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Saturday 13 October 2012

East coast convoy 1943

Missing several of our group due to work, illness and other reasons, Ian and myself were left trying to attack a British coastal convoy, all by ourselves!

Ian had 2 S-boats at the head of the convoy.
I had another pair half way down the convoy (the counters are used to track which targets we have spotted during the game) 
 The markers showing possible locations of convoy vessels, the right hand column are escorts, the middle and left in the picture are merchant vessels.
 My boats, moving slowly on electric motors to avoid detection spot an escort..
Fortunately, just an 'Isles' class trawler. 
 As I closed, a 3000 ton freighter hove into view.
 At the front of the convoy, Ian's boats spotted another 3000 tonner..and a tanker!
Unfortunately, the trawler I had spotted, also spotted me and fired a 3" shell, which missed.
 To avoid damage, my boats launched a torpedo each at the freighter, and turned right to evade the trawler at high speed. (the extra 2 markers in the pictures are dummy markers to confuse the convoy, which may choose to spot a dummy rather than a real torpedo!) 
 One of the torpedoes was spotted by the freighter.
Ian's boats continued closing with the head of the convoy..
 ..and spotted another trawler behind the tanker.
 My boats were spotted again, but the turning trawler failed to hit.
 The freighter, having seen my torpedo, tried to turn to 'comb' the attack..slowly!
Ian's boats, now closer, could see a lot of targets, but remained unseen themselves. 
 My boats, avoiding the trawlers, tried to sweep round the back of the convoy, looking for fresh targets to prey upon.
 All i could see was a small 2000 ton merchantman screened by another trawler.
 My torpedoes finally hit the manoeuvering 3000 tonner, blowing it in two.
 As the freighter rapidly sank, my boats outran the defending trawler easily. 
 Ian's boats fired several torpedoes, the freighter spotted one, and turned to evade it.
 A trawler shell landed close to one of my boats, I had been spotted again!
 Amazingly, the torpedoes missed the tanker..by a tiny margin.. and ploughed on to the freighter behind, which tried to turn too..
 ..Too late! - the torpedoes smashed into the freighter, which exploded!
 At the rear of the convoy, my boats saw another low value target....
 A final torpedo from Ian's boats, fired at short range, finally hit the tanker.. it caused significant damage, but the ship survived...minus the 12pdr on the stern which was thrown into the sea as the ship bucked under the explosion at the bow!
With no more torpedoes, Ian's boats sped off towards France, as did my boats, which with no worthy targets, and under 20mm fire from the escorts, also disappeared into the dark.

This was an exciting game, Ian was very unlucky not to get a greater haul, and I was lucky to escape without damage!
The rules had randomly put the vast majority of the merchantmen at the front of the convoy, escorted by a single trawler, while I faced 2 trawlers and only a few small targets..and one 3000 tonner!

The rules used can be downloaded from: Tyneside wargames club downloads page

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