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


  1. Hi Steve,

    Great looking game - those paper ships really look the part. Do you have any plans to make them from wood at all?

    The Silverstone title is a very good reference and he really knows his stuff about the US Navy.

    All the best,


    1. Thanks David,
      I plan to make a few dozen ships for the ACW some time after New Years. I havea major project in the works for WW1(a clue:forty trawlers ans drifters), A few more dreadnoughts for Britain and Germany, some Spanish American War ships...where does it stop!
      Silverstone has been an invaluable tool for me for over twenty years. BTW, I also live in easy driving distance of the Confederate Naval Museum in Columbus Georgia. It houses many relics of the War, including the raised hull of the unfinished ironclad "Jackson",

  2. Very nice game...really enjoy the paper ironclads!

    1. This would be a fun one to play with your son. Very fast and very destructive!