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#11158 General Quarters 3.3 AAR September 2013

Posted by Adam H. Jones III on 05 November 2013 - 03:07 PM

This is an after action report of a General Quarters 3.3 game played at Recruits convention 2013 in Lee’s Summit, MO on September 14, 2013. The scenario was generated by using the scenario generation system included in the GQ 3.3 rules. The scenario involves a Japanese destroyer transport task force of four converted WW I destroyer transports( PB 2, PB 31, PB 35, PB 36) carrying supplies to a base located in the Solomon Island chain in late August of 1943. Leading the destroyer transports is the light cruiser IJN Abukuma. Escorting the destroyer transports is the heavy cruiser IJN Myoko and a division of four Kagero class destroyers ( IJN Hatsukaze, IJN Yukikaze, IJN Shiranui, IJN Urakaze)with the light cruiser IJN Nagara leading the destroyer division. The night seas are calm with no clouds and a full moon. As the Japanese move through the channels of the Solomon’s toward their objective, they stumble across a US cruiser task force of two heavy cruisers(USS New Orleans, USS Chester), one light cruiser(USS San Diego) and four Sims class destroyers(USS Russell, USS Morris, USS Anderson, USS Hughes). The US task force is sailing to perform a bombardment mission on an island scheduled to be invaded next month. Both forces are surprised to see an enemy task force interfering with their missions:

The US cruiser task force, having organized in line ahead formation, was cruising at twenty one knots; weaving through the island studded channel toward their objective a few hours away. Tasked to arrive in the early morning, the cruisers were scheduled to bombard a Japanese held island to inflict maximum damage on the garrison as preparation for an invasion next month continued. The destroyers USS Russell and Morris led the column followed by USS New Orleans and Chester and USS San Diego. US destroyers USS Anderson and USS Hughes brought up the rear of the column. The admiral of this force was stationed on USS New Orleans. He patiently sat in the command chair on the bridge as the ships quietly glided through the unusually calm waters and clear night sky. The silence of the bridge is broken as the TBS (Talk between Ships) radio crackled to life. An ensign wrote quickly as the TBS spilled forth its report, unintelligible gibberish to the admiral located away from the radio room. The ensign approached the admiral, paper in hand, and reported to the admiral that the lead destroyer, USS Russell, had a radar contact bearing 300 degrees, range 20,000 yards. The contact appeared to be three distinct groups of ships. The admiral nodded as he listened to the report and replied to the ensign to tell USS Russell to continue to track the contact and send updates every five minutes. The admiral turns to the captain of USS New Orleans. He tells the captain to send to all ships….increase to max speed and send the task force to General Quarters!!!
About the time that General Quarters was sounded throughout the US task force, the Japanese admiral on board the heavy cruiser IJN Myoko was still oblivious that a US task force was nearby. The resupply force commanded by the Japanese admiral consisted of two distinct divisions: one was the destroyer transport division of four converted WWII destroyers that had guns and boilers removed to make room for a cargo hold and a landing barge to unload and load supplies to garrisons without harbor facilities. The once speedy destroyers are now slow, eighteen knot cargo vessels that are well suited for work within the confined waters of the Solomon Islands. The destroyer transports had the light cruiser IJN Abukuma escorting them to their scheduled location. The IJN Myoko was not alone. Myoko had a division of four destroyers led by the light cruiser Nagara. The IJN Myoko and the attendant destroyer division were tasked to protect the destroyer transports so they could deliver their precious cargo to the island garrison.
So far, the mission had gone without any interference by the enemy. The Japanese admiral was confident that his experienced sailors would spot trouble in plenty of time. The Japanese heavy cruiser was sailing toward a tight channel between two small unnamed islands to provide a screen as the destroyer transport division transited the gap between the islands. IJN Myoko was intending to hug the shore of one of the islands and swing around the island and hide in the shadow of the island to degrade the ever improving radar on the US vessels. The IJN Nagara and her destroyers were following IJN Myoko to assist in the screening. Just as IJN Myoko approached close to the island to begin her close swing around, lookouts shouted that unidentified ships have been spotted some 20,000 yards off of the starboard bow of the cruiser. At the same time, bright gun flashes broke the darkness from in front of the Japanese heavy cruiser and huge splashes appeared around IJN Myoko. The combination of the gun flashes and lookouts confirmed to the Japanese admiral that a US force was in front of him and had gotten in the first blow.
The US admiral had a clear picture of what he was facing thanks to the magic of radar. A large vessel led a column of ships that approached the channel. If ignored, the enemy column would push in front of his task force. The large vessel was followed by another large vessel and at least four smaller vessels. This was most likely two cruisers leading four destroyers. There was another group of ships with one cruiser target leading four slow moving smaller targets. This force was moving behind the small island. The US task force readied their guns and waited for the fire control director to let them know that they have a visual on the large cruiser target approaching them. The two rear destroyers sped up to maximum speed, swung out from behind USS San Diego and were pushing forward toward the expected battle. Just as the admiral had sorted out all of the data in his head, he heard the fire control director bark that a Japanese cruiser was spotted leading a column of ships visually some 20,000 yards away and requested to open fire…the admiral’s positive response was immediately lost with the boom of the eight inch cruiser guns.
The Japanese admiral did not hesitate due to the intense fire coming from the US cruisers. Calmly, he ordered the cruiser to return fire. IJN Myoko fired back with her forward turrets at her shooters with unknown effect. The US fire as well was not hitting anything. The Japanese admiral knew that the string of good luck would not last. The Japanese admiral’s concentration was interrupted by a report that the light cruiser following him had swung out of the line and taking the four destroyers with him. It appeared that the cruiser captain was attempting to close to torpedo range with his charges. The Japanese admiral watched as the column soon faded into the dark heading toward the rear of the US cruiser force. The USS New Orleans and USS Chester ignored the new move and continued to concentrate on the heavy cruiser. The Japanese admiral’s prediction of their luck came true as the US cruisers began to find their target. IJN Myoko took two eight inch hits that smashed into the hull but doing no significant damage. IJN Myoko’s guns were hitting the area around the US cruisers as well but nothing visual was telling the admiral how effective his return fire was. Both sides traded shots that did not seem to do any more significant damage. The US destroyers USS Russell and USS Morris began to fire at the cruiser as well. The US destroyer’s rapid firing 5’ guns peppered the IJN Myoko with multiple hits and did take out two of the IJN Myoko’s secondary five inch AA guns, but most of the hits were ineffective as they could not penetrate the thick cruiser armor.
There is a decisive moment in the flow of a battle that moves the direction toward victory to one side or another. This battle between the Japanese and the US was no different. Here is the tactical situation at the decisive moment for this battle. The heavy cruiser IJN Myoko is steaming at close to top speed toward a small island with the intention of hugging the shore of the island and swing around to use the island’s shadow to decrease US radar effectiveness. IJN Myoko’s move was detected by the US cruiser task force and now the Japanese heavy cruiser is the sole target of every US ship that is firing. The light cruiser IJN Nagara and the destroyer force that was following IJN Myoko has broken away from the heavy cruiser and is streaking toward the rear of the US cruiser line with the intention of launching their deadly cargo of “Long Lance” torpedoes. The USS San Diego and two destroyers located at the rear of the US line have just spotted the Japanese destroyer line and have begun to engage them. USS New Orleans and USS Chester are continuing to fire at the IJN Myoko as the Japanese cruiser steers toward the small island. US destroyers USS Russell and Morris have added their rapid firing five inch guns to the broadsides by the two US cruisers. The Japanese destroyer transports led by the light cruiser IJN Abukuma have been effectively screened by the Japanese warships and have slipped behind the same small island that IJN Myoko is steering toward. So far the destroyer transports have avoided being engaged. Both sides have avoided major damage from each other gunfire although IJN Myoko has taken two eight inch shell hits into her hull and non-penetrating five inch hits have destroyed two of IJN Myoko’s five inch secondary batteries. IJN Myoko continues to fire her forward eight inch turrets at the US cruisers with no telling hits observed. The US cruisers USS New Orleans and USS Chester along with the destroyers USS Russell and USS Morris return fire.
All of the US ships open fire simultaneously sending a blizzard of eight inch and five inch shells streaking toward the IJN Myoko. The eight inch salvos straddle IJN Myoko with two shells striking her. One twenty four inch torpedo mount disintegrates and bursts into flames. The other shell penetrates into IJN Myoko’s hull and adds to the damage already inflicted by previous hits. The swarm of five inch shells adds their effects to the eight inch shell hits. Four of the swarm hit the thickly armored sections of the ship, adding their explosive effects to the sight of the IJN Myoko being swamped by gunfire but doing no damage. The fifth five inch shell, for reason only known to scientist and God, took a slightly higher trajectory toward the Japanese heavy cruiser. While the other shells hit low on the ship, this shell bore in and struck the unarmored bridge of IJN Myoko.
The Japanese admiral was just beginning to send the order to slightly change course to avoid the island when the US five inch shell slammed into the bridge and exploded. The admiral never got to finish the order as the explosion killed all on the bridge instantly. The IJN Myoko continued on her present course and speed…which meant that six minutes later, IJN Myoko slammed aground on the small island.
The US cruisers did not show IJN Myoko any sympathy for her plight as USS New Orleans and USS Chester continued to shoot at the now grounded Japanese heavy cruiser. The US destroyers decided that maybe this is a good time to launch torpedoes at the hapless IJN Myoko. Torpedoes shot out from USS Russell and USS Morris and they appeared to run hot, straight, and normal. The angle of attack however had the torpedoes transit over the shallow reef before hitting the now grounded Japanese heavy cruiser. The torpedoes slammed into the reef and exploded harmlessly.
The balance of the Japanese force watched in horror as IJN Myoko slammed into the island. The will to fight drained from the two division commanders and all decided that this supply run needed to be aborted. The destroyer transport division used the small island as an effective screen and swung to return to their starting point. The IJN Nagara and her charges had just set up to launch torpedoes when the IJN Myoko grounded. The IJN Nagara’s captain aborted the launch and ordered a general retreat.
The US admiral was elated when he saw the result of their last broadsides. Staring at the burning Japanese heavy cruiser cocked at angle as it lay stranded on the reef sent a wave of satisfaction through him. The US admiral did not savor his victory too long as he still had a job to do. The US admiral sent an order for all ships to cease fire and to reform the battle line. The admiral also sent a message back to naval headquarters notifying them of the battle and sent a position report of a Japanese heavy cruiser grounded. The US admiral knew that in the morning, the planes from Henderson field would seek out the cripple and destroy her. The US admiral sat back into his chair and resumed his mission to sail to the island that he was scheduled to bombard in the morning.
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#16782 Mein Panzer Cold War - The Jossa Scenarios

