I’m working on a side project as a miniatures wargame. As you might have deduced if you have been keeping up, I like naval wargames of all sorts. I don’t normally game WW2 and modern as the periods don’t hold a huge amount of interest for me, but there are certain theaters of war that capture the imagination, and the European theater of war naval arena is one of them. Although the Kriegsmarine wasn’t extraordinarily active as a surface force during World War II, when it did sally forth, it made for engagements of great drama and intrigue.
The escape of the battleship Bismarck and heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen for commerce raiding activities caused a firestorm of Royal Navy ships to go on the hunt in response. The historical scenario is interesting as the Bismarck was a real threat– with the possible exception of the HMS Hood (the pride of the RN) there were very few British ships that could toe the line with the Bismarck on a pound for pound gunnery basis.
What I’m attempting to do is to use Axis and Allies War at Sea miniatures (from Wizards of the Coast) to represent the various ships in theater. I’ve tried out the basic game at conventions as a demo and wasn’t hugely impressed with the rules, but the ships look pretty good, considering. There are not a huge number of ship models available per nation in the War at Sea series, but there are a suitable amount of representative models that will do for members of the same ship classes or just good enough for rule of thumb purposes.
The rules I’m using are Mongoose Publishing’s Victory at Sea. I have a few WWII naval rule sets but I am going to give these a try because they are relatively simple, yet have enough detail to retain interest.
Proper historical scenarios are a possibility, given a decent ship model mix, but I’m likely going to end up with a morphed “What if” kind of battle at the end of the day, with elements of the two historical scenarios– the battle of the Denmark Strait and the final Sinking of the Bismarck blended together to make it more balanced and interesting. For instance, when the Bismarck went under, it was alone– the Prinz Eugen had detached to fulfill Bismarck’s mission goals of commerce raiding. The Prinz Eugen, however, was available in the earlier Danish Straits scenario, so there’s no reason not to add it back in as a “What If?” kind of situation. Students of history know that the Bismarck had her steering damaged by a torepedo hit from the Ark Royal– a British carrier in theater but not ever withing gunshot range of the Bismarck. I think I’ll add her to the battle, but mostly just put her off-the-table launching air strikes into the battle zone. Here’s my plan for picking up War at Sea miniatures for the OOB I need to recreate:
VICTORY AT SEA, Sink the Bismarck, phase one, using Axis and Allies War at Sea miniatures
STILL LOOKING FOR
Bismarck #35 Still trying
HMS Ark Royal #07 Still Trying
FOUND, on the way
HMS Hood #09 got it on ebay
Prinz Eugen #32 Won on Ebay
HMS Rodney #11 getting Rodney from Ebay
HMS Kent #14 getting HMS Kent from ebay
Swordfish Mk. II #14 2 coming from Ebay need 4 more.
If anyone has an Ark Royal and Bismarck they wish to part with, get in contact with me.