We played the first of the two mini-DANG (Dave’s Annual Naval Game) games today. I had postponed both games after the snowstorm made travel difficult. We set the date after things had thawed out, but due to weather and health issues, half of the crew had to cancel for today. But the other half decided to press ahead with the game, which gave me a chance to play to even out the sides. Normally I just referee things because it is a mini-campaign and there are a lot of behinds the scenes moving parts. But the small one-off scenario allowed me to jump in on this one.
Today’s game was a hypothetical action near Haiti around 1904. Yes, Haiti is in turmoil (again). American ships and Marines were deployed to protect American interests in the country. European countries also want to protect their interests (and don't trust the Americans), so they sent their own ships to Haiti. The situation escalated to the point where the French sent a strong cruiser/battleship squadron, supported by a pair of German armored cruisers, to the region. The Americans responded by sending the North Atlantic Squadron to Guantanamo Bay to watch out for the French. The French have stopped off in Martinique to resupply before heading to Port-Au-Prince.
Originally the scenario included armored cruisers and battleships for both sides. But, because we only had half he expected players, we did a quick shift in the scenario and made it an initial contact between cruiser forces. I had set up one small island as a semi-obstacle and placed some foliage on the island, so this became the Battle of Giant Palm Island (Bataille de Giant Palm Tree Island in French or Schlacht von Giant Palm Tree Island in German).
|A publicity photo for the "Visit Giant Palm Island" tourism marketing campaign|
The scenario started out with the French cruisers (Dupuy de Lome and Amiral Charner) and German armored cruisers (Prinz Adalbert and Prinz Heinrich) pursuing the American scout cruiser New Orleans as the American armored cruiser force (Brooklyn, New York, and Olympia) charged in to the protect the smaller cruiser.
|French cruisers Dupuy de
Lome (left) and Amiral Charner (right)|
|German cruisers Prinz Adalbert (left) and Prinz Heinrich (right)|
|American cruiser New Orleans|
|American cruisers Brooklyn (left), New York (center), and Olympia (right)|
Early in the game, the German and French guns found the mark starting fires on Brooklyn, New York, and New Orleans.
|Brooklyn and New York on fire|
|New Orleans aflame|
Things didn’t look good for the Americans at the beginning, but they eventually put out the fires and started dishing out their own damage. The Americans concentrated their gunfire on the German cruisers. American gunfire seemed to be trailing the Germans a bit as they caused 3 different rudder jam special hits during the game, which completely broke up the German formation.
Before long, Brooklyn, New York, and Prinz Heinrich were out of action and New Orleans was knocked out shortly after the big cruisers.
|Prinz Heinrich out of action|
|New Orleans sinking|
Just as things were looking bad for the Americans, the battleship Maine arrived on the board near Giant Palm Island. Note that this is the second Maine (BB-10), not the one that exploded in Havana harbor. Unfortunately, for the Americans, the battleship had just come out of refit and the crew was inexperienced. So, they were not good shooters and didn’t have high morale.
At this point in the battle the Americans had the undamaged battleship Maine and the damaged cruiser Olympia up against the damaged German cruiser Prinz Adalbert and the two undamaged French cruisers. The French concentrated gunfire on Maine, while the German took shots at both Maine and Olympia, while trying to clear a jammed rudder. The French guns weren’t strong enough to penetrate any vital sections on Maine, but they did start fires and cause a lot of upper works damage.
|Maine taking damage|
Eventually, the Americans knocked out Dupuy de Lome and Prinz Adalbert.
|Prinz Adalbert out of action, with the French cruisers in the background|
But heavy damage to Maine forced a morale check, which it failed forcing the battleship to withdraw from the action. This left the heavily damaged Olympia and lightly damaged Amiral Charner. We decided to call the game at this point figuring the remaining ships would withdraw to try and rescue survivors from all the sinking ships.
It was a hard-fought battle that basically ended up in a stalemate (we talked about a future fight with each sides battleships arriving after the cruiser carnage). The French cruisers did get a moral victory for forcing the American battleship out of action.
Overall, it was a fun game and pretty balanced for an off the cuff scenario. While it wasn't the normal DANG mini-campaign, I think everyone enjoyed themselves.
Belated DANG game #2, coastal forces action in the Black Sea, is planned January 29.