Wednesday, 12 June 2019

The "Not" Jutland Ship Collection

Some people have drug or alcohol addictions I have model ships ! Not satisfied with all the ships at Jutland (250 for the uneducated) I could only stand withdrawal symptoms for so long before embarking on the lesser "Not" at Jutland collection.

All ships are 1/2400 scale GHQ and a handy guide on how I paint them is avaliable on the link below.

So let's have a run down of the new ships starting with Team Britain.

HMS Queen Elizabeth 

The lead ship of a class of Super Dreadnoughts, 3 knots faster than the standard 21 knot Dreadnought, she and her sisters were designed to form a Fast Squadron. With 8 15" guns and 13" armour QE was a formidable force.

Whilst undergoing trials in the Mediterranean she was called up for the Dardanelles Campaign where she served as a flag ship. After that ill fated action QE returned to the Grand Fleet at Scapa, however she missed the big day as the ship was in dock for maintenance.

Later in the 1st World War QE became the flagship of the Grand Fleet and went on to see extensive service in WW2, being badly damaged at Alexandria by Italian Frogmen.

HMS Dreadnought

The ship that started a revolution in Naval Warfare, launched in 1906 she was the first Ship to have a single calibre main armament (12" guns) and steam turbine engines which gave a top speed of 21 knots. Both of which made the existing Battleships or the now Pre Dreadnoughts, obsolete.

Despite the fanfare of Dreadnoughts launch her active career was less auspicious. The ship rammed and sank a U Boat in 1915 but missed Jutland whilst in dock being refitted. After that there was a stint in the home fleet before being scrapped in 1921.

HMAS Australia 

One of three Indefatigable Class Battlecruisers and the only Capital ship in the Australian Navy, she began the war searching for the German East India Squadron before being transferred to the North Sea.

Australia missed Jutland as she was in dock for repair following a collision with her sister ship New Zealand. The Battlecruiser returned to Australia after the war but was scuttled as a result of the Washington Naval Treaty.

HMS Glorious 

A strange beast, the second of three Courageous Class Battlecruisers, armed with 4 15" guns, with a top speed of 32 knots but very thin armour (3" belt).

One thing immediately obvious is the decks, rather than the standard teak decking of the time this class of ship had bare metal decks to save weight and therefore increase speed.

The ship took part in the second Battle of Heligoland Bight but after the war she was converted into an aircraft carrier, the model itself is huge and only just fits on the 120mm base.

The four new British "Capital" Ships 

HMS Drake

The next two ships fall firmly in the "why and when did I buy that" category.

When going through the "to do" box I found this Drake Class Armoured Cruiser but for the life of me I can't figure out where it came from. Coronel I hear you call, but alas no; I already own HMS Good Hope.

But never mind whilst the ship yards are open...... painted up as the lead ship of the Class it adds to my Armoured Cruiser collection. Before WW1 she was stationed in Australia before returning to the UK to be part of the 7th Cruiser Sqn. She was torpedoed in shallow water in 1917.

I love the detail on this ship, a hint of black wash in the recesses works nicely.

HMS Kent 

Lying in the box next to Drake was a Monmouth Class Armoured Cruiser, clearly there has been some sort of Coronel mix up going on as the Class name of that group, famously lost in the South Atlantic battle.

So rather than leave the model unpainted she has been finished and named HMS Kent.

Kent was refitting at the start of the war and spent time in the South Atlantic after Coronel playing a part in sinking the German Light Cruisers Nurnberg (Falklands) and Dresden. She was on the West African coast at the time of Jutland.

That concludes the new additions to Team GB, all I have planned to add are Repulse, Renown, Furious and the mysteriously missing HMS Audacious which I am sure I bought but can't find !

Team German

SMS König Albert

The fourth ship of the Kaiser Class Dreadnoughts she was in dry dock for maintenance at the time of Jutland, a big miss for the High Seas Fleet.

SMS Goeben

I previewed this ship a couple of weeks back, I had been suffering a spot of Painters Block after the rush of the Italian Wars Project but finally managed to drag myself forward and get this model finished to hopefully get the Vallejo flowing again.

