Post by Warship NWS on Oct 17, 2013 13:06:34 GMT -5
19 August 1916 - Blind Man's Buff.
This is an operational scenario where neither side is in contact and the opposing forces are far enough apart that both sides have a number of options. The original version lost with the hacking of the old forum has been tweaked and updated for SAI v1.6.
Drop the contents of 19 August 1916.zip into the ...\:NWS\Steam and Iron\Custom Files folder and all should be well.
Nobody was really satisfied by the results of the Battle of Jutland, or as the German's called it; the Skagerrak Battle. Although German propaganda and the catastrophic destruction of three British battlecruisers pointed to a great victory, the reality facing the Naval Staff and High Seas Fleet commander was actually quite bleak. VAdm Scheer had failed to destroy an isolated portion of the Grand Fleet and had fled back to port in what was very close to a rout. So, the possibly apocryphal champaign toasts offered on his return to the Jade anchorage on the morning of 1 June 1916 may also be seen has less a victory celebration and more of an acknowledgement of a disaster narrowly diverted. Still, there was a holiday for the school kids and honours for RAdm Hipper, now VAdm von Hipper (Scheer refused ennoblement) while the problem of the British blockade remained as implacable as ever.
Scheer and the Naval Staff were now leaning heavily on the reopening of unrestricted submarine warfare but the political will to take this drastic step was not yet present. However, the economy was in trouble, and the battles on the Somme (starting 1 July) and Verdun (major offensive operations there ceased in June) were proving rather traumatic so something had to be done. Scheer resolved to make one last attempt to isolate and destroy a portion of the Grand Fleet.
Although claiming victory, the High Seas Fleet was badly hurt at the Skagerrak. The loss of the brand new SMS Lutzow could not be made good any time soon and the equivalent of an entire scouting group of light cruisers had been sunk. Without superior scouting the German's could easily sail into another trap without any guarantees that the onset of darkness would save them again. Scheer decided that good visibility and long days were essential but the severe damage to his best ships delayed any opportunity for a sortie until 18 August and even then the large cruisers Seydlitz and Derfflinger remained in dockyard hands.
Across the North Sea there was a sense that the Royal Navy had been robbed while to the general public, German claims of victory seemed valid as they read of five great ships blowing up with virtually no survivors and the German's apparently escaping with only minor losses. On the whole however, the people kept their faith in the Navy and soon more disasters on the Western Front would push Jutland off the front pages and allow the RN to get back to fighting the naval war.
For the Royal Navy, the fallout from Jutland proved decisive. All plans to aggressively force the High Seas Fleet into action in the southern part of the North Sea were discarded. Work on re-basing the Grand Fleet to the Firth of Forth was accelerated, a Protection Committee was formed to examine the apparent vulnerability of British ships to shell fire. Damage control, fire-fighting and ammunition handling were all improved and anti-flash protective clothing was rushed into service with the Fleet. Tactically, the Grand Fleet Battle Orders were amended to provide greater flexibility and some scope for initiative to the squadron commanders and subordinates were advised that they could not assume that their commanders knew everything about the situation or could see what they saw. Fleet signalling procedures were improved, star shells were ordered into production for naval guns and the RN successfully made great strides to becoming more combat effective. The poor overall performance of AP shells and the problems with their Lyddite filling when they did actually work as designed was recognized but for the most part, fixes would have to wait until 1918.
Scheer intended to implement his Sunderland Plan from the previous May. The High Seas Fleet would cover Hipper's Scouting Group 1's bombardment of the fortified town near the River Tyne towards last light on 19 August. The Grand Fleet would then run over successive lines of U-Boats as it pounded south and the main HSF battle squadrons would annihilate any isolated British squadron that was encountered. By culling cruisers from the Baltic Fleet, Scheer was able to rebuild his light cruiser scouting groups and with the Flanders flotillas of U-Boats placed under temporary High Seas Fleet command, over 20 submarines were deployed in lines along the British east coast and in the gaps between recently laid offensive minefields. In addition seven naval zeppelins would patrol the North Sea to ensure that Scheer did not sail into a trap. Scouting Group 1, composed of just Moltke and Von der Tann reinforced with a detachment from Squadron III consisting of Grosser Kurfurst, Markgraf and the new 15" gunned Bayern left the Jade at around 9:30 PM on 18 August followed closely by the remaining 16-battleships of the High Seas Fleet.
Having learned much about processing information into intelligence, the Admiralty and Room-40 had a very solid idea of what the German's had planned although they were unable to determine the overall objective of the operation was Sunderland. By 9:30 AM on 18 August, orders were sent to the Grand Fleet and Battle Cruiser Fleet to prepare for sea to meet eventualities. The Grand Fleet was temporarily under command of Adm Sir Cecil Burney, commander 1BS as Adm Jellicoe was at Aberdeen on sick leave. Burney and Beattie would rendezvous a near 0* long and N56* lat in full daylight at about 7:00 AM on the 19th. Jellicoe would join the fleet at sea in HMS Royalist, which had been placed at his disposal in case of such an eventuality. Unlike the Jutland operation, the Harwich Force sailed early under Commodore Sir Reginald Tyrwhitt and was nominally under Grand Fleet command so Jellicoe had this powerful force at his disposal. There were also at least six British submarines in the Helgoland Bight and these were advised by wireless during the night that the German's were expected to be at sea the next day.
In the event, there was no fleet action. Both sides spent the day chasing spurious contacts or avoiding submarine attacks. Scheer's U-Boat trap sank two British light cruisers, Nottingham (U-52) and Falmouth (U-66 and U-63) while HMS/M E-24 hit SMS Westfalen early in the operation forcing Scheer to detach her and send her home under escort. The Zeppelins had proven inadequate as scouts, reports could not get through in a timely manner and lacked both clarity and accuracy. Position finding by the airship navigators was poor and L-13 misidentified the Harwich Force as a detached battle squadron, which caused Scheer to cancel the bombardment program and another inaccurate L-13 report convinced him to cancel the entire operation and return to base. Around dusk, the HSF was spotted by elements of the Harwich Force but Tyrwhitt determined that no night torpedo attack was possible and since the Grand Fleet was already heading back to Scapa, he had no support as so broke contact with Scheer.
Once again Scheer had sunk more ships than he lost (Westfalen would be repaired) but it made no difference. The HSF had fled ignominiously back to base at the merest hint of the Grand Fleet being at sea and the U-Boat trap demonstrated once again that the boats were unable to penetrate the British screening forces and get to the capital ships. The HSF would lose tactical control of all but a few U-Boats with the majority allocated to commerce raiding under the current prize regulations. Scheer and the Naval Staff in Berlin pushed even harder to execute unrestricted submarine warfare as the only practical antidote to the blockade. Naval zeppelins would continue to patrol the North Sea but their main efforts were now directed into the strategic bombing of Britain that would at first yield some success but would ultimately end in defeat.
Curiously, this aborted surface operation proved a boon to the RNAS. Although the Grand Fleet's seaplane carrier HMS Campania again missed the sortie, her kite balloon was mounted on the battleship Hercules as an experiment to extend the battlefleet's visual horizon. Beattie brought along the Jutland veteran HMS Engadine, which launched a number of Short seaplanes to intercept or drive off the zeppelins that were dogging the Fleet and suspected (wrongly as it turned out) to be providing Scheer with accurate scouting reports. Engadine's early attempt a fleet air defence spurred the RN into increasing the presence of aircraft with the fleet and developing flush-decked carriers and flying-off platforms for high performance aircraft including fighters.
The operations on 19 August 1916 were the last time both fleets were at sea in full strength until April 1918.
Scenario Designer Notes:
- The OOB's are as accurate as I could make them. The positions of the minefields and submarines are from Marder, who's Chart-16 from Vol 3 of From Dreadnought to Scapa Flow proved invaluable.
- There's some scenario designers licence with the deployments. Historically, when Nottingham was hit (and other torpedo tracks reported) Burney reversed course of the entire Grand Fleet taking it back north, which delayed the rendezvous with Beattie. I tried to replicate this by placing the British forces so that the actual meeting time should be achievable as opposed to the planned time.
- The British had two large swept channels in the German minefields, the L-Channel and the M-Channel. They are on the map although the German's would have probably had no knowledge of their designation or location.
- HMS Valiant and Warspite had collided on 22 July and were still repairing. HMS Lion was in dock putting the finishing touches on her rebuilt Q-turret and missed the sortie by a couple of days.
References consulted include:
Marder: From Dreadnought to Scapa Flow Vol3 Jutland and After Jellicoe: The Grand Fleet 1914-16 Scheer: Germany's High Seas Fleet in the World War Hough; The Great War at Sea
Post by randomizer on Oct 31, 2013 17:37:12 GMT -5
3 April 1915 - Chasing Yavuz!
This is a historical scenario based on the actual operations conducted in the Black Sea in April 1915. An earlier version was lost with the old Forum.
