Topic-icon Battle of Norway Cruiser Action

Pugliese created the topic: Battle of Norway Cruiser Action

4 months 6 days ago

I'd seen David Manley post something about a First Annual International Naval Wargaming Day, and knew I'd have that day free, so I thought I'd play a quick game of Naval War, and one or two others and write reports for all of them. As it actually happened, I got called in to work the better part of the morning, and by the time I'd gotten free, I only had the time and energy to do the one. Given that I'd be sitting down trying to learn and playtest the other system I had in mind, I opted to go ahead and play Naval War, since it would go more quickly and I'd already done all of the make-ready work.

I'd been excited to give at least some of Marine Nationale some tabletime, as well as play with some more of my (admittedly small) Kriegsmarine, so I built a pair of cruiser lists from the Norway OOB.

Kriegsmarine:

Admiral Hipper Class -49
Zerstorer 1936 x3 -69
Emden -15 !!!!!!!

Distant Support:
Type VII x3 -63
Ju88 -4



Royal Navy:

Captain-5
York-Class -29
Tribal x3 54
J/K.N -25

Close Support:
Emile Bertin -25
Aigle x3 -63



Standing in for Emden would be one of my K-class, an Airone for the Ju-88, and Exeter as York.

The table wound up being quite heavy with terrain, as you can see in the setup. Pardon the pink island, it's part of a project I started that had to go on the backburner for a while. While you're at it, pardon the other islands and the fogbanks as well. One of these days I'll get around to good looking terrain, I promise. ;)

The Royal Navy positioned themselves together with the idea of sweeping around behind the central island, and taking the German cruisers at close range. The Kriegsmarine opted to deploy the destroyers with the idea of control the straits around the central island, while the cruisers would attempt to maintain line of sight on the RN ships and bombard them as long as possible, before sweeping around the island to mop up.



Turn 1: The Royal Navy seizes initiative. The destroyer flotilla steams forward, and lays smoke to cover their advance. Atmospheric conditions threaten intermittent contact, but the RN forces maintain coordination. Admiral Hipper class Blucher and her consort Emden slowly steam round from behind a fog bank. York moves forward with her escort. Blucher, having spotted Janus, opens fire, but the salvo misses. What's more, the over-engineered ammo hoist in the 'x' turret has failed. The Kriegsmarine destroyers move toward the straits, hugging a bank of fog. Blucher's crew struggles to restore her turret to operation.



Turn 2: The Royal Navy maintains their aggressive posture. Marine Nationale forces in the immediate area have been contacted for assistance, but bad atmospherics have made relaying the exact positions difficult, and the French have yet to arrive. The order is given, and York and the destroyer flotilla churn forward. The destroyers attempt to put the island between themselves and Blucher's guns. York drifts out of formation with her escorts a bit, leaving her pointed towards the other set of straits. Blucher launches another salvo towards the destroyer flotilla, this time towards Cossack, but with no success. The German destroyers make towards the straits at flank speed, having sighted York. Blucher and Emden steam slowly forward. Blucher's crew continues it's fight with the ammo hoist.



Turn 3: Ships from Group Z, led by the cruiser Emile Bertin arrive, fashionably late. York's Walrus has been keeping tabs on the German cruisers from a distance, and reports seeing possible periscope feathers in the waters North of the central island. Unnoticed, a lone Ju-88 on patrol has arrived in response to request for aid.



The Royal Navy continues to press. The French flotilla moves forward towards the straits with the idea of cutting off the German destroyers. At the same time, the RN flotilla continues their course to circle the central island, despite the warnings from the spotter. Almost as one, a trio of Type VII U-Boats surface in the waters ahead of the RN destroyers. The ships of Group Z open fire on Z-24, but fail to find range. Concerned with being caught in the straits between two enemy forces, the German flotilla commander orders the destroyers to make all possible speed, directly at the approaching British heavy cruiser. Z-20 develops a problem with it's propulsion, and the other two destroyers throttle back to stay with their consort. York's captain opts to coordinate with the French in an attempt to bottle up and eliminate the German destroyers. The German destroyers open fire on the encroaching French ships. Z-24 and Z-18's fire finds Vatour, touching off an explosion of ready ammo for some of the AA, and temporarily putting her port torpedo mounts out of action. York fires her main battery at the lead KM destroyer, but her salvo falls short. The three U-Boats each launch a spread of torpedoes in turn. Blucher and Emden sail out of sight around the island. The Ju-88 approaches the British destroyer formation. Much of the massive torpedo salvo misses the RN destroyers, but one of U-50's catches Janus, and her AA director is knocked out of whack by the impact. Cossack is caught by one of U-54's fish, and her rudder has become jammed to port. At this, Janus' captain orders her to withdraw from action. Cossack is unable to affect repairs to her steering. Blucher's crew finally manages to bring the 'x' turret back online. Vatour remains afire, but despite this, her crew restores her port tubes to working order. Z-20 continues to be plagued by boiler problems.



