Distant Guns: Jutland


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Where can i find the full game? There is only a demo available?

As it says in the fine print on the demo page, the demo is really the full game, but only a limited number of features will work. If you like the demo, you can click on the "Buy" button, which takes you to a web site where you can pick which version you want to buy and shows the prices. IIRC, full pro version is $55 right now.

Anyway, you give us your money for whichever version and we email you a license code number. Then you start the game again, hit "Activate", enter your number, and this unlocks the features you paid for.

Quote: Originally Posted by vertical

What are the best orders for sub groups? Regular patrol, or area patrol? And how to best use zeppelins? Kind of like airborne versions of the IJN recon fleets in RJW? And again, area patrol or just regular patrol orders? Can they be destroyed if they get too close to surface forces?

I find Area Patrol works best for (non-minelaying) subs and zeps.

First, make sure you understand the key differences between regular Patrol and Area Patrol...

With regular Patrol, the whole TF goes out, parks in the 1 hex for however long you tell it or its fuel lasts, and then comes home and goes on rest orders. It won't move again until you tell it to. Thus, you have to keep redoing it over and over. Plus, it puts everything in 1 place, so is of limited utility for an early warning / interdiction screen.

With Area Patrol, you specify a patrol area with a radius in hexes around a center point. Individual ships from the TF scatter out and roam around within this patrol area. The whole thing is automatic, in that the TF continues sending out ships and resting others forever, until you change its orders. Thus, you get a wide coverage area. Only about 1/2 to 2/3 of the TF's ships will be at sea at any one time, though.

So, as the Germans, what I do is use Area Patrol to set up barriers of subs and zeps where I think they'll be most useful. The zeps are only good for early warning so they cover the width of the North Sea from just south of Rosyth. The subs can attack ships that come by them, so some I put off Brit bases, some I put in merchant areas.

As the Brits, I know the Germans have to appear at the Horn Reef or Ems channels around the minefields, so I always have some subs patrolling there. Others I have where the Germans are likely to show up. And of course I mine the Hell out of both German minefield channels. Sometimes I'll send subs to patrol within the Bight, too, although that's risky due to the mines.

The game includes all ships from BBs down to TBs that were in the North Sea area in 1916. The vast bulk of them are therefore Brit and German, but there a few minor French ships as well.

Thus, there are some ships that weren't at Jutland itself. This includes those that were sunk earlier in the year and those that entered service later in the year. But if it was sunk or left the theater before 1 Jan 1916, or entered service or the theater after 31 Dec 1916, it's not in the game. Hence, no US ships, for example.

So, how do you guys get underway in starting a new battle...what I mean is, do you consult charts/tables about the characteristics (guns, range, max speed, etc) of the ships in your command as well as the ships in opposition. Do you play from a water level view to approach realism. I just find that upon starting, I am scrambling to try and understand my assets, and I don't have a working encyclopedic knowledge of the ships.

Whoooo...... I never thought that this game would be of interest to somebody unfamiliar with the subject matter. So this is going to take some explaining....

There are basically 6 general types of ships: battleships, battlecruisers, armored cruisers, light cruisers, destroyers, and everything else.

Battleships (BBs) are divided into 2 sub-types: dreadnoughts and predreadnoughts. The former have at least 4 main turrets and can do 20-24 knots, the latter have 2 at most main turrets and can do about 18 knots. All have decent armor. In WW1, dreadnought battleships are the core of the fleet, the big hammer, while predreadnoughts are obsolete. Dreadnoughts enjoy not only a speed and firepower advantage but also can shoot significantly further.

  • German dreadnoughts typically have smaller guns and heavier armor. Their guns usually have shorter range.
  • Brit dreadnoughts typically have bigger guns and less armor. Their bigger guns typically outrange anything the Germans have.

Battlecruisers (BCs) are hybrid ships that are faster than dreadnoughts but either not as well armored or armed. They can typically reach speeds in the upper 20s and have nearly the amount of firepower as dreadnoughts. They are the fast wing of battlefleets or are used for raids.

  • German battlecruisers are typically better armored, but slightly slower and have smaller guns.
  • Brit battlecruisers typically have bigger guns and are faster, but have less armor. They also are notoriously bad shots compared to all Germans and most Brit dreadnoughts.

Armored cruisers (ACs) are of similar obsolete vintage to predreadnought battleships. They typically are not much faster than dreadnoughts and have medium armor and guns (6"-9" in both). They can out-fight smaller ships but are too slow to catch them. They can neither out-fight nor out-run battlecruisers and aren't enough faster than dreadnoughts to get out of bad situations. Only the brits have this type of ship, and usually used them for scouting out ahead of their battlefleet.

Light cruisers (CLs) are scouts and destroyer leaders. They have 4"-6" guns that fire HE shells only and have light armor, although this is sufficient against 4"-6" HE shells. They reach speeds usually in the upper 20s. They can do little damage to each other or anything bigger but can tear up destroyers.

