Saturday, 11 August 2018

Broadside and Ram: Breakout from Cherbourg (Part 2)

I finished the Broadside and Ram game in several interrupted stages over the last couple of days, so here's the second and final instalment of Breakout from Cherbourg, in which a French ironclad flotilla attempts to escape through the Royal Navy Channel Squadron blockade.

Turn 6

The Royal Navy rolled a 3 so had 4 AP's to spend on movement. HMS Warrior turned 90 degrees to starboard and slowed to cruise speed, while HMS Northumberland used the AP* spent by Warrior to speed up to her reduced maximum speed of 4, turning in echelon with the flagship. HMS Aurora continued her independent move by turning 45 degrees to starboard and steaming forward at maximum speed (*she didn't really need to do this but it made sense to explain how she could keep up).

The French now fired in the non-moving gunnery phase, with Gloire targeting HMS Northumberland and Taureau targeting HMS Warrior. The Gloire obtained a total score of 8 to Northumberland's score of 4, which silenced the guns of the British ironclad and caused a further loss of 2DF. The Taureau missed HMS Warrior, despite being at a very close range of 2'', which could be explained by the shock effect on the barbette gun crew of the broadside from the last turn. Either that or it was lunchtime.

The Royal Navy now fired back, with HMS Warrior blasting a broadside at the Taureau, which was also a miss (!) as both sides scored a total of 8. This was a bit odd but the gunners aim may well have been put off by the Taureau's attack and by the clouds of gun smoke that would have enveloped the small ironclad ram, not to mention having already suffered from a hit to the gun deck in Turn 5. It was also probably tea time, and you can't spoil a nice cuppa and a custard cream.

Turn 7

The French rolled for AP's and gained a disappointing total of 1. This limited the choices of the French commander but it wasn't actually needed, as the Gloire, Provence and Flandre just moved forward at cruise speed, while the Taureau acting independently at no AP cost decided to ram HMS Warrior amidships. A 90 degree turn and a forward movement slammed the Taureau at maximum speed into the port side of the Royal Navy's flagship!

The British fired back at Taureau, with both HMS Warrior and HMS Aurora in support. The British scored a total of 7 and the French 4, which meant a second Damaged result for Taureau which converted into a Silenced effect of -2DF and no further firing. It looked as though Taureau was going to be out of action for a while, unless some repairs could be made by the crew or she relied on just her ram to inflict further damage on the British ironclads. Also the cheese had just been served.

The French now fired on the silenced HMS Northumberland, with Gloire supported by Provence. The French scored a total of 12 and the British a total of 6, which meant that HMS Northumberland was now Crippled, with a further loss of 3DF, no firing and no movement. This was a very bad day for the Royal Navy. Luckily, the Taureau missed HMS Warrior yet again (!) with a score of 5 to 6. I allowed firing by the silenced ironclad ram this turn, as I have decided that firing within each turn is simultaneous, even though the non-firing side goes first.

To finish the turn, I had to resolve the ram attack by Taureau against HMS Warrior. I have decided that purpose built armoured rams like Taureau, Cerbere and HMS Polythemeus should have a higher chance of inflicting damage by ramming than normal. In the rules a 1D6 roll is added to the ships AF but rams like Taureau have a low AF due to being lightly armed. To improve the chances of a successful ram attack, I have given ironclad rams a 2D6 base roll instead.

Not that it made much of a difference, as Taureau rolled a total of  4 on 2D6, adding her AF of 1 for a total of 5, while HMS Warrior rolled a 4 on 1D6, adding her AF of 3 for a total of 7. The Taureau was now Damaged again, so a further 1DF and 1AF were lost, as she had already been Silenced this turn by the fire of HMS Warrior and HMS Aurora. This meant that she was now reduced to having no gunnery and only limited armour protection of 4 DF, - 1 for acting independently.

Turn 8

The Royal Navy now rolled for AP's gaining a total of 3. These were used to turn HMS Warrior 30 degrees to starboard and to increase her speed to a maximum of 5, moving forward to screen HMS Northumberland, which was now dead in the water. I decided not to repair her as this would  have burned up all the AP's for little overall result. I wondered about how HMS Warrior disengaged from the Taureau, which had rammed her in the previous turn, but this is a fast play set of rules so I assumed that she had just broken free by ordering full steam ahead? I might make disengaging after a ram or collision cost 1AP in future games.

HMS Aurora, acting independently, also turned 70 degrees to starboard and moved at maximum speed to intercept the Taureau, which was now in serious trouble and might even be forced to sink if further gunfire could be directed at her damaged hull. At any rate, she was still a threat due to the potential for a ram attack against the damaged HMS Warrior or crippled HMS Northumberland, so some pre-emptive action by the frigate was clearly an imperative.

However, the French now attacked HMS Warrior, with both Gloire and Provence firing a broadside at her bows. This resulted in a miss, which was a lucky escape for the flagship, especially as there was only one point in it. In reply, HMS Aurora fired a broadside at Taureau, inflicting another Damaged result of -1 AF/DF, which really didn't make much of a difference as she had no AF anyway and couldn't have fired this turn as she was already Silenced. If she had been Silenced again, then the result would have been more decisive, as a repeat would have converted to Crippled damage.

Turn 9

The French rolled for AP's and gained a respectable 3 actions points. The Gloire, Provence and Flandre now turned 45 degrees to starboard and moved at maximum speed toward the open sea, which was only about 18'' away. The Taureau turned 30 degrees to port and then moved forward at maximum speed to attempt a ram against the stationary and crippled HMS Northumberland, although luckily for the Royal Navy she ended up about 1'' too short! The British opened fire on Taureau, with HMS Aurora having the only guns that could bear on the enemy, inflicting a Crippled result and effectively ending any further action by the ironclad ram.

The French now combined the fire of both Gloire and Provence on to HMS Northumberland, with the combined broadside of both ships causing a decisive result of 11 points to 2 points, reducing the British warship to a shattered wreck and thus winning the game. To add insult to injury, the Flandre also fired on HMS Warrior and reduced her to Silenced, preventing any further firing. The French squadron steamed off into the Western Approaches, leaving the Royal Navy drifting in it's wake! I decided that the game was over and that the French had clearly won, both on points and by achieving the scenario objective.

Allez les Bleus!

Vive le Taureau!



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