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Offline Tripoli

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Re: World War I in the North Sea-A Steam and Iron Campaign Game AAR
« Reply #15 on: May 14, 2016, 02:39:13 PM »
Operations
See attached image for OPLAN

The Battlecruiser Fleet will sortie from the Firth, proceed to the Skaggerak and down the western coast of Jutland to just north of the Bight is planned with the objective of destroying any light forces encountered.

Two CLs will add to the minefields off of the Dutch coast
A flotilla of destroyers will patrol off of the Channel, the East coast, and Scapa to prevent submarine and mining activity.
 
Battlelog  and spotting reports

01 1100   WX: Mist, Wind: Calm, Sighting range: 4000 yards.
011208   WX: Mist lifts.  Wind: Calm.  Sighting range: 11500 yards.
020133   HMS SIRIUS and HMS THETIS lay mines
021550   Sighting report by DD HMS MAY, operating  invic 5502N00012W (35 nm off Hartlepool): 2 BB, 1 CA, 1 CL, 1 DD heading ESE.
021928   Sighting report by DD HMS MAY, operating  invic 5452N00037W (22 nm off Hartlepool): 1 CA, 1 CL,  Course NW.
Notes:    These two sighting reports indicates that Intelligence was correct, and that the German operation was a sweep of the East Coast of England.  Looking at possible interception points, show that 5400N 00523E is a possible intercept point.  At 21 knots, the German force would be at this location in 10.2 hours, arriving at approximately 030540.  If I can place the British force to the east of the German position, it would be both between the German fleet and their home port.  Additionally, the rising sun would create glare, interfering with the German Gunnery.  See attached image
03430   The Battlecruisers arrive at the possible interception point, 5400N 00523E,  and begin patrolling.
031200   Although the weather continues to be good, during cruising along a patrol line extending  north 45 nm from 5400N 00523E no German units are spotted.  The battlecruisers then conduct a sweep towards Helgoland, but only one German CL is spotted.  It quickly runs back towards a known minefield before it can be stopped. 
031600   To avoid a nighttime torpedo attack, the battlecruisers begin a withdrawal towards the Firth of Forth.
04 1307     BC Princess Royal is hit by a torpedo at entrance to Firth of Forth
04 1309     DD Phoenix strikes a mine at entrance to Firth of Forth
04 1333     DD Phoenix has sunk
041755   Submarine E11 is reported missing and presumed lost

Aftermath 

   The turn was a bit of a disappointment.  The Battlecruisers were positioned early enough, so that contact  was possible.  The lack of contact indicates either simple bad luck, or that the Germans are transiting further to the North than I guessed.
   
 Despite initial reports that the PRINCESS ROYAL  was torpedoed, intelligence subsequent reports that it was a mine laid by a German CL ARIADNE that damaged her.   Likewise, it is likely that this also cause the loss of the HMS PHOENIX.  Although there were patrols in the area to prevent such an event, they were unsuccessful in locating the minelayers.   I had also neglected to post a patrol off of the Firth, instead taking the destroyers assigned there with the Battlecruiser fleet.  In retrospect, I should have sent units down from Scapa to take those patrol duties.

   The loss of the submarine E11 also seriously impacts the British submarine force.  It is the third patrol submarine lost.   These losses makes it difficult to form an effective patrol line.  Future patrol lines will have to be stationed even further from Helgoland.   News that the German navy also lost an old destroyer to a minefield does not counterbalance these losses.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2016, 02:52:42 PM by Tripoli »
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Offline Tripoli

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Re: World War I in the North Sea-A Steam and Iron Campaign Game AAR
« Reply #16 on: May 18, 2016, 07:40:10 PM »
15-29 September 1914

Strategic Overview

The strategic situation is unchanged from last turn. 

Concept of Operations

The success of the German minelaying off Rosyth was an oversight on my part, as I had inadequate patrols in the area.  Historically, the Germans mined off Royal Navy ports as part of their strategy.  (1)  However, two can play the mining game.  Initially, the British mining effort off the Dutch coast was designed to help screen the passage of the BEF to France.  This mission accomplished, it may be more profitable to mine areas where German naval units concentrate. The loss of several British submarines off of the Jutland coast indicates that there is a heavy escort presence there.  Accordingly, a mining effort in that area may help achieve the short-term goal of reducing the number of German light forces, particularly light cruisers.  Such an operation would be dangerous for the ships conducting the mining. However, these hazards would be significantly reduced if supported with Battlecruisers and escorted with destroyers.  Further, such an operation may act as bait, and allow for the destruction of any pursuing light forces by the battlecruisers.  If successful, such an operation would help accomplish the strategy of reducing the German scouting forces to blind the German fleet and shape the battlespace for a clash of the main battle fleets.  Historically, the first British mine laying off of Jutland did not occur until January 1915, so I’m a bit ahead of the historical schedule in this operations. (2)

Adding to the potential of destroying an isolated portion of the German navy are Intelligence reports that the Germans are planning a German mining operation in the North Sea (see the intelligence section below).  Presumably, this operation will be supported by at least light cruisers and possibly heavier fleet units.  This increases the chance of an encounter, either with the German minelaying operation, or possibly with heavier elements of the German Fleet.    However, because there is the possibility of German battleships being present, the British will similarly have to deploy a large portion of their battleship fleet in support.

Objectives

   In priority order, the objectives for this turn are as follows:

1.   Destroy any Battleships or Battlecruisers that are supporting the German mining efforts
2.   Destroy any light cruisers in supporting the mining operation or that interfere with the British mining operation
3.   Prevent the German minelaying operation
4.   Conduct mining operations off the coast of Jutland

Intelligence

Intelligence reports the German fleet is planning a minelaying operation in the Central North Sea.  Additionally, intelligence reports the Germans have nine submarines.   Because there were no reports of a submarine sinking,  as a precaution I will continue to show the German OOB as containing 10 submarines. 
Based on the available forces and intelligence, I evaluate the ECOA for this two week period in descending probability as follows:

1.   Most Probable ECOA-Mining operation in North Sea supported by light forces
2.   Mining operation in North Sea supported by remaining Battlecruiser and light forces
3.   Mining operation in North Sea supported by one squadron of battleships and light forces
4.   Most Dangerous ECOA- Mining operation in North Sea supported by 2 or more squadrons of Battleships
5.   No Large German Operation.  Possible minor raiding and/or mining

Available Forces

   544 Operations Points are available this turn.  Activating the entire Grand Fleet (except for the 3rd Battle Squadron) costs 484 points, while the Battlecruiser Fleet costs 121 operation points.  I would like to have a minimum of 650 operations points in reserve, to be able to sail the entire Grand Fleet should it be necessary.   Based on this, I can deploy at least 2 squadrons of Battleships, one squadron of Battlecruisers and associated escorts this turn, and still have around 250 points next turn., which will be sufficient to respond to German activities. With bad weather in the North Sea beginning in a turn or two, operations should slow down, and allow a buildup of the operational point reserve to meet the 650-point goal.
As shown on the attached spreadsheet, the Grand Fleet has 22 operational battleships, and maintains a very slight advantage over the German fleet in deployable ships.

