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"Best WWII Naval Battle for Gamers?" Topic

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Action Log

31 May 2018 11:40 a.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Removed from TMP Poll Suggestions board

971 hits since 7 Nov 2017
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian07 Nov 2017 4:55 p.m. PST

Which of the great naval battles of WWII works best on the tabletop?

rmaker07 Nov 2017 5:13 p.m. PST

Presumably a surface action is wanted, since carrier battles and anti-submarine battles are difficult to do on the table top. Daylight battles usually work better than night battles.

With those caveats, it's still hard to pick one, since most of the historical battles were lopsided. I mean, who wants to fight Jervis Bay v. Scheer? Probably the most "even" battle would be River Plate.

Personal logo Dances with Clydesdales Supporting Member of TMP07 Nov 2017 5:25 p.m. PST

River Platte.

McKinstry Fezian Inactive Member07 Nov 2017 5:49 p.m. PST

Cape Matapan or possibly 2nd Guadalcanal.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP07 Nov 2017 5:53 p.m. PST

Have done the River Platte a few times, fun battle to game

Guadalcanal in interesting but they were night battles

Cape Mataplan as well – but tough to do well for the Italians absent air cover

GamesPoet Supporting Member of TMP07 Nov 2017 5:56 p.m. PST

Midway. I've seen it done on the table top with opposing sides not being able to see the other side. Looked like great fun!

attilathepun47 Inactive Member07 Nov 2017 9:52 p.m. PST

There is some potential for the Java Sea, part of which took place in daylight, to be a good game, if the Allies had some ships which missed the battle, but could well have been present.

There were also a couple daylight encounters between the British and Italian fleets that proved desultory in reality, but could make good games if the Italian commander was more aggressive.

Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP07 Nov 2017 10:00 p.m. PST

River Platte is a fun one to do.

Fighting around Guadalcanal except there were some night actions.

Denmark Strait, but this time hang on to Prinz Eugen and get a full tank of gas before heading to the prom.

Surigao Strait

Naval battles in the Ofotfjord during the Norwegian Campaign.

First naval Battle of Narvik.

Second naval Battle of Narvik.

Java Sea

Cape Esperance


Empress Augusta Bay

Cape Matapan


Cape St. George

Vella Lavella



Blackett Strait

Makassar Strait

Komandorski Islands

Personal logo Virtualscratchbuilder Supporting Member of TMP Fezian08 Nov 2017 4:38 a.m. PST

You can always try some of the "nearly happened" or "kudda happened"

Force Z vs Kongo & Haruna et el.

Oldendorf vs Kurita

Deyo intercepts operation Ten Go

Mers el Kebir at sea

Sch. & Gn vs Malaya

Sch. & Gn vs Rodney

Tirpitz vs London, Norfolk, Tuscaloosa and Wichita

Berwick vs Hipper

Tirpitz, Hipper, Scheer and Lutzow vs Washington and Duke of York

DuBose vs Ise & Hyuga and maybe Oyodo

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP08 Nov 2017 6:26 a.m. PST

Another 'coulda' would be FNS Richelieu, a trio of
Fantasques and a couple of Duquesnes supported by
a sortie from the harbor in Casablanca (FNS Primaguet
and assorted smaller craft).

Make a good match for USS Massachusetts and her supports
(USS Tuscaloosa, USS Wichita and various DD's).

I've run such a game several times and the US usually
prevails, but it is close, barring dice luck breaking
for one side or the other.

Dexter Ward08 Nov 2017 7:32 a.m. PST

River Plate isn't very interesting – almost impossible for the Germans to win.

First Narvik is good.
Barents Sea is excellent.
Matapan is good if the Italians show a bit of spirit

Personal logo brass1 Supporting Member of TMP08 Nov 2017 9:48 a.m. PST

Calabria can be fun, especially if you add the possibility that the Italians will bomb their own fleet.

I've played Java Sea several times and it's pretty much a slam-dunk for the Japanese; the first time was a demonstration game at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans and the only Japanese casualty was a cruiser (torpedoed by an 11 year old girl!) and the last was at Bayou Wars a couple of years ago. That last game was the only one the Allies ever won.


mjkerner Supporting Member of TMP08 Nov 2017 3:15 p.m. PST

Atlantic convoy vs U-boats using Mal Wright's rules.

21eRegt08 Nov 2017 5:57 p.m. PST

Mers-el-Kiber but allow the French to sortie.
Casablanca but add in the Richelieu and her escorts.

RudyNelson09 Nov 2017 5:24 p.m. PST

Several rulesets and games have good scenarios. One I can think of is CA, S&T magazine, had a number of scenarios of good surface battles in it. A number of later gaming magazines had additional scenarios for it, Midway and other games.
The gang of Seekrieg, run great scenarios at Recon and Hurricon in Florida. Their fan website may have some of these listed.

David Manley10 Nov 2017 8:24 a.m. PST

Anything with MTBs, MGBs and S Boats :)

Bozkashi Jones12 Nov 2017 11:29 a.m. PST

Barents Sea, definitely.

In the Med, Cape Spada is a highly enjoyable action; 2 Italian CLs v 4 RN DDs with an Aussie CL and further DD as reinforcements.


Yellow Admiral14 Nov 2017 12:39 p.m. PST

Lots of good suggestions, but mine is simpler: try them all, and then some that almost happened, some that could have happened, and some that should have happened. That's a lifetime of WWII naval gaming right there.

- Ix

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP14 Nov 2017 4:56 p.m. PST

Nearly happened: PT/MTBs vs E-Boats on the outer picket line on D-Day.

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