French Naval Actions of the First World War – 1915 in the Channel

Two short WW1 naval scenarios that we played out last year….

These were refights of two clashes that took place in August 1915 off the Middelkerke Bank, just out to sea from the French/Belgian border. Home grown computerised rules were used and each action took less than an hour to play out.

These were first surface actions between the newly formed German Torpedobootsflottille Flandern, based at Bruges, and the torpedo boats of the French Défense Mobile, charged with guarding the French side of the Dover Straits approaches from Dunkerque.

 

In the first action, which took place on 9 August 1915, two German TB’s, A.4 and A.16, spotted suspicious vessels steaming towards them from the direction of Dunkerque. They had been spotted by the small French TB’s 341 and 342, which were on outpost patrol and had steamed at full speed to investigate suspicious smoke.

The German boats were bigger and more heavily armed, but with very small targets and no fire control for their small calibre guns, they had to get very close to have a reasonable chance of getting hits and carefully time their fire for best effect.

A twisting turning action resulted with the boats jockeying for position, whilst having to avoid the shallow sand banks in the area.

The 341 got position first and fired a torpedo, which hit and sank A.4.

341 and 342 cashed in their luck and beat a hasty retreat as a third German boat, A.12, came up from the direction of Ostende to join the fight.

In the real world of 1915, the action had been short and indecisive. The Germans had broken off the action shortly after opening fire when an unidentified shore battery opened up on the scene.

However this was just a warm up for the German commanders, who were new to the rules. They chalked the result up to experience.

This set the scene for Scenario two, which took place in the same area.

Back in the real world of 1915, the French had beefed up their patrols as a result of the first incident. On the night of the 22nd, two Torpilleurs d’Escadre (small destroyers), Oriflamme and Branlebas, went out on an ambush patrol to the Middelkerke Bank Buoy. At 11pm they spotted the silhouette of a German boat in the darkness. This was A.15, inbound to Ostende.

In this refight A.15 was very badly outgunned by the French destroyers and too slow to escape them, so her only hope was to land a lucky torpedo hit. Learning from the first encounter, the players who were now in command of the French destroyers closed, holding their fire until they were close enough for their shots to tell, with a good stockpile of ready ammunition to hand. As they manoeuvred A.15 managed to get off a snapshot with one of her two torpedoes, but this missed Branlebas. The response was swift and decisive as first Oriflamme and then Branlebas opened a devastating fire, which quickly knocked out A.15’s only gun and her other intact torpedo tube. The lack of return fire told and a nasty list to port tipped them off to the amount of damage they had done. The French destroyers pressed in close to for the kill. A.15 finally sank beneath the waves.

The result was almost identical to the real life result, which saw Oriflamme and Branlebas press their attack and sink A.15 back in 1915, Oriflamme obtaining a hit with a torpedo. This was the third boat the German force had lost in action since being formed and highlighted the poor design of the A.1 class TBs. They were too weak to fight and too slow to run. It had been the first real opportunity for the Défense Mobile to engage enemy vessels since the war began and they had certainly seized it and driven their attack home. The German force in Bruges would need better boats if it was going to be able to successfully take on the British and French surface forces in the Channel.

Small scenarios like this often make for interesting games than large fleet actions that can get bogged down in big long range gun duels. The action/reaction nature of a night action is created by making each boat dice for initiative. Those with higher initiative get to choose whether to move before or after those with lower initiative.  If one side is more alert than the other a modifier can be applied. The boats used were 1/3000 scratchbuilds made from plastic card sheet and rod, except for Branlebas and Oriflamme, which were conversions from Navwar models of the earlier Arquebuse Class. The scale allows the game to be played out comfortably on a small table.

On Farthest Tides’ – Dire Straits

John’s latest report on Li Chee the Pirate Queen’s feud with Admiral Feng Shui using Ganesha Games Galleys and Galleons rules.

Months had passed since Li Chee’s raid on Qui Nhon harbour, the junk she had captured now had a new crew and was ready for action.