Replacements/Detachments

•   Reinforcements/Additions

o   BB HMS AGINCOURT
o   CL HMS FEARLESS, AURORA
o   DD METEOR

•   Detachments
o   None

Maintenance and Repairs

•   Units entering Repair/Maintenance

o   BB HMS AJAX
o   DD HMS LAPWING
o   DD HMS GOLDFINCH
o   BC PRINCESS ROYAL

•   Units returning from Maintenance

o   BB HMS CONQUEROR

Training

    Although it is possible that the High Seas Fleet will be in support of the minelaying operation, I believe it is unlikely.  Although four BBs are in repair,  I believe can spare the newly commissioned battleships HMS ERIN and AGINCOURT for training, as their low level of training makes them only marginally useful in the battleline.  Even with their absence, the Grand Fleet still has a very slight superiority over the High Seas Fleet.   However, the battlecruisers LION and NEW ZEALAND will have to wait, as the battlecruiser fleet is an important part of any role in countering the German mining activity.  Additionally, for this operation, I intend to have the Battlecruisers scout ahead of the battleships.  In the event the entire High Seas Fleet sails, this scouting force should be sufficient to provide early warning and allow the Battleships to avoid contact, should the tactical situation so dictate.

Administrative

   HMS COLOSSUS and HMS VANGUARD trade places in the 1/1 and 2/1 Battle squadrons.  This gives each squadron ships with identical maximum speeds, to prevent a single slower ship from limiting the speed of the entire squadron.
 
Operations

See attached image for OPLAN.  HMS APOLLO and INTREPID escorted by the 1/10 Destroyer Flottilla will conduct the minelaying operation off of Jutland.   The 1st and 2nd Battle Squadrons, and the Battlecruiser Fleet are sent to preempt the German mining operation in the central North Sea.  Additionally, they will provide support for  HMS APOLLOW and INTREPID.  A patrol line of 4 submarines is placed north of the mine area running NE-SW to provide early warning of any German sortie.  Additionally, the game offered me a chance to pick up 1000 VP by sending three CAs with to patrol the entrance to the Skaggart.  Since I will have a large part of the fleet in the area and available to provide support if needed, I send the heavy cruisers on this mission.

Endnotes
(1) Friedman, Norman. Fighting the Great War at Sea: Strategy, Tactics and Technology, 338. 2014
(2) Friedman, Norman. Fighting the Great War at Sea: Strategy, Tactics and Technology, 341. 2014
« Last Edit: May 19, 2016, 07:49:37 PM by Tripoli »
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Offline Tripoli

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Re: World War I in the North Sea-A Steam and Iron Campaign Game AAR
« Reply #17 on: May 20, 2016, 03:08:49 PM »
Battlelog  and spotting reports

15 0500   WX: Calm, Clear
15 0500   SIGINT reports  2 CLs at 5504N00720E heading NNE
15 0532   Visibility 10,000yds
15 0529   E5 reports 6 DDs heading SE at 0545N00734E
15 0600   SIGINT reports  4 CLs off Helgoland at 5410N00807E heading N.  Possibly leaving the Jade?
150740   WX: Visibility increases to 23,500 yards
151113   HMS APOLLO sights two unknown ship invic 5448N00440E
Note:    This is not news I wanted to hear.  Instead of the Grand Fleet making contact, it looks like the small minelayer force made contact with some escorts.  I suspect there is a larger German force behind them. The supporting battlecruisers are still 42 nm away.  I’ll try to sprint the minelaying force north and the battlecruisers south to provide support.  see attached image
151127   The German ships appear to be a destroyer and a light cruiser.  The CL is tracking the minelaying force as it heads north north west.
Note:   The geometry of this engagement is potentially favorable for cutting off the German units from their home port, if the battlecruisers and battleships can get in position in time.  I estimate it will be approximately 90 minutes before the battlecruisers can engage.  I’m hoping to begin the engagement when the battlecruisers reach 5500N00500E.  The minelaying CLs will try to lure the German CLs further NW before the trap is sprung.
151155   A third probable CL is spotted.  One of the CLs is identified as a BREMEN class CL
151202   A CL is identified as a KONIGSBERG class CL.   These only have a top speed of 23 knots, so if I can get between them and the Jade, they won’t be able to escape.  Sighting range is 22,000 yards, wind is calm.  I have the minelaying force begin to lure the Germans to the NW, so the  Battlecruisers can get between them and Helgoland.
151254    The minelaying force is successfully luring the German fleet to the northwest.  With the Battlecruisers coming down from the northeast, they should be cut off from base. See attached image
151302   Two more ships are spotted SSW of the minelaying force.  This number of CLs indicates that there is at least a battlecruiser in the vicinity, although none have yet been seen.
151337   A ship south of the minelayers is classified as a BB.  Possibly it is a BC, but it appears to be pursuing the minelaying force too slowly. In any case, the battlecruisers have now worked their way to the east of the Germans.  They will now head SW, and hopefully drive the Germans to the NE, towards the British Battleships. See attached image.
151341   2 BBs are identified.  One BB is a KAISER-class.  If there are two BBs, presumably a squadron of BBs is here.
151351   A third BB is identified.  The Battlecruisers now have a tiger by the tail…

