Sunday, September 20, 2020

Thoughts on Destroyers and similar beasts

Paul Hague's naval rules are focused on the Dreadnought era, which also work well for pre-Dreadnought fleets except when it comes to early destroyers. Light cruisers have record cards showing one box per hundred displacement tons, and since the class at this time displaced around a thousand tons this works out at ten or so boxes per ship record card. However, at this stage of the destroyer's development the type typically displaced two to four hundred tons - scarcely bigger than their torpedo boat prey - which equates to two or four speed damage boxes on the record card. 

A destroyer of this era would carry a couple of torpedo tubes and have a QF 12 pdr main armament if British, or a 50mm up to 88mm if German. Their speed averaged around 30 knots. 

The record card below shows the stats I worked up for the Royal Navy's '30 Knotter' class. I rounded up the displacement to give four boxes for speed, and ignored the 6 pdr secondary guns. 

In 1913 the nine surviving '30 knotters' were reclassified as the D-class in an attempt to get a more consistent naming convention for destroyers. Up until then the method was haphazard at best.

When it comes to inflicting damage I have to refine things a little more. The smallest weapon in Hague's rules is the 4 inch gun, the typical armament of destroyers in the First World War. I lump all the typical pre-Dreadnought destroyer's armament together and say the weapons inflict a total 1/2 point damage on a light ship target (Under the rules only guns of 7.5 inch and greater can inflict damage on capital ships). When it comes to recording this half point damage I'll shade the relevant box in grey or red. Another half point will turn it black and the vessel's fighting capability is reduced accordingly.

I'll probably get a trial game in sometime towards the end of the month. The weather has passed the hellishly hot and humid summer heat and settled in for a prolonged mild spell. It means I can now open the doors and windows and paint my man cave walls without getting fumigated or inviting a swamp into our home.

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