WW2 Baltic Naval Campaign – Game 4 – Baltenflotte
Welcome fellow Naval Gamers to the fourth and final instalment of our 1941 WW2 Baltic Campaign, it’s been an interesting journey with two draws and a German Victory in our first three games, how vital that loss would prove in this final game.
If you are new to the Campaign below are the links to the two previous games, I would suggest reading at least the first part as it contains the rules for submarines and mines.
In September 1941 the German Command was convinced that the city of Leningrad would soon be in their hands leaving the Baltic Fleet of the Soviet Navy, based on the nearby island of Kronstadt with a difficult choice. Scuttle the fleet, conduct a suicide attack on the German Coast or make a run for it to neutral Sweden.
To deny options 2 and 3 the Kreigsmarine sent a powerful task force including Tirpitz to the area to prevent any break out.
In reality a raid on Kronstadt by the Luftwaffe neutralised the fleet and no break out occurred, however I have blurred the lines a bit, bad weather has prevented the air attack and the Soviets are on the move.
|The action in full swing|
Umpire Notes 1
This is a continuation of the previous three games and if you are following along you may have, due to losses in your games ended up with different fleet compositions.
Between games I use a very simple system to reflect damage repair, all damage and speed loss from the previous game is halved and for each turret / torpedo tube etc loss I roll a d6, 4-6 and the feature is restored, either repaired or not as badly damaged as first thought.
We played the game in a single day.
12 x 6 table, each sq is the same size.
Russian Briefing 24th September 1941
|A little bit of Soviet Air Power|
Russian Victory Conditions
German Briefing 24th September 1941
Marginal – Both Soviet BB sank and both Tirpitz and Scheer less than 50% damage.
|1st shots fall close to Leipzig|
Umpire Notes 2
Any surviving German ships you have not on my list should join Baltenflotte South, any Soviet Ships should join Group 2 if they are a Kirov Class, Destroyer Leader or a Project 7U / Project 30 Destroyer, anything else should join Group 1.
To deploy the Soviet Submarines I placed 5 yellow counters in a bag (representing the submarines along with the a green counter for each of the remaining squares on the table. Each time a German ship entered a new square I drew a counter to determine if there was a sub in that square (see game 1 for very basic sub rules), the counter was placed in that square and a new counter drawn next time a ship enters a fresh square.
I reduced the visibility early in the game to about half max range of Tirpitz and gradually increased it during the game.
AAR – How did we get on.
After the slow burn of game 3 this action was a lot more „explosive“ and reached a conclusion in less than a YG days play including a Fish and Chip break.
With Baltenflotte South set up closer to the Russian ships they were in action first. However is was the Russians who had the first opportunity of the game, the larger German ships entered into a square containing a Soviet Sub, the Captain of that vessel saw Scheer in his periscope first, a quick calculation to get a firing solution and the fish were away.
But it was a miss and the sub dived for cover.
With no other target in site the Soviet Battleships had opened up on the German Light Cruisers, Murat managed a hit on Leipzig, luckily for the crew it missed the ships vitals but left a bloody big hole in the superstructure. The other cruiser in the southern German group was not getting away with it either as Kirov had found the range on her and was causing damage. Emden in turn had picked on the Russian Destroyer Lenin taking out all three guns in one turn.
|German Air Power (yes some are Italian not my fault someone brought the wrong box of planes !)|
But the Russians were no having things their own way, the German Air Power rolls were spectacular for turns 6,7 and 8. A 19, 20 and 18 and these were to prove the vital dice of the game.
By turn 7 the visibility had increased and the Tirpitz had finally got sight of the leading elements of the Soviet Fleet. The Destroyer „Serdityi“ was the unlucky recipient of the Battleships first ever salvo in anger, a ranging shot landed on the side of one of the turrets, a 15″ shell and a destroyer don’t mix well !
It was also the turn of the first air attack on the Soviet fleet, October Revolution was the target but she escaped damage driving off one attack with her AA and avoiding the second.
Turn 8 saw visibility increase again and now all the ships were visible to each other. Scheer opened up on the Kirov punching a hole in her armoured belt, Tirpitz switched targets to the October Revolution whilst the Soviet Battleships continued to put large splashes around the Leipzig.
|German ship T4 sinks as the German Air Strikes go in.|
Turn 9 was the start of the end for the Russians, some excellent shooting from Scheer saw Kirov hit multiple times in the belt, losing 10 knots of speed. There was a glimmer of hope for the Soviets as Minsk sunk the German ship T4, but the firepower of the old battleships, although accurate, was unable to penetrate the heavy armour on Tirpitz.
It was the big German Air Strike which was the big moment in the turn, the previous attack had been seen off, but this time there were three times as many planes. October Revolution was hit by one torpedo (narrowly escaping another 2) reducing her top speed by 10 knots. Murat was even more badly damaged, 2 torpedoes and a bomb hit stopped the old girl dead in the water.
Turn 10 was no better for the Russians, although October Revolution finally found one of the few bits of Tirpitz she could damage and Murat caused some reasonable damage to Scheer.
However on the flip side Minsk was badly damaged from close range concentrated fire from German Light Cruisers. Kirov lost her battle with the Pocket Battleship and sank from the effect of cumulative damage from 11″ shells.
October Revolution felt the full force of the Tirpitz and her big guns, both rear turrets were taken out of action on the Revolution very quickly.
|The end of Kirov|
And that was the end, the Russian Battleships slowed by the previous air attack were easy prey for the German Destroyers and their Torpedoes. The game was up, with Kirov gone, the Russians had no chance of reaching any of their victory conditions and both Battleships were effectively dead in the water. The Soviets scuttled the Capital ships and those Destroyers who still could: turned for home at full speed. A straight up German Victory.
|The final Torpedo attack|
Final Thoughts at Campaign End
Well I have to say that we have had an enjoyable excursion in the Baltic and a theatre of operations that prior to me organising this I have to confess I knew little about.
It’s a tough job for the Russians, their ships are considerably less powerful than the Germans and to win as the Russians you certainly need a spot of luck, the loss of the Heavy Cruiser Maxim Gorky in game 2 was the turning point for me, that extra large ship in the final game could have given the Soviets a better chance.
The Germans weak spot is their lack of light forces, if the Russians had chipped away a couple more of the Destroyers it would restricted the offensive capability of the Kreigsmarine in the later games.
But often it comes down to luck, three big air support die rolls turned the final game. Without those attacks it would have been much harder for the German Fleet and would probably have led to the loss of the Scheer.
|The Germans sail away into the Sun victorious.|
So that’s our 2017 Naval Campaign done. The Jutland Fleet will be on show in Derby. Next years campaign is yet to be decided but possibles are Aleutian Islands, Bismark or a WW1 Campaign. Thanks very much everyone who has followed our adventures.
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Autor: Ken ReillyYarkshire GamerYarkshire GamerYarkshire Gamer
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