Sunday, December 16, 2012

Pook Turtles at Memphis ,June 6, 1862

Tonight, Spike and I played out the Naval Battle of Memphis, using Memoir of Battle at Sea, 1860-1870.  The only "tweaking' to the rules was the addition of ratings for three groups of wooden rams.

US Ellet Rams: Move-2 hexes, Gun Range-1 hex, Floatation-6 points,Critical Point-2 points

CS Armed Rams Move-2hexes, Gun Range-2 hex, Floatation-6 Points, Critical point-2 points

CS Unarmed Rams-Move-3 hexes, gun Range-1 hex, floatation-4 points, Critical Point-1 point

The Us started with five City Class casement ironclads, also known as the "Pook turtles", as well as four lightly armed Ellet rams.

The Confederates face a hopeless task, defending the river with three armed, and four almost unarmed river rams. Their task is to make the passage of Memphis expensive for the Federals.

As dawn broke over Memphis, the Confederate ships steamed toward their destiny. The Federal Rams broke out in front of the "turtles".

The opening rounds of fire see damage done to both fleets' leftmost ship.

The rams begin to do horrific damage to each other.  After ramming, the guns try to sweep the decks at close rang.

The smaller Confederate rams are destroyed early, but the Federal lose an Ellet, and have another damaged and limping to safety.The larger southern ships get in a last attack, and sink two more Ellets, before being sunk by the gunfire of the slow moving ironclads.

Another section of the great river is now unvexed...

Game Notes: Spike did much better than the REAL Confederate Navy River Defense Force. She sank three Ellets, and did serious damage to another. , for the loss of all ships. The actual battle saw one CS vessel get away (the Van Dorn), and no Union vessels sunk.( The ram Queen of the West was run aground).

The game played out in about fifteen minutes. Using two mats, 11x18 hexes, gave plenty of room to move your ships. The "edge" hexes were considered "shallow" and any ship entering would need to dice to avoid grounding.

The models are all paper, and available from the same site mentioned on my previous post, "Hampton Roads".

Some background reading: "The Civil War Military Machine", by Ian Drury and Tony Gibbons, and  "Warships of the Civil War Navies", by Paul H. Silverstone.

The captains  and crew of those river rams were heroic beyond reason. I salute them!

NEXT WEEK: "No Sailor, but a Fool": Some Thoughts on Ships against Forts

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Naval Ensigns PDF file

For those of you who love details on your gaming tables...and who doesn't?....I am making my PDF file of naval ensigns available to share on Google Drive. You may need to create a Google account to download the file, but I believe anybody can view it beforehand.

The link is here > flags.pdf at Google Drive

Most major navies are represented, but if you are in need of a flag that isn't included, let me know in the comments and I'll try to add yours to my next PDF.

Until next time, happy gaming!


Monday, December 10, 2012

MoBaS:Hampton Roads Virginia

Hopefully I can get back on schedule  this week. Tonight i fought the two naval actions at Hampton Roads, Virginia, that saw the introduction of ironclads to the  American navies.  Using "Memoir of Battle at Sea 1860-70" and some paper ship models downloaded from
I was able to fight two interesting battles in about a half hour.

The first action saw the CSS Virginia steam out to attack the blockading vessels USS Congress and Cumberland. both Union ships were at anchor, and had to "raise steam" by rolling a d6 each turn until they each accumulated 12 points. They would then have a move of "1' on their first turn, and full speed of '2' on the next.

USS Minnesota was run aground, and had to roll each turn to try to back off the shoal. A d6 was rolled and the total tallied until "'25" was accumulated.

The Virginia moved in against Congress first, trading shots as soon as the two ships were in range. The ironclad placed a shell from the bow rifle through the vitals of the wooden ship for two floatation hits on her first shot.  The southern vessel shrugged off a long range shot from Congress.

Continuing to close the range, both ships fired with some effect. Congress continued to work to get up steam, despite the hammering from the Virginia. Cumberland also readied for action.

Just as Virginia began to move up for a ramming attack, Congress hauled anchor and left its mooring. Virginia turned to port, and the ships traded broadsides, Congress began to sink.

Cumberland now was moving, trying to get out in front of the deadly ram. she, too opened fire on the Confederate vessel. Virginia answered with her bow gun.

Virginia again tried to turn in to ram, but the swifter vessel turned away. Again, close range broadsides were exchanged. Again the deadly Brooke rifles tore through the wooden walls of the  US frigate. Cumberland settled on the bottom. Virginia, feeling the effects of the Northern guns, turned away to home, seeking repairs. She would return for the grounded Minnesota in the morning.

(Between battles, I rolled a d3, to allow Virginia to repair some of the five points of floatation damage taken in the first fight. Three points were repaired that night).

On steaming past the previous day's wreckage, Virginia's  commander, Catesby ap Roger Jones was interested to find a small turreted vessel in place guarding the still-aground Minnesota.  The monitor wasted no time in opening fire, landing a hit before Virginia's guns were in range.

Virginia steamed straight at the Federal ironclad, intending to test the ram. The Union captain moved his ship slightly, maintaining his position between the southern ship and its helpless target. Again the monitor landed a damaging shot on the armored ram.

Virginia turned to line up a ramming attack on the Union ship. Monitor slipped in close to the monster. Both ships unloaded punishing close range salvos. When the smoke cleared, both vessels back away from their foes. Enough damage had been done. There would be  a time to settle this later.....

Enough damage had been done. There would be  a time to settle this later.....

Game Notes: MoBaS is a wonderful set of rules for smaller actions such as these. The variable initiative system makes it very interesting when you are close enough for ramming.  The "critical point" rule keeps captains from slugging it out at all costs.

Had Virginia succeeded in ramming another vessel,I was going to make a roll to see if she lost the ram, as she did in the actual battle (1-3, lost;4-6 still attached). One of the mounting flanges had been broken when attaching the 'beak' to the ship, and never replaced, causing the ram to be lost on day one. Amazingly, this was not noticed, despite the taking on of water from the damage.

The game was played on an 8x11 hex board.

NEXT WEEK:The Naval Battle of Memphis! Ellet Rams Galore!