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Subject: AAR - The Battle of Cromer rss

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Matt
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So my Seekrieg V rules arrived recently and with a few ships painted I decided on a solo run through a reasonably simple scenario to start learning the system.

I chose The Battle of Cromer (from the Seekrieg website), an early WW2 set-up which sees three German 1934A class destroyers happen across two British J-class destroyers escorting two merchants - the 4,400 tonne Innesmoore and 5,200 tonne King Arthur – off the coast of East Anglia.

In the absence of photos I put together an AAR map of the action to try and show the movements of the various ships and key moments throughout the game.



Weather conditions were good, with wind from west to east at 6-15 knots and clear visibility. The British started on the west side of the table heading north at 10 knots. The Germans were to their east heading north at 12 knots. The Germans would win by sinking both merchants, the British by exiting the merchants from the north edge (about 20 turns).

The British set-up with the merchants in line ahead, Innesmoore leading the King Arthur. HMS Jersey set up about 2,000 yards west of the Innesmoore, with HMS Juno about 500 yards southwest of the Jersey. Outnumbered 3 to 2 and, perhaps, very slightly outgunned as well the British plan was to lay smoke and use the wind to carry it east to block German vision and buy the merchants as much time as possible.

The Germans set up 10,400 yards west of the British, line ahead with the SMS Hans Lody leading the SMS Bernd von Arnim and SMS Erich Giese, planning to arc round to the northwest to cut off the convoy.

Turn 1 saw both sides announce battle stations and full ahead, with the merchants angling away slightly to port and the German destroyers turning 30 degrees in towards the Brits. The Juno started laying smoke on Turn 2 and the two destroyer groups started trading shots on Turn 3 at a range of 9-9,500 yards. The Juno immediately found the range of the Von Arnim but the damage was superficial.

Two minutes later the Giese hit back, putting two 5” HE shells into the Juno, knocking out its torpedo tubes and smoke generator, temporarily disabling its guns and starting a worrying blaze. The Jersey took over smokelaying and both British ships turned hard to port and disappeared into their smokescreen.

The next three turns saw the Germans charging northwest to re-establish an unimpeded view of the British ships. On the British side, the Juno cut across in front of the convoy and turned north while fighting the onboard fire and re-establishing power to the guns. The Jersey, however, had turned south to lay more smoke but now found itself without space to turn back into the fight and had to sail past the convoy and loop back round behind them, smoke blocking any view of the enemy.

So turn 8 saw the Juno facing down the three German destroyers on its own. However, over-concentration of fire hampered the German accuracy while the Juno started pouring shells into the Lody. Those two ships continued to duel for the next four minutes as the Von Arnim and Giese started shelling the Innesmoore and preparing torpedoes.

The Jersey rejoined the fray on Turn 10, putting two 4.7” HE shells into the Von Arnim. Meanwhile, the Lody had been pummelled with five shells from the Juno and was badly ablaze, the captain turning north to disengage.

However, the Giese took over the battle with the Juno, putting one shell into her on Turn 10 and then hitting the rear barbette on Turn 11 causing a terrible explosion and fire. As the Juno’s systems collapsed a new and devastating fire (severity roll 100!) broke out and with no damage control teams left, the captain gave the order to abandon the crippled ship.

Torpedoes launched by the Von Arnim hit the Innesmoore on turn 12, sinking her, but the celebrations were short-lived as the German destroyer was holed by a torpedo from the rapidly closing Jersey and sank.

At this point the Giese, which had put in an exceptional gunnery performance all day, decided to disengage – taking a potshot with a torpedo salvo at the King Arthur as it cut across the merchant’s path. The spread missed the target and the battle was over after 26 minutes.

The Brits had one destroyer sunk, one merchant sunk, with the other two ships still in good shape. The Germans had one destroyer sunk, one badly mauled and one undamaged. I called it a draw.

Whatever the outcome, it was a lot of fun, with the rules providing both dynamic situations and an engrossing narrative.
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Mike Windsor
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Nice write-up, and nice map.
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