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"Atlantic and Mediterranean naval campaigns" Topic

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Blackhorse MP10 Jan 2021 5:39 a.m. PST

My friends and I are wanting to start collecting fleets in 1/3000, using Navwar ships and Naval Thunder rules, for the Atlantic/Mediterranean campaigns between the British and the Germans(and perhaps Italians). The problem is that we don't really know much about those campaigns or navies. We already have the USN/IJN for the Pacific and are up-to-speed on that theater but are kind of clueless about the Atlantic/Med.

So I was hoping that the studied scholars of TMP could recommend some good resources that would help us fill the gaping void that is our knowledge of the Atlantic/Med naval war.

Thanks in advance.

HMS Exeter10 Jan 2021 7:36 a.m. PST

I know that its not highly thought of, but frankly, Wikipedia can be expected to provide a usable C+ overview of most anything.

Unlike the Pacific naval war, which was about seizing and dominating sea lanes and islands, the war in the Med and Atlantic was about supply lines. Mostly, about maintaining supply deliveries to the UK in the Atlantic, and the struggle to keep Malta and North Africa supplied in the Med.

In both theaters, subs were the existential threat. Surface ships operated as escorts and raiders, with comparatively few real balanced surface engagements. Air power struggled to play a decisive role. In the Atlantic, it was Coastal Command trying to suppress the UBoats. In the Med it was both sides trying to sever supply lines.

Good engagements to focus on…

Pursuit of the Graf Spee
The Bismarck chase
The Battle of the Barents Sea

Battle of Cape Matapan
The Malta Convoys
The Duisberg Convoy


would be a good starter reference.



Lascaris10 Jan 2021 7:40 a.m. PST

I think "Struggle for the Middle Sea" by O'Hara is a nice general history of the naval war in the Med. Having said that, I am by no means an expert on the subject so others may have differing opinions regarding the book.

Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP10 Jan 2021 8:39 a.m. PST

I would second the O'Hara book. There were a number of incidents between the Italians and British that could have become major engagements as well as those, like Matapan, that were important clashes. The Med is a more likely theater for What Ifs than the Atlantic. The major interference for the Italians was fuel followed by Mussolini.

Wilf1235810 Jan 2021 9:09 a.m. PST

There is a published Naval Thunder Atlantic campaign to try?


Blackhorse MP10 Jan 2021 9:39 a.m. PST

Wow, great info guys, thanks. I like the look of the Naval Thunder campaign and the books. I think I'll get the O'hara book because I found it used on for just $5.28 USD, which beats the heck out of $25.95 USD new or $18.07 USD used on Amazon. For those not familiar with that book seller, I've found it to be a great source for inexpensive and older or out of print books…cheap. Hopefully this will be a helpful tip for someone.grin

Mister Tibbles10 Jan 2021 10:45 a.m. PST

Here is a different bit of advice.

Check out the new solo sub wargame from GMT called Beneath the Med. link

You are an Italian sub commander. The free rulebook gives great insight into the theater. Also, check the Players Aid video with designer. The link is on the GMT page. I have the Pacific version and love it. This one is next on my list to get.

The Boardgame Geek entry has good info also. link

The Med is very different from Pacific.

Look at fast boat actions also, a'la Cruel Seas.

I like Naval Thunder.

skirmishcampaigns10 Jan 2021 8:32 p.m. PST

The North Atlantic campaign by Forney and Henry is great. Well worth the money. Just finished playing the whole thing.

skirmishcampaigns10 Jan 2021 8:33 p.m. PST

…we used a Naval Thunder and it was GREAT. Our new go to Rules. Very well thought out.

HMS Exeter10 Jan 2021 9:54 p.m. PST

+1 Blackhorse on Abebooks. Tho, their online ordering system used to be pretty haywire.

About 5 years ago I ordered a book on the Spanish Navy 1860-1939. The only copy was in Madrid. I ordered it, tho it seemed the ordering process screwed up. I wasn't charged, and the order wasn't confirmed so I figured it blew up.

About a week later, my phone rings. The caller has a fairly dense accent and it takes me a minute to realize why he has called. Come to find its the owner of the bookshop in Madrid, calling to try to complete the sale. Talk about going the additional 3000 miles.

Wow, just wow.

Blackhorse MP11 Jan 2021 5:51 a.m. PST

Exeter…That's quite a story. I haven't had any extreme cases like that…yet. I've ordered about a dozen or so books and almost all of them have been less than $7 USD and many have had free shipping. My OP wasn't about book sellers but I just can't recommend them enough.thumbs up

Mr Tibbles…that would take me down a different route, however I'm looking to do multi-player games and for the action to be on the surface, not below it.grin

skirmishcampaigns…thanks for the recommendations.

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP11 Jan 2021 9:35 a.m. PST

Another vote for the O'Hara book. There were a lot of interesting actions going on in the Mediterranean that we rarely hear about.

Bozkashi Jones17 Jan 2021 4:31 a.m. PST

For books I'd second pretty much anything by O'Hara, though for a bite-size run through of Kriegsmarine v. Royal Navy actions "The German Fleet at War" is hard to beat, with each action (including all the minor actions) having their own dedicated section with all the information wargamers want but most books leave out.

For an excellent overview, especially the strategic/political decision making, Correlli Barnett's "Engage the Enemy More Closely" is my choice, although it lacks detail for recreating battles in miniature – I'd go to O'Hara, or to Stephen Roskill "The Navy at War: 1939-1945" for that.

The Mediterranean is a fantastic theatre that has it all; fleet actions, convoy battles, destroyer and cruiser actions, amphibious landings, shore bombardments. Plus the Italians had some lovely looking ships, and the "barber's pole" air recognition strips on the decks really add some colour to the tabletop.

Another theatre worth considering is the Arctic Convoys – it's more manageable as a campaign, as it's more concentrated and the size of forces are limited (but still include all the best toys – Tirpitz, Duke of York, Scharnhorst, aircraft carriers, etc, etc). There is plenty of surface action from destroyer battles to battleships slugging it out. The absolute best reference I've found for the Arctic is "The Arctic Convoys: 1941-1945" by Richard Woodman.

As Wilf says above, there is "Naval Thunder: The Atlantic Campaign" to try. This is a "narrative" campaign but it sets up some really interesting actions, though it only covers from the invasion of Poland to the Dunkirk evacuations, unless it's been updated since I got my copy.

Have fun,


Blackhorse MP17 Jan 2021 10:57 a.m. PST

Thanks Nick.

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