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    Avatar photoDM

    I fought out the battle last night using my “Find, Fix and Strike” rules. A hard fought action which left both German ships sunk (the Germans claiming to have scuttled Bismarck) and Hood seriously damaged but still in the fight…..


    Avatar photokyoteblue

    That is a reversal of history.

    Avatar photoJim Jackaman

    Funnily enough, I played the Denmark Straits game in Atlantic Fleet yesterday with exactly the same result. Hood took a battering but Prince of Wales took only light damage. Prinz Eugen blew up after a salvo from Hood hit X turret. Bismarck was pounded into scrap and eventually sank.

    Avatar photohammurabi70

    I suspect that in most cases the reversal of history will be the norm.  The question is how did the rules play and where are the AARs going to be collected?

    We did it twice on Friday; AARs are being collated.  In both cases, the Bismark got pounded but did a lot of damage to the Hood first.  The Prinz Eugen got tasked with torpedo attacks so one wonders what they thought they were achieving by firing at the battleships.

    GENERAL QUARTERS played too quickly for much narrative to develop and suggested that they were a set of rules for large scale actions such as Jutland.  The one aspect that was well liked was having to write moves ahead as it forced forward thinking.  VICTORY AT SEA gave a more nuanced game with more turns to enable manoeuvre, gave a point to the cruiser firing on target and seemed to give more opportunity for the Hood’s relative weaknesses to flow through, although perhaps not the weaknesses of the Bismarck.

    All players seemed to become converts from GQ to VAS.  I am looking forward to another play with other rules in due course.

    www.olivercromwell.org; www.battlefieldstrust.com
    6mm wargames group: [email protected]; 2mm wargames group: [email protected]

    Avatar photoJohn D Salt

    Here is a tediously-detailed account of one of my early Denmark Strait battles using my computerised
    “Surface Action” Python script. I left out the British cruisers, who would have made things a bit
    more complicated, although perhaps been a useful counter to the barnstorming Prinz Eugen, which, as
    you’ll see if you read it, had a remarkable battle.

    Point of interest to me that this game brought out are the strong influence of an early piece of luck
    (in this case, Prince of Wales’ outrageously jammy machinery hits on Bismarck on turns 3 and 4) and
    the ability of otherwise mostly harmless guns to cause consequential damage by setting fires.

    Note that I use “Surface Action” terms throughout, so distances are in miles (2,000 yards), angles
    are in points (32 points to a full circle), gun calibres are inches (25.4mm), and turrets are designated
    by letters in the RN style, even though Bismarck’s turrets should properly be called Anton, Bruno, and so
    on. Ships are also referred to by feminine pronouns. As a concession to normality, damage is normally
    expressed not in “Surface Action” terms, but as a percentage of the ship’s ability to perform the three
    classic naval functions, to float,move, and fight.

    TL;DR: Bismarck DIW early and eventually wrecked after a protracted fight, Hood eventally DIW and quite
    poorly but still three turrets firing. Only the Princes still mobile, Wales sitting pretty apart from some
    badly-singed guns, and Eugen, somewhat bruised, having run away giggling to the South, after socking Hood
    in the belly with a fish and doing a firestarter job on the Prince of Wales with 8-inchers.

    + Start Game Turn 1
    Current visibility 15 miles

    Kriegsmarine (KM) accelerate to full speed, Bismarck comes three points port and Prinz Eugen two.
    Royal Navy (RN) come three points port in succession to open arcs.

    Both KM ships engage Hood.
    Both RN ships engage Bismarck.
    The range is about twelve miles.
    Hood and Bismark take one 15-in hit each, scoring hull damage in both cases.

    + Start Game Turn 2
    Current visibility 16 miles

    Hood repairs her hull damage; Bismarck fails.

    KM ships go ahead at full speed, RN come three more points to port in succession.

    The range is down to about ten miles, so Prince of Wales’ secondary armament is now in range,
    and opens on Prinz Eugen, and Bismark’s secondaries open on Prince of Wales.
    Otherwise gunnery targets are the same as before.
    Hood puts another 15-in hit on Bismarck, hitting B turret.
    In return Hood suffers two 15-in and two 8-in hits, and Prince of Wales takes one 5.9-in.
    Hood takes hull and machinery damage, while Prince of Wales shrugs off the 5.9.

