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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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#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!?
  • Tu Tran and Kenneth D. Hall like this

#14912 Help getting started: DD classes, Figurehead minis and the Solomon Campaign.

Posted by OffshoreBreeze on 13 September 2020 - 01:16 PM

Thanks Brook,


It’s not that I’m pdf averse per se it’s more a combination of factors from the fact I don’t have (or can realistically afford a PC) only an iPad (they’re great but they are not replacements for actual computers as they’re too limited by apple) and if I buy the hard copies I get the pdfs anyway. I’m still attached to analog reference material and like to have them even if only as a back up. At the current conversion rates and as I’m shielding by the time I’ve bought them digitally and then paid someone to print them (and I’d want them to be as nice as ODGW provide) it will cost more (if I could find a way to get it to them - iPad again). It’s not the end of the world and my problems are very first world and unimportant, I’m not giving up on GQ3 as I’m hooked from just reading through it (and love Post Captain) but I’m not giving the current U.K. distributor one pence of my meagre funds. My father in law and wife now want to start a new company and distribute ODGW stuff in the U.K. (I’m too ill to contribute but fully approve) as the service I received was lousy and shouldn’t happen today. I’m just waiting for a response from ODGW to see if it’s possible.


Thank you for the supportive words, I bear no ill will to ODGW, they are excellent and deserve all the success they can get, if possible I’d like to help promote their products on this side of the pond.

Thank you also to all those great people on this forum as they have been very welcoming and helpful


Stay safe and well


  • Brooks Witten and wackrabbit like this

#14835 Help getting started: DD classes, Figurehead minis and the Solomon Campaign.

Posted by OffshoreBreeze on 07 August 2020 - 03:53 PM

Greetings ODGW’ers,


Recently I bought Post Captain (I know not the correct forum but bear with me) and was blown away by its design and presentation. Just before lockdown I borrowed my friends gaming tablet (sooo much temptation) and on it is GQ3. I read it through, marvelled at it and started thinking about playing but have come up with some questions I need answers to:


~ concerning US Destroyers and specifically Figureheads range of 1:6000 miniatures. When trying to represent Bagleys do you use the minis labelled Craven Class? From Wiki-p I think I have worked out that the USS Craven was a Gridley Class and the 1500t ships were the Gridley, Bagleys and Benham. There seems to be only minor differences aesthetically (especially at such a small scale) so does the Figurehead Cravens represent all three of these DD classes? I’m going to buy the rules/campaigns next month but can afford a few ships now so......


~ I intend to get The Solomon’s Campaign (and the fictitious 1937 US vs Japan campaign after I read up on the Uss Panay and was hooked). Can anybody give me a list of what ships HMAS, US and Japanese (and any I’ve missed) are needed for this campaign? Not specifically the Names (although it would be helpful) but the Classes and No. so I can make a shopping list and get a head start (I’ve got relevant Ospreys but I’m not currently well/capable enough to plow my way through them and need a hand up from knowledgeable old salts).


~ I think I’m going to use 1:6000 as it looks the most reasonable but I do love GHQ miniatures 1:2400. For people playing with 1:2400 what size table are you using? And what are your opinions about the appearance on table?  And do most people use 1cm = 100yds or 1cm = 200 yds. The problem I have is I think I’d be quite happy doing mainly DD stuff with a few bigger bits (haven’t seen the campaign yet and I know what I’m like when I get excited about a game) but don’t want to hamstring myself for doing stuff later on. I know this comes up in every naval forum and I’ve probably read all the posts but wonder if you have anything else to add specifically about GQ3? I’m not interested in 1:4800 due to hassle and quality. I did like the idea of Navwar 1:3000 but some people don’t seem that impressed by quality, any thoughts or comparative pics?


Thank you for taking the time to read through all this (and also to my wife for typing this up as I lie in the dark full of Oramorph and covered in Lidocaine patches).


Offshore Breeze (Andrew)

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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.)

  • Dave Schueler and RazorMind like this

#13456 One Year Anniversary of My Blog

Posted by Brian Weathersby on 09 March 2018 - 01:27 AM

So March 8 was the one-year anniversary of my blog ( https://mymodelsaili...ps.blogspot.com ).  In honor of that minor milestone, I've added a post about the anniversary with some looks at what posts have been popular over the last year.  I also take a look at where my visitors have been from, and discuss some ideas for the second year.
One of those ideas, a page of books useful for the Age of Sail gamer was posted today also.  To make that first post easy, I reviewed Sam Willis' Fighting at Sea in the Eighteenth Century.  Please come by, check things out, and feel free to leave some comments.