Meanwhile Admiral Feng Shui set sail with his treasure ships hoping to reach India safely but first he had to negotiate the Straits of Molucca. He had taken the precaution of hiring a trusty Proa to act as pilot, he would be glad of this before the day was out. It was here, close to the dreaded ‘Whirlpool of Indesit’, that Li Chee planned her ambush and with some of the treasure won at Qui Nhon she had enlisted the help of some head hunters, Sumatran cannibals of terrifying reputation.

Making good use of the wind, the Treasure fleet made stately progress through the straits, until…

The trap is sprung!

The new Pirate junk captured at Qui Nhon and refitted, moves in to attack a Treasure Ship, keen to show her mettle.

The new Pirate junk hits the Treasure Ship with a short-range broadside rake the Treasure Ship suffers 2 points of damage as it’s tripled (Treasure Ship has reinforced hull but combat factor reduced by firing full broadside and short-range rake). Junks combat factor increased by one as firing from short range. The vessel also takes a critical hit (4) – Rudder struck!

First blood to the pirates, it’s a devastating attack that the Treasure Ship will struggle to recover from. Li Chee attempts the same tactic on the small Merchant Junk with less success.

LI Chee curses her gunners as they only score one point of damage on the Merchant Junk

The badly damaged Treasure Ship attempts a risky manoeuvre to avoid the attentions of the Pirate Junks.

Things are looking bleak for the Treasure Ship but 3 successful activation rolls allow it to change course avoiding the Head hunters and the junk. Will it escape? – We shall see.

Meanwhile the smaller Merchant Junk is unable to avoid a collision with the Pirate Queen’s ship and comes off worse.

Both vessels roll for damage. The Merchant Junk has a reinforced hull so takes a second point of damage whilst Li Chee is unaffected

Things were looking bad for the Treasure Fleet, with two junks badly damaged. Where was Admiral Feng Shui? He’d decided to hang back to prevent being cut off by the wind but horrified by what he could see before him, Feng Shui swung into action, attacking the pirate junk that had devastated the Treasure Ship. A Devastating cannonade from Feng Shui’s flagship ripped through the Pirate Junk.

The Pirate Junk is doubled and the critical hit sets it aflame!

The Pirate Junk’s crew manage to extinguish the fire but are so preoccupied and cannot prevent the Junk heading directly for an island.

Here the Junk has to roll 3 successful activations to put the fire out, which it does. Had it rolled a 1 on either of the red dice, it would have to take an all at sea roll which is bad news!

The Merchant Junk which collided with the Pirate Queen veers away but strays too close to the ‘Whirlpool of Indesit’ and is sucked in, never to be seen again. To this day, on still nights it’s said you can hear the mournful cries of the crew.

For the Whirlpool I decided that any vessel within S of the edge of the whirlpool at any point of its move was sucked in.

Meanwhile Feng Shui’s Junk comes under attack from the Head Hunters. No vessel is off limits, they just want a nice collection of skulls. They have enough actions to move up to the Flagship and grapple but frustratingly not enough to board.

Here two activations are required to cut the grapples. As a flagship, Feng Shui has an extra free activation. The grapples are cut. But there are no activations leftConcentrating on cutting the grappling ropes Feng Shui’s flagship is unable to avoid a collision with a Treasure Ship.

The ships collide with a destructive crash. Both vessels are badly damaged.

The collision roll is bad. Despite the reinforced hull, both vessels take 2 points of damage. Ouch!

The Pirate Queen opens fire on the badly damaged Treasure Ship which takes more damaged and is now crippled.

Whilst upwind, the damaged Pirate Junk manages to turn away from the island and manages to avoid foundering on the shallows by the skin of its teeth.
The Junk has to pass it’s Quality roll (2), three times as it’s travelling at L

Feng Shui’s nightmare day goes from bad to worse as the Flagship cannot avoid a second collision with the Treasure Ship. A gaping hole develops in the bows and despite the reinforced hull, the pumps can’t prevent the Flagship sinking. Feng Shui escapes, clinging to driftwood.

The Treasure Ship fails all its activations. This is a turnover; all un- activated vessels must move in a straight line and both vessels collide again.

With Admiral Feng Shui clinging to floating wreckage, Li Chee seizes her chance to board the damaged Treasure Ship.

