Jackson Gamers' Alternative History Game

WWII Union vs. Confederate

Naval Surface Battle - The Struggle for Cuba

We played this game at HOBBYTOWN in Flowood Mississippi on July 1, 2006. Robert Whitfield ran this Alternative History game. The South vs. the North in 1940. Following many provocations by the Confederacy, the Union decided upon a pre-emptive strike. Their scheme was to sieze the southerners' colony of Cuba, to use it as a bomber base against the Southern Heartland.

Your correspondent (Jay Stribling) considers that the Game-Master, Robert Whitfield had perhaps been reading too many of Harry Turledove's novels, but he gamely set sail with a Confederate battleship and 3 destroyers to do his part to turn back the perfidious Yankees.

The ships used were our trusty 1/1200 scale warships (some over 30 years old) and the rules were our own SURFACE WARSHIP rules. A blue cloth served as the Gulf of Mexico and I, among others sank, attempting to destroy the Yankees.

Photo by John Murdaugh

From left, Sean Pitts, Jim Pitts (both Yankees), Jay Stribling (vacant look on face) and Tim Latham (on right).

Photo by John Murdaugh

CSA cruisers CSS Nashville on left and CSS Mobile on right. Destroyer CSS Cleburne leading in center.

Photo by John Murdaugh

The Confederate ships entered the battle area in four groups, each with a capitol ship or two cruisers, and 2-3 destroyers. Battleship CSS General Jackson and destroyers CSS Walthall, CSS Forrest , and CSS Bragg.

Photo by John Murdaugh

The lead ship in a column of four Yankee destroyers explodes after a hit from Confederate torpedoes.

The VULCAN Anti-Ship Missile

This revolutionary missile (created with a cooperative effort between The Massachusetts Institute of Technology the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute) was gamed assuming it to be one shell with an extraordinary 200-inch range.
  • Effect of Two 16" warheads.
  • No effect by evasive maneuvers of target
  • No negative modifer for "Aquiring Target."
  • Each capitol ship has only two of these missiles. The south did not know what the supply of these missiles was. There seemed to be an unending rain of them.

Photo by John Murdaugh

Captain Jim Pitts of the Federal navy prepares to fire his guns with a handfull of D20 dice.

Photo by John Murdaugh

Federal ship commanders Tim Latham (on left) and Sean Pitts watch as Jim Pitts (in blue shirt) uses the Range finder (a K-mart tape measure). The game-master, Robert Whitfield (with truly impressive beard) in the center watches carefully, ready to rein in any Union trickery.

A bystander in the back watches, unable to believe this madness - right in the center of the Model Airplane department.

Photo by John Murdaugh

Travis Melton (on left) and Jay Stribling (on right) both Confederate commanders are shown from the middle face down. Both are placidly awaiting the Federal gunfire. Shell splashes are clustered around one of Stribling's destroyers.

Photo by John Murdaugh

Two Confederate cruisers, the USS Nashville and the USS Mobile steam in from the Confederate extreme left. This class of ships greatly resembled WWII Japanese Cruisers, but were fitted with the equipment to fire the "Bulldog" class of acoustic homing torpedoes. Since this was one lf the first battles of the war, there were a number of "Teething difficulties" with these weapons, which were referred to as the "Big Dogs" by the sailors.

The BULLDOG Torpedo

The "Bulldog" acoustic 24" torpedo (created with a cooperative effort between Georgia Tech and the University of Tokyo) was gamed by rolling a D10 for each torpedo fired.
  • Result of 1-8 used standard torpedo hit rules.
  • If result of 9-10, roll the D10 again:
    • 1-3 Automatic hit on Target Ship.
    • 4-6 Automatic hit on any ship within 12" of target (friend or foe)
    • 7-9 Test 75% cyhance of hit on any ship within 24" of target (friend or foe)
    • 10 Automatic hit on the firing ship!

Photo by John Murdaugh

Ed Sansing (seated on right) sees his battleship CSS General Bee spurt smoke and flame as she begins to sink. Two Union "Liberator" Class light battleships steamed around the Confederate right flank, firing the fearsome "Vulcan" anti-ship guided missiles. One of them, right in front of Captain Sansing has "splash markers" (which look much like golf tees) clustered around it.

This ship, the USS John Brown was sunk while making this death-ride. Its sister ship, the Benjamin Butler steamed out of the battle in the Confederate rear, after a bridge hit knocked out it's command staff.

The note below pertaining to this battle was found in the Federal Government archives in Washington DC. It, along with many other documents was removed during one of the periodic Southern occupations of the seat of Northern Government in Washington. It seems to indicate that the two Union "light battleships" mentioned above were still in foreign hands and crewed by foreign nationals when this battle took place.

I have just read with interest your battle report on the recent alternate WW2 naval battle. While it was entertaining, I noticed a certain lack of truthfulness about the role of the Imperial German Navy in the battle.

Commanded by Admiral von und zu Pitzfeld, the Imperial German battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, accompanied by two Z-class destroyers, were instrumental in the defeat of the perfidious British and their southern American rebel allies.

I would hope that this missive will encourage an amendment to the battle report. If not, please be advised that I am a graduate with high honors of the fencing academy at Konigsberg and I understand that dueling is still practiced in your picayune Southern Confedarcy.

Yours truly,

Admiral von und zu Pitzfeld (Jim Pitts)

As admiral von und zu Pitzfeld was in his dotage at the time this letter was written. The Washington government has always maintained that the ships were "purchased abroad" but crewed and officered by Federals. Who knows!

Photo by John Murdaugh

Crafty Yankee commanders (from Left) Fred Diamond and Tim Latham. Ship in foreground are Confederate warships, charging toward the enemy.

Photo by John Murdaugh

Federal players Tim Latham (on left) and Jim Pitts (on right). Union navy stomach Sean Pitts in white T-shirt. Game-master tummy Robert Whitfield in Gray shirt and Dark Pants.

Photo by John Murdaugh

Union player Tim Latham in the act of firing his guns. From wry look on face, his gunnery has not been too effective.

Photo by John Murdaugh

Two Federal navy destroyers amid a forest of shell splashes.

Photo by John Murdaugh

Confederate dreadnoughts General Jackson (closest to camera) and President Davis steam forward with Southern destroyers out ahead.

SO - Who won this game?

Well, as a true southener, we wreaked great havoc with our torpedoes, unfortunately part of our torpedo havoc was on our ships. We sank many Union warships, but not enough to have driven the Federals off and reached their transports. I fear that history will record this as a bloody draw, definately not a Southern victory.

Photo by John Murdaugh

Captain Tim Latham points from his bridge, "There! THAT ship. THAT is the target of our torpedoes!"

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