Monday, March 14, 2011

November 27, 1940 - somewhere in the Mediterranean

The historic action at Cape Spartivento was the basis of our game Sunday where I introduced new three players to Naval Thunder: Bitter Rivals.  We gathered at 11:30AM and commenced the action.

The British began, from right to left, with the heavy cruiser Berwick and the light cruisers Manchester, Southampton, Newcastle and Sheffield sailing in line abreast.  They were charged with protecting a convoy behind them while awaiting heavy units coming up.  They were faced by the daunting force of six Italian heavy cruisers.  Divided into two squadrons they had in line the Pola, Gorizia, Fiume, Trento, Trieste and Bolzano.  They too had heavy units coming in support, should they need it.  In the interest of mildly role-playing the game, I told the Italian players that they had six of Italy's precious heavy cruisers.  With no more being constructed or possibly replaced as the war continued.   Oh well.

The Italians started out with the advantage of range with their 8" guns over the predominately 6" gunned British, plus having all guns bear while only the forward British guns could fire.  However, as the British rushed to close, so also did the Italians in a bid to run past and get at the convoy.  You can imagine their displeasure and surprise as the battlecruiser Renown appeared behind the cruisers.  Her effect was immediate and violent.
As both sides closed quickly the damage began to rack up at an alarming rate.  First to go was HMS Newcastle who succumbed to too many critical hits on  turn 3(!).

(HMS Trinidad is substituting for Newcastle today.)
On that same turn the Italians received their heavy units, the modern battleship Vittorio Veneto and the remodelled old battleship Giulio Cesare.  The former immediately got the attention of the Renown.
On turn five as the range continued to drop and the light cruisers could shift into rapid fire mode, three cruisers went down: HMS Manchester, the Trieste and the Gorizia.  The Renown was concentrating on hurting the Italian cruisers as much as possible and was quite successful. 

Turn six saw the arrival of the lumbering old battleship HMS Ramilles.  A welcome addition, though her guns had a far shorter reach than other capital ships on the table.  This turn the Southampton and Pola went down in a flurry of fire.  It was getting a lot easier for the five of us to plot our moves and gunnery!
HMS Berwick by this time was in very bad shape so I turned away from the Italian heavies making smoke, while potting away at the Fiume.  With a conspicuous lack of success I might add.  The Fiume was trying to maneuver for a torpedo shot at the Renown while they were engaged with the Italian battleships. 

Alas, the luck of the Fiume could not hold and turn 8 saw her removed from play.  At that time we had sunk all six Italian heavy cruisers while losing the four British light cruisers.  Renown was about 25% damaged and Ramilles had her paint scratched.  Berwick was one big hit away from sinking and the Italian battleships had not even been hit yet.  However, the Italian commander opted to break off rather than engage in a pounding match.  Given the short range of the guns of the Ramilles, the British were happy to see them go. 

Our eight turn game, plus time spent going over the rules (I'd played four games, Todd one and the others none) and post-mortem chit-chat meant we finished in two and a half hours.  Very satisfactory given the experience levels and huge number of critical hits to be resolved.

Naval Thunder continues to impress me as a fairly realistic naval game that plays quickly and has the flavor of naval combat that I desire. 


  1. I've taken the liberty of starting a thread on the Naval Thunder Forum directing folks to your blog:

    It is in the "After Action Reports" section (WWII Mediterranean Battle).

    A nice report, sir. Might we inquire as to the scale and the model manufacturer?

    -- Jeff

  2. Thank you kindly. Models are a mix of C-in-C and GHQ 1/2400 minis. I also have a lot of Superior brand models in my collection.

  3. Another fine AAR, thanks for sharing.

    Will you be at Little Wars 8-10 April?

    Tsushima will be played along with Savo Island.


  4. Thanks. I regret no, I've got another commitment that weekend. Been a lot of years since I last was at Little Wars.