As the weather improved with the coming of spring, the Ottoman Fleet Commander, Vice Admiral Wilhelm Souchon resolved to attack the Russian troop transports sailing from Odessa to the Caucasus Front. His bold plan involved a sortie by almost the entire Turkish Fleet divided into two forces. The battlecruiser Yavuz (still generally referred to by her German name Goeben) and light cruiser Midilli (ex SMS Breslau) would attack shipping south of Sevastopol and occupy the attentions of the Black Sea Fleet should it come out. At the same time the cruisers Mecidiye and Hamidiye under the command of Kaptain zur See Ernst Bueschel with four destroyers would appear off Odessa and then search for troop ships or merchant traffic. Yavuz was starting to show some wear and tear due to the lack of a proper refit since she deployed to the Mediterranean so long ago and there are no docks for her available in Turkey. Battle damage, worn boilers and poor quality coal have reduced her top speed but she is still faster than any available Russian capital ship.
The Russians are aware that some major operation is in the offing. Black Sea Fleet Commander, Vice Admiral Andrei Eberhard ordered his only available scout cruiser Pamyat Merkuria to sea immediately followed several hours later by the bulk of the Battleship Brigade and a number of new and powerful destroyers. His flagship Evstafi and her sisters had already engaged Souchon during the action off Cape Sarych in November 1914.
From the Turkish side the operation against Odessa proved to be disastrous. Arriving off Odessa according to plan, cruiser Mecidiye struck a mine and sank quickly with the loss of 25-lives. After the survivors were rescued Bueschel ran for the safety of the Bosporus having accomplished nothing. Souchon's force sank the small merchant ships Providence (748 GRT) and V. Zvesda (944 GRT) and is then spotted by Pamyat Merkuria supported by the Battleship Brigade. Souchon turns to flee and soon opens the range but Eberhard continues pursuit and detaches a division of destroyers to close Yavuz and attempt a torpedo attack after dark. At around 2040 local time, destroyer Gnevny launches a salvo of torpedoes at Yavuz but the geometry is bad and they all miss so Souchon escapes undamaged.
Overall, the sortie was a net loss for the Turkish fleet and no further operations of this scope were attempted. In June, the Russians raised Mecidiya, refitted and re-armed her and renamed her Prut, in honour of a small minelayer sunk by Goeben in the opening days of the war. A design for Prut is included with the scenario should anyone wish to use her.
Scenario Designer's Notes:
- This is an operational scenario where both sides begin out of contact and have some options. I think that this scenario highlights the overall situation facing the respective fleet commanders pretty well; the Russian's possess firepower but lack speed whereas Yavuz/Goeben has both but is outnumbered and completely irreplaceable.
- The Russian Detached Flotilla is a scenario invention and probably gives the Russian Player more tactical flexibility that was likely in the event. This was a scenario design tool to allow for the high-speed pursuit that actually occurred but so far as I was able to ascertain, destroyer Gnevny was a unit of Eberhard's screening force.
- The lack of scouting assets for the Black Sea Fleet was very real.
- The behaviour of the Russian merchant ships should be an improvement over the earlier version of this scenario lost with the old Forum.
References include Rene Greger's The Russian Fleet 1914-17
Unzip and drop the scenario files, Prut.sdf and Goeben.sdf into your Custom Files folder. Ensure that a copy of the World2.LYR file (found in the Scenarios Folder) exists in the main Steam and Iron directory.
Post by randomizer on Dec 20, 2013 12:36:50 GMT -5
SAI-RJW Adriatic Sea Battle Generator.
This will generate random battles between the Italian and Austro-Hungarian navies between 1898 and 1907. The Italian Fleet is considerably more powerful and possesses some "interesting" battleships from the transitional period of naval design, including some mounting monster-guns that can be surprisingly ineffective.
Offered up without warranty; please report any issues in the SAI Forum.
Post by randomizer on Dec 30, 2013 17:20:42 GMT -5
17 September 1894 - The Battle of the Yalu:
Historical China vs. Japan for Steam and Iron - The Russo-Japanese War only.
