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Saturday, 1 July 2017

Coastal forces, a tutorial?

This is something of a 'how to use my rules' post, as I had a query on this a couple of weeks back!

We did a standard E-Boat attack on the East Coast convoys during WW2. Each player, Lawrence, Phil and myself, ran 2 S-38 class Schnellbooten.

I randomised the available escorts and merchantmen of the British convoy by mixing a number of dummy markers with the 'hidden' markers, then removed about a third of the markers from the escort and merchantmen piles.
As can be seen below, I placed 2 lines of merchantmen --and a line of escorts, closest to the side where we would attack from.

The counters would go at the speed of the slowest ships in the convoy (4cms) - going in the same direction across our line of attack. 
Phil had his E-Boats near the front of the convoy... 
...Lawrence was near the rear, and I was in the middle.
We all started at 4cms movement, which represents moving on electric motors, a historical tactic which made the S-boats very hard to spot in the dark. 
As per the rules, we alternated turns, with one side moving, and the other spotting and shooting, so...We diced to spot after the convoy had moved, and one of Lawrence's boats spotted an Isles class trawler, one of the escorts. We did spot other counters, but they were all dummies! 
Over the next 2 turns, we spotted a Flower class corvette... 
...and another Isles trawler. They had not spotted us yet... 
... we only had 2 torpedoes on each boat, so this line of escorts would be left alone, while we looked for juicy merchantmen to attack. 
At the front of the convoy, we had by now eliminated the middle line of merchantmen, which were all dummy markers! Where were the freighters? 
I was still searching near the end of the convoy - having turned to join Lawrence.
As we closed, I spotted another counter, another dummy! 
The British were still unaware of our presence. 
 Lawrence spotted a 3000 ton freighter! - unfortunately behind the escort line! 
I managed to have one of my boats spot it too!
One of the 'Isles' now spotted one of Lawrence's boats... 
 ...and managed a straddle with his 20mm cannon.
 Lawrence also spotted another 3000 tonner further to the rear of the convoy. 
He split his boats at high speed, after firing 2 torpedoes at the rearward ship. 
I, too, shot 2 torpedoes at the forward 3000 tonner. 
I hoped it would be a while before the torpedoes were spotted, so the enemy would not have much time to evade them... 
Phil, meanwhile, kept his boats at slow speed, waiting till the escorts had passed so he could have a clean shot at the merchantmen. 
I pushed on down the line of the convoy, trying to pass the last 'Isles' so I too could have an unimpeded shot. 
(This picture doesn't show much, but I kind of liked it! so its here!) 
Lawrence and I had both now got close enough to spot a prize target, a tanker! - it was unfortunately also behind the 3 escorts! 
The 3000 tonner, and the tanker behind it, now got lucky, and spotted my torpedoes at long range! 
 They began turning into the torpedoes to 'comb' them.
 2 of Lawrence's torpedoes caught the rearward freighter which had turned late...
The torpedo which hit, unfortunately, exploded in the ship's wake, causing some structural damage to it, but nothing too severe!
 His boats had fired their remaining 2 torpedoes at the forward 3000 tonner...
 ...and one hit it in the bow. This caused less damage than on the other freighter, but did reduce its speed to 1/3 normal. 
 Lawrence now disengaged his boats, would either Phil or I have better luck? 
Phil spotted a tug towing lighters, a difficult target, and far away. 
I reached the back of the convoy, but only found a small collier, hardly worth a torpedo! 
The slowed freighter now tried to return to the convoy stream, and the protection of the escorts! 
I now split my boats, detaching one to chase the tanker. 
My first boat went after the rearward 3000 tonner. 
I shot my last torpedo from this boat at a deflective angle. 
My other coat also fired his torpedo to miss the covering escort and hit the damaged 3000 tonner, or failing that, the tanker screened behind it. 
 My first shot looked like a good bet to hit...
The freighter at the front was facing my other torpedo, and Phil shot one from its front!
This freighter looked doomed! 
Mine was a dud! - Phil's scraped down the ship's side!!! 
 Having no more ordinance, I followed Lawrence off table! 
 One of Phil's boats began a gun duel with the Corvette! 
His other boat joined the fist in firing at the tanker with torpedoes.
 The first hit the tanker...
...which began to break up and sink, though without exploding.
 The first of Phil's boats was now fired at by the deck gun on the nearby freighter, they got a near miss!
...followed by a direct hit, demolishing the (empty) torpedo tubes! 
 The last of Phil's torpedoes skimmed close by the damaged freighter...
...and was swamped in the wake of another! 
So ended the battle! Phil retired to France with the rest of us. He had got the only kill, the tanker, Lawrence had damaged a couple of ships, and I got nothing! - ah, such is war!

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