  • German CLs have homogenous armament but most of them have 4" guns. The newer ones have gun directors. They have less armor than their Brit opposite numbers.
  • Brit CLs mostly have a mixed armament of 4" and 6" guns and lack sophisticated fire control. However, they have a lot more of them and they have better armor.

Destroyers (DDs) are small ships whose primary armament is torpedoes, although they also have several guns of 3"-4" without any real fire control equipment. They typcially can reach speeds in excess of 30 knots, but have no armor, hence the nickname "tincans". They are used to screen big ships from subs and enemy DDs, and to conduct torpedo attacks on the enemy fleet.

  • German DDs typically have 3" guns and 6 torpedo tubes
  • Brit DDs typically have 4" guns and 4 torpedo tubes
  • Brits also have extra-large DDs called Flotilla Leaders (FLs) which really are no different from regular DDs except for 1 more gun.
  • Brit torpedoes have slightly more speed and range than German torps.

Everything else covers all the miscellaneous ships: obsolete DDs, torpedo boats, subs, armed merchant cruisers, auxiliary cruisers, and zeps. These are mostly useful for patrolling, either offensively or defensively, and giving early warning. They are all expendable.

Originally Posted by joblue

Its not that I am unfamiliar, I just don't have (for example) a working knowledge of ballistic capabilities of German light cruisers of WWI....

OK, German CLs are in 2 general types: old and new.

Old German CLs

Gazelle, Bremen, and Konigsberg classes. These ships are pretty obsolete. They are slow (low 20s), have relatively weak 10.5cm SK L/40 guns without directors, and short-ranged 45cm torps. They are actually old "protected cruisers" without belt armor, just a protective deck, so are rather vulnerable to HE fire, unlike true light cruisers. They're good for screening battleships from DD attack but aren't fast enough for much else.

New German CLs

Magdeburg, Karlsruhe, Graudenz, Wiesbaden, Konigsberg II classes. These are modern, true light cruisers with belt armor and speeds in the upper 20s. The 1st 3 classes were built with 10.5cm SK L/45 guns but by 1916 some have been re-armed with 15cm SK L/45s, which the later classes had from the start. All have directors and 50cm torps. Very useful ships for all sorts of jobs but the Germans don't have enough of them.

There's also the Pillau class. These are as above but are actually "protected cruisers", so aren't as durable in the typical light forces knife fights. Roughly analogous to the Brit Weymouth class.

Minelaying Cruisers

Nautilus really doesn't qualify as a cruiser because she lacks armor completely and has only 8.8cm SK L/45 guns. She's also very slow. She can carry 200 mines, so is useful that way, but too vulnerable to send alone very far from home.

The Brummer class, OTOH, can be sent to high-risk areas because they're fast enough to get out of trouble. They're not much use for typical cruiser roles, however, because they don't have as many guns or as much armor as other new German CLs. So their best use is offensive mining.

Quote: Originally Posted by Heinz Fischer

Could you do a similar summary on RN CLs and ACs?

British ACs

Brit ACs are a rather mixed bag, some being absurdly weak while others are pretty nice (for ACs). However, even the best ones are still obsolete disasters-in-waiting if caught in a fleet action with dreadnoughts and BCs. All of them go in the low-mid 20s, all have 6" - 9.2" guns (usually mixed), armor of about the same thickness, and short-range 18" torps. None of them have directors.

Their 7.5" and 9.2" guns have AP, however, so they can do significant damage to CLs while being largely immune to their 4-6" return fire. This makes them somewhat useful for fleet scouting because they can drive off enemy CL scouts, even if they can't catch them. However, if the ACs press their own scouting too far and encounter enemy BCs, the ACs are toast. They can gradually outrun dreadnoughts, but can expect a rough time of it until they do.

Old British ACs

The Monmouth class is the most pathetic Brit AC, armed only with 6" guns, slow, and weakly armored even by AC standards.

The Devonshire class is a modified Monmouth, with 8x 6" replaced by 4x 7.5", only 3 of which can fire on the broadside. They've also got a bit more armor and speed. As such, this class is marginally more useful.

New British ACs

The Duke of Edinburgh class is armed with 6x 9.2" guns in single turrets, so only 4 can fire on the broadside. 2ndary battery is 6x 6" in shields on deck. These were originally in casemates that were too close to the water to every be used. They have more armor and speed than the older ACs.

The Warrior class is an improved DoE, with the 6" guns replaced by 4x 7.5" turrets, 2 on each side. Otherwise, they are practically identical to the DoEs.

The Minotaur class was the ultimte Brit ACs, with 4x 9.2" in twin turrets and 10x 7.5" single turrets, 5 on each side. This is a lot of CL-killing firepower. Armor and speed same as other "new" ACs. These would have been wonderful ships in the RJW, but were actually completed after Dreadnought. The Invincible BCs were basically just Minotaurs with turbines and 12” guns.

British CLs

Brit CLs are rather confusing because the changed their minds about what they wanted several times. However, eventually they settled down into a nice family progression of slight improvements on the same basic type, with annoyingly similar names that make it hard to remember what class each is in. However, for most of the wartime classes, this really doesn't matter very much because there wasn't much difference between them.

