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The Orkney Wargames Club meets

in Kirkwall on Thursday evenings.


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Ambush off Flushing, 1942

WWII Coastal Forces, Narrow Seas, 1/600 scale

True to his word, Bruce agreed to fit in another  game, on a rainy Saturday afternoon, while his wife visited friends. As we didn’t have much time, and he wanted to try another naval game, I settled on a Coastal Forces scrap – a British attack on a small German coastal convoy. In this one, he played the German escort commander, while I led the British nighttime attack.It was a pretty small convoy, as these things go – but a well-defended one. The cargo ship SS Dortrecht was escorted by a powerful flaklighter, the large torpedo boat Jaguar, and two R-boats. Attacking this little lot wasn’t going to be easy. The British had three Vosper torpedo boats to carry out the  attack, while a Fairmile D Motor Gun Boat was there to cover their retreat after the deed was done. The game took place on a dark moonless night.The British knew the convoy was coming, and were lying in wait off the mouth of the Schelde Estuary. the convoy would be heading out of it past Vlissingen (Flushing), then heading down the coast to Oostende – the first of several bolt-holes on its journey to Cherbourg. The Briths then, lay in wait across its path. The moonless night was perfect for this kind of attack – lying ‘doggo’ until the enemy appeared, then kicking the boats into action. Leading the way was the menacing bulk of Jaguar – the first thing the British saw of the convoy. although they’d heard it for a while. The three boats MTB’s (75, 76 and 78) kicked their engines into gear and roared off, with two heading to port of the torpedo boat, and one (MTB-78) to starboard of it. The Germans reacted immediately, snapping on a searchlight on the Jaguar which caught MTB-076 in its glare. Further aster in the convoy, the Dortrecht and the flaklighter turned to port, to get out of the way of the attackers, heading towards the south side of the estuary. The two R-boats sped up, and headed towards the now-visible British torpedo boats, which were approaching at high speed. Tracer started flying everywhere, with most of it heading towards MTB-76. She was firing back though, raking Jaguar’s bridge as she passed by.The MGB-604  passed down the starboard side of the convoy, keeping well out of sight for now. Visibility that night was just a foot, but this changed rapidly as boats opened fire, snapped on searchlights or set off starshells – all of which were now happening. This made the British boats very visible – all three MTBs were now fully exposed and visible in the glare – but it also meant the convoy itself was lit up like a Christmas tree. MTBs 75 and 76 both spotted the Dortrecht, a few hundred yards away, and each boat launched its brace of torpedoes at her. The ones launched by MTB-76 actually passed under an R-boat, R-18, and moments later it threaded between the two MTBs, raking both of them. At that same point a shell from Jaguar demolished the bridge of MTB-76, while her engines were set ablaze by tracer from a 37mm gun. The shattered Vosper quickly glided to a stop. Meanwhile, the Germans were throwing everything they had into the fight to protect the merchantman. Now, both minesweeper R-boats (R-18 and R-19) were firing at the two MTBs, and hitting them with their 20mm guns. The flaklighter was doing the same, but that night her gunnery was off, and her 105mm gun kept on missing. Mind you, it was a fast, frenetic action, so that’s fairly understandable. However, while all this had been going on the torpedoes had kept on running. Dortrecht was turning to port as fast as she could, and so the torpedoes from MTB-75 passed down her starboard side without hitting her. Still, one of them launched by the now sinking MTB-76 struck the merchantman amidships, starting a serious flood. Still, it wasn’t quite enough to stop here. The Dortrecht was still in the game – just. So too though, was the third MTB.While all this had been going on MTB-78 had passed down the port side of Jaguar, and had somehow not been shot at. All the gunners were busy firing at the other British torpedo boats. So, MTB-78 had a clear run, apart from the second R-boat, R-19, which spotted the threat, and began firing at her. By then though, the Vosper had launched her torpedoes at a near-perfect angle,  and they both struck the merchantman just as the MTB roared past her bow. The Dortrecht was doomed, and she began settling in the water. The attack over, the British now had to make it home. That was where MGB-604 came in, as she loomed out of the darkness to fire at the closest R-boat, drawing fore from MGB-75 which raced past her. The fight was short and frenetic, and both sides scored hits. In the end though, the ‘Dog Boat’ did her job, guarding the two surviving MTBs before she too raced for home. Bruce enjoyed the game – which only took two hours – and we finished just in time for him to be collected. In real time though, we reckon the action only lasted two minutes!








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