Our scenario was based on an attempted break out by the Austrian navy to in the face of an Italian blockade. The picture below shows the Austrian fleet leaving the estuary with the small blockading Italian squadron of wooden warships observing them. The Austrians have a two squadrons of 3 ships each (wooden on right of picture, iron on left). Just out of shot the Italians have a squadron of ironclads.
Steve took command of the Austrian fleet, his flagship, Kaiser Max leading the ironclads with Don Juan de Austria and Drache following. The wooden ships were led by Schwarzenberg followed by Radetzky and Novarra. I had Duca de Genova observing the estuary, with Gaeta and Maria Adelaide in support. The ironclad squadron steaming to their assistance comprised Formidabile, Re d' Italia and Re de Portogallo.
|The Austrian fleet prepares to leave the estuary|
|Detail of the "Junior General" ships|
|The Radetzky and Novarra sail past the wrecked Scwarzenberg and head for their ironclads|
Novarra and Radetzky altered course to escape the attentions of Duca de Genova and Maria Adelaide and also bring them closer their ironclad squadron. The Italian ironclads had been too far away to intercept the Austrian break out and they only arrived in time to try and prevent the Austrian wooden ships escaping. The Formidabile, at the head of the line received significant damage when Novarra and Radetzky concentrated their fire on her. This deterred the Italian ships from pursuit and the Austrian fleet sailed away to their home port.
Following lunch we tried the rules again with three squadrons a side and had an indecisive game, with only minor damage inflicted as the two fleets threaded through each other.
In review, the rules are quick and thus suited for fleet action, though the balancing factor is that the fine detail of gun calibre and armour thickness is lost. The sequence is side A moves, side B fires; side B moves, side A fires which calls for some thoughtful manoeuvring. As we used the paper ships rather than the 1/2400 models the rules were designed for all the distances were doubled, though tripling may have needed to maintain the proportions. One thing that appealed to us is that the rules come complete with a section enabling you to carry out a campaign. Perhaps this will encourage us to make the financial commitment necessary to build the two fleets?