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The Cod War – Playing the Period


This was never meant to be a period – only a minor diversion. it still is – it’s not something I’d normally give the status of a full-blown naval period, but it is fascinating nonetheless. After all, we’ve played games where nobody fires a gun, no ships get captured or sunk, and everyone goes away thinking what a splendid evening they’ve had! You can’t say better than that for a wargame…CodThere were actually three Cod Wars – but I concentrate on the second and third ones, which lasted from September 1972 to October 1973, and from November 1975 until June 1976. In fact, I tend to concentrate on the ships which took part in the third and final encounter. It all came about when the evil Icelanders extended their fishing limits, therefore threatening to put British deep sea fishermen out of job. Icelandic gunboats harassed the trawlers, and so Royal Naval warships were sent in to protect them. Nobody could fire at anyone else, but the Icelandic gunboats tried to cut the very expensive nets of the British trawlers, and even more expensive British frigates were manoeuvred between the two, to protect the fishermen. So, while nobody gets shot, you get to use modern warships like dodgems (bumper cars), which is simply great fun!IMG_3334The rules we use for this are There’s Something Wrong With Our Bloody Cod Today! – a set produced by the gifted David Manley of the Naval Wargames Society, and available free online. The 1/1200 scale ship models are all bought commercially, although I had to convert my two Icelandic gunboats from other ships. One of the British frigates – HMS Falmouth – was one I actually served on a few years after her bruising encounters off Iceland. I’d like to expand this a bit – a stern trawler or two, the British tug Lloydsman, another frigate and another gunboat or two. That means keeping my eye open, and picking up the models when they’re available- and when the price is right. While this will never be anything more than a small diversion – it’ll still produce an entertaining multi-player game every six months or so. After all, it’s always good to have a game now and again where nobody gets killed … apart from the cod!

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