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Proposed WW 1 Torpedo Rules

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Torpedo firing is a plotted action, like gunfire. The firing ship must be in range. Roll a d6 corresponding to the range and number of torpedoes fired and consult the following chart for the number of hits achieved:

Range 5" (1250 yards)
1 Torp: 7
2 Torp: 6
3 Torp: 5 (7 for 2)
4 Torp: 4 (7 for 2, 9 for 3)

Range 10" (2500 yards)
1 Torp: 9
2 Torp: 8
3 Torp: 7 (9 for 2)
4 Torp: 6 (8 for 2)

Mods: Torpedoes impacting in the bow or aft 90 degrees: -1 DR
Firer is a cruiser: -1 DR
Firer is a Battleship (pre-dred or dred): -2 DR

Torpedo damage:
For each torpedo that hits, roll a d6:
1-3, apply a hit to Section 5
4-6, apply a hit to Section 6

Roll for criticals normally.

If Section 5 or 6 is a miss column, then the torpedo has missed completely.

Let me know what you think Cool

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Re: Proposed WW 1 Torpedo Rules

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I'll have to look back and see if there was alot of anxiety over "false positives". There certainly was alot of jitteriness when MTB/DDs got within 3000 yards; at that point, it might be best to let the player decide whether to sheer off or alter his battle line's course. It is easier to work in if plotted fire with delayed resolution is used, and the referee could make any spotting rolls for launches and inform the opposing player. Or not....depends how much work you want to add in.

There were plenty, with several false sightings (of Subs as well as torpedos), at Jutland, as well as in nearly every sortie made in the North Sea.

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3. Should we allow torpedos for capital ships? Certainly they had tubes and I remember reading once or twice of capital ships firing torpedos. However I don't think there is a single instance in the history of metal ships of a capital ship hitting anything with a torpedo. My original thought was to just not give them the capability, but on the other hand they actually did have the capability even if it was never used effectively. Dreadnoughts typically had 6 tubes - 1 bow, 1 stern, 2 port and 2 starboard - all underwater. I don't know how they would be aimed, I would think they would just have to be pointed in the right direction.

I'm not keen on captial ships using torpedos. I don't recall any significant use of such by the bigger classes. They were mainly restricted to DDs and MTB's.

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I greatly dislike the idea of any sort of dd/mtb being able to execute attacks like this without at least the chance that they will be hit/sunk before launching.

Actually, the opposite was true. Most casualties from MTB or DD swarm attacks happened after they made their run. The tubes were fixed, so they had to be pointing at their target to fire, and they only travelled in a straight line (thus avoidable by maneuver). Typical attack would be the MTB/DD squadron would race out from behind either smoke or a line of larger ships, fire their torps, and run.
even with the staggered set up, I wouldn't be concerned about this. All that is required is to launch the torpedos in the torpedo phase, and they move in the next movement phase. That will prevent the fire and hit, which is unrealistic, and prevent those small ships from closing in to 5".

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4. Communications are an interesting problem. Usually the provision of multiple commanders seems to create confusion and chaos to a sufficient extent. It could be that if only a single player were present the GM would move the other ships, with a die roll to determine possible misunderstandings or failure to get the message. In an earlier game GM controlled TBDs misunderstood orders and gallantly attacked the wrong enemy column.

I do agree with this. That said, the problem I'm specifcally referring to is communications not only between squadrons of the same nationality, but even between ships of the same squadron. Larger actions of the period were notoroiusly plagued with comm problems. At Coronel it was disatrous for the RN, while at Jutland it was nearly so. This should probably be best handled through the GM. Just to give Tim something to do of course. Cool

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For sequence, you could have:

Plotting (move, gunfire, torpedoes)
Gunfire
Torpedo Launch (and resolution?)
Movement
Torpedo Resolution

Rule #1: Always read through the whole thread before posting. This works well, and should cover most of the concerns.

Re: Proposed WW 1 Torpedo Rules

My initial thought was to have torps do a d3 amount of hits to section 5 or 6. This might be enough to sink (or at least seriously mess up) some of the smaller ACs and pre-dreds, but it has the risk of maybe overstating their damage against better protected targets.

