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#41 healey36

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Posted 09 January 2017 - 08:22 AM

Mediterranean theatre for FAI is something I've thought about for a good long while.The Austro-Hungarian and Italian fleets are small enough that you could have a good what-if fleet engagement in the Adriatic without thinning your wallet out too much. And the Austrian dreadnoughts have a high look-cool-factor in my opinion. 

Yeah, I agree Doug...the top-of-the-line Tegetthoff-class looks up to the task:

 

Tegetthoff

 

However crew-quality and tepid leadership, from what I've read, seriously hindered the fleet's performance.

 

Healey



#42 Doug Barker

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Posted 09 January 2017 - 10:21 PM

I don't know much about crew quality, but tepid leadership was par for the course when it came to using dreadnoughts. Too much prestige and treasure had been put into them to really want to risk them whether they were British or German or Austrian or whatever.

 

Fortunately that doesn't stop folks from doing what-ifs  :D



#43 healey36

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Posted 22 January 2017 - 09:40 AM

The French battleship Diderot, third in the Danton-class of pre-dreadnoughts that entered service in 1911:

 

Diderot

 

Diderot FH

 

Spent most of her WWI career blockading the Adriatic and eastern Mediterranean.

 

Healey



#44 healey36

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Posted 24 January 2017 - 09:50 AM

I don't know much about crew quality, but tepid leadership was par for the course when it came to using dreadnoughts. Too much prestige and treasure had been put into them to really want to risk them whether they were British or German or Austrian or whatever.

 

Fortunately that doesn't stop folks from doing what-ifs  :D

I agree...what-if's couched in some level of historicity make things fun. A well-constructed campaign-level scenario, compiled from accurate available-force OB's, seems to me to offer the most variability, introducing a series of actions pyramiding one atop the next while accumulating losses and possibly some replacements. Avalanche made a pretty good run at this with some of their Plan-X series, and I think Nathan Forney's North Sea Campaign provides an interesting framework here. 

 

Risk-aversion, for all its condemnation by historians, seems well-founded. For much of the first and second world wars the threat of a sortie could be more powerful than the execution of same. Jellicoe IMHO could have crushed the High Seas Fleet given better force dispositions, planning/execution, along with substantially better luck. However the down-side risk was too great, nationally, politically and professionally. In the end, the politicians scapegoated him for operational failures while achieving strategic success.



#45 simanton

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Posted 24 January 2017 - 01:50 PM

Beatty of Jellicoe?



#46 healey36

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Posted 24 January 2017 - 04:06 PM

Err, Jellicoe...I have Beatty and Hipper on the brain lately. Corrected.



#47 simanton

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Posted 24 January 2017 - 11:32 PM

Thanks!  No longer confused!



#48 healey36

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 02:50 PM

Been in port for the last couple of weeks, the table temporarily diverted to an exploration of Mein Panzer. Heresy I hear you say...well maybe.

 

At the New Year I resolved to paint/base all of the remaining 1/6000 ships in the lead pile before ordering anything else. There are a few less-than-front-line units in here.

 

Here are three of the six Devonshire-class armored cruisers, all completed in 1905. These are some of the nicest 1/6000 Figurehead castings I've seen:

 

Devonshire class

 

These cruisers saw action at the fringes during the war, primarily off Norway and later on convoy duty in the Atlantic.

 

HMS Hampshire was lost to a mine shortly after Jutland. She'd been charged with transporting Lord Kitchener and his staff to Russia on a diplomatic mission and struck the mine while pushing through heavy seas during a storm. She went down in fifteen minutes taking Kitchener, his entire staff and all but a dozen or so of the crew with her.

 

HMS Hampshire

 

There's been much speculation as to the circumstances of Hampshire's loss over the years, most of it being crazy conspiracy theories. In the end it was a terrible tragedy, one of several that struck the RN during the war.

 

HMS Hampshire:

 

HMS Hampshire

 

She looks to have been a good ship.

