The Turkish Black Sea Fleet:
By Jim Stear
Note: The Turkish Black Sea Fleet appeared in the New Year’s 2014 Golden Journal, a tiny special and very irregular publication exclusively for Gold Club members. With these special rules and the scenarios that follow, members will get the equivalent of the small supplements we used to publish – for free. It’s good to be a Hexocrat.
With the fifth Golden Journal (New Year’s 2014), Mike published a nice set of 15 long and 10 short playing pieces for use the Great War at Sea series, detailing ships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, as well as SMS Goeben and SMS Breslau, all under Ottoman colors. While finally providing players with proper pieces for the battle cruiser Yavuz Sultan Selim (ex-Goeben) and the 1917 version of the light cruiser Midilli (ex-Breslau), the collection also provides material for “what if” scenarios assuming the balance of the Russian ships in the Black Sea fell into the hands of the Central Powers, and schemes of turning them against the Allies (under the Ottoman banner and with largely Turkish crews, albeit under de facto control of German officers) came to pass.
Three scenarios using many of the new pieces were provided in the Journal, and they can of course be used to properly represent re-flagged ships in Ottoman service in GWAS: Mediterranean. Note however when using them with Mediterranean:
• BC01 Yavuz should have a speed of 2 unless otherwise noted in the scenario special rules; the piece provided in the Journal represents a war-weary ex-Goeben no longer able to make her maximum speed of over 26 knots.
• CL00 Midilli is ex-Breslau in her 1917 configuration.
• Both ships should receive the German gunnery modifier unless specified otherwise.
Mike asked if I would be interested in supplying additional scenarios which make use of the new pieces, and of course I couldn’t resist. Over the coming months we’ll publish more situations for Mediterranean (in some instances supplemented by ships from other games) that make use of these fine new scorch-less laser-cut Journal pieces. In the meantime, I wanted to set the stage with additional special (and optional) rules that will apply to the new scenarios (and unless otherwise noted or as modified below, all Mediterranean rules apply). Players may, if they wish, experiment with these new rules in the original Mediterranean scenarios (and in those of other GWAS games); however they are intended for the ones specifically written for the Turkish Black Sea Fleet pieces. Enjoy!
Adrift at Sea
A player receives 50% of the VPs (round fractions up) for each enemy ship which has insufficient fuel to return to a friendly port (captured or starting) at the end of play.
If a fleet with an intercept mission enters or occupies a sea zone that contains an enemy port, the owning player may write BLOCK on the log sheet for it during the Orders Phase. During the Move Fleets Phase of the turn in which BLOCK is plotted for a fleet, the player removes some or all of the ships from the fleet box and places them directly on the map, face-down. If all of the fleet’s ships go on the map, the fleet marker is removed. Ships placed on the map now have a blockade mission and gain a +2 modifier for contact with any enemy fleets, including those on a raid mission, attempting to enter or exit the port. Ships with a blockade mission do not require a fleet marker, may not move on the operational map, and use one fuel point per turn. Blockading ships do not roll for encounters with enemy ships in the blockaded port. All ships blockading a given port are treated as one fleet for contact and combat purposes. When the blockading player wishes to end or reduce the blockade, he or she assigns the ships leaving blockade duty to a fleet with an abort mission to the nearest friendly port.
Fleets in enemy coastal or island zones are automatically spotted by enemy forces on daylight turns when the weather is squall or better. The spotted player must report the number of capital and light ships, and the presence of any carriers or transports.
Coastal Defense Mission
Players may place any ships starting the game in port directly on the map face-down. Ships placed on the map this way have a coastal defense mission and gain a +2 modifier for any enemy fleet that enters the sea zone they occupy. Ships with a coastal defense mission do not require a fleet marker, may not move on the operational map, and use one fuel point per turn. All ships in a given sea zone with a coastal defense mission are treated as one fleet for contact and combat purposes. When a player wishes to end or reduce the coastal defense mission in a given sea zone, he or she assigns the ships leaving coastal defense duty to a fleet with an abort mission to the nearest friendly port.
A round of combat is one completion of the tactical sequence (20 impulses).
A crippled ship is one that has lost half its hull boxes, half its largest gun type or suffered a reduction in speed. During tactical combat, a player may separate a crippled ship from a group. In operational games, a ship must be given an abort mission to a friendly major port (minor, if no major ports are present) within six turns of being crippled (intermediate stops to refuel are allowed), and remain in port until the end of the game. Crippled ships are worth 50% of their VPs (round fractions up) in each operational scenario.