The Treasure Ship is on a – 2 modifier (-1 Merchantman, -1 crippled), but with the Pirate Queen has ‘Derring do’ which reduces combat factors to 0 and Intimidating which gives +1

The damaged Pirate Junk which had escaped grounding also managed to avoid the ‘Whirlpool of Indesit’ so now Li Chee had a huge prize and both pirate junks survived the encounter. Time to pay off the Head hunters cheaply, repair and refit the junks and spend days counting treasure. As Feng Shui drowned with his ship she looked forward to further profitable ventures, but first she needed a patron to establish bases for repair and re- victualling.

Feng Shui was grateful to be picked up by the Proa, though whilst he clung onto the outrigger, he pondered his next move. Returning to China was out of the question, an excruciating death at the hands of Emperor Ming the Merciless lay in wait. Yet if he tried to make a new life here, the long hands of Ming’s empire would grab him by the throat. What he needed was a Pirate Hunter and fast.

Appendix Vessel stats for the Engagement

Harwich Submarines in the Great War

Our treasurer recently had a book published by Helion & Company. Royalties will be supporting the work of the Royal Navy Submarine Museum.

We had a book signing at our last meeting and here are the happy purchasers!

Signing of Harwich Submarines in the Great War at MWS 9 October 2021

You can find out about the background to the book in his post on the Helion & Company blog here:

The first campaign of the Royal Navy Submarine Service in the First World War

 

Night Raid on Qui Nhon

John reports on a follow up game to Treasure Islands, using Ganesha Games Galleys and Galleons rules and his scratch built junks.

Angry that she’d missed out on treasure from the wrecked ships, Li Chee the Pirate Queen shadowed Admiral Feng Shui from the islands to Qui Nhon in the South China Sea. Determined to exact revenge, she planned a night raid on the harbour at Qui Nhon (see picture above).

She hoped to capture one of the junks, avoiding the larger Treasure Ships and the Admiral’s Flagship. She’d also have to avoid the attentions of the fort guarding the harbour entrance.

Li Chee passes the fort guarding Qui Nhon Harbour

All Feng Shui’s ships were moored facing into the wind. Li Chee decided to go for the smallest Junk. This would make a fine pirate Junk to accompany her on further adventures and was bound to hold some treasure too.

In this scenario, Feng Shui can only activate when Li Chee performs a boarding or firing action.

The first activation. Li Chee rolls up to 3 activation dice requiring 2+ to take an action. The double 5 indicates a change in wind direction of one point clockwise.

Li Chee slowly and silently passed by the fort and after several moves is in a position upwind of the smallest Junk ready to strike in a swift and deadly boarding action.

Li Chee’s crew have ‘Derring Do’. This reduces the combat value of both vessels to zero in the first boarding action of the game. They are intimidating so get a +1 modifier. The enemy Junk has a -2 modifier from the scenario and a further -1 being a Merchantman. The Junk is tripled and takes 3 damage. Ouch!

The hapless Junk attempts to cut the grapples and head away.

Two activations are sufficient to cut the grapples but the ‘1’ requires the ship to take an all at sea roll. A ‘3’ is reduced by 1 as Li Chee is a Dread Pirate. Li Chee decides to let the Junk continue. She will move in for the kill next turn.

All this commotion has alerted Feng Shui, who turns his junk which is in irons to a firing position.

In the next round of combat, Li Chee takes her prize – now to escape!

The captured junk is now manned by a prize crew and Feng Shui opens fire on it.

Feng Shui opens fire to no effect. The reinforced Junk hull proving invaluable.

As the pirate junks begin to pull away to safety, Feng Shui makes a boarding attempt on Li Chee’s junk. Li Chee is in great peril.

Boarding! Li Chee has an intimidating crew and gets +1 but Feng Shui has a higher combat value, high castles and Drilled Soldiers. The dice roll saves Li Chee but the Feng Shui’s veteran NCO rallies the troops.

It had been a lucky escape for Li Chee and using actions to cut the grapples and break free she was able to move away from Feng Shui, who was now in a bad position and would have to sail round the island or lose time in irons. The two pirate junks would now have to run the gauntlet of the fort.

