Tuesday 9 February 2021

Gods and Admirals: Immobile Bay....Late 1864....Game Number 63 Part 2


The two Union columns approaching the entrance to the inner basin of Immobile Bay. The small brown discs indicate the possible presence of torpedoes

The view from the Confederate side - note the Hammerin’ Iron mat placed under the squared board. the choice of the ‘DEFENDER’ end for the rebels was purely coincidental!

The two Confederate ships quietly slipping their moorings and readying for action

The two Union columns approach - the U.S.S. New Glory leading the North division and the U.S.S. Coeur D’Alene the Southernmost.

Turn 1. No rolls for anything so straight to initiative which the Confederates won 5 - 2 and so opted to allow the Union to move first.

The two Confederate ships quietly slipped away from their respective moorings as the first of the Union ships appeared in the mouth of the basin. The C.S.S. Secessionist quickly moved to engage the Yankee ships whilst the C.S.S. Jedidiah Cornpone took up position to the stern of the rebel ironclad, patiently looking for an opportunity to engage the enemy on her terms.

The U.S.S. New Glory rounded the point at the northern entrance and was greeted by the view of the harbour spread out before them and the ominous sight of the ironclad floating battery the C.S.S. Southern Belle. the captain wanted to reduce speed to better engage the anchored rebel battery and because he was fearful of the rumoured torpedoes said to have been deployed. Rear admiral Beare turned on him “Damn the torpedoes! Captain, go ahead, full speed!”

The U.S.S. Coeur D’Alene rounded the southernmost point of the inner basin and was greeted with a similar view to the flagship except that there was the not insignificant matter of a rebel ironclad heading straight for them and obviously intending to ram! The day had suddenly gotten a whole lot more complicated for the Union.

Turn 2. The C.S.S. Southern Belle opened fire on the U.S.S. New Glory and promptly missed. The C.S.S. Secessionist however score two hits from her forward battery against the U.S.S. Coeur D’Alene scoring two hits, one of which was a critical! The resultant roll was an engine hit and so her speed was reduced by one.The U.S.S. New Glory fired at the C.S.S. Southern Belle scoring 4 hits! No critical hit but three points of damage. Once again the Confederates won the initiative (5 - 1) and so the Union were asked to move first.

BOOM! The U.S.S. New Glory runs straight on to a command detonated torpedo and immediately takes on water. The damage is heavy but for the present controllable

Meanwhile both the C.S.S. Secessionist and the C.S.S. Jedidiah Cornpone simultaneously engaged the nearest Yankee ships by ramming! The C.S.S. Secessionist inflicted no damage on her target but the Jedidiah Cornpone was more successful although she suffered some damage of her own

The damage report on the U.S.S. New Glory confirmed that although she was flooding the pumps were keeping pace with the influx of water for the time being. Rear Admiral Beare inwardly cursed but was determined to press on with the attack. The captain advised backing away but this would serve to throw the formation into confusion whilst under close range fire from the rebel battery. “No, we must push on at best speed” he told the  captain.

The U.S.S. Potomac was rocked heavily by the impact of the rebel ship but all that happened wa s that she was pushed away from her assailant meaning that she would be able deliver a devastating point blank barrage from all three turrets.

The U.S.S. Coeur D’Alene was stopped in her tracks by the speedy side wheeler that had crashed into her bow and her captain desperately needed to get her guns to bear on the enemy - she needed sea room, and quickly.

Turn 3. The flooding on the U.S.S. New Glory worsened. She continued to fire at the C.S.S. Southern Belle scoring two hits for one point of damage. The C.S.S. Southern Belle returned fire scoring two hits for two points of damage. The U.S.S. Potomac fired at the C.S.S. Secessionist will all three turrets. Two points of damage plus a Fire critical hit resulted. The return fire from the rebel ship was ineffective. The Union won the initiative and opted to let the rebels move first.

 The two Confederate ships backed away from their targets to ram them again - this time with catastrophic results for the U.S.S. Potomac as her hull was riven from beam to beam ash so she quickly sank beneath the waves. (Note the very impressive dice roll which generated 6 flotation points of damage!). The C.S.S. Secessionist, despite the fire raging in her gun dec, suffered no damage in return and so has no chance of being locked with her sinking adversary. The Jedidiah Cornpone attempted a similar feat but only slightly damaged her target whilst sustaining minor damage herself.

BOOM! The U.S.S. New Glory runs on to a second command detonated torpedo and this time it proves fatal. The ship settles quickly by the bow whilst the monitors prepare to enter the basin.