Posted by Begemot_ on 20 October 2023 - 04:19 PM

Scenario 1 - Hide and Seek (Continued)


The Tale of the East Patrol
The east patrol enters and like the west patrol skirts the tree lines as they advance:
Working razvedchiki, vehicle and dismount team:
The east patrol clears a dummy counter and then comes up to the end of the tree stand. By this time they have heard the fire of the US tank and the reports of contact and the loss of one of their comrades. Caution is very much the order of the moment.
A dismount team is sent across the open space to check out the small copse. Undetected by the US the team finds the copse to be empty of US forces:
It is fairly certain to the Soviets that the hidden marker on the tree line is an actual American unit, but attempts to spot it have been failures. Getting closer would help. The second dismount team is sent across the open terrain, angling to the left. The American spot this move and fire on the Soviet team, pinning it:
The Soviets put fire into the woods and both Soviet dismount teams begin to maneuver, working to the American's flanks:
The American ground team falls back to the waiting M113, boards and the APC withdraws to the south and off the table. The contact is reported by both sides. The American now know that their positions are being heavily probed, a harbinger of a likely Soviet move through the Jossa area.
The Soviet patrol presses on, searching for the American main line of resistance:
The game ends.
The US mission was to screen the approaches leading to the south from the village of Jossa, identifying the presence and composition of enemy forces moving through their position and to engage enemy forces to attrit and delay their advance. With the exception of delay, the Americans accomplished their mission.
The Soviet mission was to recon south though the Jossa area, identifying enemy forces present while remaining undetected and to penetrate enemy positions as far as possible. The Soviets detected US forces in the Jossa area, but their own presence was revealed to the US. They did not spot the US M113 on the west ridge and did lose a BRDM They did continue moving south.
Assessed: Draw
In my experience screening and reconnaissance actions are not common game topics, so I was interested in trying one out. This type of game would be best with fully hidden movement mediated by an umpire so that the full tension and suspense of probing the unknown until contact is made could be realized. The next best solution is using markers to represent units until they are spotted using the game's spotting mechanics. Dummy markers also increase the uncertainty. A problem with using markers is the very process of resolving spotting attempts can reveal to players what is and isn't likely to be a real or a dummy unit.
The Mein Panzer rules have a good spotting mechanism. The only change to the rules I made was to allow non-moving reconnaissance troops to make 2 spotting attempts in an activation rather 1 to reflect their better training and experience in spotting.
As OGDW has only published an abbreviated 'teaser' listing of Cold War vehicles and equipment for the US and Soviets there were some gaps that needed filling in. For example, the 'teaser' charts do not have the BRDM 2. So data from other rule sets for the period were cobbled to fit the Mein Panzer data format.
I'm no expert on reconnaissance and cavalry unit tactics, so those who know about these things will probably find fault with how the forces were used in this game. Constructive criticism is invited.
While big tank actions may have more appeal I think this aspect of modern combat, the screening battle, has a lot of potential.

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#16368 FAI redux

Posted by W. Clark on 26 April 2023 - 07:01 PM

When it was working (and that was a huge if) and your target was at least 800 yards away and no one was jamming the radio signal; it worked like a charm. Just as easy to hit with as a TOW in my experience. And mechanically, the Sheridan was better than a M113 IMHO. But that all changed with the first conventional round you fired. Firstly, the shock almost aways unseated some of circuit cards in a box behind the TC's seat knocking out the ability to fire the missile. I always immediately after firing a main gun round unlatched the box cover and patted the 10 to 20 (I'm old and don't remember exactly how many) circuit cards back into place and at least one if not many more would need it. After we had fired a couple of main gun rounds, I would be out on the rear deck with engineer compartment hatches open and a 9mm box wrench tightening the bolts that held the engine and transmission together. And that does not take into consideration all the other things that could come lose from the kind of shaking the recoil subjected the entire tank too. The testimony to the vehicle's mechanical reliability IMHO was that it was the primary vehicle that OFOR used for its mockups of Soviet vehicles in the National Training Center at Fort Irwin in the Mohave Desert. It was fast and it ran better than any other vehicle I ever crewed including jeeps. I loved it in peace and was deathly afraid to take it to war. 


I remember at Ft. Riley (I was in 1/4 Cav) the Army (OK, DOD) had bought up a bunch of farmlands including their buildings. 1st Engineers was out there blowing stuff up for fun and officially for practice. I thought if they can do it why not me? Of course, I didn't have anything on hand that went boom. but I did have my Shank (the shortened nickname for the Sheridan that we called a "son of a Tank"). So, I drove it through a silo and of course the silo collapsed on my shank. But my shank didn't care, and I drove out the other side. So, I'm sitting on a pile of brick that covers the front slope of my shank using the tube for an arm rest when the Lt. walked by. He asked me where my shank (actually A-28) was, and I replied that I was sitting on it. His response was "great camouflage job" and that was the end of the matter.  I really liked that Lt. We affectionally called him "Peaches" because that was the only part of C-rations that he would eat.



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#16131 April 1940 Action off Utsire Island

Posted by W. Clark on 23 February 2023 - 08:43 AM

Force du Raid

France’s what if contribution to the Norway Campaign


The First and Second Battles of Narvik had come and gone. Britain could claim that she had gutted Germany’s pre-war destroyer force (although at great cost), but she had not fulfilled her objective of closing the port of Narvik to iron ore shipments bound for Germany. German Gebirgs infantry held the town and the port. Of course, that is not the whole story. The Germans were short of ammunition and had not landed the bulk of their heavy weapons before the ships carrying them had been sunk. They therefore determined to remedy that situation with a new convoy bringing ammo, support weapons and an entire regiment of Gebirgs infantry. The Allies had divined their intent and it was France’s turn to stop their new effort.


The French engaged in no half measures. They committed all of Vice Admiral Gensoul’s Force du Raid except for the Second Ligne Division (the Bretagne class being considered too slow for the mission). The Germans responded with just about their entire surviving fleet. This set the scene for the largest surface action the North Sea had seen since Jutland.


VAdm Gensoul was on the bridge of his flagship, Strasbourg, trailed by Dunkerque.  The six La Galissoniere class cruisers of Cruiser Divisions 3 and 4 under RAdms Marquis and Bourrague followed astern. The Second Legere Squadron and the Second Destroyer Squadron under RAdms Lacroix and Dorval made up the light forces. The French Navy had a great many ships under repair or refit and four Contre-Torpilleur and three destroyer divisions making up the two groups were almost all short a ship or even two. Nevertheless, the nine Contre-Torpilleurs and six destroyers present were bound to exceed what Germany could muster. The seaplane tender, Commandant Teste held the French to 20 knots, but also provided aerial reconnaissance as long the North Sea’s legendary bad weather allowed. Gensoul’s mission was to keep the Kriegsmarine from getting anything resembling aid or comfort to the Germans at Narvik.


Vice Admiral Lutjens commanded the Narvik relief force from the bridge of his flagship Scharnhorst and her sister Gneisenau followed astern. A cruiser force (Admiral Hipper, Koln, Konigsberg & Karlsruhe) under RAdm Schmundt trailed the battle cruisers. The eight remaining destroyers (in 2-four ship divisions) provided the screen. The transport Duisberg and the cargo ships Saar and Adolf Luderitz carried the troops, ammo, food and heavy weapons intended for the garrison of Narvik. As Lutjens made clear to his subordinates; the Fuhrer had ordered him to deliver the convoy and its cargo to Narvik and Lutjens had never failed to carry out an order in his entire life.


The Germans were steaming due north just off Utsire Island at 12 knots (the best speed of the Duisberg). The French were closing from the west on a northeast converging course. Float planes from both sides had reported each other’s course and approximate speed.


The Weather God had rolled the customary D12 and D6 with a 5 and a 4 as a result. Thus, we had a Force 4 wind from the north (another DR) with 2 layers of clouds. Spotter a/c were going to have to get a bit closer than they would like to spot shots. The visibility was 18,000 yards at noon when the fleets sighted one another. Smoke could only be expected to last few minutes in the prevailing wind.  Two squalls were visible on the northern horizon about 36,000 yards apart. There was no sea haze. Both sides launched their remaining FP and got ready to shoot each other up.


Or at least the Germans did. Gensoul had other ideas. He had turned the 1st Ligne Division together as soon as he saw the Germans and now heading due north in a quarter line. He had Strasbourg make smoke and that covered Dunkerque. Gensoul also ordered his cruiser divisions to take station on his port (unenaged) side where they too were covered by Strasbourg’s smoke as well as being beyond max visibility. Gensoul ordered an increase in speed for the Strasbourgs and the cruisers to 29 knots. He ordered the contre-torpilleurs to flank speed and to stay beyond 18,000 yards for now. The destroyers would escort the AV until Gensoul had a clearer idea of what the German reaction would be.


 At 1206 hours Strasbourg opened on Scharnhorst while Scharnhorst and Gneisenau fired back. Strasbourg hit Scharnhorst once. Scharnhorst missed, but the unengaged Gneisenau also hit Strasbourg once. Strasbourg suffered the loss of a search light while Scharnhorst was hit on the fore turret and the shot bounced off.


At 1212 hours Lutjens realized from the various spotter a/c that several French destroyers (the contre-torpilleurs) were forging ahead just out of his sight at something like 30 plus knots to his 12. He ordered Schmundt to flank speed with his cruisers to keep them from heading his line. Meanwhile the duel between Strasbourg and the Scharnhorsts continued. Strasbourg hitting Scharnhorst again and Scharnhorst returning the favor. Strasbourg bounced another round off the Scharnhorst’s fore turret (Oh the ringing in their ears) While Scharnhorst devastated Strasbourg’s search lights.


By 1218 hours the French FP had reported the increase in the German cruisers speed and Gensoul ordered his cruisers forward at flank speed to assist the Contre-Torpilleurs. For the next 12 minutes Strasbourg and the Scharnhorsts exchanged fire without effect except for some slight damage to Strasbourg that did not affect her speed.


The Contre-Torpilleurs were restrained to 31 knots by Lynx and Tigre. These Chacal class ships were a bit long in the tooth and had lost some of the speed they had been built with. But at 32 knots it was going to take the Kriegsmarine cruisers some time to catch up given the head start by the Contre-Torpilleurs. The French cruisers at 31 knots were not going to catch up either unless the Contre-Torpilleurs slowed down. Something RAdm Lacroix had no intention of doing.


At 1230 hours Strasbourg was finally finding the range and hit Scharnhorst twice, knocking out 2 of her starboard secondaries. German return fire was ineffective. Gensoul had reduced speed to match the Germans rather than pull ahead of them too much. Gensoul radioed the Contre-Torpilleurs and his cruisers and ordered them to close with the German cruisers once they had left the German BCs far enough behind to prevent their interference. He realized this would take some time and he resolved to keep the German BCs busy with Strasbourg while his light forces got into position.


