This year I pulled out some of my Spanish - American War ships for a little pre-dreadnought action using David Manley's Broadside and Salvo rules, which are included in his Splendid Little War mini-campaign. The scenario was an encounter in the Caribbean between heavy ships of the US Atlantic Squadron and Admiral Cevera's cruiser squadron.
|Spanish cruisers (L to R - Infanta Maria Theresa, Almirante Oquendo, Viczaya, and Cristobal Colon) steaming to their fate|
|Two US battleships (Iowa and Indiana) and the armored cruiser New York|
The turn sequence for the Broadside and Salvo rules is:
- Roll for Initiative
- Roll for Action Points (these are basically command points to order your squadrons to maneuver and repair ships)
- Move ships (Initiative winner picks order) and allocate Action Points
- Gunnery - Initiative player shoots first and firing alternates by squadron with damage effect taking effect immediately
- Torpedo Phase - conduct torpedo attacks
- Repairs and Special Damage Phase
The Spanish won the initiative on the first few turns, forcing the Americans to move first and then ordering max speed to try to slip by. But then the dice turned on the Spanish. The Americans won the initiative on the turn that both sides came into gun range and damaged the lead Spanish cruisers before they could return fire. But the Spanish were able to damage the American cruiser.
Gunnery is resolved by be competitive D6 die rolls, which are modified by the attacking ship's attack factor and defending ship's defense factor, along with some other modifiers for damage, range, etc. If the defender's modified roll beats the attacker, there is no damage. If they are equal, the defender takes a temporary hit. If the attacker beats the defender, the defending ship is damaged with multiples of the defender's roll doing more damage. There is also a chance of critical hits. One level of damage still allows the ship to move and fight, but with negative modifiers. A ship is Silenced with two levels of damage and can move, but not shoot. A ship is Crippled with three levels of damage and cannot move or shoot. Four levels levels of damage means the ship is sinking. Action Points can be allocated to repair Silenced (3 APs) and Crippled (4 APs) ships one level. I used markers to show each level of damage.
Over the next couple of turns the Spanish die rolling was very bad, while the Americans continued to inflict more damage on the Spanish line.
|Spanish ships in trouble|
|Just before the end|
During the Spanish American War the American battleship Oregon made a high-speed (for those days) trip from San Francisco to the Caribbean. One of the fears was that Cevera's squadron would intercept the lone battleship. So, I decided to try out the four Spanish cruisers against one battleship.
|Oregon, crossing the line (equator?)|
|Standoff at sea|
Overall the games were quick, keeping with the fast-play rules, and deadly. The 1-on-1 squadron battles probably weren't as interesting as a multiple squadron action. After playing, I thought I should have created multiple squadrons in the first scenario to see how that would have played out. Another alternative would have been to add some more ships (regular cruisers for the Americans and torpedo boats for the Spanish) to make more squadrons.
The same rules are used with the Russo-Japanese War campaign and I think they would work well there, since both sides have more ships.