Monday, October 26, 2020

Blacklands War - Naval 'Stats'

I really ought to be getting on with the First Blacklands War narrative, and indeed the moves for the Third Week have been determined, and I'll write them up soon. Promise. I just have to transcribe a battlefield (possibly two) into machine-readable format, and update the War Theatre Map.  

TNS Mesudiye at sea.

In the meantime, a certain coastal defence battleship, TNS Mesudiye (Mesudieh), on a flag waving mission in the Adriatic Sea, happened to put into port at Kerkyra (Corfu) the day before war broke out, and the Army of the Black Mountains invaded the Turcowaz province of Kosovo. Before departing Epirus, the Commander of Fourth Turcowaz Army, Halepli Zeki Pasha, got word to Captain Burak Ubama, the courier being carried by malodorous fishing trawler from an obscure village on the mainland, across to the island anchorage. Hastily raising steam, Mesudiye slipped anchor shortly after dark of a dismal and drizzly October night. This was to be the beginning of a fortnight's journey by this Turcowaz warship to reach the Dardanelles Strait and safety.  But there was to be an encounter with a Hellenic warship on the way...
HNS Hydra on patrol somewhere off the Dardanelles.

This was, of course, to be the first encounter using my newly built navies, and a battle between such disparate vessels of the same class - coastal, or ironclad, battleship - promised to be interesting. Now, the Gridded Naval Wargame (Bob Cordery) treats the warships' gunnery and protection with a pretty broad brush - very desirable in a wargames fleet action. But it was whilst building the ships I noticed certain variations from the 'norm', which might be interesting to take into account in a single ship action.  So I drew up a table for each vessel in my navies.

In drawing up the above table, I took four guns as the 'norm' for the number of dice rolled at the various shooting ranges. An example are the figures for the broadside and fore/aft 12-inch guns of HNS Lemnos. 

Now, the Turcowaz (Turkish) pre-Dreadnought battleships could bring six 11-inch guns to bear in broadside.  Hence the big numbers, especially at short range. They were all the standard dice rolls multiplied by 6/4 = 1.5. The puny 4.1-inch secondary armament is reflected in the stats for those same battleships.  I have included an alternate scheme that ignores the 4.1-inch, and treats the central turret as secondary armament. It carried 11-inch guns, but, being accommodated in the space between superstructures, the guns were of lesser calibre-length L28 against L40). Otherwise I have treated them as the same as the other 11-inch guns. Personally, I'd stay with the 4.1-inch, as defences against destroyers and torpedo boats.

I am very tempted to suggest a rule amendment that prohibits - or at least discourages - the use of a vessel's main armament of greater than 6-inch calibre against small craft (destroyers and smaller). Possibly that is unreasonable, and maybe unnecessary in a general action. Any thoughts on this?

In Lemnos and Georgios Averof, the secondary armament comprises 4 guns capable of firing forward or aft. However, as none of the turrets could possible traverse across a direct fore-and-aft line, I figured that only one or other twin turret could engage a target ahead or astern, not both, even if the target was dead ahead or dead astern.

By contrast, the single turreted 9-inch main guns of Mesudiye and the 5.9-inch of Hamidiye have had to to be halved for broadside, and quartered for fore-and-aft gunnery. That might be ungenerous to the latter, protected cruiser, as my information says the 5.9-inch (150mm) main and 4.7-inch (120mm) secondary armaments were QF - quick firing. It is very tempting at least to beef up their gunnery stats a little on the strength of that, but I'll leave it until some further information comes my way. 

On the other hand, I have left the destroyers' armaments untouched, as being puny enough as they stand.  The well-informed reader might observe that I have left off the torpedo stats from all but the destroyer/ torpedo boats. This is deliberate: I plan to ignore torpedoes from all but the specialist small craft, having an idea that, possibly apart from accidents, no torpedo ever launched from a capital ship or cruiser ever reached or harmed its target. I could be wrong, but such occasions must have been almost vanishingly rare.    

At any rate, I drew up this chart for what it might seem to be worth to anyone, but my interest was primarily in a single ship duel between the two coastal defence battleships.

Next time: The Third Week...


  1. Archduke Piccolo,

    I think that the changes you have made or are suggesting will work well for ship vs. ship actions. The original rules were written for larger actions, and by making the changes you will make them less broad brushed rules and more nuanced.

    I like the idea that larger ships would not use their main armament against torpedo craft. It makes lots of sense. As for larger ships firing torpedoes ... well I intended that they should do so but only to inflict a coup de grace on an already stricken opponent. This was certainly the case when the British cruiser sank the Bismarck with torpedoes once she had been reduced to a blazing hulk.

    I look forward to seeing the ships on action very soon.

    All the best,


  2. This is shaping up into a cracking set up and the tweaks as Bob mentioned all make good sense. I am hoping we see them in action soon, if only so I can see those wonderful Greek coastal defence types duking it out!

    Very well done that man!


    1. Hi David -
      Well, the single-ship duel has been fought, and the pictures taken. A pretty fast-moving action, too! Narrative will follow...
      Archduke Piccolo.

  3. A bit superficial perhaps, but I'm just loving those ships that you have made. They look even more impressive in these photos with the added flags. Did you do some more black-lining or highlighting too?
    I look forward to your narrative of the single-ship duel.
    Regards, James

    1. You caught me, James! Yes, I did a bit more black-lining. I find that so doing gives the vessels more 'definition' somehow. The respective red and black 'waterlining' I had done earlier.
      Archduke piccolo.

  4. Your scratch-built model ships are a joy to look at.

    1. Thank you, Peter!
      There is a strong temptation to add to the collection on both sides, at that. Especially at least one more destroyer each...
      Archduke Piccolo.