    + Start Game Turn 3
    Current visibility 15 miles

    Hood repairs her machinery damage, so suffering no loss of speed, and Bismarck gets B turret back into action.

    Both sides now carry on ahead at full speed on converging courses.

    Gunnery targets the same as before except that, now the range is down to seven miles, Hood’s secondaries open
    on Bismarck and Prinz Eugen’s secondaries on the Hood (for all the good they will do).
    The Hood takes two 15-in, two 8-in and two 5.9-in hits. The big shells cause more hulll and machinery damage,
    and one of the 8-inchers starts a fire.
    In return the RN gunners now seem to have their eye in, and Bismarck takes two 15-in and three 14-in hits.
    As well as hull damage, some lucky 14-in hits cause extensive machinery damage, and a 15-in hits Y turret.

    + Start Game Turn 4
    Current visibility 15 miles

    Hood gets it fire out, but, critically, Bismarck fails to repair her machinery damage.

    Bismarck alters 10 points to starboard to escape, while the Prinz Eugen turns six points to port and goes
    bald-headed for the RN ships to try to drive them off with torpedoes. The RN continue ahead.

    Gunnery plots remain unchanged, but the range is now down to about four miles.
    Hood takes three 15-in, two 5.9-in and two 4.1-in hits, while Prince of Wales takes three 8-inchers.
    Prinz Eugen is untouched by Prince of Wales’ secondaries, but Bismarck takes three 15-inch, two 14-inch, and,
    as an irrelevant footnote, one 4-inch hit.
    Bismarck suffers hull damage, further machinery damage, and hits on B and Y turrets.
    Hood takes hull damage, a hit on B turret, and is set on fire again. One of the 8-inch hits on Prince of Wales
    also gets lucky and starts a fire.

    + Start Game Turn 5
    Current visibility 16 miles

    Damage control efforts on both sides do poorly, and worse, the RN has trouble with the fires aboard both ships.
    Hood suffers further machinery damage, and Prince of Wales has X turret taken out of action by spreading fires.
    Bismarck, though, is in real trouble, and now lies dead in the water.

    The RN ships continue ahead, and Prinz Eugen rushes ahead at full speed across their course, still only
    being engaged by Prince of Wales’ secondaries.

    Hood takes another 15-inch hit and four irrelevant 4.1-inch hits, and Prince of Wales takes four 8-inchers.
    Bismarck takes three 15-inch hits, plus the customary irrelevant 4-incher, doing more hull damage and definitively
    wrecking B turret.
    Prinz Eugen takes a single 5.25-in, which does no damage.
    Passing close ahead of the British line, Prinz Eugen fires a spread of torpedoes at the Hood from 2.3 miles and
    another against the Prince of Wales at 1.5 miles. The RN’s failure to comb the threat of torpedo attack is justified
    when none of the torpedoes hit. The foul weather modifier for torpedo shots makes this less of a risk than it
    would be in fair weather.

    + Start Game Turn 6
    Current visibility 16 miles

    Damage control is still having a thin time of it. Bismarck is now dead in the water with B and Y turrets wrecked,
    and attempts to get her moving again have failed. The RN firefighting teams fare no better, and the fire aboard Hood
    now takes A turret out of action.

    The RN carry on at full speed, although Hood can now make only 21 knots, and Prinz Eugen reverses course to head
    back towards the big RN ships.

    Gunnery plots remain unchanged.
    Hood takes a 15-in and a 5.9-in; Prince of Wales takes two 8-in hits; Bismarck takes two 15-in, one 14-in, and two 4-in;
    and Prinz Eugen takes four 5.25-in hits.
    Bismarck and Hood both suffer hull damage, and Prinz Eugen’s X turret is put out of action.
    Bismarck now has 50% hull damage, Hood 33%, but Hood is still moving, and Bismarck is not.

    + Start Game Turn 7
    Current visibility 15 miles

    Damage control contimues dismal. Prince of Wales’ fire now takes B turret out of action, and the fire aboard Hood causes
    a temporary loss of main armament fire control. Hood’s fire is, however, finally extinguished.
    Bismarck can still not repair any machinery. Prinz Eugen gets her X turret back into action.

