Home Forums Air and Sea Naval A Rather Different Fate for the CSS Albemarle…

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  • #74748

    Once the sun had risen the small, compact ironclad got under weigh. Its mission: drive the Union gunboats from the mouth of the river and clear the path to the sound beyond. Access to the sea was the lifeblood of the Confederacy. Once the gunboats had been dispersed, Confederate land forces would seize and fortify the river mouth against the return of the Federal Navy.

    As the CSS Albemarle proceeded downriver, two belching stacks were spotted coming upstream. There were no other Confederate vessels in the area. They had to be the enemy. As soon as the Albemarle‘s captain identified the USS Miami and the USS Southfield he ordered the forward 6.4” rifle to began firing. Though the Albemarle was small, it possessed two admirable pivot guns of the newest Brooke design, well protected within the armored casemate. The Brookes could fire more rapidly than anything the Federal boats had and could out reach most of them—especially the 9” Dahlgrens. But the biggest guns in this fight were the two rifled pieces, one on each enemy vessel: a 150# Parrott rifle mounted as a bow pivot on the Miami and a 100# Parrott rifle on the stern of the Southfield.

    The real weakness of the Albemarle was its paltry top speed of 4 knots. Compared to the 8 and 12 knots of the Union ships it was clear that if the enemy played a game of maneuver the Albemarle would have a difficult job of it. But they couldn’t afford to keep their distance. The Rebel captain figured he’d be able to pepper them heartily as they moved in close enough to penetrate his armor with their slow firing rifles. And if they got uncomfortably close… well, the Albemarle had been equipped with a deadly ram for just that situation.

    As the Albemarle crept along the shore the two Union ships approached, maneuvering into line ahead. The lead ship, the Southfield, took the brunt of Albemarle‘s rapid long range shots. A gun crew was suppressed for a while and the hull was slowly being shot away. Finally, the boiler was damaged filling the ship with steam and driving the gun crews away from their charges. But the boiler damage was slight, only limiting her top speed. But this was unimportant considering the slow speed of the Albemarle.

    As the Union ships came within effective range, the Albemarle began to veer towards them in order to keep them within the limited arc of fire of her forward gun. So far, the battle had been in her favor. But as the Union ships came abreast luck abandoned the Confederacy. A rifled shot from the Miami pierced the ironclad’s hull and struck the boiler. The ship filled with steam as the crew leaped for safety. Once the steam had cleared it became obvious that a major blow had been struck. Try as they might the engineers couldn’t coax any more than one knot of speed from the damaged vessel. No sooner had this realization been made than another lucky shot dismounted the rear rifle taking it out of the fight.


    Still, the armor was mostly intact, the crew eager and they had one good gun. It would be a while before they would be pounded into submission. Who knew, luck was fickle and may yet come home to roost. If they could make it to the other side of the river and hit ground at the proper angle they could give a good account of themselves as an armored battery and perhaps disable one of the Union ships.

    By this time the Miami and Southfield had passed the Albemarle on her port side and rounded her stern. They were approaching from behind preparing to pass on her starboard side. Since the rear gun had been dismounted the Rebel crew knew they would take a beating but trusted their armor to protect them until the Federal boats moved up into the arc of their forward pivot gun. The Albemarle continued to limp towards the far shore but the close range of the enemy allowed them to pierce the now weakened hull armor and destroy the crippled engine. The little ironclad was dead in the water.



    Nevertheless, the ironclad’s hull integrity was good. The casemate armor mostly sound. Morale was good and the enemy would be hard to miss at this range. By judiciously dropping the anchor and raising it to allow the vessel to drift (and occasionally—when luck was with them—pivot the vessel for a better shot), the Albemarle was able to get off a number of effective shots against her old nemesis, the Southfield, slowly pounding her hull and crew into submission. And luck did return, though fleetingly. As the Albemarle drifted away from the center of the river, towards the enemy, one of her shots jammed the rudder of the Southfield forcing her to veer towards the shore, now dangerously close. The Southfield cut speed, frantically trying to effect repairs—unsuccessfully. Meanwhile, the Albemarle continued to drift, closer and closer until the two ships were almost touching bow to stern. The final duel was at point blank range between the Albemarle‘s bow mounted 6.4 and the Southfield’s stern mounted 100# Parrott. Luck again abandoned the Rebels and alighted on the flag of the USS Southfield. Her final shot tore through the crippled ironclad, shredded the hull and destroyed the crew. There was barely anyone left alive to raise the white flag.


