The game was played with hidden movement in the initial stages as far as the opposing teams were concerned. A large screen was rigged between the two teams with vague sighting reports passed as the fleets closed, and a lone "pilot" from Engadine allowed a brief opportunity to walk over to the German side to draw a quick sketch of what they saw. Communication between the main body of players (who took the role of squadron commanders) and their fleet commanders was also limited to signalling which could be by signal (possibility of interception or garbled transmission) or semaphore (definitely garbled!). Despite this the fleet commanders built up fairly accurate pictures of the relative positions of the enemy's fleet (and their own) . So it was interesting that when the screen came down there was an audible shock from the German squadron commanders as they realised their battlecruisers were sailing into the apex of a "V" formed by Beatty's battlecruisers and 5th BS on one flank and the leading squadrons of the Grand Fleet on the other. Battle was joined and it was not long before Von Der Tann and Barham as the leading ships of their respective squadrons began to take some heavy hits
The calm before the storm - British to the left, Germans to the right
The Grand Fleet divides, seeking to catch the German BCs in a pincer movement. To the left, German light forces look at the odds and decide that discretion is the batter part of valour, departing under a smoke screen
The five German battlecruisers (bottom middle) realise they have bitten off more than they can chew
Alas other commitments meant I couldn't stay long after lunch, but in a post action communique from David yesterday evening it was reported that the German battlecruisers were savaged, all five ships being sunk, with the British losing Barham, Seeing their fast arm destroyed the High Seas Fleet sought to disengage and the battle was declared a British victory.
Semaphore in action - players were also encouraged to wear anti flash gear!
Communications distances weren't great, but were still tricky!
This was an exciting and quite enjoyable event for all concerned from what I could see, and made better since many of the players were not wargamers. and even better considering this was the first mega game that David had organised. A most impressive feat.
David was also presented with a most wonderful cake on an HMS Erin theme - something that should be a feature of every naval wargame :)
Te very proud recipient of a very lovely cake
So, with my first foray into Jutland on the wargames table complete thoughts are turning now to the NWS game as the National Museum of the Royal Navy tomorrow......