Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Battlefleet prep

One thing that tends to differentiate naval gaming from land-based gaming is the need for a bit more in the way of equipment. In the case of Battlefleet 1900 rules from War Times Journal, this means turning circles, angle of fire templates, and record sheets. I printed off a couple of examples of the record sheets that are part of the Battlefleet rules, but the sheer number required for even a small fleet action showed me I'd be better off getting with the technological revolution. So it was to take the donkey work out of the project I consigned the lot as modified GIF files to the computer's Paint program. This will allow me to move swiftly between the ships involved in the game to make entries on damage inflicted and save copies for campaign use. I'm still working up records for all the ships I have available, but a working example is shown below.

Format © WTJ, chart modified for personal use.

Since I want to set this up as a campaign, I'm looking beyond the rules mechanics to the potential theatre of war - the North Sea and Atlantic approaches. One interesting area is the Island of Heligoland in the German Bight.

Once belonging to Denmark, the island was seized in 1807 by the Royal Navy after the Danes were forced to fight for Bonaparte as part of his 'Continental blockade' policy. Heligoland was formally ceded to Britain during the Congress of Vienna in 1814. It remained a British possession up to 1890 when it was basically swapped for German territorial claims in Zanzibar and Africa. The island had - and still has - a reputation as one of the healthiest places on Earth, especially for those suffering respiratory illnesses. Under Imperial German ownership, it was developed into the 'Gibraltar of the North Sea,' with a naval base, dockyard installations, underground fortifications and coastal batteries.

All of which makes it a lovely juicy target for a hypothetical campaign.

Heligoland, circa 1890-1910. Image credit: United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division

The island has changed a great deal in the years since WW2 - especially in the extension of the harbor and the enlargement of D√ľne to act as the island airport - but the map and image above are close enough to the period I want to game in. Apart from the site of the kaserne (barracks) and military lighthouse, I can't find much information relating to the kind of fortifications and armament of shore batteries on Heligoland. I might just make an educated guess. 


NCC1717 said...

Issue No. 154 of "After the Battle" magazine covers the fortifications in the 1st and 2nd World Wars.

Here is my version for WW1 in 1/18000 scale:

NCC1717 said...

Link to the magazine publisher:

A J said...

Very useful, thanks for sharing.


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