A Big, Fat Disclaimer... This scenario probably lies just outside of the SAI-RJW time period. The principle reason is that the Chinese attempted to engage in Line Abreast but the doctrine written into SAI-RJW will attempt to form Line Ahead in action. Examining the Chinese OOB gives some indication as to why Line Abreast was used by Admiral Ting but the scenario is really designed to be played from the Japanese side only. Playing the Chinese side may not be entirely representative as the faster Japanese cruiser divisions may try and avoid the big Chinese battleships and disengage. As the Japanese Player, your superior speed, tactical flexibility and quick-firing guns can recreate the situation facing the Combined Fleet that September afternoon.
Also, I can offer no apologies for the spelling of Japanese and Chinese names used in this scenario as virtually every source consulted used different forms and rules and there was little agreement regarding the names of the Chinese warships.
Japan went to war against China to secure hegemony over the Korean Peninsula and to establish herself as the premier power in Asia. Over the course of six-months Japanese arms would go from victory to victory, humbling the Chinese Army and destroying the Chinese Navy dealing the moribund Qing Dynasty defeats from which they would never fully recover. However, Japan would see many of the fruits of her military prowess stripped away by European Powers eager to exploit a prostrated and bankrupt China for their own ends.
The industrialization and Westernisation of Meiji Japan had no real counterpart in Qing China. Since the 1840's European powers had extracted economic and territorial concessions from China; foreigners ran her railroads and custom service, Chinese shipyards, mines and factories. In contrast to the Japanese who sent the best and brightest abroad to learn from the source and bring the required skill sets home, the Chinese, disdainful of adapting foreign ways preferred to contract subject matter experts as "advisors".
After the defeat of the Chinese Navy in the 1884-85 quasi war against France, the Chinese embarked on a major naval building program centred around two German-built battleships Ting Yuan and Chen Yuan, the most powerful warships in Asia. So formidable were these ships that the French government prevailed upon Berlin to delay their delivery to China until they had defeated the Chinese navy in the fight over Indochina. In a show of European solidarity, the shipyard in Stettin duly kept the ships and their largely British delivery crews marking time in the Baltic until France had won her little colonial war and occupied what is now Viet Nam, Cambodia and Laos. Over the next 10-years the Chinese completed a number of cruisers and torpedo craft, hired Western experts as technical advisors and built, on paper, a formidable naval force. Lining up the two belligerents in 1894, the smart money would have been on the Chinese in any war with Japan.
However, the smart money would have been badly misplaced, the Japanese pragmatically recognized that merely copying Western military technology was not enough and by the time China declared war on Japan (after a series of major provocations including attacks of Chinese ships at sea), the Japanese Navy was imbued from the top down with a sense of purpose and national identity that made it professionally and doctrinally superior to its enemy even if it was materially inferior and some of its warships badly flawed. The newly organized Combined Fleet under Royal Navy trained and former Navy Minister VAdm Ito Yuko (sometimes rendered as Sukeyuki and flying his flag on the cruiser Matsushima) consisted of the Standing Fleet and the fast ships of the Flying Squadron under American trained Rear Admiral Tsuboi Kozo on the fast cruiser Yoshino. Immediately the Imperial Navy strove to establish dominance in the Yellow Sea to facilitate the transport of the Army to the ports of western Korea. The war had formally started on 30 July 1894 and throughout the month of August the Combined Fleet won a couple of small victories but more importantly prevented Chinese naval intervention against Japanese operations.
Ito was opposed by the Peiyang or Northern Fleet under Admiral Ting Juchang, a cavalry general and political appointee flying his flag on Ting Yuan. The advent of war had meant that many of the Western experts' contracts were voided and so there were major problems in a number of ship's engineering plants and armament. Money allocated for an ammunition factory had been funnelled off through bureaucratic corruption and a significant amount of the ammunition that was available was filled with concrete or sawdust instead of explosives. There had been no combat training or operational planning and the only real tactics was a line-abreast charge with the aim of ramming.
In September, to counter Japanese advances Admiral Ting covered the landing of a Chinese force at Takushan on the Laiotung Peninsula and as he was returning to Lushan (Port Arthur) he was intercepted by Ito's Combined Fleet.
Unzip the contents into the ...\SAI-RJW\Custom Files folder. The stock game should have the required designs already installed.
Admiral Ting did have some foreign expertise at hand, his chief advisor was a German colonel and the executive officer (and effective captain) of the flagship's sister ship Chen Yuan was American Annapolis graduate Philo McGriffen who left a fascinating account of the action here:
- No two references consulted were in complete agreement as to the Chinese OOB.