At the start of play, players may place fleet markers containing no ships on the operational map, to act as decoys. The decoys must be placed in locations where the scenario indicates ships begin play. Decoy fleets plot moves two turns in advance, and may move at a speed of one or two sea zones per turn. The decoys may not declare any contact modifiers. Any time contact is made with a decoy fleet by enemy ships, submarines, airships or aircraft or minefields, the decoy is immediately removed. Decoy fleets are immediately removed if they enter a space that could be mined per scenario instructions, or enemy coastal or island zones. Players may choose to remove decoy fleets from the map at any time. Players may also create new decoy fleets, subject to scenario limitations and on the number of fleet markers, by splitting one off from any existing fleet on the map (real or decoy). If no limit on decoys is stated in a scenario, the maximum number of decoys available to a player is half the number of allowed fleets, rounded down.
Escort Mission (5.2)
Ships may be assigned to an escort mission, even if not initially co-located with the fleet they are to escort. Once assigned, the escort fleet must pre-plot moves to rendezvous with the fleet to be escorted, after which the escort conforms to the moves of the escorted fleet.
Entering Port (11.3)
To enter a port, a fleet must first spend a move entering the sea zone of the port (thus, to enter a port in one turn from an adjacent sea zone requires two moves).
Extended Operational Movement
Ships may be plotted to move more than one sea zone per turn, depending on their speed. Use the list below to determine operational movement allowances.
2+: Three sea zones per turn
2: Two sea zones on odd turns, three sea zones on even turns
1: Two sea zones per turn
1s/Fast Transport or AMC: One sea zone on odd turns, two sea zones on even turns
CD type ship/Slow Transport, Collier, Oiler: One sea zone per turn
Unless otherwise specified by the scenario, the Allied and Central Powers players may have the maximum number of fleet markers available in play.
Use of the fuel and endurance rules (12.0) is mandatory for all operational scenarios. All ships have 24 fuel points per box as opposed to 12 (a fuel point is the number of zones that could be moved at a speed of one hex per turn before checking off a box). Ships that move one sea zone per turn expend one fuel point, those that move two sea zones expend three fuel per zone (for a total of six), while those that move three expend four fuel per zone (for a total of 12).
A game day is six operational turns. The first turn of each game day is the first daylight turn (0600) following a night turn.
Gunnery Range (7.6)
For scenarios taking place during and after 1913, all B, CD and AC type ships with primary guns may engage targets at tactical ranges of three (ignore 7.62), however for each hit scored at that range, roll a second die. On a result of 3 or less, the hit is ignored. Subtract two from the second result for all of these ship types starting with a single primary gun box or if classed CD, and add one to the result for all Russian B type ships in 1917 and later. For all scenarios, secondary guns are limited to a range of two hexes, while tertiary guns may only fire at targets in the same or an adjacent hex.
Unless otherwise noted, a leader must be on the largest ship type in a fleet, in order allow a player to claim operational and tactical modifiers. Note that some scenarios will specify a specific ship type a leader must be placed on. Unless specified, raiding fleets do not require a leader. In instances involving national cooperation (11.6), the leader is only effective if (1) the leader is on the largest ship type of the combined force (capital, if a mix of capital and light), and (2) the VP of the forces with the same nationality as the leader are higher than all others.
Merchant Location Table (MLT)
Some scenarios allow fleets with intercept missions to search for merchant ships per 10.0. As a modification to 10.23, roll one die on the MLT for each raiding or intercept fleet (not ship) in a sea zone with a merchant density number.
Mine Warfare (13.0)
Mine warfare follows the rules of Section 13.0, with the following exceptions.
• To place a minefield, a ship must follow the restrictions of 13.31, except that the ship must remain in a sea zone for one turn (not four).
• Minelaying. Each ship designated as a minelayer in a scenario may lay six minefields per minelaying mission. Ships may replenish mines by spending three turns in a friendly port, after which they may be given another minelaying mission.
• Some scenarios may designate ships other than minesweepers (type MS) as being capable of sweeping mines. These ships may conduct minesweeping operations per 13.63. However, modify the results of the sweep attempt die roll under 13.63 as follows: on a result of 1, the minesweeping vessel is destroyed, on a 2, 3 or 4 there is no effect, and on a 5 or 6 one minefield is removed.
