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GQ3 Articles


Introduction to Fleet Action Imminent

Dec 12 2007 03:54 PM | ODGW News in GQ3 Articles

Welcome aboard again, shipmates. This time we navigate World War One waters, a fascinating voyage through the early Twentieth Century era ruled by the big gun battleship. It also saw the emergence of aerial and submarine weapons that would come to dominate naval warfare. It is a period perfect for the wargamer, replete with wonderful “what-ifs” through controversies over decisions made in most every engagement and intriguing possibilities had this clash taken place or that ship been present. Whether you are a shellback or a new hand, you will find many aspects in this new commission to exercise your tactical knowledge and challenge your command skills. It becomes a captivating cruise through a forgotten bygone period in naval history.

Fleet Action Imminent is a companion to General Quarters: Third Edition which covers the WWII years. Since many of you already own General Quarters, Fleet Action Imminent has been compiled to complement rather than duplicate material covered in the Third Edition. The same systems and data formats are used, but altered and enhanced to reflect the unique aspects of WWI warfare. Part 7 provides complete rules for WWI surface combat with many subtle, but important changes to reflect the era. The accompanying surface combat charts and Ship Logs provide everything needed to simulate WWI battles and does not require the Third Edition. Part 8 adds new rules to simulate the addition of Airship operations. Zeppelins, those fragile, quixotic giants and blimps, their dowdy stepsisters, exerted an influence on naval tactics far beyond their real capacities. These rules also enable you to simulate American dirigible operations in the 1920s - 30’s and blimps in WWII. Finally, Part 9 covers changes and deletions to the rules provided in Part 2 and Part 3 of the General Quarters Third Edition for those who want to simulate tactical WWI aerial and submarine combat. Aeroplane Capacity tables for WWI aircraft and WWI submarine Ship Logs are also provided to use with the Third Edition rules.

Almost every innovation used in WWII, other than radar, was first employed or tried in WWI including electronic warfare, concrete U boat bunkers, magnetic mines, torpedo bombers, voice radio and guided aerial bombs. But, in many cases, these technologies were still too immature to be effective. Throughout Fleet Action Imminent I have held fast to two key themes. First, World War One was not just WWII without airplanes. Ships superficially resemble their WWII counterparts, but warship technology was undergoing a startling revolution. Within the first two decades of the Twentieth Century, propulsion changed from coal-fired reciprocating engines to oil-fired turbines. Firepower ranged from multiple battery pre-dreadnoughts and armored cruisers to the all big-gun dreadnought and the advent of centralized director fire control, extending the effective gunnery range from less than 10,000 yards to engagements exceeding 20,000 yards. Even the layout of main battery guns changed radically in that short span of years and new types like the “light” cruiser were developed. Battleships changed dramatically from the first generation dreadnoughts, launched in 1905–10, to the super dreadnoughts of 1912–14 and then to the far more capable third generation designs like SMS Baden and HMS Queen Elizabeth completed in 1915-16. As a result, WWI ships are quite different from their fully evolved counterparts employed in WWII. Admirals had to make use of eclectic fleets of co-existing assets with wide-ranging capacities and design maturity. Now, you too can have the fun of trying out these weird, wacky and wonderful ships and the challenge of making the best of their different capabilities.

Second, this was the age of mass, with battles typically employing far more ships than in WWII. Special changes have been implemented to streamline play when simulating fleet actions, highlighted through “Fleet Action” dialog boxes in the rules. Special division and half flotilla Ship Logs are provided for the shoals of Grand Fleet and High Seas Fleet DD’s and TBD’s to enable you to keep track of them in a few log pages. Divisional level gunnery for DD’s and TBD’s and a new, alternate fleet action torpedo system keeps things moving in larger battles. Individual DD Ship Logs are also provided on Royal Navy and German Light Forces pages along with those for other navies to simulate smaller actions. The Ship Logs are printed in color to aid with complex armament arrangements on some ships and have funnel layouts listed to assist you with recognition of the less familiar ships of this period.

Fleet Action Imminent also provides you access to extensive on-line resources. At http//www.odgw.com, you will find evolving data on individual ship AA outfits and aircraft, a WWI overview naval briefing to familiarize you with the period, ideas on painting and fitting out miniatures, and access to design files if you want to amend the rules to meet your own vision. You will also find an active forum to share your ideas with other naval enthusiasts and wargamers.

During the past few years, a deluge of new data on the battles and ships of WWI has become available along with shoals of exquisitely detailed miniatures in a variety of scales to enhance simulating this classic era in naval warfare. So, stow your sea bags and prepare for general quarters. Fleet action is imminent!

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General Quarters III Ship Logs



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