Wargaming in Hertfordshire

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

WW1 Naval - Initial Battle Report

NORTH SEA BATTLE REPORT – 17:20 Onward - 13th September

Picture 1: 17:20: Beatty's four Queen Elizabeths head the British Battlecrusier line in an arc, curving round to match the heading of the German Pre-Dreadnaught line. The German predreadnaughts find the range first, hitting the British battleships. Beatty’s destroyers and light cruisers shelter behind their battleline, while the Grand fleet can be seen approaching, in the background.

Picture 2: Admiral Kevin's Powerful Queen Elizabeths finally find the the range and immediately disabled three of Admiral Ian's German pre-dreadnaughts (in the foreground), which dropped out of line. A further two more pre-dreadnaughts were then badly damaged. The superior armour of the Queen Elizabeth class fast battleships easily protects them from further damage. However, the British battlecruisers are not so fortunate. Two are badly hit and leave the line, out of control, with the unfortunate Princess Royal heading directly for the German line! While Admiral Mark's squadron of the Grand fleet moves into range, it is still masked by the battlecruisers.

Picture 3: Looking from the British battleline, Admiral Mark's squadron, comprising KGVs, Orions and Erin, is in the foreground. Admiral Chris's (Jellicoe) squadron is moving across their port rear, due to an unfortunate a command breakdown. Admiral Kevan's squadron is entering from the left of picture, and are being engaged at long range by Admiral Peter's (Scheer) lead High Seas Fleet squadron at the top of the picture, which is moving up to support the pre-dreadnaughts.

Picture 4: The German pre-dreadnaughts on the right are now attempting to disengage from the battle , with most of them having been badly mauled, disabled or dead in the water. The Queen Elizabeths, in the forground, are not letting them go and execute a sharp turn to port, to continue engaging. Princess Royal is dead in the water (uper right of shot) after sustained close range fire from the German pre-dreadnaughts. The other British battlecruisers are back under control but are now disengaging (bottom left), having suffered severe damage. The sudden appearence of Hipper's battlecruisers from the south (out of shot to the left) may have influenced their decision.
The German dreadnaughts are now engaging the entire Grand fleet, however half the British ships are masked due to continuing command breakdowns. The Koenig, Grosser Kurfurst, Kaiser and Kaiserin suffering damage, whereas on the British side, Adm. Mark's Centurion, Adm. Chris's Hercules has taken damage, as has Adm. Kevan's Superb, Bellerophon and Temeraire.
Picture 5: The remaining German pre-dreadnaughts flee northwards (bottom of shot), while the German dreadnaughts (centre left) are closely engaged, with Kaiser being heavily damaged. In the British battleline (top left), Royal Oak is disabled and has dropped out of line. Many of Adm. Chris's other ships are also damaged.
Adm. Sean's Second German battle squadron can be seen approaching from the north (centre right).
The British have launched an attack by destoyers and light cruisers on the end of the German squadron (centre of photo), while the Germans have, in return, sent their light forces to attack the British line (centre left).
The British armoured cruisers have been sailing safely to the north east (off the photo), but Commodore Jim has attacked them with his light squadron and torpedoed two of them.

Pictures 6 & 7: On the left of the image, the 2 divisions of Adm. Sean's battle squadron can be seen entering the battle. The lead division (lower left) is sailing behind the British fleet, while the rear division appears to have lost its way? Adm. Sean’s light forces can be seen successfully defending against a British torpedo attack.
At the top of the picture, the pre-dreadnaughts continue to flee. The British light squadron at the rear of the line (bottom centre of picture) is preparing to attack the end of the Adm. Pete's battle line, which is now under heavy fire from Adm. Kevan. The German battle line takes progressively more damage, with the Bayern, Kaiser, Koenig and Koenig Albert being very heavily mauled, some of them dropping out of the line. The front of Adm. Chris's British battle line has been heavily hit, with Royal Oak being crippled and the Hercules badly damaged. Admiral Mark's battleline is now under fire from Adm. Sean's battlecruisers (off picture to the right).

It appears as if the German High Seas fleet is on the verge of suffering a damaging defeat, although many of the British heavy units have suffered significant damage. Admiral Peter Shear would appear to need all his skills to extract the High Seas fleet from this predicament and escape into the welcome arms of nightfall.
Clearly both sides will claim victory over this clash and perhaps it will be in the world of the propaganda war that final “victory” will be claimed and ‘won’?