No sooner had the U.S.S. New Glory eased away from the scene of her first torpedo attack when an ominous boom sounded beneath her bow and a great pillar of water washed over her. A second torpedo and this time it would prove to be fatal as the great ship nosed down into the waters of the bay. With all order gone the crew headed over the side and made their escape as best they could and made for whatever would float. Rear Admiral Beare surveyed the wreckage around him, aghast at what had taken place. What had seemed so straightforward had proven to be anything but. Cursing these new-fangled rebel weapons he made for the gunwale and jumped over the side.

The two monitors following the U.S.S. New Glory swerved around the stricken and sinking flagship to see the three turreted U.S.S. Potomac also in a sinking condition. A dull orange glow could be seen on the nearest rebel ironclad and the thick gouts of black smoke issuing from her could mean only one thing - she had a fire on board. 

The U.S.S. Coeur D’Alene had backed away as far as she was able from her tormentor and was making ready to move off as soon as she could gain some room to move.

Aboard the C.S.S. Secessionist the crew worked frantically to bring the fire on the gun deck under control. Speed was of the essence as another enemy monitor - U.S.S. Congress - was bearing down on her.

Turn 4. The C.S.S. Secessionist rolled to see how the fire fared. A 6! The fire became uncontrollable! In d6 turns the ship would sink (she rolled a 6) with her speed reducing by one point per turn and no firing allowed. Also, each turn there is the chance that the fire might reach the magazine, thereby destroying the ship! The dice on the ships indicate the game turns until they sink. The U.S.S. Congress opened fire against the blazing rebel ironclad, scoring a further hit which proved to be critical and resulted in a further two points of flotation damage. The Union won the initiative roll 4 - 2 and opted to move first, no doubt eager to force the issue.

By virtue of some canny seamanship the remaining Union ships, enter the inner basin with the U.S.S. Congress leading. Meanwhile the C.S.S. Jedediah Cornpone rammed the U.S.S. Pocahontas with both ships suffering two points of damage.

Events moved quickly. The U.S.S. Coeur D’Alene, more by chance than design, suddenly found herself leading the entire Union battle line as it headed further into the basin, past the the stricken U.S.S. New Glory and the Potomac. The big rebel ironclad was now ablaze from stem to stern and appeared to be backing away from the action. Out from the smoke of battle the C.S.S. Jedediah Cornpone, fresh from her attack on the U.S.S. Coeur D’Alene, determined to attack any Yankee ship that got in her way and so the luckless U.S.S. Pocahontas was rammed on her starboard aft quarter. The impact stunned both ships and the rending sound of tortured metal and splintering, groaning timber resonated through both ships. The rebel vessel backed away and would surely pay for her temerity.

Turn 5. The C.S.S. Secessionist rolled to see if the fire reached the powder magazine. A 6! The rebel ship exploded, sending debris high into the sky and showering the ships nearby with metal and timber. The ships nearby suffered no damage for being in close proximity. The three Union monitors opened fire with the U.S.S. Pocahontas firing at the C.S.S. Jedediah Cornpone whilst the other two engaged the C.S.S. Southern Belle. The Confederate ram sustained two points of damage and critical hit and managed to cause a flood. The C.S.S. Southern Belle received a further two points of damage and her return fire was ineffective. For initiative the Confederates won 2 -1 and opted to allow the Union to move first.

Endgame. With the destruction of the C.S.S. Secessionist, whatever slim chance the Confederacy had of delaying the oncoming Union ships disappeared. As the victorious Union squadron circled into the basin so a plethora of white flags appeared hoisted from the buildings along the shoreline. Immobile Bay had fallen and with it the last seaport open to the Confederacy. The South was doomed.

Moments before....

With an ear splitting explosion, the stricken and blazing rebel ironclad, the C.S.S. Secessionist blew up. Time seemed to stop. As great clouds of acrid smoke rolled across the sea and debris scattered far and wide, so the crews of both sides stood and watched, silent and thoughtful. A ragged cheer rose from the U.S.S. Coeur D’Alene but was swiftly replaced with profanity as various pieces of rebel ironclad landed on her deck.

The moment passed. There was still a job to be done, a job now made immeasurably easier by the spectacular demise of the Confederate flagship. As though conducting a review the Union ships moved in to the inner basin in tight formation and readied to settle accounts with the C.S.S. Southern Belle. Her commander could see no value in a senseless loss of life and so ordered the white flag run up. He would have been powerless to resist the Union ships as these could have happily stood off her beam ends and battered her into submission without an effective reply. With the torpedoes in front of her she had a chance and seeing the Yankee vessel hit not one but two of these devices was scant consolation but a consolation nevertheless. Now that the Union ships were able to get behind the torpedo screen there was little point in offering any resistance.

