Sunday, July 7, 2013

Battle-cruiser Action in the North Sea - 1916

With visibility at 20,000 yards and a moderate sea state light cruisers and their attendant squadrons of torpedo boats and destroyers had scattered to scout other areas as the British and German battle-cruisers suddenly found each other.  (Translation: with only four players and two of them new with the rules I elected to just use the capital ships.)

Spotting the enemy on converging courses the Germans were pleased that the British did not take advantage of their greater range, but in the best Nelsonian tradition closed quickly.  At the start 1st Battle-cruiser squadron; Lion, Tiger, Queen Mary and Princess Royal were slightly behind and paralleling 2nd BC squadron; Indefatigable and New Zealand.  Beatty order the Lion to join with 2nd BC squadron to balance the forces.  (Translation: two British players, each with three ships.)  Meanwhile 1st Scouting Group had Derflinn=ger, Lutzow, Seydlitz, Moltke and von der Tann in one continuous line.  ("Hipper" controlled the two big BCs while I had the 3 smaller ones.)

The first turn all the German ships except von der Tann who was out of range by accident fired on the Indefatigable.  With the over-concentration there were a lot of splashes but no hits.  The British however scored on penetrating hit on the bridge of the Derflinger, killed Hipper and locked them on the steady course for at least two turns.

Retribution was coming fast though.  On turn two the Moltke and von der Tann concentrated on the Indefatigable and the Seydlitz on the New Zealand, while the heavy BCs engaged the Tiger.  A pair of hits on the Indie lead to a magazine explosion that stunned all.  (Translation: we were using the "Cordite" rule to see how it played.  So any penetrating main turret hit gave the possibility of a magazine explosion.)  All the other ships except von der Tann took damaging hits, though none as serious.

Turn three had Derflinger and Lutzow continuing to sail away while the other three BCs wondered what was afoot?  Moltke and von der Tann continued their teamwork taking on New Zealand while the Seydlitz shifted fire to the Tiger.  Seydlitz was rewarded by a flooding critical that induced a severe list on Tiger.  In what was turning into two combats, the Derflinger had the attention of two excellent BCs while the Lutzow was taking love from the Princess Royal.  Again, a mix of penetrating and non-penetrating hits were scored as the range dropped to medium for both sides.


Turn four was a bad one for the British.  Moltke and von der Tann got their second magazine kill of the day as the New Zealand went up in a fireball.  Beatty was heard to say, "there seems to be something wrong..." glub-glub; as the damage control parties, forgetting which side had the list, executed counter-flooding operations on the same side as the list and the Tiger turned turtle and sank.  (Translation: during the damage control phase the owning player rolled another "10" on a d10 which capsized the Tiger.)

However, things had not gone solely the German way.  Moltke was lashed with fire by the New Zealand before going up and suffered both a severe list result but also and engine room hit.  Her speed reduced to "3" she was ordered out of the line.

At this point with a knife fight in progress at short range for some ships and one player out of ships we faced a crisis.  So appearing like the cavalry two of Evan-Thomas' super-dreadnoughts appeared at table edge.  Those German ships that could turn away did so and for four more turns we had a running fight.  Thankfully the gunnery aboard the Queen Elizabeth and Malaya (I know, but they came to hand) was poor.  Still, when we quite the Moltke had joined the others by turning turtle before damage control could eliminate the flooding.  Derflinger was not long for the surface and while the original British BCs all had a little to a lot of damage only the High Seas Fleet could save the German battle-cruisers. 

Satisfied with the blood-letting and game we elected to quit. 

Rules were "Clash of Dreadnoughts" from the Naval Thunder family.  Even with explanation time for the new players we finished in less than three hours.  The game system is such that players needed no help from me after two or three turns except for looking us critical hits.  I'm very fond of the game in that it hits a nice balance between playability and detail to flavor the games.


  1. Excellent AAR...I am a huge fan of Naval Thunder especially for WWI and earlier.

    We should get togehter sometime as I live in WI. Do you attend NAVCON?

  2. I've tried for years but always had an unavoidable conflict. Perhaps this year... Always open to extra gaming opportunities.

  3. Michael,
    WWI Naval is a big interest of mine. Thank you.
    I have been unable to get to NavCon too even though it is 30 minutes south of me. How dread--full of me.