Home Forums Air and Sea Naval INWARD 2019 – Tow, Tow, Tow the Boat

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    Jim JackamanJim Jackaman

    Better late than never (?) here’s my plan for my INWARD 2019 game, much delayed due to being out of the country over the summer:

    This is a Broadside and Ram naval game, set in an early 1870’s counterfactual Anglo-French conflict. The newly commissioned turret ironclad, Onondaga, has been conducting sea trials off the coast of Toulon but has suffered an internal explosion, with steam power to the engines stopped and no movement possible. The engineers have been working hard to restore power, not only to the propulsion system but also to the steam operated turrets, which are trained fore and aft but unable to turn. However, the paddle frigate Mogador has been dispatched to tow the Onondaga into a nearby bay, where it can be under the protection of coastal gun batteries and effect temporary repairs.

    The Onondaga and Mogador are connected by a towing cable and start the game at the mid point of the southern table edge. The Onondaga has no power so must be towed by the Mogador across the table to the opposite edge at 2” per turn at no AP cost. An additional 1AP may be spent each turn to double this to 4” at ‘full steam ahead’ but this may cause the tow rope to part (roll 1D6, 5-6 = tow broken). The Mogador may voluntarily slip the tow at a cost of 1 AP and will then act as independent. The Mogador may turn ‘on the spot’ if stationary at the cost of 1 AP during the turn phase but only if not towing.

    The Onondaga has to repair her steam lines to traverse her turrets, although she may fire fore and/or aft at -2 AF without doing any repairs. The repairs take three turns at a successive cost of 3AP, 2AP ad 1AP to complete. The repair cost in AP’s does not have to be spent in consecutive turns. This cost is additional to any other repairs that the Onondaga may be required to make as a result of damage. The Onondaga cannot regain any movement by repairs, as the propulsion system is badly damaged, and remains stationary if not under tow. To add some additional realism, the Onondaga may be allowed to drift at 2” per turn toward the eastern edge of the table if not under tow.

    The Royal Navy flotilla of HMS Pallas and HMS Rapid enters from the mid-point of the western edge of the table in echelon formation. They may operate independently or change formation as desired. They may target either or both the Onondaga or Mogador as separate targets while they are in tow. The tow may be cut voluntarily or if either ship suffers damage, in which case the two ships must be targeted as separate vessels. The objective of the Royal Navy is to cripple or shatter the Onondaga before the Mogador can tow it under the guns of the coastal batteries. To do this, they may attempt to silence, cripple or shatter the Mogador first, before attacking the Onondaga.

    The shore batteries have a range of 8” in a 180 degree arc of fire, with a DF of 2, although they cannot be fired on by any ships as they are in an elevated position on the cliff tops. There is an area of shoals at the base of the cliffs extending for 6” parallel to the shore line. Any ship that enters this area automatically runs aground and is considered to be shattered. The range of the gun batteries and the presence of the shoals may not be revealed to the Royal Navy if desired but should be revealed to the French. The French must tow the Onondaga into the 6” exit zone at the northern end of the table in anything other than a crippled or shattered condition to achieve a victory. This may also be achieved by reducing both of the enemy ships to a crippled or shattered condition.

    ….I think that’s it?

    I’ll be playing this out tomorrow in glorious 1/2400th scale.



    Should be an interesting encounter. Looking forward to an AAR.

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

    Jim JackamanJim Jackaman

    Hope so…

    …not sure how the scenario will balance out but, on paper at least, the French have an edge in firepower, while the RN have the edge in manoeuvrability. It also depends very much on what the French do to cripple the RN before it can sink the monitor and how far they can tow it before it is damaged too much to get under the guns of the shore defences.

    If it works, I’ll re-run it with <i>Dahlgren and Colombiad</i>, which is designed for this sort of thing unlike Broadside and Ram, although I do like B+S for ‘skirmishy’ games rather than just fleet actions.

    • This reply was modified 10 months, 1 week ago by Jim JackamanJim Jackaman.
    Jim JackamanJim Jackaman


    And here’s the game report: 

    I played the INWARD 2019 game this afternoon and it was great fun, with some real seat of your pants moments. In the end the French managed to tow the Onondaga under the guns of the shore battery, albeit with damage to the monitor and the Mogador. The Royal Navy lost HMS Rapid to a massive close range blast from the Onondaga’s twin turrets but not before HMS Pallas had rammed the monitor amidships, albeit to little effect.

    Turn 1

    The French won the scouting roll, so the British phased first throughout the game. In Turn 1 both sides advanced to full speed and moved toward each other, the French passing the tow roll and spending 3AP on turret repairs.

    Turn 2

    Low AP rolls for both sides limited the action to more full speed movement, a 2AP roll for turret repair but no firing, as both sides were out of range.

    Turn 3

    The French aced their AP roll enabling them to complete repairs to the Onondaga’s turrets and accelerate to full towing speed, again passing the tow break roll with ease, while the Royal Navy turned 30 degrees to port and moved at full speed on an interception course. The range was rapidly closing but still too far for any firing.