  • Tu Tran and RazorMind like this

#11800 The Horror at Wolfenberg Historicon 2015

Posted by Guy on 20 July 2015 - 08:49 PM

Our Scenario for the Wolfenberg Game:


The Horror at Wolfenberg  Scale: 15mm; Rules: ODGW Mein Zombie;  No. of Players: 9. Germany, March 1945. The horror is spreading East and West and has brought the war to a virtual halt.  Agent Blaskowitz reports that “it” is spreading from the German Paranormal Div. facility at Wolfenberg & the trapped scientists hold the key to stopping it.  The race is on .  Take command of Panzer Grenadiers or British Air landing troops, & join us for the debut of the Mein Zombie Squad Rules.


LG ran this three times during the Con with Mike Moran and I assisting.  The first time we played, the players were experienced Mein Zombie or other Zombie game players.  They were a little scared about the amount of noise the Military weapons made.  We also started them too far away from the objectives.  After shooting a lot on game turn one, both sides went silent after that.  They moved slow and got bogged down with heaps of zombies, neither side got close to the objective, but killed lots of zombies.  I don’t believe there was any human/ human combat.

On the 2nd run, we adjusted some things and started both sides closer to the camp.  Human on human combat started immediately.  This group also realized that they had so much firepower, the noise was irrelevant.  They were killing zombies and each other with glee.  The British Air Landing platoon breeched the wire and started clearing buildings.  The Germans made their way to the front gate in force, eventually parking their halftrack in front of the camp “Cooler” where the scientists were.  A good shot from a KOSB PIAT destroyed the Halftrack and the Infantry squad riding in it.  There was hard fighting with the living and undead until the game ended, but the scientists were not released.


For the 3rd run, we started even closer.  We had a good crew of experienced players.  Both sides were using their weapons to good advantage on the “Walkers” and the enemy.  The British mortar landed their first shot in an abandoned German Halftrack that was the German resupply point, and it went up with a 20 Noise counter bang.  The British attempted to flank the Germans with their Recce jeeps.  The Hun tried to counter with a half track, only to have their MG-42 Jam on their first shot.  The British jeep returned fire, causing damage.  The next card pulled was the German squad with the one German Panzerfaust.  They scored a direct hit and killed the jeep and crew.

The lead German squad breached the front gate, but took heavy British fire from the snipers in the Guard tower and were also mobbed by Zombies.  They eventually lost 4 of their 6 troopers.  The British were steadily clearing buildings and found the 3 scientists and their 3 guards.  As they tried to exfil with them, the Germans raced their halftrack right up to them.  The scientists tried to scramble into the track, which caused a firefight that cost half the scientists and guards.  The Germans were able to get the rest out of the camp before the British could bring up a PIAT and stop them.  German Victory.

WE learned a lot about how to adjust the rules and the scenario to make things play faster and easier.  Everyone who played all 3 games told us how much they liked the scenario and that with a few tweaks it would be even more fun.  The 3rd run was probably close to perfect.  We look forward to doing this again!!  Thanks to ODGW, Mike Moran and Kenny Noe for all the help and encouragement!!!!

Attached Thumbnails

  • 2015-07-17 19.45.43.jpg

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#11222 Stats for other weapons

Posted by William Cira on 23 December 2013 - 01:03 PM

I think it would be interesting to develop stats for some additional weapons such as the katana, the chainsaw, and the RPG launcher. 


The katana has a very high coolness factor due to the Walking Dead series and the new set of female survivors from Wargames Factory has a hilarious woman with an RPG launcher.  That one would of course be very noisy. 


I don't think the chainsaw would be an ideal weapon to use becuase of the noise, but it seems like every survivor set has them. 


Just a thought.  No big deal. 



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#15109 Pete's Minis

Posted by Peter M. Skaar on 13 February 2021 - 10:37 PM

Here are a couple of pictures of all the U.S. Shermans I had at the time it was taken.  I have add 3 more since plus I am working on 12 more M4A1s.





