Battles in the Atlantic

We had a Naval Thunder game at the club this week end. Actually we had time enough to play 2 games, the Rio de la Plata affair and the battle of the Straight of Denmark.

First game was fairly quick, we set up the scenario as depicted in the Naval Thunder Bitter Rivals extension. I was playing Harwood, and Fred was playing Langsdorf. His task was to break through my squadron, mine was to prevent him, this was a very straightforward battle.

Unlike Langsdorf, after some hesitations, he opted for a very direct approach, and tried to blast his way through the British squadron. I’d always wondered, also, what would have happened had Harwood elected to first gather his ships in order to give the Spee a stronger opposition. Here is what happened in the actual battle, with Exeter attacking on the port side, and Harwood and the light cruisers harassing the starboard side of the Graf Spee.

Unlike Langsdorf, after some hesitations, he opted for a very direct approach, and tried to blast his way through the British squadron. I’d always wondered, also, what would have happened had Harwood elected to first gather his ships in order to give the Spee a stronger opposition. Here is what happened in the actual battle, with Exeter attacking on the port side, and Harwood and the light cruisers harassing the starboard side of the Graf Spee.

Movements in the 1st phase show this, the Spee making a broad zigzag in order to keep all his turrents in arc, and the cruisers electing to converge into a single force. During this time, Exeter copped a 280mm shell that destroyed a secondary 4.1″ turret, and Ajax another one that started a fire that was immediately put down. As far as I can tell, the Spee was not hit. Gunnery was fairly por, assuredly, as the range (extreme for the Brits) and the small number of guns (6 on the Spee) meant, in NT, poor odds of hitting something. On the other hand, the awesome penetration capacity of the german big shells meant that each hit went though any cruiser’s armour.


Eventually, both British forces were merged into a single formation, Exeter leading, followed by Achilles and Ajax, more or less perpendicular to the line of escape of the German pocket battleship. The Graf Spee elected then to try to run the gauntlet and make good its escape, getting into effective range of all British guns and getting its T crossed a first time. Exeter was hit once more, taking some flooding damage (quickly mended too), while the Spee lost a few secondary turrets and took a hit in the engine room that cut her speed.

Seering it was coming on the losing side of the exchange, the Graf Spee veered to port once more, to keep all his 280mm guns firing. By a spate of bad luck, all missed Exeter, the only damage being a 105 mm hit tat failed to penetrate. Not so for the Brits, who kept knocking things down on the Spee, not least of which  another hit to the boiler that reduced speed even further to a crawl.

Gallantly, the doomed raider turned into the ennemy, who had reversed course to keep crossing her T. Once more, the big 280mm missed altogether, while a 6″ shell from Achilles destroyed the the forward triple turret. Aty that time however, we had come into torpedo range, so the Spee veered to port, and let loose fishes at Achilles. The 280mm turret fired a last time, kocking another 4.1″ turret on Exeter. While the German torpedoes sailed harmlessly past Achilles, return fire was devastating, and sent the German ship to Davy Jones’ locker.

Second game was the Battle of Denmark Straight, with me taking the part of Admiral Holland and Fred that of Admiral Lütjens. This AAR will be shorter, as to my great shame, I must admit I did not bother to take a lot of pics.

Actually, all my joss left me out for this one. It started with the loss of a turret Caesar on the Bismack, from which I never recovered. I tried to distract the opposition with the Prinz Eugen (and that worked, as for three turns she was the target of both British ships before sinking, but I never managed to inflict significant damage on the Hood). Then Bismarck got once more all the attention of the ennemy. In the end, the Hood was sunk, but so was Bismarck after a heck of a fight at 2 to 1.

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