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Its a Long Way to Paramaribo

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#1 W. Clark

W. Clark


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Posted 13 September 2021 - 01:21 AM

Duel off Guiana AAR

Rear Admiral Palliser (RN) had over slept. He as Deputy Commander ABDA Flot had come to Tjilatjap to plead with the Commander ABDA Flot, Vice Admiral Helfrich (RNN) to release the Dutch East Indies Fleet for use in the defense of the DEI. He spoken with Helfrich upon arrival the day before and it had been in vain. He had finally gone to bed tired and frustrated over the Dutchman’s stubborn refusal to listen to reason. The Dutch had been withholding their fleet because they felt the Americans and the British had no real intention of trying to hold the DEI and were just using the Dutch to gain time. To put it mildly, the Allies were very unhappy with the Dutch. This coupled with the Dutch woes around the world had left her isolated diplomatically.


Palliser stepped out onto the balcony of his upper story room and gazed at the harbor. But there was no Dutch fleet lying at anchor as there had been the day before. Palliser summoned his Flag Lieutenant. Where are they, Flags? Palliser queried. They are gone, Sir replied Flags. I can see that. Gone where? I don’t really know Sir, but when they sailed a few hours ago their crews were on deck singing; “It’s a long way to Paramaribo, it’s a long way to go.” Paramaribo? Where the devil is Paramaribo? I think it a port in Dutch Guiana, Sir?


The Argentine Government was on the outs with her unwanted big brother the Norte Americanos and while they did not necessarily want to be on the outs, they also didn’t particularly care. Why should they break ties with Germany just because America wanted them to? Meanwhile things were jumping around the world and Argentina had been watching the Allies growing problems with the Axis with interest. The Dutch in particular had been on decided down turn for almost two years now. The Germans had invaded and occupied Holland and they did not seem have any intention of handing it back. Now the Japanese were taking the Dutch Empire in the DEI away despite the Americans and British. Everyone seemed to be kicking the Dutch. Then the Argentines remembered Dutch Guiana. With everyone distracted across the Atlantic and in the Pacific maybe now was a good time to be aggressive. To make a long story short, the Argentines sent a troop convoy escorted by the newer bulk of their fleet and took Paramaribo. They were now in the process of establishing control inland while their fleet remained in Paramaribo harbor.


Now the Dutch were coming to take back their own from an opponent they could face up to on their own. Its long way to Paramaribo, it’s a long way to go; 12,929 nm to be exact.


Time: 0800 hours       Wind: Force 5 Northwesterly            Wind Speed: 20 knots

Smoke: 1 GT               Squalls: None             Sea Haze: None          Sky: Overcast





Royal Netherlands Navy Far East Squadron

Cruiser Division: VAdm Helfrich        Destroyer Flotilla: RAdm Doorman

CL HrMs De Ruyter FF                        CL HrMs Jacob van Heemskerck FL

CL HrMs Java                                      DesGroup 1                             DesGroup 2

CL HrMs Sumatra                               DD HrMs Banckert DL            DD HrMs Evertsen DL

CL HrMs Tromp                                  DD HrMs Van Ghent              DD HrMs Kortenaer

                                                            DD HrMs Van Nes                   DD HrMs Piet Hein

                                                            DD HrMs Witte de With        DD HrMs Van Ghalen

Heading: N      Speed: 14 knots

Armada Argentine

Cruiser Division: VAdm Juan Valdes DesRon 1                                 DesRon 2

CA ARA Admirante Brown FF            DD ARA Cervantes                 DD ARA Buenos Aries

CA ARA Veintcinco de Mayo             DesDiv 1                                  DesDiv 3

CL ARA La Argentina                          DD ARA Juan de Garay           DD ARA Entre Rios

                                                            DD ARA Mendoza                  DD ARA Corrientes

                                                            DesDiv 2                                  DD ARA Missones

                                                            DD ARA La Rioja                     DesDiv 4

                                                            DD ARA Tucuman                  DD ARA San Luis

                                                                                                            DD ARA San Juan

                                                                                                            DD ARA Santa Cruz

Heading: S      Speed: 14 knots


The day was overcast and the low cloud cover seemed to be affecting visibility. VAdm Juan Valdes (ARA) was on the bridge of his flagship, the Admirante Brown leading the center column, comprised of the cruisers. DesRon 1 and DesRon 2 were also in columns about 5,000 yards to port and starboard respectively. The destroyer columns were echeloned back about 3,000 yards.


VAdm Helfrich (RNN) was also on the bridge of his flagship, the De Ruyter leading the cruiser division in a column. RAdm Doorman (RNN) was in the cruiser, Heemskerck about 5,000 yards to starboard and echeloned back about 3,000 yards. RAdm Doorman lead the destroyer flotilla (also in a column).


