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Ardalsfjord, 1940


WWII Naval, General Quarters, 1/1200 scale

norway-game-july-09-07This very pretty game was all down to Kevan Gunn, who not only supplied the ships, but he built the fjords. its all part of his own pet project – refighting the Narvik campaign in several scales, and on land, sea and air. I know – it all sounds quite mad, but at least we got a great game out of it.The premise was that the German cruiser Emden had just finished bombarding Oslo, and had anchored up a Norwegian fjord, somewhere near Stavanger, where it waited for fresh orders. Anti-torpedo netting had been strung to seaward, and the light cruiser was guarded by two powerful German destroyers. After the Emden was spotted by reconnaissance aircraft, the Admiralty dispatched a half-flotilla of four destroyers to sink her.norway-game-july-09-09The problem was, the attack was to be carried out in daylight, and the Germans were expecting it. the four British destroyers steamed up the fjord at full speed, in line astern. HMS Bedouin led the way, followed by Kimberley, Havock and Hotspur. The idea was that the tougher Tribal Class would soak up the enemy fire, leaving the rest free to launch their torpedoes.norway-game-july-09-05Of course, it didn’t work out that way. At first it seemed that Bedouin led a charmed life. Despite being fired at by two destroyers and a cruiser (whose crew were hurriedly raising steam and cutting their anchor cable), she suffered only minor damage, while her own guns gave the destroyer Georg Thiele a bit of a pasting, knocking out two of her gun mounts.norway-game-july-09-01Then it started going wrong. First, Havock and Hotspur formed their own sub-division, led by Commander Trail. He decided to ignore orders and wheel out of line, and launched a spread of torpedoes at the German destroyers. As the flotilla commander I wasn’t too impressed, as the target was the Emden. The lead two destroyers had no option but to forge ahead, rounding the end of the torpedo nets to enter the Emden’s lair. That was when the Kimberley was hit, a point-blank pummeling from both the Georg Thiele and her consort the Bernd von Arnim. Bedouin was also hit, and both destroyers lost their torpedo mounts, while Kimberley was left without any working guns. Both of them were firing back, concentrating on the Emden. Commander Trail’s two destroyers joined in, while they careered around on the wrong side of the fjord, and outside the torpedo netting.norway-game-july-09-14Then the Bedouin scored a critical “bulkhead” hit, and it was clear the German cruiser was suffering badly. Her damage control parties were trying to deal with serious flooding and a major fire, and her fire slackened. One of the German destroyers had chased the British into the anchorage, while the other cruised the fjord, exchanging fire with Havock and Hotspur. It turned out that Commander Trail’s torpedo spread was a dummy. Unfortunately, that’s when he decided to unleash his real spread, aiming at the Emden which was trying to head out into the fjord.norway-game-july-09-02Bedouin was hit, and went down. Kimberley emerged unscathed, but that was little consolation for me, as Iost my best destroyer to a British torpedo! I took solace in his “pink gin” (see above), and muttered about court martials and keelhauling for the rest of the night…norway-game-july-09-10However, the final drama came the following turn. The Germans failed two attempts to stem the flooding, and so the Emden sank, while the remaining British destroyers laid smoke and disappeared back towards the open sea. Mission accomplished – hurrah – pink gins all round!norway-game-july-09-18This was our first game with the new Third Edition of General Quarters, and everyone was mightily impressed. They were as quick as the old set, but more detailed, and probably more realistic. Above all, they were great fun to play, and we all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

 

 

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