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Hunters on the Shoreline

Fast Rules for 1/600 WW2 Coastal Miniatures

By David Gregory and Hauke Kück

ã Copyright 2001 David Gregory/Hauke Kück. For free distribution on the WWW . Not to be resold

 Introduction

Naval wargaming , like naval strategy, has traditionally focussed on major engagements between ships cruiser sized and above. Hours of discussion and debate will rage about armor penetration of 16" shells, "never-was" battleships and what if battles between the biggest and the best of all nations. Many rules treat destroyers as very minor vessels, almost like annoyances for the big boys, and any vessel smaller than a DD need not show up at all.

Historically, most naval actions were quite different. While the German Battleship "Tirpitz" sat at anchor, German Schnellboats were involved in almost nightly close-in fighting with Allied escorts while sinking many merchant ships. While the Royal Navy's battlefleet awaited a sortie by their Axis counterparts, British boats were boarding and capturing Axis shipping in the Adriatic. While many naval historians will recall the presence of U.S. Navy capital ships in the Atlantic early in the war, little attention is given to the American PT s who engaged German surface vessels to the point of ramming them in a few cases. And, of course, while most histories have not been kind to the Italian Navy, how often is it told how a few Italian MAS boats sank almost 40,000 tons of shipping in one night off Malta?

At the same time, many impressions of coastal warfare that do exist are wrong. Boats did not charge into battle as seen in the movies "They Were Expendable" and "In Harm's Way". The use of stealth was a key element in these actions. Also, in many theatres torpedo targets were virtually non existent, forcing boats to engage other small craft with a wide array of small caliber guns, rockets, and even a depth charge dropped in the path of one's opponent.

Hunters on the Shoreline is an attempt to provide a set of fast, east to use miniatures rules that will accurately reflect the quick, vicious battles between light naval forces. It is designed for use with P.T. Dockyard 1/600 resin miniatures. The tactics used in these operations were much different from standard naval tactics. Actions took place at point blank range (many MTB captains kept grenades handy on the bridge for ready use) and were often measured in minutes. My focus is primarily in the European Theatre, but the rules are equally useful for actions between PT boats and the Japanese Navy.

Materials- To play you will need an area at least 6' by 4', a metric tape measure, turn radius circles (described later) and at least 2-4 each of 4 sided (d4) six sided (d6) eight sided (d8) ten sided(d10) twelve sided (d12) and twenty sided (d20) dice. In addition, you will need to make a few simple templates as described in the rules. Miniatures are available from the P.T Dockyard along with two firms in the U.K., Skytrex (sold in the US as Davco) and S.D.D. The U.K manufacturers have more in the way of British and German Destroyer sized vessels along with minesweepers, corvettes, and tugs. These can be either mounted on plastic/cardboard rectangles with identifying markings or simply used unmounted.

A VERY nice playing surface can be made by using the clear rectangular light panels used in drop-ceilings. The "cracked ice" pattern works best. Spray paint the rough side dark blue. When turned over, you have very convincing scale "water." Several panels can be painted and placed on a gaming/ping-pong table. Islands or shore pieces can be cut from insulation foam and painted.

Turn Phase- Each turn will follow the following sequence:

  1. Movement- each side moves simultaneously. Convoy and patrol movement is pre-planned and this must be followed until enemy craft are sighted or enemy opens fire.
  2. Spotting
  3. Torpedo launch & hit determination
  4. Gunfire
  5. Depth Charge attacks

Scale:

3cm= 50 meters. Before play, mark a straight edge in 50 meter increments to speed play.

1 Buoyancy Factor = 10 tons Displacement

Each turn = 30 seconds

In addition, print and use the Ship Sector Template to determine position sectors for torpedo hits and gunfire

Movement

Each ship moves 1cm per 1 knot of speed. Motor vessels (MTB/MGB/Motor launches and sub chasers) may change speed +/- 15kt each turn. Larger warships (destroyers, corvettes, etc.) change +/- 10kts and all merchants (including all trawlers) +/- 5kt.

Convoys and patrols move according to pre set instructions (" Speed 9kt. Course 185. Turn to course 150 at such and such point"). This continues until enemy vessels are spotted, then movement does not need to be pre written. Each side moves their vessels however they want each turn, with each side alternating each turn who moves first.

For turns, make the following half circles out of cardboard: 

7cm diameter- use for all motor vessels moving 15kts or less

12cm diameter- use for all motor vessels 16kts + and all other warships smaller than a Destroyer

15cm diameter- use for all destroyers and merchants 300' or less

25cm diameter- use for merchants over 300'

 Mark each half circle with measurement lines about 8mm apart but count each mark as 2kt of movement when ship is turning.

Spotting

Possibly the most important element in coastal warfare is to see the other guy first. It can also be the most complicated thing to simulate in rules, as one takes into account weather, look out capability, angle of view… the list is endless. This system will try to simplify the spotting procedure tremendously and yet keep an element of chance for spotting.

