Fury on the Lakes: Coastal Warfare on the Great Lakes in the Great War

May 7, 2016

New Fury on the Lakes 1/600 Boats!

US
FLA-14 58′ Armored Motor Gunboat………$3.00
FLA-15 Mackinac Class Patrol Gunboat……$8.00
FLA-16 Scaup Class minesweeper…………$7.50

PTD Scaup Class Minesweeper  Scaup Class master. This is based upon the actual USS Bache of 1918

RN/Canadian
FLC-17 86′ Drifter w/ 2-14″ torpedoes……..$3.50
FLC-18 Hunt Class Minesweeper Sloop…….$10.00

Pictures of the masters for these new boats can be seen at the PT Dockyard Facebook page HERE

 

Update February 13

Campaign briefing and Scenario guide available!

Fury on The Lakes ScenariosA

More boats coming!

 

Update December 8

Fury on the Lakes Starter pack!

Rules
 Tioga DD
Cricket DD
Lake freighter
2- Canadian Hickman MTBs
1- Canadian 55′ CMB
2- US Liberty Mk 1 MTB
1- US Liberty Mk 2 MTB
1- US Elco Launch
1- Canadian Vickers Launch

$50.00USD!! Free shipping everywhere.

 

Fury on the Lakes V1.1 Available December 7

Fury on the Lakes1

Price:…………………………………………………….$9.95

Order by e-mail to ptdockyard@yahoo.com. You will receive a PayPal invoice and files will be sent after payment

1/600 Fury on the Lakes Miniatures

USA
FLA-1 Greenport Patrol Launch…………..$3.00
FLA-2 Greenport Launch w/ torpedoes…$3.00
FLA-3 Liberty 50′ MTB Mk1……………….$2.00
FLA-4 Elco Patrol Launch………………….$3.50
FLA-5 Tioga Lake Destroyer………………$8.00
FLA-6 40′ Scout boat……………………….$2.00
FLA-7 Armed Barge (3-3″ guns)………….$6.50
FLA-8 Armed Barge (2-4″ guns)………….$6.50
FLA-9 50′ Armored Landing Barge……….$2.50
FLA-10 F-class Submarine………………….$5.00
FLA-11 Liberty 76′ MTB Mk2………………..$3.50
FLA-12 Shearer Submersible MTB (2)……$3.50
FLA-13 1910 Steam Torpedo Launch…….$3.00

At left Elco Launches flanking a Greenport Torpedo Launch. Two 40′ Scout boats at top and at right Three Liberty Mk1 MTBsPTD US Boats

Royal Canadian Navy
FLC-1 Yarrow MTB…………………………..$2.50
FLC-2 Vickers Patrol Launch……………….$3.00
FLC-3 Bertram Patrol Launch………………$5.00
FLC-4 Hickman Sea Sled MTB……………..$2.50
FLC-5 Steam Picket Boat (w/torpedoes)..$2.50
FLC-6 Cricket Class Coastal Destroyer…..$8.00
FLC-7 42′ RCMC Patrol boat………………..$2.00
FLC-8 Armored Coastal Monitor……………$3.50
FLC-9 X-lighter (Canadian Version)……..$4.00
FLC-10 70′ CMB Minelayer……………………$3.00
FLC-11 40′ CMB (2)…………………………….$3.50
FLC-12 55′ CMB…………………………………$2.00
FLC-13 55′ Armoured CMB……………………$2.00
FLC-14 C-class submarine……………………$4.00
FLC-15 M-Class Monitor (with 7.5″ gun)……$7.00
FLC-16 M-class Monitor (with 2-6″ guns)…..$7.00

Top-M Class monitor w/7.5″, Bertram Class Patrol Launch

Middle: Hickman Sea Sled MTB,  Lake Freighter

Bottom: Vickers Patrol Launch, Yarrow MTB

PTD Canadian Boats

Merchant Ships
FLM-1 Lake Freighter………………………….$10.00
FLM-2 Tug and 2 barges………………………$8.00

 

 

Update 11/14-11/27

Second Playtest game November 23 at Par-a-Dice Games in Rochester NY 6:00PM. This will be a U.S. foray into Georgian Bay in 1918 to disrupt Canadian shipping routes.

Fury Playtest 2

 

Battle Report:

For most of the war, U. S. navy coastal forces had been hamstrung in their efforts to penetrate deep into Georgian Bay by their boats’ short range or slow speed. The fact that the faster US MTBs only carried one torpedo often made a long trip for naught as torpedoes ran erratic or failed to explode.