- Playing as Japan, you may see the Chinese fleet collapse into chaos as the AI tries to sort itself out with very different ships and a considerable spread in service speeds of the vessels present. This is actually pretty representative of what apparently occurred in the event.
- Ito's fleet used its superior speed to concentrate on the weaker Chinese cruisers sinking several and forcing a badly injured Ting to retreat to Lushan. In darkness Ito lost contact and sailed to Weihaiwei thinking that the Chinese would sail there. Japanese light and medium guns had ravaged the Chinese ships killing over 800 men but Ito's flagship Matsushima was little more than a wreck and his three French-built cruisers (the flagship, Itsukushima and Hashidate) with their single huge 12.8" guns had demonstrated their uselessness in action, the three ships together firing just 13-rounds with their big guns and scored no hits.
- The muzzle blast from the opening salvo of Ting Yuan's 12" guns collapsed the flying bridge crippling Admiral Ting and killing a number of his staff. The wiki article on the battle attributes this to cowardice and intentional fragging of the admiral by the battleship's captain but this is not supported by other references.
- Suggestions and feedback welcome.
Last Edit: Sept 28, 2016 9:31:15 GMT -5 by randomizer: Restored the scenario files
Post by randomizer on Mar 29, 2014 17:14:19 GMT -5
18 November 1914
Black Sea Cruise - The Battle of Cape Sarych
The war in the Black Sea opened with multiple attacks on Russian ports by elements of the Turkish Navy but soon after Black Sea Fleet Commander Vice-Admiral Andrei Eberhard took the offensive and seized the initiative from the Ottoman commander Rear Admiral Wilhelm Souchon.
Souchon's flagship, the Moltke Class battlecruiser Goeben was the most powerful ship in the theatre but she was also vulnerable as the Turks had no dock that could receiver her and she was already overdue for an extensive refit. Although the Russian's possessed no dreadnoughts, the pre-dreadnoughts of the Battleship Brigade were well worked up and reasonably efficient. Much attention to gunnery had been a feature of Eberhard's tenure as commander and he intended to use the fleet aggressively and there is no indication that he was in any way intimidated by Sultan Yavuz Selim as Goeben had been officially renamed.
On the heals of the Turkish attacks in October, VAdm Eberhard took the Battleship Brigade to sea to conduct bombardments on the northern Anatolian coast. These attacks were not merely pin-pricks as virtually all of Turkey's coal came from mines near Trebizond and the product was shipped to Constantinople via small steamers and coastal vessels. The transportation infrastructure precluded shipping over land in any quantities so interdiction of the coal traffic would materially harm the Ottoman war effort.
15 November 1914 Eberhard, flying his flag in the battleship Evstafi took the fleet consisting of five pre-dreadnought battleships, two cruisers and destroyers to sea and over the next two days shelled assorted shore targets but failed to find any shipping. On the 17th the Russian's sailed for Sevastopol, arriving off Cape Sarych near Yalta on the morning of 18 November.
RAdm Souchon was well aware of the vulnerability of the Turkish supply lines and took Yavuz accompanied by Midilli (ex SMS Breslau) to the vicinity off Crimea with the aim of catching isolated Russian ships returning to base. However, at 1000 on 18 November the battleships of the Black Sea Fleet were spotted.
Drop the scenario files into the ...\Custom Files folder.
Souchon never intended to take on the entire Black Sea Fleet and the action that followed lasted just 14-minutes. In that time Evstafi was hit four times and Yavuz/Goeben was hit repeatedly but suffered no major structural or floatation damage. In steadily worsening visibility Goeben hauled out of range and the Russian's headed for port to lick their wounds, such as they were.
The fallout from the inconclusive action was that VAdm Eberhard's freedom of action was greatly curtailed by the Admiralty in Petrograd. For a time, the big ships were kept close to port and the war against Turkish trade would be with fought with light forces. So Souchon's sortie had the effect that he intended but later, as Yavuz became less combat capable, the Black Sea Fleet would return to Anatolia with a vengeance using seaplane carriers and big guns on the old battleships to devastate the Ottoman's coal-producing infrastructure.
Scenario Designer Notes:
- This is a major reworking of a previous scenario for SAI v1.64. The OOB and initial situation has been updated considerably, particularly from the Russian perspective.
- Another Turkish cruiser may be available if non-historical options are selected.