Turn 4: The Germans hurry into action as the fight is joined. The German U-Boat captains await the order to withdraw under the sea, but the order doesn't come. UK's ULTRA provides some insight into the proper course of action. Blucher and Emden churn forwards into the fog bank. York's search radar has located Blucher, and she launches a salvo into the fog bank, but to no success. Emden, skirting the fogbank has visual contact with York, and opens fire, but her shots fall short. The order comes for the U-Boats to break contact, but U-47 suffers the curse of poor atmospherics this time, and does not receive it. Her captain is spooked, and orders that she make all possible speed out of the area. The Ju-88 comes plowing out of the sky, and drops a stick of bombs, one of which strikes Cossack in the funnel, choking out a boiler and leaving her crippled. Arunta and Mohawk punish the Ju-88, clawing it from the sky as it struggles to regain energy after its run. The german flotilla plows forward into the narrowest part of the strait, looking to pass to either side of York. Realizing the opportunity, the flotilla's commander orders Z-20 and Z-24 to dump every one of their torpedoes into York's path. Exeter's captain steers into the spread, and attempts to plow through. Group Z sails forwards. Arunta continues forwards, as does Mohawk. Arunta opens fire on the surfaced, fleeing U-47. Her fire is accurate, and rips open the sub's hull, and she sinks in very short order. Vatour and Epervier fire on Z-18. One of Vatour's shots connect, damaging Z-18's propeller shaft. Milan and Emile Bertin open fire on Emden. Several hits connect, but only one from Milan does any significant damage, taking out one of Emden's AA mounts in the process. Despite York's best attempts, she is unable to completely evade the swarm of oncoming torpedoes. A pair of Z-20's torpedoes connect, and one is miraculously a dud. However, four of Z-24's torpedoes catch York in the stern, and amidst the explosions, it is torn clean off. The ship fills with water, and the sea with sailors. The fire on Vatour continues to burn, and it has begun causing some serious damage. Her captain is concerned enough that he orders her to break off.
Z-24 and Z-18 fail to effect any repairs to their propulsion systems.





Turn 5: Emboldened by their success so far, the Germans continue to press on. The German cruisers advance, Blucher emerging from the fog. Mohawk detects U-50, and her DC throwers find the mark, inflicting near catastrophic damage on the sub, and starting a raging fire. Her captain orders an immediate withdrawal. The two Kriegsmarine cruiser both open fire at point blank on Emile Bertin. Somehow she is lucky, and emerges with only one serious hit, despite a large number of glancing blows and splashes. One boiler is knocked off line, and she loses speed. Mohawk comes about to chase the other ASDIC contact of the remaining U-Boat. The German destroyers move through the whole they've made, seeking to break out. Seeing their countrymen in danger, Vatour's captain has a change of heart, and decides that she will stay and fight on as best she can. Z-18 fires a few parting shots at Epervier. She is hit by some splinters from a near miss, but no significant damage occurs. Epervier and Milan return in kind, firing on Z-20 with similar results. Emile Bertin cuts loose with her entire main and secondary batteries on Emden at point blank. A pair of shots find Emden's superstructure, rattling around the bridge crew a bit. U-50's crew puts forth a herculean effort, and extinguishes the fires before she sinks. Vatour loses her own fight with fire, and seeing that it will consume her, the captain gives the order to abandon ship.





At this point, I went ahead and called the game, because even had it continued on another turn, the Allies were in pretty awful shape. The two remaining Aigle class were going to run aground, Cossack had already run aground due to her locked rudder, Janus was making it's way towards the board edge, and York had evaporated. The Allied fleet had started out down an order token compared to the Kriegsmarine, and the loss of York, the fleet's flagship and the DD squadrons two order tokens was a pretty crippling blow. Trying to use York to help trap the German DD's for the MN ships was a poor decision on my part, and everything following splitting York off from the same heading as the DD's sort of led downhill. If I were to play it over again, I'd raise the point totals to around 250, so I could add a second RN cruiser and maybe some air support. For the Germans, I think I should have first and foremost, read more carefully, especially that niggling part about Emden being close support. This is what happens when your brain's in a fog, you're in a hurry to get started, and you're playing a solo match with noone to call shenanigans. I'm sure there's a few other things I did off too, I wasn't firing on all cylinders yesterday.[/color]

The following user(s) said Thank You: Naval War HQ, Marqod, Bezmozgu

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Pugliese replied the topic: Battle of Norway Cruiser Action

4 months 6 days ago

I had a number of questions occur to me as I was playing, and I've separated them from the wall of text to make them more visible:

