Yes, a ballroom! Each player would be in command of a single ship — sometimes two if destroyers were involved — controlling the movement and firing of their vessel. The scale was one inch equaling fifty feet meaning the sizes of the ships could be rather large and the distances big caliber guns could fire would be staggering thus the need for huge areas to play. Damage is based on step reduction as each ship has a different point total based on various factors of the real world vessel. As an example of how your turn would play out you would move your ship based on the top speed.
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The random thoughts of an ancient wargamer. Featuring rules, battle reports, and all sorts of miscellaneous wargaming and other topics. The scenario was based on an attempt by the German Navy to attack and — if possible — destroy a convoy on its way from the UK to Russia.
As I had supplied all the merchant ships that made up the convoy, it was natural that I was given command of the convoy of twelve merchant ships and its close escort. The latter comprised a light cruiser Dido-class , two destroyers Tribal-class , and two minesweepers one Algerine-class and one Bangor-class.
The German attackers included two battleships Tirpitz and Scharnhorst , a heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper , and four destroyers. The battle began with the German force sailing straight for the convoy, which immediately signalled the distant escort for support.
This initially came in the form of the two County-class heavy cruisers, which were followed soon afterwards by the battleship, battle cruiser, and destroyers. The British heavy cruisers engaged the Germans, and although several merchant ships were hit and sunk by gunfire from the German battleships and cruiser, the Germans eventually had to switch their fire to engage the British cruisers.
The cruisers did not emerge from this confrontation unscathed. They had, however, achieved their purpose and given time for the British heavy units to join the battle, and the latter scored several telling hits on the German warships.
The convoy, escorted by the minesweepers, used this opportunity to turn away from the Germans. The battle had — by now — degenerated into something of a melee, with both sides firing whole shoals of torpedoes at each other, mainly to force their opponents to turn away.
Both sides also laid down smoke, and the Germans used it to attempt to disengage from the melee. This proved to be only partially successful, as one British destroyer managed to sneak close enough to the Tirpitz to hit her with torpedoes. This marked the end of the battle. The loss of Tirpitz ensured a British victory, although it was only achieved at a considerable cost in terms of ships and men.
Almost half the convoy had been sunk as had one of the British cruisers and several of the destroyers. Of particular note was the shooting conducted by the British heavy units, which was both accurate and effective.
The Germans. The two British County-class heavy cruisers, one of which is under fire. One of the British heavy cruisers fires back. Two of the British destroyers. The convoy comes under attack, and HMS Hermione the heaviest unit of the convoy escort is hit by three enemy shells. The red upturned golf tees show the hits; the others show misses.
HMS Hermione was hit by three German shells. They reduced her speed to 25 knots for the rest of the battle. The German heavy units open fire again. Admiral Hipper and three of the German destroyers move towards the convoy. The British heavy units engage the enemy with very accurate long-range gunfire.
The German destroyers fire torpedoes the tracks of the torpedoes are shown here by pipe-cleaners whilst the heavy units turn away and make a break for home.
The Tirpitz is hit by four heavy shells fired by the British heavy units. She was subsequently hit by several torpedoes, and these slowed her so that she could be finished off later in the battle by further gunfire and torpedoes.
Abandon Ship! A Review of ‘Fletcher Pratt’s Naval Wargame: Wargaming with Model Ships 1900-1945’