    The RN ships reverse course to starboard, and the Prinz Eugen makes an eight-point turn to port to keep close
    to the enemy big ships.

    Hood’s main armament has been temporarily forced to check fire, and with only A turret remaining in action Prince
    of Wales can do not better than a single 14-inch hit on Bismarck, hitting her on A turret.
    Hood takes a single ineffectual 5.9-in hit, and Prinz Eugen puts four 8-in and three 4.1-in hits on Prince of
    Wales, also to no effect. Hood’s secondary battery now having woken up to the idea that Prinz Eugen might be a
    more profitable target than the Bismarck, Prinz Eugen herself takes one 5.25-in and four 4-inch hits. The
    5.25-in hit starts a fire aboard.

    + Start Game Turn 8
    Current visibility 17 miles

    Prinz Eugen’s fire takes her A turret out of action.
    Hood’s attempt to repair her own A turret fails, taking it permanently out of action.
    Bismarck concentrates on repairing hull damage, with success.

    The RN ships go ahead at a slackened speed of 20 knots.
    Prinz Eugen reverses her course to starboard to put herself on a north-easterly heading roughly
    parallel to RN ships’ new course.

    Bismarck takes one 15-in and one 14-in hit, and Prinz Eugen takes one 5.25-in and two 4-in hits,
    but none of these score any worthwhile damage.
    A single 5.9-in on the Hood and two 8-in and one 4-in hits on Prince of Wales are equally
    ineffective, except that Prinz Eugen’s 8-inchers are able to light fires quicker than Prince of
    Wales can put them out.

    + Start Game Turn 9
    Current visibility 15 miles

    In a sudden burst of damage control success, Hood repairs her B turret, Prince of Wales her X turret,
    and Prinz Eugen her A turret. Bismarck continues to concentrate on hull repairs, and is still at only
    a little over 50% damage.

    Both RN ships now go to full speed (21 knots for Hood) and turns four points to port.
    Prinz Eugen carries on ahead at full speed.

    Bismarck takes two 15-in and one 14-in hit, causing hull damage, and Prinz Eugen takes a single 4-in
    hit, which has the luck to start a fire.
    Hood takes one 5.9-in and Prince of Wales one 4.1-in hit, neither of which have any effect.

    + Start Game Turn 10
    Current visibility 15 miles

    It is now Prince of Wales’ turn to suffer a temporary loss of fire control due to the fires she still
    has aboard. Attempts to repair B turret also fail, putting it permanently out.
    Prinz Eugen successfully extinguishes her fire.
    Bismarck and Hood concentrate on hull repairs.

    The RN ships come another two points to port. Prinz Eugen comes four points to port, keeping alongside them.

    Hood puts three 15-in hits on Bismarck, and takes one 15-in in return, both ships taking hull damage.
    Prinz Eugen takes one 5.25-in and two 4-in hits, to no effect.
    Prince of Wales takes two 8-inch and one 4.1-inch, equally to no effect.

    + Start Game Turn 11
    Current visibility 14 miles

    Prince of Wales still fails to extinguish the fires aboard, which now take her X turret out of action.
    Hood continues to work on hull damage.
    Bismarck attempts to repair A turret, and fails, putting it permanently out. X turret is now her only
    remaining main turret. As she is unrecoverably dead in the water, she will have no means of harming the RN
    ships if they can get round to her bows.

    The RN ships come another two points to port, as does the Prinz Eugen.

    Aware of the risk of another torpedo attack from Prinz Eugen’s starboard banks, Hood decides to concentrate
    her main battery on the gadfly Prinz Eugen. Prinz Eugen suffers two 15-inch and three 4-inch hits, immediately
    scoring 50% hull damage. This is not enough to stop her delivering torpedo attacks on both the RN big ships
    at short range, and she is rewarded with a hit on the Hood. A single 21-in torpedo hit is enough to take
    her from about 30% to about 60% hull damage.
    Hood also takes two 15-in and three 5.9-in hits, scoring more hull damage, machinery damage, and putting B
    turret out.
    Prince of Wales escaped any torpedo hits, and suffered no damage from three 8-inch and two 4.1-inch hits.
    She managed to put three 14-inch hits on the Bismarck, but did nothing more than starting fires.

