Monday, 18 January 2016

A scrap in the Skagerrak

The Battle of the Skagerrak, 1909

I am currently involved in a small PBEM campaign set during the 1909 Herring War between Norway and Denmark.  I, Admiral Lars Toeplast, command the Royal Norwegian Navy, ably assisted by my intelligence chief, Captain Captain Jakob von der Lippe (Jerry Elsmore).  The dastardly Dane is none other than Mr Alan Gruber.  The campaign is being run from his London bunker by Bertrand.

I'll not insult you by outlining the background to this well-known conflict.  Suffice it say that it's all the fault of the Danes.

The two 'fleets' having clashed on the umpires map, there was a clear need - or excuse - to get out some toy ships and play it through.  Bertrand did so using large models and amended 'Boilers & Breechloaders' rules and then last Wednesday the good people of Sheffield Wargames Society braved a game using my 1/1200 scale ships and a single page hastily typed notes.  Jerry presented the situation and I ran the game.  The Norwegians were John A and Martin R, the Danes Tim C, Richard H and John G.

As night was fast approaching when the fleets closed, the following words and photos outline what the respective officers thought was happening.  But none of them has ever had much grasp on reality...

The gunnery system involved firing matchsticks at various sizes of targets according to range and light conditions.  It provided an entertaining if excessively bloody game but further developments - refinements even - are under way.


The ship models bore but little relation the vessels they represented - being unaccountably short of Scandinavian warships I simply used the least unlikely models I had.
 the Danish commanders confer
 The Norwegians review their fleet
 The mostly mercantile Norwegian fleet, the large warship is the coastal battleship Harald Haarfagre (the model is the Schleswig Holstein by MY Models)
 The far more numerous Danish fleet, including the cruiser Helka (actually an Austrian Helgoland class) and the coastal battleship Olfert Fisher (the model is the Austrian Tegetthoff).
 The gunnery targets.  The small target is in use, with the medium and large at readiness.
 Was the smoke laid by torpedo boats or from damage? 
 A fearsome sight - John A fires a salvo...
...at the medium target...
...and hits!
The Olfert Fisher was reported sunk by torpedoes.  
The TB at right angles to the others is the Norwegian TB1....
 ...from which no more was heard!
  When night fell searchlights were much in evidence.  Players who wished turn on lights had to choose 'blind' from a selection of randomly cut lengths of white card.
After losing contact with the Helka, the Danish armed yacht Spam I Kunne...
...fired a parting shot (Tim C at the breech)...
...and fled

15 comments:

Robert (Bob) Cordery said...

Tim,

An excellent little battle report!

You seem to have found the solution to the the boring bit of Jane's naval war game firing system. Are we going to see it in use at COW? I do hope!

All the best,

Bob

Peter Douglas said...

A suitably loopy looking battle Tim, I love it! Will you be sharing or publishing your rules?
Cheers Peter

Pete. said...

Looks like fun.

Cheers,

Pete.

Paul Foster said...

Classic Gow!

Wg Cdr Luddite said...

En annen herlig seier. Gud bevare Kongen!

Tim Gow said...

Bob Cordery
It's a crude game, but works well with crude players. So yes, I'll bring it to COW....

Tim Gow said...

Peter Douglas
I see no reason to limit the suffering to players in the UK...

Tim Gow said...

Pete
Fun? Yes it was - despite being a 100% accurate, meticulously researched simulation...

Tim Gow said...

Paul Foster
That's a good thing, right? Oh, I see...

Tim Gow said...

We Cdr Luddite
og forvirring sine fiender!

Al said...

very cool

Stephen Beat said...

Absolutely love the shooting gallery, Tim!

Tim Gow said...

Al
January in the Skagerrak - it's never going to be warm....

Tim Gow said...

Stephen Beat
Surely you mean the Gunnery Range?

Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

Crazy cool :)

Like it!