• Minefields and Hidden Units. Off-map units such as raiding fleets and submarines must be placed on the map when entering sea zones which could contain minefields as declared by a given scenario.
Treat twilight turns as night turns in all winter scenarios.
All pre-dreadnought battleships (B) have a maximum speed of 1s.
Fleets may enter sea zones containing enemy major and minor ports for the purpose of bombarding the port, blockading it or unloading there. They may not enter enemy major ports or attack enemy ships inside in surface combat. Ships may enter enemy minor ports and attack enemy ships inside in surface combat (11.31). The enemy ships in the port must set up in the center shaded hexes per the normal non-initiative placement rules (7.23).
Players can only give raid missions to fleets or airships if scenario special rules say so.
Release (Leaving Port)
In some scenarios, ships which begin play at specific ports are not allowed to leave port until some specified event has taken place. The owning player may begin writing orders for these ships when they are released. They may only be assigned an intercept mission, and thus may not leave port until two turns after they are released (in addition to any delay specified in the scenario instructions). Only ships which start play at ports with written release restrictions under the name of the port are subject to this rule; ships that start at other ports may leave port right away.
Sighting distances at night are one-half those (round up) during daylight, as affected by weather (11.73).
Some operational scenarios specify one side or the other decides the turn on which play starts. This does not change the length of the scenario; it allows the player to decide what time of day (daylight, nighttime) the scenario actually starts.
Submarines follow the rules of Section 15.0, with the following modifications.
• Submarines may move one sea zone every game day, at the start of the game day (0600). This movement need not be pre-plotted, simply note it on the submarine log sheet.
• Submarines that do not attempt to make contact with enemy fleets on the map may attempt to search for off-map fleets. Announce the submarine’s location, and make a contact die roll (apply a -1 modifier); if successful, and one or more off-map fleets is in the submarine zone, the opposing player secretly (and randomly) determines which fleet has been contact by the submarine, and places the contacted fleet on the map.
• For each submarine that makes contact with an enemy fleet, roll one die, subtracting one if the target fleet moved two sea zones this turn; on a modified result of four or more, the submarine may attack the fleet (otherwise, it was too distant to get a firing position).
• ASW. If there are escorts (DL, DD, TB, MS not on minesweeping missions) in the target fleet, roll one die, adding one to the result for every three escorts (round fractions down) in the fleet; the submarine is sunk on a result of 6 or greater. For scenarios taking place prior to 1918, add one for every four (not three) escorts. If the submarine is sunk, roll a second die, adding the escort modifier as above; on a result of 4 or less the submarine is sunk after it attacks, while on a result of 5 or more it is sunk before it attacks.
• Torpedo Reloads. A submarine may make up to two torpedo attacks before needing to reload. Submarines without torpedoes may still attempt to make contact, but may not attack. Submarines may reload torpedoes after spending 30 turns in a friendly port.
• Sub versus Sub. At the end of the contact phase (4.4), if a player has an unrevealed submarine in the same sea zone as a revealed enemy submarine, and the submarine has torpedoes, the owning player may reveal the submarine’s location, and attempt to sink the enemy submarine. Roll two dice; on a result of 12, the enemy submarine is destroyed.
Tactical Movement and Combat (7.3)
Note that while set-up may result in capital, light and other ship types stacked together at the start of an engagement, each of these constitutes a separate group if desired by a player, which may move independently of the others without receiving any penalty.
When using GWAS 7.0 Advanced Combat, using the following speed assignments.
• Printed Speed 2+ or 2: Tactical Speed 2+ (Printed Speed 2+ may move up to two hexes in impulse 17/18)
• Printed Speed 1: Tactical Speed 2
• Printed Speed 1s/Fast Transport or AMC: Tactical Speed 1
• Printed Speed Coast Defense Ship/Slow Transport, Collier, Olier: Tactical Speed 1s
Small and slow (ST) transports are equivalent, while large and fast (FT) transports are also equivalent. Small transports have one hull box, large transports have two. Unless scenario instructions say otherwise, every transport begins the game loaded. Also, unless scenario special rules say otherwise, transports which have unloaded may return to their port of origin or any other port listed in scenario instructions, reload and then be plotted to perform another transport mission to the same or another destination. Reloading takes three turns per rule 11.5, which count toward the six turns the transport fleet must remain in port to receive a new mission (5.22).