- Sevastopol's defences are representative rather than 100% accurate. I found conflicting data for the forts as they were in 1914.
- Some Russian destroyers have been intentionally omitted. When the action begin, about half of Eberhard's torpedo craft were out of position and failed to be a factor, presumably under orders. The Player probably has more scope for action than was reasonable at the time.
Enjoy a late-Fall cruise on the scenic Black Sea.
Last Edit: Mar 29, 2014 17:16:15 GMT -5 by randomizer
Action off Texel; The Death Ride of VII Half-Flotilla
HSF 7th Half Flotilla vs. 3rd Destroyer Flotilla
17 October 1914
This is a re-release of a custom scenario released in the old Forum.
In support of the blockade of Germany, the Royal Navy embarked on an aggressive program of mine laying in international waters off the Hook of Holland. The Dutch protested in vain at what was an apparent violation of the 1907 Hague Convention against planting mines in commercial sea lanes and in waters off neutral countries. The British ignored the complaints and condemned the German's for mining areas off the English east coast.
In Berlin the Naval Staff decided to embark on another round of offensive minelaying with the auxiliary cruiser SMS Berlin sent to lay minefields off the north coast of Ireland and the west coast of Scotland. Berlin successfully laid her mines and achieved one of the High Seas Fleet's greatest successes when a mine claimed the super-dreadnought HMS Audacious of the King George V Class, which blew up within sight of the liner RMS Olympic. The only fatality was a sailor on board HMS Liverpool, killed by a fragment from Audacious that struck after she exploded.
The task of mining the Thames Estuary was given to VII Half-Flotilla under KK Georg Thiele with four S90 Class torpedo boats. KK Thiele had only four available boats and these were not in particularly good condition. Moreover, the S90's were obsolete in the face of modern destroyers and KK Thiele's flagship S119 had been completed in 1903 and the other boats S117, S118 and S115 were of similar vintage. VII Half-Flotilla was provided no support and weather conditions on the day of the sortie were not conducive to stealth.
Also at sea that day and patrolling the west side of the newly-laid British minefield was elements of the 3rd Destroyer Flotilla, part of the Harwich Force and commanded by Captain (D) Cecil Fox flying his pennant from the Arethusa Class light cruiser HMS Undaunted accompanied by the L-Class destroyers Lennox, Lance, Loyal and Legion. Fox's force was vastly superior to Thiele's in every material respect.
Drop the files into the ...\Custom Files folder of Steam and Iron.
The German's and British spotted each other simultaneously but for reasons unknown KK Thiele made no attempt to escape and closed to engagement range, perhaps with the intentions of torpedoing Undaunted. It was not to be and the four German boats were sunk with heavy loss of life while the 3rd Flotilla suffered four men slightly wounded. Later that day Fox found and sank the German hospital ship SS Ophelia in clear violation of the Hague Convention. Ophelia was properly marked and registered with the Red Cross and had sailed from Kiel to save life in response to wireless signals from VII Half-Flotilla. The Admiralty doubled down on the sinking of Ophelia, declaring that the ship was acting as a scout for the HSF and carried arms and cyphers in violation of the Convention. However, no evidence for this was ever produced and the modern consensus was that the hospital ship was exactly what she seemed to be.
The destruction of KK Thiele's little force probably had an effect that far outweighed the material loss of four old torpedo boats and several hundred brave sailors. After the Helgoland Bight debacle in August the squadron commanders in the High Seas Fleet begin to lose confidence in the senior naval leadership as no effort to provide any support of cover for the minelaying operation was even considered. The only action taken by VAdm Ingenhol was to send Ophelia to save life and even that ended in disaster. Reinhard Scheer, then commanding Squadron II of the HSF mentions the loss of VII Half-Flotilla several times in his memoirs and when he became fleet commander he never hesitated to send big ships in support of light forces whenever possible.
A final codex from this action came in the form of the code books recovered by a fisherman from the wreck of S119 in November 1914. Brought to Room-40 they helped place the final pieces of the German cypher puzzle into place
Scenario Designer's Notes:
- A current discussion in the SAI Forum revolves around the Torpedo Boat vs. the Destroyer. This action is a classic affirmation of the Royal Navy's destroyer philosophy even if the German force was antiquated. That said, the S90 type was still in Fleet service while contemporary British TBD's had been relegated to subsidiary duties by this time.
- Comments and suggestions welcome. Thanks.
