Monday, June 19, 2017

Hampton Roads Encore

In a radical change of pace, we pulled out the 1/600 scale "ironclads" to replay the 2nd day of Hampton Roads in March, 1862,  Models are a combination of Thoroughbred Miniatures and Bay Area Yards models.  Rules are "Steam and Black Powder" by Neil Stokes.

Since we were blessed with six players I felt the need to modify the historic scenario.  Besides the CSS Virginia and the tenders Beaufort and Raleigh I gave the Rebs the Patrick Henry.  Historically a boiler hit had delayed her arrival but today the Yankee shore battery missed.

For the Union we could have had the USS Monitor, Minnesota and Roanoke.  The latter two were steam frigates and historically had both grounded.  Today I gave them mobility but substituted substantially weaker ships.  I also let the Virginia have her ram even though it had snapped off in the hull of the Cumberland the day before.

CSS Virginia, escorted by the Beaufort and Raleigh looks to
finish yesterday's business.

But a new danger lurks behind the USS Minnesota.

The USS Congress still burns from the day before as the ships maneuver.
The Roanoke had to traverse most of the 9' table to get into play and the Minnesota started at speed zero so the early turns were maneuvering by the Yankees, looking to get into range with their smoothbore armaments, while the Rebs seemed to get in each other's way.

The two tenders, each lightly armed, raced in to get their guns into range and maybe try to ram.  They weren't easy to hit, but had little strength.  A hit on the Beaufort destroyed her boilers and once she coasted to a stop would be immobile.  Rather than try to ground the craft and save the crew, they bravely(?) turned into the Minnesota to try and ram.  Shot and shell raked the small vessel, killing the crew and starting a medium fire.  But....

The Beaufort, burning and her boilers blown hits the Minnesota
and starts a minor flooding result.
Next the Raleigh succumbed as her boilers were ruptured and the crew swept away by gunfire.  The Monitor steadily closed on the Virginia, counting the yards to her target and the 11" Dahlgrens.

Broader view as the ironclads close, with effect.
 A "lucky hit" from the Monitor and max damage blew a hole below the waterline of the Virginia, starting a severe flood, almost impossible to control.  The Patrick Henry, who enjoyed good shooting now needed to risk closing and getting all of her guns in play.  And the Roanoke?  She was steaming at full speed, trying to get into the fray.

The USS Roanoke looks on as the battle winds down, never firing.

The Beaufort almost set fire to the Minnesota as she drifted away.

The Patrick Henry will receive a broadside as the Monitor rams
the Virginia and adds a major flooding result!
It seemed the Confederates couldn't buy a break today.  After early sniping with rifled weapons against the Yankees their dice, especially the Virginia's, went cold.  Perhaps the unwillingness to close and try to ram ruined the Rebel chances.

The Virginia cannot survive two floods and sinks.

So in the end, the Virginia went down from flooding, the tenders were lost and the Patrick Henry likely would not have escaped.  A total disaster for the Confederacy, wiping out the success of the previous day.  The hard-to-hit Monitor was lightly damaged, the Minnesota had a lot of holes on her starboard side but had successfully battled fire and flooding, while the Roanoke cursed their inability to even fire a shot in anger.

1 comment: