Second World War at Sea
Bismarck: Commerce Raiding
in the North Atlantic
there’s one ship every naval wargamer
knows, it’s the German battleship Bismarck.
Forty thousand tons of menace, unleashed into
the North Atlantic in the spring of 1941 to
wreak havoc on Allied shipping.
The British Home Fleet tried to stop her, but Bismarck’s guns ripped apart the battle cruiser Hood. The pride
of the Royal Navy went to the bottom of the Denmark Strait
southwest of Iceland and Bismarck disappeared into
the fog. But HMS Prince of Wales had managed to hit Bismarck below the water line, and she left behind
her a slick of fuel oil. The British Home Fleet relentlessly
tracked the German warship, and she finally sank beneath a
hail of gunfire.
Bismarck: Commerce Raiding in the North
Atlantic is the latest installment in
World War at Sea series, and the
one wargamers have demanded since the series
debuted. The game covers the famous hunt for
the Bismarck, but also all of the
other German commerce raids into the Atlantic
between the fall of 1939 and the summer of
1941. The breakout of the battle cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau is here, the raids of the cruisers Admiral
Hipper and Scheer, and much
more. Like all games in the series, this one
is packed with scenarios.
The German player is trying to sneak past
the British picket lines, and then seek out
and destroy the vital convoys that bring troops,
food and supplies from the rest of the world
to Britain. The British player has vastly
superior forces, but the Atlantic is a huge
place. There’s plenty of open ocean
in which a German raider can hide. When more
than one of them is loose, the task facing
the Royal Navy is even more daunting.
The game’s namesake
The Germans receive all the raiders that
entered the North Atlantic, famous ships like Prinz Eugen, but also some that could
have but did not, like the battleship Tirpitz and the aircraft carrier Graf Zeppelin. The Royal Navy contingent is very large,
and there’s also a large part of the
United States Navy involved. Though the Americans
did not fight the Germans, on more than one
occasion American task forces joined the hunt
for German raiders with orders to engage them
if located, even though the two nations were
not yet at war. There are several French ships
involved, and the proud Polish destroyer Piorun
The Royal Navy’s King George V
If the Germans are operating close to land,
they do have formidable air support available,
though this appears in a semi-random fashion. But the real prizes are found
far from land, where the ships are on their
own. Submarines play a much larger part in
this game than in previous titles in the series
The game has one of the larger operational
maps in the series; the North Atlantic is
a big and empty place. There are two 34x22-inch
maps, covering the area from north of Iceland
south to the latitude of Spain. The tactical
map is a generic blue field of hexagons, used
to resolve surface combat. There, ships maneuver
and fight using their gunnery and torpedo
factors. Each player rolls a number of dice
according to the ship’s capabilities,
hitting on a result of 6. Gunnery and torpedo
damage tables give the results: ships can
suffer damage to engines, hull or armament.
Air attacks are resolved in similar fashion.
The combat systems yield results rapidly but
in a historically accurate fashion, giving
a good balance of fun and insight.
- 490 pieces
- Two 35x24-inch operational maps
- One 22x17-inch tactical map
- 24 pages rules, 12 scenarios
Stock Code APL0033
Status: Available NOW!
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