When I decided to try out this challenge, the first thing that caught my eye was the nautical bonus theme. Brilliant, I thought! This was up my alley (retired US Navy and all). Further, two threads had sort of come together. Number one, my very first "summer painting project" I'd taken on in my painting renaissance a few years ago was to make a set of miniatures for the old Avalon Hill game Jutland. I'd bought a digital copy of the game from them and ended up making it all from scratch, though with minis instead of boring cardboard counters. They turned out great and I was happy. Number two, I'd been on a World War One reading kick for some time, and had read a book called War Plans of the Great Powers (by Paul Kennedy). From it, I learned that the U.S. Navy's War Plan Black (of the famous colored series of plans) for war with Germany had the U.S. Atlantic Fleet gathering near the island of Culebra off Puerto Rico. Ironically, the German war plan for war with America had the High Seas Fleet congregating at the same point. This was too interesting to pass up, so I decided another version of Jutland with that potential fight was a must. So that is what I made.
And so I did it -- and forgot to post it this weekend by the deadline, hence the idiot.
Oh well, I finished it too early and lost the bubble (as we submariners say). So, here it is, better late than never. The scenario I've worked out is that, after yet another Balkan crisis in the Summer of 1914, where Germany (and Austria-Hungary) have backed down in yet another humiliation, the Kaiser has decided he needs to do...something. He does not want war in Europe, and he desperately desires colonies. The most logical place? The Western Hemisphere. The Brits, not wanting a fight with Germany, are only too happy to let their two chief naval rivals slug it out (no matter the result, they are relatively stronger in the end). And so on. The orders of battle are based on actual ones from late summer 1914 (having friends with PhDs in WW1 naval history is most helpful here!).
First up, the German High Seas Fleet. The left column are all dreadnought style battleships; second are the pre-dreadnoughts and their four available battlecruisers. The third column are light cruisers, three armored cruisers, and transports (more on this in moment); fourth up are destroyer/torpedo boat flotillas. All ships are stated and marked identical to those from the game Jutland by Avalon Hill. There are a few missing (not built yet) and I added the Braunshcweig class of pre-dreadnoughts to the mix.
The Germans from another angle.
The original game Jutland is a rather straightforward pounding match between a superior British and smaller German fleets. For my War Plan Black scenario, the Americans are at a big disadvantage. However, the scenario I have planned is a grab for colonies for Germany, and that means soldiers, which means transports. So, the game (when finished) will have the Germans trying to slip transports into Central and/or South America to land troops (I have much of this worked out but it is not miniature related, so I am glossing over it). Anyway, the UK guy who sold me the minis (Mick Yarrow) included a model of the Mauretania, which I have pressed into service as the SS Vaterland, the largest and fastest transport in the world in 1914, property of the US-Hamburg line. It is now the main transport for the Germans, along with a few other smaller conversions.
Now, I am all about storage. This is my original Jutland storage set-up, which is going to become the one for War Plan Black (I bought a slightly larger case my Jutland stuff is going into presently, as there are more ships in that scenario). The case:
Inside, there is storage for rules, cards, tons of misc supplies, and all the play aids (range finders, maneuver aids, etc):
The ships all go on trays, one for each side. As you can see, my Jutland ships overflowed slightly into a cigarillo case (they are all magnet-based). These will just fit the War Plan Black fleets, once I can move the Jutland ones to their new case. The trays fit snugly in the leather case and the whole set up is perfect for travel (I'm bringing Jutland to Gary Con in Lake Geneva, WI this week!)