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Subject: AAR - Battle of the Denmark Strait - 24 May 1941 rss

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Tom H
Australia
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Basil Hilder KIA Lone Pine, Gallipoli
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INTRODUCTION
The Battle of the Denmark Strait was a Second World War naval battle between ships of the Royal Navy and the German Kriegsmarine, fought on 24 May 1941. The British battleship HMS Prince of Wales and the battlecruiser HMS Hood fought the German battleship Bismarck and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, both of which were attempting to break out into the North Atlantic to attack Allied merchant shipping (Operation Rheinübung.

In a classic rematch, much like Germany and Brazil at the Rio Olympics, I fought out the Battle of the Denmark Strait on my table at home using Naval Thunder. I have been playing with these rules since the start of the year and have been busy painting my Navwar 1/3000 fleets.

The Germans win if they can sink a British ship and escape off the bottom left hand side of the board. The Royal Navy win if they can sink the Bismark and at least one of their ships remains afloat. Tough times.

The scene is set, the battlelines drawn… let the game commence.

THE ACTION
At the start the Bismark and Prinz Eugen moved to line up the corner they needed to escape from. They then fired up the boilers to run at this at their maximum 30 knots. The position of the Royal Navy ships meant that to close they would have to advance on the Bismark and only be able to use their front guns for part of the game. Their plan was to try and position themselves between the Kriegsmarine ships and their objective.


View from the Prince of Wales looking towards the Bismark

Firing started early with a long range exchange between the ships. The Germans spread their fire over the Hood and the Prince of Wales so that they wouldn’t penalize each other’s shots. The Royal Navy ships combined their fire on the Bismark. Their hope was that the heavier weight of fire would make up for the reduced accuracy of both ships targeting the “Beast”.


Opening shots

In the early stages of the game both sides scored minor damage on each other with penetrations.

Moving into medium range of their main batteries things started to get a bit more earnest.

Main batteries of the Prince of Wales scored penetrations on the Bismark causing fires on board. The efficient German damage control crews quickly had these under control though.


Bismark on fire

The Bismark’s return of fire on the Prince of Wales was devastating. Three penetrations with criticals.



BOOOMMM!!! One of the critical hits scored on the battleships magazine. The Prince of Wales ceased to exist with pieces raining down on the nearby HMS Hood.


Not much left...

After this the Hood was determined to extract revenge from his German foe. Turning his ship to allow all batteries to target the Bismark he pushed on.



The Bismark and Hood stood toe to toe blasting at each other. The smaller Prinz Eugen continued to fire on the Hood too, but its lighter guns couldn’t penetrate the Hood’s heavier armour.

The Hood blew away one of the Bismark’s 5.9”secondary turrets and then scored penetrations starting fires on board the Bismark With usual Tuetonic efficiency the damage control soon had these fires out.



The Bismark’s return fire penetrated the Hoods armour and destroyed a front main turret and damaged their fire control systems.

THE END
At the end of the game, the Bismark and Prinz Eugen managed to slip away and won the game with the destruction of the Prince of Wales. The Bismark had less than 100 of the original 167 hull points left (~60%) with minor damage to some secondary turrets.

The HMS Hood had damaged fire control and had lost one of its front main gun turrets. Of its 182 hull points it was down to 129 (~65%). The sinking of the Prince of Wales was critical to the German win.

In Whitehall there are already mutterings about an enquiry.

EPILOGUE
I must say I enjoyed that game. Fast playing with some nice historical and nautical flavor.  The results was startling but so near what actually happened.




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Rory McAllister
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Thanks for the AAR! I have these rules but I've never played with them. The two rules I've used for years are General Quarters 2nd edition and Battleship Captain by Minden Games. Both of these rules are on the simpler end of the complexity scale and Naval Thunder looked like it was a little more complex than those two rules without going overboard. Now I may have to try out these rules.
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Todd Reed
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I'm not a naval gamer at all, but really liked these. When I play naval, once every 5 years, it's Naval Thunder. Funny, I played GQ once and thought it was more complex than NT

Very cool Modelling.
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Robert Hawkins
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Good stuff - thanks for sharing!
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Tom H
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Pedro M wrote:
Thanks for the AAR! I have these rules but I've never played with them. The two rules I've used for years are General Quarters 2nd edition and Battleship Captain by Minden Games.


I have GQ 2 too but as noted personally I think Naval Thunder is a simpler game.

All the best trying them out.
 
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Leo Zappa
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Aliquippa
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Excellent AAR and I love both the models and the splash/smoke & fire markers...brilliant!

Also, do my eyes deceive me or is that Renown standing in for Hood?
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Tom H
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You sir have good eyes and a terrific knowledge of WW2 ships. You can have a place on my crew any day! You are 100% correct that it is the HMS Renown standing in for the Hood.... perhaps that is why she survived!

The Navwar RN packs do not have the Hood included.
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Tom H
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desertfox2004 wrote:
....I love both the models and the splash/smoke & fire markers...brilliant!



I love the splash markers and fire too! Best part of wargaming.
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Tom H
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Just played this scenario again with a friend. Had a really weird situation where the Bismark and Hood both blew each other up in the same turn! :0

What are the odds? 1% x 1% = 0.01%? 1 in 10,000?

Made for a quick game.
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