North Hinder
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by Mark Harris

The Cruise of the Meteor – 8-9th August 1915

The Scenario

This scenario recreated the cruise of the German Auxiliary Raider Meteor (a British merchantman captured at the outbreak of war) in the North Sea. Meteor's actions were umpire controlled.

The scenario commenced after the Meteor had laid her mines in the Moray Firth. She had been intercepted by the British armed boarding steamer, Ramsey. Ramsey was surprised at close range as she stopped to lower a boat for routine stop and search. The apparently Russian merchantmen revealed a hidden armament and Ramsey was immediately torpedoed and sank, with all of her survivors being picked up by Meteor. This was exactly the same outcome as in the real action and set the scene for the rest of the scenario. The scenario allowed for other options had the surprise torpedo attack failed.

The Action Report

The British player (Steve) received periodic intelligence about the position of the Meteor based on wireless intercepts as they were historically available. One Light Cruiser Squadron was in fact already at sea looking for Meteor. Four Light cruiser squadrons were available and had interception courses plotted. These were compared to a pre-plotted course by the German/umpire player. Airships and a seaplane also passed on sighting reports to the German/umpire player.

The British ships boxed in the Meteor and despite the intelligence received from the scouting air assets, the Meteor was brought to action by the Carysfort of the 4th Light Cruiser Squadron. Carysfort closed to 3 miles before opening fire and in a short action scored two hits with 6” HE on the waterline of the Meteor. With a severe list to port and her steering gear wrecked by two more HE hits in the superstucture, Meteor had no option but to strike her colours after firing scuttling charges. The surviving crew, along with the surviving crew of the Ramsey which were still on-board, were picked up by 4th LCS as she sank.

Second Cruise of the Meteor projection based on damage as at 14:42 August 9, 1915:

Ramsey has already sunk – no points as under umpire control

Result of progressive flooding and machinery damage in next 48 hours as follows:

  • 10 Aug 7:21:00 - Meteor {S.M.S.} has capsized to port – all points to Steve
  • All remaining ships have flooding under control, abandoned ships will burn out
  • All remaining ships are undamaged

Grand Fleet has lost 2600 tons of ships

High Seas Fleet has lost 3227 tons of ships

Campaign Score

Scores are based on tonnage sunk or lost by players (with ships sunk shared according to damage inflicted by the different players) with German losses counting double:

Steve (Commodore Alexander-Sinclair): +6454
Andrew (A 16 in early part of game): 0
Mark H (Korvettenkapitän von Knorr): -6454

How does this compare to the real action?

The result was much the same – except that, knowing that he was hopelessly boxed in the Meteor’s commander chose to scuttle her and then escaped with his entire crew on a nearby neutral trawler. Ramsey’s survivors were placed on another nearby neutral trawler and were taken on board by the Light Cruisers of the Harwich Force as they came upon the scene.


The First Action off Middelkerke Bank – 9th August 1915

The Scenario

This scenario recreated a clash between French and German Torpedo Boats of the Belgain Coast.

A section of the Dunkerque Défence Mobile (Torpedo Boats 341 and 342 under Mark, the umpire) were on patrol in the West Deep off Nieuport when they spotted smoke to the NE. Heading out to investigate they identified two German torpedo craft running in to Ostende – the A 4 and A 16 (under Steve with some assistance in the early part of the game from a visitor, Andrew). They were able to close to around 6000 yards before the Germans reacted.

The Action Report

Whilst being faster, the French TBs had a puny gun armament of 37mm autocannons and old pattern short range torpedoes. On paper they were no match for the German 50mm guns and modern pattern torpedoes on their TBs.

However, they chose to engage with élan and in a 45 minute action of twist and turns engaged their more powerful opponents, looking for a lucky torpedo shot.

Twice German boats were near missed by Torpedoes at close range, one from each of the French boats, with the A 4 also getting a near miss back, but eventually the superior German gun armament scored a hit which exploded in the engine room of the 341, bringing it to a halt in the next move. The German boats then circled round, pouring in shells, to which 341 did the best she could to reply with her autocannons, scoring a lucky hit on the second torpedo tube of the A 4 just as she manouvered to deliver a coup de grace by torpedo. However, the reprieve was very short lived, as after a total of nine hits by 5cm shells, the 341 succumbed to a second hit aft on her waterline.

At this point the 342 beat a hasty retreat to Dunkerque as a third German boat, the A 12, arrived on the scene. She herself had only been hit once - on her steering cabin – the light armour of which saved it from damage. The German boats had only been hit by a total of three bursts of 37mm shells.

The German coastal batteries west of Ostende, which had been in range, had not intervened.

First Action off Middelkerke projection based on damage as at 15:18 August 9, 1915:

341 has already sunk (all points to Steve)

Result of progressive flooding and machinery damage in next 48 hours as follows:

  • All remaining ships have flooding under control, abandoned ships will burn out

Damage to surviving ships as at 11 Aug 15:18:00 is as follows:

  • 342 damaged
  • A4 damaged, Wireless Short Range Type, out of action, 45cm Forward Deck TT, out of action
  • A16 damaged, there are 1 tons of flood water on board, which is 0% of total buoyancy reserve

2e. Escadre Légère has lost 96 tons of ships

Marinekorps Flandern has lost 0 tons of ships

Campaign Score

Scores are based on tonnage sunk or lost by players (with ships sunk shared according to damage inflicted by the different players) with German losses counting double:

Steve (Oberleutnant zur See Boldemann): + 96
Mark H (Lieutenant de Vaisseau Lorfèvre): -96

How does this compare to the real action?

Very different! In the real clash the French boats when the Germans turned in their direction and opened fire – aiming to report the enemy via the Zuidcoote semaphore station and draw them into range of the French coastal batteries if they continued their pursuit (they had no wireless). However, at this point an unidentified shore battery fired on the German boats which promptly turned round and headed in to Ostende. The French TBs turned and shadowed them after making their report. No damage was done on either side. The source of the shore firing is unknown – it could have been a German coastal battery, which was just in range, or possibly a French field battery near Nieuport. The French coastal batteries were well out of range.

That leaves the result for the campaign to date after 9 scenarios is as follows:

Mark H           +87297
Andy K           +13060
Mike P           +11339
Alan O             +350
Mark W             +307
Alex M             +121
Colin C               0
Brian S               0
Dean L                0
David S               0
Ian F                 0
Brandt                0
Andrew B              0
John Legg          -428
Jon R             -1256
Barry P           -3995
Trevor P          -9538
Craig D          -14481
Steve T          -30235
Bob C            -52540

Meteor, about to open fire on Ramsey


Carysfort closes in on Meteor, shadowed by airship PL25


The 341, 342, A4 and A16 in action


The 341 stopped and surrounded by German TBs


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