15 13:55     BB König-class opens fire at CL Intrepid
15 13:55     BB opens fire at CL Apollo!
151402   A fourth BB is identified.  The battleships better get here fast…
15 14:02     The destroyers escorting  the minelaying force begin to lay smoke. Note: the minelaying force is now in a fix.  The top speed of the APOLLO and INTREPID is only 18 knots.  The Battlecruisers are still at least 30 minutes away.
15 14:30     The Battlecruiser fleet has managed to work its way to the south east of the German battle squadron.  A British squadron is now between the Germans and their base.  Moreover, the Germans are sandwiched between the Battlecruisers and the 1st and 2nd Battle Squadrons coming from the Northeast.  The Battlecruisers open fire at 1430 at approximately 17,000 yards range.  The first British hit is scored at 1441.   My intent will be to herd the Germans towards the Battleships, while hopefully not getting too badly banged up.  The superior range of the British 13.5 inch gun will hopefully keep the BCs out of effective German reply.
15 14:46     BC Lion Turret hit T * Turret flash fire! Ship blows up! Note: This incident happened while the German Battleships were still around 16000 yards distance, so it was a plunging shot that likely penetrated the turret top.  I n my desire to close with the main force, I obviously got too close.  In retrospect, the Battlecruisers should have stood 20,000 yards from the German battleships, while targeting the closer CLs at the rear of the German formation.  From here, they could have still accomplished the mission of driving the Germans towards the approaching 1st Battle Squadron.
151443   Although the majority of the action is between the Battlecruisers and German Battleships, the minelaying force continues to be the target of German pursuit.  Both the HMS APOLLO and HMS INTREPID jettison their mines due to damage.  Fortunately for them, the scouts of the lead British Battle squadron are just over the horizon.
151515   In an attempt to drive the Germans towards the 1st Battle Squadron (1 BS), I order a torpedo attack. While knowing that it is premature, and unlikely to succeed, my hope is that it will give time for the 1 BS to enter into action.  Ultimately, this does not end well.  Three destroyers (HMS HORNET, ARCHER  and FERRET) are lost in the next 45 minutes, and no hits are scored. 
15 15:33     1st Battle Squadron enters action. 
15 15:40     Foolishly, I continue to keep the Battlecruisers in action, both to block the German fleet, and to have additional firepower while 1 and 2 BS deploy.  Over the next 70 minutes, the HMS INVINCIBLE is badly punished, and ultimately sinks.  The rest of the battlecruisers are similarly beaten up by German gunfire, but they ultimately survive.
15 16:46     BC Invincible Turret hit T * Turret destroyed
15 16:47     BC Invincible Engine room hit B *
15 16:47     BC Invincible Turret hit T
15 16:48     BC Invincible Engine room hit B *
15 16:48     BC Invincible Turret hit T *
15 16:48     BC Invincible Hull hit BE *
15 16:48     BC Invincible Hull hit BE *
15 16:48     BB Collingwood Engine room hit B
15 16:52     BC Invincible Turret hit T
15 16:53     BC Invincible Turret hit T * Turret destroyed
15 16:53     BC Invincible Superstructure hit *
15 16:54     BC Invincible is avoiding torpedoes!
15 16:55     BC Invincible Electric power restored!
15 16:57     BC Invincible is hit by a torpedo!
15 16:57     BC Invincible is sinking!
15 17:09     DD Tigress is picking up survivors from DD S24
15 17:10     BC New Zealand is avoiding torpedoes!
151711   After protracted pounding by the German battleships, and the arrival of 1 and 2 BS,  I detach the QUEEN MARY and NEW ZEALAND to head away from the battle and back to port.  Enroute, they sink a damaged light cruiser that was separated from the main body. The  Battlecruisers accomplished the mission of holding the German Battleships until the arrival of the British battleships.  As demonstrated at Jutland, the engagement shows that they really were not capable of standing up to a capital ship.  Like the British admirals of the day, in this battle I misused the battlecruisers, using them in the battleline, as opposed to using them in an anti-scouting role.
15 17:20     Note: The arrival and deployment of both 1 and 2 BS signals the end of the German squadron.  Already damaged by the Battlecruisers and 1 BS, the damaged units are prevented from retreating back to base and bombarded.  The last shots from the German battleships occur at 1746.  From then until approximately 1900, the German battleships are shelled by 1 and 2 BS, until all are sunk.  DD HMS HOPE, damaged earlier in the action also sinks during the night.  Enroute back to Scapa Flow, the British run into a lone German light cruiser, but it escapes in the night. See attached image



Aftermath

Both the German and British failed in their mining mission.  Despite this failure, the action was a major British victory, with four German Battleships, three CLs, three DDs and one MS sunk.  However, two Royal Navy BCs and four DDs were also sunk, as well as 1 BC, 1 CL and 2 DDs suffering heavy damage and 4 BB, 1 BC 4 CL, and 15 DDs suffering medium or light damage.  Although it is a major victory, the cost in Battlecruisers was high.   It will be a month before I have an operational Battlecruiser fleet.  Similarly, the damage to the light forces was significant, although they will be rapidly repaired.  Only 2.33% of heavy caliber salvos hit. The leading British shooter was the BC Queen Mary, hitting 3.21%.   By comparison, the Germans hit 2.53% of the time, the leading shooter being the BB König Albert, which hit 4.08%.  British torpedo shooting was terrible, with only 2 hits.

« Last Edit: May 20, 2016, 03:13:56 PM by Tripoli »
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Offline Tripoli

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Re: World War I in the North Sea-A Steam and Iron Campaign Game AAR
« Reply #18 on: May 20, 2016, 03:30:11 PM »
29 September-14 October 1914

Strategic Overview

The strategic situation has improved for the Royal Navy.  Although many heavy units are in repair, once they return to the fleet, the 21:11 ratio of battleships make it conceivable that the Royal Navy could force the Baltic.  Historically, had history played out like this game is, the history of World War I could have been very different.  Additional attrition of the German fleet, combined with an agreement with Russia for joint operations and basing support in Baltic ports would potentially have created the threat of allied amphibious operations on the Baltic flank of Germany, and necessitated the deployment of German forces away from the eastern or western fronts to guard against the potential landings.  Additionally, the loss of  trade with Sweden and the opening of a supply route to Russia may have prevented Russian collapse and shortened the war.  However, if these naval events actually occurred, the Kaiser almost certainly would have prevented further action of his fleet, and adopted a “fleet in being” strategy to oppose any British operations in the Baltic. 

Concept of Operations

   This turn will be devoted to low-level mining operations.  A total of 12 capital ships are in being  repaired, limiting the British options this turn.  Fortunately, there is no intelligence concerning planned German operations, and realistically, after suffering two defeats in six weeks, it would be unlikely that there would be any major German operations.  Because of this, the only operation planned is  mining operation off the Dutch coast, supported by heavy cruisers from the Grand Fleet.  All units will avoid any contact with enemy forces and will withdraw unless disproportionate casualties can be inflicted on the enemy.  The 4th Battle Squadron (HMS IRON DUKE, DREADNOUGHT, BELLEROPHON and TEMERAIRE) will be the reserve force if a reaction to a small German incursion is necessary.  Additionally, local patrols by destroyers off of Scotland, Harwich and the Channel will hopefully keep German minelayers at bay.