Last Edit: Jun 6, 2014 0:08:07 GMT -5 by randomizer
When war begin, German warship captains' on detached service opened their sealed orders and often discovered that their tasks were contradictory or logistically impossible. While paying lip-service to the concept of cruiser warfare (as the old French doctrine of the guerre de course had evolved into), the Naval Staff in Berlin had done virtually nothing to prepare the foreign stations, the ships or the captains for global war against the British Empire. It was a colossal oversight that stands in stark contrast to the favoured narrative of mythical German superiority in planning and staff work during the 20th Century.
There were no special war stocks of coal, no spare ammunition, no current intelligence, almost no dockyards or spare parts and for the most part no means to communicate with home. There was no special training or guidance on the conduct of cruiser warfare provided for captains on detached service, literally everything was thrown together in an ad hoc and amateurish fashion. Nor was it recognized that commanding a raider effectively took a particular personality type, some officers had it, some although equally proficient at their craft did not. Two that did were FK Karl von Mueller of SMS Emden and FK Erich Kohler of SMS Karlsruhe. One who's raider acumen might be in doubt but not his bravery or competence was FK Max Looff of SMS Konigsberg.
In August 1914, Looff commanded the Stettin Class scout cruiser SMS Konigsberg and was Senior Naval Officer at Dar es Salaam, capital of the Kaiser's show piece colony of German East Africa. As with most German colonies, the Governor was nominal commander in chief of all German forces in the colony so FK Looff had conflicting tasks. Berlin expected that Konigsberg would commence cruiser warfare in the Western Indian Ocean but Governor Schnee expected him to defend the colony once it became apparent that Britain had no intentions of keeping the war out of colonial Africa. It would also appear that Konigsberg had engine problems possibly in the form a cracked cylinder in her reciprocating vertical triple-expansion engines and sources differ in the details. A century on it is impossible to say whether the issues with Konigsberg's engines were solvable or not but one of the key characteristics of a successful raider captain was the ability to improvise repairs and converting all manner of metaphorical sow's ears into silk purses in order to keep his ship in action.
FK Looff took Konigsberg to sea to raid the shipping lanes off the Gulf of Aden where he sank the SS City of Winchester after taking all the coal that he could from her, Looff's sole merchant success. After suffering severe coal shortages (at one point Konigsberg had only 14-tons) he returned to the Rufiji River in early September, sailing into the delta at high tide displaying undoubted seamanship skills in difficult waters.
On 18 September 1914, Konigsberg left the delta and sailed for Zanzibar where Looff hoped to catch the old Pelorus Class light cruiser HMS Pegasus (Comd John Ingles, RN), an old acquaintance from the days before the war. Pegasus was in Zanzibar with her boilers cold and engines opened up in an effort to repair an engineering casualty. Even on a good day the ship was unfit for combat in 1914, she had been built as part of the 1893 Spencer Act, follow on to the 1889 Naval Defence Act and on the morning of the 19th Looff shot her to pieces in a few minutes of close action without receiving any hits or casualties in return. Thereafter he took Konigsberg back in to the Rufiji Delta where eventually the Royal Navy would destroy her in 1915 using aircraft directed indirect fire from monitors brought from Britain specifically for the job.
This scenario presumes that Pegasus was serviceable and RAdm Herbert King-Hall, Commander of the Cape Station had brought his little squadron north from Cape Town to support Capt Ingles and blockade Konigsberg.
Drop the contents into the Custom Files folder, the scenario should appear under the Custom Scenarios tab. There are three new ship designs included.
Scenario Designers Notes:
- There are plenty of good references dealing with the saga of Konigsberg and her guns, which fought on under the command of Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck and his colonial army long after the ship herself was sunk.
- RAdm King-Hall had too many tasks and not enough ships to do everything plus his ships were all obsolete or too slow. He had destroyed the wireless facility at Dar es Salaam by naval bombardment. As Pegasus was sinking in Zanzibar harbour, Commander Ingles raised the white flag which caused Looff to immediately cease firing. As far as I can tell this represents the only time in the Great War where a British warship surrendered but her losses were 38-dead and 55 wounded, a significant percentage of her crew. I was not able to determine the later career of Capt Ingles.
- The scenario is deliberately short as on the afternoon of 19 September it seems that very heavy weather swept through the area.
- The Wikipedia entry for SMS Konigsberg gives the date of the actual battle as 19 September whereas the entry for HMS Pegasus uses 20 September. Bryan Perrett's recent book about raiders in WW1, The Hunters and the Hunted supports the former.