 

Healey



#49 healey36

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 07:50 PM

The most serious casualty of the November 1914 raid on Yarmouth was SMS Yorck, lost to friendly mines. It would seem her crew made a navigational error as she returned to approach Wilhelmshaven via the Schillig Roads, wandering slightly off-course into a German defensive minefield where she struck a pair of mines and quickly sank with the loss of a third of her complement.

 

SMS Yorck

SMS Yorck

 

At the time she was assigned to the 4th Scouting Group comprised of the older armored cruisers Roon (F), herself, Prinz Adalbert, Friedrich Carl and Prinz Heinrich. It has been difficult to determine the exact circumstances of her deployment during the Yarmouth operation, or if she was in fact deployed at all. However, her demise is certainly attributed to the operation by most writers.

 

All five of the armored cruisers assigned to 4th Scouting Group (redesignated 3rd Scouting Group after April 17, 1915) suffered ignominious ends or blunted careers. Yorck and Friedrich Carl were both lost to mines in November 1914, although in separate operations. Roon saw limited action with the High Seas Fleet before being redeployed to the Baltic in 1915. In 1916 she was downgraded to a training ship and later a barracks ship, a role she continued to the end of the war. Prinz Adalbert served briefly with the HSF before being reassigned to the Baltic in late November 1914. However it is noted in Hildebrand, Röhr and Steinmetz’s Die Deutschen Kriegsschiffe that Prinz Adalbert made a sortie into the North Sea on November 2-4, 1914 (possibly indicating that she together with Yorck and the rest of 4th Scouting Group ventured out to participate in Hipper’s Yarmouth operation). In July 1915 Prinz Adalbert was torpedoed by the British submarine E9 while operating in the Baltic. She was repaired and returned to service that fall, but was torpedoed a second time in October by E8 resulting in a catastrophic magazine explosion and the loss of the ship. Lastly was Prinz Heinrich, the oldest of the lot. Again she is reported to have participated in operations with the HSF through December 1914 before she too was transferred to the Baltic where she saw action with Roon and Prinz Adalbert. She was removed from active service in early 1916 and took up duties as an office ship in Kiel.

 

During Hipper’s Yarmouth operation 4th Scouting Group was intact and, if one puts any faith in the circumstances noted above, sortied into the North Sea in support of the raid. I can find no notes on possible encounters with enemy units.

 

During Hipper’s mid-December 1914 operation against Scarborough, Hartlepool and Whitby there was a bit of a scrumble between Roon and two other cruisers (presumably Prinz Adalbert and Prinz Heinrich, forming the remnants of 4th Scouting Group) with British destroyers. Roon and her compatriots drove off the destroyers but Beatty reluctantly detached and sent New Zealand and three light cruisers to investigate. The British ships were reportedly spaced two miles apart to optimize the search for the German ships. Weather was poor.

 

In either case it seems likely enough to justify throwing some ships on the table.

 

Healey

 

Edit :: 4th Scouting Group was redesignated 3rd Scouting Group on April 17, 1915, roughly concurrent with its transfer to the Baltic.



#50 healey36

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Posted 04 April 2017 - 10:01 AM

4th Scouting Group, 1/6000 Figurehead:

 

4th Scouting Group 1914

 

Intact for only the first few months of the war, it would be fun to explore the operational capability of these old armored cruisers with the HSF during the closing months of 1914. I imagine Ingenohl deploying them like a great swinging gate northeast of the mainbody, to find who knows what out there.

 

Poor Fürst Bismarck didn't make the cut...a close earlier realtive to Prinz Heinrich, she was deemed obsolete, even for use as a coastal-defense ship, and was relegated to barracks duty:

 

SMS Bismarck

 

Get Rear Admiral Hubert von Rebeur-Paschwitz up to the bridge...smoke on the horizon, ja?

