Monday, May 30, 2016

Jutland Re-fight - The 100 Year Anniversary Game

12 guys got together over Friday & Saturday May 27-28 to re-live history and re-fight the greatest naval battle of World War 1, the Battle of Jutland in miniature. The game was held at a machine shop in Gilberts IL, and fought on three large tables set up in the loading dock area. 

The model scale was 1/2400, the rules used were General Quarters.

Above-The players

Below is a synopsis of the battle. Further down are many more photos.

Beatty and Battle-cruiser force chased German Battle-cruiser's south as per script. Less than expected damage was exchanged back and forth until near the furthest south, the Battle-cruiser New Zealand exploded. About that time the accumulated damage on the British Battle-cruiser's had impaired speed and function to the point Beatty had some real concerns about getting out as he turned north.

British cruisers further north contained the outnumbered German cruisers who where obliged to withdraw following the German Battle-cruisers. This limited German scouting range (which would have pushed the Grand Fleet's eventual entry further north).

At this juncture the High Seas Fleet put in its appearance to the south and Beatty went into flee mode--with some ships only making 9 knots.! The intact British fast Battleships supporting Beatty moved forward to cover his retreat. German torpedo boats made a run to hit Beatty but got fairly shellacked by secondary fire in full daylight, forcing them to withdraw.

As Beatty withdrew under the cover of his fast BB's, the German main body turned its vanguard west to line up shots against the British. I think this was the mistake that cost the Germans any chance of decisive victory (small though that may have been). With the British limping away the German main battle line could have overhauled them by steaming a parallel due north and over matched them with their massive firepower advantage. Instead the Germans only managed to engage Beatty with a small potion of their line and threw a kink into their battle line that delayed them getting north in a hurry.

The Germans eventually turned the line back north and then went defensive, maneuvering to the NE awaiting the approach of the Grand Fleet. The German scouting cruisers turned back north and tried to force their way past the British screen. In the tussle two British cruisers were sunk with one German left with a jammed rudder. The eventual appearance of British Battle-cruiser's and Battleships from the north forced the crippled German cruiser to scuttle. But the German scouting dash did succeed in pushing the British entry point back.

While the British Fast Battleships exchanged shots with the Germans at range, the Grand Fleet closed up in 6 columns. The Grand Fleet closed up to within 18,000 yards and formed a battle line facing SW. This matched the Germans who turned their entire fleet into a line facing SW as well. Both sides began slugging it out. A German pre-dreadnought in the rear of the their line suffered two magazine explosions from a single British ranging shot and exploded without a trace.

After a few turns of gunnery exchange we were left with 10-15 turns left till darkness (we had played about 40 turns). The Germans were pulling back to the south firing concentrated volleys, while the British were maybe three turns away from having all their capital ships in line and shooting at effective ranges. Here the game ended.

At the end of the game Germans may have been slightly up on points. But I have to believe that in the next ten turns before darkness the score would at least be evened out by British numbers. The German pre Dreadnoughts were particularly vulnerable at this stage. At nightfall the British would have been forced to pull back for fear of torpedo boat attacks.

Admiral Hipper's German Battle-cruiser squadron was particularly resilient throughout the battle. The Germans were able to repair most of the damage the British inflicted and was still going strong at the end without any losses. They fought off the British Battle-cruisers and then led the British Fast Battleships on a merry chase.

If we had played it out I think we would have seen a small British victory on points. If the Germans could have sunk more Battle-cruisers earlier on they might have easily had a win on points.

Above-The German High Seas Fleet making unusual maneuvers....who was responsible for that? Hmmm.  The ships are making coal smoke at high speed.

Above-Another view of the German fleet heading north.

Above-Part of Admiral Beatty's British Battle-cruiser Fleet.

Above-Beatty's Battle-cruiser Fleet, under heavy German fire, entering a squall. 

Above-The British ships speeding up, making smoke. Note shell splashes from German firing.

Above-The main body of the British Grand Fleet enters the fray.

Above-Seeing the approaching main body of the Grand Fleet, the German Fleet has executed a "Gefechtskehrtwendung" or "Battle Turn-Away." The fast battleships of Beatty's fleet are in the foreground, but destroyer smoke is preventing them from shooting.

Above-The height of the battle.

The British players celebrated the game with one of the traditions of the Royal Navy, rum. The Germans drank beer.

Thanks go especially to Mark Huml & Ed Harding for all their hard work in making this event possible.

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