Most Brit CLs (that large family mentioned above) have a mixed armament of 2x 6" and 8x 4" guns. Later in the war, most of them were re-armed with some or all 4" traded for 6", but that was after 1916 as far as I can tell. They got directors at the same time so don't have them in Jutland. However, the last CLs of this family to enter service in 1916 did have directors and all 6" guns.

In the ships with the mixed armament, most of them had the 2x 6" mounted superfiring aft with the 4" along the sides going forward. The older Brit CLs had BL 4" but the newer ones QF, although ROF was still low (common to German CLs as well) due to ammo supply issues.

Torpedoes varied, with 18" in the oldest and 21" in most. The number of tubes and their mounting varied, with some otherwise nearly identical classes differing (in game terms) only in whether the tubes were above or below water.

All the newer Brit CLs could reach speeds in the mid-upper 20s. Most of them had belt armor, and this was thicker than that of the newer German CLs.

The Brits have a LOT of CLs, way more than the Germans, and most of them are equal to or better than the best the Germans have in most respects. The main Brit CL failing is in fire control. None of them have directors so can't hit as well at the longer ranges. Also, their 4" guns were extremely inaccurate and in most of them were so low to the water that high seas frequently made them unuseable. This goes some way toward negating the Brit numerical advantage. However, where a German scouting unit might be 1 CL and several DDs, for the Brits it's 4-5 CLs, so the Brits can often win the scouting battle.

"Scout" CLs

Boadicea, Blonde, Active classes. These are small, old CLs originally intended to lead DD flotillas, but were too slow to keep up with modern DDs. They are "protected cruisers" lacking belts and have only 4" guns and 18" torps. By 1916, most of them were used as signal-repeating ships for the GF's battle squadrons.

Old British CLs

The Bristol class were the 1st modern Brit CLs, but are "protected cruisers". They have a mixed 4"-6" armament, 18" torps, and can do about 25 knots. They were considered obsolescent by 1916 so most of them were overseas.

The Weymouth class were improved Bristols with 6" guns throughout and 21" torps (as had all later CLs) but were still "protected cruisers". Thus, few of them were in the front line in the North Sea in 1916.

The Chatham class were the 1st Brit CLs with belt armor (all later ones had it, too) and were very successful ships, remaining in service well after WW1. They had uniform 6" guns and good sea-keeping qualities, their biggest drawback being a top speed of around 25 knots, which gave them trouble keeping up with BCs. The Birmingham class was essentially the same but had an extra 6" gun on the forecastle.

New British CLs

The Arethusa class were intended as 2nd generation "scouts", with belt armor and much greater speed, up to about 28 knots in good weather. Most were used as DD flotilla leaders. However, they were small, cramped, low, wet, and could slow down in rough weather. However, they were still quite useful, and their basic design, in modified form, was used for most remaining Brit wartime CLs. They had 2x 6" and 6x 4" to start with, with 1x 6" on each end.

The Caroline class were the 1st "C" cruisers (with the annoyingly similar names). They and their followers were enlarged and improved Arethusas, with both 6" guns mounted aft where they'd be drier. They also had 8x 4" guns. This was the standard arrangement for the next 2 classes. The Calliope and Cambrian classes were essentially just Carolines with 2 funnels and minor improvements, although Cambrian herself had a 3rd 6" gun instead of 2x 4" on the forecastle (the others were so modified later).

The last 1916 CLs of this general type were the Centaurs, which entered service late in the year with Harwich Force. They were a significant improvment because they had 5x 6" guns all on the centerline, tripod mast, and a director. Earlier CLs were modified to these standards later in the war, and later ones were built along the same lines.

The Brits also had the Birkenhead class, originally built for Turkey. These ships had 10x 5.5" guns but were otherwise very similar to the Arethusas.

Quote: Originally Posted by Destraex

c) Where can I find a good book on what can hit what and how effective each is.

In general and briefly, it's like this:

  • Torps can hurt anything.
  • All guns of 6"/15cm (except Canada's)and below fire HE only, so are generally fatal only to targets without belt armor, like DDs, AMCs, etc. Even ships without belt armor, but which have thick, curved decks, are hard to sink with just HE. However, these guns can knock out lightly protected weapons, searchlights, etc., on any ships. IOW, most CLs are unlikely to sink each other without torpedoes, although they can "mission-kill" each other by knocking out guns.
  • Guns of 9.2" down to 17cm fire AP, so can deal with medium armor. Thus, they can sink CLs but aren't likely to do significant damage to capital ships except at very short range.
  • Guns of 28cm on up to 15" (capital ship main guns) are the big hammers. These can penetrate even heavy BB armor out to ranges of at least 10-12km (varies of course on gun, armor, angle, etc.). IOW, capital ships engaging at 10-12km or less should expect to take serious damage from other capital ships, and can also hurt each other badly (although less often) at longer ranges. However, beyond 12km or so, hit rates are very low, on the order of 3-5% of shells fired.

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