Another lovely GHQ model. Goeben was in the Mediterranean at the start of the war and was transferred to Turkey. Our Naval Campaign has historically taken a different route and the ship has been recalled to the 1st Scouting Group, hence the need for the ship.

It's going to be great seeing her go into action alongside her sister Moltke. The German Capital Ships are all done now and I have some early Pre Dreadnoughts and Armoured Cruisers on the go (from Tumbling Dice) so look out for a review on those soon.

Konig Albert firing it's front turrets
Out of interest I took a picture is Queen Elizabeth next to Dreadnought, it's amazing to see the two ships side by side in the same scale, Dreadnought as we know was a revolution but look how far things moved between 1906 and 1914. The sheer size of QE paints a real picture.

Saturday, 1 June 2019

WW1 Naval Campaign - Heligoland Bight

Well it's time for our second Battle Report from our ongoing WW1 Naval Campaign, check out the latest copy of T'Yarkshire Ferret Newspaper above with all the gossip and tittle tattle around the goings on off the table.

If you missed game one, the link is below -

As with the first report, the AAR below is how our game developed, the scenarios in the Campaign have a number of tactical events along the way meaning that games can be radically different depending on how those tactical events play out or how the game has been affected by previous Political events.

Game 2 - Heligoland Bight 

3rd British Destroyer Flottila
Following the first act ion, the Chase of the Könign Luise there was a lull of several weeks with no action. The British however noticed during this patrol phase that German Light Forces regularly sailed out in broad day light around Heligoland.

The British planned to push their own light force inside the German patrol line and bring them to Battle.

German Destroyers quickly under heavy fire 
The game starts at 6.00 am, Visiblity is restricted to 7500 yards. The 3rd British Destroyer Flottila consisting of the Light Cruiser Royalist and the Destroyers Liberty, Lydiard, Landrail, Contest, Garland, Spitfire and Sparrowhawk are steaming South with 2 German Torpedo Boats V2 and V4 7,000 yards West of the closest British ship, line astern, sailing South East. (nb.  Some ship names are different to those present in real life, this is because I don't have models of every ship in the Royal Navy in 1914, yet 😉)

HMS Royalist
Unknown by the British Player the powerful German Battlecruiser Sqn the 1st Scouting Group consisting of Seydlitz, Moltke, Goeben, Von der Tann and Blucher is at sea.

06.23 German 3rd Scouting Group consisting of the Light Cruisers Frauenlob, Stettin and Dresden, appear, 7500 yards South of the Southern most ship, sailing North West.

German 3rd Scouting Group
06.30 Additional German Torpedo Boats arrive from the 1st Half Flottila of the 1st TB Flot, 7000 yards from the western most ship sailing East.

Frauenlob scores a direct hit on the Bridge of HMS Royalist but fails to do any damage, the same turn Stettin lands a shell on the Bridge of the Destroyer HMS Contest but again the British escape with no major damage, the tide of the game could have definitely changed at that point.

1st Half Flottila (German)
The British were under a bit of pressure at the point, outnumbered 3 to 1 in Light Cruisers and on par with Destroyer, the initial aggressive tactics of the Royal Navy had got them in a spot of trouble.

So it was a relief when at 06.37 the 1st British Destroyer Flottila led by the Scout Cruiser HMS Active (with Destroyers Attack, Acheron, Hydra, Badger, Ariel and the Yarkshires very own Ferret) arrived 7500 yards to the east of HMS Landrail.

1st British Destroyer Flottila
The following turn (06.45) saw HMS Lydiard in real trouble, she was hit hard by the German Light Cruiser Frauenlob, sustaining a bridge hit and a serious fire.

HMS Lydiard in trouble
It was an action packed phase with the British player chucking torpedoes at the German ships to no avail.

Bags of action
0700 saw the Britsh Light Cruiser Sqn arrive, HMS Southampton, Birmingham, Falmouth, Nottingham, Lowestoft and Gloucester. Six Light Cruisers with six inch guns was making the German Commanders think seriously about their options.