Gensoul had not forgotten his destroyers, but he did not see them having the numbers, speed and fire power needed to take the German destroyers on by themselves. He wanted to keep them intact until his CTs and cruisers had had a chance to take the German cruisers out.


By 1330 hours Strasbourg had hit Scharnhorst once more while Scharnhorst and Gneisenau had hit Strasbourg 9 times in return. Strasbourg’s hit had caused some damage. But at 12 knots who could tell what it had done. Strasbourg’s searchlight platform continued to be hit and she lost her forward starboard side secondary and her starboard quad secondary; as well as two hits that bounced off her fore turret. Her bridge suffered 2 hits that failed to penetrate, but her gun director was not so lucky and that probably explains her abysmal shooting.


At 1336 hours RAdm Lacroix figured that he was far enough ahead of the BCs and turned 45 degrees to starboard with the Chacals leading and making smoke. RAdms Marquis and Bourraque followed suit, including the smoke.


At first only the fore turrets of Admiral Hipper could be brought to bear and shooting at 18,000 yards at a DD (a large DD, but still a DD) resulted in no joy for the first salvo. Schmundt changed course 45 degrees to starboard also. The French turned 45 more degrees to starboard in response and were now heading 90 degrees.


Schmundt continued on a course of 45 degrees to preserve his gunnery and opened up on Lynx with everything that could bear. The range was coming down and Lynx was engaging both Admiral Hipper and Koln to keep them under fire. Admiral Hipper and Koln between them hit Lynx thrice at 15,000 yards. Karlsruhe and Konigsberg were farther away and not hitting yet. Lynx suffered damage to her hull, including a bulkhead and her fire control. Lynx slowed to 25 knots and the Mogadores and La Fantasque class DDs surged around her rapidly accelerating to 38 knots. Lynx repaired her damaged bulkhead.


The range was down to 12,000 yards and Schmundt’s ships had changed to firing at Mogadore. German gunnery at this point went straight to bad and all 4 cruisers missed (that was a lot of 4-9 results with 16 D12 with a few 11 & 12 by the ships still beyond 12,000 yards). Mogadore fired at Koln and hit her twice knocking out her fore and second 5.9” turrets. Lynx was now firing at Admiral Hipper and Konigsberg to keep them busy. Schmundt upon learning of Koln’s problems was heard to say; “That really is a super destroyer”.


The range was now down to 9,000 yards or less when the French cruisers who had been making smoke also stopped and steamed out into clear. Schmundt hurriedly ordered a change of targets for his cruisers to the new threat.


Marseillaise and her division (Jean de Vienne & La Galissoniere) all targeted Hipper while the 4th CruSqdn engaged opposite numbers against the German light cruisers. At the same time the CTs turned another 30 degrees to starboard and were threatening to cross Schmundt’s Tee while closing the range quickly.


Marseillaise hit Hipper twice while her sister ships missed. Hipper lost all her post side TT. Georges Leygues hit Koln once damaging her hull. Gloire hit Konigsberg once, knocking out her port secondary. Montcalm hit Karlsruhe once damaging her hull. Mogadore hit Koln thrice, knocking out her catapult and her aft turret. Lynx hit Koinigsberg once, further damaging her hull.


Hipper hit Marseillaise 5 times, Knocking out her catapult, her fore turret and hull. Marseillaise also took 2 hits in her engines and went DIW. Koln missed Jean de Vienne. Konigsberg hit La Galissoniere thrice, knocking out her fore turret, damaging her hull and a bulkhead. Karlsruhe missed George Leygues.


Marseillaise failed to repair her engines and her petrol stores now caught fie causing further damage. La Galissoniere failed to repair her bulkhead and took further damage. Koln also failed to repair and her petrol stores for her FP caught fire causing further damage. But Koln was still in the fight (she rolled a 1 for morale).


Schmundt belated realized he was too close to the Contre-Torpilleurs and tried to reverse course together. The French cruisers and Contre-Toprilleurs had now stopped making smoke and they all opened up on the Germans. Mogadore and Volta got end on fire against Hipper inside 6,000 yards. Between them they hit Hipper 4 times, knocking out her aft turrets, a hit to a magazine damaged a third turret and she took a hit in her engines slowing her to 21 knots. The 5 Fantasques all fired at Hipper and hit her 5 times, knocking out her aft starboard side TT, her remaining turret, damaging a bulkhead and her engines again making her DIW.

Lynx and Tigre hit Koln once to no effect. Jean de Vienne and La Galissoniere hit Hipper 8 times, damaging both her catapults, knocking out a starboard secondary, stirring the rubble of a turret, damaging her hull twice and hitting her twice more in her engines. Gerorges Leygues hit Koln once, taking out another secondary. Glorie hit Konigsberg once, knocking out her fore turret. Montcalm hit Karlsruhe once, knocking out anther turret.


Hipper shifted targets to Jean de Vienne and missed all together. Koln’s secondaries were ineffective. But Konigsberg rapidly firing hit La Galissoniere 5 more times, Damaging her second catapult twice, her starboard fore secondary, her hull and another bulkhead. Karlsruhe firing rapidly hit Georges Leygues once in the bridge. Schmundt kept his head (he rolled a 6 for morale) and by now was desperately trying to disengage.


Marseillaise fixed one engine and got under way, but her fires caused more damage. La Galissoniere failed to repair a bulkhead as well as her fires and took quite a bit more damage to her hull. Koln put out her fire. Hipper failed to repair and took quite a bit more damage.


The German cruisers that were not DIW all made smoke and tried to retire at their best individual speed. But none of them could exceed 32 knots when in good shape and the Contre-Torpilleurs were rapidly over taking them at 38 knots. The good news for the Germans was that the French 4th CruSqdn was compelled to steam straight because of the bridge hit to the Georges Leygues. But Jean de Vienne turned to pursue the Germans as did Tigre.


Over the next 18 minutes the Mogadores and 5 La Fantasques overtook and sank all the German light cruisers (The Germans were rapid firing and could not roll a 1,2,3,10,11 or 12 to save their lives) . The Contre-Torpilleurs seemed to have a knack for knocking out 5.9” turrets. The Germans eventually started failing morale, but they were over 10 knots slower by then and that did not save them. Lynx took her revenge on Hipper by steaming up to her and putting a torpedo in her at point blank range which with her bulkhead and other hull damage was more than enough to sink her.


By this point the German BCs were starting to poke over the horizon and the Contre-Torpilleurs turned away under smoke. La Galissoniere failed to repair the second bulkhead and she sank. Marseillaise eventually made her repairs but was too damaged to reengage and limped back to Brest. The French cruisers were now reduced to 4 and some of them had some damage.

 Lutjens by this point realized that his cruisers were gone and that there was a substantial French force of cruisers and destroyers between him and Narvik. He was also concerned about the French destroyers trailing this whole mess.


But what of his duel with Strasbourg? Strasbourg had hit Scharnhorst 4 more times during last hour. And Scharnhorst and Gneisenau had collectively hit Strasbourg 17 times in return. Scharnhorst had lost 2 more secondaries and some hull damage. Strasbourg had also suffered some hull damage, but the bulk of the hits were on her turrets, and they failed to penetrate. So, stalemate so far. Gensoul was thinking about making torpedo attacks from the front and the rear as close together as he could make it happen. The trouble was that he was running out of daylight.


Lutjens was also praying for dark. Lutjens was in a quandary. He was not sure how strong the French force in front of him was, but he figured it was stronger than his 8 destroyers. He had counted on his cruisers to clear the way and that was not going to happen now. He was well aware that there were 6 more French destroyers behind him and he was at a loss on how to deal with both threats at the same time. And he was still faced off with the Strasbourg and her consort.


Lutjens belatedly rolled morale for the loss of his cruiser division and rolled a 12 solving his dilemma; he would retire breaking his here to perfect record of always obeying his orders.



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#16019 FAI redux

Posted by healey36 on 24 December 2022 - 01:01 PM


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#16003 Question for Peter (since he's the only one here) :)

Posted by Phil Callcott on 06 December 2022 - 12:01 PM

One reason the M10 had worse gun stats, is that the Sherman had a power traverse turret, the M10 was hand cranked, very tiring for the crew...


Regards, Phil


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#15881 MP tutorial

Posted by Peter M. Skaar on 26 September 2022 - 10:50 AM

Here we go... again.  Mein Panzer Tutorial.  We are now on Turn 6.  The action has been pretty intense so far.  The Russians have been taking a toll of the Germans but have suffered some significant casualties, especially in the 1st Company on the Russian left.

Both sides pass their morale checks this time.  Both sides will continue to fight.  For those interested, I published my own morale rules for Mein Panzer here a couple of posts ago.

The action on the Russian left was relatively quiet on Turn 6 as both sides, despite passing their morale checks, are pretty well spent.  The Russian 1st Company is now down to 2 fully functional tanks while the German 1st Platoon opposite them is down to the XO tank.  Some shots are traded but neither side has much gas left in the tank.

1st Company down to 3 tanks with 1 of those immobilized.  It can still shoot but not move.


Another view from the Russian left showing the 7 knocked out tanks from 1st Company.


A view showing what is left of the German 1st Platoon.  2 tanks are knocked out, 1 is brewed up, 1 is immobilized but otherwise functional, and only the XO's tank is fully operational.

On the Russian right, the action is a lot more intense as 2nd Company, despite a few losses, still has a lot of strength left. 

The Russian 2nd Company makes its big push on the right.  The action here is very intense and both sides take more casualties.

Another view from the Russian right.  The 2 immobilized tanks are now out of Command as the rest of 2nd Company moves forward.

The command distance for the Russians in this game is 2 inches between tanks of the same platoon and 12 inches to the Company CO.  In the case of these immobilized tanks, it is not a big deal as they can still perform their standard action during the turn.  Out of Command means they cannot use their bonus move but only perform the standard action.  Since they are immobilized and cannot move anyway this has no further adverse effect.


The German 2nd and 3rd Platoons have suffered very heavy casualties in the short range gun fight.

Here is a picture of the whole situation at the end of Turn 6.  The Germans have suffered very heavy casualties as well as the Russians.  Both sides are near their break point.

A view from the German right.

Another view.

Next, we will wrap up the game with Turn 7,8, and 9.