For sequence, you could have:

Plotting (move, gunfire, torpedoes)
Gunfire
Torpedo Launch (and resolution?)
Movement
Torpedo Resolution

It should be noted that while we don't want torpedo warfare dominating unreasonably, it was greatly feared historically and there were torpedo attacks by massed DD/MTBs in battles--and those attacks did score hits. It was also a fragile weapon, as DDs that charged were hit and sunk. I would like to see torpedo attacks feared as they were....and if you see your opponent's boats massing for a charge, then turn away, as was done historically.

I don't see a problem with adding torps to capital ships....I made a pretty severe penalty for for larger ships firing. Not sure how often the range will drop to 10"; my own inclination is that it won't be that close very often for the larger ships.

I suppose you could use torps on other destroyers; historically, they seemed to prefer guns while saving the torps for capital ships (since reloading the tubes in a fight usually wasn't an option). The target aspect modifier of -1 should help any destroyer that thinks it is being targetted; also, an additional modifier of maybe -1 if the target's speed is greater than 20 knots?

Re: Proposed WW 1 Torpedo Rules

Some points to consider:

1. Some pre-dreads were sunk historically by single torpedo hits. Torpedos rarely hit but could be pretty bad when they did, I would be inclined to let them do 1-3 hits to whatever area they impact. Perhaps we should do a survey of ships sunk by torpedos in WW1 and look at how many torpedos it took.

2. I would be inclined to say that ships that were sunk or had their torpedo tubes destroyed by gunfire would be assumed to have failed to get their torpedos off.

3. Should we allow torpedos for capital ships? Certainly they had tubes and I remember reading once or twice of capital ships firing torpedos. However I don't think there is a single instance in the history of metal ships of a capital ship hitting anything with a torpedo. My original thought was to just not give them the capability, but on the other hand they actually did have the capability even if it was never used effectively. Dreadnoughts typically had 6 tubes - 1 bow, 1 stern, 2 port and 2 starboard - all underwater. I don't know how they would be aimed, I would think they would just have to be pointed in the right direction.

4. Communications are an interesting problem. Usually the provision of multiple commanders seems to create confusion and chaos to a sufficient extent. It could be that if only a single player were present the GM would move the other ships, with a die roll to determine possible misunderstandings or failure to get the message. In an earlier game GM controlled TBDs misunderstood orders and gallantly attacked the wrong enemy column.

Re: Proposed WW 1 Torpedo Rules

My concerns are large in the area of effectiveness and sequence.

Just as an example - there will be destroyers capable of 34knots+, this equates to 13" of movement. Thus even with absolutely no closing on the part of a defender, the DDs can go from over 20" out (where the defender would have needed 6+4s at minimum to hit him) to within effective torpedo range and launch. If you assume even a few inches of movement by the target ship, it could easily be an under 5" shot.

I greatly dislike the idea of any sort of dd/mtb being able to execute attacks like this without at least the chance that they will be hit/sunk before launching.

I don't want to bog this down with modifiers either - but it seems wrong to have the same hit chance vs say another DD as vs a BB.

Damage/location seems reasonable atm, but maybe add something for worse damage to older ships/pre-dreads? My understanding is that they had significantly weaker below the waterline protection.

Re: Proposed WW 1 Torpedo Rules

I'll have to look back and see if there was alot of anxiety over "false positives". There certainly was alot of jitteriness when MTB/DDs got within 3000 yards; at that point, it might be best to let the player decide whether to sheer off or alter his battle line's course. It is easier to work in if plotted fire with delayed resolution is used, and the referee could make any spotting rolls for launches and inform the opposing player. Or not....depends how much work you want to add in.

Communications was a problem. FG&DN handles this by assigning leaders to different elements and then building in a delay of 1 turn. So I would signal an order change at the start of turn 4 and not start its execution until Turn 5. There are also possibilities for mixed signals, use of wireless, and more.