-Can Rule the Waves target a squadron and an individual ship as opposed to two squadrons?
-What happens when a ship has been reduced to speed 1 and has a locked rudder?
-What happens when said ship has also become grounded?
-Can a fleeing ship contribute AA fire to another ship's defense?
-Because I cannot recall, and could not find when I was flipping through, do ships that are currently broken off count against your point total in the same way destroyed ships do for triggering the check for end conditions? (I know this is likely going to change when the new scenario system is hammered out)
-When end conditions are triggered, and the fleet flagship is no longer present, how is the check resolved?
- Have you considered adding reefs as another terrain type? (causes grounding, but does not block LOS)
-Am I correct in assuming Wolfpack can't be used to for first strike since that counts as an attack activation, and Wolf Pack is keyed as a maneuver activation?
-If you force a ship to break off, and earn an iron cross from it, do you earn a second iron cross if it later is sunk?
-Are ASW weapons associated with a particular arc?
-Is there any cure for brain fog and lack of attentiveness? :P

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Naval War HQ replied the topic: Battle of Norway Cruiser Action

4 months 6 days ago

Love the report! I'll get to your questions tomorrow as I'm suffering from some late-night brain fog myself currently ::P:


Game designer

"That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been;" -Ecclesiastes-

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Naval War HQ replied the topic: Battle of Norway Cruiser Action

4 months 5 days ago

Pugliese wrote: I had a number of questions occur to me as I was playing, and I've separated them from the wall of text to make them more visible:

-Can Rule the Waves target a squadron and an individual ship as opposed to two squadrons?


Yes, a single ship is considered a 1-ship squadron for rules purposes, it just takes a load of order tokens to keep them in the game as they don’t generate any by themselves (unless they are a large ship or fleet flagship)

Pugliese wrote: -What happens when a ship has been reduced to speed 1 and has a locked rudder?

They keep going at speed 1. Compulsory movement is at least half the movement speed, and round up unless noted otherwise.

Pugliese wrote: -What happens when said ship has also become grounded?

You let down the lifeboats and go have a picknick.  Seriously though… Let’s see, the stuck rudder prevents maneuvers, the grounding makes the ship stationary. So unless the rudder is fixed the ship is stuck there for the remainder of the battle.

Pugliese wrote: -Can a fleeing ship contribute AA fire to another ship's defense?

Tricky one. Ruleswise I’d say yes, since AA defense isn’t an activation, so it isn’t prohibited. Let’s keep it KISS. I imagine a ship heading away from the action is still manning it’s AA guns to shoot at anything that moves.

Pugliese wrote: -Because I cannot recall, and could not find when I was flipping through, do ships that are currently broken off count against your point total in the same way destroyed ships do for triggering the check for end conditions? (I know this is likely going to change when the new scenario system is hammered out)

- They currently do. Untill they are rallied ofcourse, then they do not count towards the end conditions check anymore. So it is possible to get back into the game in your spare turn if you are granted one.

Pugliese wrote: -When end conditions are triggered, and the fleet flagship is no longer present, how is the check resolved?

Just take the check with the flagships command rating.

Pugliese wrote: - Have you considered adding reefs as another terrain type? (causes grounding, but does not block LOS)

Shoals and reefs can be fun, I might include explicit rules for those eventhough there is enough in the rulebook to figure those out like you did.

Pugliese wrote: -Am I correct in assuming Wolfpack can't be used to for first strike since that counts as an attack activation, and Wolf Pack is keyed as a maneuver activation?

Check, it’s just maneuvers currently. I haven’t found a lot of time to playtest large amounts of subs though, so that might change when more data and feedback comes available.

Pugliese wrote: -If you force a ship to break off, and earn an iron cross from it, do you earn a second iron cross if it later is sunk?

Yup

Pugliese wrote: -Are ASW weapons associated with a particular arc?

Yes, Rear or broadside arc, just like other rear-mounted weapons. Forward-firing systems like SQUID will be covered by a special rule.

Pugliese wrote: -Is there any cure for brain fog and lack of attentiveness? :P

A good nights’ sleep and more Naval War games! :D


Game designer

"That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been;" -Ecclesiastes-
The following user(s) said Thank You: Pugliese, Bezmozgu

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Pugliese replied the topic: Battle of Norway Cruiser Action

4 months 5 days ago

Check, it’s just maneuvers currently. I haven’t found a lot of time to playtest large amounts of subs though, so that might change when more data and feedback comes available.

In the last Battle of Norway playtest I did, several iterations ago before you keyed orders to activation types, I had a trio of U-Boats perform a first strike in unison using Wolfpack, and then withdraw the next turn using same. My impression at the time was that it was pretty nasty, but I'm not sure if it qualifies as overpowered, given that U-Boats are not T-Class monstrosities, and don't fling any more dice than most things capable of performing a Torpedo Run. But at the same time, if you can effectively treat U-Boats as a squadron at all times, provided you pass disruption checks, you've got a squadron of three ships generating three order tokens and only burning one a turn on direct activations generally. I'd say as things currently are, it's a neat tool for setting up and withdrawing from attacks, and it might be best that you really have to expend some orders to exploit that situation you were able to set up economically.

However, I might run another KM vs RN game, with plenty of U-Boats and allowing for Wolfpack to enable First Strike just to see. I'll also toss in more air for the proposed AA rules.

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