The delivery of the first 76′ “Big Liberty” boats to squadrons on Lake Huron caused quite a stir and the District command immediately made plans to send these deadly craft, each carrying three 18″ torpedo tubes, deep into Canadian Waters.

Biglibertyboats

Late in September, Fenian Privateer Flotilla coastwatchers  reported a big Canadian convoy sailing East along the north shore of Georgian Bay. This gave the 17th MTB Squadron the opportunity they were waiting for. Five Big Liberties sailed out along with two Greenport gunboats to intercept the convoy in waters the Canadians considered safe. One Greenport had a mechanical failure and had to turn back but the rest of the American craft continued on. Naval aircraft Bombed and strafed Canadian coastal defenses at Tobermory as the boats passed, the aircraft engines providing covering noise for the twenty Liberty engines driving the U.S. MTBs past the Canadian outposts.

The plan was to have the Greenport provide cover from the opposite side of the convoy, distracting the escorts and allowing the Big Liberties to fill the water with torpedoes. Problems arose when the Greenport was moving into position and Canadian Vickers Patrol launch appeared out of the darkness on the port bow. The Canadians were far too early!

The Vickers spotted the Greenport at the same time and both craft began exchanging fire. The Greenport was quickly hit in the engine room by 3pdr fire slowing it down as it wheeled to port and raked both the Vickers and the first freighter in column. Soon the Bertram launch that trailed the Vickers was in range and thrashed the water around the U.S. Boat with 13 pdr and MG fire. A second Bertram launch on the opposite side of the convoy sped up to bring her guns to bear as well.

IMG_6883

The Greenport, slowed by the engine hits, poured machine gun and 37mm fire at the Canadian boats. Hits were scored on all and for a few minutes the Greenport led a charmed life. Close range 1pdr, 6pdr and machine gun fire tore at her hull and she sank in a spreading slick of burning fuel.

IMG_6884

The Big Liberties, creeping in behind and to the east of the Greenport, spotted the whole convoy at this point. They slowed to a stop and idled, waiting for the convoy to come closer and offer the best torpedo angle. The Canadian escorts, alerted and nervous, began making smoke to cover their charges from whatever lurked in the darkness.

The smoke gave the U.S. Boats the impression they had been spotted. With deafening roars, the five US torpedo boats went to full throttle and charged at the convoy. The two Bertrams began pouring fire out at them, blowing up one Liberty with 13pdr fire but not diverting the Americans from their attack. The American boats headed to a gap in the smoke to bring home their torpedoes.

IMG_6887

 

The first 76′ boat loosed her trio of torpedoes at the first and biggest freighter. The fish ran fast but two passed under while the third hit the ship’s side with the resounding clang of a dud. Meanwhile, the third boat in line had a fire break out from 1pdr fire hitting a fuel tank.

IMG_6888

Her big punch spent, the first MTB wheeled west and raced away while the second boat lined up her shot. She ran close and loosed her torpedoes. These too ran hot straight and normal and two fatal hits ripped into the Canadian freighter’s hull. Seconds later this boat was raked by 1pdr fire from a little Constabulary boat, chewing up her empty tubes and disabling the bridge crew. The boat began circling to starboard while the U.S. crew worked to sort out their shattered command center. The Bertrams still kept up the fire and with the bridge crew dead, the remaining crew set the scuttling charges and went over the side.

The third Big Liberty, still fighting her fuel fire, loosed her torpedoes toward the second freighter. Only one hit but that was enough and the freighter began to settle. This boat also suffered the vengeance of the escorts and was abandoned sinking the next turn.

IMG_6891

The last American boat went for the only visible target, a big ore boat at the tail of the convoy. Again three torpedo leapt from their tubes and churned toward a Canadian hull. This time two hit, one hitting an empty compartment and the second misfiring and only causing minimal damage. The freighter slowed but continued on.

 

The final boat to fire joined up with the retiring first boat. Behind them they left three of their sisters along with a shattered Canadian convoy that started the night not really expecting trouble.  It was a rough night for all concerned.

 

The changes to the gunfire rules and the torpedo rules yielded improved results from the last test. Jeff Benedict and John Meredith again ran the boats, this time switching sides from the raid on Oswego. Thanks again to these fine gentlemen and Pair-A Dice Games for hosting the test.

 

Rules are just about there. I will have to admit it is looking like the first week of so of December for launch but I think everyone will be pleased with the result.

