Wednesday, 20 July 2011

An Incident in the Adriatic

I bought Paul Hague’s Sea Battles in Miniature in July 1981 (with my birthday money) from the famous but now sadly defunct Edinburgh bookshop James Thin’s (it's a Blackwell's now at least). It’s another one of those overlooked wargame classics, in my opinion, and has some cracking rules for various naval periods. One of the sets of rules is for Pre-Dreadnought / Ironclad games and as I still have the various turning circles and reference cards (made of salvaged cardboard), and even some old models we’d made to hand (ditto), we had a quick game to try out the rules.

The engagement we fought was a ‘what-if' (or ‘what the heck’) action between Austrian and Russian squadrons, somewhere in the Adriatic, perhaps off the Dalmatian coast, circa 1880, in a particularly green sea. We used a slightly simplified version of the ironclad rules that didn’t require the use of percentage dice to determine where on the ship hits landed (if at all).

Here is the situation early on. The Russians have already damaged an Austrian battleship, lurking beside an island.
Here is the Austrian Admiral getting the measure of things and about to put his superior numbers to good use.
And here are the Russians blithely steaming into trouble.

I’m not quite sure how but all hell broke loose almost immediately and, although the Russians initially scored some long range hits, the Austrians closed and rammed. Before I knew it I was two warships down and the third had fled.
I think he won.
Note that the rather ropey ships we were using were made many years ago, following the scratch building principles included in the Sea Battles in Miniatures book (substituting cardboard for balsa).

When we got them out of the tin we found that they were somewhat the worse for wear having been in storage for a long time. However, they were still serviceable and steamed, fought, rammed (and sank) just as well as they used to.

Yet another thing I’m planning is to scratch build some more warships so this is yet another possible project to add to my growing list of things to do. And I may use balsa this time as it probably floats better than cardboard.

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