Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Troubridge's Dilemma

Naval Thunder is a popular system with our group because it gives a quick game while offering a lot of "flavor" of the genre.  With just three players available I took it as an opportunity to fight a "what if" action from the first days of World War One. 

Historically the German battlecruiser Goeben and light cruiser Breslau sailed past two British battlecruisers just hours before Britain declared war on Germany.    A confused pursuit resulted in the pre-satellite days with no knowledge of whether she was headed for an Austro-Hungarian or Turkish port.  A squadron of British armored cruisers had the potential to intercept them near the mouth of Adriatic.  Battlecruisers were intended in part to kill armored cruisers so although there were four of them to the one battlecruiser Troubridge opted not to engage when he couldn't manage a night-time encounter.  While officially exonerated by a board of inquiry Troubridge never held a command at sea again.

Here we assume that a dawn engagement occurs.

SMS Goeben and her consort the Breslau attempt to reach Turkey.

Armored cruisers HMS Defence, Black Prince, Warrior and Duke of
Edinburgh boldly attempt to intercept.
The British squadron sighted the Goeben at a range of 31,000 yards on a converging course, well outside the range of their 9.2" guns, but also outside sighting range for the Germans.

Quick Reference Sheet with essential charts.

Sighting the Goeben first, they turn to close the range.  HMS
Defence is immediately hit and starts flooding.

Recognizing the Breslau cannot affect the action, the Germans
turn south effectively shielding the Breslau.

Goeben hits with her first salvo and continues to pound the cruisers.
Soon secondaries kick in as well.

The British break formation to attempt to sandwich the Goeben.
She is hit but so far her armor has not been penetrated.

A magazine explosion puts an end to HMS Warrior as the
Germans attempt to cut through the opening. The Goeben takes a torpedo
hit but the flooding is immediately controlled.

A second magazine explosion seals the deal as HMS Black Prince
goes up and the Germans escape.

With that the Goeben was able to escape to the east as a bridge hit was going to take the Duke in the wrong direction for a time.  Though down 32 of 90 points and with a speed reduced to 4 she would not be overhauled by the pursuing British battlecruisers.  The Breslau was also badly damaged with 10 of 18 flotation left, but the Defence had been hit so hard she could be finished off any time the Germans chose.  Had the Goeben speed been reduced to three, regardless of any other result, she would have been ruled a kill.

Done in an hour and a half and fought to a conclusion.  Naval Thunder handles small and large actions equally well.


  1. WWI? . . . come on, Michael, try a real man's period and go for Pre-Dreadnoughts. The Naval Thunder Pre-Dred rules make for great fun too.

    The Yellow Sea battle (ignoring the small craft) is a lovely engagement with six big ships each (and easily split up for group gaming).

    -- Jeff

    1. We've played a couple of pre-dread games, just not recently. We have most of the Russian and Japanese fleets as well as some pre-dreads from other nations. Did Yellow Sea quite a while back as you suggest. Drop the small craft and focus on the big boys. I'd post the link to the blog post but it comes across ugly. Hopefully we'll be doing more naval games in the future.

  2. Michael,
    Nice small scenario and interesting too. Thank you.
    Bill P.