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News from a wargamer with a special interest in the military history of the Balkans. It mainly covers my current reading and wargaming projects. For more detail you can visit the web sites I edit - Balkan Military History and Glasgow & District Wargaming Society. Or follow me on Twitter @Balkan_Dave
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Sunday 21 January 2024

Frontier Sea Scenario: The Supply Convoy

For today's game we tested a wargaming scenario to go with my book, The Frontier Sea: The Napoleonic Wars in the Adriatic. It is designed to refight a typical small-scale action of the period.

The French Illyrian Provinces ran down the Dalmatian coast in modern-day Croatia and Montenegro. The towns were linked by a coast road, which runs pretty much along the same route as modern tourists travel down every summer. Where practicable, it hugs the coast, constrained by the mountains behind.

Transport between the towns was traditionally undertaken by small boats called Trabaccolos, as the roads were poor and prey to bandits. The French governor, Marshall Marmont, introduced a road building programme to improve them, primarily so supply convoys could move between his coastal forts. The French also moved supplies by sea, although the Royal Navy frequently intercepted these convoys and captured the supplies. 

In response to the French using the land route, the Royal Navy frequently landed raiding parties on the coast using ships boats. They would either land directly when they spotted a convoy or land beforehand and ambush the convoy. The French were forced to strengthen the convoy escort. The Royal Navy became so skilled at this operation that many supply convoys had to be diverted inland, a longer and more expensive process, which was also more susceptible to bandit attacks.

In this scenario, a strong French convoy is making its way down the coast with the intention of stopping for lunch at the next village. It is spotted by the Royal Navy frigate, which dispatches boats with sailors, marines and infantry from the 35th Foot. The British objective is simple: capture the convoy. The French have to fight them off. We used the Osprey rules, Rebels & Patriots, which are ideal for this type of skirmish game. Sharp Practice would work equally well. We used 28mm figures from various ranges. Here is the force list:

We played twice with the British winning the first time and the French the second. The French have the numbers, but the British have better quality troops.


  1. Lovely toys and tabletop terrain. Well done ⚔️⚔️

  2. Excellent 👍 Just working on some miniatures for the Adriatic and just ordered a copy of your book. Looking forward to working on this project this year