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#15108 FAI redux

Posted by healey36 on 13 February 2021 - 03:16 PM

We’re still becalmed in the doldrums of the pandemic here, so while the table is largely quiet, work continues on the lead/resin-pile together with a lot of reading. A number of unrelated projects have been worked as well, perhaps to be shared at a later date.


It’s disingenuous to say the table’s been totally silent, as a number of board games have found their way into the sunlight. The most recent was a solitaire play of ATO’s Arctic Disaster: The Destruction of Convoy PQ-17. I play-tested this for the designer back in 2015, but hadn’t looked at it since its publication. The mechanics are not too different from those of the early version we kicked around for a few weekends nearly five years ago, and it plays to a similar result (as do nearly all PQ-17 games). I would classify Arctic Disaster as more a “model” than a game; it’s brilliant at simulating/demonstrating what happened to the convoy, but it’s not much of a “game”. As with everything PQ-17, it boils down to trying to run a slow-moving convoy through a gauntlet of U-boats and land-based bombers, along with a seemingly better-than-not chance of an encounter with Tirpitz and her coterie. It’s just a blood-bath that you know is coming, and there’s no avoiding it.


Simanton sent over some pages from Alnavco’s Seapower which I’ve read through a couple of times. I’m not sure why, but I love reading naval wargame rules, especially those with some years on them. Seeing the nuances designers float as critical and their attempts to qualify/quantify the perceived impact is interesting, often eye-opening. This one developed from consideration of the methods and sequence of ranging and how some rule-sets handle it. Often times, one might think that a specific notion has gone unconsidered, but in fact it is cooked into the abstract system a designer has developed. On the other hand, it may have been genuinely overlooked. Pinning that down can be difficult without talking to the designer or reading his notes. A good place to start is often the game’s time-scale – elapsed time has a way of appropriately mitigating the minutiae of tactical combat, i.e. a lot can happen in a game-turn lasting six minutes, but a lot more can happen in one that lasts ten.


I finally finished a read of Graeme Cook’s Silent Marauders, then moved on to Blumentritt’s biography of Von Rundstedt (I wouldn’t recommend it, as it is a fairly blatant, unapologetic rewrite of the field-marshal’s career and his actions during the war). A friend of mine sent me a biography of Henry Segrave, which I think might be up next. That should have me digging through the attic looking for my old Avalon Hill Speed Circuit game.


Library book
Stamping inside the Von Rundstedt biography.


Together with some ideas shamelessly pilfered from Featherstone’s Solo Wargaming, I’ve gotten a few thoughts down and incorporated them into a template for an attempt at solitaire tactical maneuver for FAI. These, along with some hyper-aggressive gunnery notions and other ideas, might make for some fun (or total silliness). Regardless, I can see a few playtests hitting the table in the next few weeks, the details of which I’ll provide here.


Otherwise, we’re just laying low waiting for a vaccine appointment, reading through this year’s pile of seed catalogs.

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#15100 Game Aids Question

Posted by Cpt M on 06 February 2021 - 12:47 AM

HI There


I'm trying to find the required game aids for 1/300th and 1/700th scale.

I've downloaded those marked as what appears to be 1/720th but they labelled as 1/1200.


Are these playing aids available?





The 1/720 gauges (PC Master Gauges 720 R2_20191128.pdf) are rescaled from the 1/1200 gauges and still carry the 1/1200 labels (but are 1/720 scale)   As for 1/300; there has never been any gauges done for that scale.

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#15088 FAI redux

Posted by healey36 on 29 January 2021 - 10:57 AM

Got them and read them last night. Lots of useful/interesting bits there. The Q&A section was especially entertaining. Thanks for sending them over!


With a big chunk of my ship collection comprised of pre-dreadnought-era models, I'm wondering what rule changes/amendments would be required for FAI to roll it back some 20 years. I presume there were numerous technology/architecture differences (more than just fire-control and armoring). There are a few sets out there that might be usable, but I'm too old to go back to rivet-counting and some of the other vagaries, lol. I have a copy of Richard Hill's book War at Sea in the Ironclad Age...perhaps it's time to break down and actually read it. 

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#15085 Troop Quality and Morale

Posted by Peter M. Skaar on 28 January 2021 - 02:58 PM

Hi Andrew

I posted up my own rules that I use for unit (Company) morale as opposed to individual stand or vehicle morale. 