    + Start Game Turn 12
    Current visibility 17 miles

    Prince of Wales finally manages to extinguish her fires. Hood tries to repair some of her severe machinery
    damage, and not only fails to do so, but spreading fire inflicts further machinery damage, reducing her to
    a mere 1 knot.
    Prinz Eugen tries and fails to repair hull damage.

    Prince of Wales comes two more points to port and reduces to 21 knots, while Prinz Eugen steers six points
    to port and continues at full speed.

    Hood puts two 15-in and four 4-in hits on the Bismarck, adding a little more hull damage.
    In return, Bismarck’s main armament misses the Hood entirely, and the three 5.9-in hits from the secondaries
    do no damage.
    Prince of Wales fails to do anything other than to put a single ineffectual 5.25-in hit on Prinz Eugen.
    In return Prinz Eugen puts three 8-inch and one 4.1-in hit on the Prince of Wales, equally to no effect.

    + Start Game Turn 13
    Current visibility 15 miles

    Another turn of damage control disappointments.
    Prince of Wales fails to repair X turret, putting it permanently out and leaving her with A turret alone.
    Hood fails to repair any of her machinery damage.
    Bismarck and Prinz Eugen both fail to repair hull damage.

    Both ships still mobile, Prince of Wales and Prinz Eugen, come four points to port at full speed.
    Prince of Wales is working round to a position ahead of the Bismarck where Bismarck’s one surviving main
    turret will not bear. Prinz Eugen is now out of torpedoes, and there is nothing further she can do to help
    the immobilized Bismarck, so it is high time to leave.

    Bismarck takes one 15-in, two 14-in, and one 4-in hits, all to no effect.
    Prinz Eugen takes four 5.25-in hits, damaging B turret.
    Hood takes two 15-in and three 6-in hits, inflicting more hull damage.
    Prince of Wales takes five 8-inch and four 4.1-inch hits, again to no effect.

    + Start Game Turn 14
    Current visibility 16 miles

    Damage control efforts are concentrated on hull damage, and apart from mixed success in Hood are failures.

    Prince of Wales and Prinz Eugen again both steer four points to port at full speed.

    Bismarck takes a little moore hull damage from one 15-in, one 14-in, and three 4-in hits.
    Prinz Eugen escapes any effect from a single 5.25-in hit.
    Hood takes hull damage and has a fire started by one 15-in and two 5.9-in hits.
    Prinz Eugen cheekily puts three 8-in and one 4.1-in hits on Prince of Wales, starting yet another bloody fire.

    + Start Game Turn 15
    Current visibility 16 miles

    Prince of Wales manages to bring the new fire under control before it can do any damage, but fires in Hood
    and Bismarck cause temporary disruption of main fire control for both ships. On the other hand, Hood
    manages to repair some hull damage.
    Bismarck fails to repair any hull damage, but Prinz Eugen at last succeeds in making good a little of hers.

    Prince of Wales goes ahead at a slackened speed of 12 knots, being now positioned nicely about six miles
    ahead of Bismarck and unreachable by her main guns.
    Prinz Eugen goes ahead due south at full speed.

    Bismarck takes a little more hull damage from two 14-in and three 4-in hits.
    Hood suffers no ill effects from two 5.9-in hits, and neither does Prinz Eugen from three 5.25-in;
    Prince of Wales isn’t even hit.

    After 90 minutes of action, the result now seems pretty much inevitable.

    Bismarck has about 35% of her abilty to float remaining, but cannot move, and can only fight with 25% of her main
    armament, which, moreover, will not bear on the Prince of Wales. She has fires aboard.

    Prinz Eugen retains about 60% of her ability to float, 100% of her ability to move, and 75% of her ability to fight
    with main guns. However her main guns are too small for this sort of battle, and all her torpedoes have been expended.
    Time to leave, which she is doing at full speed.

    The Mighty Hood is in a sorry state, retaining 33% of her ability to float, 3% of her ability to move, and 50% of her
    ability to fight, with fires aboard. She is continuing to fight.

    The Prince of Wales still has 100% of her ability to float and move, but only 40% of her ability to fight. This, however,
    she can do from a position of virtual invulnerability.