    Self taught, persistently behind the times, never up to date. AKA ~ jeff
    More verbosity: http://petiteguerre.blogspot.com/

    #74795
    Rory McCreadie
    Participant

    This is not my period, but I love you A.A.R. and your photos. Thanks for posting

    Be safe

    Rory

    He who says he makes no mistakes, is making the biggest mistake of all. Or does bugger all. Rory

    #74799
    Victoria Dickson
    Participant

    Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed the AAR. 🙂

    #74860

    Thanks, Rory and Victoria.

    It was a fun game and fun writing up the AAR. That was the first time I’ve played these rules in probably 10 years. I’ve set myself a goal of hosting a game a month, inviting co-workers over. Hopefully, I can a entice a couple of them into the hobby. So far there’s been interest in ACW but I’ll really test their interest level by hosting an ancients game. I’ve got a lot of figures to paint before that, though.

    The game a month goal has inspired me to get stuff done. Next month: 54mm Gladiators!

    Self taught, persistently behind the times, never up to date. AKA ~ jeff
    More verbosity: http://petiteguerre.blogspot.com/

    #74873
    Volunteer
    Participant

    Great AAR Jeff! Was this a solo game?

    "Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing"
    Wernher von Braun

    #74874

    Vol,

    No, I had a co-worker come over and I ran the game. He was running the Union vessels, I was the Confederate ironclad. Last month he brought over ‘Sails of Glory’ which we played so we’ve kind of got a naval theme going on.

    Self taught, persistently behind the times, never up to date. AKA ~ jeff
    More verbosity: http://petiteguerre.blogspot.com/

    #74877
    Volunteer
    Participant

    You and Rory both are so fortunate to have someone to game with like that.

    "Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing"
    Wernher von Braun

    #74909
    Rory McCreadie
    Participant

    Yes Vol!

    I’m lucky. Pete is a great person to play with. We enjoy the game. We do like to win, but it’s the game and the time we spend playing them that is importent. A fun good looking game is the thing. We use the rules to play the game, not play the rules to win. We like to get the feel of the history, but have fun too. So yes Vol, I’m lucky. Wish you could find some one like Pete!

    Had a game today with him. Sorry but no Photo’s. But Pete took some. So when he post them to me, I will e-mail you about the game. For once I kept in a line. Thought I had him this time! But he kept to a line too! DAM!

    Be safe

    Rory

    He who says he makes no mistakes, is making the biggest mistake of all. Or does bugger all. Rory

    #74912
    Volunteer
    Participant

    Oh, that’s it! You were French again weren’t you? There’s your answer!

    "Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing"
    Wernher von Braun

    #75125
    DM
    Participant

    Good stuff there, and quite inspiring. I’m sprucing up my 1/600 and 1/1200 ACW collection with a view to re-engage in this period later in the year.

    #75150

    @Vol: It’s been many years since I’ve had gaming friends. Looks like I may be changing jobs soon, though, and that will make scheduling games something of an issue. Same old story. I mostly paint.

    @Rory: Pictures or it didn’t happen 😉 Sounds like fun, though.


    @DM
    : I continue to find inspiration on your ‘Bloody Spears’ blog. So if I can return the favor, I am honored.

    Self taught, persistently behind the times, never up to date. AKA ~ jeff
    More verbosity: http://petiteguerre.blogspot.com/

    #75350
    Rory McCreadie
    Participant

    Hi A-O-S,

    Got Pete’s Photo’s. So it did happen! Got to make the photo’s smaller and think about a A.A.R. (Mine will not be as good as yours) Will post soon.

    Be safe

    Rory

    He who says he makes no mistakes, is making the biggest mistake of all. Or does bugger all. Rory

    #75613
    Rory McCreadie
    Participant

    Hi A-O-S,

    I’m stuck? I’ve got the photos from Pete. he sent me the them as a zip file. I have tried to make them smaller. I have tried all the ways Vol told me in his how too and nothing works. Pete and I did play the game. We did keep in lines (No matter how hard the rules tried to stop us). We think we have ironed out a big part of the rules problems. Movement is still not right. So please e-mail me and I will E-mail you them. devsdoc at hotmail dot com.

    Be safe

    Rory

    He who says he makes no mistakes, is making the biggest mistake of all. Or does bugger all. Rory

    #75617
    Volunteer
    Participant

    Rory send me the photos and I will see if I can resize them for this forum. If I can I will send them back to you to post. I am at work so it may not be right away.

    Regards,

    Vol

    "Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing"
    Wernher von Braun

    #75662

    No worries, Rory. I was just teasing about the no pictures–no game thing. Sounds like you had a good time and that’s what it’s all about.

