Thursday, 30 July 2015

Fireworks off Malta - WW2 Naval Campaign - Part 3.

Explosive Action on the trail of the Great Tripoli Dash

Lots of things blowing up !
Welcome back Naval Gamers to the third part of our journey, if you are new to this set of linked scenarios then you can catch up with the first post HERE.

I have repeated some of the information below from previous posts to help any newcomers to the games.

We are following the adventures of an Italian Convoy en route from Naples to re supply the Italian and German Armies prior to a major assault on Torbruk. Our first encounter saw the Royal Navy scamper away with a self inflicted bloody nose, the second was slightly more even, today we move onto the third off our linked games, another short (and for us bloody) action, which will build us up very nicely to the Campaign climax in game 4.

Umpire Notes

This is a linked scenario from the previous game so if you are following this the damage / lost ships maybe different so the following is only general guidance. Any sunk ship is lost. Any ship with damage I will remove half the recorded damage from the previous game so that it will start the next scenario with a reduced damage value, I do the same with lost speed. Any knocked out features like turrets / torpedoes etc I roll a d6 with a 50:50 chance that the feature was not as badly damaged as first thought and is available for this game. Once this is done you need to make a common sense decision on whether or not a ship would stay at sea, in our first game the Italian destroyer Libbecco had suffered a Fuel Fire and a Rudder hit at the end of the game and was below half damage points, its obvious that she would have sailed for the nearest friendly port.


Game 3. British Screening Force (the remnants of games 1 and 2)
Force A1, the first big guns arrive.

British Briefing evening 9th Nov 1941

Following the attack this morning; the Admiralty has determined that no stone should be unturned in our effort to stop the Italian convoy. Forces have been dispatched from our main Naval Base at Alexandria, however our slower Battleships will not reach you before nightfall. The C in C has decided to send forward a small but powerful task force which will be able to intercept the convoy and its escorts consisting of the faster Battlecruiser Renown, the cruisers Norfolk and Sheffield and supporting destroyers. You have 10 turns before nightfall. Do as much damage as you can without taking any major losses and then withdraw to a safe distance at nightfall awaiting our main fleets arrival.


Convoy Acca, looking impressive
Italian Light Squadron

Italian Briefing evening 9th Nov 1941

Congratulations Commander you have done the Italian nation proud, you have survived two actions and air attacks Well Done ! Our work however is not done, we find ourselves to the East of Malta on route and on time. Our intelligence agents in Egypt inform us that the British Fleet is at sea and looking for you. Naval HQ is sending you support. The battleship Caio Duilio was nearby on exercise and has come to your aid. Keep the convoy moving towards North Africa whatever the cost.

HMS Renown heading into action
Set Up (This includes our losses from Game 1 and 2, if following along use your losses)

British

Force K - HMS Orion (LC), HMS Lookout (DD)
Force B - HMS Ajax (LC), HMS Kingston (DD), HMS Kimberley (DD)
14th Destroyer Flotilla - HMS Nubian (DD), HMS Ashanti (DD), HMS Janus, HMS Jervis

Force K/B and 14th Dest Flot deployed as a single screening force.

Force A1, HMS Renown(BC), HMS Norfolk (CA), HMS Sheffield (CA), HMS Kelvin (DD), HMS Kandahar (DD), HMS Greyhound (DD), HMS Glowworm (DD)

Italian

Convoy Acca - Maestrale (DD), Grecale (DD), Oriani (DD), Cavaletta(DE) and 9 merchant ships

Lt Cruiser Division - Bande Nere (LC), Montecuccoli (CL), Attendo (CL)
7th Destroyer Flotilla - Turbine (DD), Alpino (DD), Carabinere (DD) with Luigi Cardona (LC)
Heavy Division Duilio - Caio Duilio (BB), Garibaldi (LC), Fuciliere (DD), Vivaldi (DD), Aviere (DD), Geniere (DD), Granatiere (DD)

Set up the RN screening force and Convoy Acca both sailing in the same direction just out of range of each other, divide the remainder of the long table edges and roll at random for where the remaining forces enter the table.



