In this fictional battle using the WWI naval game program, the fastest units of the High Seas Fleet are sent north to intercept a Scandinavian convoy. The convoy is escorted by the US dreadnoughts serving as the 6th Battle Squadron of the Grand Fleet. Historically, the British had begun escorting these convoys with battleship divisions detached from the Grand Fleet in January 1918. The 6th Battle Squadron sailed to perform this duty for the first time on February 6, 1918 (Jones, “U.S. Battleship Operations In World War I”, Chapter 2).
With the Grand Fleet approaching, the German units have to withdraw. The Markgraf has a maximum speed of 16 knots and will probably be scuttled to avoid capture. New York and Wyoming are so badly damaged that making port will be difficult.
In this fictional battle using the WWI naval game program, two players commanded British and German fleets in August 1914. The scenario was an attempt by the Grand Fleet to enter the Baltic Sea as part of one of Admiral Fisher’s schemes. The Germans manage to move some High Seas Fleet ships through the Kiel Canal and link up with old pre-dreadnoughts of the 4th and 5th Battle squadrons already operating in the Baltic. The fleets meet in the 10 nautical mile wide Great Belt near Nyborg Denmark.
The British organization is based on this list. The 4th BS (three battleships) has turned back due to mine damage. The flagship Iron Duke is attached to the 1st Battle Squadron replacing Colossus. The tactic of using pre-dreadnoughts as ‘mine bumpers’ in front of the fleet is from Usborne, “Blast and Counterblast.”
The German organization is based on this list. The flagship Friedrich der Grosse is attached to the 3rd Battle Squadron.
After 8 turns (40 minutes) the game was ended due to time constraints. Since the close range firing of the last few turns had not resulted in the expected carnage, the program’s hit probability range modifiers will be examined and possibly adjusted.
After the game, the program was used to continue the battle (without the players or the miniatures). On the next turn (Turn 9) a German battlecruiser received 12 additional hits and sank. With her last few shells she blew up a British dreadnought (turret hit followed by magazine explosion). Within 3 turns the remaining two German battlecruisers had also sunk. After 8 additional turns the ship data was: Belt2 IO Data 16end
Theoretical deployment of the Grand Fleet in accordance with the Grand Fleet Battle Orders, page 41, Dec 1915 (Volume III Jutland, from Clash of Arms). Page 40 states that “the order of the High Seas Fleet is that shewn in the O.X.O. papers.” What the ‘O.X.O. papers’ were is unknown.
There are fewer German flotillas than the diagram, but Jellicoe overstated the number of boats that might be present. He expected that his destroyers would be outnumbered by as much as 2 to 1 (GFBO Destroyer Addendum page 1, 1/10/15). Also left out are the German “4th and 5th Battle Squadrons” which are on the diagram on the disengaged side of the HSF. These were older pre-dreadnoughts that probably never sortied with the HSF in the North Sea.
The ground scale is 1 inch = 500 yards or 1/18000. The ships are 1/6000 scale Figurehead miniatures and as a result the spacing of the ships is about 1/3 of what it should be.