British 1st Light Cruiser Sqn
But for now the action was all down at the other end of the table, HMS Lydiard despite the best efforts of her crew sank due to the cumulative effect of the fires on board. On the same turn HMS Landrail also suffered a bridge hit and fire from an engagement with SMS Dresden.

The end of HMS Landrail
Both sides had become a little more cagey than the initial gung no charge into contact with the initial forces on table. Lots of shell's were being exchanged but the British Destroyers had withdrawn towards the cover of the Light Cruisers, whilst the Germans were no keen to get too close in fear of the approaching 6 inch guns of the Town Class Light Cruisers.

More German Light Cruisers started to arrive but these were some distance away from the action.

The British finally got some decent hits on two German Torpedo Boats who had got themselves a bit isolated. A rudder hit and a couple of fires made things a bit more interesting for V2 and V4.

German Ships taking proper damage at last
But it wasn't all fluttering White Ensigns and renditions of "Rule Britannia" as HMS Landrail also failed to deal with its fire, this time the ship exploded in close proximity to the Light Cruiser HMS Royalist setting a minor fire on the deck off that ship.

HMS Royalist is now alight
By 07.37 it was like the 1812 Overture as explosions were going off all over the table, V2 exploded having failed to put outs it's fire. It was the day for it and the British players were sweating as the Royalist kept failing to put it's own fire out, which for a Light Cruiser should have been straight forward.

The British Light Cruisers were now starting go get the range of the Germans who had been keeping their distance. Information concerning a possible smoke plume seen to the south was despatched to the British player who sent HMS Gloucester to investigate.

V2 sinks 
The Germans lost one of their Destroyers as they withdrew but the decision to pull back had been made, the remaining German Torpedo Boats making smoke to begin to cover the retiring Light Cruisers, the British didn't really push the pursuit and at 08.30 HMS Gloucester spotted the German Battlecruisers in the distance.

And that was the game over the British player realised that his nearest support, a Sqn of aging Armoured Cruisers were no match for the likes of Moltke and withdrew. The Germans who had already started to pull back couldn't take advantage of the potential help from the Battlecruiser Sqn as they were too far away from the British to keep them engaged.

HMS Royalist is saved.
That just left us with the post game phase, Royalist had one chance left to extinguish it's now raging fire, 16 or more on 3d6. Easy 😉

A further German Destroyer V4 sank due to flooding on its way back to port meaning that the losses in the game were even, 2 Destroyers a piece.

Which just leaves me time to show off my new cool dice shaker !

A evenly matched game which ended in a cautious stand off. There are so many variations in the Campaign book that this could have gone a number of ways, even splitting into two seperate battles. In my first grumble about the book, the instructions for this scenario are dreadfully confusing but I managed to get there after reading it hundreds of times.

There will be a short break in the Campaign whilst I catch up on some painting, I didn't notice initially, but Scenario 3 contains some older vessels I don't own. Who needs an excuse to buy more ! I got the missing ships from Tumbling Dice so look out for a review / comparison post on them soon.

Monday, 29 April 2019

WW1 Naval Campaign - War is Declared !

It's that time of year again, Easter always heralds the start of our annual Naval Campaign and this year we are focusing on early WW1, which is a great excuse to get Project Jutland out of the boxes again and of course add some new ships to the collection.

Thankfully this time rather than doing a load of prep myself prior to the Campaign I am using the book below to guide us through our journey.

The book was a download from Wargames Vault and is highly recommended, it has two levels, the tactical tabletop based element (report below) and a higher level Campaign Event element. I have decided to introduce the world to T'Yarkshire Ferret Newspaper, this esteemed publication will bring you the gossip and tittle tattle of the Campaign Events whilst the more traditional blog format below will bring you the blow by blow game reports. Make sure you have a good look at Ferret for the latest stories.

The Könign Luise (or as close as I have in my collection)

With the game reports I will be reporting what happened in our games, if you purchase the Campaign book you will find that each game has numerous potential paths that are determined by dice rolls or Campaign Events so each time you play the scenarios they have the potential of being different.

