Monday, 18 May 2015
I couldn't resist adding a model of the Rolf Krake to my Danish fleet for the Second Schleswig War even if she didn't take part in any of the actions in the Baltic. The Tumbling Dice range doesn't feature any of the ships for the 1864 conflict, which is a bit of a shame, so I turned to the Figurehead 1/2400th scale range instead.
This includes all the warships for the Battle of Lissa and a few extra ones to cover the Battle of Heligoland, although most of the wooden steam warship models for the latter are generic. They're really good models but suffer from very fragile and bendy masts, which makes them less than ideal for ham-fisted wargamers like me! However, as the Rolf Krake has a minimal for and aft rig, I'm sure I can work around this problem.
The Rolf Krake could be a potential game changer if I deployed it for coastal bombardment along the Baltic shoreline, perhaps against one of the Prussian naval anchorages. This would be entirely feasible and would probably have been far more effective than her actual role as floating heavy artillery in support of Danish troops. I imagine the Prussians would have been distinctly worried if she steamed over the horizon!
Here's a brief description from the excellent Danish Military History site:
ROLF KRAKE was a prototype “turret ship” design, for a coast defense role. The first operational “gun turret” warship in Europe – a major advancement and historical precedent not only in Denmark, but also in world naval construction. Also the first warship to employ the patented “Cole” gun-turret, named after its British designer.
The “armored battery” ship ROLF KRAKE was employed, during the German War of 1864 against Denmark, in a historically-significant, precedent-setting naval role in providing mobile, heavy, seaborne gunfire support to assist the Danish army against the invading German armies’ seaward flank.