Daytime-most coastal operations were at night. Most of the camouflage schemes used were only effective in darkness. To simplify the rules, any operation in daylight is assumed to allow immediate spotting of all craft. The only exception would be fog, snow, or rainy conditions. In this case, a predetermined maximum visibility range is set before the game. Consideration for target size needs to be given, so vessels under 150' can be seen in 75% of the distance for larger vessels. So if visibility is only 1000 meters for larger vessels, ships under 150' would be visible only out to 750 meters.

Nightime- Night spotting is far more complicated. German and British boats had camouflage to make them difficult to see in darkness. Boats also detected each other by sound and even by the waves generated by a passing convoy's wake.

Radar -vessels with radar automatically "see" the position of all craft. Identification can only take place as normal spotting.

For game purposes, base nighttime visibility is to be determined at the beginning of the game by rolling a D6. For different types of vessels, the base visibility will work as so:

Die Roll (1D6)

 

Minimum spot ranges (meters)

 

 

Vessels under 100'

Vessels 101-200'

Vessels over 200'

1

150

300

600

2

200

400

800

3

250

500

1000

4

300

600

1200

5

350

700

1400

6

400

800

1600

 

If shore is visible and behind vessel being spotted, distance will be 2X highest value for all size vessels (as it is harder to spot a ship with the shore in the background).  

Once inside these ranges, vessels may be spotted. Roll the following for each vessel:

Very Small Craft (Explosive boats, MTBs < 60') D12

Small craft (Boats >60' to 100') D10

Vessels 101'-200' D8

Vessels over 200' D6

A roll of 4 or less results in the vessel being spotted by all enemy craft.

A motor vessel travelling 10 to 20 kts. will subtract 3 from its roll as the wake/bow wave and engine noise will make it very easy to spot. Over 20kts subtract 6.

Once a warship with a gun 3" or larger spots an enemy craft, it can fire star-shells and flares. Once this has occurred, all vessels spot each other starting the next turn. These will light up the surrounding area and escorts may start firing them off in other directions just to be sure.

Once a vessel fires any gun, it is spotted by all other vessels.

 Smoke screens for game purposes, all warships carry smoke generators. Smoke lasts 5 turns and cannot be seen through or into. Due to the fact the smoke was generated using nasty, caustic chemicals, vessels can pass through smoke but not hide inside it .

 Torpedo fire

Hitting or missing with torpedoes will basically determine who wins and loses in most coastal engagements. Therefore, this part of the rules will be rather complex. This system uses "opposed rolls" to simulate the possibility of aim being off, target maneuvers, or vessels making the wrong choice and putting themselves right in harm's way.

To fire torpedoes: At the beginning of the game, vessels with torpedoes determine whether their torpedoes are set "Shallow" or "Deep." During the Torpedo fire phase, a vessel with torpedoes writes down the target it will fire at. Torpedoes will be fired during the Torpedo Fire Phase TWO TURNS later. No course changes can me made during this time. If the depth setting is changed, it will fire THREE TURNS later.

Shallow torpedo settings are needed to hit German F-lighters, large barges, PC boats, and subchasers. MTB type vessels, Soviet AMGBs, and all small landing craft cannot be torpedoed.

Torpedoes must travel a minimum of 12cm before they explode. Hits on targets less than 12cm from launch point have no effect.

For MTBs, the target must be in its Front sector.

Some boats (Russian G-5, British BPB 60') have torpedoes that launch from the stern. In this case, boats with stern launched torpedoes must immediately turn away from the target after launching torpedoes and must be travelling at least 24kts.

Ships with trainable torpedo tubes (destroyers) can only fire torpedoes at targets in their beam sectors, not the front or aft sectors.

Torpedoes travel at 40kts and arrive per the following:

 

 

Range at time of firing

 

 

 

 

 

0-40cm

41-80cm

81-120cm

121-160 cm

161-200cm

100-120cm

 

Next turn

2 turns later

3 turns later

4 turns later

5 turns later

6 turns later

To Hit Die for each torpedo:

D20

D12

D10

D8

D6

D8

To Hit Modifier: For US tube launched (Mark VIII) or Russian torpedoes: -4 to above roll.

Defensive rolls: the target rolls as many dice below as apply.

Target speed :

0-4kt : d4

5-15kt: d6

16-25 : d10

over 25kt : d20

Target size: Vessels under 200': 1d6

Firing vessel under fire at launch: 1d4

Angle of fire:

Torpedo approaching inside Bow sector 1d6

Torpedo approaching inside Aft sector 1d8

(if target is not moving and torpedo is coming in aft sector , roll a D6)

To determine if torpedo hit:

Torpedo to hit roll must be more than any defensive roll for a hit. For example: An MTB fires one torpedo at 35cm range at a 250' freighter anchored in a Harbor. When the torpedo arrives NEXT TURN, the Freighter would roll a D4 (for speed 0-4kt) and possibly a D6 based on the angle. The MTB rolls a D20. If either of the rolls the freighter made are higher than the MTB's roll, the torpedo misses or was a dud.