    The conclusion is now pretty much inevitable, the only question being how much more damage Bismarck’s single remaining
    turret can do to the Hood in the time remaining to it. Since tactical maneouvre is no longer of interest — Prinz Eugen
    is leaving, and Prince of Wales will remain in Bismarck’s bow arc — the rest of the action is recorded as a DC and
    gunnery summary.

    + Start Game Turn 16
    Current visibility 16 miles

    Bismarck: Repair 2 hull damage, takes two 15-in, one 14-in, two 4-in, hull damage.
    Prinz Eugen: Repair B turret, takes three 5.25-in hits, B turret damaged and fire started.
    Hood: Repair 2 hull damage, takes one 15-inand two 5.9-in hits, fire started.
    Prince of Wales: Takes one 8-in and two 4.1-in hits, no effect.

    + Start Game Turn 17
    Current visibility 17 miles

    Bismarck: Temp FC loss to fire, fail to repair 2 hull damage, takes one 15-in, two 14-in, five 4-in, 2 hull damage.
    Prinz Eugen: Fail to quench fire, takes no hits.
    Hood: Repair 1 and fail to repair 1 hull damage, takes three 5.9-in hits, no effect.
    Prince of Wales: Takes one 8-in hit, no effect.

    + Start Game Turn 18
    Current visibility 15 miles

    Bismarck: Repair 1 and fail to repair 1 hull damage, takes one 15-in, one 5.25-in, two 4-in, hull damage.
    Prinz Eugen: Extinguishes fire, takes no hits.
    Hood: Repair B turret, takes one 5-in and two 5.9-in hits, hull damage.
    Prince of Wales: Takes no hits.

    + Start Game Turn 19
    Current visibility 15 miles

    Bismarck: Takes three 14-in, three 5.25-in, three 4-in, hull damage.
    Prinz Eugen: Fails to repair B turret, takes no hits.
    Hood: Temp FC loss to fire, takes two 15-in hits, hull damage.
    Prince of Wales: Takes no hits.

    + Start Game Turn 20
    Current visibility 16 miles

    Bismarck: Extinguishes fire, takes three 5.25-in, two 4-in, no effect.
    Prinz Eugen: Takes no hits.
    Hood: Temp FC loss to fire, extinguishes fire, takes one 15-in hit, hull and machinery damage, dead in the water.
    Prince of Wales: Takes no hits.

    This is the last turn of the “Surface Action” scenario as specified. According to the victory conditions given
    in the scenario, it is clearly not a German “broken contact” win — the RN ships never lost touch — so victory
    is decided on total hull damage for each side. The British have had 5 compartments flooded and 7 damaged
    (“Surface Action” terms for hull points permanently lost and those potentially repairable). The KM have lost 17
    compartments flooded and 2 damaged. In principle one should now roll damage control dice to see which of the damaged

    compartments are repaired and which become flooded, and the expectation would be a final result of 18 victory points
    for the RN and 8.5 for the KM. Even with the most improbable German luck in dice-rolling, with all the KM damage
    control rolls succeeding and all the RN rolls failing, they could not do better than 12 points to the RN’s 14, so
    the victory of British seapower is assured.

    Or is it? Bismarck can still bite, and as long as her one reaining turret can continue to pot at the Hood, there is
    a small chance of a G* hit and a magazine explosion roll of 11. In fact that would still not be a KM win; eventually,
    just the Prince of Wales shooting at Bismarck should wreck it. Therefore the only hope for a KM win would be a
    magazine explosion on Hood, followed by a turret malfunction (possible on a roll of snake’s eyes for a “green” ship
    such as the Prince of Wales) and a failure to repair the malfunctioned turret. All a very long shot, but not
    mathematically impossible; so, of course, I had to let the battle run out to the bitter end.

    The end finally came after another 8 turns (so making 2 hours and 48 minutes of action), with Bismarck finally being
    wrecked by a 15-inch hit. The final states of the ships involved were:

    Prince of Wales:
    No hull or machinery damage, but B and X turrets knocked out.
    She took 33 8-inch, 9 5.9-inch and 16 4.1-inch hits, none of which were big enough to do significant damage directly.
    However Prinz Eugen’s 8-inchers started the fires that ultimately caused the loss of two main turrets.
    Prince of Wales’ gunners scored 33 main armament and 51 secondary armament hits.

