Nugget 277

I collected the latest edition of THE NUGGET (N277) from the printer this morning, and it will posted it out to members of Wargame Developments by Monday afternoon.

I have already uploaded the PDF versions of THE NUGGET and THE NUGGET COLOUR SUPPLEMENT to the Wargame Developments website, and they are available for members of Wargame Developments to read online or to download and print.

IMPORTANT: Please note that this is the fourth issue of THE NUGGET to be published for the 2014-2015 subscription year, and that members who have not already re-subscribed can do so by visiting the relevant page on the Wargame Developments website.

The password to open the online PDF version of THE NUGGET and THE NUGGET COLOUR SUPPLEMENT will be sent to members by post and email as soon as they re-subscribe.


Prepare for ramming!: Play-tests of some simple Ironclad vs. Ironclad Naval Wargame Rules

After several false starts and not a few diversions, I have finally managed to stage a couple of play-tests of the simple Ironclad vs. Ironclad rules I developed from Lieutenant Chamberlain’s GAME OF NAVAL BLOCKADE rules.


Play-test 1: Fight on the open seaFor the first play-test I set up an unencumbered 12 deep by 10 wide grid of blue Hexon II hexes. The opposing warships were placed on the rows of hexes furthest from each other and 5 hexes in from their respective left-hand column of hexes.

The first few moves saw each ship sailing towards its opponent …

… before trying to manoeuvre itself into a position where it could bring its guns to bear on the enemy whilst remaining sufficiently far enough away to avoid being rammed.

Once their guns were in range, both ships began firing on each other, with varying degrees of success. (The upturned golf tees represent ‘misses’.)

Eventually one ship (the one with the pronounced ram bow) managed to disable its opponent and just had enough sea-room in which to manoeuvre itself into a position where it could ram the enemy …

… which it did!


Play-test 2: Fight amongst the islandsFor the second play-test I placed four islands on the 12 deep by 10 wide grid of blue Hexon II hexes. The opposing warships were again placed on the rows of hexes furthest from each other and 5 hexes in from their respective left-hand column of hexes.

Yet again the ships began by sailing towards each other …

… before one of them (the ship with the pronounced ram bow) turned to port so as to use one of the islands as cover.

The other ship sought to keep the range between the two ships as great as possible …

… and when they engaged each other with gunfire they each failed to hit the other.

The ship with the straight bow then managed to hit and disable its opponent, and closed the range between them.

Unfortunately it was too far away to ram its opponent, and during the next exchange of gunfire the ship with the pronounced ram bow managed to disable its opponent … and ram it!


ConclusionsThe rules as they stand produce a fast and furious tabletop battle … but it is somehow too fast and furious. It lacks some of the detail that I want from a naval wargame, and I am going to have to give some thought to how I can include things such as torpedoes and reduce the effectiveness of ramming whilst keeping the essential simplicity of the current rules.

Inspiring illustrations

When I set out to build one of my model ships I tend to us illustrations from one of several books as inspiration. These are:

  • WARSHIPS 1986-1970 by J.M.Thornton (published in 1973 by David & Charles Limited [0 7153 5998 3])

  • MEN-OF-WAR 1770-1970 by J.M.Thornton (published in 1978 by Argus Books Ltd. [ISBN 0 85242 610 0])

  • ALL THE WORLD’S FIGHTING SHIPS by F.T.Jane (originally published by Sampson Low Marston in 1898; re-printed and re-published by David & Charles Limited in 1969 [7153 4476 5])

J.M.Thornton’s two books were compilations of drawings that originally appeared in the now defunct Royal Canadian Navy magazine CROWSNEST under the title ‘Naval Lore Corner‘. Fred Jane’s book needs no introduction from me as it is so well-known.

The example pages from these books that I have included above are ones that I looked at when building my two model Rams … and I am sure that some of you will easily see the ones that I drew my inspiration from.


Nugget 277

Last night the editor of THE NUGGET sent me the draft of the latest issue. I have printed the original copy this morning and I took it to the printer just after midday. This means that I will be able to collect it from them on Saturday and I should then be able to post it out to members of Wargame Developments on the following Monday.

IMPORTANT: Please note that this is the fourth issue of THE NUGGET to be published for the 2014-2015 subscription year, and that members who have not already re-subscribed should do so as soon as possible. This can be done by visiting the relevant page on the Wargame Developments website.

The password to open the online PDF version of THE NUGGET and THE NUGGET COLOUR SUPPLEMENT will be sent by post and email to members when they re-subscribe.


Bob’s ‘Two of the World’s Fighting Ships’

Last night I finished painting my two Rams … and here they are!

I chose to paint them in a version of the colour scheme used by many navies during the late Victorian era even though painting them grey would have been much easier! With luck they should end up facing each other in battle early this week … other commitments permitting.


A tale of two rams

Just to put the minds of my regular blog readers at rest … I have not taken up farming and this is NOT going to be a blog entry about sheep!

The rams I am writing about are two model ships that I have built to use in the play-test battles for my as-yet-unnamed Ironclad vs. Ironclad rules. I could have used two of my existing model ships, but I have had the modelling ‘bug’ ever since I began converting my toy train set locomotives and rolling stock, and I decided that I would like to build some additions to my existing ‘fleet’ of model ships.

As I wanted to get these rams built as quickly as possible, I decided to use the hulls of two unmade wooden model ship kits as the basis of my models. The ship kits were bought in Hobbycraft and are supposed to be used to build models of the RMS Titanic.

I had previously used the hull one of these kits to build a model destroyer/torpedo boat some time ago, and that had turned out quite well.

This time I cut the hulls so that they were 4-inches/10cms long. (This is the face-to-face dimension of the Hexon II hexes that I intend to use in my play-test battles.) In one case I cut the hull 4-inches/10cms from the bow of the model, and I had to reshape the wood so that the model had a rounded stern. On the other model I cut the hull 4-inches/10cms from the stern of the model and had to reshape the wood so as to form a pronounced ram bow. The two models were then each fitted with two broadside guns (these were represented by a length of thin dowel sticking out from each side of the model close to midships area), a fore and aft gun (these were made from small blocks of bass wood and thin dowel), a funnel, and a single mast. In the case of the model with the pronounced ram bow I also added some low bulwarks to the bow. These were made from parts of the original Titanic models.

The resulting (and as yet unpainted) model ships looked like this:

I am rather pleased with the results, and I am looking forward to seeing them painted and taking part in several naval battles.


Soldiers of the Queen (SOTQ): Issue 158

Yesterday’s post included the latest copy of SOTQ (Soldiers of the Queen, the quarterly journal of the Victorian Military Society).

The articles included in this issue are:

  • An unusual war memorial by Dan Allen
  • Stellenbosch or Courts Martial: The problem of disciplining senior officers during the Anglo-Boer War by Andrew Winrow
  • ‘Exemplary service’: The 44th Regiment in the Crimea by Major Frank Clark
  • C.J.W. Grant VC and Manipur by Chris Kempton
  • Book Reviews by Dr Roger T. Stearn
  • Bandmaster William Clark, 1st Bn. The East Surrey Regiment: Errata
  • About the VMS

There are a very eclectic collection of articles in this issue. I will be particularly interested to read about the role of the 44th Regiment in the Crimea as I was brought up in South East Essex, the Regiment’s old recruiting ground.