Saturday, January 14, 2017

Action in the Adriatic

At TundraCon III in Appleton, WI I ran a what-if scenario pitting the fleets of WWI Italy and Austro-Hungary against one another.  Naval Thunder: Clash of Dreadnoughts were the rules of choice, played (easily) on a 6x6' table with six players.

The Austro-Hungarian fleet was composed of the dreadnoughts Prinz Eugen, Viribus Unitis, Szent Istvan (flag) and Tegetthoff, supported by the pre-dreadnoughts Radetzky and Zrinyl.  The Kingdom of Italy was represented by the dreadnoughts Leonardo da Vinci, Dante Alighieri, Andrea Doria, Giulio Cesare and Caio Duilio (flag), supported by the armored cruisers San Marco and Pisa.

The A-H force was secretly required to have at least two columns, one of the pre-dreadnought and one (or more) of dreadnoughts, separated by at least 5000 yards.  The Italians were secretly required to come in line-abreast with the dreadnoughts.  Starting distance allowed for a turn or more of maneuver before firing commenced, being limited to 36" for the main guns on both sides.

A+H force chose to have three columns.

Approaching Italians.
Early on it was a contrast in planning vs. luck.  The Italians swung into line of battle on their second turn to allow full broadsides.  However, while they scored hits right away, they failed to penetrate the AH armor most of the time.  The AH force however kept in three groups and managed to mask the fire of parts of their main batteries.  Yet when they hit, penetrating the weaker Italian armor was easier.

Italian line of battle.

AH fleet seems to be fanning out, inviting destruction in detail.
The broadside differential, 56 AH vs. 65 12" guns, was partially mitigated by the stronger armor of the AH ships and bad luck on penetration rolls for the Italians.  Soon the Andrea Doria had lost two turrets, the Dante Alighieri had lost her fire control and flooding induced a severe list on the Giulio Cesare.

Chits indicate critical hits that have started fires, flooding, etc.
And then the proverbial "Golden BB" struck.  A rare penetrating hit on the Szent Istvan went all the way to magazine, causing her immediate destruction.  Since that was the flagship all the other AH ships had to make command checks, modified by damage taken to continue the fight.  Surprisingly, all five survivors carried on.

Disaster strikes the flagship.
As ships closed to sometimes medium range the hits began to pile up.  Sunk were the Dante Alighieri and Andrea Doria.  On the other side, a never controlled flood sank the Radetzky and the Tegetthoff succumbed to mass fire.  The final straw was when the Zrinyl took a rudder hit and would spend the rest of the game circling to the right.  The Prinz Eugen and Viribus Unitis decided to break off the action, leaving the Zrinyl to her fate.  On the other side the Giulio Cesare's speed had been reduce to 1" and the Caio Dulio to 3".  So they were happy to see the Austrians depart.

End game, just before the Radetzky and Tegetthoff sink.

In terms of points, the AH fleet lost 888 in the four ships (we presume the Radetzky would sink).  The Italians lost 516 in sunk ships and 129 for mission kills; total 645 points.  So a close and expensive victory for the Italians, but given the actual French and British support and the damage to the AH "fleet in being," things were going to go well in the Adriatic for the rest of the war.

GHQ graciously donated two gift certificates which we diced off for.  Hopefully they will help the fleets grow.  Everyone took adversity and good fortune with equal grace, a most enjoyable game to run.

1 comment:

  1. Nice looking game, with a spectacular and beautiful smoke...beautiful ships as well!