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#15756 HISTORICON 2022 The Wobbly Eight, using Fleet Action Imminent

Posted by William Cira on 29 July 2022 - 12:14 PM

It is a gloomy morning in January 1915 and once again a German force consisting of the battlecruisers Seydlitz, Moltke, Derfflinger, and Blucher have succeeded in bombarding a port city on the British East coast.  With several groups of British ships looking to intercept their escape run back across the North Sea, heavy weather has resulted in reduced visibility of only 12,000 yards. It looks like the Germans are going to escape but then their luck runs out when they are suddenly confronted by a formation of British ships emerging from the gloom, and already at close renege!   They have managed to bump into a squadron of eight obsolete British pre-dreadnought battleships of the King Edward VII class. These ships are affectionately known in the Royal Navy as the "Wobbly Eight."  


The Wobbly Eight don't have much of a chance but their 12 inch guns are enough to inflict serious damage on the German battlecruisers. The Germans are in a battle column while the British are in a long line abreast to facilitate their search for the Germans.  The German ships turn North in an effort to maneuver around the British ships.  This almost succeeds, but it does take them a bit closer to a strong force of British battlecruisers who are nearby and closing rapidly from the North.   Both sides open fire at around 10,000 yards.  The Germans guns score hits on the Wobbly Eight, who also manage to get a couple of good hits on the Germans.  


The German turn to the North takes them very close to the British Division consisting of King Edward VII, Hibernia Hindustan, and Zealandia.  Three of these British ships eventually succumbed to the German fire, but the British ships, who had been concentrating their fire on the Blucher, managed to cause enough damage to slow her to only 11 knots.  


The German attempt to get around the Wobbly Eight by side stepping to the North is blocked by the squadron of four British armored cruisers consisting of the Hampshire, Argyll, Devonshire, and Roxburgh.  This event, plus the sudden arrival of the British battlecruiser force from the Northwest, forces the Germans to turn Southeast, putting them in close range of the second squadron of British pre-dreadnoughts consisting of the Africa, Britannia, Commonwealth, and Dominion.   In this exchange, the Dominion was lost but Seydlitz took enough damage to slow her to only 18 knots.   


The game was wrapped up at this point.  The Germans would of course claim victory when they returned to port, pointing out that they had sunk four British "battleships" even though the loss of those ships would have no real impact on the further conduct of the war.  On the other hand the German battlecruisers Seydlitz and Blucher, had been roughly handled and they slowed to the point where it was unlikely that they would make it home.  This would of course discourage any further German attempts to send the battlecruiser squadron to bombard the English coast.  So, in the end, the Wobbly Eight succeeded in accomplishing what they needed to do.  



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#15701 MP tutorial

Posted by Peter M. Skaar on 14 July 2022 - 06:15 PM

Finally!  I am getting ready to run a solo game of Mein Panzer.  This will be an ongoing tutorial of sorts whereby I point out the rules as I use them and provide plenty of pictures showing the game in progress. I have set-up the terrain and have selected the forces I will use for this game.

This scenario, which is not strictly historical, takes place on the Russian Front in August 1943 when the Soviets are going on the general offensive after Kursk.  A breakthrough has occurred and the Russians are racing to seize 2 bridges over a minor river.  The Germans have put together a company of tanks to stop them.  This will be a meeting engagement and feature use of the advanced rules for tanks and command but no infantry, artillery, or anti-tank guns will be used for this scenario.

Here are a few pictures of my layout using GHQ Terrain Maker.  The game is being played in 1/285th scale aka 6mm.










The pictures show the table covered with flannel to keep the terrain tiles from sliding around during play, a view from the German side, a view from the Russian side, and the two bridges.  The total layout is 4' x 2'8".

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#9320 Playing TSC: Detailed Savo Island Batrep first...

Posted by Aman on 02 December 2011 - 09:23 PM

This is my batrep from our Savo Island fight. Changes I would make to the scenario: no possible carrier strike by Wasp, TBS between USN ships at <20K yards (25% chance of success), free organization and deployment for Allies equalled by free choice of any of three attack vectors, and definite use of the optional IJN submarine attacks. I would also add in the DDs on submarine patrol at the anchorages.

Savo Island Refight and campaign kick-off Batrep

As part of the ODG "The Solomon's Campaign", we fought the battle of Savo Island once, decided that our grip on the rules was poor, and finally refought the entire battle to count for our campaign. For those who are unfamiliar with the original battle and the "battlesea", refer to this:

For this refight, since it was impossible to surprise the USN player (after all, we were gathered at the IJN house to play the battle out...) we decided on some flexibility in the "official" scenario. The USN player was permitted to organize his force however he chose, while the IJN player was permitted to attack along any of the three possible approach vectors (Northeast around Savo, Southeast around Savo, or East) to attack either of the two USN supply ship anchorages, the North one in Tulagi Harbor on Florida Island, or the South one at Lunga Pt. on Guadalcanal proper. Either is a good target with 7 or 15 supply ships respectively, as EACH sunk ship results in an advantage for the Japanese to try and win control of Henderson Airfield. The IJN was also given two submarine attacks that could approach on the same three vectors (a historical possibility that didn't happen, but could have).

As the USN player, Her Majesty's Australian Adm. Alexander "Rumrunner" Moore, I carefully considered the options, but it seemed a clear choice to have a strong screening force within Ironbottom Sound (East of Savo) of 6 DD and 2 CL, all six CA patrolling the center line between the two anchorages, and a small 2 DD screen on the East. The East approach is less likely since it would take precious night hours for the IJN to circle Florida Island for that attack. No matter which approach was used, I hoped that my powerful, concentrated force of CA would be able to make an impact on the IJN, even if they arrived late to the action and could only chase the IJN raiders at high speed and damage a couple. Of course my hope was that they would be fully engaged but not surprised, which would make this second Pearl Harbor Sneak Attack less likely to escape unblooded.

The IJN player, Adm. Kenaka Portnersan chose the historical approach. The screening force of USS San Juan* + 3 Bagley DDs, and HMAS Hobart + 3 Bagley DDs in two Divisions (all game terms are capitalized) in a continuous line formation rolled randomly for their placement on their patrol route (a d12 with each number corresponding to the clock) when the IJN came close enough to be Detected on rader. Interestingly, the result put them heading South not far from the passage, but with the Island squarely between them and the IJN! Therefore, the excellent radar on the San Juan was of no use until the IJN rounded the island. At this point the IJN were Detected on radar, and the USN squadron allowed to depart their patrol route to close the distance to the head of the Detected ships. The USN Cruiser force was 50,000y away, so there was no possibility of using TBS (Talk Between Ships) or radar Detection successfully. The IJN were still not Acquired targets, so they just appeared as "Blips" to the Allied ships.

The USN increased speed as well, so soon they closed and managed to Acquire one then a second of the three IJN Divisions. Admiral Portnersaki had three powerful CA in the first, two in the second, and the 2 CL + 1DD in the third. Realizing the powerful ships of the first Acquired Division were CA, the Allied force veered off and began to parallel the IJN from about 5000 to 6000y.

Much gunnery and some torpedoes were exchanged and the Allies took the worst of it with their lighter ships, but none were sunk. The San Juan was turned into a slow-moving battered hulk, forced to veer out of formation towards the IJN. As the Division Commander switched command to the DD USS Bagley, confusion during maneuvers resulted in the DD USS Patterson colliding with the San Juan, causing serious damage to both ships! The Hobart was significantly damaged by IJN gunfire also. The IJN held back on their torpedoes hoping to use them against any USN cruisers that might appear.

The IJN took very little damage overall but some lucky hits from the San Juan resulted in heavy damage to the Engineering section of the Furutaka and she stopped dead in the water, causing some evasive action by the following ships as they continued to speed along the Guadalcanal coastline at 30kn, passing Tassafaronga before veering North a bit and following the coastline.

At this point, the Allied squadron attempted to remain in the action as the IJN ducked into a convenient rain squall, causing them to lose contact. When they finally re-acquired the lead IJN Divisions, they were threatening the Lunga Point Anchorage! However, the narrowing of the maneuver space made the IJN movements easier to predict. A first torpedo attack by the battered and determined screening force fired 32 torpedoes at a medium range. Unfortunately, the USN spread was ineffective due to defective firing mechanisms and poor aim.

At this point the Allied CA force received contact messages from the screening force via TBS. Their random placement on their patrol route wasn't too far away, fortunately, and they increased speed and turned towards the Lunga Pt. anchorage.

Knowing that help was on the way, the Allied screening force turned hard to starboard to the opposite course of the IJN squadron. The lead Division of three remaining US DDs (their leader, the San Juan, was miles behind struggling to keep moving at 5kn) led by the doughty Bagley fired their remaining torpedoes. This time, they managed to aim true and also get the glancing blow needed to set off the faulty magneto firing mechanisms. Two hit the CL Yubari causing her to founder.

Unfortunately, the Kaigun were also masters of night torpedo work. A limited torpedo salvo caught and sank the USS Bagley and three struck the HMAS Hobart, which promptly broke apart and sank (taking ten hull hits with only four remaining can do that to you…). The five remaining US DDs vowed revenge and in the gunnery phase got it! They inflicted significant damage to the CA Kinugasa which lost speed and main gun turrets.

As the IJN closed and began processing firing solutions for the ships at anchor, precise gunnery from the Chokai cleared the nightwatch from the bridge, crushed a bulkhead and started a fires in the closest supply vessel. General Quarters sounded throughout the anchorage as stunned merchant marine and USN sailors rolled out of their bunks to take stations while the SeeBees frantically ceased their night unloading and attempted to secure their cargo.

Luck was still with the Nipponese as the HMAS Australia, anchored near the supply vessels, went to general quarters but the bleary bridge crew were unable to Acquire any IJN vessels (and remained unable...and at anchor...for the battle). The IJN closed with the supply vessels but felt obliged to split fire between the vulnerable supply ships and harassing screening force. While gunnery didn't achieve much at this point, the IJN suffered disastrous collisions in the third Division as the CL Tenryu and DD Yunagi struck the sinking shattered wreck of their leader, the CL Yubari. The USN wasn't without similar mishap as the DD Patterson collided with the shattered Bagley, taking serious damage to the hull.

At this point, the Allied Cruisers entered the battle. Desperate attempts to sort out the scene failed, and the five Cruisers lead by the USS Vincennes fired upon the nearby HMAS Australia when an IJN flare lit her up. Fortunately for Allied relations, the startled gunners fired ineffectively at the suddenly illuminated target. Soon, they realized their error as the Australia illuminated her signals and they settled down a bit to Acquire the lead IJN Squadron, now with two CA, the Chokai and the Kako.

At this point, the IJN fired their deadly torpedoes into the anchorage. The motionless ships were sitting ducks and two were struck and began to founder with flaming decks and shattered bulkheads – the war was over for the gallant pair. The IJN then turned hard to starboard to parallel the course of the fast-moving Allied CA squadron.

