MEGA Games offered at Command Con III
AFTER ACTION REPORT
By Warren Peterson
World War II Coastal Action
This report describes the events that occurred in a World War II naval battle involving a small German supply convoy and British efforts to intercept and destroy it. The battle took place around a small group of islands located off the coast of Holland during the morning hours. Visibility was limited by haze. Dummy markers (DMs) were used on the game table to represent the ships until spotting had occurred.
The German objective was to get two supply ferries (SF 117, SF 118) to the large island that was located within a group of smaller islands. The island contained an observation/listening post.
The German players assigned their forces as follows:
|2 Siebel Fähres (SF 117, SF 118)
||2 Schnellboots (S 40, S 42)
|2 Patrol Boats (VP 148, VP 153)
||6 dummy markers
|1 Schnellboot (S 14)
||1 Artilleriefahrpahm (AFP 51)
From intercepted German radio communications, British Intelligence Operations had deduced that the German's were using the island. Their objective was to locate and destroy the supply convoy. They would destroy the outpost later.
The British players assigned their forces as follows:
||Central Force 1
||Central Force 2
|2 Vosper motor torpedo boats (MTB 396, MTB 397)
||2 Fairmile B (MTB 107, MTB 109)
||1 Fairmile D (MTB 310)
|1 Denny SGB (HMS Grey Goose)
||1 Isles Class Trawler (HMS Sir Lancelot)
||1 Dummy Marker
||2 Dummy Markers
Turns 1 - 2 and 3
The German convoy was deployed in two formations with the Diversionary Force situated well north of the Main Force. The British interception forces were deployed into three groups with two being in close proximity of each other (Central 1 & 2) near the large island. The other British force was deployed to the south. Over the course of the first few turns, both forces proceeded towards the large island (or each other) at best possible speed.
British: One Vosper, MTB 397, and one Denny SGB, HMS Grey Goose
German: Two Siebel Fähres SF 117, SF 118
Two Schnellboots S 40, S 42
One Patrol Boat VP 148
- The British Southern Force spotted AFP 51 in the German Main Force. They begin to maneuver towards this otherwise unknown group of ships.
- Radar readings aboard MTB 310 indicate the enemy's main force was closing from the vicinity of AFP 51. However, this information did not seem to effect the course of the British ships in the Central 1 and 2 Forces. Radar detectors on the Schnellboots picked up these signals. Having spotted AFP 51, the British Southern Force disperses with MTBs 396-397 maneuvering around an island to engage the unknown German force from the rear (hopefully). The "Goose" maneuvers northward to engage AFP 51 and detect possible other ships in the German formation. AFP 51 spots the British force as it disperses and immediately fires on MTB 396 with two 3.5" guns. The shots miss.
- Schnellboot S 14 pulls away from the German Main Force and moves to intercept the British Southern Force. It is spotted by the British. MTB 310 spots AFP 51 and fires on it with an automatic 6 pounder. The shots hit the bridge. Confusion grips the AFP and it must maintain its course for the next 3 turns. AFP 51 spots the "Goose" and MTB 310. It fires on the "Goose" disabling a torpedo tube and causing some hull damage. The German Main Force radios it has enemy contact to the Diversionary Force Commander.
- MTB 310 and the "Goose" fire on S 14 causing bridge and hull damage. Return fire from AFP 51 does not cause any damage. German patrol vessels VP 148 and VP 153 are spotted and the British "Lancelot" is spotted. The "Lancelot" fires its 4" gun at S 14 but the shots miss.
- Schnellboot S 14 closes to within 100 yards of the "Goose" as it attempts to turn away from the British SGB. The German vessel takes punishing blows from light, medium, and single-load weapons fire from several British vessels. S 14 loses its light automatic weapons and takes more hull hits. The Captain however remains focused on protection of the supply convoy and begins laying smoke. The Captain also launches his two torpedoes. AFP 51 is hit by fire from MTB 310. One of the rounds manages to penetrate the fuel tank. The following explosion tears apart the ship and it sinks immediately. With this loss a significant portion of the German convoy's firepower has disappeared.
