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The Elba Channel, 1943


WWII Coastal Forces, Attack with Torpedoes, 1/600th scale

We hadn’t brought out the MTBs and E-Boats for a while, so I decided to run a Coastal Forces game, set in the Mediterranean. Both sides ha convoys – a two ship resupply convoy for the Germans, and a battered tanker limping home for the British. Both sides also had attack groups – MTB’s and rather un-historic PT Boats for the Allies, and E-Boats and Italian MAS Boats for the Axis. The battle was fought at night – obviously we wanted to see the lead, so we didn’t kill the lights – it would only upset the fantasy and role-players in the corner. Normally that wouldn’t worry me, but I was convinced it was the season of goodwill!Allied-approachWhile the E-Boats hugged the coast before coming roaring in towards the stricken tanker, the Allied commander peeled off his PT Boats to cover the convoy, then swept in from seaward to pick off the Axis convoy, which was heading for the cover of some coastal sandbanks. A lucky few shots from the Flaklighter (aka “The Death Star”) sank two MTBs with direct hits from its 105mm guns, while another boat was ripped apart by 20mm shells – taking an Italian VAs boat down with it. However, just before they were hit the MTB’s fired off a salvo of torpedoes which hit and destroyed the larger of the two Axis freighters. it was an expensive way to sink her, but at least the British boats did their job.Allied-convoy-evadesOn the other side of the table the E-Boats and MAS boats made their run, losing one boat in the attack. Another was crippled by a direct hit from the trawler HMS Burray, but the British lost a “Dog boat” in the scrap, which probably was a fair exchange. Unfortunately for the Germans their torpedo spreads all missed, so as the game ended their commander ordered his boats to disengage and head out to sea – the plan being to reload and make another run. Unfortunately the game ended before we fought that leg of the action through. We’re still not sure who won, but we all had fun, and the game looked good! As for rules we used Dillon Brown’s Attack with Torpedoes, a set which I believe is about to be reprinted by Partizan Press. They’re not perfect, and we introduced our own house rules to cover turning and torpedo firing (which still need to be tweaked). However, the firing system, the pace of the game and the ease with which the system can be picked up are all big pluses in favour of Dillon’s set.

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