Weekend 410.1 (AOE 3 / 2V3 / Yucatan War)

AOE 3This was an all out European showdown in the Americas on a map called Yucatan. The sovereign(s) involved were the British, Dutch, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. The British (red) were partnered with the Dutch (purple) while the French (yellow), Spanish (blue), and Portuguese (green) were allied. I’m going to organize the summary into three parts.

Opening: The British were in the northwest and the Dutch in the northeast. The French and Portuguese were clustered together in the southeast while the Spanish were in the southwest. This map is a long strip of jungle separated by two bodies of water (ships cannot navigate between the two bodies via canal). The Spanish built a fort in the west with a short supply line to the front in their campaigns against the British -and- it would remain undetected for more than half the game.

The French and Portuguese eliminated the Dutch quickly before moving east to join the Spanish. The British repelled 3 to 4 waves of attacks (some against multiple armies) but could not replace walls, towers, and military units fast enough. The construction of a dock and the commissioning of a fleet would prove crucial. During a brief lull in the French/Spanish/Portuguese waves, the British moved all 125/200 (62%) soldiers and colonists to the harbor for evacuation by ship -and- a deliberate all or nothing attack on the Spanish town center / settlement in the southwest. As the three armies converged on the British town center / settlement, orders were given for the fleet to set sail along the western coast of the Yucatan.

The French/Portuguese did not build fleets on the eastern coast of the Yucatan, but the Spanish did have some vessels anchored in harbor. The British fleet vastly outnumbered the Spanish fleet. The latter was quickly dispatched and the British were able to land all 125 soldiers and colonists. The landing and attack of the Spanish town center / settlement was a complete surprise since most Spanish units were in the northwest campaigning against an empty/deserted British town center / settlement. In the southwest, both British soldier and colonist participated in the attack. It was an absolute melee, but the Spanish rallied, aided by French and Portuguese reinforcements from the east. The British retreated to the harbor (for the safety of their ships and the open sea) having dealt a near fatal blow to the Spanish.

After the smoke cleared, more than 60% of the Spanish town center / settlement had been turned to rubble. The remaining structures were destroyed by the Imperial Monitor Sovereign of the Seas. The tattered remnants of the British army later re-landed to mop-up and build a trading post (although that small unit was defeated twice by an overwhelming number of French units).

Middle: The British army and colonists were adrift at sea after their first town center / settlement was razed by French/Spanish/Portuguese forces. There was some hope that the Dutch could be resuscitated so a decision was made to start a settlement (town center) in the northeast. The British landed in the northwest (site of their original settlement) and marched east. A new town center and second dock (harbor) was constructed on the eastern coast of the Yucatan. The new shipyard produced several vessels, including the Imperial Monitor Terror. The Terror indeed lived up to her namesake by sitting off the eastern coast and methodically bombarding the Portuguese settlement / town center for the duration of the war. She returned to port only once for repair and relief.

The new settlement grew quickly but soon attracted the attention of the French, Portuguese, and Spanish. The allies were rich with the wealth of the Yucatan (coin, food, and wood) and launched successive attacks. The failure to establish a town center with mills, plantations, stables, and livestock pens prevented the British from conscripting an army sufficient enough to repel repeated attacks. The Spanish also persisted, even though their town center / settlement had been reduced to rubble and returned to the jungle. The British were forced to abandon their town center / settlement (and Fort Pownall) for a second time, retuning to ships moored off the east coast.

The French, Portuguese, and Spanish sacked the new colony and razed the town/fort/docks. Once again, the British were adrift (left to the scourge of scurvy and cholera). The French and Portuguese paroled the coast on horseback which allowed the Caravel William to lie in wait. Once close enough, the William unleashed a succession of broadside barrages to great effect.

It took several days, but eventually the William secured the coast and the British landed a small group of soldiers and colonists. This group marched west and built a town center on the beach a half-mile from their original settlement. Once again the Spanish launched an attack on the new settlement, but this time the British used a hot-air balloon to trace the Spanish back to a fort hidden in the jungle. The Serapis was dispatched and a couple of salvos from her mortar reduced Fort San Francisco to rubble. The Spanish finally resigned.

The French and Portuguese resumed the Spanish campaign against the new settlement (third town center) but control of the seas on the western coast was too much and the Portuguese lost Explorers Don Cam and Henry Gomes in a series of broadside attacks.

End Game, Part 1: Control of the seas would prove the difference. While the Terror continued to strategically pluck critical buildings, the lone Caravel William established a beachhead at Tower Point. The French and Portuguese marched on Tower Hill but were soundly defeated by a unit consisting of Imperial Redcoats and Field Guns. This would be the last organized northeastern excursion by the French and Portuguese and the first time both those armies were felled by the British in an open non-defensive/open field skirmish.

End Game, Part 2: The British army started advancing for the first time in the war. Lord Howe was also building trading posts and forming alliances with the Mayans and Zapotec. The settlers, now unmolested in their northwest town center and settlement and northeast outpost, were producing coin, wood, and food abundantly. British supply lines could now be stretched and it was time to go on the offensive.

The British plan was to squeeze the French and Portuguese with three armies. The army in the southwest would push east against the French while two smaller units would advance from the northwest and cover any escape.

The French were desperate to breakout but were repelled in two significant battles at Gates Depot and Wolfe Pass. Some remnants of the French escaped (were not pursued by the British 3rd) but were crushed by a small garrison (and harbor ships) left at St. Edmund. The French resigned just as the first Imperial Field Guns were ripping into bone and sinew.

Upon the march, the light infantry will cover the front and flanks of the Line, seizing every commanding ground till the line has passed; wherever they may chance to fall in with the enemy they will stand their ground, and never retire to the Battalions, which shall always match up and support them.

The British 3rd and 4th pushed south and converged with the 1st just on the outskirts of the Portuguese town center / settlement. The Terror also pushed close to the shore from the east and kept steady pressure on the Portuguese town center. The garrisoned army and colonists made a frantic push west but the British Army (ranks now swollen with Elite Holcan and Champion Lightning Warriors) was being replenished by barracks and an arsenal close to the front. The Portuguese asked to surrender but the British refused until her army could secure the harbor and march on the town center with pomp and circumstance.

“Brother Soldier do you hear of the news,
There’s Peace both by Land and Sea,
No more the old Blades must be us’d,
Some of Us disbanded must be.”

Sources: The Pluralist and Old Solider by Tim Bobbin and ‘Loss and Recapture of St John’s Newfoundland’ by W. H. Fyers.

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