venerdì 15 settembre 2023

Battle of Cape Spartivento or Battle of Cape Teulada – Nimitz Sept 2023

Last week end my friends decided to play a naval battle using Nimitz. Nimitz is a Ww2 tabletop game of naval battles simulation written by Sam Mustafa. The rule system is perfect to lead entire fleets. It can be used for single battles at tactical level or for mini campaigns that could simulate more days of fight.

Cape Teulada battle is a typical Ww2 naval battle between English an Italian forces. 
On the night of November 17, 1940, an Italian force including two battleships (Vittorio Veneto and Giulio Cesare) and a number of supporting unis decided to intercept two British convoys en route to Malta. 

The Italian decision was born after the British attack to Taranto port. British forces destroyed some of Italian fleet battleships during a daring aerial assault. The Italian idea to keep the fleet and to adopt the “fleet in being” strategy is abandoned, and so Italian naval squadrons left the ports.

On November 17, the British were warned of Italian approach and immediately turned and returned to Gibraltar, launching their aircraft (two Blackburn Skuas and 12 Hawker Hurricanes) prematurely. One Skua and eight Hurricanes were lost at sea, as they ran out of fuel well before arriving at their destination, with the loss of seven airmen.
The British decided to organize a new convoy. It was organized with and increased support including ships from Gibraltar and Alexandria.

At 9,45 on November 27, an Italian airplane from the heavy cruiser Bolzano discovered the British forces. The British admiral, James Somerville, received the report of Italian squadron approach. Reinforces from Alexandria were not arrived, so he decided to go back but at 10,10 some men on HMS Ark Royal spot the reinforces. Somerville decided to keep the position. British organized their fleet in two forces while the Italian one in three groups. 

At 12:22, the lead groups of both forces came into range and the Italian ship, Fiume, opened fire at 23,500 metres (25,700 yd). Rapid fire between the two forces continued as the distance between them closed, but as the range shortened Italian firepower began to put pressure on the outgunned British. The arrival of the battleship HMS Ramillies on the British side helped to even the odds, but she was too slow to maintain formation and dropped out of battle after a few salvoes at 12:26. Four minutes later, Vice Admiral Angelo Iachino, commander of the Italian cruiser group, received orders to disengage, although the battle had swung slightly in their favour. Iachino ordered an increase in speed to 30 kn (56 km/h; 35 mph), laid smoke and started to withdraw.

At this time the Italian destroyer Lanciere was hit and seriously damaged by HMS Manchester. Italian forces try to cover the Italian ship. At 12,22 a single 203 mm shell knocked out the Y turret fo HMS Berwick while at 12,35 a second shell destroyed the after breaker room and cut power to part of ship’s sections. The Italian ship Ascari caught the Lanciere and bring it in a safe position.  
At around 12:40, eleven Swordfish from Ark Royal attacked Vittorio Veneto with torpedoes, but did not score any hits.

At 13:00, Vittorio Veneto opened fire from 27,000 metres (30,000 yd). Vittorio Veneto fired 19 rounds in seven salvoes from long range and that was enough for the now outgunned British cruisers, which turned back. In fact, as giant water-spouts erupted around Berwick and Manchester, the British commadner ordered smoke, and his ships fled southeast to close with Renown. Both forces withdrew, the battle lasting a total of 54 minutes and causing little damage to either side.

In our game the Italian fleet demaged some English unit and intercepted the convoys. At the end it was an Italian victory 57 points vs 47.

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