The fort opens fire first on the captured junk.

The Junk is not doubled but the ‘6’ dice roll causes a point of damage.

And then on the Pirate Queen.

The fort fires on the Pirate Queen to no effect.

As the pirate Junks head for safety, the fort manages to fire on them again a longer range but fails to score a hit.

As the sun begins to rise in the east, Li Chee and her pirate crews make good their escape.

It had been a close-run thing but now, Li Chee had a second junk which she would repair and turn into a formidable fighting ship. Feng Shui was worried as he tried to get to grips with the Chilli Crab. The treacherous Straits of Malacca would have to be negotiated with their swirling currents and risk of ambush – things did not look good.

Appendix

This game was based on the cutting out scenario from the Galleys and Galleons rule book. Vessel and fort stats below:

Feng Shui’s flotilla:

Li Chee’s ship:

Having a Blast!

Jeremey takes us through some home made blast markers.

Having recently started repainting my old 6mm Sci-Fi forces my thoughts turned to the different types of blast markers used in various wargames, you know the ones, they are often made of hard translucent plastic in the shape of a flame. Wargamers use them for marking the spot they are calling artillery down on or even to show destroyed and burnt out vehicles.

The first thing I thought of was could I make my own? Having made many things out of EVA foam for my gaming I turned to that first as a very simple material to work with. I knew you could get the foam in thin sheets and in bright colours. As luck would have it I popped into a local Poundland store to pick up some things for a bit of DIY I had to do, and discovered in the crafts section a packet of foam rocket shapes.

The packet had 5 foam rockets shapes for each colour

So I bought a packet at the predictable price, thinking I could make blast markers out of the red and yellow rockets.

Blast marker templates cut from a piece of cardboard

I made myself two flame shaped templates out of cardboard. One smaller than the other and made sure the smaller one fitted inside the silhouette of the larger one.
It was then just a matter of drawing round the templates, trying to fit in as many of the markers as I could. To make 3 blaster markers I would need 3 of the bigger flames in red and 6 of the smaller yellow flames to go on either side.

The first cut out flames, bit short on the yellow bits though

of course at first I completely forgot I’d need twice as many of the smaller yellow flames as the red, which is why there are only 3 of each in the picture!

A smaller blast created during assembly

Rather than waste the foam I experimented with a smaller blast marker cutting out from the red foam using the smaller of the two templates I’d made. I used standard PVA glue to stick the yellow smaller flame to the red foam and then repeated the process for the other side of the marker.

Incoming!

The final (sort of) stage involved me supergluing the marker to a thin wooden base that I had, which I then just painted to blend in a bit better. There we have it, very cheap, simple and quick blast markers for games.

However as you can see from the picture I took it a stage further. I added or rather smudged on some black miniature paint in that way explosions are often depicted. Nice simple effect that stops the blast marker looking too cartoonish. I also turned to the blue foam from the packet and wondered if I could make a splash marker. I don’t often play naval wargames but fellow club members do. I cut out a more splash like shape and as with the black on the blast marker I dabbed white paint on the edges of both the main shape and the smaller splash shapes, and of course I painted the base blue.

Now all I need to do is think up a way of using the green foam from the packet. Hmmm alien weapon blast effect …

The Capture of Marco Linguine – Battle Report

John puts the 3D printed galleys supplied by fellow club member Colin into battle. This is a solo battle report using the Galleys and Galleons rules.

Introduction.
Rum Baba, an infamous Barbary pirate had been driven eastwards by the Christian warships but was still a thorn in the side of Venice. It was decided to despatch one of the newly built Galleass to their base at Chania in Crete to rid the Mediterranean of this menace for ever. En route, the Galleass and it’s escort were ambushed by Rum Baba and his pirate crews.

The Opposing Squadrons (details in Appendix)

The Venetian Squadron comprised the Lanterna Flagship commanded by Linguine, the new Galleass and a small Galliot to act as scout and draw the attention of the Ottomans. The Ottomans comprised Rum Baba in the Lanterna and three swift but lightly armed Galliots.