Torpedo Damage: Roll a D20 and use the multiplier below to determine how many buoyancy factors are lost:

Torpedo size

16" French

18"

21"

24"

Shallow setting

4X d20

5X d20

8X d20

12X d20

Deep setting

6X d20

8X d20

12X d20

18X d20

 Torpedo Reloads: Some Axis MTBs and destroyers carried extra torpedoes. To reload the tubes it will take FIVE TURNS per tube. Motor torpedo boats must be disengaged (not firing or being fired upon) during this process. Destroyer sized vessels do not need to be disengaged.

Gunfire 

Determination of gunfire damage for boats with multiple weapons configurations can be exceedingly time consuming both in game design and game play. Gunfire is broken up into two kinds: Light Weapons (LW) and Heavy Guns (HG). Light weapons are 57mm and smaller. Each craft has a Light Weapon Value that is used to determine the total firepower of all light weapons. This factor is used for gunfire against targets broadside to the firing craft. When firing at targets in the Bow or Stern quarters, the factor is halved, with a minimum of one. If it is obvious from the model that the guns cannot bear (example: Italian MAS boats cannot fire in the Front sector), then no fire can be done.

Vessels can only engage one target at a time. Destroyer Escort and larger vessels can engage one target with LW and one with HG.

For each 200 Meters (12cm) of range, move one column left. If below "1", then Auto fire is deemed as ineffective. Automatic fire cannot be done beyond 800m .

 

 

 

 

Fire

Factor

 

 

 

 

 

 

Die roll

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

1

1

1

2

2

2

3

3

3

4

4

4

5

2

1

1

1

2

2

2

3

3

3

4

4

4

3

Miss

1

1

1

2

2

2

3

3

3

4

4

4

Miss

1

1

1

2

2

2

2

3

3

3

4

5

Miss

Miss

1

1

1

2

2

2

2

3

3

3

6

Miss

Miss

1

1

1

2

2

2

2

2

3

3

7

Miss

Miss

Miss

1

1

1

2

2

2

2

2

3

8

Miss

Miss

Miss

1

1

1

2

2

2

2

2

2

9

Miss

Miss

Miss

Miss

1

1

1

2

2

2

2

2

10

Miss

Miss

Miss

Miss

Miss

Miss

Miss

Miss

Miss

Miss

Miss

Miss

A roll of "10" is always a miss. 

Modifiers to die roll: 

Target under 100' +2

Target over 200' -2

Target speed 6kts or less -2

Target speed over 20kts +2

Firing Vessel a motor vessel (MTB/MGB) moving over 12kts +2

Target illuminated or in Daylight -4

3" or larger Guns

If ship only has 1 or 2 guns, roll 1 D12 for each gun . If it has 3 or more, it will fire a controlled salvo and will roll a D8. On a 12 (for D12 roll) or a 8 (for D8), a hit is scored on all merchants and vessels trawler sized and larger. Once these sized vessels are hit, add 3 for each subsequent roll to account for fire correction.

If the "hit" is on a motor vessel, another roll is done using a D6: 6 is a hit. For damage, all hit points will be assigned to the area hit. A 5" shell will not always sink a PT, but it will literally remove the bridge or a gun mount.

Damage from larger guns : Roll D4 with the following modifier ( NOTE: minimum result is 1 hit point)

3" Hit : -2

3.5" Hit ( German 88mm) : -1

4" Hit : No modifier

5 " Hit : + 1

6" Hit: + 3

Hit location

Roll

Location

Roll

Location

1

BUOYANCY

6

WEAPON

2

BUOYANCY

7

ENGINE ROOM

3

BUOYANCY

8

BRIDGE

4

BUOYANCY

9

STEERING

5

WEAPON

10

CRITICAL

 Buoyancy- resulting hits subtracted from boat buoyancy. When 1/3 of buoyancy points are lost, boat must try to disengage

Weapon - Roll D6. 1-3 : Hit is to Auto weapons (lose 1 factor). 4-5: hit is on Large Gun (if present, otherwise hit is to Auto weapons). 6: lose 1 torpedo (if present, otherwise hit is to guns). 3" and above destroys all 5" and smaller gun mounts. All other guns destroy guns below 3" and un-shielded larger guns.

Torpedoes destroyed (un-launchable) by any hit 20mm and above. A 3" or larger hit on a torpedo has a 20% chance to detonate the warhead. Damage will be as a 16" shallow torpedo hit.

