Thursday 8 December 2011

The Navies of Fezia and Rusland... Part 1

One of the great attractions of running an 'imagi-nation' is being able to create a background to the events played out on the table top in as much or as little detail as required. I personally enjoy this facet very much as it means I can give free rein to my creativity and this am able to breath 'life' into the events depicted. I fully intend to expand on the background I have started upon with the events leading up to the battle of Keder Sirt in due course but for the moment I need to apply something similar to the naval forces in use by both nations. In part this will be dictated by the models I shall be using (that is the famous Minifigs/BMC ships) but the main thrust of what I am considering is how and why the ships in use came about. Let me expand my thinking.

The navy of Rusland facing that of Fezia is a largely self contained force because the geographical location (on the coast of 'not the Black Sea') it enjoys places a number of design implications upon the ships in use. Fezia possesses a number of very good naval bases and has a thriving ship building capacity, albeit of a relatively recent introduction. The geographical conditions under which the fleet usually operates means that, as a rule, the ships do not need to be long ranged (the only way out of the 'not the Black Sea' is via the straits controlled by Fezia) and so as a result of this most Rusland vessels above torpedo boat size tend to be smaller than their Fezian counterparts. As they are usually smaller than the equivalent Fezian type they do not need a massive coal bunker capacity, thus saving space. This also means that the required crews tend to be smaller than the equivalent Fezian type so that accomodation for them can also be reduced. In fact most Rusland crews tend to be quartered offshore in barracks rather than shipboard. Smaller vessels tend to be handier and this is an important factor when being used, as the fleet often is, for inshore work. With the emphasise on inshore work it generally means that Rusland ships tend to be heavily armoured for their type (as protection from close in shore based fire - something the Fezians are very adept at) and mount a significant amount of artillery, generally of lighter calibres as volume of fire tends to be preferred over weight.

An area in which Rusland excels to almost universal acclaim is in the construction and use of light ships, principally torpedo boats. These are of avearge size but are heavy on torpedoes - usually at the expense of guns - and are normally fast. Rusland is also very enthusiastic concening the laying of both defensive and offensive minefields and has converted several merchant ships into minelayers as well constructing a number of purpose built vessels. Most cruisers are also readily converted into minelayers if required.

To sum the Rusland navy up then, it can be seen that for the most part its major fleet units tend to be newer than their Fezian contemporaries; better armoured but slightly underarmed. They are relatively short ranged but within the the confines of their usual area of operations this is by no means a handicap. Their light units are modern and effective and with their torpedo capability form a useful support to the battle line and a serious threat to their enemies. By far the biggest advantage though is that the Rusland navy has both designed and built their ships to suit the environment in which they will be deployed rather than having to compromise due to many different and often conflicting obligations. It is a force not to be underestimated.

Part 2 of this post will look at the problems and the solutions to those problems adopted by the Fezian navy.

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