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 fleetThe 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...
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)...