Game 1 - Chasing Königin Luise - 5th August 1914

In early August 14 with war imminent Jellicoe and the Grand Fleet put to sea, encouraged by the King with the following message, (they were of course further moved by the message from The King in the North Geoffrey Boycott see the latest edition of T'Ferret)

"At this grave moment in our national history I send to you, and through you to the officers and men of the Fleet of which you have assumed command, the assurance of my confidence that under your direction they will revive and renew the old glories of the Royal Navy, and prove once again the sure shield of Britain and her Empire in the hour of trial"

The Könign Luise was a liner that had been hastily converted to a minelayer and she had been out at sea around 30 miles off Harwich laying mines when she was sighted by two RN destroyers who were on patrol HMS Landrail and Laurel and the chase was on. I gave the Könign a couple of deck guns to liven things up.

The game starts at 11.00 am, the two destroyers are heading East 10,000 yards behind the Könign Luise. With a top speed of 30 knots to 16 in the Destroyers favour the boilers were stoked and the game begins. Visibility is 12,000 yards but there are a number of squalls in the area where visibility is as low as 2,000.

HMS Fearless to the rescue
11.15 following a radio message from HMS Landrail the nearest supporting unit, a Active Class Light Cruiser Fearless appears out of the gloom 12,000 yards East of the Könign.

11.23 First shell hit of the war as the front gun from HMS Landrail lands a hit on the deck of Könign.

Strike One to Landrail
11.37 The Germans haven't been asleep though and 5 Torpedo Boats V1,2,3,4 and 6 appear at full speed 12,000 yards West of Könign heading towards the Minelayer.

German reinforcements arrive
11.45 A squall settles over the table reducing visibility to 5,000 yards, initially leaving only the two destroyers and the Könign in sight of each other, shot continue to be traded, the Minelayer is struck a couple of times but without any critical damage. HMS Laurel is unlucky though as one of the shells from Könign finds the base of her funnel reducing her top speed by 4 knots.

12.00 visibility increases to 7,000 yards bringing the German Torpedo Boats into visible range of the British Destroyers.

First blood to the Germans
12.07 The Germans sink the first ship of the game as V1 puts a round into the Magazine of the Destroyer HMS Laurel, without warning the ship explodes sinking rapidly.

12.15 Visibility increases to 9,000 yards.

12.23 further German ships arrive in the shape of the light cruisers Breslau, Regensberg and Rostock 10,000 yards South of the Könign.

British Light Cruisers
At the same time 12,000 yards to the east of Könign two British Light Cruisers in the shape of Lowestoft and Southampton steam into view.

12.30 Meanwhile it's all getting a bit messy in the middle of the table as the close range destroyer action continues around the burning wreck of the Laurel. It's not all going the Germans way as a hit on V1 from HMS Fearless starts a fire on board the German Torpedo Boat.

12.37 in the general Melee in the centre there is a narrow miss as the leading German TB narrowly misses HMS Fearless only for the next in line to strike her.

12.45 The fighting in the middle is getting nasty as the photo below shows, V3 has a none exploding magazine hit whilst V6 stumbles ahead blindly with her Bridge destroyed whilst the Germans pour fire on the slow moving Fearless who is getting underway post collision.

12.52 Torpedoes are in the water and heading towards the slowly accelerating Fearless, she is a small ship combing the tracks so all the odds are in her favour.

13.00 in what turned out to be the final turn as Visiblity drastically reduced again due to a Squal and the Germans took their first loss, the V3 was unable to extinguish an on board fire which raged out of control.

But at the same time even with all the odds in her favour Fearless was struck in the rudder by a torpedo causing massive damage and flooding she too quickly sank.

But it wasn't all good news for the Germans as they lost a further two Torpedo Boats in the post action phase, one failed to deal with damage sustained in the fight, the other had sustained so much damage that she was unable to make it back to port and had to be scuttled by her crew.

So in a quite bloody first encounter the British have lost a Light Cruiser and a Destroyer whilst the Germans have lost three Torpedo Boats, next time will see us cruising round the sights of Heligoland Blight.