Mediterranean Adventures

Friday evening provided an opportunity to deploy a selection of my recently painted Italian and British 1/3000th ships for their first game. In addition it would be our first use of the rules “Naval Thunder Battleship Row”. As such we were keen to keep the game small and use basic weapon systems, a small cruiser action therefore seemed ideal. The following provides a brief description along with a few photos.

Returning from escorting a convoy to Libya, and now steaming in line astern in a south-westerly direction, were the light cruisers Luigi di Saoia Duca degli Abbruzzi & Giuseppe Garibaldi, both from the 8th Cruiser Division. Vice Admiral Antonio Legnani, as commander of the 8th Cruiser Division, had his flag on the Abbruzzi. The Abbruzzi was, without doubt, a fine ship. Fast and well armed with ten 6” guns in four turrets. Legani was confident in the ship, his own abilities and of course Il Duce’s plans for the Mediterranean. Further astern, and in support of the 8th Cruiser Division was the slightly slower, but more powerful, heavy cruiser Fiume.

At 14:15 lookouts spotted an enemy squadron to the southwest on a generally converging course. The enemy comprised the heavy cruiser HMS York while astern were the light cruisers HMS Orion and HMAS Perth.

In an effort to seize the initiative and concentrate fire, Vice Admiral Antonio Legnani now split his force. The light cruisers turned hard to port while the Fiume increased speed and turned slightly to starboard before heading on a generally westerly course. In affect he was now moving in an “L” shaped formation. Simultaneously, the enemy executed a turn to port bring them increasingly opposite the light cruisers but placing them on a course that would eventually head towards the broadside of the Fiume.

Below, the Luigi di Saoia Duca degli Abbruzzi & Giuseppe Garibaldi soon after executing their turn to port with the Abbruzzi under fire.

Now however disaster struck. Vice Admiral Legnani, intended all his ships to concentrate their fire on HMS York in an effort to knock her out quickly. HMS York however ignored the threat posed by the Fiume and directed her fire on Legnani’s flagship the light cruiser Luigi di Saoia Duca degli Abbruzzi. Shortly after opening fire an 8” shell penetrated the Abbruzzi’s armour. This penetration was catastrophic as it triggered a magazine explosion which blew up the Abbruzzi!

Above, the Abbruzzi erupts after a main magazine explosion, the chance of which was low. British morale reached an all time high at this point!

Despite the catastrophic loss the remaining Italian captains retained their resolve. The Giuseppe Garibaldi and Fiume poured their fire on HMS York. Now acutely aware of the risk posed by the Fiume’s 8” guns, HMS York began to engage the Italian heavy cruiser while HMS Orion and HMAS Perth combined their fire at Garibaldi, despite the long range.

Above, HMS York on the right is under fire from Fiume, while astern is HMS Orion herself under fore from Giuseppe Garibaldi. The splash markers are homemade by Alastair and while usually placed to model fire by heavier guns we have used them more liberally for visual impact in this game.

Below, the Fiume is engaged by the 8″ guns of HMS York. Fiume has an eight gun broadside of 8″ guns, while HMS York has a broadside of six 8″ guns. However, York’s radar give it a notable advantage.

Below, the Giuseppe Garibaldi is shown under fire by HMS Orion and HMAS Perth. Garibaldi like Abbruzzi was the last group of Condottieri class light cruisers.

With the weight of fire directed at her, and the benefits of provided by British gunnery radar, the Garibaldi now executed a further turn to port and using her superior speed increased the range while her aft main guns plied their trade on the pursuing light cruisers.

Meanwhile, Fiume’s persistence was paying off. With fires raging on HMS York and some flooding HMS Orion was ordered to change course to relieve the pressure on HMS York.

Below, HMS York in the foreground. She is now taking on water due to flooding as designated by the white marker. In the distance HMS Orion before she turned to support HMS York.

Unfortunately, Orion’s move to support York was too late. After another series of broadsides from Fiume, HMS York succumbed to further damage and flooding.

Now it was HMS Orion that was under pressure. Where before she was steaming to support HMS York she was now under fire from the Fiume and a returning Giuseppe Garibaldi as can be seen below.

HMS Orion’s situation was hopeless, soon she was overwhelmed by a combination of infrastructure damage, fire and flooding predominantly delivered by Fiume’s 8” guns.

At this point HMAS Perth, completely unscathed, decided it was time to break off. Turning away she was able to extend the range rapidly, in part because the Fiume and Giuseppe Garibaldi were in no fit state to pursue.

This completed our first engagement with Naval Thunder. We were pretty slow working our way through the rules, but I suspect with more experience the game will flow more quickly. My initial concerns around movement and firing distances were unfounded as the game had a good feel to it, with a balance between time and space. I can also see that with even a few ships aside an enjoyable game can be played. No doubt we made lots of mistakes, but generally the rules played well.

Finally, it would be remiss of me to not mention that the miniatures are from Navwar’s 1/3000th range. In my view they provide good amount of detail, at an affordable price.


8 thoughts on “Mediterranean Adventures

  1. Keith, a very nice report. From the photos it seems that the game is quite compact. What size mat did you play on?

    1. Greg, thanks for your kind comment.

      The photos are deceptive as the table is a 6’x4’. In all of the photos I have really focussed on the individual models. With so few models on the table anything else would have been lost.

      The table was certainly large enough. The initial firing took place at long range which was which of course depends on the gun. From memory 30” to 36” was common. This reduced and Garibaldi and Perth were within 20”, which is why Garibaldi was keen to extend the range, that and Orion and Perth were concentrating their fire. Just before HMS Orion went down the range was down to 10” from Fiume. Indeed, Fiume was expecting a torpedo attack soon.

      In the future we will have more models on the table I’m sure, but this was plenty while we have our training wheels on.

  2. Great set of rules and the AAR is exciting. The rules work well with multiple ships. Despite being fairly new at it, we recreated Savo island. With 10-15 ships a side. The Air rules however are ‘odd’.

    1. Thanks for your thoughts.

      I’m expecting our next game will move faster and eventually allow us to increase the number of ships.

      My opponent is looking at some ships for the Pacific. I suspect a few additional British or Commonwealth ships will need to be ordered to bolster the Royal Navy…

  3. Two ships down. That was quite catastrophic for the Anglo-Australian task force!
    Lovely looking game with beautiful ships. I agree wholeheartedly with you about Navwar’s 1/3000th scale (I have some of the age of sail ships).
    Regards, James

    1. James, it was indeed a costly engagement!

      Appreciate your comments on the models etc. The next batch of ships are nearing completion. A final push over the weekend may result in some further units joining the patrols in the Mediterranean.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s