The Ambushing Ottomans lie in wait

Move 1
The Ottomans win the initiative roll and will move first each move. At the start of each move every vessel has to roll up to three D6 and roll equal or above its Q value to gain a successful action

This Galliot has a Q value of 2 so gets 3 actions, two of which it can use for movement. The double 3 denotes a change in wind direction one point anticlockwise. This does not affect the Galliots but may affect the Galleass which is propelled by sail.

The Galliots rush towards the Venetian Galliot intent on its destruction. Meanwhile, the Venetians move up cautiously and the Galleass takes in sail to maintain formation.

Position after move 1 from the Venetian side. They approach cautiously hoping to get a close range shot in before boarding actions begin.

The Ottomans move up and use their final action to open fire at long range. One point of damage is inflicted on the Venetian Galliot from this fusillade.

These two Galliots have a base combat factor of 2. The range is Medium so no firing factors are added. If the target is doubled by the modified dice roll a point of damage is inflicted and the target then has to roll on the Critical Damage table. If the attackers roll is even, it causes one point of damage with no roll on the Critical Damage table.

The Venetians move into close range and fire back

In addition to it’s broadside the Galleass is equipped with Chaser Guns which have a combat value of 1. All firing vessels get a plus 1 for close range. BOOM!
The Galleass rolls a 6. This is a critical hit and the Galliot has to roll on the Critical Hit table and sustains another point of damage. It’s hit again later in the move and now has 3 damage points, one more and it will strike. Ouch!
The Ottomans strike back. The Lanterna causes a point of damage to the Venetian Galliot which closes with the Ottoman Galliot and takes another point of damage so 3 points of damage each!
As the melee rages, the Galleass makes good it’s escape

Two Galliots and the Ottoman Lanterna close in on the outnumbered Venetian flagship and the two Galliots who have locked in combat fight to a standstill. The Galliots have the Derring Do special rule and attack with reckless ferocity. In the first round, all base combats are reduced to zero.

Here with base combat values at zero, the Lanterna is up against. Here it loses the combat but has the Veteran NCO special rule which gives a +1 bonus when losing by one or the adjusted roll is tied. Both vessels take a point of damage as the adjusted rolls are now tied.
With the Venetian Flagship on 3 damage points, the Ottoman Lanterna moves in to deliver the Coup de Grace and Linguine Strikes his colours

With the Venetian Flagship on 3 damage points, the Ottoman Lanterna moves in to deliver the Coup de Grace and Linguine Strikes his colours
With the Galleass now a dot on the horizon, Rum Baba takes Linguine’s surrender and collects his prizes. He hoped for a profitable ransom for Linguine and whilst He would sleep well tonight in the company of concubines, that Galleass worried him. His captains had been reckless, they would need to be more savvy next time.

Appendix – Data sheets for vessels involved in the conflict

 

Building A 15mm ACW Ironclad

Stephen is inspired by a piece of balsa…

I had a spare bit of balsa planking I’d used for a previous project where a piece had been cut out of it that left the remainder with a prow-like curve at one end.

I just happened to see it and then a thought popped into my head: ‘that looks like the prow of an ironclad.’

And that’s how this project came to be.

The first decision I had to make was size. It was going to be a gaming model not a scale model. Assuming that 15mm is 1/110 scale that would mean a scale model would need to be about 2 feet long.

That wouldn’t be practical since this would be used in big battle games and ground scale comes in to play.

But it had to ‘look right’ next to a 15mm figure, as if a crew could actually get in it. So it couldn’t be too small either.

The bit of balsa I had was 25cm long. I got out a 15mm figure, put it next to it and…it looked about right.

The starting point and tools.

So that’s the scale I went with – the gamer’s favourite ‘looks right’ scale.

This proved to be a simple model to make, though some processes were repetitive.

I used Wills Scenics embossed plasticard for the wooden decking. With that done I then sanded the sides to make sure it was all nice and smooth.

Hull planking added

Next came the superstructure. This was built in thick card and then clad in plasticard.

Superstructure added.

The plasticard was incised using a compass to represent the iron cladding. This got really dull! It was only after I had stuck it all together that I suddenly realised I had forgot to add any rivet details. I thought about doing it retroactively, but then I thought about the amount of rivets I would need to do and thought, ‘sod that – this is a gaming model.’

