Here are the briefings I prepared for the naval battle we fought this week using Paul Hague's Sea Battles in Miniature ironclad rules. Battle report to follow.
It is 1897 and the Greeks and Turks are fighting for control of Crete. The fleets of the Great Powers keep station in the Aegean warily watching the outcome of this conflict....and each other. Meanwhile, in the confusion, the Russians see a chance to get their revenge for the humiliating defeat previously inflicted on them by the Imperial Austro-Hungarian Navy by striking at their very heart in the Adriatic (I don't know what the Royal Navy was up to letting them slip out of the Black Sea - must have been the cuts).
Your mission is to mount a surprise attack on the main Austro-Hungarian naval base at Pola (now Pula) on the Croatian coast (across the Adriatic from Venice).
Your force will consist of a large squadron of battleships (5 No.) plus two blockships (Frieda and Spirit of Dunoon) that you must try to sink across the narrow entrance to the great harbour at Pola.
Austrian forces are likely to consist of a similar number of ships which are expected to be at anchor at Pola, if that is, you can get there without alerting them. There are a number of shore batteries comprising 10” guns (or so your spies tell you) on the headlands around Pola which are perhaps not as watchful as they should be.
Russian Winning Conditions - If you get both blockships in position and close the entrance to the harbour (at the narrowest point) then you have an outright win (30 points per blockship plus a 30 point bonus). If you get one blockship in position then you will be awarded 30 points. 10 points are awarded for each Austrian warship sunk or incapacitated. 5 points are awarded for each shore battery put out of action.
The Russians in their usual manner have not been subtle in their approach through the Adriatic and have been spotted coaling off Corfu. You surmise that they may be making for your main base at Pola (again, so far so predictable) and therefore you have been keeping one squadron patrolling in the Adriatic whilst the other remains on standby in Pola harbour with steam up for immediate sailing.
At the start of the game the Adriatic squadron (3 No. ships) will secretly dice to see when it appears from the north, rolling a d6 at the start of each move to see whether it comes onto the table that move, adding +1 for each additional move to the score (a total of 6 or more is required to enter). This squadron will enter at maximum speed.
For the squadron in port (2 No. ships) throw a d5 from when the shore batteries first open fire. This is the number of moves before they can be placed on the table as they start to exit the harbour. They can only come out line ahead starting at minimum speed (2kts).
Austrian Winning Conditions: 10 points are awarded for each Russian warship sunk or incapacitated and 5 points are awarded for sinking a blockship (that doesn't block the harbour).