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#15079 Moral for stands vs unit

Posted by Peter M. Skaar on 26 January 2021 - 08:44 AM

A number of years ago, I devised a set of unit morale rules for Mein Panzer.  I have not used the morale rules as written which is a check on each stand but had it at the company level instead.

Essentially, it worked this way.

1. Assign a potential break point for the company.  Usually, to make it interesting in terms of playing a competitive game, I would allow about 50% losses before checking morale.  For example, a German or American full strength tank company of 17 tanks could lose 8 tanks with no problem.


2. When the 9th tank was knocked out, then roll the 20 sided die of doom.  Check to see if the roll came over or under the assigned troop quality for the unit.

3. If troop quality check is passed, continue on.  The unit has passed its morale check and is continuing on with its mission.

4. If troop quality check is not passed, then the unit can no longer advance but may continue to engage the enemy.  If a natural 20 is rolled, that means the unit will start to withdraw.

5. If a 20 is rolled, roll again.  If the number is below the troop quality level, an orderly withdrawal will occur.  Unit will move to the friendly side of the map at basic movement rate.  Unit can engage as it withdraws.

6. If the number is higher than the troop quality lever, there is a rout.  Unit must head back to friendly side using standard and bonus move to get off the board.  Game is basically over but additional casualties from enemy fire will be added.

7. In the event the unit passes its first moral check, with the loss of the 9th tank, the unit will continue its mission.

8. If the unit loses a tenth tank in the example, roll again for morale check but add 1 to the die roll.  Each additional loss will add 1 to the die roll on the quality check and increase the chance that the unit will abandon its mission for self preservation.

9. Example:  Unit loses the 11th tank of 17.  In the example above, 2 would be added to the quality check roll.  If passed, continue on, if failed, determine the degree to which the unit is affected - hold in place, orderly withdrawal, rout.  Also be sure that if adding to the die roll, if a 20 is reached this way, on either the first or second roll, the required action will be taken as if it were a natural 20.

10. When considering losses for morale, you can make a CO loss or brew up worth more.  These kinds of things would tend to have a greater effect on unit moral overall.  For example, You could say that a knocked out CO tank counts as 3.
A brew-up counts as 2.

Anyhow, that was a way I have incorporated morale effects into my games before without having to track the morale status of each individual stand or vehicle.

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#15068 FAI redux

Posted by healey36 on 21 January 2021 - 07:19 AM

If you have the spare time to make those, it would be very much appreciated. I'll flip you a PM with my email address.


Thanks, much.



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#15062 FAI redux

Posted by healey36 on 20 January 2021 - 10:47 AM

I didn't realize Alnavco was still around, but I found their site. I bought quite a few Superior kits and reference books from them back in the day. It looks like those rules, or a version of them, are still in print.

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#15058 FAI redux

Posted by Doug Barker on 18 January 2021 - 08:17 PM

To better model ammunition conservation you may want the zombie captains to fire some fraction of their battery (e.g. 25% or 33% of the tubes) until they hit their target. After that first hit it is full batteries. This doesn't really provide a disincentive to firing at max range, but kinda-sorta simulates ranging-in the guns until there is a straddle before really starting to burn through shells.


Movement is really difficult as there are so many variables (current range, damage taken, relative size of opposing fleets/ships, likelihood of damaging the enemy, likelihood of escape, etc etc) and can easily give you too much overhead. One thing to consider is picking cards or rolling dice to define mission and motivation of the zombie. So pick the Cradock card and you are going to engage closely regardless the odds, pick the Hipper card and you are going to stay engaged but at max range in an attempt to lure the enemy onto your battle fleet. That would help provide a bit of intent to the zombie without putting you in his shoes too much. Again more of a big picture kind of thing but I think that is an easier approach.

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#15057 FAI redux

Posted by healey36 on 18 January 2021 - 02:00 PM

Those are good points all, Doug, my sense being they predominantly address the operational top-side as much as the tactical (although one can graft the operational direction to the tactical in a broad sense). No doubt, the Kaiser was all about force preservation, whether that was based in a true strategic outlook (the notion that a largely inactive HSF went a long way toward tying up Britain’s naval assets) or simply that he didn’t want to see his pride-and-joy collection of ships damaged or destroyed. That caveat certainly weighed heavily on the HSF’s operational doctrine.