- This is a re-issue of an SAI scenario posted on the old Forum. Comments, suggestions and problems in the usual place, thanks.
Last Edit: Jun 13, 2014 9:59:35 GMT -5 by randomizer
Post by randomizer on Jun 10, 2014 12:54:59 GMT -5
Emden at Penang
28 October 1914
SMS Emden vs. Cruiser Zhemchug
The cruise of the raider SMS Emden with the exploits of her famous captain FK Karl von Mueller and his crew are the stuff of legend and one of those historical events that if read in a work of fiction might well be dismissed as too absurd to be reasonable. Arguably though, the legend withstands dissection well and von Mueller set the bar for subsequent raider captains very high as he absorbed the efforts of some forty Allied warships tasked solely to hunt down his lone scout cruiser or protect shipping from her depredations. As a naval leader FK von Mueller is a study in contradictions: honourable but ruthless, single-minded but adaptable, personable but aloof, humane but deadly. He practically wrote the book on effective cruiser warfare improvising as he went while seeming to know instinctively the correct buttons to press to drive the British to divert ever more forces against his ship. Even after a century, Emden's epic cruise is the yardstick by which all other raiders are measured and represents a brilliant example of leadership and improvisation.
On or about 21 October, FK von Mueller conceived a raid on the British Malayan port of Penang, which was very familiar to LzS Lauterbach, a reserve watch officer having considerable experience with the port from his pre-war service in the German merchant marine throughout Asian waters. LzS Lauterbach would con Emden into the port at first light and the ship would attack any warships present with guns and torpedoes then disappear into the vastness of the Indian Ocean before the Allied ships could respond. Captain von Mueller had expected to find the French armoured cruiser Montcalm at Penang, a ship vastly superior to Emden but he was confident that with the element of surprise he could score a telling blow against the enemy.
The raid was planned for early on 28 October, the ship was coaled and prepared for battle, the crew conducted rehearsals and on the 27th, Emden left her colliers in the Nicobar Islands and proceeded to Penang at a leisurely cruise speed. Making a perfect landfall, LzS Lauterbach conned the ship into Penang roads without arousing any response and achieving complete surprise. Von Mueller was wrong about Montcalm, the only significant Allied warship was the Russian cruiser Zhemchug a veteran of Tsushima and of all the ships hunting Emden, perhaps the only one that might have been her equal on paper.
Unzip the files into the ...\Custom Files folder. The flag file EntenteRUFr.bmp should go in the ...\Flags folder and the scenario should appear under the Custom Scenarios tab.
What followed was less a battle and more a live-fire gunnery and torpedo exercise for Emden's crew. At point blank range broadside after broadside slammed into the Russian cruiser, which was very soon in a sinking conditions. As part of Zhemchug's shell-shocked crew abandoned ship, others actually managed to man a gun and respond but the rounds went wild and at least one hit the old British fort located on the island outside Georgetown. Over 200 Russians, fully two-thirds of Zhemchug's complement were casualties including 88 dead. His mission complete without loss or even receiving a single hit, von Mueller took Emden out of Penang at high speed. What happened next borders on the incredible when a Malay pilot boat was mistaken for a torpedo boat and Emden opened fire on her. Soon realizing his error, von Mueller checked firing and stopped his ship still within sight of Penang. He then apologised to the pilot boat's captain and requested that he convey his sincere regrets to the Russian cruiser for not picking up her survivors. Soon after getting under weigh again a real torpedo boat in the form of the French TBD Mousquet was spotted and as quickly sunk. Von Mueller rescued her survivors, several of whom were badly wounded and subsequently died. The French sailors were buried at sea with full naval honours and on the 30th, Emden stopped the 3000-GRT SS Newburn of British registry and rather than sinking her, transferred the surviving Frenchmen and directed the ship to the neutral Dutch East Indies where there was a first rate hospital. Emden would last just ten more days.
Scenario Designer's Notes:
- This scenario is designed to be played only from the German side so no warranties are offered or implied as to playability as the Allies.
- There were a number of merchant ships and several other minor warships present but adding them to the scenario added nothing to the game so they were discarded in the release version.
- This scenario was previously posted on the old Forum.
- Comments and suggestions in the usual threads. Thanks in advance.
Last Edit: Jun 13, 2014 10:02:48 GMT -5 by randomizer