Objectives

   In priority order, the objectives for this turn are as follows:

1.   Conduct mining off the Dutch Coast while avoiding losses of any cruisers
2.   Sink any light Forces encountered while avoiding losses of any cruisers.

Intelligence

There is no intelligence concerning German operations.  I evaluate the ECOA for this two week period in descending probability as follows:

1.   Most Probable ECOA-Patrols by  light forces in coastal areas
2.   Mining by light forces off of British East coast/Channel
3.   Most Dangerous ECOA- Patrol in North Sea or off Dutch Coast by remaining Battlecruiser
4.   Patrol in North Sea by a Battleship squadron

Available Forces
    A total of 420 operational points are available.  See the attached  Order of Battle

Replacements/Detachments

•   Reinforcements/Additions

o   BC HMS INFLEXIBLE
o   CL HMS UNDAUNTED

•   Detachments
o   None

Maintenance and Repairs

•   Units entering Repair/Maintenance
o   9 BB, 3 BC, 3 CL, 16 DDs

•   Units returning from Maintenance

o   2 CLs, 3 DDs complete repairs

Training

   Because of the planned low operational tempo, all units that need training will be scheduled.  In late October, with the anticipated return of four Battleships, the operational tempo may increase, so this is a good opportunity to get the ships trained now.

Administrative

    NSTR
 
Operations

See attached image for OPLAN.  The 2nd Cruiser squadron will provide support to CLs conducting mining operations off the Dutch coast.  Three submarines will patrol off Jutland to warn of any German deployments from the Jade along the Dutch coast. 

“Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?” -Abraham Lincoln

Offline panzerde

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Re: World War I in the North Sea-A Steam and Iron Campaign Game AAR
« Reply #19 on: May 20, 2016, 03:39:28 PM »
This is a real pleasure to read. Very nicely documented and I'm learning a lot about WWI naval operations.


Are you playing at Admiral or Vice Admiral level?

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Offline mirth

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Re: World War I in the North Sea-A Steam and Iron Campaign Game AAR
« Reply #20 on: May 20, 2016, 03:45:51 PM »
This is a real pleasure to read. Very nicely documented and I'm learning a lot about WWI naval operations.

+1
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Offline Tripoli

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Re: World War I in the North Sea-A Steam and Iron Campaign Game AAR
« Reply #21 on: May 20, 2016, 06:37:25 PM »
Thanks for the compliments.  I'm playing at the "Normal" level, in part because (as I understand it) that game improves the crew quality at the higher levels.  Since part of my purpose is to use the game as a teaching tool, I wanted to use the normal setting, so a reader could compare the battle results against historical averages.
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Offline Tripoli

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Re: World War I in the North Sea-A Steam and Iron Campaign Game AAR
« Reply #22 on: May 21, 2016, 06:46:35 AM »
29 September

Battlelog  and spotting reports

29 0500   WX: PtCloudy, Gentle NW breeze.
290647   HMS SPARROWHAWK spots a submarine off of the Firth of Forth
290631   Submarine D1 reports 2CA invic 5435N00701E heading SW
291611   The HMS HOGUE reports 2 DDs in the Broad Fourteens, invic 5235N00401E.  Note: This may be a raid of light forces into the Channel
291643   HMS ABOUKIR reports 1 BB heading S invic the Broad Fourteens.
Note:    This report is a bit of a surprise.  As it comes from a Royal Navy vessel, I assume it is approximately correct,  in that apparently a German heavy unit is approaching the channel.  Possibly it is only a cruiser.  The game controls the ABOUKIR, and won’t let me see the actual German ships, so the player can’t confirm the spotting report 
291711   HMS ABOUKIR reports 1 BB, 1 BC, 1 DD heading west in the Broad Fourteens.
Note:    This report seems to confirm the 1643 report of heavy units raiding the Channel.  Looking at the game log (which substitutes for the intercepted bits of radio traffic that in the real world a commander at sea might be able to get) shows that the ABOUKIR and HOGUE are in fact engaged in a battle with an German force of unknown size.  The Royal Navy has no assets positioned to counter such a force.  All of the Battleships are in Scapa Flow, approximately 450 miles away.  Ordering an Emergency   Activation  would require 3 hours for the ships to raise steam and depart.  At the maximum speed of 20 knots, it would take an additional 22.5 hours to reach the scene, by which time the raiders would be long gone.  Historically, Hugo von Pohl, the commander of the High Seas Fleet in 1915,  limited capital ship operations in the North Sea to a day and a night, to minimize the chance of a torpedo attack by light forces on the German ship. (1)   If the game follows this tactic, the German force will be gone in the next few hours.  Accordingly, I don’t order the activation.  Interestingly, the German force is showing up off the British coast as night falls.  I think this is fairly ahistorical (although it makes for a good “what if” scenario).  I believe the Germans were historically reluctant to deploy their heavy forces in this area at night of the heavy presence of British torpedo-armed vessels would potentially allow for a large night-time torpedo attack in the relatively constrained waters.  Such an attach would be  potentially catastrophic for the heavy units, especially so far away from their own bases.   
Note:   The  presence of German warships off of the approaches to the Channel is a bit of a surprise, and indicates that what I evaluated as the “Most Dangerous” ECOA has been selected by the Germans. 
Note:   The British force at sea is inadequate to meet more than a single Battlecruiser, and very well may be inadequate for even that.  The two minelaying CLs are slow, and poorly armed.  The 2nd Cruiser Squadron is faster and better armed, but at 23 knots, the  cruisers are still slower than a Battlecruiser.  Transiting from Scapa Flow, they are still at least 8 hours away from the position of the German squadron.  In the real world, I would avoid any contact with the German squadron.  Historically, the Royal Navy probably would have required an engagement, even under these conditions.   In the August 1914 pursuit of the battlecruiser SMS GOEBEN in the Mediterranean, Admiral Troubridge faced a Court of Inquiry for not engaging  the GOEBEN with his four armored cruisers.  Although he was ultimately acquitted, his career and reputation were ruined. (2)  This professional disgrace may have influenced the decision of Toubridge’s friend, Admiral Cradock, to engage a superior German squadron in the disasterous Battle of Coronel, despite his knowledge that he faced almost certain defeat.   As part of the purpose of this AAR is to teach about WWI naval operations.  Accordingly, like Admiral Cradock, I’ll go against my better judgement and  try to intercept the German force with my little fleet. 
However, I will first lay the mines, My suspicion is that the German force will head back to harbor after its fight with the ABOUKIR and HOUGE.  There is a remote possibility that I can damage some of the returning units with the minefield.  Additionally, I suspect that the German squadron will head for port tonight.  I estimate that the most likely interception point for the British cruisers happens to be the approximate location of the planned minefield.   If timed right, this would allow the engagement to begin at night, largely neutralizing the German gunnery advantage and placing the escorting British destroyers at or near torpedo range.  The cruisers and mining force are directed to proceed at best speed to get the minefield laid and engage the German squadron.