At this point we began to make some obvious calculations on the most likely end. While we could’ve played it out to the bitter finale, the separation of the Divisions, the limitations of the TBS and the failing of morale checks were putting some ships on the run. A lack of hull boxes and main guns was a problem for others…

It was clear that the lead IJN Division would lose it's two remaining ships while the third escaped (having repaired its engines after several turns dead in the water, and being left far behind near Tassafaronga). The second Division of two CA had one that was nearly sunk while the other was in good shape and unDetected / unAcquired by any USN Division. We decided that she'd quietly sneak away.

I insisted that the IJN resolve their final potential shooting and an overly conscientious Portnersan had to be coaxed into it. The Chokai in its last moments destroyed the turrets on the Vincennes and began two fires that they just couldn't put out - clearly they set off the aviation fuel for the seaplanes! After several turns of failed damage control (only needed <6 on d12! to put out each fire) the Vincennes was abandoned and sank.

Final tally Allies: the Allies lost CA Vincennes (5), CL Hobart (4), DDs Bagley and Ralph Talbot (4 total) sunk, and three supply ships sunk (no points), with the San Juan (4x.5=2) crippled and sent back to the States for repairs, a total of 15 VPs for the IJN. Three more USN DDs were Disabled, the Patterson, Jarvis and Helm, (no points). Admiral Moore regretted his generosity in allowing final shots from the doomed IJN CAs, but he’s British-trained and, “There _must_ be standard of conduct for naval warfare lest barbarity rule the seas!”

Final tally IJN: The IJN lost three CA (Chokai (7), Kako (5), and Kinugasa (5)), two CL (Tenryu and Yubari (6 total)) and one DD (Yunagi (1.5)), with the two remaining CA Disabled or Crippled. Total of at least 24.5 for the Allies

Final Victory Calculation: IJN = 15 + three transports sunk. Allies = 24.5 (?). Points result is “Allied Tactical Victory”, but the IJN sank <5 Allied transports so the book calls it an “Allied Major Victory”! It didn’t feel that way, but there it is. I guess it all depends on who writes the scenario.

Historically everything changed! The USN took less combat damage but lost precious supply vessels, while the IJN historically took no damage but abandoned the attempt at the anchorage. Clearly Adm. Kenaka Portnersan is a greater avatar of the samurai spirit than his historical counterparts!

Adm. Rumrunner Moore faired better with his fleet than his historical counterpart, but the embarrassing loss of three supply ships sunk and the Vincennes to a crippled IJN cruiser still gave him some tough explaining before ComSoPac! On the other hand, he survived and was not relieved of command as so many of the other USN officers were, so he had a quiet toast to Poseidon in his cabin that evening…

Hindsight is 20-20
Adm. Moore's self-eval. The USN had a good setup that I wouldn't change much, if at all. My ships did reasonably well to Detect IJN ships on radar, but they struggled to Acquire them as targets on several occasions and had one Fratricide event on the HMAS Australia, fortunately rolling "misses" on several dice. The substantial penalty of rolling 2xd12 and adding them, PLUS an auto-fail at 12+ total (so even a normally automatic Acquisition would be a miss 50% of the time) made their gunnery less than optimal and made torpedoes very difficult to fire until they FINALLY acquired the IJN after about 8 turns (ugh!).

Given this, the Allies did pretty well under the circumstances. However, there were two occasions of poor maneuvering that had my own ships screening friendly fire, and one where I rolled a torpedo under the USS Bagley (which was presently sinking from IJN Torpedoes, but still…). Also, the screening force might have used a different approach vector to hit the tail of the IJN formation and harass them from the rear with their deadly CL (the San Juan with 16 light 5" guns and the Hobart with 8 heavier 6" guns). Instead, they hit the head of the column and the two CL were trashed and are out of the campaign without inflicting significant damage in exchange.

And IJN critique. It seems to me that the IJN picked the most difficult approach given my setup. The Southeast passage around Savo is longer, and my forces had the same chances to engage there as a Northeast approach. Personally, I would've picked the East or Northeast Savo passage (the first hoping for surprise and the second as the shorter of the two obvious choices). The IJN chose not to close and engage the screening force which helped them to get to the anchorage and sink three supply ships, earning them some hard-won credit on the scale of control for Henderson Airfield. Still, a direct shot from Savo Island to the Lunga Point anchorage was a bit shorter, and would've brought them closer to the USN screening force which would undoubtedly have resulted in some serious losses there from the effective IJN gunnery. Also, I would've dumped some torpedoes into the two CL of the screening force. They can take a ship from 0-to-sunk in 1-2 hits, which seems worth it.

Overall, a lot of work to figure out a new set of rules in no less than two complete 21-ship refights. However, I think we know the rules now and I've made some cheat sheets for the common events that cross-reference a variety of useful details. We're excited to see how this different result will shape the campaign for Guadalcanal - will it change history? Or will the IJN suffer the long slow death by strangulation from the airpower at Henderson Field!?
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#16484 Pete's Minis

Posted by Peter M. Skaar on 24 June 2023 - 01:01 PM

Here are my 7 GHQ Panther Ds.  I finished these today and just need to pop them off the nails and they will be ready for deployment to get blooded or bloodied in a Mein Panzer game.








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#16319 1943 Action in the Bay of Biscay

Posted by W. Clark on 06 April 2023 - 06:24 PM

Operations Stonewall/Bernau

Battle in the Bay of Biscay 28 December 1943


The Royal Navy cruisers HMS Glasgow and HMS Enterprise were at sea as a part of Operation Stonewall, intended to prevent the German blockade runners Orsono and Alsterufer from reaching France with their cargos of tungsten and rubber from Japan. Orsono had made it to the Gironde but had been attacked by bombers and beached. Alsterufer had been attacked by B24’s and set on fire before being abandoned by her crew. But the Germans did not know that. They had mounted Operation Bernau comprised of the 8th DesFlot (Z24, Z27, Z32 & Z37), accompanied by T25 and T27 as well as a Torpedo Boat group comprised of T22, T23, T24 & T26 to find and escort Alsterufer. The DesFlot and TB Gruppe had sailed separately but had joined at sea about 1200 hours. The Alsterufer was nowhere to found and the Germans turned for France.


Both the cruisers and the destroyers/TBs had been spotted and their positions reported by a/c. The cruisers freed by the loss of the Alsterufer were maneuvering to cut the DD/TB group off from their bases. The weather was steadily worsening with a Force 9 (30 knots) westerly (I rolled the direction).


The cruisers with HMS Glasgow leading would act separately during the engagement. Glasgow’s masthead spotted the Germans at 16,000 yards at 1330 hours. There was small squall (1,500 yards across) some 4,000 yards ahead of Glasgow with a much larger squall (about 6,000 yards across) about 2, 000 yards ahead of the first squall. More squalls were threatening.


The weather affected speed, the cruisers were reduced by 5 knots and the DDs/TBs limited to 25 knots. The weather affected gunnery negatively but was worse for the DDs/TBs. The weather greatly limited torpedoes and spotter a/c could not land. Smoke was also ineffective.


The cruisers were steaming at 27 knots and slowly gaining on the DDs/TBs. The 8th DesFlot was leading the German column followed by their accompanying TBs and then the TB gruppe. At first the Germans could use the squalls astern to protect them from the cruiser’s fire but that ended by 1424 hours when the cruisers cleared both squalls and while not up had closed within 15,000 yards.


Glasgow opened on T26 with her fore turrets and missed. At 1430 hours Glasgow hit T26 in her stern setting her DC on fire. TB26 failed to put the fire out and suffered more damage from it. Glasgow did not hit her again until 1454 hours when she hit her twice. 1 of the hits was to her engines slowing her to 19 knots. T26 had in the meantime put her fire out.


At 1500 hours, HMS Enterprise turned out of line to starboard to bring her guns to bear on T26, now that she was slowed. HMS Glasgow continued straight ahead and had closed to 12,000 yards and opened rapid fire on T26, hitting her 3 times. Enterprise held fire due to her more than 3-point turn. Glasgow’s hits slowed T26 to 6 knots and set another DC rack on fire, causing yet more damage. But T26 quickly put the fire out.


At 1506 hours Glasgow made a 2-point turn to port to clear T26 and left her to the tender mercies of Enterprise. Glasgow now fired her fore turrets on T24 and missed her. Enterprise hit T26 twice causing another fire that the Atlantic put out when T26 sank at 1518 hours.


At 1512 Glasgow made another 2-point turn to bring her broadside to bear while Enterprise turned back online with the Germans to increase her closing. Glasgow hit T24 3 times, slowing her to 19 knots.


At 1518 hours Glasgow has closed to 12,000 yards and rapidly firing on T24 hit her 10 times, sinking her, although it took 12 minutes for her to sink completely out of sight.


At 1524 hours Glasgow had again turned to head straight at the retreating German column and fired at T23 but her turn had decreased her gunnery chances and she missed.


Glasgow did not hit T23 until 1536 hours but she hit her twice and silenced her return fire. Glasgow did not hit again until 1548 hours when she hit her twice again without apparent damage. Glasgow had closed within 12,000 yards at 1554 hours and making a 2-point turn opened rapid fire hitting T23 6 times sinking her.


Glasgow now turned back to the German’s heading to increase her closure. Glasgow fired at T22 and missed her at 1600 hours. Glasgow did not hit her until 1612 hours and then she hit her 3 times in the stern setting her a fire and silencing her return fire. T22 failed to put her fire out and slowed to 24 knots. Glasgow then hit her twice more, including in her engines slowing her to 18 knots.


At 1624 hours, Glasgow having closed to 12,000 yards turned 2-points to port and opened rapid fire hitting T22 4 times, starting a second fire, slowing her to 14 knots and causing her to circle to starboard.


At 1630 hours Glasgow again turned to close the German column while Enterprise turned 2 points to starboard and fired at T22 and missed. Glasgow fired at T27 and hit her twice, silencing her return fire.


At 1636 hours, Glasgow having closed to 12,000 yards turned 2 points to port and rapidly firing hit T27 7 times, sinking her. Enterprise hit T22 once in her engines causing her to go DIW


At 1642 hours Glasgow performed the now routine turn to close the column while Enterprise finished off T22. Glasgow missed but Enterprise hit T22 3 times sinking her.


By 1700 hours Glasgow had hit T25 4 times slowing her to 14 knots. But visibility had declined to 12,000 yards. At 1706 hours Glasgow turned 2 points to port and firing rapidly hit T25 6 times sinking her.


Nightfall was rapidly approaching, and Glasgow’s ammo was running low (no more rapid fire) but she pressed on anyway hitting Z37 once and reducing her return fire. Z37’s return fire missed.  Glasgow tried again and hit Z37 6 times slowing her to 23 knots. That gave Glasgow another chance and she hit Z37 4 more times slowing her to 16 knots.


