Convoy HX 50

Date

2/17/2002
1200 nm East of Halifax, Nova Scotia, 30 Sept 1918, 0136 hours local time.

Tactical Situation

This fictional acenario has four different German options for play.  The Germans choose their force from the options, and then set up with the German unit(s) at the limit of visual range. (If the German player selects the U-boat, it will start on the surface; he may choose to maneuver ahead of the convoy and dive into an ambush position, in which case the game may switch to Map Turns.  If using Map Turns, the Allied player may choose to employ a zig-zag at each Map Turn, but may not select a westerly course at any time, i.e., between 181° T and 359° T, and must have gained at least 30nm towards the east by 0600, or he suffers at least a tactical defeat regardless of other victory conditions.)  The weather has cleared off and Louisiana has just rejoined the convoy, after being separated from it for 60 hours due to fog!

Setup

The scenario takes place in open ocean.  The convoy is steaming on course 085° at a speed of 5" in four columns, with the right center column led by Otranto, which is also the convoy flagship.

The Wickes class DD should be ahead of the convoy by no more than 32".  The other escorts can be placed up to 24" from the nearest convoy ship.

The German force is then set up as desired at the limit of visibility from the nearest ship.

Weather

Night.  Clear, visibility 24". A quarter-full moon has just risen above the horizon.  Roll for overcast and sea state (reject overcast and any sea state above 5 and re-roll).  If cloud layers exist, roll D6 every 10/5/3 Tactical Turns depending on whether clouds are scattered/intermittent/broken.  On a roll of 4-6 the moon is behind clouds for 1/2/3 Tactical Turns, depending on cloud layers.  If the moon is behind clouds, visibility drops to 8" during those Tactical Turns.

Victory Conditions

Allied Orders: Engage and drive off enemy vessels attempting to attack the convoy. If engaged by superior forces, disperse the convoy and delay the enemy so that the convoy can escape.

Allied Decisive Victory: No ship in the convoy damaged, and German ships' speed reduced below convoy speed.
Allied Tactical Victory: No transports lost and raiders destroyed or driven off.

German Orders: Break through the enemy escort and attack the convoy. Avoid decisive engagement with superior forces.

German Decisive Victory: Three or more transports sunk and the raider(s) escape with less than 10% damage (two or fewer SDS boxes).
German Tactical Victory: One transport sunk and the raider(s) escape with less than 5% damage (one or less SDS boxes).

Notes

 

Special Rules:

1)    Otranto is the convoy commodore and overall flagship.  Louisiana is senior ship of the US force and effective US flagship if Otranto directs the US escorts to maneuver as a separate unit.

2)    All the US ships were suffering from poor training, due to rapid expansion of the US Navy and crew inexperience.  All US ships (including Louisiana!) have an automatic -1 to straddle die rolls, included with any other shooting modifiers.

3)    Just to make things even worse, the Spanish Influenza epidemic struck this convoy while at sea!  For each Allied escort, including Otranto, roll D6 and subtract 2 - that number of weapon mounts, chosen randomly, are out of action because the crews are too sick to fight them!  Louisiana's 12" turrets are exempt from this; choose any secondary mount instead.  Note that gun crews can be ordered to change mounts if they are nominally on the unengaged side; it will take one Tactical Turn to shift crews.

4)    British intelligence handbooks of 1917-1918 assert that in night actions, German capital ships did not fire the turret immediately forward of the bridge to avoid ruining the night vision of the bridge crews.  If using German Force B or C, impose that limitation.

5)    The following special rules apply to the use of towed kite balloons in naval combat:
        a.    AZs (balloon carriers and depot ships) pose the same flammability risks as AVs, but regular combatants towing balloons do not.
        b.    Towed balloons operate at altitude level “L” for aerial combat purposes.
        c.     Towed balloons require two Game Turns to deploy to their normal altitude.  Their first Game Turn  of deployment they are at altitude level “D”.
        d.     Towed kite balloons are counted as “aerial craft” for purposes of ASW submarine detection.
        e.     Towed balloons have the same visibility restrictions as aircraft.
        f.     Towed balloons can be used for gunnery spotting.  This can be simulated by subtracting “1” from the towing ships’ straddle die roll.  Balloons towed by a ship underway can only spot for the ship towing them.  Balloons moored ashore or to a stationary ship can spot for any one artillery battery or ship, but take one Game Turn of inactivity to change the battery they are spotting for.
        g.     Ships towing balloons that enter a squall, gale or storm hex have a chance of having their balloon destroyed.  A decimal die is rolled each Map Turn, and if the result is equal to or less than the sea force (6 for squall, 7 for gale, 8 for storm), the balloon is carried away by the storm or struck by lightning.

Variants:

1) The US stationed three battleships at Berehaven, Ireland to respond to the threat of German battlecruisers raiding North Atlantic troop convoys.  Give the Allies this force, which starts the scenario 30 + 2D6 nm due East of Otranto.  The Spanish influenza epidemic has not yet reached this force, so they are exempt from Special Rule 3.

All three battleships have a kite balloon (see above special rule 5 for their employment).

Merchant Convoy

FreighterFreighterFreighterFreighterFreighterFreighterFreighterFreighterFreighterFreighterFreighterOtranto


Convoy Escort

Flagship

Louisiana
 

Ships in Squadron

Wickes


German Force (A)

DresdenDresden


German Force (B)

MoltkeSeydlitz


German Force (C)

DerfflingerHindenburg


German Force (D)



American Support Force

Give the Allies this force, which starts the scenario 30 + 2D6 nm due East of Otranto.  The Spanish influenza epidemic has not yet reached this force, so they are exempt from Special Rule 3.

All three battleships have a kite balloon.

NevadaOklahomaUtahTuckerPauldingWickesCassinSampsonSampsonMonaghan


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