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.


1/6000 Naval – WW1 Turkish Navy

Figurehead 1/6000 scale ships from the WW1 Turkish navy pack.


Yavuz was the German grosse kreuzer Goeben.
Midilli was the German lichte kreuzer Breslau.
Barbarossa (Heireddin Barbarossa) was the German linienschiff Kurfurst Friedrich Wilhelm.
Torgud Reis was the German linienschiff Weissenburg.
Medjidieh was a US-built protected cruiser.
Hamidieh (originally Abdul Hamid) was a British-built protected cruiser.
Destroyer Squadron 1 consisted of German S165 class destoyers.
Destroyer Squadron 2 consisted of French Durandal class destoyers.
English spellings are from Conway’s All the Worlds Fighting Ships 1906-1921.

WW1 Naval – North Sea Operaton 1917

This non-historic encounter occurred in the open waters of the North Sea, and was run as a test of algorithms making decisions in place of human players. In order to not have an advantage, the code only gives orders at the end of each 5 minute turn, and only using information which would be available to a human player.

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


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


Plot from 11:15 to 12:35

The single lines from the right (British) and left (German) sides show the movement of the two forces prior to enemy contact. To speed the code, only the force flagship is actually moved. Based on the force size, screening elements and visibility, at some point in this movement the individual ships of the two sides are set out into their cruising formations. In this case the British battleship divisions were in line ahead disposed abreast, with the battle cruiser squadrons ahead and a line abreast screen of one light cruiser squadron. The German battleship divisions were in a single line ahead, with the battle cruiser squadrons ahead and a circular cruiser screen for both the battle cruisers and the battleships.

Depending on the contact bearings, the formations may make course adjustments. In this case, both forces altered course, and the cruiser screens can be seen shifting positions to regain their stations.


Plot from 11:15 to 13:00

Sighting reports of British battle cruisers at 12:44 prompted the deployment at 12:45 of I Aufklarunggruppe (I.A.G.). I.A.G. turned to starboard in line ahead in order to bring after turrets to bear and to allow the wind to carry smoke away from the direction of the enemy.
Sighting reports of German battle cruisers at 12:52 prompted the deployment at 12:55 of 1st Battle Cruiser Squadron (BCS) and 2nd BCS. They turned to port for similar reasons. The sighting report was from Lion since the cruiser screen was not far enough ahead to give any earlier warning.

Plot from 13:00 to 14:00

(simplified plot)

Since the full plot may be difficult to read, the simplified plot showing only the lead ships of the battleship and battle cruiser units will be discussed. At 13:00 the I.A.G. reversed course to take station ahead of the German battleships due to being under fire of more than their number of capital ships. The leading battleships of each side were sighted by opposing light cruisers at 13:04 and 13:05. At 13:05 the 1st and 2nd BCS took station ahead of the British battleships due to being under fire of the leading German battleships. At 13:15 both side’s battleships deployed. The British formed a single line to port with the port wing (3rd Division) leading. The Germans, already in single line, turned to starboard. While moving to their stations ahead of the lead battleships, both side’s battle cruisers interfered with the fire of the battlelines.

Plot from 14:00 to 14:50

(simplified plot)

As the battlelines gradually closed the range, the destruction was heavy on the battle cruisers and leading battleship divisions. Torpedoes were launched from the underwater tubes from both sides, and several British ships were hit. When the game was (arbitrarily) ended, many of the surviving ships were low on ammunition.

Plot from 14:00 to 14:50 showing flotillas

Although many torpedoes were launched by cruisers and capital ships, none were launched by the destroyer or torpedo boat flotillas. This plot shows the tracks of the flotillas in relation to the lead ships of battleship divisions. The ordered torpedo attacks generally failed because the flotillas could not reach a launch position clear of friendly ships without being driven off by the fire or proximity of enemy ships. The current algorithm for stationing flotillas relative to the battlelines may need to be revised to address this problem.

End of game status:

Capital ship gunnery logs organized by unit:

1/6000 Naval – Austro-Hungarian Turmschiffe Kronprinz Erzherzog Rudolf

S.M.S. Kronprinz Erzherzog Rudolf was a ‘turreted ironclad’ (Turmschiffe) commissioned in 1889, and in Austro-Hungarian service on and off until around February 1918. The main armament was three 305 mm guns mounted individually in barbettes.

This drawing is from “Austro-Hungarian Battleships in World War One,” by Zvonimir Freivogel:

 

WW1 Naval – Jutland, the Run to the South

Having recently made significant modifications to the game code, I used the ‘Run to the South’ phase of Jutland as a test case. Course changes, speeds and formations were followed as closely as practical, given that inputs are only changed every five minutes. The primary source was the signals information in Brooks, although plots from Marder, Campbell, Tarrant and the Naval Staff Appreciation were also used. See the list of references below.

In some cases the game code was unable to reproduce formation changes as they seem to have occurred historically. Two examples follow.

Example 1:

When the IAG (First Scouting Group) turned from their initial northwesterly course at 2:27pm GMT, Brooks Table 5.4 gives these signals:
2.27 Turn together to port to WSW
2.30 Follow in wake of SO’s ship
2.43 Turn together to starboard to WSW
and states in the text that after 2.27 Hipper “seems to have headed SW for a time in line ahead.” This is consistent with Map 2 of the Harper Report and with Figure 11 in Tarrant.

Excerpt from Harper Map 2 (times shown are Central European Time):

It is not clear to me how the steaming order of the unit was maintained through the approximately 200 degree turn. Perhaps the trailing ships slowed, with the last ship slowing the most. The game code made a complete hash of the maneuver, but since the IAG was not in combat the disorder did not matter.

Excerpt from game plot for IAG

I find it interesting that Marder (map 4) and Campbell (Chart 1) have a different plot for the IAG in this period, with no movement in the southwesterly direction at all.

Excerpt from Marder Vol III Map 4 (times shown are Central European Time):

Example 2:

When the 1BCS and 2BCS (battle cruiser squadrons) turn east in response to the sighting of the IAG, the 2BCS is stationed 3 miles ENE of the 1BCS. Brooks Table 5.9 gives these signals:
3.30 Alter course leading ships together the rest in succession to E, 25 knots
3.34 (to 2BCS) Prolong the line by taking station astern
Brooks criticizes Beattly since “… the two weakly armoured battlecruisers were thrust forward three miles closer to the enemy and with no prospect of getting into line with Lion and the 1BCS without some violent maneuvering.” The game code had no serious problem putting the 2BCS in line behind the 1BCS, although with the increase in ordered speed to 25 knots, the 26 knot Indefatigable class ships lagged a few hundred yards behind after their speed loss in the turns. The game code reduces acceleration significantly as a ship nears its maximum speed.

Excerpt from game plot for BCS:

The rest of the exercise played out as expected, up to the point where the High Seas Fleet would have been sighted. The Lion lost a gun, the Derfflinger lost a turret, the Tiger blew up, the 5BS started engaging the IAG and the IAG avoided a torpedo attack.

References:
Brooks, John, “The Battle of Jutland,” 2016.
Campbell, John, “Jutland An Analysis of the Fighting,” 1986.
Marder, Arthur J., “From the Dreadnought to Scapa Flow,” 1978.
Schleihauf, William, “Jutland The Naval Staff Appreciation,” 2016.
Tarrant, V. E., “Jutland The German Perspective,” 1995.

Winds WSW at 12 knots. Sea state 3. Visibility 23,000 yards.

Narrative

Player reports
Battlecruiser Force
Aufklarung Gruppe

Plots
80-145 minutes (without light cruiser plots)
All

End game status

Computer code (described here)

 

AG-I