At 0842 hours the mastheads of Admirante Brown and De Ruyter reported “Enemy in sight dead ahead”. Both admirals ordered full speed and their spotter a/c launched.

Valdes ordered a 6 point turn to starboard and Helfrich ordered the same to port. The range was just over 15,000 yards when they opened on each other.

Admirante Brown missed as did De Ruyter. The cruisers had accelerated to 19 knots by this point as each division followed its leader in succession. The Argentine destroyers took station ahead (DesRon 2) and astern (DesRon 1). RAdm Doorman took station astern the cruiser division.

That all took up some 12 minutes to accomplish while the cruisers continued to increase speed to 24 knots. The exchange at this point was lively but not accomplishing much. Then the Dutch made a two point turn to starboard and started to close the range.


Almirante Brown hit De Ruyter once the hull. de Mayo hit Java once in the hull. La Argentina hit Sumatra twice, knocking out her fore gun and damaging a bulkhead. De Ruyter fired at Admirante Brown and missed. Java and Sumatra both fired at de Mayo and missed. Tromp and Heemskerck fired at La Argentina and they hit her once apiece, knocking out her fore turret and damaging her engines, slowing her to 20 knots. The destroyers were plinking away at each other at extreme range and the Argentine destroyers were even throwing a few shots at Tromp and Heemskerck. A lot of splashes, but no hits.


Sumatra fixed her bulkhead. Valdes ordered La Argentina to withdraw under smoke and she turned away. She would break her engine during attempts at repairing it that would take a dockyard to fix. Valdes ordered DesRon 2 to close and torpedo attack the Dutch cruisers. DesRon 2 turned four points to starboard and increased to 35 knots. The ARA cruisers also increased their speed to 29 knots, but the Dutch cruisers were restricted to 26 knots by the hull damage to Java and Sumatra.


The turn by DesRon 2 meant they were closing the range rapidly. Buenos Aires, Entre Rios, Corrientes and Misiones (all firing rapidly) concentrated on De Ruyter, but only Misiones hit her once and then only a search light platform. San Luis, San Juan and Santa Cruz (all firing rapidly) concentrated on Java and hit her twice, knocking out her searchlight and damaging her hull. Admirante Brown changed to Tromp and missed her. de Mayo fired at Heemskerck also missed. DesRon 1 and the Dutch destroyers were still over 12,000 yards apart, but Cervantes hit Banckert once in the hull; but the rest of DesRon 1 missed. The Dutch cruisers switched targets to the destroyers bearing down on them. De Ruyter with her fore guns hit Buenos Aries once in her engines. Java and Sumatra missed. But Tromp hit Admirante Brown once knocking out her fore turret. Heemskerck fired at de Mayo and missed. All the Dutch destroyers missed.


Buenos Aires failed to fix her engines and turned away under smoke to repair. The remainder of DesRon 2 continued at 36 knots and threatened to cross the Dutch Tee. VAdm Helfrich tried to respond by turning two points to starboard and ordering up his destroyers at full speed. The Argentine destroyers continued to fire by division. DesDiv 3 hit De Ruyter once in a magazine but she managed to flood it losing her fore gun mount in the process. DesDiv 4 missed Java. Admirante Brown missed Sumatra, but de Mayo hit Tromp thrice, but the only hit that had effect was one to her engineering. Cervantes hit Heemskerck thrice, once in her aviation facilities causing a fire, once in the hull and a hit to her engineering. Juan de Garay hit Banckert thrice, knocking out three of her four guns. Mendoza hit Van Ghent once, but it jammed her rudder to port. La Rioja hit Van Nes once, damaging a bulkhead. Tucuman hit Witte de With once, in her DCT.

De Ruyter hit Entre Rios four times, knocking out her fore TT mount, damaging her hull and all her fore guns. Java hit Mendoza thrice, knocking out both her fore guns and damaging her hull, slowing her to 31 knots. Sumatra missed entirely. Tromp firing at Admirante Brown, hit her four times, knocking out all her MB, damaging bulkhead and further damaging her hull. Heemskerck fired at de Mayo and hit her twice, knocking out her fore turrets. The Dutch destroyers now hit the DesRon 1 seven times, but who cares. We really want to see if Juan Valdes makes morale and he did!  OK, back to the ARA destroyers and their hits. Cervantes lost her fore gun; Juan de Garay lost her fore TT mount; Mendoza suffered hull damage; La Rioja lost her fore gun and suffered hull damage while lost her fore gun and TT mount.


