Friday, February 1, 2013

War at Sea Battle

I had an opportunity to host a War at Sea game at our club in January.  The battle is a what if scenario with a small French fleet attempting to flee the Mediterranean and join the Allied cause.  A combined German and Italian fleet and Air Force are attempting to prevent the French escape.

There are four distinct fleets engaged during the battle.  The French are sailing from the NW corner of the board to the SE corner.  The Italians are sailing from the NE corner and the Germans enter from the middle of the eastern edge of the table.  The British enter on the second turn if the game at the SW corner of the board.

The opposing forces are relatively equal.  The French have the Strasbourg and the Dunkerque as major units supported by three cruisers and three destroyers.  The British have the battleship Prince of Wales, aircraft carrier Victorious and several cruisers.  The Germans have the Prinz Eugen, two cruisers, three destroyers and a couple of U-boats.  The Italians have the largest force with the battleship Roma as the main unit, along with the Gorizia  and a couple of other cruisers.  The Axis aircraft include Stuka dive bombers, Ju-88's, and Re-2201.  The Allies have a few Brewster Buffaloes, and the aircraft on the Victorious (Swordfish and Martlett).

The object of the game is for the Allies is to get the majority of the French fleet off the board and the Axis must prevent them from doing so.  Sund simple, not so on either count.

In this game the French proceeded down the Western edge of the board trying to link up as quickly as possible.  The German player attempted to slow them down while the Italian fleet caught them from behind.  The Italians did not do a very effective job of catching up with the French and the Allies stormed over the lighter German warships.  The U-boats were ineffectual and the aircraft missed their mark in nearly every attack.  The game ended due to time constraints, however, the issue was never really in doubt.  The Germans lost all of their ships and the Italians lost the two cruisers who got close enough to the French to come under fire.  The Allies did not lose any ships.

This game had a very experienced French player who figured out early that he had to join the British fleet as quickly as possible.  The German and Italian players were no experienced and they tried to attack piecemeal.  They paid dearly for their lack of cooperation.

This is the second time I have played this game and the outcome now stands at 1-1.  I think I will run it at an upcoming war games convention in Maine.