The Battle of Arica Game Report

The Battle of Arica Game Report


I played the Battle of Arica scenario for Dahlgren and Columbiad this evening, which ended in a minor Chilean victory and a Peruvian bloody nose, although the latter did force the Huascar to withdraw by the end of the game. In Turn 1 the Huascar steamed toward the two advancing Peruvian warships as they moved out of the roadstead to intercept the Chilean ironclad. The spar torpedo boat Alianza made a plucky attack run on the Huascar but was immediately hit by her twin 8“ rifles causing heavy damage. 
Not to be deterred, the Alianza sped forward in Turn 2 an attempt to torpedo the Huascar but was hit again although this time causing only light damage and jammed steering. However, as Huascar steamed past she opened up with her mast mounted Gatling Gun, raking the plucky torpedo boat from stem to stern and causing her to sink with a D6 dice roll of 6. The Manco Capac meanwhile steamed on at a snails pace to close the range with the Huascar.

In Turn 3 both of the ironclads traded shots but caused only harassing fire, as they began to circle one another at ever closer range. This continued into Turn 4 as the San Jose and Santa Rosa batteries also joined in, firing on the approaching Huascar at long range to no effect. In Turn 5 Huascar scored a hit and light damage on Manco Capac, with her hull badly dented, reducing her defensive factor to 2. The Santa Rosa battery kept firing but missed while the Manco Capac also failed to score any hits.
In Turn 6 and 7 the ironclads continued to spar at close range, with the Huascar managing to inflict harassing fire on the Manco Capac but little else, while the Peruvian monitor consistently fluffed her gunnery to miss in both turns. In Turn 8, however, the Huascar landed another hit with light damage, temporarily jamming the steering of the Manco Capac. Satisfied that honour had been served, the Huascar now began a fighting withdrawal, heading out to sea while the Manco Capac struggled to keep up with her top speed of 3cm half that of the Chilean ironclad.
In Turn 9 and 10, the Huascar managed to get away although the Manco Capac pushed her boilers to the limit, eventually to close to within 5“ of her Chilean adversary. In a final parting shot before exiting the table, the Huascar turned and fired a close range blast from her twin 9“ rifles, hitting the Manco Capac again and once again jamming her steering. The commander of the Manco Capac, Captain Lagomarsino, had done enough and decided that the Huascar had been shown the door, so it was time to limp back to Arica for repairs.
I decided that the scenario ended on Turn 10, as it was a very evenly matched battle which could have been won by the Chileans were it not for the heavy armour of the Peruvian monitor. If the game had continued there was a fair chance that the Huascar could have inflicted heavy damage on the Manco Capac but it would have been a slog for both sides to achieve a complete victory. I have added a time limit to the scenario as a result and downgraded the Peruvians victory conditions to heavy damage too, so that it would be possible for either side to win.
In the end, both sides could claim a tactical victory, with the Chileans suffering no damage and sinking the Alianza, while at the same time inflicting three light damage hits on the Manco Capac. On the other hand, the Peruvians did force the Huascar to withdraw, which was their overall strategic objective, although it was a very marginal claim as the Huascar was more than capable of a repeat performance. If only the Manco Capac had rolled better dice or the Alianza had succeeded in her spar torpedo attack!
(once again, apologies for the rubbish photos!)

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Autor: Jim Jackaman / Jim’s Wargames Workbench

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