VAdm Valdes ordered his cruisers to retire under smoke and his destroyers to execute torpedoes attacks to cover his withdrawal. The destroyers were then to withdraw under smoke also. DesDiv 3 targeted De Ruyter with its remaining five quad mounts inside 4,400 yards. De Ruyter tried to evade but failed and was hit 5 times with two spreads getting two hits each. De Ruyter took 17 damage to her 6-box hull and sank. Java also tried to evade and while doing that ran into 4 torps which gave her 12 damage to her 6-box hull and sank her. As she was going down another hit her in her bridge. DesRon 1 aimed it torpedoes at Tromp and Heemskerck and hit Heemskerck once. Heemskerck to 6 damage to her 5-box hull and sank.


The Argentine destroyers turned away under smoke without seeing what they had done. The Dutch without any admirals (both went down with their ships as all good admirals do) and decided to withdraw as best they could (they failed morale and who wouldn’t).


And as the sun set on that portion of the pond, you could faintly hear; It’s a long way to Paramaribo. It’s a long way to go. It’s a long way to Paramaribo to the worst die rolls I’ve known. Say good bye to Surabaya, farewell Batavia. It’s a long, long way to Paramaribo but that’s where I’ve gone.


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#2 simanton



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Posted 13 September 2021 - 11:06 PM

Nice and IMHO realistic!

#3 healey36



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Posted 14 September 2021 - 10:03 AM

I'm with Palliser; I had to look up Paramaribo to find its location. Great scenario, but I'm curious as to whether Argentina actually held an interest in what seems a bit of far-flung expansionism. I guess it wasn't a good time to make a run at the long-coveted Islas Malvinas.

#4 W. Clark

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 10:30 AM

As I explained to Dave Franklin. I have an Argentine Fleet. Its a small fleet, but an interesting mix of Brit and Italian designs. The obvious opponents are Brazil or Chile. But, they don't have any cruisers except pre-WWI relics. The Dutch on the other hand seem a good match depending on what you allow them to sortie. As for the scenario, I declared up front that it was a long, long way to go. I'm afraid my lack of imagination and limited knowledge of Dutch possessions outside the DEI left me small choice as to why the fleets would tangle at all. The Brits being more experienced (hundreds of years of practice) in dealing with the Dutch kept communication lines open by refueling the Dutch at Cocas Islands and again at Cape Good Hope where they also provided an oiler so the Dutch could refuel after crossing the Atlantic. How nice.


There is an encounter with a British Official at Table Bay that leads to a decision tree for the Dutch and Paramaribo was one fork. The next scenario will display the other fork and reveal perfidious Albion as Italy knew her before Italy's entry into WWI in all her arm twisting and diplomatic strong-arming .glory. Maybe not so nice.

#5 W. Clark

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 10:37 AM

Never forget; the two truths of the way the world works. Thucydides said it 25 centuries ago and nothing regardless of any prevailing PC has changed.


1. You make war with money.


2. The strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.


Anyone who disregards these truths and ventures into conflict, willingly or unwillingly, suffers for it.

#6 healey36



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Posted 14 September 2021 - 10:50 AM

Trust me, I'd be the last to find fault in creating background for scenarios. A bit of reading leads one to wonder what the Dutch saw in the territory in the first place, as it seems its primary output was sugar, then later bauxite. More likely just the egomaniacal desire to have a stake on the South American continent, similar to their European peers.


I was going to ask if you had an Argie fleet in the cabinets, or if you'd used ship-forms of some sort. The answer you provided above reconfirms my assessment, "You da man!"

#7 W. Clark

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 03:40 PM

I just commissioned the Armada Espana of the 30s & 40s. They are next up to take on the Dutch, who are quickly becoming French in that they have too many enemies. I'm waiting on my Eendratch class cruisers to come back from the painter. I'm always looking for a balanced scenario where the balance is that each side has different strengths and weaknesses. Then it is up to the players to capitalize on their strengths while sheltering their weaknesses. The player who does a better job of that in the scenario normally wins with luck also having something to say.


Its not that I don't enjoy a more standard fare of naval scenarios. Its just that I played most of them several times each. I try and vary what a player runs into in scenarios with historical OOBs. As an example, take the Pacific. I have 18 surface combat scenarios from historical fights or near misses that could have easily ended up in a surface brawl that run from the start of the war to the end 1943.. But, they are on 3x5 cards as an Allied and a Japanese deck. We roll to see who is playing which side (unless someone wants a particular side). Then the players draw a card from the deck and that is what their OOB is. The Japanese card determines if the scenario is day or night. So, even if you recognize your OOB as belonging to a particular fight; you only have a 1 in 18 chance that your opponent has the historical pairing as his OOB. It tends to reduce the advantage that historically knowledgeable players have over those less knowledgeable. Otherwise it is almost impossible to spring something on someone who knows exactly what you have and where it is coming from.

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