Thursday, December 31, 2009

Age of Dreadnoughts

I've finally pushed my World War I naval project back to the fore. Over the holidays, I pulled out the GHQ ships I purchased months ago and finished up the painting, basing and labeling. Michael and I have taken the opportunity to play a couple of games with the collection. We're using Age of Dreadnoughts from Mongoose Publishing, itself a variation of Victory at Sea. While not the most detailed set of naval rules out there, and with no particularly innovative rule mechanisms, AoD gives a fun game that presents enough tactical challenge to make this aging brain work (but not too hard). Why WWI naval? There's something about these "castles of steel" (as Winston Churchill described them) that evokes some sort of odd romanticism in me. From a gaming perspective, I like to describe it (facetiously) as Napoleonic naval gaming with coal-powered ships and longer ranges. Fire control, ranging, and sighting were still relatively rudimentary, forcing gunnery officers, more often than not, to plot their firing by shell-splashes! Ships operated in squadrons that tended to remain in close formation to maximise firepower and command control. Orders were transmitted by flag signal and signal lamp (wireless sets were fitted in most ships but were used for strategic control rather than tactical direction).

I've based my collection on the order of battle from the Battle of Jutland in 1917. While I don't plan to ever have both fleets entire for the battle (yeah, I say that now), modelling historical OBs gives a certain feeling of order and continuity missing from my Napoleonic collection. Here's my collection so far (all in the glorious detail of GHQ 1/2400):

Grand Fleet

2nd Battle Squadron
  • HMS King George V (BB)
  • HMS Ajax (BB)
  • HMS Centurion (BB)
  • HMS Erin (BB)

3rd Battlecruiser Squadron
  • HMS Invincible (CB)
  • HMS Inflexible (CB)
  • HMS Indomitable (CB)

1st Destroyer Flotilla
  • HMS Galatea (CL)
  • 8 x destroyers
HMS King George V. The bases are magnetic and custom-cut by Litko.

1st Destroyer Flotilla, led by HMS Galatea.


III Battle Squadron/5th Division
  • SMS Konig (BB)
  • SMS Grosser Kurfurst (BB)
  • SMS Kronprinz (BB)

II Battle Squadron/4th Division
  • SMS Hannover (BB)
  • SMS Schlesien (BB)
  • SMS Schleswig-Holstein (BB)

II Scouting Group
  • SMS Elbing (CL)
  • SMS Pillau (CL)
  • SMS Wiesbaden (CL)

VI Torpedo-Boat Flotilla
  • 8 x torpedo-boats
II Battle Squadron/4th Division. These are pre-dreadnoughts of the Deutschland class. By the time of Jutland, these ships were antiquated at best but remained in the main battle line. They are hampered by short-range main armament but enjoy plentiful secondaries. At long ranges they are severely vulnerable to the British guns but if they can get in close their superior secondary armament and host of torpedoes (fore, aft, port and starboard launchers!) can cause some serious problems for the Brits. To make matters worse, they have the 'poor sub division" trait in the rules which doubles any flooding or torpedo damage. Ouch!

1 comment:

  1. Awesome! Dave the guys on T.M.P. say at 1:6000 that 1 mm = to 19.69 feet. Anyway please look at my math and see if my conversions line up with your models? I am assuming you own a model of the Hood?
    HMS Hood at the waterline 850'- 6" So 1 mm scale = # feet of real ship at 1:6000 = 19.69 feet. Math ... 850.6/19.69 = roughly 43.19 millimeters in length correct?
    Beam 95' = 95/19.69 = 4.8 mm wide .... right?
    Height 115' = 115/19.69 = 5.8 mm tall ..... correct?
    If you want please check out my blog ...
    Again beautiful work !!!!
    Please advise if I am close with the measurements....