Thursday, 2 February 2012

Convoy PQ-19 - part 2

Just as the Royal (and Merchant) Navy players were getting their acts together, the calm was disturbed as the Kriegsmarine put in an appearance.  Gneisenau leads, followed by Seydlitz (a Hipper class cruiser with 8 inch guns) and three destroyers.  They had been delayed while waiting for the Admiral to return from the bar... 
Lloyd once again led the steely-eyed fanatics of the Kriegsmarine.  Newly promoted by the Fuhrer to the rank of Vizeadmiral, he is indeed a man of many vizes...
As the largest target in town, Gneisenau attracted a certain amount of unwelcome attention...
...but was quick to return the compliment.  Here we see a turret's worth of 11 inch shells hitting Ajax.
Both British cruisers were well ahead of the convoy and made a brave show of taking on the Germans.
Many salvos were exchanged, and while the heavier German shells scored fewer hits they did generally penetrate the armour...
...while many of the hits on the Gneisenau barely scratched the paint. 
Ajax takes more hits.  This is an old hollow-cast model I picked up on Ebay - it actually looks like a shrunken 'County' class.
The rest of the umpire team in action - Martin (in appropriate attire!), Wg Cdr Luddite and (just visible) John.  This photo gives some idea of the size of the playing area.  The convoy can be seen centre left and the German DDs (bottom right) are beginning a sneaky flanking move.
The plucky Ajax soon found herself mightily out-gunned.
Kent and part of the RN destroyer screen.  One has just launched torpedoes.
HMS Afridi gets an extra porthole
Having got the Gneisenau all hot and bothered, Kent takes a hit.  That foremast is looking a bit dodgy.
The RN cruisers kept up a constant (and quite accurate) but relatively ineffective hail of fire.  Here some 6 inch shells bounce off Seydlitz.  Sharp eyed readers will recognise this as a USS Brooklyn class cruiser as the 'proper' model is still on the slipway.  Still, if it was good enough too stand in for Graf Spee in the film, it'll do for me.
Afridi gets clobbered again.  Ouch!
As the whistle of incoming 11 inch shells filled his ears, the captain of Kent launched his torpedoes.  They all missed.
Kent sinks gracefully beneath the waves.
The action hots up.
With HMS Kent gone, all guns turned on Ajax.  Clearly this wasn't going to end well!
Ajax finaly succumbs to the German gunfire.
At this point, with the German ships poised to get in among the freighters the Commodore ordered the convoy to disperse.  None of the German ships had suffered any significant damage. 
We concluded that probably half of the merchantmen would make it to Russia and that four of the RN destroyers would survive.  Something of a German victory!
Surely it is only a matter of time before the Admiralty sends a task force to deal with this threat....

Awards are as follows:
Man with a plan - Lloyd (KM Admiral, Gneisenau)
Technical Merit prize for gunnery - Ian (Seydlitz)
Dogged Persistence award - Tony (Convoy Commodore)
Jack Hawkins award for coolness under fire - Frank (escort CO, HMS Kent)
Most Improved gunnery - Gunter (HMS Ajax)


Funny Little Wars - Garden Campaigns said...

Splendid stuff - and good show the cruisers!

Chris Kemp said...

Would accuracy in gunnery have anything to do with knowing how wide a plank of parquet floor is?

Paul said...

Outstanding post, I can smell the salt in the air, but I would be more interested in a beer.

David Crook said...

Hi Tim,

Ouch! From the RN perspective it looked very much like a case of when rather than if they were going to be sunk! Great looking action though and I have seen a few of those 'shrunken' County class kicking around on ebay. Looking forward to the inevitable RN retribution as (and to borrow and generally mess up a quote) "The Navy doesn't like more than one disaster in a day, it looks bad in the papers and upsets civilians at their breakfast!"

Very nice Brooklyn - what make is she?

All the best,


Tim Gow said...

Funny Little Wars
My experience of cruisers in Wargames is that they die awfully well.

Tim Gow said...

Chris Kemp
In a word, no. Given the angles the planks run at and the cracking pace of the game, it's really no help at all - as evidenced by the hit rate being under 20%. But do come and try it for yourself!

Tim Gow said...

I think the Kriegsmarine led the field for beer quaffing, but the captain of Ajax did indulge in some historically accurate rum consumption...

Tim Gow said...

David Crook
I didn't say it would be a fair fight! Brooklyn is a scruffy, but clearly quite expensive metal model - Superior perhaps?

Martin Rapier said...

The Germans were actually very lucky to get away so lightly. The absence of a destroyer screen meant three RN DDs got very, very close to the German big ships, and coupled with the Ajax and Kent, fired approx 20 torpedoes at the Germans. Not one single hit was scored which caused a lot of muttering among the British, which was unfortunate but their tactics were spot on. It is hard to see the Germans being so lucky next time.

Tim Gow said...

Martin Rapier
I remember commenting during the game that there were so many torpedoes in the water that you could have walked from one fleet to the enemy! Shame (and damn bad luck) they all missed.

Wg Cdr Luddite said...

Enjoyed myself immensely helping to umpire. Might even have a go at playing next time.

Tim Gow said...

Wg Cdr Luddite
I'll try next week to sort out a date for the next outing.

ian drury said...

What a splendid outbreak of nautical madness. It looks like we'll be having a go at this sometime in March. Thanks for the downloadable ruler!

Tim Gow said...

Ian Drury
Other types of madness are available...

Robert (Bob) Cordery said...


A thorougly splendid battle!

I look forward to seeing what happens when the next convoy gets a couple of RN battleships as part of its escort.

All the best,


Tim Gow said...

Bob Cordery
The Royal Navy has certain plans... But there may of course be distractions in other parts of the world before that can be resolved.

afilter said...

Nice Report, Thanks for sharing

Tim Gow said...

Thanks - it was a very enjoyable game.

Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

Epic :)

Great Stuff

Tim Gow said...

There are now some very smug German players and the Admiralty is very cross indeed. Plenty of scope for a sequel!