1909 Fleet Exercise

This scenario is a fictional British fleet exercise in 1909, designed to examine the idea that dreadnoughts “… were equal to any two and a half battleships at present existing.” [Reference 1]
The Red force, dubbed the ‘Royalist Fleet’, consists of all the currently operational dreadnought battleships and dreadnought armoured cruisers (later renamed battlecruisers) . It sails south from Rosyth to confront the Blue force, dubbed the ‘Parliamentary Fleet’, consisting of twice the number of pre-dreadnought battleships and armoured cruisers. The Red force includes the newest destroyers and the Blue force has a larger number of older destroyers. Both forces have scout cruisers of the latest operational classes.

The guns of the Invincible are penalized for the problems associated with the electrical turret mechanisms. These problems were never resolved, and the equipment was replaced with standard hydraulic gear in 1914. [Reference 2]

The code AI ran the blue side’s forces.

The sea conditions and orders of battle are listed on Page 1 of the Narrative file:

Force reports:

Plots and commentary:
The Red force cruising formation has the Invincible class ahead of the dreadnoughts, the destroyer flotilla stationed on the port bow of the flagship Dreadnought, and the scout cruisers in a line abreast screen ahead. The Blue force cruising formation has two battleship divisions in line ahead, two armoured cruiser divisions stationed ahead to port and starboard, two destroyer flotillas stationed abeam either side of the flagship Lord Nelson, and the scout cruisers in a line abreast screen ahead.
After the initial sightings, both sides deploy to port. The Red force attempts to use its speed advantage to gain a downwind position.

Once the battle lines open fire, the Blue force reverses direction to engage on parallel courses. Blue divisions adopt quarter line formations to allow following ships to be clear of the smoke from those ahead. This can be seen on the plot as parallel blue lines segments. The Red heavy ships initially concentrate on the leading Blue battleships, but as the range closes and the Blue armoured cruiser’s fire becomes more effective, the Indomitable’s division shifts fire to the Warrior’s division. The leading Blue ships take significant damage, but the trailing Blue ships are firing undisturbed.

The faster Red force pulls ahead and edges to starboard to cross Blue’s line of advance. The Blue battle line turns away to keep gun arcs open. The scout cruisers fight their own battle between the lines, but the Blue scouts take damage from Red battleship secondary guns.

The Red force, having expended most of its armour piercing shells, and under threat from a visible Blue torpedo launch, turns away and makes smoke to break off the engagement.

End of game status:
The Red force of dreadnought type ships inflicted greater damage than it received, but left almost half of the Blue heavy ships undamaged. For the number of 12 inch shell hits, relatively little critical damage was inflicted. This was due to the defects of the shells, most of which exploded prematurely from the sensitivity of the lyddite filler, or shattered on face-hardened armour when striking at an angle from the perpendicular. It is possible that umpires of an actual fleet exercise would have judged many of the damaged ships to be sunk.
The short range of the torpedoes (3,000 yards maximum) made the destroyers ineffective in this scenario.

Gunnery logs:

1. Fisher, Sir John, “Naval Necessities,” The Fisher Papers, Vol. II, page 149.
2. Roberts, John, “British Battlecruisers 1905-1920,” pages 84-85.

WW1 Naval – Goeben Ambush

1st Cruiser Squadron

This scenario, occasioned by a recent TMP discussion, assumes that the 1st Cruiser Squadron commanded by Troubridge was able to predict the future track of the Goeben and arrange a dawn attack on August 7th, 1914. The 1st and 2nd divisions of the 9th Flotilla have sufficient coal to accompany the cruisers and are positioned for a torpedo attack at first light. Neither of these conditions were likely. The Breslau was omitted from the scenario since she had separated from the Goeben the previous evening and did not rejoin until 10:30 am.

The code AI ran both side’s forces.

While the torpedo attack was evaded, the necessity for the Goeben to parallel the torpedo tracks for several minutes allowed the 1st Cruiser Squadron to close to around 4,ooo yards and achieve a significant number of damaging hits. At such short range, some lower hit probability reductions are applied (e.g., those for the concentration of several batteries on one target). Eventually the Goeben sinks, primarily due to flooding of the unarmored forward and aft portions of the ship. The Goeben’s speed loss was caused by flooding, and not by any direct hits on machinery spaces.

The sea conditions and orders of battle are listed on Page 1 of the Narrative file:

Force reports:


End of game status:

Gunnery logs:

WW1 Naval – Dogger Bank

1st and 2nd Battle Cruiser Squadrons with the German line in the distance.

This scenario, based on the Battle of Dogger Bank (January 23, 1915), was an attempt to test the AI code against a human player. Information used by the human player was limited as much as possible to what would be available in an actual game.

