Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Jutland with a Vengeance

Yesterday (Memorial Day) some of the Jackson Gamers gathered to play a WW1 naval game in memory of the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Jutland.  I titled this post "Jutland with a Vengeance" as Jay, Lord Sterling, our game master, used almost all of his 1:6000 scale ships, including quite a few that were not actually at Jutland, such as the SMS Goeben which was in Turkish livery and HMS Queen Elizabeth which was in drydock.  But we had a lively time nevertheless.

There were 7 players, 4 British and 3 German.  I had the task of commanding the German fast scouting group - 7 battlecruisers, 1 armored cruiser (SMS Blucher), 2 light cruiser squadrons, and 4 half-flotillas of destroyers - as Vice Admiral Hipper.  The other two German players (Travis and Ed) split the four battleship squadrons and the other light forces.  I'm not sure how many British squadrons there were, but there were quite a few!  My son Sean commanded the main British battlecruiser squadron as Vice Admiral Beatty so we were bound to "cross swords" and we did.  The other British commanders were Jay, Phil, and Grant (a new addition to our ranks).

We used a slightly modified version of Avalon Hill's venerable "Battle of Jutland" rules.  Jay, Lord Sterling has, where available, glued a 1:6000 scale model of each ship to its appropriate counter.

So without further ado, here is Admiral Hipper's report:

"To Vice-Admiral Scheer,  commanding High Sea Fleet:

Pursuant to your orders, the reinforces fast scouting group discovered advance elements of the British fleet as 10,000 yard range due to thick mist.  We engaged the British ships, sinking one and forcing the others to flee.

The lead ships of the German battlecruiser squadron - SMS Lutzow, SMS Hindenburg (did I not mention some ships were present that never made it to Jutland?), and SMS Seydlitz, plus some of the destroyer half-flotillas.
Shortly afterwards, the British battlecruisers were sighted, steaming towards my command.  After some minutes maneuvering to bring my guns into their most efficient aspect, I began firing at the British.

The lead ships of the British battlescruisers, lead by HMS Tiger.
After several ranging volleys, I concentrated my fire on two of the British battlecruisers, resulting in stupendous explosions as their magazines blew up.  So much for the vaunted British battlecruisers!

Opening moves.  The German battlecruisers and two battleship squadrons are in the center on the dark colored bases.  The German light ships (light cruisers and destroyers) have a black bar on the stern of their bases.  The rest of the ships are British.
The British did score some hits on my ships, most notable reducing the speed of the SMS Goeben resulting in her leaving the battleline to begin her return to Jade.

On the left, Jim's German destroyers launch ineffective torpedo attacks at the British battlecruisers, forcing three to turn away.  The pinkish tags indicate ships that have suffered movement penalties.

The same turn taken from the other German flank as Jay's British destroyers launch attacks against Ed's German battleships, forcing several of them to turn away.  Travis' German battleship squadron is in the left center and Jim's German battlecruisers are beyond him.
As more and more British battle squadrons appeared through the lifting mist, our squadrons maneuvered to get the most effective angles on the British ships.  The British fast Queen Elizabeth battleships were the most dangerous, but lucky hits forced one away with severe boiler damage and a second stopped dead in the water due to steering problems, as well as reducing the gunnery on several others.

The action in the center gets confused as Travis' German battleships and Jim's German battlecruisers turn away from the main British battleship squadrons.
With the British forces seemingly everywhere, Vice Admiral Scheer decided that it was time to return to our bases as we had inflicted a large number of losses on the Grand Fleet.  But before we departed to home ...

Can you say, "Crossing the T?"  as Jim's German battlecruisers (dark bases on right) cross Sean's British battlecruiser line.  The resulting gunfire from the Germans sank the lead British battlecruiser.  Two of the British main battleship squadrons of Queen Elizabeth and King George V class battleships are in the left (KGV) and center (QE) background.
My four remaining battlecruisers were successful in crossing the T of the British battlecruisers, sending the lead one (HMS Tiger, I believe) to the bottom in another stupendous explosion."

All told the British lost six battlecruisers (three from Beatty's squadron and three from the main fleet), several older battleships, and several armored cruisers, plus suffered severe damage on at least four other more modern battleships.  The High Seas Fleet only lost one capitol ship, the SMS Von der Tann, which was overwhelmed by many salvos from the British battleships.  Two or three other capitol ships (SMS Hindenburg, SMS Helgoland, and one other) suffered severe damage and will be under repair for a number on months.

Jay, Lord Sterling, proclaimed a victory for the German High Seas fleet.

But more importantly, all of us had a great time and a great game!!

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