Must be Wednesday its HMS Sheffield
Umpire Notes

As with the last game this encounter should last 10 turns or an evening gaming session, at the end of that time night falls and the game ends.

Air Power should be allocated at random, we have a separate air phase in our game turn and during that part of the turn each side rolls a d20 with the following results. Each flight is 6 planes.

15 - 1 flight of Fighters (VF), 16 - 2 x VF, 17 - 2 x Torpedo Planes (VT) or Dive Bombers (VB), 18 - 2VF, 2VT and 2VB, 19 - 3VT or 3VB, 20 - 3VF, 3VT, 3VB.





How did we get on

Another fun game this week, during our set up Force A1 entered the table as far away from the screening force as it could. The Italians all set up with the convoy apart from the 7th Destroyer Flotilla and its supporting LC unfortunately for it set up opposite Force A1 and a long way from the support of the convoy.

Turn two started with a bang and the fireworks kept going off all game. HMS Renown in the absence of any large target decided to pick on the Italian LC Cardona, after one ranging shot she got lucky and put two 15" shells into the Light Cruiser, now 15" shells and Light Cruisers rarely mix well especially when one lands in the magazine and the other in the fuel tank !


Explosion No 1, Luigi Cardona goes down with 15" shells adding to her displacement
The same turn the British screening force managed to set fires alight on the Italian Destroyer Oriani and one of the Convoy ships. Concentrated fire from the screening force led to the second explosion of the evening this time on one of the Merchants.


Explosion No 2 - A Merchant lights up the evening sky
The next turn the pendulum swing well and truly back towards the Italians (I think that's what I love about our Naval Games the next hit can always change the game). A destroyer action on the edge of the table between the supports of Force A1 and the remainder of the 7th Destroyer Flottila perked up when Carabinere put a shell into the Magazine of HMS Kelvin, she rolled for effect and BOOM another explosion as her ammunition went up. The splinters from Kelvin ripped into HMS Kandahar bizarrely penetrating the magazine of that ship, thankfully for the Brits she didn't explode but with limited ammo and a damaged rudder Kandahar was retiring off the table. To add to the British misery Duilio managed to put 2 of her 12" shells into HMS Orion.

Explosion No 3 - HMS Kelvins magazine explodes also taking HMS Kandahar out of the game
There was still time for some more action as the Italians received an air strike. Now that is not always a good thing being Italian. Research done by the Italians showed that their aircraft over the course of the war attacked their own ships 30% of the time, a fact I couldn't ignore when it came to writing rules, so every time an Italian aircraft performs an air attack it rolls a d10, 1-3 and it attacks it's own side. The attack consisted of 2 flights of dive bombers and two torpedo planes, the die were rolled and two of the flights decided that an Italian Destroyer looked particularly dangerous and attacked that instead. The remaining two flights attacked HMS Orion.


The good side of Italian air power
And the bad !
The attack managed to put a torpedo into HMS Orion, she survived but with her previous damage she was heading for port. Thankfully the own goal attack missed and there was lots of fist shaking from the crew of the Turbine as the attacking planes flew away.


Quite a bit of action for one night but there was more to come, the British conjured up an air attack themselves on the final turn, unlike in the second game it headed straight for the convoy and managed to sink two merchants just as the sun was going down. The pendants amongst you may notice Defiants in the attack it was all we had !


Explosions 4 and 5, two more merchants explode
So in this evening session the British lost HMS Kelvin sunk following a magazine explosion and the withdrawal of HMS Kandahar and HMS Orion. The Italians lost the Light Cruiser Cardona to the fire of HMS Renown, 3 merchants were sunk, the DE Cavaletta and DD Oriani withdrew due to damage.

So we are set up nicely for our final game which is scheduled for the end of August, it will be a big one and with 6 merchants left the thing is nicely balanced, don't forget to tune into Yarkshire TV for the final episode.