Orient was of the Océan-class of ships. These were a series of 118-gun three-decker ships of the line of the French Navy, designed by engineer Jacques-Noël Sané. Launched on July 20, 1791, she was originally named the Dauphin Royal, but having come into service during a time of great political upheaval, she was promptly renamed. As a tribute to a political movement, she was dubbed the Sans-Culotte. She retained this name for three years before it also became contentious.
Battle of Genoa (14th March 1795)
Prior to receiving her final name, the Sans Culotte served as the flagship of Rear Admiral Martin at the Battle of Genoa, serving at the rear of the engagement. Though she exchanged fire with British third-rate vessels, she lost contact with the fleet at nightfall, taking no further part in the action. The French fleet, though having lost two ships, managed to break from their pursuers mid-afternoon the next day, and were re-joined by the Sans Culotte. The engagement, therefore, ended in a minor British Victory. The French objective had been to re-establish some control of seas to the south of France following the British capture and subsequent burning of the French Mediterranean fleet 18 months earlier.
In May 1775, the French ‘counter-revolution’ provoked the vessel’s final, and best-known renaming to Orient.
Invasion of Egypt
In 1798, Orient was appointed flagship for the Invasion of Egypt, part of Napoleon’s wider Mediterranean Campaign. Under the command of Admiral Brueys, Orient ferried the chiefs of the Armée d'Égypte, including General Bonaparte. The fleet successfully circumvented the British blockade and captured Malta, before landing troops in Egypt. The fleet subsequently anchored in Aboukir Bay, east of Alexandria.
Battle of the Nile
On the afternoon of 1st August, a British fleet, under the command of Rear-Admiral Horatio Nelson, discovered the French fleet after 2 months of hunting it. In the early evening mere hours after first spotting the French, he attacked, splitting his fleet into two divisions. One passed between the anchored fleet and the shore whilst the other engaged from seawards; entrapping the French ships in a devastating crossfire.
Orient, at the heart of the French fleet, traded heavy fire with HMS Bellerophon, and with the weight of its broadsides, managed to significantly damage the vessel and force its withdrawal. However, it suffered heavy damage in return and the French Admiral Brueys had been killed; almost severed in two as he was struck by a cannonball.
At approximately 9 pm, the British observed a fire onboard Orient and capitalised on this by pouring firepower into the stricken vessel. This succeeded in spreading the blaze throughout the ship. Around an hour later, the fire reached the on-board magazines, detonating the ship in an explosion so violent that night briefly turned into day. Falling wreckage spread over a wide area, setting fire to several ships (although these fires were subsequently extinguished). This ceased hostilities for ten minutes whilst crews recovered from shock or desperately attempted to extinguish fires.
La victoire britannique à la bataille du Nil a effectivement fait basculer la fortune de la Royal Navy dans le conflit plus large en Méditerranée. La destruction du vaisseau amiral français est devenue l'image déterminante de la guerre en mer pour l'époque. Elle résonne particulièrement dans l'art et la littérature, de nombreux artistes ayant recréé la scène.
Dans le jeu
Orient est un vaisseau amiral de 1 er taux extrêmement puissant sur table. Malheur à l'ennemi qui subit de plein fouet son flanc. N'oubliez pas que vous ne pouvez embarquer qu'un nombre limité de navires de 1 er rang dans une flotte de la mer Noire. Orient fournit donc une pièce maîtresse impressionnante et puissante pour votre flotte française.
Elle reçoit également un ensemble de règles spéciales très caractéristiques dans le jeu, gagnant un bonus de combat face à des navires britanniques, et si jamais elle prenait feu, elle souffrirait d'une chance accrue d'exploser selon sa célèbre disparition historique.
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