The Sail and Steam Navies game was a battle off Charleston, South Carolina, with a force of Confederate ironclads attacking the Union blockading force. The Confederates had the casemate ironclads Charleston, Chicora, and Palmetto State, along with a pair of spar torpedo boats. The Union had the ironclad frigate New Ironsides, ironclad Keokuk, double-end gunboat Octorara, 90-day gunboat Kansas, and ferryboat Commodore Barney. The Confederate goal was to sink a major Union ship, while the Union was just trying to maintain the blockade without getting hurt.
|Confederate forces move out to meet the Yankees|
I was on the Confederate side, running Palmetto State and one torpedo boat, and knew that it would be a tough fight. Basically all of the Union ships were faster than the Confederate ironclads and their gun armament was better or on par with the ironclads. The best bet for the Confederates to try an ram or use their spar torpedoes, but the speed differences were going to make that tough and since it was a daylight battle, we didn't expect the torpedo boats to get close enough to use their torpedoes. But we were hoping that we could catch the slowest Union ship, New Ironsides, with a ram or torpedo attack.
|Union ironclad frigate USS New Ironsides|
The game started out with the Confederates entering the map and the Union forces moving slowly. The nearest Union ship was the armed ferry Commodore Barney. I knew it wasn't going to be a good day when Commodore Barney was able to sink my torpedo boat in one turn and then shoot away my stack, reducing my speed. The little ferry then turned up the steam and sped away, taking only a little damage from my guns.
|The sharpshooting Commodore Barney|
At one point we were hoping that the Union forces would do some damage to themselves as New Ironsides passed between Octorara and Keokuk, but it turned out they had plenty of maneuvering room to spare.
|New Ironsides passes between Keokuk and Octorara|
With my limited speed, I was basically left behind as the other ironclads charged the Union forces. The remaining torpedo boat was easily blown out of the water as it approached New Ironsides. Charleston traded shots with Keokuk, but neither ship could land any decisive blows. Chicora got close to the Union line, but concentrated gunnery from New Ironsides and Commodore Barney damaged the ironclad and slowed it down.
I was getting close to catching up with the action when we decided it would probably be better to retire back to the city.
The only ships sunk were the Confederate torpedo boats. The Union wooden ships had taken some damage, but Chicora was really in bad shape. It was sort of a draw, but the Union did maintain the blockade, so they really won the battle.
In the afternoon, Kevin and I ran a quick Action Stations game. The game wasn't too elaborate, since I wasn't sure if there would be anyone that wanted to play in it (last year a lot of people left Drumbeat after the morning session and I thought that might happen again). The game pitted four British MGBs against four S-Boats. The S-Boats were returning home after an attack on a convoy and the MGBs were there to stop them.
Before starting the game the German forces had to choose how they attacked the convoy. This would determine how they entered the map for the scenario and if they had to check for damage from the convoy escorts. The Germans chose a method that gave then a boost in the victory conditions, but would have them roll for extra damage and that would somewhat scatter their boats, so they would enter the map randomly. But the Germans did have some luck with their random entry rolls, with two boats entering at the same area at the same time, while another boat entered in a different location on the same turn, and the final boat would enter on turn 3. The British had two types of MGBs, one armed with a 2 pdr automatic mount and a twin 20mm mount, while the other had five single 20mm mounts, and started out in the center of the map, waiting for the Germans to appear.
The two S-Boats that entered together were able to run up the side of the map without too much problem. They did exchange fire with a pair of MGBs, but didn't take any damage. They also did a machinery hit to the closest MGB, which stopped any pursuit. These S-Boats were able to make their way off the map without any further incident.
The other S-Boats were close enough to support each other, but would end up facing all four of the MGBs. Once the boats sighted each other, the Germans went to maximum speed to break through the MGB line. The boats on both sides were travelling so fast that flares weren't helping out much, so the British decided to turn on their searchlights to make it easier to hit the S-Boats. The S-Boats were taking a few hits, but nothing that would slow them down. It looked like they were going to make it out when a 2 pdr finally connected and started a fire on an S-Boat.
|The S-Boat burns brightly|
This was when the German's luck failed them. The burning S-Boat continued to take damage and then had a fuel explosion that basically stopped the boat dead in the water.
The other S-Boat had two MGBs in hot pursuit and was getting close to the board edge when it started taking hull and machinery hits that slowed it down. It traded shots with its pursuers, but couldn't do enough damage to shake them. It ended up being sunk near the board edge.
|S-Boat (center) under attack from pursuing MGBs|
The overall game was a minor German victory (because of the initial convoy attack option), but everyone agreed that the Germans couldn't take too many more victories like this one.
Even though I was playing or running games all day, I did take a little time to grab a few photos of some of the other games at Drumbeat.
The morning session had a large Black Powder Napoleonic game with Austrians taking on the French.
|The view from the French right flank|
|The Austrians wait for the French attack|
|A close-up view of the Austrian infantry|
|The French move on the Austrian guns|
Wes Rogers ran a Seven Years War game (I think he was using his own rules).
|The British line ready for battle|
|A cavalry engagement on the flank|
There was a Sword and the Flame game. It sounded like it didn't turn out too well for the Soldiers of the Queen.
|The British surrounded again|
A Force on Force game with U.S. Marines going up against insurgents. It was run in the morning and afternoon, but I didn't hear the results.
|Humvees move toward the objective|
The NAGS group also ran DBA games throughout the day.
|DBA in action|
In the afternoon, there was Black Powder English Civil War game.
|Pike and shot ready to advance|
And a Tactica 2 game with Romans against the Pontics.
|The Roman line ready to advance|
Overall a good day for gaming.