Broadside gunports and more tools.

The funnels were made from styrene tubing with a bit of styrene wrapped around the top for where the stabilising wires were attached. Guide holes were drilled and they were glued in place.

Funnels added

The wheelhouse went through two versions. Some pictures show it with sloped sides, some with slab sides. The first version I did was sloped. But when it was glued in place it gave the whole model a modern ‘sports boat’ look with all those slopes. It just didn’t look right. So I took that off and made a new, square, one. The rest of the hull furniture was made from bits of styrene and chain from an old necklace.

Second attempt at the wheelhouse and deck furniture added

Then on to the paintjob.

I got this wrong as well.

I’ll confess I don’t know too much about ACW river ironclads. I remember from ages ago seeing an ironclad game where the hulls had been painted silver (presumably to represent the iron). If I’m honest, that always seemed wrong to me, but I just respected other’s knowledge.

So I painted my model with metallic sides.

It just looked wrong and too shiny. I thought the matt varnish would dull it down, which it did. But it still looked wrong.

Time for a quick bit of research. Sure enough, my instincts were correct – they weren’t left bare metal! Black, dark grey, and light grey seem to have been the preferred colours. Even sky blue!

I prepared myself that I might have to do a re-paint.

Before that, though, I thought I’d do an experiment – an all over black wash. That seems to have worked and saved me a re-paint. It now has a darker finish, the black wash has taken off the metallic look but left it with just enough to suggest wear and tear.

The finished model

No re-paint needed.

On the river

The Russian Baltic Fleet in 1914 – Organisation, Modelling and Painting Guide – Part 1

2nd Cruiser Brigade

Our Treasurer recently decided to expand his WW1 naval campaign into the Baltic – a theatre that saw a lot of interesting naval actions and a major amphibious assault.

That meant acquiring the Russian Baltic Fleet.  Fortunately Russian naval enthusiasts have unearthed a lot of good material from their naval archives in the last few years and made it available on-line.  After brushing up on the Russian alphabet and with liberal use of Google translate, this information is just a click or two away as long as you use Cyrillic text for your searches!  I’ll give the correct 1914 Cyrillic names of the units, commanders and ships below with their western script equivalents.

1/3000 is the scale of my German Fleet, so off went my order to get started to Navwar – who still have an unrivaled range and reasonably priced models for this period.

First up on the painting table are 6 cruisers from the 1st and 2nd Бригада Крейсеровъ (Cruiser Brigades).

The flagships were the big old armoured cruisers Громобой (Gromoboy, meaning Thunderer), and Россия (Rossiya, meaning Russia)  respectively.  These are oldish Navwar sculpts and needed some work, but also needed quite a bit of conversion work to bring them up to 1914.  Both had been considerably upgunned from the 1904 era Navwar model with prominent new casemates on the top decks  – Gromoboy had also had a complete new set of boilers, but you can’t see them!  Bring on the modelling knife, plasticard sheet and rod, bits of old national trust membership cards and superglue and voila:

Original models of Gromoboy (top) and Rossiya (bottom)
Gromoboy (top) and Rossiya (bottom) after conversion – casemates and guns moved/added, boats re-positioned, funnels and bridges tidied up/added and for Gromoboy stern shape and ship length corrected with a new stern casemate and conning towers also added

Next were two other much newer, smaller armoured cruisers of 1st Brigade, the sisters Адмиралъ Макаровъ (Admiral Makarov, a celebrated admiral lost in the war against Japan) and Баянъ (Bayan, a celebrated 11th century bard).  These needed very little work – not much more than just filing away the 11pdr gun in the bow and moving a couple of boats.