291712   HMS ABOUKIR reports 3 CAs heading ESE
300004   HMS SAPPHO and HMS ANDROMACHE begin laying mines
30015   The minefield is complete. HMS SAPPHO and HMS ANDROMACHE depart the area, while at the same time the heavy cruisers arrive in the area.  Because there is no contact, the cruisers begin a sweep to the west to establish contact.  There is no word for the past several hours from the ABOUKIR and HOGUE but fragmentary radio (in fact the  game log) reports indicates both were hit multiple times during the engagement. An additional report indicates the HMS BACCHANTE was torpedoed.
300500   Daybreak.  No contact occurred during the night.  Information from ABOUKIR and HOGUE indicates that they were not sunk, but are damaged.  BACCHANTE was lost.
300731   HMS SWIFT spots a submarine off of the Firth of Forth
301157   Two unknown vessels are spotted.  The SAG alters course to W to close and get sea room, and get closer to English coast.  See attached image.  WX: Cloudy, Wind: Lt Breeze, NW.  Sighing Range: 23,500 yds

To Be Continued......

Endnotes

1) Friedman, Norman. Fighting the Great War at Sea: Strategy, Tactics and Technology, 155. 2014
2) Massie, Robert K., and Robert K. Massie. Castles of Steel: Britain, Germany, and the Winning of the Great War at Sea, 51. New York: Random House, 2003.
“Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?” -Abraham Lincoln

Offline Tripoli

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Re: World War I in the North Sea-A Steam and Iron Campaign Game AAR
« Reply #23 on: May 22, 2016, 11:36:07 AM »
Battlelog  and spotting reports (continued)

301157   2 unknown vessels are spotted.  The SAG alters course to W to close and get sea room, and get closer to English coast.  See attached image.  WX: Cloudy, Wind: Lt Breeze, NW.  Sighing Range: 23,500 yds
30 12:04     CL Boadicea identifies CA as Kolberg-class
30 12:08     CL Boadicea opens fire at CL Kolberg-class
30 12:09     CL Boadicea sights an unknown ship.  It appears to be a capital ship.
30 12:11     Unidentified ship opens fire at CL HMS BOADICEA and is ID’d as a DERFFLINGER-class BC. Range: 17,600 yds from BOADICEA to the BC.
301214   Having identified a BC, I do an emergency activation of  a squadron of light cruisers and destroyers from Harwich.  It will take 3 hours for them to get steam up, but they may be useful.
301216   The destroyers are ordered to fake a torpedo attack to draw off the battlecruiser.  After forming up and beginning their run, the DERFFLINGER alters course to open the range.  The destroyers are recalled, to avoid loss.
30 1217   It is 5 hours before sunset.  My plan is to harry the BC, remaining just out of range, then close for a nighttime torpedo attack.
301230   It looks like the BC is going to chase the CAs.  He has a 2 knot advantage, which means that he will be within effective gunnery range in one hour.
30 13:04     The  DERFFLINGER -class BC opens fire at CA HMS NATAL and straddles her within 3 minutes.  The range is approximately 17,000 yards. The cruisers begin to lay smoke and the SAG begins a series of turns to the North to draw the Germans away from their course.  Additionally, I’m trying to maneuver the Germans so their most likely course home will run them into the minefield.
30 13:44     CL HMS BLANCHE cannot keep up and has been detached.  The high speed run has scattered the German formation, with the DERFFLINGER leading, and the five escorting CLs/DDs trailing by up to 10,000 yards.   I have the HMS BLANCHE go at best speed t the south to divert the Germans from the heavy cruisers.  Additionally, it might allow the BLANCHE to work its way around and possibly attack one of the trailing escorts.   
301415   The detachment of the HMS BLANCHE appears to be working.  The DERFFLINGER begins to pursue it.  However, the Germans also appear to be determined to get back to port.  By alternating approaches towards the German force by the HMS BLANCHE, the heavy cruisers, and the remaining escorting light cruisers, the German squadron is constantly forced to change course to meet the latest threat.  This “cat and mouse” game continues without either side being damaged for the next 3 hours as the  squadrons move east.   Note: I believe the maneuver I used in this battle would have been very difficult to have performed by a WWI admiral.  Once detached, the HMS BLANCHE moved  south, well outside the flag signaling range of the flagship.  Because of this,  such a series of parries and thrusts that the BLANCHE and cruisers made against the German squadron could have only been made if the BLANCHE’s captain understood the commander’s intention to use this strategy before the engagement, and then acted independently to execute it.  Although scouting cruisers had wireless, using it to communicate these types of tactical maneuvers would have been probably beyond the training and doctrine of the British in 1914.
30 15:20     CL HMS BLANCHE opens fire at CL Magdeburg-class.  Note: By this time, the HMS BLANCHE has worked itself to a position 20,000 yards SW of the DERFFLINGER.  The MAGDEBURG and a KOLBERG-class CL are trailing at the end of the German formation, which seems intent on making it back to port.  This gives an opportunity to cut it off the two CLs.  Meanwhile, the heavy cruisers continue to parry and thrust against the head of the German squadron in an attempt to draw it further north towards the minefield.
30 1630   Between 1520-1630 the HMS BLANCHE and the KOLBERG class CL engage in a long-range gunnery duel at approximately 8000 yards.  Both sides score hits, but no significant damage is done.  Meanwhile, the heavy cruisers have positioned themselves to the NW of the DERFFLINGER, which appears to be on a course back to port that will take it through the newly laid minefield.  The speed of the German battlecruiser is too great to have been able to hold a position suitable for a night time torpedo attack.  However, with twilight happening in about 30 minutes, the British stand a chance of cutting off the two tailing light cruisers.  Their position to the West of the DERFFLINGER also gives them a retreat to the west should the battlecruiser come to the aid of these exposed light cruisers. The heavy cruisers turn towards the rear of the German formation.
301645   CA Shannon opens fire at MAGDEBURG –class CL.  See attached figure.
301700   Between 1700-1930 the British force engages the two German light cruisers.  The KOLBERG class CL escapes in the night.  The MAGDEBURG-class is not so lucky, and it succumbs to the combined firepower of the British squadron.  Although several British destroyers are damaged, none are sunk.  Enroute back to Scapa, the force sweeps past the newly laid minefield, hoping to engage any ships that may have been damaged by the field.  Only two minesweepers are encountered, and they both rapidly engaged and sunk.  The squadron then returns to Scapa Flow.
01 06:33     DD HMS RIFLEMAN has rammed and sunk a submarine near Scapa Flow.

