Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Being in All Respects Ready for Sea...

The new ships for the next scenario in the Moroccan Crisis campaign are finished and based. You'll have to take my word for it since camera failure means I can't take any photos for a while. 


At 20:00 on the same day as the Battle of the Humber, the German Particular Service squadron gets under way from its anchorage off Heligoland. Commanded by Kommodore Ernst Shaffer, it comprises three armoured cruisers, the sister ships SMS Prinz Adalbert (Flag) and Friedrich Karl, and light cruisers SMS Berlin and Hamburg. Shaffer's orders are to sail to the Denmark Straight and break out into the North Atlantic. After rendezvousing with a collier waiting off a deserted part of the Icelandic coast, his squadron will refuel then commence commerce raiding against British and French shipping.  

Accompanying them are the armoured cruiser SMS Prinz Heinrich and five torpedo boat destroyers. Their brief is to assist the squadron in breaking through any British naval force that may be encountered before returning to Heligoland and further assignment with the fleet.

The Operation.

Using the encounter table I rolled to see what shipping the squadron would come across during its traverse of the North Sea. 

The first rolls yielded a flotilla of Danish and German fishing boats then, in the early hours, a German merchant ship en-route at best speed for Bremen. The hours of daylight passed uneventfully, with no shipping sighted. Shortly after nightfall British fishing boats were sighted off the Norwegian coast in the South Utsire fishing grounds. The Kommodore decided to ignore them. They were of little value, wouldn't carry wireless with which to warn the Royal Navy, and besides, firing on them might alert any enemy warships in the area.

A Danish passenger ferry bound for Reykjavik was sighted before dawn, the squadron easily overhauling the slower civilian vessel. As daylight filled the sky a great deal of smoke was sighted to the west. Closing the distance it became apparent the source was a number of ships sailing in formation. 

Shaffer ascended to the fire control centre and scanned the scene through his binoculars. He was certain that patrolling warships of the Royal Navy lay ahead. Since his orders were securely transmitted by telegraph and courier vessel and not wireless, Shaffer was almost as certain the enemy were unaware of his crossing the North Sea. With the sun rising behind his squadron and dazzling the enemy gunners, he was in an ideal position to force the passage. Descending to the bridge Shaffer ordered increased speed. The hour was upon him, and he would do his duty to Kaiser and Fatherland...   

With luck and a following wind I'll play out the encounter sometime in the next few days.

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