Engine room- Roll the following: Auto weapons- 1D6; 3"- 1D8; over 3"-1D20. Roll result is number of knots subtracted from speed. Auto weapons cannot effect engine rooms on armored vessels (including British Steam Gun Boats for ER hits only) or vessels over 200'.

Bridge- Radar knocked out. Stays on same course for 1D6 turns. No torpedo or  depth charge launches during this time

Steering- Sterring out for 1 D6 moves. No course changes

Critical- Roll a D10 on the table below

1-5

Buoyancy hit

6

Flooding- buoyancy hit X2 of weapon that hit

7

Fuel hit( Motor vessels only. All others treat as Engine Room Hit)

  • From Auto weapons: Roll 1D20; 20 results in motor vessels exploding. All others N/E
  • From 3"-4" gun- Roll D4; "4" results in boat exploding
  • Hit from over 4"- Roll D4; "3" or "4" results in boat exploding

8

Major Engine room hit. Dead in water for 1D6 turns. 1D6 at end of this period: 1-2 engine start, 1/2 speed max, 3-6 Engines destroyed

9

Steering out for 1D10 moves. No course changes

10

Magazine hit. Roll D10: 9-10 craft explodes

 

Buoyancy Damage results

While hits in other areas do not sink the boat, each weapon will do increasing harm to the hull. When a boat loses 1/3 of its Buoyancy points, it MUST try to break off action. When a boat loses all its Buoyancy points, it sinks.

Armor

Roll a D6 for each automatic weapon hit on an armored vessel . A result of 1 or2 indicates armor

deflected the hit and no damage will result .

Depth Charge Attacks.

Motor vessels often tried to drop depth charges in the path of enemy vessels. To do this, a motor vessel has to be travelling 21 kts. or faster and come within 50 meters of an enemy craft during movement. Roll a D 20 for each D/C dropped (maximum of 2 per turn). A 1-4 is a hit, with 1D8 buoyancy points lost.

 

Ship Data

Ship Name

Speed

Torpedoes

Buoyancy Factor

Autofr.

Large Guns

US 77' Elco PT 1942

40

2 or 4 -21"

5

2

-

US 80' Elco PT 1944

39

4 -21"

5

5

-

US 80' Higgens PT 1944

39

4 -21"

5

5

-

US 110' Subchaser

20

-

10

5

-

US 173' PC Boat

20

-

18

6

1-3"

US Benson Class DD

37

5 or 10- 21"

175

8

4-5"

British 60' BPB MTB

36

2-18"

Stern launched

3

1

-

British 70' Vosper MTB

42

2-21"

4

1

-

British 72' BPB MGB

42

-

4

4

-

British Fairmile B M/L

18

- (some had 2-21")

7

3 or 4

-

British Fairmile C MGB

27

-

7

5

-

British Fairmile D MGB

31

-

10

7

-

British Fairmile D MTB

31

2-21"

10

5

-

British Fairmile D MTB/MGB

30

4-18"

10

8

-

British 77' Elco MTB

39

2-21"

5

2

-

British Steam Gun Boat

30

2-21"

20

8

1-3"

British Isle Class Trawler

15

-

42

4

1-4"

British Hunt Class Destroyer

28

3-21"

150

10

4-4"

German S-boat S-38

42

2-21" (2 reloads)

9

2 or 3

-

German S-boat S-100

42

2-21" (2 reloads)

10

5

-

German Raumboote

18

-

12

2

-

German M Class Minesweeper

18

-

75

6

2 -3.5"

German Vorpostenboot Trawler

9

-

35

5

1-3.5"

German MFP "F-lighter"

9

-

20

3

1-3"

German AFP "Flaklighter"

8

-

24

ARMORED

9

2-3.5"

German T Class Torpedo Boat

33

6-21"

(6 reloads)

95

9

1-4.1"

Italian MAS boat

45

2-18"

3

1

-

Italian MS Boat

32

2-21"

(2 reloads)

8

2

-

Italian Gabbiano Corvette

18

2-18"

70

6

1-3.9"

Japanese Daihatsu Barge

8

-

2

ARMORED

1

-

Japanese T-14 MTB

30

2-18"

3

1

-

Japanese Type C Armored Gunboat

14

-

4

ARMORED

2 or 3

-

Russian G-5 MTB

48

2-21"

Stern launched

2

1

-

Russian D-3 MTB

31

2-21"

3

2

-

Russian MO-4

18

-

6

4

-

Russian Type 1125

Armored Gunboat

21

-

4

ARMORED

1

1-3"

Finnish Syoksy MTB

42

2-18"

Stern Launched

2

-

-

French VTB

39

2-16"

2

-

-

Dutch TM-4 MTB

36

2-18"

2

-

-

Typical Coastal Freighter

9

-

7

1

1-3"

1200 Ton Freighter

9

-

120

2

-

Schooner

8

-

5

-

 

 

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