Aftermath

While a British victory, this skirmish doesn’t alter the balance of forces in the North Sea.  The loss of the old armored cruiser HMS BACCHANTE is compensated for by the sinking of the SMS STRALSUND.   Historically, I’m not sure how such a battle would have been perceived by the British public or admiralty.  The fact that a German squadron had operated so closely to the Channel, and sunk a cruiser would have been a cause for concern.  Although the subsequent pursuit of the Germans resulted in a light cruiser being  sunk, the  remainder of the squadron escaped with minimal damage.  The fact that the British cruiser squadron was inferior in terms of speed, armor and firepower against the DERFFLINGER may not have saved the British commander in a case like this. As mentioned in my earlier post, in the roughly analogous situation of the August 1914 pursuit of the German battlecruiser GOEBEN  off of Greece, Admiral Troubridge faced a Court of Inquiry for not engaging  the GOEBEN with his four armored cruisers. (1)     Like Admiral Troubridge, this situation also involved four cruisers against a German battlecruiser, with the engagement likely to occur in excellent weather and good visibility.  Strategically, this game situation was  slightly different.  In the case of the GOEBEN, it was far from any German base or resupply.  Forcing it to expend its ammunition, or damaging it would have a direct impact on the GOEBEN’s future combat capability.  In  any situation similar to the game scenario, any damage to the DERFFLINGER or expenditure of ammunition in a would easily been remedied in a German port.  Therefore, the probable cost of losing several British cruisers with their crews would not be worth the benefit of merely temporarily damaging the German battlecruiser.

During this scenario, there were multiple submarine sighting reports and one submarine sinking near the Scapa Flow and the Firth of Forth, showing that the Germans are watching the area.  ASW efforts in the area will have to be increased.  Already, the British destroyer force is being stretched by the requirements to screen the heavy units and convoy and patrolling duties.

As far as I can tell, the minefield did not damage any German ships.  I believe that the DERFLINGER and at least 3 escorts went through the newly laid field. (note: a check of the ship tracks at the conclusion of the scenario confirms the German squadron went through the field)  However, there is no intelligence reporting that any ships were damaged.  However there is a report that in addition to the two German minesweepers that were destroyed by the cruisers, another was mined.  Possibly a portion of the newly laid field was discovered and swept prior to the German squadron passing through it.

Finally, as noted earlier, the tactics I used in the game would have been very difficult to execute in WWI.  The communications technology likely would have made such an series of coordinated feints between the main British force and the detached HMS BLANCHE almost impossible to duplicate.  There is one other point to bring up in this regard.  As a gamer, I have a “God’s eye” view of the battlespace.  In World War I, the British were the only navy that had even begun plotting the positions of enemy and friendly forces.   While such plots would have only been in flagships, they were critical for giving the commander situational awareness necessary to properly deploy his ships to exploit any opportunities. (2)


Endnotes

(1) Massie, Robert K., and Robert K. Massie. Castles of Steel: Britain, Germany, and the Winning of the Great War at Sea, 51. New York: Random House, 2003.
(2) Friedman, Norman. Fighting the Great War at Sea: Strategy, Tactics and Technology, 77-78. 2014.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2016, 11:38:56 AM by Tripoli »
“Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?” -Abraham Lincoln

Offline Tripoli

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Re: World War I in the North Sea-A Steam and Iron Campaign Game AAR
« Reply #24 on: May 23, 2016, 04:48:25 AM »
14-28 October 1914

Strategic Overview

The strategic situation is unchanged from last turn.  The loss of a single light cruiser will have a minor negatively impact on German scouting abilities.  German mining near Helgoland has significantly increased the size of the mine danger area.  Now it extends from slightly north of the Danish border to the Jade.  See the attached map.

Concept of Operations

   Like last turn, this turn will be devoted to low-level mining operations.  A total of 10 capital ships are in being  repaired, limiting the British options this turn.  There is no intelligence concerning planned German operations.
Similar to last turn,  the only operation planned is  mining operation off the Dutch coast, supported by heavy cruisers from the Grand Fleet.  All units will avoid any contact with enemy forces and will withdraw unless disproportionate casualties can be inflicted on the enemy. 
The 4th Battle Squadron (HMS IRON DUKE, DREADNOUGHT, BELLEROPHON and TEMERAIRE) will be the reserve force if a reaction to a small German incursion is necessary.  Additionally, local patrols by destroyers off of Scotland, Harwich and the Channel will hopefully keep German minelayers at bay.
The game did offer the opportunity for a bombardment mission off of the northern end of Sylt island, located just off the Jutland Peninsula.  Because of the increased mining activity in the area, combined with the relatively small advantage in British battleships, I will decline this mission.
   
Objectives

   In priority order, the objectives for this turn are as follows:

1.   Conduct mining off the Dutch Coast while avoiding losses of any cruisers
2.   Sink any light Forces encountered while avoiding losses of any cruisers.

Intelligence

There is no intelligence concerning German operations.  There are reports that the DERFLINGER suffered light damage the past turn. Because of this, it is likely to be repaired this turn.  I evaluate the ECOA for this two week period in descending probability as follows:

1.   Most Probable ECOA-Patrols by  light forces in coastal areas
2.   Mining by light forces off of British East coast/Channel
3.   Most Dangerous ECOA- Patrol in North Sea or off Danish coast by a Battleship squadron, possibly in conjunction with mining off East coast of England
4.   Patrol in North Sea or off Danish coast by a Battlecruiser

Available Forces

    A total of 620 operational points are available.  The addition of three seaplane carriers potentially give an increase in scouting capabilities to the Grand Fleet.  Although they will be in training this turn, I will have to give some consideration to their use in future operations.  The Order of Battle for this turn is below:


Replacements/Detachments

•   Reinforcements/Additions
o   AVs HMS RIVIERA, ENGADINE and EMPRESS

•   Detachments
o   BC HMS PRINCESS ROYAL
o   Submarine E9

Maintenance and Repairs

•   Units entering Repair/Maintenance
o   B DOMINION
o   BB THUNDERER
o   DD ACORN, SHELDRAKE, ACHATES

•   Units returning from Maintenance
o   4 DDs


Training

   One battleship, two CLs one DD and the seaplane carriers are sent to training.

