Panzer Grenadier at Sea
By Peter Lloyd
You can complicate a land-based wargame very quickly. This is especially true when Pacific islands are involved. Some years ago, there was a Daily Content article about Guadalcanal Naval Power. That article was the seed that germinated into the sea force that sails to my table-top beaches and comes upon the sands of my Vassal screen.
First, we need some functional rules and definition.
Definitions: Watercraft in Panzer Grenadier come in three versions: Ships, Boats, and Amphibious. Ships are large vessels such as CL, DD, APD, AK, LST, and LSV. Amphibious units are any units with both water and land movement factors greater than 0. Everything else is a boat.
Movement and Stacking: Unless otherwise specified, all ships have a movement of 10 while at sea. Being at sea is defined as three or more hexes from any partial sea hex (such as a beach hex). When within two hexes of the shore, ships have a movement of 3. When moving into within two hexes of a partial sea hex, a ship must stop when it has moved three hexes total for that turn. Ships, except for LST’s, may not enter partial sea hexes. Only one ship may occupy a hex. Up to three other non-ship pieces may occupy the hex with the ship. Unless otherwise noted, ships may only enter all-water hexes.
Leaders and Activation: All ships and boats have inherent leaders. A ship may activate other ships and boats in its own and adjacent hexes. Boats may only activate other boats.
Combat Against Watercraft: Boats and amphibians are subject to normal combat results according to their armor type. Disrupted or demoralized boats and amphibians retain their full movement capabilities while occupying all-water hexes, though demoralized boats and amphibians may not engage in combat movement. Watercraft are not subject to forced unloading when disrupted or demoralized. All watercraft are subject to assault combat results when in a shore hex.
Ships are peculiar in the system. They are immune to Direct Fire from personnel units, except for HMG or WPN units. Units with AT fire values may double the AT fire strength and treat it as DF, using that value instead of their normal DF or BF fire strength. Ships are only affected by X results. Ships must take a morale check with any X result.
Disrupted or demoralized ships retain their full movement capabilities, though demoralized ships may not engage in combat movement. Two X results, whether cumulative or by 2X, cause a step loss. Two step losses disable a ship. A 3X result immediately disables a ship.
A disabled ship in an all-water hex must move way from, and out of range of, all enemy units capable of firing upon it. A disabled ship must use its full movement to get out of range, by the most expedient route available. A disabled ship in a shore hex (such as an LST) is immobilized at that hex, units may still load or unload. Units aboard disabled ships do not count as units lost, even should they be carried away by the disabled ship. Disabled ships themselves count as lost units according to whatever scenario rules may apply.
Navies are a lot like corporate lawyers. You only really need one when someone else has one. With that in mind, I have provided some Japanese ships and gunboats. Now on to particular pieces.
Destroyers and Light Cruisers
These pieces are named for their respective classes. This applies to both the American and Japanese ships. Buchanan and Monssen, from the Guadalcanal set, are Gleaves-class destroyers. Radford is a Fletcher-class destroyer.
APD; High-Speed Transport
Normally a converted destroyer or destroyer escort (those at Guadalcanal were converted Wilkes-class destroyers). APDs may transport up to three personnel units. Every APD carries an LCVP with it. Deploying the LCVP requires one turn and requires the APD to remain stationary, though it may fire.
AK; Auxiliary Cargo Ship
This is a generic ship, pressed into service for military service. It is a seaborne unloading or loading point. The ship is immobile except per scenario special rules. The ship has no defined capacity or attributes.
LCI; Landing Craft, Infantry
The LCI was originally designed by the British Royal Navy. In mid-1942, the U.S. Navy adopted the craft. The boat had accommodation for approximately a company of infantry for one or two days. Debarkation during a beach assault was achieved via gangways deployed from either side of the bow. An LCI may transport up to three personnel or weapon units. Only foot personnel and mortars having an unlimbered movement rate may debark via the ramps (onto the beach). Other personnel or weapon units may also be transported, but they may only debark at a pier or dock.
LCT; Landing Craft, Tank
The LCT was originally designed by the British Royal Navy in 1940, then referred to as TCL. In 1942 the U.S. Navy adopted the Mk V version for use. The craft may transport one vehicle with an armor value of 6 or less. It may also transport a reduced vehicle of heaver armor.
LST; Landing Ship, Tank
An LST may transport up to five personnel and/or weapon units, or up to three vehicles. If carrying a combination of vehicles and non-vehicles, each vehicle displaces two non-vehicles, though the vehicles maybe loaded. There are three images for the LST piece, carrying generic crates/containers, carrying tanks and carrying an LCT.
LCI(G); Landing Craft, Infantry (Gun)
A modified version of the LCI. The troop accommodation and landing ramps have been removed. In their place, the boat received additional armor and the forward gun was replaced with a 40mm auto-cannon.
LCI(R); Landing Craft, Infantry (Rocket)
The LCI(R) fires several of the Navy’s beach barrage rockets from fixed mounts. The BBR had a fixed range of 1100 yards, which could be almost 6 hexes (if you squint). Because of the peculiarities of the game, I have increased the range to 8 hexes. The LCI(R) may only fire at a range of 8 hexes at either pre-plotted or self-spotted targets. The rockets must be reloaded after firing, taking one activation to do so.
LCI(M); Landing Craft, Infantry (Mortar)
The boat was intended to provide fire support during amphibious assaults. Normally the LCI(M) should only be allowed to fire at self-spotted targets or be directed by specially designated spotters, such as naval gunfire teams.
YP-17; Yard Patrol boat 17
These were commerce enforcement vessels. YP-17 was armed with a 1-pdr (37mm) pom-pom. She and the YP-16 were in Guam when the Japanese attacked. The YP-16 was scuttled before the landings. The YP-17 was damaged by Japanese aircraft and captured by the Japanese on 10 December 1941.
All these craft, and more, appear in the OOB extensions for Panzergrenadier Über, the Vassal adaptation of the Panzer Grendier system. Check the extension catalogs and notes to find even more goodies.
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