>> Friday, 26 February 2010
The game was a solo game with a randomly run convoy and escorts. There was a random mix of types and numbers of escorts present.The convoy was represented by a random mix of counters for the merchantmen, and a separate line of possible escorts.
The convoy represents a typical one plying the East coast of England and the setting is in early 1942.We assume the Germans have intelligence allowing them to intercept the convoy at night, before a quick return to Cherbourg before daylight – and the R.A.F.
Each of the 3 players took 2 S-38 class boats, and had to cause the maximum damage without taking damage themselves. A points system allowed a degree of healthy competition between the players! The players randomised where on their table edge they started.
All the players agreed to move slowly (on their electric engines) which made it much more difficult for the enemy to spot them.
The right hand S-38s spotted an armed trawler escort, and soon after a flower class corvette and a Hunt type 2 destroyer! – where were the merchantmen?– he might have expected the trawler, but for some reason the British had put a task group in that area.
Seeing the futility of tangling with this mass of RN ships, the S-38s moved up the convoy hoping to find easier pickings.
On the left the Germans quickly spotted several merchantmen, for obvious reasons these seemed to have no naval escorts!!
These Schnellboots moved quietly in to close the range for a good torpedo attack, and when they had got close enough without being spotted fired 1 torpedo from each boat.
In the centre, the Germans had difficulty spotting anything (probably some local mist?) and decided to move up the convoy to the left to try and locate some targets.
All this time the convoy was steaming along slowly, and only became aware of the attack when the torpedoes fired earlier were about to hit!
The first torpedo exploded under a 3000 ton freighter and broke it in two, the second exploded near another 3000 tonner and caused some damage.
Alerted, the RN put on their radar and located one of the S-38s from the right. An Escort fired its 4” gun but the round fell short.
Unfortunately for the target, the navies gunnery improved -- and with an enormously lucky shot first came close, then actually hit near the boats bow, knocking out the torpedo tubes and forward 30mm gun.
Another escort spotted one of the S-38s in the centre, but much more typically, missed by a mile!These boats went to maximum speed and evaded the escorts, eventually finding the freighter damaged earlier. This was dispatched by multiple torpedo attacks.
On the left, the S-38s which attacked successfully earlier had the greatest luck again as their lookouts spotted a small tanker. They fired their remaining torpedoes which caused a massive explosion on the stricken vessel.
Having alerted the convoy, and having fired their torpedoes, the Schnellboots fled back to Cherbourg...
… though not before the undamaged boat from the right managed to destroy a small collier they found isolated.
This was a massive victory for the German Schnellbootswaffe, only made possible by the RNs failure to provide a full screen of escorts.The damaged German boat would probably take weeks, or months to repair -- which would have tarnished the victory somewhat.
(Pictures by Lawrence and Richard)
(Models mostly Skytrex 1:600)