The Battle of Matapan – phase 1
Today I fought the opening stages of the Battle of Matapan 1941 with my young neighbour Luke.
This was his introduction to naval gaming, at his request. He is hoping to join the Royal Navy when old enough.
The scenario was the opening stags of the battle of Matapan. At 09:00 the Italian flotilla of 3 cruisers (Bolzano, Trento and Trieste), with three destroyers (Ascari, Carabiniere and Corazziere) were pursued by the British cruisers Gloucester, Perth, Ajax and Orion with the destroyers Hereward, Hasty and Ilex.
After one turn it was clear that the Italian cruisers would outpace their British counterparts and no battle would ensue so I obligingly turned them to fight. I ran down the line of British cruisers, expecting to lose, but I knew that on turn 10 (2 hours in) if I could hold out that long, the battleship Vittorio Veneto would arrive and save us.
As it happened, after the two flotillas circled each other for an hour and a half the Italians had rolled the better combat dice and by turn 8 (10:50 am) the British were down to one destroyer while the Italians still had the cruiser Trento (severely damaged) and two destroyers.
At this point Luke conceded defeat. He then spent another hour playing with my toy ships before asking if we can play a major tank battle next time.
I am thinking that with the toys in my collection, Arras 1940 is probably the most likely. That might be an eye-opener for a young lad of about 10, who is expecting Tigers vs T34s.