Honour - 'Forte' 1799
The action took place in the Balasore Roads, Bay of Bengal.
The French ship Forte, a 1400 ton 48-gun Frigate was on a successful commerce raiding cruise in the Bay of Bengal when the smaller but similarly armed HMS Sybille set out from Madras 19-February to stop her.
On 28-February when heading towards the Sand-heads off the mouth of the Bengal River, at about 20:30 hrs Sybille sighted flashes to the north west. This was taken to be lighting but at 21:00 hours it was suspected that they could be gun flashes. So she darkened ship and tacked west.
About 21:30 hrs three ships were sighted, The Forte and two prizes which she had just taken.
By midnight Sybille had closed to within a mile and at 00:45 hrs opened fire on on the Forte. A furious battle began but about 01:30 hour the French fire slackened and by 02:00 hrs had ceased. Sybille ceased firing to ask if the unknown ship she had engaged had struck. Receiving no reply fire was re-started and with no reply again asked if her opponent had struck. With no reply again fire was opened for a third time. After a few minutes fire ceased for a third time and the action ended at 02:28 hours.
Sybille lost 5 killed and 17 wounded out of 371 on board. Forte lost 65 killed and 80 wounded out of 370.
This page last edited -
23 March, 2013.
Copyright © Ian M King, except where otherwise indicated.