Following on from earlier 'Action at Sea' post I decided to run another action as a follow on. This was not my original intention - I had planned to tackle something a little larger and lot more Balkan - but the idea seemed like such a good one I thought I would go with this instead!
Once again the rule in use are my version of MoBaS - Memoir of Battle at Sea - and apologies for the fact that the models are still unpainted! I have a very good excuse for this oversight as these models will hopefully be used as masters for when I can get them moulded and cast so being painted would be a distinct disadvantage. Unfortunately the pictures did not come out particularly well and so I will have to rely on the power of description.
Somewhere at Sea....
Following the successful sweep of Blue's territory by the Red Lord Nelson type battleship the naval high command decided to send her out again but this time accompanied by an armoured cruiser for support. Once these two vessels had managed to breakout into the open sea past the Blue patrols they would be handily placed to attack the convoy routes and cause much damage to the vulnerable supply lines.
Unbeknownst to Red, the Blue naval high command had gotten wind of this breakout and so deployed their forces in a wide net and with hopefully sufficient force to both find and engage successfully the enemy force.
Fortunately for Red they managed to raise steam and sail through some unseasonably bad weather - rain squalls and very poor visibility - and so were able to elude the Blue patrol lines. They did not have all their own way though as a chance sighting by a neutral fishing boat was relayed to the Blue naval high command and the closest ships along the enemy course were immediately ordered to find and sink the enemy raiders.
Lord Nelson class battleship - Red One
Speed 2, Flotation Value 10, Heavy Guns A, Medium Guns E, Quick-firing Guns M and one torpedo attack.
Cressy class armoured cruiser - Red Two
Speed 3, Flotation Value 7, Medium Guns G, Light Guns I, Quick-firing Guns M and one torpedo attack.
King Edward VII class battleship - Blue One
Speed 2, Flotation Value 9, Heavy Guns A, Medium Guns G, Light Guns I, Quick-firing Guns M and one torpedo attack.
Swiftsure class battleship - Blue Two
Speed 3, Flotation Value 8, Medium Guns E (times 2), Quick-firing Guns M and one torpedo attack.
Turn 1 When both sides spotting one another simultaneously the opening moves were perhaps largely predictable. The Red force attempted to use their cruiser to head off the approaching Blue ships. As both sides have a 'fast' ship very quickly these left their slower charges in their wake. The turn concluded with no firing from either side as the range was too great although this would not remain the case for very long.
Turn 2 As the two sides continued to close the first shots were exchanged between the main heavy units of either side; with first blood going to the Red flagship as she managed to hit her opposite number at extreme range with her opening salvo. The damage was recorded against the Blue battleship's Flotation Value. Meanwhile, the race to secure an advantageous firing position continued as both sides attempted to reduce the range.
Turn 3 With both sides now in range (remember that Heavy and Medium guns fire once per turn at the start of the turn - before movement) fire was exchanged between the two flagships although with no effect. The Red cruiser managed to score a hit against the second Blue battleship for no reply although the forest of near missing shell splashes she received for her temerity (the Blue battleship rolled a pair of 5s) was perhaps a warning of things to come. The hit on the Blue ship was taken against the Flotation Value.
Turn 4 Again the range came down but gunfire from all vessels was singularly ineffective with the exception of the single hit scored by the Blue flagship against her opposite number and once again, this was taken against the Flotation value of the target.
Turn 5 What the previous turns lacked in urgency were more than compensated for by the opening salvos of turn 5 as the Red cruiser opened fire at the leading Battleship scoring hits with both her medium and light guns (incorrectly recorded as four damage points rather than three - obviously the heat of the action interfered with the umpirical thought processes!). It was to be a short-lived success however as both the Blue battleships opened fire on the luckless cruiser scoring a total of 7 points of damage!
This was suddenly very serious for the Red fleet as the cruiser was not designed to take that kind of punishment. The hits were taken by the Blue battleship across a variety of locations whilst the poor shot riddled cruiser had to take hits from everything including, critically, her speed which was reduced to two. Battered, and with smoke pouring from the deep gashes in her hull she attempted to limp away to safety. Unfortunately, sensing blood, her opponent, now with a speed advantage despite having taken some gun damage (both sets of medium guns had been reduced by a letter from E to F), closed in for the kill whilst her flagship maintained a wary eye on her opposite number.
Turn 6 If the Red fleet cruiser was feeling poorly after turn 5 then things were about get a whole lot worse as her tormentor let fly at virtually point blank range to score a further 5 points of damage for no reply. The cruiser was all but finished but, in the spirit of defiance, her flagship rose magnificently to the occasion and scored 3 hits against the Blue flagship despite receiving but a single hit in return. Still the cruiser attempted to escape whilst her flagship swung her helm over to come to her rescue. Only time would tell if she was too late in her attempt.
Turn 7 A lull settled over the scene as the Blue battleship continued to circle her gravely wounded adversary whilst her flagship continued to maintain a watching brief in order to keep the Red flagship at a safe distance. A few random salvos rang out but to no effect as both sides, with one accord, paused to draw breath in readiness for the climax of the action.
Turn 8 The Red flagship swung her helm over yet again and engaged the Blue battleship currently picking over the corpse of the cruiser. A couple of hits added to her discomfiture but they were the only hits scored by either side. Still the battered cruiser limped painfully away.
(From this point the pictures are of very poor quality and so I am unable to add any further shots - apologies to all but I am sure you can visualise the scene).
Turn 9 Clinging on to her prey but mindful of the looming bulk of the Red flagship bearing down on her, the Blue battleship managed to score a further two hits on the wreck of the enemy cruiser which, despite the horrendous battering she had received was still afloat and still mobile.
Turn 10 Seeing an opportunity the Blue flagship switched targets from the Red flagship to the cruiser and added a hit of her own. Not to be outdone, the second Blue battleship finally got her reward for her persistence as a final salvo inflicted a maximum of four hits from four dice (6, 6, 5 and 4) on the enemy cruiser and so the battered hulk, her ensign still flying, slipped slowly beneath the waves.
After Action Review
The Red flagship was relatively unscathed and so was able to disengage from the scene of this disaster. The enthusiasm of the cruiser to get into action proved to be her undoing as she was not equipped to fight it out with a battleship - especially designed to fight commerce raiding cruisers. The Red flagship perhaps could have closed sooner but the fight was too far away and she was never going to be able to catch her speedier opponent especially as her opposite number, although not as effective, was dogging her every move. The only ship capable of catching the Red flagship after the cruiser had been sunk (Blue 2 - the Swiftsure class battleship) was quite heavily damaged and due to the short range of her guns would have needed to have gotten very close to her opponent to force a decision. Wisely she fell in with her flagship after picking up survivors from the cruiser and the two vessels headed back to base with the news of their victory. The stain of dishonour from the previous action had been removed.
The game worked pretty well but did throw up a couple of points that I have incorporated into the latest version of the rules (which I will upload to the blog as soon as I have worked out how to!). I have now ruled that hits applied to weapons must be evenly distributed in order to avoid taking out the least effective weapon first. I have also changed the rules for turning. Now it costs nothing to turn one hex side per hex entered but a second or subsequent hex side costs a movement point. I have also taken the opportunity to further revise some of the grammar so that the rules read with greater clarity.
It was also great fun to fight!