Monday, February 10, 2014

Germans win at Dogger Bank !

After a long hiatus I resurrected our old Dreadnought rules for early 20th century naval warfare (the rules were last updated in 2003).  The old ship models are in a box somewhere so I knocked up some new ones out of balsa & paper.  I also replaced our old paper record keeping with magnetic boards with sliding counters.

Mark's British v. Jim's Germans 
The Brits had 5 battlecruisers, 3 light cruiser squadrons & 6 destroyer flotillas.  The Germans had 3 battlecruisers, an armoured cruiser, 2 light cruiser squadrons & 3 DD flotillas.   The odds look to be in the Brits favour, but the Germans have better gunnery & heavier light cruisers, so it should be a pretty fair fight.
We started with an approximately historical deployment.  The Germans cruising along unaware that the Brits had cracked their code & knew where they were. The Brit fleet is on the far side with their DD's behind, delayed by rough seas coming up on the flank of the Germans.
The Germans battlecruisers maintain their course as their light ships move to cover their rear from the British light ships.
The main fleets have lined up just inside maximum range & are exchanging ineffective ranging shots while the light ships start their own battle behind them.
The main fleets still haven't scratched each other.  The German light ships look outnumbered, but their heavier light cruisers are helping them hold their own.
The British have become frustrated with the ineffective long range shooting and have moved to close the range.
Closing the range turned into a disaster for the British.  It was the Germans who got the range first.  Not surprisingly, the New Zealand was no match for the Derflinger, but the Molke put down the Tiger and even the Blucher mauled the Indomitable.   The Germans DD's have been decimated, but most of the British flotillas have heavy losses & the German light cruisers are still in good shape.
The British have no choice but to turn away laying smoke.  The Germans steam on to home as heroes.
The game boards are magnetic movement trays from my Hail Caesar Warbands with paper overlays & washers for counters.  The ships are simply paper outlines on balsa with drawing pins as turrets.  They look a bit cartoonish, but you don't see much detail on model ships small enough to fit the hex grid anyway (& the brown North Sea isn't that realistic either). 

This action is about the size of battle these rules are designed for - it lasted about 2 hours & was rattling good fun, especially for the Germans when they finally got the range right.  I made some revisions to the old rules for this game & they worked well, but having played this game I can see how to simplify a few more items to make the game go even better.

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