Thursday 30 July 2009

Black Sea Naval Action

At the club last night I gave both the Russians and the Turks a run out using the latest version of the DBSA The Great War Gridded rules that I have been tinkering with. I chose as the forces the following:

Turkey - Yavuz Sultan Selim (BC), Midilli (LC), Hamidiye, Mecidiye (PC) two bases of destroyers - one Samsun (French Durandal types) and one Muavenet (ex German) making four DDs in total.

Russia - Evstafi, Ioann Zlatoust, Pantelejmon (all PBs), Parmiat Merkurija (PC), a base of Bespokoinyi DDs and two bases of Leitenant Pushchin DDs - 6 models for the three bases in total.
I wont describe the action in detail as, once again, this was very much in the nature of a play test (don't worry, when the rules are finally finished I will do so!) but it did serve to highlight a number of issues that need to be addressed. The most significant of these was that I need to clarify exactly how firing arcs and ranges need to be expressed. This caused a little confusion and I must confess that I was probably not clear in my intentions! I think that the ship classifications are fine (although I may revise these in the light of further research) but I want to radically change the firing and damage system as the existing range brackets are a little clunky. I also need to consider stacking and the impact of ships in a potential collision environment.

The action was fairly muted as the Turks dared not risk damage to the Yavuz Sultan Selim so were content to stay at maximum range whilst trading long range potshots with the Russian battleships. Indeed, whilst holding the range the Turks managed to completely circle around the Russians but at the cost of the cruisers becoming detached. The Midilli was hit at long range by the Evstafi whilst acting as close escort to the Yavuz Sultan Selim and as a result retired at top speed from the action. The high spot of the affair came within the last couple of game turns when the Hamidiye and Mecidiye were engaged by the Russian Destroyers. After a short, sharp action the Hamidiye was torpedoed and sank instantly whilst the gunfire of the two cruisers accounted for a base and half of Russian destroyers (3 ships in total). Neither sides main units suffered any meaningful damage although a number of close misses did occur.
Taken in an historical context, the action was probably quite accurate as the Russian battleships could neither catch or out gun the Yavuz Sultan Selim and were certainly not going to take it on individually. The Turks could ill afford to have any substantial damage inflicted on such a large ship as their dockyards were ill served in dealing with major warships. So the honours were fairly even and as a tactical exercise overall it worked well.
The picture is of the Yavuz Sultan Selim and amazingly she was not scrapped until the early 1970's.

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