 

 

Update 11/3

Rules coming along nicely. Please note release is planned (hopefully for THIS MONTH, not 2016!.

Here are a few shots of new masters

US F class sub, 1910 Torpedo Boat, British C class sub, tug and barge

US F class sub, 1910 Torpedo Boat, British C class sub, tug and barge

PTD Fury Nov boats

RN 70′ CMB minelayer (Canadian build) and US Liberty MTB Mk 2 “Big Liberty”

Overview

Fury Montage

Over the years, I have read a number of alternative history works that describe

a potential conflict between Great Britain and the United States in the early 20th century. Perhaps the best known is “The Great War: American Front” series by Harry Turtledove and Avalanche Press’ naval board games “Great War At Sea: Plan Crimson and Plan Red. “ This conflict would likely extend to the US and Canada with the naval aspect mostly played out on the Great Lakes. With the actual US War Department War Plans Red (war with Great Britain) and Plan Crimson (war with Canada) along with the Canadian Defense Scheme No. 1, it is apparent this has not only been considered in the minds of novelists alone.

PTD Canadian Boats

Regarding a conflict on the Great Lakes, however, my thoughts take a different direction. Large battleships would be nice and dramatic but very expensive. With movement from lake to lake by canal hazardous in wartime, large ships would require substantial investment in ships and personnel for each lake. Substantial ice coverage in winter would restrict movement even if these ships had icebreaking features (as icebreaking is not a fast process). This is not to say there would not be some, but whole squadrons may be a stretch. Smaller vessels such as monitors, small destroyers and armed merchants may be more in line with the backwater characteristic of lake warfare and the limited budgets that would be available. The merchant traffic would still continue, protected by minefields to keep the other side’s warships and submarines away. In Turtledove’s series this is how the story played out but in actual history this could be seen in the North Sea Mine Barrage and in the Mediterranean and Gulf of Finland in World War two.

PTD US Boats

Minefields, however, have not been effective in keeping small MTBs away from coastal traffic. In WW1 British CMBs were specifically designed to skim over the Kaiser’s minefields and take the war to the High Seas Fleet. With “Great Lakes Mosquito War, the PT Dockyard submits that coastal craft would become the most effective force in a hypothetical war on the lakes.

Since reading (nay, devouring) these accounts and novels  I have always had interest in someday doing miniatures and rules for a 20th Century Great Lakes naval conflict. Frankly though, the thought of making multiple 1/2400 capital ships was daunting, not to mention the complication of making masters for and casting very tiny smaller ships. The genus of these rules relates back to a visit a few years ago to the Sacket’s Harbor battlefield during a family vacation. While walking the site of an 1813 British raid on the east end of Lake Ontario, the thought came that coastal craft would be well positioned at this base for a Plan Crimson type conflict. In keeping with the stepchild treatment small craft usually get, both in real navies and in the eyes of many who plan and design wargames,  it occurred to me that the coastal aspect of a naval war on the Great Lake was an undiscovered country.