Administrative

 Historically, after the German operations in the channel, the Admiralty would likely have seriously considered basing a heavy response force further south to prevent a repeat of this tactic.  Because the pre-dreadnoughts of the 3rd Battle Squadron are of limited use in a fleet action, I re-base them further south in Grimsby.  From here, they can still rendezvous with the Grand Fleet in the central North Sea, help defend against raids against the east coast of England, as well as potentially cut off any raiding forces that enter the approaches to the English Channel.  To provide a balanced force package,  some older heavy cruisers and a small flotilla of destroyers is also transferred with them.
 
Operations

See attached image for OPLAN.  The heavy cruisers from Scapa will rendezvous with the minelaying force from Harwich and proceed to the mining area. My plan is to approach during night, and begin mining at daybreak to maximize British gun range against any light forces in the area.

“Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?” -Abraham Lincoln

Offline Sir Slash

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Re: World War I in the North Sea-A Steam and Iron Campaign Game AAR
« Reply #25 on: May 23, 2016, 08:43:17 AM »
Tripoli, I remember sinking enemy merchants as a great way to boost Victory Points in this game. Any plans to get into the German shipping lanes?
"Take a look at that". Sgt. Wilkerson-- CMBN. His last words after spotting a German tank on the other side of a hedgerow.

Offline Tripoli

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Re: World War I in the North Sea-A Steam and Iron Campaign Game AAR
« Reply #26 on: May 23, 2016, 09:13:05 PM »
Sir Slash-I'm not quite ready for cutting the German supply routes.  I'm still shaping the battlefield by trying to attrite the German Fleet.
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Offline Sir Slash

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Re: World War I in the North Sea-A Steam and Iron Campaign Game AAR
« Reply #27 on: May 24, 2016, 06:54:17 AM »
Good strategy.
"Take a look at that". Sgt. Wilkerson-- CMBN. His last words after spotting a German tank on the other side of a hedgerow.

Offline Tripoli

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Re: World War I in the North Sea-A Steam and Iron Campaign Game AAR
« Reply #28 on: May 27, 2016, 09:29:50 AM »
16 October

Battlelog  and spotting reports

13 October   The operation is postponed for 2 days due to WX.
150721   WX: Light rain, Wind: Strong NNE breeze.  Sighting range: 6500 yds.
150721   Submarine D8 reports 1 BB, 3 CL at 5339N00612E (west of the approaches to Edmen) heading NW
152325   One CA, 4 DDs are reportedly shelling the Ramsgate Battery, near Sheerness.  The 5th CL squadron and the 3rd Destroyer flotilla at Harwich are activated.
160026   Submarine D8 reports 3 CL at 5341N00616E, heading SSW. Note: This places the CLs near the mining location.
160205   Submarine E2 reports 2 BB, 4 DD at 5451N00747E (off of Sylt Island), heading NE
160401   HMS ALARM, which has lost contact with the main body of cruisers, has contact with a ship in vic 5407N00425E, but almost immediately loses contact in the rain and darkness.  See attached.
16 00:02   During the approach to the mining area, a total of five screening destroyers lose contact with the main body in the rain and darkness.
16 05:53     CL Latona and Naiad begin to lay mines
16 06:13     CL Latona and Naiad finished laying mines
161037   HMS LLEWELLYN, one of the five separated screening destroyers,  makes contact with an unknown vessel at a range of approximately 5,000 yards and on an opposite course. (see attached image)  As the range rapidly decreases, two more vessels come out of the mist.  One is a capital ship, which opens fire.  A nearby destroyer, HMS FURY, that is similarly separated from the main body is attracted to the gunfire, and also becomes engaged.  (Note: The subsequent action was fought completely under AI control. The log is reproduced below).

16 1041   HMS LLEWELLYN launches torpedoes
16 10:43     DD Llewellyn Near miss! Hull damaged by splinters!
16 10:43     DD Llewellyn Superstructure passthrough hit *
16 10:44     DD Llewellyn has reduced speed due to heavy flooding!
16 10:44     Unidentified ship opens fire at DD Llewellyn!
16 10:45      Enemy ship BB is hit by a torpedo!
16 10:45     DD Llewellyn Near miss!
16 10:46     DD Llewellyn identifies unknown ship as CL
16 10:48     DD Llewellyn has reduced speed due to heavy flooding!
16 10:48     DD Llewellyn Superstructure hit.
16 10:50     BC Derfflinger-class fires 8 12in guns at DD Llewellyn! 1 hits
16 10:50     DD Llewellyn Fore/aft hull hit
16 11:01     DD Fury Critical hit! Fire control damaged
16 11:01    DD Fury Near miss!
16 11:01     DD Fury Superstructure hit *
16 11:02     DD Fury is launching torpedoes
16 11:02     BC Derfflinger-class fires 8 12in guns at DD Fury! Target straddled!  1 hits
16 11:02     DD Fury Secondary battery hit. Fire started
16 11:03     DD Fury identifies unknown ship as CL
16 11:09     BC Derfflinger-class fires 4 12in guns at DD Fury! Target straddled!  0 hits
16 11:10     CL Kolberg-class fires 5 4in guns at DD Fury! 1 hits
16 11:10     DD Fury Near miss!
16 11:10     BC Derfflinger-class opens fire at DD Llewellyn!
16 11:11     DD Llewellyn sights an unknown ship
16 11:20     At approximately 1120, the German force escapes to the east, and HMS FURY and HMS LLEWELLYN begin the trip back to England.  Despite the heavy damage the received, they both safely arrive in port later that day.
16 11:19     DD Fury Fire reduced by damage control
16 11:37     DD Fury Fire extinguished
Note:   Although the main body of the cruiser SAG was relatively close during this engagement (see attached figure), the low visibility and lack of situational awareness as to the location of the separated screening destroyers probably would have prevented them from reversing course and participating in the engagement.  Historically, during the night action phase of the Battle of Jutland,  the British destroyers were stationed 10,000 yards astern the main body.  Despite the relatively short distance between them and the flagship, Jellicoe was unaware that they were engaged by the Germans throughout in the night, this failure being largely due to a failure to report contact with the enemy forces. (1)

Aftermath

   To summarize this turn: the British laid a minefield, while the SMS DERFFLINGER made an ineffectual bombardment of Ramsgate. In a brief night action, two British destroyers are heavily damaged, but successfully torpedo the SMS DERFFLINGER.