Finally at 1730 hours Glasgow hit Z37 9 times slowing her to 5 knots and setting her afire. Enterprise now hit Z37 thrice sinking her. The rest of DesFlot 8 escaped in the gloom of that December night.


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#16064 On the workbench

Posted by healey36 on 25 January 2023 - 12:46 PM

Changed up on installing masts on 1/2400 models, at least the DDs and smaller. I've not been happy with the guitar string on these as it's a bit heavy, some of it nearly the same diameter as the smaller funnels. A trip to the model train supply shop yielded a tube of .010 bronze wire, quite a bit finer than my guitar string supply. 


I'm getting down to the last of my 3D prints by WTJ, but still quite a few destroyers and torpedo boats left in the resin pile. I used some of the bronze wire to fashion masts for a number of German torpedo boats. Technically they had a second "main" mast that supported the radio aerials, but I left these off. The .010 wire is pretty fiddly:


Not the best photo, but here's the results; the four boats of the G 101 class and a single B 97 class boat (V 100):
Torpedo boats
Drilled and cemented in the masts, then a shot of Krylon matte gray. A diluted ink wash, a bit of a dry-brush with some off-white Vallejo, then an overspray of Tamiya clear matte. ODGW etched bases, with homemade labels.
The German torpedo boats (small destroyers) were pretty sharp, and represented themselves well when going after the larger RN destroyers. Some of these will figure into the upcoming Dec. 1917 battles.


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#16017 Basing platoons and unit activation

Posted by Peter M. Skaar on 16 December 2022 - 10:34 AM

Here are a few heavy weapons that I have based. 

Russian 45mm AT guns.  These are on 1/2"x3/4" bases.

Russian 76mm Infantry guns.  These are on 1/2"x3/4" bases.

Russian 50mm mortars.  These are on 3/4" square bases since they are prone.

A Russian infantry platoon with 3 squad stands without the platoon command stand.  These are on 3/4" square bases.

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#16002 Question for Peter (since he's the only one here) :)

Posted by Peter M. Skaar on 06 December 2022 - 09:17 AM

Thanks very much, Acctingman69!  I am happy to do what I can.  I think I can clarify any rules questions pretty well for the most part but when it comes to the nitty gritty of why a certain rule or stat is the way it is, I will usually defer to the guys here at ODGW.  I was a former tanker so I did have some real world experience but not in actual combat.

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#15908 Mein Panzer Cold War - The S2’s Demonstration

Posted by Begemot_ on 17 October 2022 - 05:14 PM

Mein Panzer Cold War - The S2’s Demonstration





Back in the day when I was a young lieutenant of infantry in Germany, the battalion S2 (the staff intelligence officer) set up a demonstration for the battalion’s officers. Summoned to the Battalion HQ we were presented with a sand table and an array of blue and red counters from the SPI game “Firefight” (this was a board game commissioned by the US Army to help teach its people about modern war) deployed in the sand. The topic was how a US mechanized infantry company (the blue force) could defend itself using its TOWs and Dragon ATGMs against the attack of a Soviet motor rifle regiment (the red force) mounted in BMPs. Neither force had any support, neither artillery or close air.


The S2 proceeded to explain his purpose and then advanced the rigidly arrayed Soviets towards the carefully deployed US force. The Soviet counters quickly disappeared from their formation as they moved forward, each a victim of a TOW or Dragon. The Soviets force was rapidly defeated and the US force suffered scarcely at all. This was very gratifying to the assembled officer group and I recall no questions concerning the validity of the demonstration. I considered privately that it would indeed be a wonderful thing if our enemy would be be so obliging as to carry on as demonstrated by the S2, but I suspected that reality would probably be somewhat different.


Since OGDW has yet to publish its Cold War rules and data for the Mein Panzer system, but has, teasingly, published some data for US and Soviet forces (published on this site as Chapter 58) and as time for all of us is running out, I decided to use what OGDW has provided and try some Cold War scenarios using what was at hand. Thus this AAR which uses the S2’s demonstration as a test bed for the Mein Panzer system in a Cold War setting circa 1976.




The US force is a standard mech infantry company of the time, which has taken losses in its infantry forces (each infantry platoon has lost a squad in a previous engagement), but with its mortars and TOW section intact. Three Dragons remain, apportioned one to each platoon of infantry.


The Soviets are a standard full strength motor rifle company of 10 BMPs with infantry and with a 4 tank platoon of T-62s attached.


Neither side has any artillery or air assets in support, with the exception of the US mortars.


Both forces are rated as Regulars for troop quality.


The US company has taken up a hasty position on a hill and has had time to dig in, but no more. The two TOWs are deployed on the flanks and are in Overwatch. The Soviets will attack across a kilometer of of open ground from a wooded area.




The view of the field from the Soviet side. The Soviets will attack out of the woods. They must cross a kilometer of open ground.





The US position from the Soviet perspective. TOWs are on either flank.





The rear of the US position showing the mortars.



The Engagement


On Turn 1 the Soviets get the initiative and start their attack. The T-62’s lead, advancing at speed. The overwatching TOWs react: the first TOW misses because the target T-t2 spotted the incoming missile and reacted causing a miss; the second TOW kills its T-62. The TOWs are activated and get a second kill on a T-62. The BMP platoons follow their tanks and the US Dragons engage the tanks. The turn ends with the T-62 platoon destroyed.




The end of Turn 1. The Soviet tanks are destroyed. The US has taken no casualties.



Turn 2 gives the initiative to the US. The TOWs fire and kill a BMP on the Soviet left. The BMP’s squad is able to escape from their vehicle. A Dragon kills another BMP on the Soviet left, its squad also escapes. The leftmost BMP platoon activates and fails its morale check and Breaks, turning tail and heading back to the woods. The center BMP platoon becomes Shaken and then takes a kill on a BMP from a Dragon. This platoon also turns about and heads to the woods. The right BMP platoon, seeing the attack falling apart joins in the retreat. In two short sharp turns the unsuppressed US ATGM defense destroys the Soviet attack.




The field at the end of Turn 2.



The S2 smiles, satisfied his demo has gone so well. LT Begemot keeps his counsel.


The US wins with no losses. The Soviets have lost 50% of their vehicles.


The Soviet counter demonstration of this scenario will follow soon.





Mein Panzer works well for the Cold War period, unsurprisingly. Besides the increased lethality of weapons the greatest feature of the Cold War battlefield in its middle and late periods was ATGMs. This was the part of the system that I spent the most time with and here I found some issues.


How to understand the results of Missile Reaction was a bit of a puzzle in that the die roll results chart wasn’t clear. I finally decided that after applying all the listed modifiers to the troop quality level of the targeted vehicle and rolling the die that a Critical Success occurred if you rolled a 1; a Critical Failure occurred if you rolled a 20; a Success occurred if you rolled equal to or less than the modified TQ number. A Failure was any other roll. If this interpretation is wrong, please let me know.


ATGM range effects were an area that I modified. Using the current modifiers a TOW (OM1 = 2), fired by a Regular US gunner (TQ = 12), against a normally moving target (-1), target defensive modifier = 0, at range of 36” (-5) produces a To Hit probability of 20% (To Hit = 4). Pretty low. If the target is moving evasively then this To Hit probability goes to 0%. All the data I’ve seen relative to ATGMs is that their hit probability improves with increasing range as the gunner refines his aim. The Mein Panzer range modifiers assume the longer the range the less likely one is to hit. Reasonable for guns and rifles, but not so for ATGMs.


This is an anecdotal statement from a US Marine TOW gunner on his experience with the TOW that was posted on a game site that had just published a Cold War computer game. He thought that the game misrepresented the accurracy of the TOW:


First of all, after working with the TOW missile system for 8 years in the USMC, it don’t make me a TOW missile expert, BUT ...


We had issues with the regular TOW, then the ITOW, then finally the TOW 2 came out and we had big issues with the TOW 2. Shooting just the regular TOW missile 10 times, we would get a failure rate of approximately 3-4 missile failures. Most of those issues being a broken wire from the gun platform to the missile itself. We also had 2 missiles that blew up only 20-30 yards, which was an issue by itself because the TOW missile wasn’t supposed to arm its warhead until it went over 50 yards … When you fired your TOW missile after the missile leaves the launch tube the gunner is trying to acquire its target, then while that’s going on, the flight motors kick in and you can’t see ****!!!!! Around after 10-15 seconds now you can finally make sense out of everything, you can now see the target, see the IR light on the missile and now your heart is pumping hard now because in another 6-10 seconds, your target is getting ready to be obliterated, and they don’t even know it!!!!


So if [you] can start making the TOWs less accurate at shorter ranges that would be a start, say from 50 yards to 1,000 yards the hit rate should only be around 60 to 65 percent, from 1,000 – 2,000 yards the hit accuracy will now be getting better so I would say 70-90 percent, then from 2,000- just over 3,000 yards my percentage would go from 80-95 percent.”


With this as a guide I created the following Range to Target modifiers for wire guided ATGMs using a Regular US TQ of 12 to work to the hit percentages indicated in the TOW gunners recollections:


Up to 2” – not allowed (within arming range)

Up to 6” - +0

Up to 12” - +2

Up to 24” - +3

Up to 36” - +4

Up to 48” - +5

Up to 60” - +7

Up to 72” - +9


Also, for wire guided ATGMs I disallowed the Evasive Movement modifier.


BMPs were not listed in the Chapter 58 tables so I used the PT-76 numbers for the BMP.


Hopefully, my efforts here will encourage and spur on the completion the Mein Panzer Cold War product.



--- Begemot

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#15769 Historicon 2022 - The Commie's are comin'... using Mein Panzer

Posted by Kenny Noe on 02 August 2022 - 10:32 AM

After Action Report for




“The Commie’s are comin’…”.


This scenario was played three times over three days at Historicon 2022 held in Lancaster PA July 21-24 2022.


Game writeup as seen in the program


Thursday, 4:00 PM, 4 hrs, Players: 6, Location: Freedom A: FR-14

Friday, 10:00 AM, 4 hrs, Players: 6, Location: Freedom A: FR-14

Saturday, 10:00 AM, 4 hrs, Players: 6, Location: Freedom A: FR-14

GM: Kenny Noe & ODGW

Sponsor: ODGW, Prize: None

Period: Modern, Scale: 12mm, Rules: Mein Panzer Core Rules

Masks Required? No


Description: Stepping back from nuclear war over the Cuban Missile Crisis, the U.S.S.R. has launched a conventional war in its place. Category A/B forces are flooding across the border.  While NATO awaits resupply of men and material.  A desperate US Army fights to stem the Red onslaught unfolding in central Germany. Can you stop the Communist Army?  Or will you command brave motherland forces driving hard to the west? Your choice.  Come play Mein Panzer and test 1960's tech in the heat of battle.