 

Healey



#51 Doug Barker

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Posted 05 April 2017 - 08:04 AM

An interesting hypothetical situation where you could use ACs would be to assume the Agadir Crisis in 1911 went hot. Roon and her sisters would have had a more important role in the HSF scout group given that only Blucher** and Von Der Tann (and Moltke after Sep/11) were the on strength. RN would have had the three Invincibles plus Indefatigable, maybe with the likes of Warrior and Minotaur filling out the rest of the "Battle Cruiser fleet".

 

**BC availability is based on the first appendix in Robert Massie's book Dreadnought.



#52 healey36

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 07:58 PM

That's an intriguing suggestion...rolling the clock back even a few years opens numerous possibilities. A straight up encounter between the German AC's and the Warrior-class cruisers might even be interesting.

What was Britain's stake in the Agadir Matter anyway? That was a French North Africa thing, wasn't it?



#53 Doug Barker

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Posted 14 April 2017 - 11:51 AM

Britain's main stake was support of the Entente Cordiale. They had supported France in the negotiations following the Kaiser's visit to Tangier & the subsequent saber rattling from all sides, and the feeling was that the UK needed to continue to support it's partner.

 

There were nationalistic concerns that fed into this support of France, primarily the growing HSF which had soured the UK:German relationship and contributed to pushing the UK into the Entente in the first place. The dreadnought race was running at top speed, and the British were terrified of losing naval supremacy. And the Germans were probably the only European power with the industrial and financial ability to potentially out-build the British. At a more situation-specific level, German concessions in Morocco could have led to the Germans to setting up coaling stations close to Gibraltar. This would have been seen as a force-multiplier by the British, giving the HSF the potential to either station more ships overseas (imagine a full-on squadron in the Med rather than just Goeben and Breslau) or in an extreme scenario breaking out of the North Sea to strike at the Empire's lifelines through Suez and around the Cape.

 

EDIT: One other thing to consider is that the UK didn't really have any skin in the game when it came to the assassination of Franz Ferdinand which precipitated war in 1914. The issue that sold Parliament and the nation into declaring war was the German invasion of Belgium. In an alternate 1911 the Schlieffen Plan would have still existed, the Germans would have still tried to get to Paris via Brussels, and the UK would almost certainly have gone to war with Germany. 



#54 healey36

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 04:40 PM

Britain's main stake was support of the Entente Cordiale. They had supported France in the negotiations following the Kaiser's visit to Tangier & the subsequent saber rattling from all sides, and the feeling was that the UK needed to continue to support it's partner.

 

There were nationalistic concerns that fed into this support of France, primarily the growing HSF which had soured the UK:German relationship and contributed to pushing the UK into the Entente in the first place. The dreadnought race was running at top speed, and the British were terrified of losing naval supremacy. And the Germans were probably the only European power with the industrial and financial ability to potentially out-build the British. At a more situation-specific level, German concessions in Morocco could have led to the Germans to setting up coaling stations close to Gibraltar. This would have been seen as a force-multiplier by the British, giving the HSF the potential to either station more ships overseas (imagine a full-on squadron in the Med rather than just Goeben and Breslau) or in an extreme scenario breaking out of the North Sea to strike at the Empire's lifelines through Suez and around the Cape.

 

EDIT: One other thing to consider is that the UK didn't really have any skin in the game when it came to the assassination of Franz Ferdinand which precipitated war in 1914. The issue that sold Parliament and the nation into declaring war was the German invasion of Belgium. In an alternate 1911 the Schlieffen Plan would have still existed, the Germans would have still tried to get to Paris via Brussels, and the UK would almost certainly have gone to war with Germany. 

 

I had to go back and refamiliarize myself with the Entente Cordiale and all the bits that were wrapped up in that agreement. You give a good summary of the main points from the UK's perspective. With its guarantee of a free-hand in Egypt it sounded almost post-war 'Churchillian' in its points and tone. How, with France's alliance with Russia and Britain's treaty with the Japanese, was the whole thing not chucked when the Russo-Japanese war broke out in 1905? I seem to recall Duff Cooper writing a pretty good explanation of how they got around that.