    Dead in the water, with 43% hull damage and A turret knocked out.
    She took 26 15-inch, 2 8-inch, 28 5.9-inch and 8 4.1-inch hits, and one 21-inch torpedo hit, which lost almost 30%
    of her undamaged hull value.
    Her damage control teams had done a sterling job, repairing fully two-thirds of the hull damage inflicted; average
    luck would have made it only half.
    Hood’s gunners scored 46 main armament and 65 secondary armament hits.

    Finally wrecked by 44 15-inch, 33 14-inch, 31 5.25-inch, and 53 4-inch hits.
    Bismarck’s gunners scored 26 main armament and 37 secondary armament hits.
    Though she fought to the last, her fate was sealed early on when a series of lucky 14-inch hits (two on turn 3 and
    one on turn 4) wiped out her machinery, and she failed to make any effective repairs, leaving her dead in the water.

    Prinz Eugen:
    Escaped with no machinery damage, 38% hull damage, and B turret knocked out.
    She took 2 15-inch, 20 5.25-inch, and 12 4-inch hits, with the 15-inchers doing all the hull damage.
    Prinz Eugen’s gunners scored 35 main armament and 24 secondary armament hits, and 1 21-in torpedo
    hit out of 12 torpedoes fired (four spreads of three).

    Final score at 28 turns: RN 25 points, KM 9 points. A convincing RN victory.

    I think the Prinz Eugen must be reckoned the star of the show, gallantly harassing the RN big ships from suicidally close
    range in an attempt to give Bismarck time to repair her critical machinery damage. In the event the RN ships ignored the
    Prinz Eugen to concentrate on Bismarck, who never did recover from the early unlucky machinery damage. In retrospect it
    was perhaps unwise to do so, as she not only managed to get a damaging torpedo hit on the Hood, but her continuous gunnery
    engagement of the Prince of Wales resulted in fires that eventually took out two of her main turrets — more RN gunnery
    capability than Bismarck managed to permanently knock out.

    All the best,


    Avatar photoDeleted User

    I’m interested as to why history seems to be easily reversed.

    Was the actual outcome an aberration? One of those tragic quirks of history?



    Avatar photoEtranger

    In reality the Bismark scored a double six on the third(?) salvo, with the instantaneous loss of the Hood. That immediately stacked the odds against the Prince Of Wales, which hadn’t been fully worked up before setting out (ie it was still ‘running in’, to use the motoring equivalent). A discrete withdrawal was the most appropriate action for the damaged POW in the circumstances.

    KM Bismark was a tough, well fought ship. It took a Swordfish strike, two battleships and ultimately torpedo attacks from heavy cruisers to finish her off (that’s if you don’t believe that her crew actually scuttled her).

    A very unlucky outcome for the British, although of course the British battlecruiser fleet had had similar problems at Jutland 25 years before, supposedly corrected.

    Avatar photoMattH

    I think that given how quickly the Hood blew up you have to entertain the possibility that she was just as explodey as Beatty’s battlecruisers at Jutland and adjust the rules accordingly. But then the game becomes a crap shoot – if Hood blows up the Germans win, otherwise the Bismarck gets hammered. It’s an interesting historical exercise, but probably not a very satisfying game.

    There were also a couple of other factors in the Germans’ favour:

    The wind was coming from the NNE, so both British ships had their primary rangefinders obscured by spray.

    In addition to the mechanical problems with her guns, the PoW couldn’t fire her A turret forward because of the heavy seas.

    The thing I don’t quite understand is why Lutjens continued to close the range long after it was clear he was facing two capital ships. He has a 2 knot advantage in speed and plenty of sea room to the west before he hits the ice pack, and his orders are not to engage British warships unless unavoidable. So why didn’t he bear away to the west and keep the Brits at 25,000+ yards, subjecting them to plunging fire? Even without the magazine explosion, Hood would have been extremely vulnerable at that range, and the PoW’s 14″ guns aren’t really up to the job.


    Avatar photoDeleted User

    So, a bit like wargaming Waterloo. The French always win unless the British player rolls a double 6 for the early arrival of the Prussians.