Last in this first batch were two 2nd class cruisers of 2nd Brigade, the sisters Богаты́ръ (Bogatýr, a Russian medieval warrior/knight) and Олегъ (Oleg – the name of several celebrated historical figures).  These veterans of the Japanese war also needed some tidy ups and removal of some of the small guns from Oleg:

Oleg (top) and Bogatýr (bottom) with funnels tidied, turret shape/size corrected, aft superstructure enhanced/corrected, boats added and 4x11pdr guns removed from Oleg

Finally painting and basing.  The Baltic Fleet introduced a two tone paint scheme for all large warships in an order of March 7th 1912, with light grey upperworks and a darker grey hull side.  All of these warships had unpainted wooden decks.  Finally the Baltic Fleet continued to use 1m wide funnel bands throughout the war (painted out in most other navies).  1st Brigade used red and 2nd Brigade blue in 1914.  First ship had a band at top of 2nd funnel, 2nd ship a band half way down 2nd funnel, 3rd ship a band at the top of 2nd and 3rd funnels and fourth ship a band half way down 2nd and 3rd funnels:

1st Cruiser Brigade
2nd Cruiser Brigade
1st Cruiser Brigade
2nd Cruiser Brigade
1st Cruiser Brigade
2nd Cruiser Brigade

These ships underwent a bewildering number of changes in their armament during their lives, but contemporary records, photos and plans confirm their armament in 1914 as:

1st Brigade

Контръ Адмиралъ Коломейцевъ – Rear-Admiral Kolomeytsev

Gromoboy (flag) – 4×8″, 22×6″, 4x75mm(11 pdr), 4x47mm (3pdr), 2 TT

Admiral Makarov (2nd ship)- 2×8″, 8×6″, 20x75mm(11pdr), 2 TT

Bayan (4th ship) – 2×8″, 8×6″, 22x75mm(11pdr), 2 TT

2nd Brigade (initially titled Бригадой крейсеровъ 1-й резерва, 1st Reserve Cruiser Brigade)

Контръ Адмиралъ Лесковъ – Rear-Admiral Leskov, promoted on 10.8.14, having been appointed to command a couple of days before war broke out

Rossiya (flag) – 4×8″, 22×6″, 15x75mm(11 pdr), TTs all removed

Bogatýr (2nd ship) – 12×6″, 12x75mm(11pdr), 4x47mm (3pdr), 2 TT

Oleg (3rd ship) – 12×6″, 8x75mm(11pdr), 8x47mm (3pdr), 2 TT

Most 3pdr guns and all 6pdr and 1pdr guns had been removed from the ships as they were found to be ineffective deck clutter in the war against Japan.

The next batch will add the remaining cruisers in these Brigades and begin adding the destroyer and torpedo boat flotillas…….

Action off Horns Reef – 17th August 1915

The British force breaks off at the end of the action

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.

Horns Reef Light Vessel

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.

The close range clash – torpedo markers show the salvos fired and Minos has a marker showing she cannot turn to starboard due to a heavy port list

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.

Moorsom and Miranda shield 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.

B 98 leads the German Flotilla

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:

Mark H +87196
Andy K +13060
Mike P +11339
Alan O +350
Mark W +307
Alex M +121
Colin C 0
Brian S 0
Dean L 0
David S 0
Ian F 0
Brandt 0
Andrew (visitor) 0
John Le -428
Jon R -1155
Barry -3995
Trevor P -9538
Craig D -14481
Steve T -30235
Bob C -52540

 

Open Day 2018

The club is holding its annual Open Day on Saturday June 23rd (11am to 4pm). This when we put on many games and open our doors for all to come and visit and get a much wider idea of what we do and the games we play. We try to put on a good variety of games across all the popular periods and scales, all of which are open to visitors to join in. We offer a special discounted membership rate for anyone who joins the club on the day. There’s also a prize draw sponsored by local manufacturer Brigade Models for all visitors.

This year there are seven games, including one put on by Milton Hundred Wargames Club, our nearby friends and neighbours. The six club games are as follows:

The Fall of the Ramas Echor – a 28mm Lord of the Rings game set just before the Battle of Pelennor Fields, TA3019.

The Second Battle Of Sluys AD1370 – 28mm Medieval action using Lion Rampant rules.

Fields of Glory – a 15mm ancients game using the FoG ruleset.

Sharp Practice – 28mm Napoleonic skirmish action in the Spanish Peninsula.

WW2 Naval – early war action between the French and Italian navies in the Mediterranean.

Gaslands – post-apocalyptic car racing.

Directions to the club’s venue in Linton, near Maidstone, can be found on our website.

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