 

While the fleet OB's and disposition might look quite different in 1911, one glaring difference would be the absence of the U-boat arm. If memory serves the first truly functional class of German sub didn't see its launch until a year or two later, and there were maybe fifty of them available in aggregate when the balloon went up in 1914. Presumably this might add weight to your supposition regarding the HSF and an attempt to beat up Britain's supply lanes via the surface fleet.

 

But then would there have been even more hesitancy to risk assets? Maybe, but certainly interesting to consider.

 

Healey



#55 healey36

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 08:19 AM

I've been culling the bookshelves a bit and stumbled onto my father's copy of Lowell Thomas' Raiders of the Deep from 1928. Thomas was a masterful interviewer, writer, and broadcaster during the inter-war years and is generally credited with creating the mystique around T. E. Lawrence. I first read Raiders of the Deep when I was a teenager, probably rereading it ten or more times over a relatively short period of time. It may be an overly romanticized account, but it still provides a really interesting look at the U-boat campaigns and commanders of WWI.

 

Raiders Of The Deep

 

Naval Institute Press pushed out a reprint back in 2004, but earlier editions are still around...IMHO its worth picking up a copy. If nothing else it will have you craving marmalade, coffee and fresh bananas.

 

 

So after sitting down and reading a few passages I again started thinking about FAI, GQ3 and the U-boat wars. I've putzed around with the submarine rules a bit but can't say I've mastered them. To my mind you really need multiple players and an umpire to make them work well. You also need some ships...sheep for the wolves to hunt.

 

 

Digging through the lead-pile I found a few Figurehead tramp steamers and thought I'd try my hand at merchantmen. When basing them I wasn't sure if I should provide a historical name for each or just go with some sort of generic code (i.e. SS Aa, SS Bb, etc.). I decided I'd go with actual ships…I’ll just have to produce a couple thousand of them.

 

 

The S. S. Tosto was a Norwegian-flagged tramp steamer built in 1904 at the Priestman yard in Sunderland. She was relatively small, just 1,234 tons, powered by a small single shaft 3-cylinder triple-expansion engine. In June of 1917 she set sail on a voyage from Methil, Scotland to Haugesund, Norway with a load of coal. She hadn't gone too far when she struck a mine laid by UC-49 off Noup Head in the Orkneys. From the accounts I've read she went down quickly without casualties amongst her crew.

 

 

 

SS Tosto a

 

SS Tosto

 

This is a Figurehead 1/6000 medium-sized tramp...at 1,234 tons it would have been more appropriate to use the small version, but this is what I had. Painted in her Johanson Line prewar paint scheme (before they slathered everything in dark-gray). Deck-color was an unknown - I went with brown presuming some sort of linoleum or painted steel with similar hatch-covers.

 

UC-49 was launched mid-war in 1916 and sank twenty-five ships over her twenty-month career. A Type-II coastal minelaying submarine, she was armed with up to 18 mines and seven torpedoes. She was depth-charged and sunk by HMS Opossum on August 8, 1918, the location variously placed. Uboat.net reports it was off Start Point in the English Channel, while John Taylor's German Warships of World War I has the action somewhere in the North Sea. Regardless, there were no survivors.

 

Healey



#56 healey36

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 07:58 PM

In the course of looking for a photo of HMS Opossum (sinker of UC-49, which in turn had sunk SS Tosto and twenty-four other ships) I found this pic of a Sunfish-class destroyer, of which, according to Janes, there were three - HMS Sunfish, HMS Opossum, and HMS Ranger. This photo is typically attributed as HMS Ranger:

 

Sunfish class DD

 

Putting aside the peculiarities of prewar British destroyer design, what's really interesting to me is what's in the background of the photo...looks to be HMS Victory. The DD's were built in 1895/96, while Victory was dry-docked in 1922, two years after the three Sunfish-class DD's went to the scrapper. 

 

Healey



#57 simanton

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 11:31 PM

Nice!  And my copy is handy on the bookshelf!



