Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Battles at Savos Islands - Film at 11

Recently our group played out two trials of a WW2 naval scenario based on the Battle of Savo island, but translated to the 1941 Mediterranean theatre.  I relabelled the islands so that Guadacanal became Kaktos, Savo became Savos and Florida became Floros.  The linguists, Hellenes and classic scholars among you can alert me if have insulted any one's grandmother or personal hygiene with these names.

Pictures from the first game can be seen over at Padre Mike's.  The second took place on Friday with new players - Sylvain took the RN and newbie Jeremy the Italians.  Also, I rotated the seascape so that the entrance to Savos sound ran across the broader side of the table to limit the funnel effect.  Curt took pictures which have not arrived in my inbox yet.  I thought I'd get some thoughts down before they ran away and avoid the issues with reporting on the recent El Cid game.

Orders of battle were as follows.  In addition, both sides were given dummy counters and blinds were used until forces were visually acquired.  Photo 10 on Mike's page show the Padre moving merchant men which were used as possible contacts until confirmed as real ships or dummies.

Royal Navy (may be grouped into two divisions and enter on southern board edge at 20 kts.)

  •             Exeter CL armour 6*8” guns, 32 kts., radar 
  •             Ajax, Achilles, Orion CL armour 8*6” guns 32kts, radar 
  •             Gloucester CA armour, 12*6”, 32 kts., no radar
  •             Arethusa, CL armour 6*6” guns 32kts, radar 
  •             Euryalus, CL armour 10*5.25" guns, 32kts, radar 
  •             Destroyers Mohawk, Maori, Nubian, 6*4.7”+2*4” guns, 4 torpedoes, 31kts radar 
Regina Marina 
Group A
  • Trento CL armour 8*8” guns 31kts
  • Gorizia CA armour 8*8” guns 30kts
  •  Bande Nerra CS armour 8*6” guns 32kts
  •  Destroyers Ascari, Bersagleri, Fucilieri 5*4.7” guns, 6 torpedoes, 35kts
Group B

  • G Garibaldi CA armour 10*6” guns 31kts
  • Bolzano CL armour 8*8” guns 33kts
  •  Luigi Cadorna CS armour 8*6” guns 32kts
  • Destroyers Dardo, Freccia, Saetta 4*4.7” guns, 6 torpedoes, 31kts
      None of the Italian ships have radar.   Each group was allocated a box to patrol either side of Savos, and each group was able to detach one DD as picket.  All ships start at 20 kts.

Game One
Curt split his Royal Force into two groups sending HMSs Gloucestor, Euryalus, Exeter and Nubian against Group A east of Savos and HMSs Ajax, Orion, Achilles, Mohawk and Moari west of the island against Group B.  Both of Curt's divisions ran into picket destroyers and opened fire.  West of Savos, a rain of 6" shells sank the Freccia, but had trouble finding the main body.  The Freccia launched her torpedoes but these missed as Curt zigged to the east.

The fight was decided in the eastern passage.  While once again Curt's firepower did in the picket (in this case the Bersaglieri, in this case her fish hit home.  Both the Nubian (twice) and Euryalus were hit -3 hits in a stick of 6 torpedoes.  Mike's photo 11 shows the moment of impact.  While Curt found the reset of Mike's eastern group, his torpedoes missed as Mike turned away to comb the tracks and his guns managed only a few hits.  Mike's Photo 12 shows the Italians turning away.

At this point Curt turned tail and ran for home, homing to get his lame ducks home before the Stukas arrived.

Game Two
Sylvain split his force into two divisions, but kept both on the west side of Savos island facing Group A.    Again, the RN found the picket first - leaving the Ascari badly mauled but afloat (destroyers are easy to cripple but hard to kill using guns)- and moved on to take on Group A.   Ascari's torpedoes found a target sending Orion to the bottom, but Sylvain pressed on.  Meanwhile Jeremy's Group B was having a hard time working out that all of the "British" possible contacts east of Savos were actually ducks.  When the shooting started, he sent this group West of the island.

After a few turns of ineffective shooting on both sides - Sylvain started to hit home.  My ship cards show that Trento, Bande Nere, Ascari and Bersaglieri from group A were all hit badly while Group B arrived in time for Saetta to be sunk.  If memory serves me (an unlikely event these days), the Italians lost at least one of their cruisers to torpedoes.  However, we didn't note this on the ship cards as we opted for the simpler method of removing the model!  If and when the photos arrive, hopefully all we be revealed!


  1. 'Turned tail and ran for home'! I do protest. What an outrageous assertion. Sounds like something posted from those bolshies at 'The Guardian'. I seem to remember a parting spread of British torpedoes that sent an Italian ship to the bottom. Sounds more like a fighting withdrawal to me. ;)

    1. Ok, how about opted to withdraw to lick his wounds, scratch his head and figure out what the next move should be?