This week’s game at the SESWC was another test to try out my draft 1860-1870 period naval rules. The scenario involved a Union force attacking the fictional Mobil Bay to suppress the coast defences. The Union had 5 monitors and 4 gunboats versus 3 Confederate ironclads, 4 cotton clad rams/gunboats supporting 2 coastal forts. The entrance to the bay contained a torpedo minefield marked with bouys.
|The Passaic monitors and the gunboat squadron|
The Union gunboats were engaged in the narrows by the stone fort and then by the cotton clad rams. The USS Ceres and Miami both struck after suffering damage mainly from the fort. The 2 squadrons of monitors heavily damaged the earthwork fort and suppressed its fire for a time but the gallant garrison recovered their elan and at the end of the game the stars and bars still flew.
|Monitors passing thru the ironclads that they shattered|
The 3 Passaic class monitors were attacked by the CSS gunboats which attempted multiple rams all of which proved to be glancing blows. The short range fire of the monitors wrecked 3 of the gunboats. The CSS ironclads engaged the Onondaga and the Tecumseh which shattered the Nashville and the Tuscaloosa with their 15” smooth bores and forced the Tennessee to break of the action.
In total the Union lost a monitor and 2 gunboats struck, whilst the Confederates lost 2 ironclads and 2 gunboats struck. Despite the best efforts of the umpire (myself) none of the ships that entered or got close to the minefield struck any of the devilish underwater devices.This was our second test game and the rules generally worked well and were quickly picked up by the 3 of the 5 players who were not at the first test game. Some more lessons have been taken on board and will be incorporated in the next update of the rules. Further test games to follow……
|Stone fort, gunboats, cottonclads and monitors in action. Glancing blow on the Passaic.|
As part of the continuing Anaconda Plan the Gulf Blockading squadron is launching another attack on the port of Mobil. The objective is to reduce the coast defences and disable some of the rebel ships in Mobil Bay before landing troops to capture the forts. The rebel’s naval force is based on the 2 effective ironclads CSS Tennessee and newly completed CSS Nashville. A number of the devilish underwater torpedoes have been laid in the entrance to the bay but spies report that their positions are shown by coloured bouys.Monitor Sqdn – Passiac, Nahunt, Mondauk
Gunboat Sqdn - Sassicus, Mattasesett, Miami, Ceres
Command Sqdn – Onondaga, Tecumseh
|Tennessee leads the Nashville to the combat|
ConfederateSpies report that the blockading Union forces have been reinforced and are about to launch a major attack on the defences at the entrance to Mobil Bay preparatory to a troop landing to capture Mobil.
As well as the local coast defences a strong defence flotilla has been put together from along the coast to protect this strategic location. The core of the naval defence is the 2 powerful ironclads Tennessee and newly commissioned Nashville. The Tuscaloosa has until now always been considered too slow for an open water action. The entrance to the bay on one side is protected by a field of underwater torpedoes.Ironclad Sqdn – Tennessee, Nashville, Tuscaloosa
Cottonclad Ram Sqdn - Gen Beauregard, Gov Moore
Gunboats – Selma, Gen Earl Van Dorn
Coast defences - Brick/stone fort, Earth rampart fort