Sunday, 15 April 2018

Jutland in a Day

Yesterday whilst most of the UK wargaming population were at Salute I took part in another refight of the battle of Jutland. This was run at the Berkeley Vale club in Slimbridge and was organised by Stuart Machin from the Naval Wargames Society. Stuart and I have been working on a WW1 set of fast play rules for a while now, drawing on my "Jutland in a Day" project, "Broadside and Salvo" (my pre-dreadnought rules) and the extensive work that Stuart put in to organising the NWS Jutland game at the NMRN on the battle's centenary.

Setup was completed at 1000, first moves at 1030 once a few players had downed a hearty breakfast supplied by the venue (the Tudor Arms pub in Slimbridge, home of the BV club and the site of a very nice skittle alley which serves as the games room). The initial setup was not quite as the actual battle as Stuart had run a pre-came mini campaign to determine starting positions. In the end things were not that different from reality, the main difference being that the German pre-dreads were left to guard Horns Reef, rather than being dragged out to slow down the fleet and act as a liability. Thus the High Seas Fleet looked rather small when compared with the Grand Fleet.

The Grand Fleet deployed in squadrons in line ahead. The ships used were Stuart's collection of 1/6000 Hallmark models, so no sneezing!

Ahead of the Grand Fleet, Beatty's battlecruisers and the supre-dreadnoughts of 5th BS probe towards the Germans. Contact has already been made between the light forces of both sides.

The High Seas Fleet - the German plan was to maintain much closer liaison between the main fleet (closer) and the battlecruisers (middle top). This was to prove to be a most useful decision

Initial exchanges proved costly to the light cruisers of both sides, which at times were the only targets for the enemy's battlecruisers. Echoing Heligoland Bight they were often rapidly dispatched.

Pillars of smoke denote the final resting place of two British light cruisers....
To the right of the shot the battlecruisers prepare to engage each other.

Between the line of the German BCs (lower) and the RN's BCs and 5th BS (top) a vicious destroyer melee is fought out. Both sides attempted to launch torpedo attacks on the heavy ships of their opponents, but these were frequently frustrated, the few attacks that were launched all failed at this stage of the battle. 

The battleships of the High Seas Fleet turn in echelon towards the battlecruiser action, seeking to engage 5th BS

Inexplicably, and against the best traditions of the Royal Navy, Beatty turns away from the Germans and opens the range. There will be some busy redrawing of track charts in the official histories (or maybe not....... 

5th BS in trouble. Despite roughing up the head of the HSF's battleline the QE superdreads came in for some punishment themselves. Barham, training the line, was heavily damaged, suffered a "fire" critical hit result and was unable to stem the flames. Damage escalated and the ship was lost! If nothing else this represented a severe moral blow to the RN, and the cheers of the Germans could be heard throughout the pub!

Despite their success at putting one of the QEs on the bottom the HSF found itself in a pickle as the  Grand Fleet hove into view. Discretion now being the better part of valour the decision was made to head for the hills (or at least for Horns Reef) and darkness (night was 3 hours away). However, several of the German dreadnoughts and battlecruisers had been damaged and their speed reduced slightly as a result. A tail chase was about to ensue.

A second disaster for the RN! Beatty decided to re-engage to sow the escape of the German battlecruisers. Lion found herself under heavy fire and she succumbed to multiple salvoes that sent her to the bottom. Beatty himself went down with his ship (so in the event no need to amend those charts!)

At that point your intrepid reported was forced to take his leave as emergent domestic requirements forced me to be elsewhere. Final details of the subsequent action are eagerly awaited from Scapa and Wilhelmshaven!

The game itself ran very well. The objective of fighting "Jutland in a Day" was ably achieved as I was informed by one of the players that the game drew to a suitable conclusion. And the rules worked very well, just one or two minor glitches hat were easy to resolve. Once a few turns ha been played everyone knew what to do and we progressed without many hitches (mostly caused by food and drinks breaks and inadvertent shifting of the tables!). So I think a great success.


  1. Epic re-fight (and it fit within the day)
    Mortal blows to Barham and Lion were grim reading for the RN
    Leaving those pre-dreadnoughts in harbour was good call presuming the HSF got away

    Thanks for posting

  2. Looks like a great game. Please let us know when the rules are published. After the play tests we did, I'm looking forward to them.


  3. Check out the rest of AAR (with more photos) on David's post on the naval wargaming group on Facebook.

    1. Link here.

    2. And for those wanting the short version or not wanting to go on Facebook, in the subsequent tail chase 5BS and 3BCS, whilst taking pretty heavy damage, inflicted enough damage on the HSF so that they sank 2 Nassau class BBs and enabled the Grand Fleet to chase down and sink another Nassau and all 4 Helgolands. So 2 to 7 in terms of sunk ships. Also we proved again that armoured cruisers should not get anywhere near dreadboughts who don't have anything better to shoot at (5 we're sunk).

  4. Great report - thanks - and it looks like everyone had a good time - with the possible exception of Beatty