The sea conditions and orders of battle are listed on Page 1 of the Narrative file:

Force reports:

Plot from 0710 to 1610 Hours

The single lines (red for British, blue for German) show the movement of the forces prior to contact. When contact was made, the individual ships were set out into their cruising formations. The British Battle Cruiser Force was in two squadrons in line ahead with a line abreast screen of one light cruiser squadron. The Harwich force was in three flotillas, each lead by a light cruiser. The German battle cruisers were in a single line ahead, with a circular cruiser screen ahead and two flotillas flanking the battle cruiser line.

Plot from 1616 to 1815 Hours

The Battle Cruiser Force was headed north-east at the time that the Harwich Force sighted smoke to the south-east. The BCF then reversed course to the south-east. The cruiser screen would take some time to regain station since the cruiser’s design speeds were only 25 knots.

Sighting of a German light cruiser heading west by the destroyers of the Harwich force occurred at 16:45. The human player assumed that heavier ships would be following this screening cruiser. He therefore continued to the south-east to get between the enemy and his base.

Sighting of British battle cruisers at 16:54 prompted the deployment at 16:55 of the Aufklarunggruppe (A.G.). The battle cruisers of I.A.G. maintained course to the west to engage to starboard and allow the wind to carry smoke away from the direction of the enemy. The light cruisers of II.A.G. formed up and took station 3 NM ahead. Once the battle cruisers opened fire, the German flotillas took station on the disengaged side.

Since the light forces took only a limited part in the later action, the simplified plot showing only the battle cruisers will be discussed. The Lion opened fire at 17:05, beyond the range of the German guns. I.A.G turned north to close the range, then back to north-east when in effective range. The two lines passed on opposite courses. Once the British had achieved a position between the Germans and their base (to the south-east), they reversed course to the north. Smoke interfered with the fire of the British line, so the formations were changed to line-of-bearing, 3 points to port, and the 2nd BCS was stationed on the port quarter of the 1st BCS. This took some time to achieve, during which the British received significant damage.

The game was ended when damage caused the German line to attempt to break off to the north-east. The time (18:15) was past nightfall for this date, and the code does not currently account for night conditions.

End of game status:

Capital ship gunnery logs organized by unit:

RJW Naval – Yellow Sea August 10 1904

This scenario is based on the Battle of the Yellow Sea during the Russo-Japanese War. The initial positions are based on the following references:
“The Russo-Japanese War 1904-1905 British Naval Attache Reports,” Plate 7.
H. W. Wilson, “Battleships in Action,” Chapter XII.
Julian S. Corbett, “Maritime Operations in the Russo-Japanese War, 1904-1905, Vol 1, Chapter XXII.
Bill M., “The Battle of the Yellow Sea,” The Naval Wargames Society, http://www.navalwargamessociety.org/scenarios.html

The battle might be called ‘Encounter at Encounter Rock’ since several references mention that location. None that I have seen state where the rock is (or was), but an approximate location can be inferred from the first reference above: 24 NM SE of Port Arthur.

Japanese 1st Division with two armoured cruisers attached, east of Encounter Rock.
Japanese 3rd Division, south of the Russian squadron.
Japanese 5th Division, north of the Russian squadron.
Japanese 6th Division and two destroyer divisions near Encounter Rock.
Russian 1st Pacific Squadron, about 10 NM SW of Encounter Rock.

Three additional Japanese destroyer divisions are strung out to the south and southeast of the Russians. Three Japanese torpedo boat divisions have been omitted from the scenario.

The sea conditions and orders of battle are listed on Page 1 of the Narrative file:

Player reports (not needed since there were no human players):

Plot from 1230 to 1440hrs
This plot shows the entire battle, with the Russian movements in red and the Japanese in blue.

Plot from 1230 to 1330hrs
Initial movements and deployments of the units during the first hour. The AI ordered the Japanese divisions to form up, but this required the 3rd Division to pass close to the Russian squadron. As a result, the division’s small protected cruisers took significant damage from the rear Russian ships before joining the rest of the Japanese fleet.
Both sides eventually formed battle lines heading east. Once on roughly parallel courses (with low range rates) and in effective range, the serious shooting began.

Plot from 1330 to 1417hrs
Unit movements continued. The Japanese destroyers took station on the disengaged side of the battle line until the Russian line was significantly weakened. At that point (1400hrs) a general torpedo attack was ordered and the destroyer divisions headed south.

Plot from 1330 to 1417hrs
The battle lines fight in detail. Torpedo salvos aimed to cross the paths of Russian battleships missed because the targets sank.

Plot from 1330 to 1417hrs
Plot showing more clearly where the Russian ships sank (+).

End of game status:

Battleship primary battery gunnery logs
These are less useful than those of dreadnought battles since much of the damage was caused by secondary batteries.