    Turn 4

    It all began to kick off in Turn 4, with HMS Pallas and HMS Rapid moving at full speed into range of the French ships. The French fired first, with the Mogador targeting HMS Pallas, resulting in a Damaged result and an ineffective Critical Hit. In the return fire HMS Pallas, with the supporting fire of HMS Rapid, managed to inflict an effective Silenced result on Mogador, knocking her guns out of action. In the French phase, however, this was repaired to Damaged, before the Mogador successfully passed yet another tow roll (!) to pull the Onondaga into closer range, repairing her turrets at the same time. In the subsequent fire segment, HMS Rapid narrowly missed the Onondaga but the monitor’s concentrated return fire blasted HMS Pallas, with a second Damaged result doubling up to Silence the ironclad ram.

    Turn 5

    The Royal Navy commander was now determined to close with the French, ordering repairs to HMS Pallas and ‘full steam ahead’ to cut off their escape route. The Onondaga responded with another blast of her turret guns, now Silencing the Pallas, while the return fire of HMS Rapid failed to score a hit. In the French phase, yet another successful tow roll (!!!), pulled the monitor further ahead with a turn to starboard to out manoeuvre the British ships. In reply, HMS Rapid failed to score a hit on the Onondaga, which blasted the sloop at close range to Silence her, leaving both of the Royal Navy ships unable to fire in the next turn. With only 6” to go before they could reach the safety of the coastal batteries, it looked like the French were going to make it after all.

    Turn 6

    The battle reached a climax in Turn 6, as the Royal Navy made a last ditch attempt to knock out the Mogador before she could tow the Onondaga to safe waters. Unfortunately, both sides were hampered by low AP rolls, so were forced to decelerate to cruise speed. In the Royal Navy phase, the total of 4 AP was used to effect repairs, bringing both ships up to Damaged condition. The Onondaga fired on HMS Pallas and knocked her back down to Silenced straight away but HMS Rapid, with fire support from HMS Pallas, managed to Silence the Mogador in return (I had to do some head scratching at this point about damage results, but more about that later). In the French phase, the two ships nudged forward at basic speed, not wanting to risk a failed tow roll, but got away with it as HMS Rapid failed to hit the monitor in the fire phase. Not wanting to be unsporting, the Onondaga then failed dismally to hit HMS Pallas, despite being only yards apart and having both turrets levelled at the ironclad!

    Turn 7

    At this stage in the game, it was only a matter of a few inches before the French would get away and, with a hopeless AP roll of 2, the Royal Navy was running out of options. The Royal Navy squadron commander signalled HMS Rapid to break away to cut off the French escape route yet again, while at the same time ordering HMS Pallas to ram the Onondaga amidships with a 15 degree turn to starboard bringing her onto a collision course. The Onondaga blasted HMS Pallas on the way in but she struck her target slap bang in the port side nonetheless. Unfortunately, but quite realistically given her faulty design and low speed, the resulting damage to Onondaga by the ironclad ram was relatively ineffective, resulting in only Damaged outcome.

    In the French phase of the turn, it was time to finish things for good, with yet another successful tow roll (!) pulling the Onondaga away from the impact and clear of HMS Pallas. In a last ditch attempt to slow the French escape, HMS Rapid fired an ineffective broadside on the Onondaga, only to be blown out of the water by the return fire of her heavy turret guns (the Onondaga scoring a total AF of 7 against a DF of just 1)! As the Shattered HMS Rapid slowly sank below the waves, HMS Pallas limped away, with steam pouring from her severed lines and her guns knocked out of action. The retreat of the Royal Navy left the French ships to limp into the bay, finally reaching the protection of the shore batteries.

    A well deserved victory for the French, who had some very lucky dice rolls when towing, with a disappointing defeat for the Royal Navy despite its best efforts and some decisive ‘do or die’ actions. I think that it’s definitely worth a replay and, if I do run it again, it could go either way. I need to work out some of the ambiguous Damage Results and perhaps make it harder for the French to repair the Onondaga, but otherwise the scenario worked really well. If the Royal Navy could have forced the tow to break, I think it would be harder for the French to get away. In addition, if the French could not move at 4” but at the normal 2” rate, then they would really struggle to get across the table. I may make a few tweaks as a result but it’s a good game as it is and well worth another go!

    Vive la France!

    More photos and a follow up on the blog:


    • This reply was modified 10 months, 1 week ago by Jim JackamanJim Jackaman.
    • This reply was modified 10 months, 1 week ago by Jim JackamanJim Jackaman.
    • This reply was modified 10 months, 1 week ago by Jim JackamanJim Jackaman.
    • This reply was modified 10 months, 1 week ago by Jim JackamanJim Jackaman.

    Great stuff Jim! I’m looking forward to seeing you get all your French & British ships on the table and do an 1870s Trafalgar. Go on, you know you want to.

    Jim JackamanJim Jackaman

    Thanks Matt.

    Funny you should that…I’ve been thinking of a fleet level scenario based on a Napoleonic battle but as a ‘What If?’ version in the 1870’s.

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