- The smoke laid by S 14 is effective in sheltering the spotted German convoy ships from enemy fire. MTBs 396-397 complete their trip around the island and emerge behind the German Main Force. They immediately spot SF 117 and SF 118, who in turn spot them. SF 117 and 118 open fire with quad 20mm's on the MTBs. MTB 396 receives a steering hit (no course changes for 6 turns). The German Diversionary Force moves south to support the engaged ships. MTB 310 fires two torpedoes towards SF 117 and 118.
- As the turn begins Schnellboots S 40-S 42 enter the fray. All German and British vessels have been spotted. Shells of all size and caliber fill the air. The Captain of the heavily damaged S 14 orders a retreat and maneuvers his stricken ship through the German supply convoy towards homeport. As it disengages it continues to lay smoke. The course plotted by the Captain appears to intercept that of MTB 396.
Torpedoes fired by S 14 pass by MTB 310 and strike the "Lancelot". Both torpedoes detonate sending the trawler to the bottom. This loss avenges the loss of AFP 51.
MTB 310 continues to maneuver and fire towards the German convoy. Torpedoes fired by the ship pass under SF 117 and strike VP 153. The small patrol boat explodes and sinks beneath the waves.
German vessels concentrate their light and medium automatic weapons fire on MTB 310. Several effective hits are scored and fires start.
As the turn ends, fires sweeping across the deck of MTB 310 touch off ammunition (or possibly those depth charges sitting on deck). The ensuing explosion destroys the ship and it sinks.
- Aboard MTB 396, the Captain orders a speed reduction as crewmen desperately try to recover steering capability. His action, however, is ineffective as the torpedo boat rams the battered S 14 midship. The collision results in S 14 sinking. The Captain of MTB 396 watches as the hull slips beneath the waves. A damage report indicates his vessel is still seaworthy. Without picking up survivors, he orders all ahead.
The remaining combatants exchange weapons fire with each side scores additional hits.
SF 117 and SF 118 are in good shape and continue towards the objective island at maximum speed. After watching her sister ship's encounter with Schnellboot S 14, MTB 397 swings towards the supply ships hoping to launch torpedoes.
- Towards the large island, Schnellboot S 40 closes on MTB 107. Both Captains misjudge speed and distance as they close. The S 40 Captain orders torpedoes to be fired. Two torpedoes are launched from their tubes with the enemy boat being less than 200 yards. The torpedoes plunge underneath the hull of MTB 107 (missing it) and streak off towards SF 117, which is approaching from the south. One of S 40's torpedoes passes beneath the pontoon hulled SF 117 but fails to contact or detonate. The crew of SF 117 breathes a sigh of relief and makes plans to give the Captain of S 40 a blanket party when they reach the island.
Having fired his torpedoes, the Captain of S 40 watches in dismay as they fail to destroy the fast approaching MTB 107. Both Captains scream orders to their crews but a collision is unavoidable. S 40 rams MTB 107 midship at about 27 knots. MTB 107's hull buckles and it begins to sink. The Schnellboot remains afloat but damaged and flooding.
The Captain of MTB 397 steers a closing course on the supply ferries. He chooses to withhold his torpedo fire until he can be absolutely sure of a hit. Unfortunately quad 20mm fire from the German supply ferries knock out the torpedo boat's steering and the run must be abandoned.
The remaining combatants continue to exchange fire with each side scoring additional hits, but at this point the British decide to withdraw. The German's successfully reach the island and resupply their outpost. Forces remaining at game completion are:
- Harold Wones
- Steve Parsonage
- George Oravis
- Craig Gaddis
- Warren Paterson
Rules Used: "Flaklighter" is a set of rules for recreating World War II coastal naval engagements using 1/600-scale miniatures. The rules are authored by David Gregory of PT Dockyard (a 1/600-scale ship manufacturer) and published by The Last Square.
Scales used in the rules are 1" = 50 yards, 1 turn = 30 seconds and 1" = 3 knots speed. Over the course of several games I have modified the rules slightly to suit personal tastes. As played at the convention, the turn sequence consisted of:
1. Plot Orders
4. Torpedo Launch / Resolution
5. Depth Charge Attack / Resolution
6. Gunfire Attack / Resolution
7. Star Shell / Flare Firing (not used)
8. Fire / Flood Repair
9. Random Event (not used)
It should be noted that players were required to plot their orders one turn in advance. For example, Turn 7 orders for movement are plotted (written down) on Turn 6 before conducting Turn 6's movement.