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Advanced Salvo! 1939-1941» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Kreigsmarine Victory! Battle of the River Plate rss

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E Butler
United States
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06:10 December 13, 1939...... The German Pocket Battleship Graf Spee spots three British cruisers - Heavy Cruiser Exeter and the Light Cruisers Ajax and Achilles on the horizon. As the Germans move to engage the Royal Navy forces split into two forces; Exeter moving to the North and Ajax and Achilles advance to battle from the south.....

This is my third game of Advanced Salvo! 1939-1941 a nifty solitaire pocket game that plays in an hour or less. Game play is remarkably similar to the (basic) combat system used in Avalon Hill's Bismark. The interesting and very clever twist is that the game doesn't use a maneuver board or measurement moves, instead the game uses 'relative range' markers to determine range between ships. Ships maneuver by 'closing' (advancing range), Withdrawing (retreating range) or Offering Broadside (staying at range). As ships move ranges are adjusted as is the amount of firepower a ship can bring on target.... anyways, this is a session report, not a review - so back to the action.

The battle opens with Graf Spee (me) spotting the Allied ships at long range to the North (Exeter) and South (Ajax, Achilles).


1) The two light cruisers turn bow on and advance toward the Germans while the Exeter tries to increase range. The Graf Spee goes in pursuit of Exeter. The Germans open up on the Heavy Cruiser with their 11" guns and manage to straddle the ship but don't cause any damage. Meanwhile Achilles scores a hit on the Spee, but the 6" guns fail to hurt the battleship.

2) As the three cruisers close range from both sides I order the Spee to Offer Broadside and open fire on Exeter and Achilles. We score hits on the turrets of both ships. Achilles is able to score hits on the Graf Spee, but again the 6" guns fail to do any damage.

3) The range at this point is Medium-Long to all targets so I decide to turn North and close on the Exeter. I'm worried about letting the light cruisers get to close as both carry torpedoes, weapons that are effective but only usable at short range. Ajax and Achilles continue to close but Exeter turns away trying to maintain range. The German gunners pour fire on the Exeter, but she receives no major damage. Meanwhile all three British ships find range to the Graf Spee. Yet again the 6" main guns of the CLs fail to inflict damage damage, but Exeter's 8" guns find there mark and damage a turret.

4) I continue to chase the Exeter, she maintains range again. Achilles closes and Ajax turns to offer broadsides. Graf Spee is again enveloped in Allied fire but emerges unscathed. Achilles has advanced to medium range but paid the price with another turret hit.

5) Exeter turns to give battle and offers broadside. Ajax and Achilles both continue pursuit of the Germans. The Graf Spee advances on the Exeter, moving into medium range of the heavy cruiser. Before Exeter can complete her fire control orders two salvos of 11" shells punch massive holes along the water line. Exeter quickly floods and capsizes before sinking beneath the waves. Meanwhile a lucky shot temporarily knocks out the fire control system on Achilles. Ajax's fire straddles the Pocket Battleship but to no avail.

6) I attempt to open range on the remaining cruisers, but the both continue to close. the 11" guns again find there mark hitting the Achilles at the water line and causing a list and loss of speed. Allied fire, while accurate continues to have little effect.

7) Knowing that Achilles was severally damaged I decided to offer broadside in a effort to finish her off once and for all. I fretted over giving her the opportunity to move into short range, which could mean a torpedo attack, but to do that she would need to first survive the withering close range fire on my ship. As it turned out Achilles opted to remain at medium range and offer broadside. Ajax did the same at Medium-long. Accurate fire poured into the doomed Achilles and she was reduced to a sinking hulk. Only the light cruiser Ajax remained...

8) The two ships engaged in an ineffective gun duel at medium-long.

9) Graf Spee continued to bring broadsides, Ajax attempted to close, bringing her into medium range. The British cruiser reeled under the pounding of the battleship guns. Barely afloat, engines and guns heavily damaged, Ajax bravely returned fire but her 6" just couldn't score.

10) Floundering, Ajax kept the range as another salvo of 11" fire ripped into the ship. A massive explosion and the final British cruiser was gone, the Battle of the River Plate was over.


Edit: I was on the Minden Games website and I see that there is a free print and play promo version of Great War Salvo! included in their PDF magazine, Dispatches from the Front. The rules look to be almost exactly the same as Salvo. So if you want to try the game system for free, there you go.

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