Author Topic: Battle of the River Platte: Dec 13, 1939  (Read 489 times)

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Offline MengJiao

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Battle of the River Platte: Dec 13, 1939
« on: January 27, 2022, 06:35:11 AM »

  Well, this one is a classic.  Both sides had plenty of options and there's room for lots of second-guessing.  For example, the German commander chose to run his pocket battleship straight into cruiser gun range right away because he wanted to get the advantage of how quickly his diesel engines could accellerate to full speed -- so by going in quickly he would catch the steam-powered cruisers before they could build up to full speed.  Maybe that was a good idea.  I don't really know.  Anyway, here is the start of a run-through using the Stations Manned and Ready (SMR) scenario for the battle.  The SMR rules confess that they exaggerate the potential of torpedoes to get a better mental flavoring of what people thought at the time.  Sure enough, the first time I ran three cruisers against a pocket battleship, they caught her at night in bad visibility and sank her with four torpedo hits.  Not this time -- I gave the German commander the mental points sufficient to avoid that one.  He can thank me later if he lives and doesn't shoot himself.  Anyway.  Lots of different dice for this one!


Offline MengJiao

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Re: Battle of the River Platte: Dec 13, 1939
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2022, 08:54:48 AM »

    Lots of different dice for this one!

    Things escalated fast here near the River Plate (one t, the Platte is somewhere east of the central Rockies flowing across the Great Plains); unfortunately, in the SMR scenario,Graf Spee has to get past the three RN cruisers and they have a lot more guns and torpedoes and are faster. Achilles started hitting at 15,000 yds.  Graf Spee didn't score any hits at all (!).  After half an hour of closing the range, finally at 10,000 yds, Exeter (at that range the 8-inch guns will penetrate anything except the main turrets and conning tower on the pocket battleship) hits and one hit is critical -- it knocks out some AA guns and penetrates the belt and into the engine room dropping the pocket battleship's speed by 9 knots -- down to 19 from 28 against 33-knot cruisers.  I think that's a loss for the KriegsMarine.  Lesson -- stay as far away from cruisers as you can.  I'll get no thanks from the Germans for this one I'm afraid.