No experience necessary. Quick play/learn rules. Under 12 if accompanied by an adult player.



Game Map (Original Layout)






The battlefield as shown above and in pictures is a 10 foot by six-foot rectangle.  North is the six-foot table edge with the large village at its end.  The other compass points are the remaining three battlefield edges.  Toward the southern end of the battlefield there is a farm with several building and fields.  The fields provided light cover and was considered rough terrain for vehicle movement.  There are dual railroad tracks running west and east with a crossing in the middle of the map.  Hard top roads are crossing the map diagonally in an "X" pattern with one road crossing the railroad track in the middle of the map.  There are two clumps of trees (one on the eastern side and the other on the western side) that are considered dense forest.  Additionally, there is a line of trees following the railroad that is passible but does block all lines of sight from north to south.  A two-level hill forming a small ridge line dominates the northwestern portion of the map while a mix of four or five one-level hills are scattered throughout the battlefield.  A small water obstacle and a scattering of trees and small bush like feature complete the terrain layout of the map.



Scenario Objectives


This game is designed to be a meeting engagement running north and south of the map with both sides ordered to cross the railroad tracks located in the center of the battlefield and push on as far as possible.  (see map above)


Note - This scenario was designed to be flexible and able to play with 2, 4, or 6 players.  Depending on how many players show up at the prescribed time I will adjust the units to fit the players.  Additionally, the WarPact players do not have dedicated Forward Observers for their one artillery battery.  WarPact Center command has told the battlefield commanders there are four pre-plotted fire points (of their choosing) where artillery can target.  Additionally, the company commander of each tank company can make a NON-FO call if the need for artillery is clear.



Forces – Game Units







Game One – Thursday

The game was designed for six players (three on each side).  However only four out of the 6 showed up for this time slot.  Three of the gamers had never played MP and one had but many years ago.  This is not a big issue as convention games go you usually have people looking to try a new game.


So, I adjusted the "players" as needed.  Units from Player 1 and Player 3 (see Forces above) were deployed for both NATO and WarPact sides.




The players were eager to maneuver their units and the game turned into a “Who can get to the RR tree line first”.  Once there both sides were in knife fighting distance.  The Leopard1 pushed through the tree line first only to be dealt a loss of two tanks to waiting IT-1s on the ridge line.  NATO then lost the next turn initiative and the T-62s open up on the now exposed Leopards.  Even the advantage of soft cover from the forest did little to blunt the blow as two more Leopards fell.




The final turn the last Leopard perished from a cavalry like charge from the PT-76s as they made a mad dash to cross the RR tracks.


On the other side of the road the WarPact player decided to await the NATO thrust in positions of over watch hoping to catch the same luck that his comrade obtained.  In doing this the WarPact commander lost sight of his objective and failed to advance past the RR tracks.

End of Game - By the time the game was called neither side had achieved their objectives. NATO was close with M60A1 threating the eastern flank while WarPact forces were in control of the western flank and PT-76s ready to stream across the tracks.  It would have been dicey to see the western flank once the M60A1 punch through the forest.  The use of Artillery was not very effective in this game as accuracy seemed to plague both sides




After action comments

All players agreed they had a fun time with the rules.  However, the scenario could use a little work.


The time frame of 1963 Europe with armored vehicles that have no "special" armor to defeat HEAT rounds meant that whoever fired HEAT and hit was pretty much had an automatic kill.  Both sides found this to be true almost immediately.  MP usually does not count ammo especially on ground vehicles.  I as GM don't care for this as it's just one more thing to track.  However, both sides agreed that limiting HEAT would be good for the overall scenario.


The meeting engagement scenario was thought not the best for this time period.  One recommendation would be NATO on the defensive with prepared positions to fall back upon with swarms of WarPact vehicles driving in.  Most players recommended I change the scenario to this objective vice the meeting engagement.  As GM, I agreed that was a valid and typical scenario for this time period, however that was not why I built the scenario the way I did.  My experience with convention and running games has shown me that players (esp. new players) want a fast fun game where they attack and kill everything.  I feel like a defensive game where one side waits on the other to come to them and the other side driving into a meat grinder is not fun for all.  (my 0.02¢)


Lastly, the terrain setup really stymied both sides.  The forest line running along the rail road was ruled to completely block line of sight.  The idea was to force both sides to move forward and engage the enemy.  However, this turned into whoever was brave enough to pass through the wood line was smacked hard and the player was truly demoralized.


After reflecting on the players comments and discussing with other ODGW staff I made a couple adjustments for the next two games.

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#15424 FAI redux

Posted by healey36 on 08 February 2022 - 05:48 PM

Nothing to fret about, Ken; thanks to ODGW for providing the platform. It's all fun. Hoping to be able to catch up with you guys at Historicon or one of the other meets later this year.
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#15192 FAI redux

Posted by healey36 on 03 April 2021 - 08:58 AM

January 15, 1916


Early on the morning of January 15, Möwe stopped SS Ariadne off Madeira, a freighter bound for Nantes with a load of corn. After her crew was taken off, explosive charges were placed which, when detonated, failed to sink her. Defiantly remaining afloat, Dohna-Schlodien then ordered Ariadne sunk by gunfire, expending nearly a dozen 5.9-inch rounds. When this too failed, the freighter was sent to the bottom with the use of a torpedo.


SS Ariadne S
SS Ariadne torpedoed by Möwe on the morning of January 15, 1916 (from Dohna-Schlodien's 1916 book recounting Möwe's first voyage). 


Around mid-day a new smudge of smoke appeared on the horizon, eventually identified as the northbound British passenger steamer SS Appam. Owned and operated by the British & African Steam Navigation Company, she was travelling from the Senegalese port of Dakar to Plymouth, England, carrying various cargo along with 168 passengers. Among them were a number of British dignitaries, along with thirteen enemy civilian prisoners and seven German POWs. She was commanded by Captain Henry G. Harrison. None of this, of course, was immediately known to the wary Dohna-Schlodien.


Assembling ship’s logs for Möwe and Appam was a bit of a challenge, as information is fairly sparse and what’s out there is often contradictory between sources. One of the biggest problems is finding reliable data for gross registered tonnage (GRT) and the ships’ engineering configuration and capabilities. I have a number of hard-copy sources here frequently referred to, and those, together with on-line sources/accounts, lead to a seemingly reasonable consensus view.


Möwe, as best I can tell, had a GRT of roughly 5000 tons and a top speed of 13-14 knots. She packed four hidden 5.9-inch and a single disguised 4.1-inch, along with a host of smaller weapons. Sources vary as to whether she carried two or four single-mount torpedo tubes; I opted to go with four. Originally built as a refrigerated freighter, she maintained some of that capability which, Dohna-Schlodien wrote in his 1916 account of the voyage, was useful for provision storage on the long voyage. Her coal bunkers had been enlarged in her conversion, which significantly expanded her potential operating range.


Appam is described by most sources as a passenger steamer of approximately 7800 GRT. I had trouble finding much in the way of a description of her engineering configuration or operating speed; however, Emmon’s book on the Atlantic liners gave single-screw vessels of similar size and configuration a speed of 13-16 knots, which I was able to loosely corroborate using Dunn’s Merchant Ships of the World, 1910-1929. At the time Appam encountered Möwe, she was slightly more than 1000 nautical miles out of Dakar, travelled over four days, which would put her cruising speed at roughly 11-12 knots. As far as whether she was armed or not, that too is open for debate, but a number of sources say she had a stern-mounted 4-inch gun and gunners trained to use it. I opted to include it.


SS Appam Log
Proposed ship's log for SS Appam.



Piecing together the exact chronology of Möwe’s encounter with Appam is a matter of slogging through various accounts to come up with a consensus view. Most hold few details, but we know Appam was churning north, likely at that 11-12 knot speed. According to Dohna-Schlodien’s book, he was growing increasingly leery of ships in the area, and ordered the “Red Duster” flying Möwe to cautiously close to within eight or nine nautical miles, then turn onto a parallel course where they were able to establish that it was not an enemy warship, but a medium-size passenger steamer. This did not, however, rule out the possibility of an AMC, at least one of which was known to be operating in the area (HMS Marmora, assigned to the Cape Verde Station). With no sign of a hostile reaction to their approach, Dohna-Schlodien ordered his helmsman to cross the ship’s bow a mile or so ahead, whereby they were able to identify her as SS Appam.



An illustration of the attack on SS Appam from The Illustrated London News of February 26, 1916, based on the recollections of a passenger aboard the cargo-liner. The drawing of Möwe's armament configuration is interesting, albeit flawed as compared to contemporary accounts.


Running up the German naval ensign in place of the British, Möwe flashed Appam two signals, the first to halt and the other to cease all radio transmissions. Henry Harrison complied with neither, ordering his ship to continue while the radioman frantically sent distress calls. Dohna-Schlodien ordered the partitions on his 5.9-inch dropped while slowly bringing Möwe around to fire a shot across the liner’s bow, all the while doing their best to jam Appam’s wireless transmissions (a capability I was unaware of). Harrison, having had a good look at his tormenter and reportedly concerned for the welfare of his passengers, ordered a full stop, whereupon she was boarded.


While the steamer didn’t dovetail well with Dohna-Schlodien’s profile for targets, the capture of Appam played fortuitously into his immediate needs. After offloading some valuable cargo, freeing the German prisoners, and detaining a number of the British on Möwe, he transferred the 200+ captured crew members of his recent victims to Appam. He then installed an armed prize crew led by Leutnant Hans Berg, supplemented by the seven German POWs already aboard. For the next two days, Möwe and Appam would operate together.


Game Prep


As I read accounts of this “action” 105 years after-the-fact, I find myself pondering the outcome and the behavior of the “players”. This is necessary, as part of the point of this exercise was to begin the development of some sort of “AI” to use for solitaire games of FAI. It’s fundamentally a determination of what’s technically possible and what the motivations are for certain decisions. To best do that, you have to look at what happened historically.


Back in the day, I did something similar for a few operational and tactical scale board wargames. For operational games, it boils down to identifying and establishing “decision points”. For example, if you’re playing an east-front game where the Germans are pushing east early in the war, you have to look at what the historical objectives were, and what the “flash-points” for decision-making might have been. If the Germans manage to establish a bridgehead on the eastern side of a major river, for instance, that is likely a point where the Soviets have to decide what they are going to do (given the time and resources available). They may decide to counterattack vigorously, they may decide to try to simply contain the Germans, they might decide to fall back to another defense line, or they may choose to do absolutely nothing. You weight each of those decision possibilities in light of things such as the tendencies of the historical commander(s), the units involved, supply considerations, maybe the weather, etc., build a table and roll dice when events occur. You can make it as complex as you want, as long as you keep within the bounds of what is reasonable and rational. In this way you can provide a bit of randomness in the behavior of your solitaire opponent. In many of today’s operational scale games, the introduction of random activation serves a similar purpose, although, IMHO, it seems to sharply increase the gaminess feel and occasionally leads to some fairly unrealistic results.