Bill Milater, US Naval Attaché, London
Note: Bill has an Irish father and a German mother. He was recruited by the German Secret Service while at University. He was then apparently “turned” by British Military Intelligence and employed sending false intelligence to the Germans. However, he seems to have had a gift for guessing what was false and what was real. Unbeknown to his German paymasters, he was equally happy to feed intelligence the other way. His sympathies were very much pro-Irish and his motivation appears to have been to cause a clash between the Grand Fleet and the High Seas Fleet, in German terms, in the hope of negating British naval supremacy and hence furthering the pro-Irish movement.
These remarkable photos were obtained from a German Zeppelin, which reached the battle site, just too late to warn Admiral Sheer.

Full colour versions of the above images can be found at;


Sunday, 6 April 2008

“The Trenches” – 1 Day WW1 Sites Tour

Kevin asked me to put something up on the blog concerning a possible group outing to “The Trenches”. Sovereign War Tours, run a one day WW1 sites tour, for £90. I have copied their description below;

Leaving the UK we will travel via the channel Tunnel to Calais .
From Calais the Tour takes us into Belgium and the outskirts of Ypres.
Here will make our first stop at Sanctuary wood and its preserved trenches.
Sanctuary wood is said to have earned its name in October 1914 when it was used as a sanctuary to stragglers waiting to rejoin their units . At this time Sanctuary wood was a relatively quiet area but this was to be short lived and it’s name deemed most inappropriate from November 1914 . Today Sanctuary Wood is considered by many to offer the finest preserved trenches on the Western front .
From Sanctuary wood we will travel the short distance to Sanctuary wood CWGC cemetery containing over 2000 burials .
Our 3rd stop will be the Hooge Crater Museum , because of it’s unique valuable collections housed inside a carefully renovated chapel within peaceful surroundings this museum is considered one of the best private museums on the Ypres Salient . After visiting the Museum you will have time to stop in the adjoining café and enjoy a drink and something to eat .
We will now leave Belgium and make our way into Northern France and the town of Arras here we will make our final stop at Vimy Ridge .
Here you will see the preserved trench lines and monuments that make Vimy Ridge a must for any visit . You will be given the option to experience life underground in one of the preserved underground bunkers and view the hugh bomb craters and front lines
From Vimy we will make our way back to the tunnel before making our way home."

Tour Includes;
- Hill 60
- Hill 62 Canadian Memorial
- The site of Hooge Chateau
- Hooge Crater
- Hooge Crater Cemetery

Sovereign War Tours are based in Eastbourne. Each trip appears to be run using a Ford Galaxy, taking 5 to 6 people. Kevin was wondering what interest there was in arranging a group outing from the club?
I have no personal experience of these people. More info can be found on their web site;
Rather spookily, shortly before Kevin asked me to post this, I was contemplating a ‘self drive’ outing, but over 2 days (1 night away). I may do some more research now and post it later. The Sovereign trip has the advantage of their experience. I think my only reservation would be that they are in Eastbourne, so an early start from Eastbourne, would be an even earlier start from Hitchin!?
If you are interested, juts let Kevin know, so we can gauge numbers? I am certainly interested.

Phil T

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

INTELLIGENGE REPORT - 1710 - 13th September

The British Grand Fleet and German High Seas Fleet are reported to very close to a major engagement, at a postion 3 deg, 55 min East, 55 deg, 40 min North.
The German High Seas Fleet, now some 70 miles NNE of Dogger Bank, was apparently sailing Westward, while the Grand Fleet was initially sailing ESE. Battlecruisers from both sides were in action between 1200 and 1300, before the British turned NE, as shown in the attached plot reconstruction (British Battlecruisers being the most Southerly group). Following the initial action, where a number of Torpedo Boats and Light Cruisers are reported as being sunk, the heading of the German battlecruisers is not yet known.
With visibility already down to 10 miles and still deteriorating and with dusk expected at 1830 and nightfall one hour later, it seems increasingly unlikely that any major action between the Dreadnaughts will occur before first light. There is however the risk that a major melee could ensure in the fading light, which is almost certainly going to favour the High Seas Fleet. One hopes that Jellicoe can now keep his head?

Bill Milater, US Naval Attaché, London
Note: The plot reconstruction was obtained from sources in the Admiralty. Discrepancies between the plot and radio traffic reports is of concern and probably reflects British intelligence skills!?