There was a man named Fritjof, son of Ake, and Eerika, daughter of Gudbrand the fearless; she was sister of Gull Half-aelf in Keflavik, and he the father of Kettle Hæing. Fritjof was a man so tall and strong that none could match him, and his bravery won him the hand of Gunborg; A volur, by the grace of Freyja. Fritjof sailed the ocean as a freebooter. On the counsel of his huswife Fritjof sailed his longships to the shores of Anglalond, seeking there wealth and renown in battle.
Fritjof and his forces fell upon the Angles and there was fought a great battle. Fritjof and the Angle lord fought manly, beard to beard, and Fritjof was sore wounded. The Angles saw victory and rushed to the fray, but the strength of Fritjofs huscarls pushed back the Angles and their lord was captured. An arrangement was made and kept, and much gold was exchanged for the return of the Angle lord who departed with little affection. Fritjof, his name feared amongst his enemies, turned north as the summer wore on, to other battles waiting for him.
Entrance of the Vikings.
Coming late to the campaign, I had a few strokes of luck. I got to roll a few times on the fate table as a way to catch up with the others in the campaign, and managed to avoid any negative results, picking up several new hearthguard recruits and nearly a full new unit of levy. I can therefore afford to be somewhat reckless with my warriors, which plays to the strengths of the viking battleboard. This, combined with the fatigue negating abilities of the faction allowed me to put in a good showing against Andy’s Anglo-Danes in my first battle, capturing and ransoming his warlord. All of this good fortune combined just about pushed my warlord over the threshold of 15 power points needed to become an aethling.
The society is refighting all of the naval actions of WW1 as a long running campaign, initially focussing on British Home Waters in 1914-1915.
Scenario 10 covered a night action off the Danish Coast on 17th August 1915.
Ships used are 1/3000 Navwar, with the Princess Margaret and the Light Vessel scratch built, all from Mark’s collection. Rules are Mark’s computer moderated rules written in Visual Basic 6.
British forces were heading in to the Heligoland Bight to lay a large minefield aimed at catching German vessels coming in and out of their ports. The large Minelayer, Princess Margaret, was escorted by seven modern ‘M’ class destroyers of the 10th Flotilla. The sun had recently set and the British force was using the light from the Danish Horns Reef Light Vessel to get a position fix before heading in to lay the mines. These were commanded by Mark as umpire.
Co-incidentally five large German destroyers of the 2nd Torpedoboots-Flottille had been on a search mission to the north that day and were heading back to port, also using the light vessel to get a fix before their final run in. This force was commanded by Jon.
The British force was silhouetted against the afterglow of the sun and so at 8.13pm the German force was able to sight and close on the British unseen. At 8.22 the British spotted the shapes of ships in the murk and after some hesitation about their identity, the closest Division of British destroyers opened fire. A short fight at about 5000 yards ensued with the British getting off a couple of torpedoes. Apart from a near miss on the British destroyer Miranda, no hits were made and whilst the British torpedoes crossed the German line they both missed.
The British had turned away and with the remaining light having gone, the two sides lost sight of each other. The players now plotted their next actions on a map.
The British decided to attempt to resume their course for minelaying and at 20.40 the two sides blundered back into contact. As there was no moon and the Princess Margaret reacted slowly to the new contact, the two sides found themselves very quickly at close range. The British 1st Division raced forward to shield the Princess Margaret, with both sides opening fire as they closed to just 600 yards and the German commander ordered a flotilla torpedo attack.
In a few minutes of mayhem the British destroyer Minos and then the German B 109 sank as a result of shell hits. The British were extremely lucky to avoid 16 well-directed German torpedoes which crossed the tracks of 6 ships including the Princess Margaret.
The Mentor and Moorsom were also badly damaged and reduced in speed and the German G 103 stopped by a shell in her engine rooms. She was able to repair her damaged steam line and get back underway at reduced speed after the action to limp home.
The British again broke off and this time headed west for their covering force. The German boats gobbled up the lagging Mentor and sank her with gunfire, then also stumbled across the crippled Moorsom as they steered south for home, again finishing her with a couple of salvos.
The British destroyers had succeeded in saving the heavily loaded minelayer they were there to screen, but had paid a high price, with 3 of their destroyers sunk, for only 1 German boat lost.
In the real action the Germans used the light advantage to close, then fired 3 torpedoes, before the British saw them. One of these hit and blew the bow off the destroyer Mentor. The Germans and British then immediately broke off, leaving the Mentor alone. Once shored up, she managed an epic journey to limp all the way home.
In all campaign games German losses count double, to reflect the fact that they were less able to absorb losses and to reflect their more cautious use of their ships.
Nevertheless this game was a German tactical victory as the tonnage of British ships lost was more than double that of German ships lost – 2805 tons to 1352 tons, a net score of 101 points for Jon as German commander and a loss of the same for Mark as British/Umpire. This leaves the league table as follows:
The first was 15mm refight of the opening clash of the American Civil War, the First Battle of Bull Run. The second was a 25mm action using Chain of Command.
In the first game Andy and Jon led the Federal Army against Steve and Mark with the combined Confederate Armies of Beauregard and Johnston.
This used Steve’s 15mm figures and was a third playtest for his home grown, Brigade level rules. One of the features of this action was the fairly chaotic command arrangements of the newly raised, largely volunteer armies, which arrived over the course of the action. This means that units from the same command were set up to appear at different points on the battlefield, meaning that many brigades were hard to co-ordinate as they were out of their command radius.
We managed to reverse history with this one with the Federals seizing the high ground and seeing off all of the Confederate attempts to get it back. Steve’s rules make for an enjoyable and fast paced game and after a few tweaks to fine tune things are ready for another outing!
In our second game fast forward to 1944 and Dave and Pete led their American paratroopers (with some help from an attached Sherman tank)against a position defended by German paratroopers under Alan and John. Figures and terrain from Alan’s 25mm collection. Alas the Sherman support was to no avail – picked off in an ambush by a Panzer killer team armed with Panzerschreck and Panzerfaust anti-tank weapons. These rules can be the source of some nasty surprise if your opponents save up command points to deploy ambushes!