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!


  1. very nice account, and those paper ships give me another reason to add yet another project to my gaming madness!

    1. I have enjoyed building these models. The designer has some nice "steampunk" flying ships as well. I like having models like this that I can give to new players without going broke!

  2. Hi Steve,

    The look very nice indeed and I am tempted to tackle some myself! My last ACW ship building project finished up rather ignominiously I am sorry to say but these models look like a good alternative.

    Great report as well and you are right that MoBaS give a great little game in a short amount of time.

    All the best,


    1. I saw your ships David, and they were beautiful! I wish I could have put in a bid on them!

  3. Well done and nice to see some card models for a change!

    1. I am a long-time card model/soldier enthusiast. "Junior General", Fabrizio Davi's and Patrick Cruseau's websites have provided me with hundreds of paper soldiers at a small cost. I have used them to try out many sets of rules, without the dreaded "rebasing" that haunts us all.

      I only wish someone far brighter than I am would post card model Age of Sail......

  4. Great battle reports! :)
    Nice to see the ironclads being put to good use, and I do apologize for the "paintjobs"- I was recovering from surgery and heavily medicated when I designed these and just never got around to reworking them.

    1. Great to see you here! your models have been such a great help in getting going in ACW Naval gaming after a long lay-off. The colors actually have a nice effect in photos, showing off the lines of the vessels quite nicely.

      BTW, I am looking forward to more of your "Steampunk" vehicles, and hopefully some paper miniature figures to go with them.