I have been pondering my Jutland adventure and now have reached a kind of stalemate although with a resolution on the horizon. The cause of my pain has been how best to include secondary weapons as a separate set of gunnery factors and also representing 'light ships' (light cruisers and destroyers) as individuals rather than grouped in flotilla/squadron sized formations. I have also had cause to reconsider the flotation/protection factor for reasons I will explain later in this post.
In the original game the effect of secondary weapons (and I am including tertiary and even quaternary weapons in this) was represented by ships of from armoured cruiser size upwards doubling any hits inflicted up to 10,000 yards or trebling any hits up to 3,000 yards. Adopting such an approach meant that all hits were based solely on how many main gunnery factors were left on the firing ship and so the additional gunnery from smaller calibre and faster firing weapons became, in effect, extra main guns. This clearly favours dreadnoughts (typically with 8 to 12 gun factors) over pre dreadnoughts (usually with 4 main gun factors) as all gunfire is determined by main gunnery factors. It also means that a ship can only engage a single target.
I have assumed that the doubling and trebling effect in the original game also contained a nod to faster firing smaller calibre weapons literally peppering the target as the range come down - this assumption is on the basis that any damage scored in such a fashion is no different in game terms to that inflicted by main guns. It is simpler in game terms to work on a hit being uniform in its effect - be it from a single 15" shell or half a dozen 6" shells. This is fine for my purposes as the cumulative effect of gunnery damage from a variety of sources (the death by a 1,000 cuts) is the usual cause of a ships demise apart from the odd magazine explosion or torpedo!
With this in mind it becomes relatively easy to calculate the effects of such secondary weapons as by using whole gunnery factors (which seem to be proportionally more damaging) the effects of faster firing have already been included in their effects. The difficulty I am having is in calculating the number of gunnery factors that should be assigned to a ship for secondary or other weapons. For guns larger than the assumed standard 11 or 12" weapon a simple multiplier is applied i.e. 1.25 for 13 to 14" and 1.5 for 15". For guns smaller than this size it follows that a multiplier should also be applied but with the result that the number of gunnery factors will be less than the barrels firing as the multiplier will be smaller than 1. This has given me a minor headache in that I have had to, in effect, pick a number to make this work. I should also point out that this will mean guns from 6" to 9" will also have to be 'factored' so that all of the various permutations of weaponry seen on pre dreadnoughts and armoured cruisers can be reflected.
As a rough rule of thumb I have adopted the following: weapons up to 6" are worth 0.5 of a factor and from 6" to 9" the figure 0.75 seems appropriate. As an example then, a ship with a secondary broadside of 6 x 6" guns will have 3 gunnery boxes. Having all guns up to 6" rated as 0.5 of a factor does favour lighter artillery as it means that a 9pdr will do as much damage as a 6" - again, the effect of smaller weapons having a much higher rate of fire is covered by this, albeit in an abstracted fashion.
By applying this principle any ship with guns of various calibres will have a separate line of factors for each type which in turn means various ranges to contend with. I have tackled this by applying F.T. Jane's system to gun calibres and have assigned maximum ranges accordingly.
To finish off on the subject of gunnery I have had to change the gunnery factor table from the original game very slightly. Previously the increments went from 1 to 3 factors and then by twos up to the maximum allowable. I have changed the 1 to 3 column to 1 to 2 which has served to even out slightly the hit distribution by factor as well as helping ships with a smaller number of guns - which will mean anything with weapons that are rated at less than a factor of one.
The next problem is in respect of the flotation/protection value. Rather embarrassingly I looked at the German damage sheet from the game and saw factors obviously based on the maximum belt armour of the ship in question - simple, or so I thought. I then discovered some time later that the British factors are in fact roughly 3/4s of the belt armour which means one of two things - either they have been downgraded from the 'German system' thereby granting the Germans their historical toughness and strength or else a common system was used originally and the British numbers are in fact correct but that the Germans have been upgraded. Personally I prefer the German system as it is easier to implement as all you need is the maximum belt armour for the ship in question and I cannot see how the British numbers were arrived at although I have not explored this to any extent.
For ships smaller than an armoured cruiser, and with progressively less armour protection, a different approach is needed. Destroyers have a protection factor based on their tonnage and this is from 1 to 3. Light cruisers run from 3 to 5. Straightaway this is starting to creep into armoured cruiser territory but the various firing prohibitions will iron out any perceived inconsistencies. These prohibitions need to be clarified but essentially they stop destroyers from engaging battleships with gunfire and battleships from engaging destroyers with main guns. Everything else though is fair game.
The result of all this head scratching is that I am now much clearer in my thinking about how this should work out and more importantly, ensuring that as far as possible I can stay true to the spirit of the original game.
I'm fascinated but also a tad confused (though I have to confess to playing rather than writing rules)
Watching and waiting to see how this goes
Apologies for the confusion! I tend to think out loud on the blog and sometimes overlook the fact that the content may be a little 'obscure'! Once I have this bedded down all will be revealed.
All the best,
Blog on David,
I'll catch up. Don't worry its all still very interesting
All will be revealed in due course and the explanations will be very straightforward!
All the best,
Well keep up with the work. Much of the German "Toughness" appears more to be due to the historical weakness of the British shells up to (and including) Jutland. Post 1916 British shells were much improved and I would suggest lowering British Shell values to Jutland and improving them post Jutland. The Baden experiments in the 1920's to a great degree removed the "myth" of superior protection. There is an excellent analysis of this in Warship 2007. D K Brown's work "Building the Grand Fleet" provides some excellent analysis too. Sorry to turn a comment into an article!
I will try and see about checking out the sources you mention and certainly the shell idea is very valid and I will give this some consideration.
And please, feel free to article/comment as often as you like!
All the best,
Post a Comment