Re: Proposed WW 1 Torpedo Rules

Some thoughts:

1. The range looks fine to me. Most torpedo attacks happened at about 2000 yds, so the 10" is good.

2. Torps weren't all that effective in combat situations. They worked best either in surprise attacks, or by MTB/DD swarm attacks(which usually were very costly).

3. Paranoia. Fear of torpedos alone can change the outcome of a battle. evidence: Beatty at Jutland. He vered off his BC's because he saw non-existant torpedos heading towards him (they were launched by purple wombats singing show tunes in the shower). Similar things happened at Coronel and in East Africa. This is probably best handled by the GM (see below).

4. I think it should be the GM who places torpedo markers on teh board. This way, "flase positives" can be placed on the board, making commanders react to what is perceived.

5. I like the idea of plotting torpedos, and the suggested turn sequence (plot, fire, move, torpedos).

6. Not related to toprs directly. Communications. One of the greta bug-a-boos of the period was a distinct problem with communications. Jutland is fraught with bad or miscommunicated instructions on both sides. In several instances, ships failed to follow orders because they either didn't receive them, or the orders weren't "finalized" right away. This particularly plagued Beatty and Hipper.

Re: Proposed WW 1 Torpedo Rules

i understand that now. thanks! i like the torp rules as they are now especially since they do not allow one torp to score multiply hits. unless a crit is scored. i am looking forward to trying out all the newrules tomorow.

Re: Proposed WW 1 Torpedo Rules

A ship has a number of tubes that it can fire at once in a salvo, usually one to four. This is the number down the left side. The to-hit number is rolled for each salvo at whatever the range is. If the number is rolled, one torpeo hit is scored. Some of the results list multiple outcomes; if the number is listed as: 5 (7 for 2, 9 for 3), then 1 hit is scored on a roll of 5, 2 hits on a roll of (6+4) and 3 hits on a roll of (6+6).

For each hit scored, roll a d6. On 1-3, section 5 takes 1 hit. On a 4-6, section 6 takes a hit. No armor needs to be penetrated. Crits are rolled for normally.

Does that help? Laughing out loud

Re: Proposed WW 1 Torpedo Rules

i dont understand your chart. what is the to hit number and what is the result? how do you determine where and how many torps hit. i feel like i am missing something. :oops:

Re: Proposed WW 1 Torpedo Rules

Most mid-war torpedoes had a range well-beyond 10", which translates to about 2500 yards.

Also, torpedo hits between Battleships might have been unlikely, but successful torpedo attacks were carried out not infrequently. That being said, I don't have a problem with reducing the probability say to:

10" (2500 yards)
1 Torp: nil
2 Torp: 9
3 Torp: 8
4 Torp: 7 (9 for 2)

I thought about the sequence of torpedo launchings in respect to the turn order. My main concern was not complicating matters more than necessary, hence the immediate resolution. You could do something like:

Plot torp fire, along with gunnery
Resolve Gunnery
Resolve movement
Resolve Torp attacks

Apply a modifier of -1 DRM if the target turned 45 degrees or more during the movement phase; or just use the modifier for bow or aft shots. An issue with this, of course, is that it assumes the torpedo launch or wakes were spotted and acted on. To keep this secret, we could use the referee to make rolls and inform the target that they have spotted torps.

Another way would be for the launching player to notify the target of launches in the Gunnery phase; the target could then attempt a die roll or maybe 3+ or 4+ to spot the launch and make the decision to "comb the wakes" of the incoming torps; adjust the target's movement plot to turn into the launch and move straight. This has the advantageof not needing a referee and puts the targetted player in the uncomfortable position of having to break his line or grit his teeth and take the attack.

initial thoughts

My first thought is that 10" is too long to be shooting torpedos at - certainly with any chance of hit. At 10" the secondaries still need 5+ to hit, a 4 torp spread having half that chance seems too good.

Second thought - if torps are to be fired at 10", then I think torps need to be plotted as fire and resolved in the following movement phase, with a significant modifier to hit if the target sheers off or goes evasive.