Friday, 26 May 2023

Nimitz: Battle Off Calabria

Last night at the uni the Wollongong Wargamers played out the Battle Off Calabria using Nimitz rules.

We came up with a scenario based on the actual battle as much as we could...

...Given that we can't yet replicate the exact ships that took part in the 1/1800 scale that we used for this game. The might Warspite, for example, which famously fired the longest ever main battery hit in this engagement, at 26,000 yards, was represented by the King George V.

That said, Darren's lovely Regia Marina fleet featured most of the actual RM cruisers present, including the Zara, seen below being bracketed during this action. But we had to substitute the more modern Vittorio Veneto and Littorio for the Conte di Cavour and Giulio Cesare, who both also fired accurately during this battle! However both fleets were balanced points wise - eventually - at around 260.

The game started with both sets of cruisers on table

Two heavy cruisers each, Gorizia as well as Zara for the RM.

And scads of light cruisers...

Whilst the Commonwealth cruisers had heavies Canberra and Australia, but only one light cruiser, the Perth.

Unsurprisingly, the Aussie cruisers chose to stay at arm's length out of the RM light cruiser torpedo range!

Instead concentrating on stooging around awaiting heavy support, content with long range gunnery - which was fairly inconclusive on both sides...

The tables were turned from turn 3 when the main British battlefleet turned up!

Although, unbeknownst to the Italian team, Caesar as the British battlewagon commander was under instructions to only move the Renown and Hood at slow speed once, to reflect the slow and lagging 'R' class battleships they were impersonating, which barely got involved in the actual battle owing to their slow speed.

By this point the Italian cruisers had got their eye in and were pummelling the Canberra...

The Italian team again failed to bring on their heavies, so the Aussie cruisers felt a little bolder and hung in there for another turn of gunfire, but with disappointing results...

Whereas the RM gunnery was pretty good, so that it was soon time for the Canberra to fall out of line. Australia and Perth were also pretty battered at this point, but with some damage inflicted on both Italian heavies.

The Italian heavies and escorting destroyers finally turned up at turn 4, which obviously changed the nature of the fight somewhat!

At this point, being responsible for the British destroyers, I lost sight of the large calibre engagement but understand that Italian gunnery/die rolling was impeccable...

The opposing destroyer squadrons closed at speed. My intent was to send a squadron down each side of the Italian battleship column, but they, with loftier designs in mind, executed a hard turn to starboard so as to broadside the British fleet...

My opposite number however manoeuvred to engage my DDs with his. 

There was a fierce exchange of gunnery, which to my immense frustration knocked out two of my ship's torpedo racks just as I was closing to launch on the Vittorio

Nonetheless, the remainder of my DD's, now disordered into 3 separate formations, launched on the fast moving battleship: broadside on but moving fast, it would require 4s on a D6 to score hits.

Two hits! However, they only caused 2 buoyancy damage points to the Vittorio...

At this point a massed formation of Regia Aeronautica bombers turned up and attacked both fleets indiscriminately, causing both Admirals to order a RTB!

An enjoyable game played in good company with lots of highs and lows, with the Italian team holding the honours!


  1. Great scenario and a very enjoyable game, thanks Sparker! Beautiful terrain feature by Darren and well done to the Italian team for putting up such a good fight.

    1. Thanks Caesar! Yes Darren's Mediterranean coastline provided a spectacular backdrop to a well fought action.

  2. Nice mix of photos from various archives and the table. The waves of arriving ships certainly provided drama, along with the frustrating die rolls . The fleets certainly looked great.

    1. Thanks mate very kind. Yes once the DD action warmed up I totally forgot to take any more pics!

    2. I can't blame you there, that DD action sounded a little hairy!

      Good game, very nice, and reminds me I must read the bloody rules :D

    3. Thanks mate - yes I think you'll find them very good!

  3. A great report..lots of action!