. Thomas Fletcher, the master, and Mr. J. Parston, surgeon's mate. The enemy's vessel, which proved to be La Bellone, of 36 guns and 320 men, put into Vigo, with the loss, it was said, of 20 men killed, the first and second captains, and 45 wounded. ( literal source. The British Trident Vol. IV )
  22. Despite the "hidden agenda" there are enough cases reported with raiders overcrowding ships. Actually flushing the below deck thoroughly to accommodate more crew - even at the expense of some of the ship's original build solidity - was fairly common practice amongst sea rover types.
  23. What rules you use to "mimic" navy/sea rover age of sail life - be it sloop captain, be it trade interdiction with frigate or even trade escort.

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