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The Battle of Waterloo-Plancenoit 1815 ...

WWII Naval Action (March 2013)

Steve and Lawerence played a WWII naval game between a British and Italian force, this looked like a good game, I love naval, we don't do enough.  See text and pictures below.
Text written by Steve T.

British v Italian battleship action off Cape Spartivento
General Quarter 3 system


11am 28th Nov 1940 south of Sardinia

The British are running a small convoy through to Malta from Gibralter and then sending reinforcements onto Egypt.  A force consisting of HMS Ramillies, HMS Renown, cruisers and destroyers is acting as escort.  An Italian force of Vittorio Veneto, Giulio Cesare, cruisers and destroyers have been dispatched to intercept. 

The Italians have split into two formations both searching south from the coast of Sardinia.  A force of 5 Italian cruisers and 8 destroyers is to the east while the battleship force with escorting cruisers and destroyers is further to the west trying to either circle round to the rear of the convoy or intercept the slow British battleships covering the convoy.   British aerial reconnaissance however has detected the Italian move and 4 cruisers and 7 destroyers have moved to challenge the Italian cruisers. 

The slower battleships cover the approach of the Italian battleships.  

The Battle

At 11am on a clear, calm autumn day with a light westerly wind both sides see each others smoke on the horizon. 

To the south, steaming east at 20 knots, is Force H; HMS Ramillies (old, slow battleship with 8 * 15” guns), HMS Renown (old, battlecruiser with 6 * 15” guns), HMAS Sydney and HMS Orion (modern light cruisers with 8 * 6” guns), 3 light destroyers and 3 heavy destroyers under the command of Admiral Thomas. 

Directly to the north is the Italian fleet consisting of; Vittorio Veneto (fast, modern battleship with 9 * 15” guns), Giulio Cesare (fast, old, light battleship with 10 * 12.6” guns), Muzio Attendolo and Raimondo Montecuccoli (modern, light cruisers with 8 * 6” guns) and 6 light destroyers is heading south east under the command of Admiral Mack.

Needless to say , opening long range gunnery by the battleships is ineffective, Giulio Cesare is masked by the Vittorio Veneto and cannot even fire.  Confusion in identifying the two British battleships means the latter opens fire on HMS Renown rather than leaving the lightly armoured battlecruiser for the Giulio Cesare lighter guns.   HMS Renown fires on the Attendolo.  Early maneuvering by the Italian fleet forces the Montecuccoli slow to avoid a collision and leaves it well behind it’s sister ship.

Trying to catch the Royal Navy out, by using their superior speed, the Italian battleships turn to the south west to cut behind them.  The Attendolo and 3 destroyers with Montecuccoli trailing behind continue south though to challenge HMAS Sydney and HMS Orion and the 3 heavy destroyers who, in an aggressive move, charge north.  The heat haze seems to effect the long range gunnery and few hits are inflicted for some time.  One fortunate shell from HMS Ramillies does however knock out a main turret on the Veneto. 

With the range closing fast the cruisers and destroyers have moved into gunnery range and exchange fire with Attendolo losing one of it’s guns and the leading Italian destroyer taking a pounding while the British suffer no hits.  The British battleships turn north east to keep their guns bearing and again exchange largely ineffective fire with the Italians.  Veneto does hit HMS Renown and slow it down but even with this loss of speed it is still faster than the aged HMS Ramillies.  In turn HMS Renown knocks out the Cesare’s Gunnery Control, reducing her subsequent gunnery accuracy.

The Attendolo destroyers and even the Montecuccoli have now moved into close range of the British and the latter go to rapid fire mode, pouring shells into their opponents who lack the training to respond in kind.  Despite this, the courageous Italian light forces push on, intent on torpedoing the battleships.  However, they are pummeled from three sides and suffer horrendously.  Attendolo loses half of it’s guns, torpedoes and slows down.  Montecuccoli is battered into a flaming wreck and sinks in a cloud of steam as the water extinguishes the fires.  The 3 destroyers are reduced to ineffective, floating scrap metal.  This isn’t without some damage to the British, HMS Orion is hit and takes on water losing speed and HMAS Sydney and the 3 destroyers all take some damage

While their secondary guns engage the Italian light forces the big guns of the British battleships continue their largely ineffective firing on the Veneto and Cesare.  HMS Renown manages to, at last, knock out a main turret on the Cesare.  Despite it’s earlier loss of gunnery accuracy the Cesare  achieves an incredible salvo against HMS Ramillies which knocks out 3 of it’s main gun turrets.

Concerned by this loss of firepower Admiral Thomas signals a general withdrawal of the fleet.  Orders are sent out for the two battleships to break off and head east.  The destroyers and cruisers are to set up a series of smokescreens to mask the withdrawal while threatening torpedo attacks against any attempted pursuit.  Admiral Mack in turn is shaken by the damage to his light forces - and unaware of the damage to HMS Ramillies.  He has also received news that the Italian cruiser force to the east have withdrawn having suffered a major defeat to the British, losing 3 cruisers, while the British have lost only 1.  Unsettled by the losses he turns his force back to port.

The convoy steams on for Malta and Egypt. 

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