The C.S.S. Jedediah Cornpone would live to fight another as her captain wisely chose discretion as being the better part of valour and headed away at best speed from the bay. The ship had been damaged and would doubtless be harried and pursued to destruction but for now though, the ship was safe.

Rear Admiral Beare had largely been a spectator to the unfolding events since the U.S.S. New Glory had sunk although he was at least on dry land along with a few other survivors. Most of the crew had taken to the sea and had headed straight for the rebel battery where they were duly taken prisoner (although would be freed shortly as the Southern Belle surrendered). He was satisfied overall with how the day had played out but any sense of wellbeing evaporated when he and the small body of men with him were surrounded by a Rebel cavalry patrol and taken prisoner.

Clinging to a small piece of a wooden hatch cover, half drowned, burned and bleeding, Captain Jubal  Le Vite gingerly moved his head in the direction of the shoreline to see what seemed like an endless line of Yankee ships and white flags everywhere. He closed his eyes and wearily turned away from this most depressing and yet somehow inevitable scene. He was too tired to think, too tired to move and certainly too tired to resist as willing hands carefully but urgently pulled him into the small rowing boat. The last thing he remembered was a Southern voice reassuring him that he was safe and that he would get away from the Yankees. He smiled inwardly, secure in the knowledge he would live to see another day and so slipped into a troubled and haunted but nevertheless grateful sleep.

Well what can I say? Yes it was contrived, yes it was crowded and yes, it threw up a few rules issues but you know what? It wasn’t half great fun! Fortune swung both one way and then the other but I reckon overall the result was about what I expected from the scenario. The two areas that need some tightening up are turning and ram attacks - before and after the attack. The models looked fine en masse and with the arrival this morning of my Warbases order I will be able to press on with the remaining models for this phase of the ACW project.

It is funny in that the loss of two of the models - the U.S.S. New Glory and the C.S.S. Secessionist - actually made me feel quite sad. They have been through a lot together and have both been royally battered but have always lived to fight another day. Perhaps it is fitting that their final hurrah was at the end of a contrived mini campaign. You see, it is possible to get attached to a fictional unit just as easily as an actual one!


Peter Douglas said...

Great AAR and photos David. I know what yo7 mean about losing ships. When regiments die on table, the survivors can e rallied and reformed or new recruits added. Can’t really do the same with ships.

Steve J. said...

You obviously had fun and frankly, that's all that matters! The models looked great and although there was limited space, this I didn't pick up on until you mentioned it. It certainly had the feel of a tight riverine cum bay action with limited room for manouevre.

David Crook said...

Hello there Peter,

Thanks old chap! I learned several valuable things from this exercise the main one being that the playing area was, as suspected, too small for the number of models. If you recall the board was very much a lash up in any event and I will organise something larger going forwards. I had gotten quite attached to the U.S.S. New Glory and the C.S.S. Secessionist but they will live to fight again at some point!

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hi Steve J,

I certainly did in an anarchic kind of way! It was contrived and too crowded really but the important thing is that it played well enough - a couple of minor points of clarification are all that is needed - and augurs well for the future. For now though it is back to the ship building!

All the best,


Maudlin Jack Tar said...

Great game David, and the vessels and dock look fantastic.

David Crook said...

Hello there Maudlin Jack Tar,

Thank you old chap - much appreciated. I want to make some better terrain once I get a larger gaming mat. The shore pieces are 3” squares of hardboard I had laying around from a Volley and Bayonet project years ago, the buildings - which are painted Monopoly types for the most part - were passed on to me years ago by an old gaming chum, along with the Heroics and Ros trees. The two jetties are wall sections from the Town in a Bag set.

The main thing was that the rules worked and so I am happy with the overall outcome. For sure it was a contrived scenario but it played well enough and the only issues with the rules that need addressing are relatively minor.

All in all it was a good way to spend a few hours.

All the best,


James Fisher said...

Your scratch-built ships look superb, particularly on that bluest of blue boards. Looks brilliant.
Regards, James

David Crook said...

Hi James,

Many thanks old chap! The board was a bit of a lash up but the colour had grown on me. I need to get a bigger playing grid organised though but for now it will do.

All the best,


Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

Saying no more than that!

David Crook said...

Hello there Geordie,

Thank you old chap! I am finishing off the next eight models and then will look to tackle the remaining dozen to complete the collection.

The rules are coming along well and I am so pleased that I opted to use squares rather than hexes!

I hope all is well with you,

All the best,