Saturday, March 29, 2014

Ironclads: Action at Palmyra Island

Palmyra Island Mississippi, 25 FEB 1863. 
This is a night action, set on a river roughly six hexes wide, winding across three maps. The ironclad USS Indianola begins halfway across map 1 and needs to make it to map 3 without losing more than 50% hull or flotation. She is pursued by CSS (formerly USS) Queen of the West and Webb, wooden vessels built as rams. They come on at the edge of map 1 on the first turn. Both are faster than Indianola--Webb is capable of a blazing 18 hexes per turn!--and perhaps more importantly, both have guns with good fields of fire, and heavily armored bows. The Confederates also get two dummy counters to simulate the Indianola's lack of tactical information.
Historically, Indianola suffered seven rams before she limped to the riverbank, ran aground and surrendered.
In this game, both sides moved downriver, with the Confederates keeping all four ships (two real, two bogus) together and moving at speed 8 or so. On turn 3, rolls for stack flares dispelled one dummy counter; on turn 4, the two sides were at range 9, just within targeting range and also within the narrow arc of Indianola's stern guns. One shot nicked the paint of QotW's armored prow, the other removed the second dummy; that was about all the success the Union had. Indianola swerved back and forth across the river, trying to avoid rams; as she headed toward a riverbank at full speed, I ordered "Stand by to portage!", which would have been a good move if I could have managed it. Webb missed the ram but raced past and boxed her in.  The Union ship was raked fore and aft, taking serious hull damage from the Confederate heavy guns, while her own shells couldn't get past the Confederate bow armor. A critical hit jammed her rudder, which made her course fatally predictable; Queen of the West plowed into her, stove in her stern and sank her. Decisive victory, Confederates. 

No comments:

Post a Comment