     Had these events happened historically, they would have little operational or tactical importance.  However, from the political viewpoint, these actions would potentially have a disproportionate effect on the minds and emotions of the British leadership and public.   On two recent occasions in the game, the single surviving German battlecruiser has sailed into British home waters, sank a British cruiser and bombarded English soil.  In the game, a military target was shelled, so the outrage of the public would have likely been somewhat less than the historical 1914 Scarborough raid that hit civilian targets. (2)   However, being the first naval bombardment of English soil since 1667, such an attack would likely have been viewed as an affront by the impetuous First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill.  Such an operation would have potentially set into motion political forces that potentially effect military operations.  For instance, potentially a series of such operations could have resulted in the political necessity of deploying the Grand Fleet into the Helgoland Bight, setting the stage for a naval clash on terms favorable to the Germans.  Over 2500 years ago, Sun Tzu recommended a similar strategy that targeting the mind of the commander, writing, “When he concentrates, prepare against him; where he is strong, avoid him.  Anger his general and confuse him.”  (3)  Historically, German raids such as these could have been part of such a strategy to shape the battlefield for a decisive naval clash on favorable terms.

Endnotes

(1) Gordon, G. A. H. The Rules of the Game Jutland and British Naval Command, 484. Annapolis, Md: Naval Institute Press, 2000
 (2)  Massie, Robert K., and Robert K. Massie. Castles of Steel: Britain, Germany, and the Winning of the Great War at Sea, 325. New York: Random House, 2003.
 (3)  Sun, Bin. Sun Tzu The art of war, translated by Samuel B. Griffith, 67. New York: Oxford University Press, 1963.


“Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?” -Abraham Lincoln

Offline Tripoli

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Re: World War I in the North Sea-A Steam and Iron Campaign Game AAR
« Reply #29 on: May 28, 2016, 10:13:47 AM »
29 October -11 November1914

Strategic Overview

The strategic situation is unchanged from last turn.
 
Concept of Operations

   Intelligence reports that the High Seas Fleet is planning an operation, and that it has sufficient operations points for it to include the entire Fleet.  (see below).  This gives the Royal Navy an opportunity to ambush the Germans.  The Grand Fleet now has a 1.6:1 superiority in operational battleships and a 2:1 superiority in light cruisers.  This superiority in both battle line and scouting forces should allow it to have a decisive superiority in any fleet action. Although the use of Zeppelins  may somewhat mitigate the German scouting inferiority, the advent of bad weather in the North Sea will hopefully reduce their utility for the Germans.

   Because the entire German Fleet is potentially sorting, the entire Grand Fleet, less the pre-dreadnoughts, will likewise sortie to conduct a sweep of the North Sea, excluding the area around Helgoland Bight.  The superiority of the British Fleet is such it can  accept equal losses in capital ships to the Germans for this mission.   The Battlecruiser Fleet is reduced to a single operational ship, so the scouting will be done by the light cruisers.  Because the single remaining German Battlecruiser is believed to be damaged by a torpedo, it is believed that any German counter-scouting forces are limited to light cruisers.  Additionally, two heavy cruiser squadrons will support the light cruisers and act as bait to lure any German battleships into a trap.  The single British battlecruiser  will be far astern the heavy cruisers to provide support should any be necessary. 

A secondary minelaying mission to help block the Horn’s Reef exit to the Bight will also be part of the operation.   Additionally, in the event that the German High Seas Fleet does not sail, British light forces may raid the Helgoland Bight area. 

Losses in submarines will force me to move the scouting line further out.  Based on previous German deployments,  the submarines will deploy NE of the Frisian coast minefields.  A coastal submarine will deploy in the Broad Fourteens to provide early warning of German movements.

Destroyer patrols off of  Scapa Flow, the east coast of England, and the entrances to the Channel are planned to prevent German submarines and light forces from operating in the area.
 
Objectives

   In priority order, the objectives for this turn are as follows:

1.   Intercept and Destroy any German Capital ships that deploy outside of the Helgoland Bight, while taking equal or fewer losses in capital ships.
2.   Conduct mining off the Horn’s Reef while avoiding losses of any cruisers.
3.   Raid Helgoland Bight with light forces and sink any light forces encountered.

Intelligence

The German navy is reported to have 959 operational points and is reportedly planning an operation.  This number of points allows for the sortie of the entire High Seas Fleet.  However, no details are given about the operation,  so it is merely speculation based on the operation points available that the planned operation involves the entire German Fleet.

The 16 October torpedo hit on the DERFLINGER is reported to only have caused light damage.  Presumably, this is sufficient damage to require a short period in drydock, so she should not be available this turn.  Because of this, it is likely to be repaired this turn.  I evaluate the ECOA for this two week period in descending probability as follows:

1.   Most Probable ECOA-  Deployment of  the 11 Battleships and unknown number of pre-dreadnaughts to North Sea without Battlecruiser support.  Probable minelaying operations in conjunction with the deployment. 
2.   Most Dangerous ECOA - Deployment of  the 11 Battleships and unknown number of pre-dreadnaughts to North Sea with Battlecruiser support.  Probable minelaying operations in conjunction with the deployment. 
3.   Patrol in North Sea or off Danish coast by a single Battleship squadron, possibly in conjunction with mining off East coast of England.
4.   Mining by light forces off of British East coast/Channel
5.   Patrols by  light forces in coastal areas.

Available Forces

    A total of 863 operational points are available.  Two BB, one BC, two CLs, and seven destroyers complete repairs.  However, one battlecruiser and one submarine are withdrawn.  The losses in submarines are starting to significantly affect operational capabilities.  With only eight submarines available with sufficient range to reach Helgoland Bight, the ability to maintain a patrol line sufficient to detect a High Fleet sortie is marginal. The Order of Battle for this turn is below:


Replacements/Detachments


•   Reinforcements/Additions
o   BB HMS BENBOW
o   DD HMS MINOS

•   Detachments

o   BC HMS INFLEXIBLE
o   Submarine E5

Maintenance and Repairs

•   Units entering Repair/Maintenance
o   B AFRICA
o   DDs STAUNCH, LEOIDAS, LUCIFER and LEGION
o   AV RIVERA

•   Units returning from Maintenance

o   2 BB, 1 BC, 2 CL, 7 DDs

Training

   The 4th Battle Squadron is in need of training, but it can not be spared this turn.  Only HMS MINOS and HMS AURORA and the newly arrived BB HMS Benbow will be trained.

Administrative

     NSTR
 
Operations

See attached image for OPLAN.  The minelaying force from Harwich will proceed independently with the Grand Fleet in distant support , and begin minelaying operations at night, after the High Seas Fleet is located.  The Grand Fleet will rendezvous in the northern North Sea, proceed south to the border of the Bight, proceed west to the Broad Fourteens to cut off any German units that operate against the east coast of England or the channel, then proceed back to the central North Sea before returning to base. 
“Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?” -Abraham Lincoln