Tuesday 1 September 2020

The Balkan War Afloat

Whilst in something of a naval vein I noticed that the indefatigable Mr. David Manley has been ‘at it again’. He has just written and published this rather spiffy tome which is, as is usual with output, a stonkingly good piece of work!

Available from the Wargames Vault this is a really great publication covering, as it does, a smallish war that is ideal for a mini campaign and would not cost vast amounts of money to set up.

The PDF contains a potted history of the war and the combatants, the Broadside and Salvo fast play rules and a campaign system including a map and the appropriate counters etc. I am probably biased but this is a Great War to fight naval battles in as the numbers are modest which makes it ideal for solo play or a club mini campaign. Just to help out I have listed the ships available and their proxies from the Navwar list as follows:


N8704 Hydra, Psara and Spetsai
N8732 Georgia’s Averoff
N8754 Aetos Class - Aetos, Hierax, Leon and Panther
N8152 Thyella Class - (use Austrian Huszar Class - Thyella, Lonchi, Nafkratousa, Spendoni
N3511 Keravnos Class - (use German V1 class) - Keravnos, Nea Genea
N1529 Niki Class - (use British C class) - Aspis, Dora, Niki, Velos


N5722 (use Japanese T67 class) - Drazki, Smeli, Hrabri, Shumni, Letyashti, Strogi


N8P10A Mesudiye
N3112 (use German Worth class) - Torgud Reis, Hayreddin Barbarossa
N8P08 - Asar-i-Tewfik
N8P33/33A - Hamidiye, Mecidiye
N8P32 - Peyk-i-Sevket, Berk-i-Sevket
N2521 - Samsun Class - (use French Durandel class) - Samsun, Yarhisar, Tasoz, Basra
N3508 - Muavenet-i-Milliye class (use German T/S165 class) Muavenet-i-Milliye, Yadigar-i-Milliye, Numune-Hamiyet, Gayret-i-Vataniye
N4702 Akhisar/Antalya class (use Italian Saffo class) - Akhisar, Alpagot*, Antalya, Urfa, Ankara*, Tokad, Drac, Kutahya, Musul 

*Sunk by the Italians in the 1911/12 war

N5722 Demirhisar Class (use Japanese T67 class) - Demirhisar, Sultanhisar, Sivrihisar, Hamidabad

The codes are the Navwar numbers and hopefully these are still the same. You may want to check some of the names - the Ottoman Steam Navy is a pretty good for this - as there are many ways of spelling these and naturally sources do not always agree!

For the non-naval gamer I cannot recommend this highly enough as it is manageable, tactically challenging and a great introduction to naval wargames.


Robert (Bob) Cordery said...


Synchronicity has struck today, big time!

If you haven’t already seen Archduke Piccolo’s blog today about his latest project, you should do! ( http://archdukepiccolo.blogspot.com/2020/08/a-new-project-that-isnt.html ). He is using my old Balkan Wars Matrix Game as the basis for an imagi-nation campaign ... and its looks really good! It is seriously making me think about following his example ... but I’m trying to resist the temptation,

All the best,


Archduke Piccolo said...

Hi David -
Bob mentioned your review of a recent book upon the naval side of the First Balkan War, so, here I am. I hadn't really planned on incorporating naval aspects of the campaign (and may yet find it in me to resist the temptation) but it does bear consideration. The question is, to what extent do I want my Balkans ('Blacklands') campaign to become a REAL new project?!

I could possibly have justified the omission of the naval side on the grounds that the opposing navies cancel each other out (protecting coastal flanks, interdicting combined operations and coastal landings and such - a bit of a stretch along the Ionian Sea coast, maybe, for the Turks!).

I'll give it some thought. After all, I haven't bought a war games book for months...
Archduke Piccolo.

David Crook said...

Hello Bob,

The weirdest thing is that I was actually thumbing through the article you had written (it is my scrapbook of articles and similar) Sunday evening! The Archduke’s idea looks really good and I am really excited to see what he does with it - I hope that the naval distraction will give him another avenue to explore!

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hello there Archduke,

I really like the spin on the area you are thinking of and it will make a tremendous setting for a campaign. I flirted with something similar using elements of Bob’s World of 1891 - Fezia, Rusland and others - but it never really got off the ground in a formal way although I did fight a number of games using the block armies.

David Manley’s latest is as cheap as chips in respect of the PDF and contains much of interest. As a suggestion what about looking at the composition of the historical navies but translating these into your own ideas? This would add an additional dimension but would still fit with your overall scheme.

Even if you did not use it for your campaigning background it is still a cracking production.

All the best,


Nigel Drury said...

An intriguing what-if would be the Greek purchase of the two old US pre-dreadnoughts happen slightly earlier.

David Crook said...

Hello there Nigel,

Absolutely! Back in the day I had The Greeks and the Turks in 1:3000th with all the ordered and hypothetical ships - so the Greeks gained the battle cruiser Salamis (Never built) and H.M.S. Birkenhead and Chester whilst the Turks got Agincourt and Erin as well as some destroyers.

That certainly mixed things up a little I can tell you!

All the best,