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Subject: Revenge of the Tin Can Sailor AAR at WinterCon 2017 rss

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Matt Kiriazis
United States
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Once again, I participated in a computer moderated Clear for Action naval battle at MDG's WinterCon Gamefest 2017 at Oakland University. For the general description of the computer program developed as a labor of love John Hugener and friends, please see my AAR of the Wintercon 2013 event.

This was a hypothetical battle between a US Naval force led by the CA Wichita against German forces led by the pocket battleship Lutzow and cruiser Hipper. It is early spring in 1942 and the German Kriegsmarine is steaming from Bergen north to Trondheim to join up with Scharnhorst. The escort was provided by 6 Z-class destroyers.

The USS Wichita was accompanied by destroyers Fletcher and Hickox. The GM said this was March-April 1942, but these destroyers weren't commissioned until 30-June 1942 and 10-Sept 1943!? As I always say, never let historical facts get in the way of a good hypothetical naval battle. The Wichita and the 2 destroyers were the easternmost ships in the force and so were slightly closer to the German ships. I commanded the CL Savannah and the 2 destroyers, Tingey and Nicholas and we were northwest of the Wichita and her destroyers. Our course was 045 deg and we were steaming at 18 knots hoping to make contact on our terms.

Apparently, our search radars did not perform very well as the Germans opened fire first, concentrating their fire on the nearest target, the Hickox. The shells from Lutzow and Hipper entered the Hickox's starboard side and exited out the port side without causing significant damage. Any ship that lay down smoke screens did so and returned fire. The Hickox did not survive long because she got too close to Lutzow and her escorts. As in 2013, the confusion and the mayhem got the better of me as I mistakenly fired on the Wichita at about 7200 yards after Tingey and Nucholas fired on Z-23 at about the same distance. Fortunately, no serious damage was done to the Wichita. Eventually, the Wichita started getting hits on Lutzow and she was damaged. Lutzow's maximum speed was reduced to 11 knots and she seem to stay on a course of 000 deg. Critical damage to the engines and steering? The Fletcher came under heavy fire and it eventually slipped beneath the waves a few turns later. My buddy Chris was down 2 ships and in the ensuing confusion, smoke and mayhem he returned my earlier favor by firing on the Savannah by mistake. Fortunately, I had started frantic zig zag turns to confuse the Germans and his shells fell short.

Our side began to even the score, first by sinking the Eckoldt followed by the sinking of Z-23. Broadsides from the Wichita were beginning to severely damage the Lutzow. First her main armament went silent and most of her secondary batteries were knocked out. Savannah was getting acquainted with the Hipper the destroyers took on and sunk Z-24. For the last three turns of the game, Hipper tried to target Savannah but my evasive turns kept frustrating their gunnery. Savannah was leading a charmed life.

Lutzow was a slow wounded target and my sharks, the Tingey and the Nicholas smelled blood in the water. Their orders were to close to point blank range and do her like a Pearl Harbor (ahem) lady of the evening.

The Nicholas steered south and was on Lutzow's starboard beam. The Tingey steamed south and was on Lutzow's port beam. Before they launched their torpedoes, they blasted Lutzow one more time.

Gentlemen, please note that a 5"/38 shell can penetrate 3.3" of armor at point blank range.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
The armor on Lutzow'smagazine is 3.2" thick.

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