Putting aside Graf Spee and his tragically misplaced decision to approach Port Stanley, the first year of the war saw German strategic naval strategy as one more of a hammer-and-anvil approach, i.e. let’s sail the Scouting Groups across the North Sea, poke the Brits in the eye, lure them into an incremental response/pursuit, then crush them when they stumble into the lurking main body. The strategy, at least early on, seemed one of attempting to do this a half-dozen times or so, gradually grinding the Grand Fleet down into something a bit less omnipotent. Fanciful thinking, for sure, but the German high command was able to convince the Kaiser to go along (within the bounds he set).


So I think yours is a fair assessment…confront the German on the table with a superior force and he’s likely, nine times out of ten, to cut and run. It makes sense when considering the operational guard-rails set by the Kaiser, and it is notionally reinforced by the historical accounts of most operations. I can’t think of a time when a German commander went rogue and turned back to weigh into a superior force in some Grenville-esque rearguard action (at the end of the day, I just don’t think they had the stomach for it).


We play mostly hypothetical actions here, or actions which represent a subset of a larger battle, all of which we like to think are bound within the realm of possibility. OBs are typically fairly even in strength, as most players don’t find games where they are at a sharp quantitative and/or qualitative disadvantage on the front-end too appealing, myself included. I distinctly recall playing the USN side of a game based on the WWII Battle off Samar where a handful of destroyers faced down an IJN force comprised of Yamato and a number of other heavies. Despite victory conditions that potentially awarded the game to the Americans, even without a ship remaining afloat on the table, it was just a miserable time, not much fun.


But I digress.


In an effort to introduce some unpredictable variability, the problem I was trying to mechanically address is two-fold: In a solitaire game, (1) how do forces enter the table, and (2) how does my “automaton opponent” conduct himself tactically during the course of the game.


The first bit, whether a solitaire game or one with multiple live players, can be relatively straight forward. Get yourself a map of the operating area (i.e. the North Sea, the South Atlantic, Eastern Mediterranean, etc.) and find the approximate location where the forces will collide. Identify and set the course for the interloper, then, if one makes the presumption (likely just the first of many presumptions) that intercepting forces moved in a direct line from their base, simply draw a line from the base to the point of engagement; this will provide an approximate heading for entering the table. Of course, this is unlikely in reality, as the intercepting force might have been engaged in a complex search routine prior to making contact, so the direction of approach might not be so simple. Alternately, we could use some of the scripted ideas Nathan Forney came up with in North Sea Campaign to build tables for randomly determining the point of entry.


The second bit is much more difficult to come up with. It basically breaks down into gunfire/torpedoes and movement. With respect to gunfire, my experience has been that live players typically begin firing as soon as the range allows, regardless of likely effectiveness. Without some ammunition depletion consideration, there’s really nothing to constrain them. Historically, however, commanders often showed a bit more discretion, but that, for game purposes, introduces more variability of behavior that one will need to accommodate. I would suggest that one might set a maximum range for exchanging fire, 18000 yards perhaps, figuring the zombie opponent will darken the sky with incoming rounds in every phase where he is within and capable of a minimum of 18000 yards. If multiple targets are available, pick the most prominent and roll a die to make a selection. Similar with torpedoes - figure out the maximum effective range for a torpedo exchange and set that as the trigger. Close that distance and his fish go in the water.


With regards to movement, the simplest approach would be to subjectively determine whether your opponent is likely to stand and fight, or bolt. If the answer is that he’ll likely bolt, send him off in the direction of his home base. Questions remain, however, such as whether he proceeds on a straight heading or with an occasional zig or zag, and what if the course home leads into the very teeth of your guns?


If the answer is he’s likely uncowed in his intentions, then a table and die can be used to randomly determine his direction of movement. A table using a D12 might look like this:


                                Die Roll                                       Result

1                                            54-degree (three increment) starboard turn

2                                            36-degree (two increment) starboard turn

3                                            18-degree (one increment) starboard turn

4                                            Proceed with no course variation

5                                            Proceed with no course variation

6                                            Proceed with no course variation

7                                            Proceed with no course variation

8                                            Proceed with no course variation

9                                            Proceed with no course variation

10                                         18-degree (one increment) port turn

11                                         36-degree (two increment) port turn

12                                         54-degree (three increment) port turn


You’ll have to set some guardrails for something like this to work, otherwise you may have an opponent maneuvering helter-skelter in a highly illogical manner. Perhaps only allow course changes every other turn, requiring one turn of no course variation in between. You’ll have to come up with something similar for speed changes.