    Picture conversion can be a tricky, dark art depending on your computer, your programs and your comfort level with the programs. I recently started using a program called ‘converseen’ (http://converseen.fasterland.net/) to resize and convert pictures for uploading. In the past I used The GIMP a lot, but I use it so rarely these days I often forget where everything is. Converseen has been much faster and easier because it only resizes and converts formats of pictures. Furthermore, you ca resize the pictures in batches rather than one at a time.

    Self taught, persistently behind the times, never up to date. AKA ~ jeff
    More verbosity: http://petiteguerre.blogspot.com/

    #75769
    Rory McCreadie
    Participant

    Thanks A-O-S,

    As Vol will tell you I’m a computer man’s nightmare. I hate doing anything on this blo##ly thing. I have looked at the down-load and gone O.M.G.!

    I use a computer to show my work and pick up ideas from people like yourself s. So I’m getting better at it very slowly. The young folks I work with make fun of me all the time. Now if you want a Quill-pen! I’m your man!

    Be safe

    Rory

    He who says he makes no mistakes, is making the biggest mistake of all. Or does bugger all. Rory

    #75776
    Volunteer
    Participant

    Ok Rory, here are your pictures! Now you have to write the AAR to go with them. (I shrunk these on my phone BTW.)

    So start writing my friend.

     

    "Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing"
    Wernher von Braun

    #75836
    Rory McCreadie
    Participant

    Thanks Vol,

    A-O-S, I’m sorry for hijacking your post.

    The rules “Osprey’s Fighting Sail” are a bit BANG! BANG! your dead! and go against the physics of the wind. For most that would be the end and bin the rules. For Pete who has not the best sight in the world and me who dreams of the big game (Lots of ships) thought that some of the rules worked really well.

    The all in one movement template and no ship-logs (No paper-work) sounded good to us.

    Hoping to get support for the rules Pete started the Facebook page for the rules. Ryan the author of the rule set joined too.

    The rules have had a lot of stick. So Pete and I looked at them and after a lot of gaming made some chances to them. We got good feed back on the chances. Ryan O.K.ed the chances too. Wished some one had played tested them more before publishing.

    The rules play the same, but as shown below we had all of the ships still sailing at the end. Something that would not happen in the rules as printed.

    This was the frist time we kept our ships in line. We normal ended up with a “free for all” battle. Nelson would O.K. that!

    We got the ships moving in line sailing closer and closer banging away at each other. Knocking “Fleet points” off. Once you work out the fleet points of your fleets at the start of the game, That is it! no more ships logs or lots of paper-work. Just a sheet which you knock off the points each time a ship takes damage, sinks or is taken. On getting damage (Hits not saved) the ship gets tokens, after a ship gets a number of tokens it sails and fires  with difficulty. You can remove damage tokens from the ships, but the not off the fleet points, this only happens if you sink or capture an enemy ship. The point of the game is to remove enemy fleet points and keep or better your own.

    Each movement point gets you one move of 2 inches. Apart from the “Moving forward into the wind???????” We did not chance Ryan’s movement rules. Each Nation/size of ship gets a different number of sailing dice. The bigger the ship the less dice. depending on the sailing point (wind) this gives you the minimal number to get on your dice roll to move. One will always get one move for free if you get a bad roll. Does this make it historical right? Or make it just harder to move ships in formation? eg, 3rd rate moves faster than a 1st rate! If the 1st rate gets a better roll on the dice it may move faster than a 3rd rate????? Is this right?

    The game of two lines moving slowly closer to each other may look and sound boring, but it showed the rules can work. We on the whole did not roll for movement, just used our free one movement per go to keep formation. Is this right or are we playing the rules? Maybe movement is something else we must look into? the rules with up-dates do work. O.K. not to everyone’s taste, but work. The paper-less bit, the movement template are great. We think the rules work for big games. To have 40 plus ships-logs floating around a table is a pain. Also for Pete’s eyes it’s good too!

    Sorry more a rule review than a A.A.R.

    Be safe

    Rory

     

    He who says he makes no mistakes, is making the biggest mistake of all. Or does bugger all. Rory

    #76464
    Brian Weathersby
    Participant

    A-o-S,

    Now that was a right sharp little fight!  I’m painting up some 1/1200 ACW ships now with an eye to running a Mississippi River campaign.

    BWW

    I'm lucky to be here
    With someone I like
    Who maketh my spirit to shine
    --Warren Zevon

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