Today I am mostly … trying to finish writing the chapter about coastal operations

It was my intention to end my book about gridded naval wargames with a chapter that covered coastal operations, particularly how my PORTABLE NAVAL WARGAME rules work in conjunction with my PORTABLE WARGAME rules.

What started out as a couple of pages has grown into a full-blown battle report that covers how the rules work together. For inspiration I went to Donald Featherstone’s NAVAL WAR GAMES and have adapted his THE RAID ON THE KRIEGSTAATZ BATTERIES scenario from the imaginary Anglo-German War of 1885. In my case the battle is entitled THE ATTACK ON THE KRIEGSTAATZ FORTRESS, and the tabletop looks like this:

I am several turns into the wargame, and it is developing into quite an interesting battle. I have no idea how it is going to end, but hope to find out later today. Once it is concluded, I will be able to finish this chapter, which will leave only one other to write before the book’s text can be sent off for proof reading and correction.

Other people’s Portable (Naval) Wargame battle reports

By sheer coincidence I happened to see a reference to a battle report that featured the downloadable version of my PORTABLE NAVAL WARGAME rules … and I just had to read it.

I’ve not come across the RED IN THE MORNING blog before and I don’t think that the writer is one of my regular blog readers. He used the rules to re-fight the Battle of Manila Bay …

… using a Chessex gridded mat and counters from Avalanche Press’ board game, REMEMBER THE MAINE.

I thought that the summary of his thoughts about the rules and ideas for developing them were very interesting, and they have reinforced my own thinking and will help me as I continue to write my book.

Gridded Naval Wargames book: More explanatory diagrams

I needed to explain how I have used a 3:2 ratio for ships moving diagonally on a squared grid. In other words, that for every three grid areas the ship could move orthogonally, it may only move two grid areas on a diagonal course.

(Note: On a grid, all counting is done from the centre of one grid area to the centre of another grid area.)

The 3:2 ratio is relatively close to the ratio between the hypotenuse of a right-angled isosceles triangle and the other two sides. In other words, when the length of the non-hypotenuse sides of the right-angled isosceles triangle is 2, then the length of the hypotenuse is 2.83 (i.e.√((2 x 2) + (2 x 2)) = 2.828 … which is close to 3).

The geometry behind this can be shown thus:

I hope that this is much clearer in the following diagram:

(The original diagram I designed looked like this …

… which I though was less than helpful in trying to get the concept over!)

Action off the Dardanelles

Yesterday I managed to fight a battle using the latest version of my PORTABLE NAVAL WARGAME: PRE-DREADNOUGHTS rules. I used Heroscape hexes for my terrain (lots of water hexes and a few painted ordinary hexes) and some of my old, homemade, Fred T Jane-inspired, 1:3000th-scale model ships.

The scenario
Growing tension between Greece and Turkey is about to boil over into open warfare. In order to ensure that the Turkish Navy is unable to interfere with Greek naval operations and to protect Greek merchant ships from attack, the Greek Navy has begun to maintain a discreet blockade of the Mediterranean exit from the Dardanelles.

Unbeknownst to the Greeks, the Turks have been planning to send one of the cruisers into the Mediterranean to do exactly what the Greeks feared that they might. Because of the Greek blockade, the Turkish Navy’s High Command plan to force a passage through the blockade using some of their larger ships. Once the cruiser is in open waters and free to begin operations, the larger ships with return to the Dardanelles.

The Greek blockade is being maintained by (left to right in the following photograph):

  • The Coastal Defence Battleship Hydra
  • The Modern Pre-dreadnought Lemnos
  • The Armoured Cruiser Georgios Averof

The Turkish force includes (left to right in the following photograph):

  • The Coastal Defence Battleship Messudieh
  • The Older Pre-dreadnought Torgud Reis
  • The Protected Cruiser Hamidieh

This was a very enjoyable battle to fight, with the advantage swinging in favour of one side and then back again. The battle report will form part of my forthcoming GRIDDED NAVAL WARGAMES book, but to whet your appetites, here are some photographs of the early stages of the battle.

Gridded Naval Wargames book: Explanatory diagrams

I am just finished the chapter about the advantages, disadvantages, and usefulness of using grids in naval wargames, and a large part of it is devoted to explanatory diagrams.

Over the years I have learnt that in many case people are more likely to understand a simple diagram than a long section of text, which is why I spend so much time trying to produce appropriately simple and informative diagrams. Here are some of the ones I am using, along with their captions.

Turning on a hex grid. The white arrow indicates the direction that the ship was sailing in. It may turn to port (left) or starboard (right) by 60-degrees.

Turning on a square grid. The white arrow indicates the direction that the ship was sailing in. It may turn to port (left) or starboard (right) by 45-degrees.

In the above example shown above, the distance between the firing ship and the target ship on the hex grid is 5 hexes.

In the example shown above, the distance between the firing ship and the target ship on the square grid is 6 squares (2 orthogonally upwards and 4 orthogonally across).

They may not be as glossy or professional as diagrams in other wargame books, but I think that they do the job.

Gridded Naval Wargames book: Slow but steady progress

I had hoped to finish writing my latest book by now, but real life (and other non-wargaming diversions) have slowed my progress … but not stopped it. With luck I should be able to fight and record a battle using my PORTABLE WARGAME: PRE-DREADNOUGHT rules over the forthcoming weekend for inclusion in the book. After that I need to do something similar for my MIMI AND TOUTOU GO FORTH rules and to write a chapter about how to develop and extend my rules for other historical periods, and another chapter about how to use my rules for coastal bombardment, coastal defence, and naval support for landings.

My revised timetable is to finish the book by the end of the month … assuming that there are no more diversions!

American Civil War ironclads in action

As part of the work I am doing on my latest book (GRIDDED NAVAL WARGAMES), I have been fighting an action between my newly-built American Civil War ironclads. the action took pace on the little-know Missenhitti River …

… and resulted in a close-fought, close-range action where neither side escaped undamaged.

I now need to stage a battle between some Pre-dreadnought-era warships. With luck I should manage to do that withing the next week or so.