An alternative to all of this is something akin to the randomizing effect of the chit-pull, a sort of spur-of-the-moment “decision” process. For example, when it’s time to execute your opponent’s movement, come up with two or three logical alternatives for his action. If you think he’s most likely to move on a straight course, make that the most likely outcome on a D6 roll (i.e. 1=one increment turn to starboard, 2-5=no course variation, 6=one increment turn to port). If you think he’s likely to increase his speed, roll a D6 (1-5=speed increases by that number of knots, 6=no change). Is he likely to create smoke, roll a D6 (1-4=smoke, 5-6=no smoke). And so on and so on…


To be honest, if I indeed pursue this, I’m leaning toward the latter. An ever-evolving framework of random “decision-making”, a sort of make-it-up-as-you-go, has an appeal and spontaneity to it. The challenge is to keep the choices rational, managing the outcomes, while not homogenizing it to the point of it having no effect and it becoming just a silly exercise.


Anyway, just throwing a few more thoughts out there. A giant hairball, for sure; might be time to crack out Featherstone's Solo Wargaming.

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#15056 FAI redux

Posted by Doug Barker on 17 January 2021 - 09:02 PM

For capital ships solitaire for WW1 actions should be relatively straightforward as navies by and large prioritized force preservation. The RN was the main exception, with a much more "go at them" approach. So for most fleets the decision matrix is something like:


  • Is my fleet significantly superior? If YES then engage at range where your fleet has decisive advantage. Otherwise head for home as fast as possible.


Generally a "significantly superior" fleet would have advantages in both numbers and gun caliber, but would be a judgement call. This would give you a lot of stern chases a la Dogger Bank and the Falklands where the Germans had an inferior or a comparable force to the RN. The orders that the fleeing force would give would be small turns to port/starboard to unmask batteries and better extend range but overall pretty predictable and simple to simulate.


RN is the exception that tests the rule when it comes to capital ships. And I'm not sure how this would fit with actions between light forces as I'm not so familiar with those (except Heligoland Bight, which was more a demonstration of how the least disorganized force tends to win battles than anything else...). 

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#15055 FAI redux

Posted by healey36 on 17 January 2021 - 03:17 PM

I’d really like to be able to provide the reader another long-winded AAR regarding recent action here, but there’s been none. Egads, it’s been so quiet the wife at one point took over the game table for a bit of scrap-booking. There has been some work on the lead-pile, along with some general clean-up, but otherwise the fleets have largely remained in port.


I’ve been spending a bit of time trying to develop some workable, solitaire tactical “rules of maneuver” for hypothetical scenarios, primarily along the lines of course and speed changes for general movement. I don’t think you can do much more than that without making things terrifically more complicated, especially as situations tend to break down as the sides come to grips with each other.


I like to think I’m a decent occasional solitaire player, making every effort to be honest with myself and keep things within the realm of possibility, but one comes to miss the spontaneity of an opponent’s tactical decision-making and execution (or lack thereof). It’s the randomness that comes with not knowing exactly what the other guy is going to do that makes much of this appealing, yet so difficult to replicate. There’s just too many moving parts, many of which are interrelated.  


The current fashion in board wargames seems to be the random-activation-by-chit-pull phenomena. That doesn’t translate well outside the I-go-you-go turn-based format, which FAI and GQ3 are not. It’s an effort to introduce some randomness and “simultaneousness” to the board wargame format without forcing the players to plot movement. It has been a good development for the genre.


While we do plot movement here, it’s not onerous in its employ. It is, however, nonsensical for solitaire play, but the result is the loss of that sense of trying to understand one aspect of your opponent’s intentions. It would seem reasonably simple to develop tables for speed and heading, but of course it’s not, especially when considering the possibility of multiple columns/formations, not to mention command.     


We’ll work on it. It’s doable at some level.


While moving some more boxes around in the attic the other day, I came across some stuff that belonged to The Old Man back in the day. He left behind a ton of books (which I still need to sort through), a bunch of hand tools, a pile of model railroad gear, and a few other bits. These two prewar Tootsietoys were in there, perhaps a precursor to his naval career:




Destroyer K880 looks like she saw some action. Good times, I’m sure.



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