Sunday, July 17, 2022

Battle of the Norwegian Sea ~ Conclusion

0805 hrs: Action became brisk with an increasing exchange of salvos. HMS Hermes suffered the attentions of all three German armoured cruisers as well as SMS Berlin, and succumbed under the weight of gunfire.

0810 hrs: Minutes later Berlin followed her enemy to the bottom as the combined weight of Aboukir's and Euryalus' secondary armament salvos ripped into her hull. The Royal Navy's gunnery from their main armament was poor, with several rounds missing their targets by a wide margin. The light cruisers fared better in spite of the rolling seas, their gun crews managing to compensate and score several telling hits on their opposite numbers.

0815 hrs: The range closes. Highflyer sees an opening and launches two torpedoes on a track timed to hit SMS Prinz Heinrich. German gunnery is good. Euryalus takes heavy cumulative damage and begins to slow.

0820 hrs: Prinz Heinrich fails to spot the torpedo tracks in the turbulent seas and takes a fatal hit astern. The Royal Navy's gunnery improves somewhat and they make better practice on the other two German armoured cruisers.

0825 hrs: It's not all one-way traffic. The surviving German armoured cruisers turn their 15cm secondary armament on Highflyer and she succumbs to heavy cumulative gunfire. Her demise allows Hamburg a chance to forge ahead, making best speed in the rolling waters. Emboldened by her late sister ship's success HMS Hyacinth tries her luck and fires two torpedoes.

0830 hrs: This time the torpedo tracks are sighted. The two German armoured cruisers try a partial turn to starboard in an effort to avoid the attack, keeping in mind they can't deviate too much or they'll be forced into neutral Norwegian waters. One torpedo reaches the end of its run and sinks. The other almost runs out of steam but smashes into Friedrich Karl, inflicting telling damage.

0835 hrs: Random event. A timely squall arrives in just the right place. Kommodore Schafer is mindful of the damage inflicted upon his ships and the fact Hamburg is heading for the North Atlantic with little chance of the enemy stopping her. With the Kaiser's known tenderness toward his fleet's survival Schafer decides to call it a day and head for home. Turning into the squall he manages to break contact with the enemy. The rain front will pass over Hamburg, further obscuring her from pursuit. 

0840 hrs: Rear Admiral Sir James Bryce RN is both frustrated and secretly relieved by the enemy's breaking contact. He has lost two of the Royal Navy's more modern cruisers, the surviving third isn't in a position or condition to pursue the Hamburg, and HMS Euryalus is in a bad way. Should the weather in these high northern latitudes worsen she could be in serious danger of foundering. Sending a complete action report to the Admiralty he too decides to turn for home and orders a course set for Scarpa Flow.

* * * *

And so the Battle of the Norwegian Sea ends in a tactical German defeat but a minor strategic victory. Schafer succeeded in getting at least one light cruiser into the North Atlantic. SMS Hamburg will commence a guerre de course against British and French merchant shipping as soon as she's refueled and repaired battle damage off Iceland.

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Norwegian Sea ~ Game set-up

I clean forgot to post the weather and general conditions for the Norwegian Sea encounter, so here's the bumf now.


Royal Navy:

Light Cruisers Highflyer, Hyacinth, Hermes.

Armoured Cruisers Aboukir (Flag), Euryalus.

German Navy: Armoured Cruisers Friedrich Karl, Prinz Adalbert (Flag), Prinz Heinrich.

Light Cruisers Berlin, Hamburg.

Weather: Overcast, rain/sleet squalls, heavy 3m swell. Wind: South Easterly, Force 6 (strong breeze).

0800 hrs. The respective squadrons sight each other at 13,000 yards moving away to the Southwest not long after daybreak as the light increases to dispel some of the gloom.

Both sides’ destroyers are reduced to half speed as sea conditions become too rough for the smaller ships to handle. Signals from the respective flags order the flotillas to stand off and await further orders. Due to the swell the light cruisers’ main armament and the secondary armament of the armoured cruisers are also affected by sea conditions, the latter because the low-sited casemates of the secondary weapons are frequently washed by the high seas.

(In game terms the light cruisers' main armament and the armoured cruisers' secondary armament suffer a -1 to their gunnery dice roll)

On sighting the enemy, Kommodore Shaffer orders an increase in speed to place his squadron well ahead of the enemy. The light cruisers Berlin and Hamburg are ordered to go to full speed commensurate with sea conditions. There’s every chance they will be able to avoid combat altogether and break out into the North Atlantic.

On HMS Hermes’ sighting report, Rear Admiral Sir James Bryce orders the squadron to turn 1800 to starboard and increase speed in an attempt to intercept the German squadron. The light cruisers Hermes and Highflyer are in the best position to manoeuvre independently and bring their enemy counterparts into action, and are so ordered. Hyacinth is to remain with the armoured cruisers and provide support as needed.

With luck and a following wind I'll play out more of the tabletop encounter over the next few days.

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Battle of the Norwegian Sea ~ Part 1

Having a permanent wargames table is a blessing, until the Cat Decides It Makes a Good Napping Post...

The range closes to a little over 12,000 yards (six nautical miles)

SMS Hamburg and Prinz Heinrich score hits on HMS Hermes. Royal Navy return fire is ineffective.

I can haz Hamburg? The Household's Hairiest Member is unimpressed when he's prevented from snacking on the models and decides to snooze to show his indifference instead.

Play will resume when the pitch is cleared...


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