Wednesday, 12 May 2010

War at Sea in the Aegean: 1943

After having considered the Aegean in 1943 as a theatre of operations for a some naval gaming I now find myself with having to acquire not only some information on the historical campaign itself but also I will need to consider the models I will use – especially those that will need to be acquired. The rules themselves also need to be considered if only because the existing War at Sea better suit actions with larger vessels than I will be using. Indeed, it looks very much like the largest vessel that potentially could have been deployed in theatre would have been the German crewed Italian Zara Class heavy cruiser – Gorizia. This is a historical liberty (the Germans had taken her over after the Italian surrender but she was sunk in harbour by Italian frogmen) to be sure but will nevertheless make for an interesting strategic challenge – very much in the ‘hunt the raider’ vein.

At first I was wary of using War at Sea for this lower level type of game – a more ‘skirmish’ level approach (perhaps a good coastal warfare set) would probably suit the type of action envisaged far better – but after considerations of club usage and time available I am thinking that perhaps staying with the original rules would be easier. As there will be no ‘super’ ships in use the rules will be even in their application to either side. The largest difficulty will be in the acquisition of suitable models for the myriad of small scale vessels – fishing boats, patrol craft and various other sundry ships. At the present time the range of smaller ships available in the War at Sea range is limited to PT, S and MAS boats and of course the Flower class corvette. There is also a small Japanese sub chaser that may be useful for something. The next ships available ‘up the scale’ are of the course the mainstream naval models of destroyers and torpedo boats and larger types. As mentioned in my last post I will have a look at what ships the Germans requisitioned and then see how I can make best use of what models are currently available.

I will have to see what 1/1200th, 1/2400th or even 1/3000th kit could be pressed into service for the armed combatants – merchantmen are a whole new issue to address so I will see what I can come up with. Some of the larger 1/3000th merchantmen could see some use and I have a selection of the Japanese generic cargo ship available from within the existing War at Sea range. From what I have read thus far it seems that axis land based airpower was dominant and the allies were only able to enjoy a material advantage on a few occasions in terms of both ships and aircraft as their focus was centred on Italy. This makes for an interesting challenge – on the one side you have a weak naval force being used under a strong air umbrella and on the other you have a force that can be both stronger in warships and in aircraft but only rarely at the same time.

The nod to the taking of historical liberties will also enable me to make use of the remnants of the Greek navy (the Luftwaffe did a very efficient job on them during the invasion of 1941) including the famous armoured cruiser: Georgios Averoff.

A few ideas are beginning to form in respect of the type of actions I should like to run in this area and once I have decided upon the final shape I will of course post my deliberations. I may even consider adding something along the lines of a Navarone type fortress just for the fun of it – certainly it would add to the challenge the allies face.

I believe that this theatre has a lot to offer the naval war gamer – especially as it offers a different challenge to the usual Battleship/Aircraft Carrier/Cruiser type action – and certainly from a personal perspective any maps generated would see additional use with my Balkan Wars fleets.


Paul O'G said...

For historical info see if you can find 'Battle of the Wine Dark Sea"

David Crook said...

Hi Tas,

Will do - I also have Churchill's Folly on the to get list as well. In the meantime The Guns of Navarone will probably get an airing!