#58 healey36

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 07:22 PM

Thomas' brief account of Otto Weddigen's U-9 attack on HMS Cressy, Aboukir and Hogue early in the war would almost be comical if it hadn't been such a horrifying disaster for the Royal Navy. The level of tactical and technical inexperience, ineptitude and naïveté exhibited by both the Brits and the Germans is palpable here. This was an event that set the tone for the submarine engagements over the following years. Everyone understood it was 'total war' after this...

 

HMS Aboukir

First of three, the loss of HMS Aboukir, from one of London's illustrated daily newspapers of the time.

 

It's interesting that during the course of this attack U-9 broached the surface at one point immediately after firing torpedoes, the sudden weight loss causing the submarine to pitch violently upward. Exposing her position she was nearly run down by one of the cruisers before continuing the attack. Less than a year later Weddigen, commanding U-29, would experience this again. However this time it cost him and his crew their lives as U-29 was rammed and cut in half by HMS Dreadnought, the only battleship known to have sunk a submarine.  

 

Healey



#59 healey36

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Posted 10 June 2017 - 03:15 PM

I had the folks over at Litko make us a few small debris-field markers:

 

Debris

 

They look about right for 1/6000, maybe a bit big, but an upgrade from the markers we've been using.

 

I also ran down the small tramps in the lead-pile. I'll work on those as time allows.

 

Been reading a bit on the career of U-35, the most successful U-boat during WWI. She sank over a half-million tons of shipping, primarily in the Med, surviving the war to be turned over to the RN. She was scrapped by the British in 1920.

 

Healey



#60 healey36

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 09:33 AM

I finally got back to the 1/2400 Royal Sovereign-class BB I picked up a while back. I gave it a hybridized paint scheme...a bit pre-war, a bit war-time. As HMS Revenge was the only ship of the class to see action during the war I went with her and based the scheme loosely on an old post card I found on the net:

 

HMS Revenge 1892

 

HMS Revenge B

 

HMS Revenge A

 

I realize the PC is colorized and may not be an accurate representation of her scheme but it looked reasonable given some of the photo's I've seen (not sure about those yellow funnels though during the war). I need to do a bit of touch-up, especially where the wash pooled on her decks and left rings, lol, and the guitar-string masts need some paint.  Looking at these pics I realize how far gone the old eyes are.

 

I'm not going to fawn over these 3D-printed models too much, but will say that the 1/2400 versions are the best little models for the predreadnought era out there IMHO (they are offered in multiple scales). Hats off to the folks at WTJ for making the tech and time investment for their production. The models come pre-drilled for masts which is huge, and they offer scale fire-direction positions for them. If done properly the masts would include multiple spars and one or two "crows nests" but at that point it all gets a bit fiddly. An ODGW etched base and a printed label affixed to the underside and she's ready for action (okay, I'm fawning).

 

Revenge performed a number of shore bombardment missions with the Dover Patrol during the early months of the war. I've seen a few extraordinary photo's of her with a purposely induced list intended to increase her 13.5-inch's elevations and hence her range while shelling the coast of Flanders. She was later renamed Redoubtable (the new Revenge-class was entering production) and had a refit, but soon after was laid up at Portsmouth through the end of the war. She went to the scrapper in 1919.

 

Of note the Royal Sovereign-class BB's were but 380 feet long (the Cressy-class armored-cruisers, built seven years later in 1899, were 472 feet long). Perhaps these were the first of the "pocket" battleships.

 

In the course of culling the library I came across a copy of Swinburne's The Royal Navy. Published in 1907 it's a fun but heavily romanticized view of Britain's fleet as it crept toward war. The book includes no photographs but instead a number of great prints by Norman Wilkinson. One appears to be a Royal Sovereign or Majestic-class battleship being coaled:

 

 

Coaling a battleship
 

Like Jackie Fisher himself these ships went largely untested. However if you roll the clock back just a few years the possibilities present themselves for the FAI game table.

 

Healey







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