Two short notes on naval warfare

By Rob Morgan

The Society for Nautical Research’s excellent newsletter Topmasts No.19, for August 2016, has arrived, and in it two interesting short pieces, each with something to offer the naval wargamer.

First, for the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Lissa (the second battle, that is, on July 20, 1866) and Topmasts contains a four-page article on the battle by S.L. Kern. It’s entitled ‘The Clash of the Ironclad Fleets.’ Interesting writing, very much so. It’s a battle for which I have some of the Italian and Austrian ships in 1/3000th scale, but have never fought. I assume there’s an anniversary wargame replay somewhere in Europe. It’s a sea war and a campaign which is so often forgotten, or overlooked by the conflict around the coast of North America and its rivers. A pity.

Second, I have long enjoyed the idea of naval aspects to land campaigns, especially where one exists but has to be sought out. There was a conference organised by the Irish Maritime Forum earlier this year with the intriguing title ‘Maritime Aspects of the 1916 Rebellion.’ Yes, there was actually a naval ‘campaign’ of sorts. The British fear of a German back-door invasion saw to that — Winston’s ideas in reverse it could be said! It might turn out to be a decent map campaign, with a great deal of alarms and excursions by the Royal Navy. Costly in terms of ship commitments, and in many ways a re-run of the 1800s use of small armed vessels to suppress the Fenian efforts. Worth thinking about this! It could, I think easily become a solo campaign of value.

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