Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Running before the wind - Further thoughts on naval wargaming by Gerard de Gre

Another dip into Donald Featherstone's NAVAL WAR GAMES has revealed a further contribution by Gerard de Gre. It concerns the effect of wind on the movement of sailing warships.
  1. Direction of wind to be determined after both fleets have been placed in position. This may be done with a dice roll (eight-sided) or by drawing from a deck of ‘Wind Cards’ (eight) to determine from the N, NE, E, SE, S, SW, W or NW.
  2. Each commander has the option prior to his move to roll a regular six-sided dice to give one of the following effects: (a) 45° clockwise (b) 45° counter-clockwise (c) 90° shift clockwise (d) 90° counter-clockwise (e) No change (f) 180° shift of wind. New wind direction prevails until changed by dice roll of one of the commanders.
  3. Ships are given a standard mobility factor such as one square or 6 in.
  4. Ships may turn only at the beginning and/or end of their move, and neither turn may exceed 90° to port or starboard. Moves are in straight lines only after making initial turn at beginning of the ship’s move.
  5. Ships may not sail directly into the wind; mobility factor times zero.
  6. When beating into the wind, that is, when the wind is coming into the ship at approximately 45° of the bow, the mobility factor is multiplied by one.
  7. When reaching into the wind, that is, when the wind is coming in at 90° perpendicular to the beam, the mobility factor is multiplied by two.
  8. When on the broad reach or sailing directly before the wind, that is when the wind is directly behind the ship or at 45° of the stern, the mobility factor is multiplied by three.
  9. These relationships of wind direction to the ships’ mobility may be represented diagrammatically (as in drawing).

Gerard de Gre has also devised rules for broadsides of guns that give slightly more latitude than most rules thus:
We determined the effectiveness of broadsides on the basis of the relative bearings of the ships to each other. For example, if one ship had another directly on its beam it could fire a full broadside, while it opponent had its target only on the quarter-beam, then it could only fire one-half of its broadside. You will notice that the wind rules and broadside rules operate best for a gridded sea.

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