Second World War at Sea: Bomb Alley

For three years, Britain and Italy struggled for control of the Mediterranean Basin. While the Italian Navy tried to keep the sea lanes open from north to south, the British fought to do the same on the east-west route. Air, surface and submarine battles were inevitable.

The Italians had courage, nearby bases and a tremendous shortage of fuel. The British had courage, more ships and aircraft and the secret to the German code machine. Eventually these factors won out and Italy changed sides, joining the Allies to help overthrow the Nazi regime.


Bomb Alley takes the Second World War at Sea series to this important theater with fifty scenarios. There are 280 “long” playing pieces, depicting the major fleet units of both sides: battleships, aircraft carriers, cruisers and fleet destroyers. There are also 560 square playing pieces, half the size of the ship pieces, mostly depicting aircraft but also smaller warships and markers.

Italy receives all her ships and aircraft of 1940 through 1942: from the mighty battleship Vittorio Veneto to the aircraft carrier Aquila on down to the gallant torpedo boat Lupo. The famous Italian aircraft are here: the SM.79 Sparviero torpedo bomber, the nearly worthless Cr.42 biplane fighter and the excellent Mc.202 fighter plane.


The Royal Navy has battleships like Malaya and Warspite, aircraft carriers like Formidable and a bevy of cruisers and destroyers. British aircraft are usually better than those available to the Italians.

Neither side has complete control over their air forces: There are many planes in the theater, but most of them are assigned to other tasks. When the players call for them, they may not arrive. This adds an element of uncertainty into the game, and ensures that the same scenario never plays the same way twice.

With 50 scenarios from which to choose, there is a wide variety of action available. There are the valiant convoy defenses of both sides, such as Operation Pedestal. Battleship clashes like Cape Teulada or the Italian disaster at Cape Matapan. Carrier raids like Taranto. Impossible fights against terrible odds, such as the night battle in which the Italian torpedo boat Lupo took on and defeated three British cruisers.

In addition to Britain and Italy, ships and aircraft make an appearance from France, the United States, Greece, Poland, the Soviet Union, Romania, Germany, Australia and the Netherlands. There’s even a German helicopter carrier (with helicopter)!

The operational map depicts the enter Mediterranean Basin, including all the major ports and airbases of 1940-42. 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.



STK #0017

Status: Gone forever.