    Avatar photoFredd Bloggs

    Notes on the real battle, Hood had not quite finished a refit and PoW was still being run in, and as a class KGVs had lots of issues. Allowing for this the actual battles main talking point was how early hood went down, before she could harm them back. Not that they lost. The odds say that is what should happen.

    On Lutjens not holding distance, he either had to fight or run, he did not want a long running battle as he did not know what else was coming for him and from where, and if he just held the PoW off, could he prevent the cruisers closing from different angles, remembering the fate of the Graf Spee.

    Avatar photoDM

    A few things from reading the above.

    PoW was worked up at the time, this is a thing that comes up regularly because of the contractors who were on board working on the gun defects.

    PoW’s “discrete withdrawal” was only temporary, she pursued Bismark and re-engaged several times, straddling the Bismarck. There is a very strong tendency for people to assume that the battle ended with Hood blowing up, but (as with many things) it pays to read on a bit further in the story.

    One factor that frequently fails to make it into refights is the dud rate for German shells, which was around 50%. That tends to be overshadowed by the 15″ one that obviously worked “as advertised”

    Keeping the British battleships at arm’s length would have exposed Bismarck to British plunging fire. Lutjens probably knew that the RN’s deck armour was generally more effective than his (no, Hood wasn’t sunk by plunging fire, and her decks weren’t thin – but that crops up a lot). The 14″ really was up to the job, remember Duke of York penetrated Scharnhorst’s deck armour at long range in the action where the German battleship was sunk (it was DoY’s long range, radar directed shot that slowed Scharnhorst and stopped her escaping)

    Was Hood more “explodey”? Probably yes, but not because of anything Jutland related (another battle where thin deck armour is often seen as the culprit, when it was anything but). At Jutland the issue was flash propagating down through turrets and barbettes into magazines where flash doors had been left open. In Hood’s case the cause was most likely the 4″ AA magazine which was added at her previous refit and which was exposed. A 15″ hit to that apparently “minor” magazine is likely to have vented into the main machinery spaces (blast was seen to exit from the machinery space vets) and into the 15″ magazines when the 4″ magazine detonated. In magazine design terms this is known as “communication”, where an explosive event in one magazine impacts upon another. I have the RN’s magazine safety and design experts in my team, communication is one of the things that sits high in their list of issues to watch out for in modern ship design

    Avatar photoCat Shot One

    Hi Dave,

    (since I don’t know how to contact you directly)

    I posted a couple of questions on your Falklands Air War C21 supplement in that thread. Can you please have a look?


    Avatar photohammurabi70

    We had a session using:

    (1) FFS
    (2) GQ
    (3) WAS [War at Sea (boardgame)]

    WAS, unsurprisingly was over in 5 minutes.  The Prinz Eugen returned to base, Bismarck returned to base damaged, Hood returned to base in a near sinking state and the Prince of Wales held the battlefield.  One has to query how damaged ships were able to teleport away.

    FFS took seven turns, GQ eight turns.  With FFS Bismarck was 3,000 yards long, in GQ 2,000 yards; the scaling is a bit of an issue.  This makes issues of Line of Sight being blocked rather dubious.  FFS had a rather uniform movement rate, GQ was more nuanced.  In both cases, there is a real problem with the idea of putting up a heavy cruiser and battleship against two battleships.   The heavy cruiser lacks the weapon range and getting close for a torpedo attack is highly risky!  In FFS there was no opportunity to do damage but GQ did provide some possibility.  It will always be the case that unless one gets the fortunate hit on the Hood the British will win.  In this case, GQ provided a better showing and was preferred over FFS.

    (1) This was a small battle and it might have been more telling to try something like the River Plate.
    (2) A Mediterranean battle with the Italian fleet such as the Battle of Calabria might provide a better test.
    (3) A big one such as the Battle of Leyte Gulf would certainly be a stress test but would that be the rules or players fleet collections?
    (4) Something with aircraft involved would prove interesting.
    (5) Is there a battle which could have submarines included?

    Players enjoyed the experience and look forward to another experience … next year?

    www.olivercromwell.org; www.battlefieldstrust.com
    6mm wargames group: [email protected]; 2mm wargames group: [email protected]

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