Victory Points (VPs)
In all scenarios, VPs are awarded for ships sunk or damaged, in addition to other VPs awarded under Victory Conditions. Two VPs are awarded for each hull box crossed off each BB or BC not sunk or crippled, while one VP is awarded for each hull box crossed off for each other ship not sunk or crippled. One VP is awarded for each airplane step eliminated, five VPs for each airship destroyed, and four VPs for each submarine sunk.
Weather Effects on Operations
No unloading in coastal zones may take place in squall weather. No cargo loading, unloading or coaling may take place in port in Storm weather. Ship maximum speeds in squall weather are three sea zones per turn, two zones per turn in storm, and one zone per turn in gale.
Players wishing for more detail in their games are invited to try the following optional rules.
For situations where die roll modifiers would indicate there is no chance of success, a player may roll a number of dice equal to the difference between the highest modified roll possible and the number needed for success plus one. If all results are sixes, the attempt succeeds. This rule allows players to resolve low-odds situations to a finer granularity using six-sided dice.
Example: An Austro-Hungarian BB fires a hull-mounted torpedo at an Italian BB one hex away. A six or more would be required to score a hit, however the net modifier is -1 (+1 for capital ship target, but -1 for hull mount and -1 for firing capital ship), making the highest possible roll a five. The difference between the highest modified roll (five) and the number needed for success (six) is one; with the plus one, the Central Powers player therefore rolls two dice. If both rolls are sixes, the attack succeeds!
When resolving tactical combat in operational scenarios, at the end of each combat round roll one die; on a result of 5 or more, the battle is concluded. The player with initiative may choose to add OR subtract one from the result, and the player with an overall advantage in ship speeds (all ship speeds are least one level faster than those of the enemy) may also add OR subtract one from the result. Based on the closest opposing units, subtract one from the result for each hex inside the maximum sighting distance (halve the resulting range modifier and round down, for night turns). This rule represents the fact that many naval battles tended to end prior to complete destruction of one side, due to circumstances such as weather, deteriorating visibility, failing leadership or miscommunication within the engaged fleet.
Closer Speed Differential
At the start of each round, roll one die. On a result of 4 or less, ignore impulses 5, 9, 13 and 17 when proceeding through the tactical impulse sequence for the round. Instead, the non-initiative player moves in the same impulses (2, 6, 10, 14 and 18) as the initiative player, with the non-initiative player moving first.
Each hit scored at three or four hexes must be confirmed by a second result of 4 or more.
Maximum Combat Modifiers
The maximum positive gunnery or torpedo modifier is +1, unless a target is dead-in-the-water (in which case that modifier is added as well for a maximum of +2).
All gunnery and torpedo hits must be confirmed by a second result of 5 or 6. In addition, if the hit is scored against a target in the same hex as the firing ship, and other friendly ships are in the same hex, roll one die; on a result of 6, a friendly ship has been hit instead (randomly draw one, and roll for damage against it).
No Referred Pain or Excess Damage
Ignore (8.3), and (8.6) when resolving damage to warships. For AMCs, colliers, oilers and transports, any primary or secondary gunnery hits are considered hull hits. Ignoring referred pain and excess damage tends to result in more historical rates of vessel losses, however doing so results in scenarios taking more time to resolve.
Primary Guns vs. Light Ships
Each hit scored by primary guns against light ships must be confirmed by a second result of 4 or more; subtract one from the result if the target is a DD or TB. Primary guns may not engage DD or TB at range zero.
Torpedo hits scored by light ships which are stacked with enemy light ships must be confirmed by a second result of 5 or 6, due to interference from the enemy screen.
Sharp Shooters (7.5)
Instead of a +1 die roll modifier for ships with their names italicized on the ship data sheets, if a 5 is rolled, roll a second die: on a result of 5 or more on the second roll, a hit is scored.
Smoke on the Horizon
As opposed to placing ships at maximum sighting distance when setting up tactical combat, if contact occurs in daylight and weather is mist or better place them one hex beyond sighting range, and mark their locations with a fleet marker. This represents the initial sighting being smoke as opposed to a ship. Players must declare the exact number of ships in each tactical hex (but not types) if less than five, or specify “there are five or more.” To disengage during combat, players must move beyond the maximum sighting distance plus one hex.
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