Somewhere over the horizon lurks the Tirpitz. This photo shows her before dawn, hurrying to rendevous with the other German warships. Note previous bomb damage to the mainmast. This and all other photos are by Ed Sansing.

Jackson Gamers' 1/1200 scale WWII Naval Game

On the Briney Deep!

Robert Whitfield ran this WWII naval surface battle game using our veteran 25mm ships at HOBBYTOWN on June 19, 2004. This game assumes that the Germans sortie all of their available warships to smash the Atlantic convoys, knowing that the British will have to come after them. The Bismark and several other ships attract the main effort of the home fleet (we did not game that part of the campaign) while a more powerful German force has to be brought to action by a "Second Team" of older British Battleships and cruisers (THAT is what our game was about).

The German plan was audacious, with three separate forces, all converging to trap the British. Sometimes, too-complicated plans come apart...

DESTROYERS: Ghurka and Kelly
LIGHT CRUISERS: Arethusa and Bermuda
BATTLESHIP Queen Elizabeth
DESTROYERS: Faulknor and Jervis
BATTLESHIPS: Warspite and Royal Sovereign

Force A was set up on the table, steaming north, facing the first Germans. Force B had to dice for entry and steamed onto the table on turn five, from the south-west.

"Der Deutch playern estudien der rulesen und plotting der foul play" was the way that English Player Ed Sansing described this view. I prefer to think of it as a grouping of honorable German Admirals (Anti-Hitlerites every man!) paying attention to details. From left: Jim Woodrick, Bill Estes, and Jay Stribling.

DESTROYERS: Z-23 and Z-24
BATTLESHIPS: Scharnhorstand Gneisenau

Task force X began the game by entering on the north-west corner of the table. The arrival of Task force Y was diced for, and it came on to the table on turn three, again on the north-west corner of the table. Task force Z's entry was also diced for and it (Tirpitz) arrived on turn five on the north-east corner of the table.

His Majesty's line of battle. DD-Kelly, CL-Bermuda, CA-Kent, BB-Queen Elizabeth, CL-Arethusa, and DD-Ghurka. The first German task froce is out of sight at the top of the photo, steaming onto the table from the North-west.

The British battleship Queen Elizabeth and Heavy Cruiser Kent sail directly for the Germans. The German Panzershiff Graf Spee seems to be attracting the most fire.

German Cruiser Prinz Eugen is now in line astern of the Graf Spee. The smoke in the foreground is all that is left of the Kent, after it was struck by 4 German torpedoes.

All the British shells are now falling around the Graf Spee and Prinz Eugen as 2 new German heavy units are now seen on the northern edge of the battle area. These turned out to be the Scharnhorst and the Gneisenau. While the British always considered these units to be "Battle Cruisers" because of their high speed and 11" guns, the Germans referred to them as "Battleships".

Another British battle group enters from the south. British admiral Jim Pitts is partially shown, with range-finding device. These are the ships that, although old, turned the tide. They were two destroyers: Faulknor and Jervis screening two Battleships: Warspite and Royal Sovereign.

DESTROYER: Z-23 Sunk turn 1 by gunfire
DESTROYER: Z-24 Sunk turn 3 by gunfire
HEAVY CRUISER Prinz Eugen Sunk turn 5
by gunfire and torpedoes
ARMORED SHIP Graf Spee Sunk turn 6
by gunfire and torpedoes

Photographer Ed Sansing writes: "My group (DD-Kelly & CL-Bermuda) pursue the surviving German DD (the other one has sunk where the smoke mark is on the sea) as the Kent and Queen Elizabeth begin a turn to port towards the Graf Spee and Prinz Eugen.

DESTROYER: Ghurka Sunk turn 4 by gunfire
DESTROYER: Kelly Sunk turn 7 by gunfire
DESTROYER: Kelly Sunk turn 10 by gunfire
HEAVY CRUISER Kent Sunk turn 2
by gunfire and torpedoes
LIGHT CRUISERS: Arethusa Sunk turn 8
by gunfire and torpedoes

The Battleship Royal Sovereign, the Cruiser Kent and several other ships on both sides in this game are scratchbuilt wooden models, made by the very talented Larry Enoch. Most of the other ships are metal models by Alnavco. The Tirpitz is a metal model with plastic detail parts from Germany - the manufacturer's name escapes me. The "damage" to the mainmast is the result of the "unbreakable" flexible plastic mast having been flexed once too many times!

The GERMANS received victory points for:
Exiting "Task Force Y at the southeast corner of the table" 10 points
Enemy Battleship sunk 10 points Damaged 5 points
Enemy Heavy Cruiser sunk 5 points Damaged 3 points
Enemy Light Cruiser sunk 4 points Damaged 2 points
Enemy Destroyer sunk 3 points Damaged 1 point
"Damaged" referst to the filling in of half or more of the ships hit boxes.

The German players jointly protested at Nuremburg, after the war, that the point values for this game were rigged, the set-up was stacked against them, and Hitler was an Idiot. It was noted by the British judge that none of them had said anything like that while "der Fuhrer" was still alive.

The BRITISH received victory points for:
Enemy Battleship sunk 15 points Damaged 8 points
Enemy "Armored ship" sunk 15 points Damaged 8 points
Enemy Heavy Cruiser sunk 8 points Damaged 4 points
Enemy Destroyer sunk 3 points Damaged 1 point
"Damaged" refers to the filling in of half or more of the ships hit boxes.

At the end of the game, the British had 29 points, to the Germans' 24.

Jay Stribling notes: "The British won the game because of their well-known ability to cheat! The game-master was biased!!! Did this writer mention that he was a German player?"

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