Tactical games such as FAI are a bit hairier. First off, the action is simultaneous, so there’s no I-go-you-go sequence of play to mess with. Decisions can be equally proactive and reactive, and they need to be framed by the circumstances. A careful review of the historical action will often provide the framework within which possible decision points can be identified. I have found that using a decision tree, while quite tedious, is very useful in mapping potential actions and weighting the decision possibilities that might present themselves. A variation of this was used during my working life when building complex one, three, and five year business plans, although there it was less about decision-making and more about just predicting financial outcomes.


In this case, it makes sense to play Möwe and let Appam be guided by the dice. Harrison’s objective is pretty straightforward – get his ship safely to Plymouth on time. His reaction to the possible threat posed by Dohna-Schlodien and Möwe, once identified, is the crux of the matter.  


I freely admit to knowing very little about things such as the rules of navigation, i.e. who yields to who when ships encounter one another on the open sea. Certainly distraction, if allowed, can play into it, or worse yet, willful disregard. I know this from experience, having on more than one occasion nearly run a large sailboat aground while distracted by various goings-on, both aboard and nearby. Unlike me, Henry Harrison, as best I can tell, was a thoroughly experienced master, so I give him the benefit of the doubt.


In four days, a half-dozen British ships (including Ariadne that morning) had gone to vapor, yet shipping officials and the Royal Navy were apparently none the wiser. At first this might seem counterintuitive, but rolling the clock back a century, it becomes less so. Information flow between vessels and shore or other vessels, especially passenger ships, was routine, but minimal. Ocean-going ships were generally equipped with wireless equipment, but as seen on many occasions, the gear remained technically primitive, subject to problems in signal direction, strength, protocol, and/or inexperience by the operator (both sending and receiving). Failure to reach a ship by radio was indicative of a problem, but efforts to determine its fate, especially freighters, was often begun only after its failure to arrive at its destination by its scheduled call date. Reports of confirmed enemy sightings or attacks were routinely sent, but Appam had received none. In light of all of this, it’s not unreasonable that Harrison was unaware of the immediacy of the danger his ship was in.


SS Appam E
SS Appam as seen from Möwe after she had stopped (from Dohna-Schlodien's 1916 book recounting Möwe's first voyage).


Harrison, then, clearly had reason to be wary of the general, but not the immediate situation, on January 15. His voyage since leaving Dakar four days earlier had been uneventful. They’d received no reports of commerce raiders operating in the area. If anything, his concerns likely centered on the threat posed by submarines which were known to occasionally operate along the West African sea lanes. He was cruising at a speed that would get him into Plymouth on time and in the most fuel-efficient manner. Appam was not, however, zig-zagging or making any precautionary course or speed changes.


Historically, Harrison did almost nothing to save his ship, despite observing an admittedly rather generic British-flagged vessel operating in an erratic, if not threatening manner. It’s important to try to understand the rationale for his action (or inaction). He had options. Perhaps the welfare of his passengers, as he told Dohna-Schlodien, was his primary concern. Had there been published results from a contemporary board of inquiry (if one was held), those would have been quite useful.  


As best I can tell, Möwe comes over the horizon on a southwesterly heading. At a distance of 9-10 nautical miles she makes an approximate 100+ degree turn onto a course that roughly parallels that of Appam. Travelling at a speed likely 2-3 knots faster than the passenger steamer, Möwe, flying the British red ensign, turns onto a northwesterly heading that will take her within a mile of Appam, eventually across her bow.  


Through all of this, one is left to wonder what Harrison is thinking; perhaps even more importantly, one is left to wonder what Harrison could have done. By the time Möwe turns onto a course paralleling Appam, Dohna-Schlodien’s 5.9-inch battery is nearly within range. It seems to me, the critical and most rational decision point comes when Möwe turns to begin her run-in on Appam’s starboard bow. Harrison’s best chance for escape, perhaps only chance, is to abruptly turn away from the British-flagged tramp, go to flank speed, and man the 4-inch on her stern.


Models, charts, and dice in hand, we go to the table.


After Action Report


Based on the accounts provided by a few of Appam’s passengers, the weather on September 15 was near perfect. Sea conditions were “moderate” with a light chop. Visibility is clear all the way to the horizon in all directions. The air temperature is a balmy sixty degrees, water temp some ten to fifteen degrees cooler.


By mid-morning, Dohna-Schlodien has brought Ariadne’s crew aboard and dispatched the freighter by use of one of his precious torpedoes. His lower decks now crammed with prisoners, he orders Möwe off to resume a course to the southwest.


Around 1200, a lookout on Möwe reports smoke off the starboard bow, an unknown vessel on a due north heading. If they continue on their present course, Dohna-Schlodien determines that they will pass well astern of the ship. Wary of a rapid approach but hoping for a closer look, he maintains his heading for nearly thirty minutes, then orders the helmsman to bring Möwe around to a due north heading, roughly paralleling the other vessel. With the distance between them just ten miles, Dohna-Schlodien determines the ship to be a cargo-liner of some 8000 tons, but of unknown nationality. Keeping Möwe on her present course, he orders her speed increased to 13 knots, allowing them to slowly begin pulling ahead. Continuing for nearly an hour, he waits for some perceptible reaction by the other captain.


Aboard Appam, Captain Harrison is in the officers’ mess enjoying a lunch of salted kippers and brown bread, going over the morning fuel report with his engineering officer. At 1250, he is called to the bridge where he is told of the presence of an unidentified ship running on a parallel course, approximately ten miles off their starboard beam. When he asks how long the ship has been coming up from behind them, he is told that the ship actually approached from the northeast, then turned onto a course abreast their own. When he hears this, he berates the watch officer for not having called him to the bridge earlier. Through his binoculars, he sees a rather nondescript tramp pushing along at a speed slightly ahead of his own. Wondering why it made a rather sharp course change to mimic his own, he convinces himself that, while peculiar, it is not immediately concerning. He decides they will continue on their current heading and maintain their current speed (a d12 roll of 2 on our reaction table), while keeping an eye on the nearby ship.


At 1336, Dohna-Schlodien orders a course change to the northwest, which, if both ships continue their current headings and speed, will take Möwe across the liner’s bow at a distance of slightly more than a mile. Approaching a range of 14000 yards, he orders his gun crews to their hidden stations.


While the unidentified ship was still close to ten miles off and gradually pulling ahead of him, Harrison began to think that it might not pose a threat. Other than possibly a correction for a navigational error, he still had no explanation for its sudden course change, but as both ships continued on a parallel heading and the amount of water between them continued to grow, he was content to proceed while keeping an eye open. This temporary sense of disregard abruptly dissipated when the tramp started into a turn to port, taking a line that would cross Appam’s bow uncomfortably close. He ordered a signal sent, calling for the freighter to stand off, but there was no response. As the distance between the ships closes and thinking a collision possible, Harrison pondered momentarily whether to try to turn inside the tramp and pass him astern, or simply turn away and throw the stokers into high gear. Now beginning to suspect ill-intentions, he elected the latter and ordered a gradual 30-degree turn to port while telegraphing for flank speed (a pair of d12 rolls of 1 and 4 on our reaction table).


As the steamer started her great arcing turn to port, Dohna-Schlodien ordered Möwe to flank speed. The combination of his opponent’s hesitation, the ship’s turn, and Möwe’s increased speed has dropped the distance between them by another 3000 yards, now down to just 8600 yards. His radioman, monitoring transmissions from the liner, reports silence.


But now Dohna-Schlodien has a problem. The combination of turns and speed changes by both ships have left Möwe nearly dead astern of the liner, which is almost imperceptibly starting to pull away. Without a forward deck gun, he has no chance to take a shot at a target dead ahead; a shot will require a turn in either direction, bringing his 5.9-inch to bear. Such a turn will slow him considerably, allowing the liner to open the distance between them even faster.


Deciding he has little alternative, he orders a turn to starboard, the British ensign taken down and the German run up. A signal is sent announcing he is a German auxiliary cruiser and demanding the liner stop, which, in combination with a warning shot, Dohna-Schlodien hopes the Brit heeds. The partitions masking the 5.9-inch are lowered.


Harrison, studying his pursuer from astern, can’t observe much of what’s going on aboard the ship. He can, however, see that the “Red Duster” has been replaced with a different ensign, one he is unable to recognize from 4-1/2 miles away. Regardless, he knows this is further evidence of trouble, shortly confirmed by the message that his pursuer is a German warship together with a demand  that he stop his ship. He disregards the message, directing instead that distress calls be sent. Maintaining his heading and speed, he orders all of the passengers to their cabins and his stern-mounted 4-inch manned and ready (a d12 roll of 12 on our reaction table). With the safety of his passengers and crew in mind, he directs the RN gun-crew that they are only to fire if fired upon.


While the radioman does his best to obliterate Appam’s distress calls, the 5.9-inch wait for Möwe’s turn to bring the liner into their arc. At 1440, Dohna-Schlodien gets his shot, but the turn has cost him over 1000 yards of range. At 9600 yards, they straddle the steamer, throwing up two towers of water on either side.


SS Appam G
SS Appam under fire by SMS Möwe.


Minutes feel like hours as he tries to outrun his pursuer. Harrison sees the flash of the German’s guns just a moment before the splashes erupt next to Appam, one shell landing just forty feet off his stern, sending a cascade of water and a few splinters clattering along the sides of his ship. The next salvo, or possibly the one after, will likely auger into Appam with catastrophic effect. While he knows the range will lengthen if both ships continue on their present courses (which the German must if he is to continue firing), perhaps running his ship beyond effective range in a matter of 15-20 minutes, the risk of even a single hit is too great. While the Englishman yearns to continue the fight, he has to consider the welfare of his passengers. He orders the gun team to stand down and a message sent to his pursuer, “Stopping” (a d12 roll of 10 on the “continue or stop” reaction table).


(end of pt.2)

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#14435 Using Black Seas Ships?

Posted by Cpt M on 29 November 2019 - 06:38 PM

Well, now we have a 1/720 set of gauges in the Download section for Post Captain (Under the Bonus Files, Play Aids).  I just up scaled the 1/1200 versions.  The Turning Gauge comes out to 5+" in diameter (a bit of a beast, that).  And the Movement Gauge had to be done in 2 parts since its too long (you can tack the halves together to get the full gauge).  The gauges are available at:




Enjoy!  (I just finished up 2 of the Black Seas brigs and converted another into a large topsail schooner.  Will be getting these on the table this weekend.)

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