Fury on the Lakes1

Playtest Results  Pair A Dice Games Rochester NY,Sept 14

Raid On Oswego April 28, 1918

The Plan 
 
In an effort to stem the growing power of the US Navy on Lake Ontario and cut the flow of supplies from New York City and the Atlantic via the Erie/Barge Canal, The Royal Canadian Navy hatched a plan to close the canal outlet in Oswego. The main objective was to run an old freighter, the “Laura Secord”, up the mouth of the canal and scuttle it across the width, blocking across it until the United States could break the wreck up.
The plan was to have two M class monitors engage defenses from the west of town and hold their attention as the freighter came out of the darkness from the northeast.
Oswego large
The US Navy was somewhat warned of some kind of action when a British CMB washed up  on the shore south of Sacket’s Harbor. Maps of Oswego were found on board so the Navy dispatched a squadron of six “Liberty Boat” MTBS ( US version of the German LM boats) to reinforce the small section of Greenport launches stationed in Oswego. Small picket scout boats, Elco launches and a small lake destroyer also are patrolling the area.
The Attack
Action opened when the monitors and their escorting Betram class launch came up behind the easternmost scout boat. The night was dark and somewhat misty with visibility about 3/4 of a mile. The scout became aware or the Canadians when machine gun and 6pdr fire lashed ito her hull, gutting her and leaving most of her crew sputtering in the water.
IMG_6524
Soon the 4″ shore guns west of town opened up on the monitors who returned ineffective fire while the 6″ guns at Fort Ontario  east of the canal mouth slowly trained in the direction of the firing. Soon they added their tall splashes around the monitors as the US Liberty boats and Greenports fired up their engines and cast off lines. As the USN small craft split up behind the breakwall, the two patrolling Elco launches arrive in the extreme east, coming to investigate the gunfire.
IMG_6522
The monitors are aware of the charging US MTBs but fire is blocked by the breakwall. One, a Greenport launch modified to carry two torpedoes aft, is spotted and falls victim to a huge 7.5″ shell. Often a large shell like this passes through a small wooden craft, but not when that shell hits an eight cylinder Hall Scott motor and the the Greenport vanished in a frightful blast.
IMG_6526
The vanguard of the freighter squadron arrives in the form of two British coastal destroyers, the Cricket and the Mayfly. These are picked up by Fort Ontario’s guns and soon they are threading their way through a forest of shell splashes while they trade fire with the surprised Elco launches. Out of the mist arrive the final players- the Laura Secord with a host of attending motor launches and motor torpedo boats while to the east a US Lake Destroyer, the Tioga, emerges from the mist and begins peppering the Cricket with her stubby 3″/23s. The British destroyers fling twelve pounder shot back but each lose a gun, effectively cutting their firepower in half.
IMG_6525
By now the Greenport gunboats along with three Liberty MTBs round the breakwall and start racing to join battle with the advancing Canadian craft. What ensues is the naval version of a dogfight with MTBs, motor launches, gunboats and small destroyers wheeling about in a froth and firing everything they have. A USN Libery boat goes down from multiple hits while a Canadian Hickman Sea Sled MTB tries unsuccessfully to torpedo an Elco launch, earing the boat captain a string of curses from a Vickers launch who watches friendly torpedoes narrowly miss her stern. Another Hickman MTB tries to ram a Greenport gunboat, sinking just short in a hail of fire from the Greenport’s MGs and 37MM MacLean. The Cricket takes a pummeling from the Tioga’s guns but manages to put a torpedo into her tormentor, blasting the US destroyer in half.
Playtest4
The Mayfly, busy firing her remaining gun at the Elco’s, crosses past a 1pdr AA gun on the break wall which rakes the small ship stem to stern, knocking out her last gun and starting a fire.
Playtest2
The monitors continue cruising along the breakwall, now worried about the US MTB rounding the wall’s east end and opening their tube doors. The Bertram wades into them, sinking one while 6pdr fire from the monitors puts another beneath the cold lake waters. The sole surviving Liberty MTB wastes her torpedo in a following shot on M25 .
IMG_6529
While the small craft fight it out, the freighter belches smoke and charges at her top speed of nine knots. In the midst of the boat dogfight, one of the Liberty MTBs gets into a favorable firing position and lets fly. The 18″ torpedo plows into the freighter, holing her badly but not sinking her. Meanwhile the US shore guns, after hitting the M25 and  Cricket with crippling shots, spot the plodding freighter and open fire. The ship continues on but now all of the US guns focus on her. She sinks hundreds of yards from the shore, an annoyance to navigation but not the total blockage that was planned. The remaining Canadian ships limp off into the night under the cover of smoke, the US survivors deigning to give chase.
Playtest3
Observations
“Fury on the Lakes” uses a new gunfire system that does account for individual weapons. The overall system worked well with a few adjustments being needed. The The byword is simplification and that will be the goal of further editing. Overall, the game was a success and attracted a lot of positive interest, players and observers liking the different feel of an alternate history game that is very different yet still familiar to our history. It was fun, played reasonably fast even when the “dogfight” erupted and gave perceptibly accurate results for the gunfire damage.  There was a Turtledove fan present who caught the significance of the freighter’s name.
One challenge I see will be in explaining the origins of the weapons and craft. Few of the craft were ever built but many are from proposed designs or modifications of craft historical craft, with a couple from my imagination. Same with the weapons- the 37mm McLean and the 1 1/2pdr C.O.W. gun both needing explanation not to mention the Hickman Sea Sled MTBs. Even the Greenports, which were real craft just not used as MTBs or MGBs by the USN, required a little briefing with folks. Wait until I add Davis guns…..
This is on track for a November release. My thanks to Jeff Benedict, John Meredith and the guys at Pair-A Dice Games in Rochester for hosting. The Dockyard has an invitation to come back and do this again

2 Responses

  1. What scale are the ships?

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