Ramming speed.


  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    This one is for Capital ships.

    Battleships and Aircraft Carriers, can engage themselves in a Ramming attack.

    Provided they are not tipped, they may make a ramming attack.  1d6 at 3 or less.

    If you score a hit, you’ve rammed an enemy ship causing significant damage, with no damage to your own for a hit!

    If you miss… you’ve struck an enemy ship, but the damage to your own ship is more severe, a hit gets scored on you!

    Or, do it, you roll a 1 2 or 3, you give a hit, but take a hit aswell. But 4 5 6 you miss their ship entirely.



  • Maybe the japanese should have kamikaze ramming where their ships can ram even when damaged



  • also 1 and 2 should be a hit on enemy, 3,4 should be a hit on both and 5,6 should be just a hit on you



  • Kinda a random question, but was ramming ships really a tactic in WW2?



  • @Lord:

    Kinda a random question, but was ramming ships really a tactic in WW2?

    I seriously doubt it.  I’ve never heard of it.  And given the current rules suggested by Gargantua, the ship can only attempt to ram if it isn’t damaged, which violates the main premise of turning a ship into a kamikaze unit (they’re too expensive to do something that could seriously damage them unless they’re already lost).


  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    Reviving this topic, to be included per the Axis and Allies DARKSIDE rules package.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @Lord:

    Kinda a random question, but was ramming ships really a tactic in WW2?

    Various major warships from the early years of the steam era (roughly the mid-19th century) up to the end of the First World War were sometimes equipped with ramming bows.  They were abandoned when it was discovered that rams were far more dangerous to friendly ships during peacetime maneuvers than to enemy ships in war.  The basic problem is that it’s almost impossible to ram an enemy engine-powered ship unless it’s dead in the water or its steering abilities have been crippled.  Most of the time, the only way it would work is in cases in which there’s a very high speed and maneuverability differential between two vessels…like for instance a destroyer ramming a freighter.


  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    Despite the truths you have posted, somehow I still see the Japanese or other parties, willing to consider this possibility.

    Perhaps we set the threshold extremely low? A hit on a 1?  or a hit on a 1 or 2?  For those last ditch efforts, where you KNOW you are going to die anyways?

    Originally the concept was to allow for the ability of aircraft carriers - on their own, to sink transports.  But transports being more manueverable negates this possibility.

    Hmm…

    How about you can ram your vessel - with it’s destruction in mind, at an enemy naval port, and do 1D6 strategic damage?


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    During the pursuit of the Bismarck, Captain Martin of the British cruiser Dorsetshire went on the shipwide microphone and gave his men a cheerful fire-and-brimstone speech.  He basically announced that they’d been ordered to go for the Bismarck, and that they would go in and fire all their torpedoes, then get closer and fire their guns until all their shells were used up, and then that they’d ram her to finish her off.  He was being more theatrical than anything, but he frightened some of his men into thinking that this was his actual battle plan.

    There’s a scene in the movie The Battle of the River Plate (which mixes fiction with historical reality a bit too much for my taste) in which the Captain of the cruiser HMS Exeter – which has been half-demolished in its fight with the Graf Spee – tells his officers that, “If we get half the chance, I shall try to ram the bastard.  That’ll mean the end of us…but it’ll mean the end of them too, and that’s all that matters.”  That line was quite possibly made up, but it’s not entirely out of character with how an aggressive Royal Navy captain would have thought.  The R.N. had a high regard for Nelsonian officers who weren’t afraid to “engage the enemy more closely.”

    So the point about naval ramming isn’t really that no captain would have the guts to do it. The point is that, in terms of ship maneuvering, it would have been physically very difficult to do against a vessel moving under full power and full rudder control. In the classic book Requiem for Battleship Yamato, the author (then a junior officer) describes the Yamato – which had a full-load displacement of 70,000 tons and some small change – successfully maneuvering at full speed to avoid several American plane-launched torpedoes in April 1945.  An impressive bit of agility for such a huge target.  Unguided torpedoes of that time didn’t maneuver the way a ramming ship could do, but on the other hand they were faster than ships, harder to see because of their small size, and larger in number – so the fact that Yamato was able to dodge several of them shows how hard a ship can be to hit when it’s in the hands of a competent skipper.

    Also keep in mind that major warships have smaller screening vessels surrounding them, partly to defend them against head-on attacks by enemy ships.  The typical American formation towards the end of the Pacific War was circular: carriers in the middle, which were surrounded by battleships, which were surrounded by cruisers, which were surrounded by destroyers.  A fast Japanese destroyer (for example) with ambitions to ram an American carrier would first have to get through these concentric rings of screening vessels…which would be quite an accomplishment.


  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    But all that said, in a pitch battle, RAMMING your target with prejudice was still a ‘theoretical’ option?  And in the case of the Bismarck, or other captial ships, what happens when they are damaged, and unable to manuever?

    GREAT examples by the way, what inspiration! 🙂

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramming

    Interestingly enough,  RAMMING was an option in wwII, and did occur on enough of a scale for command to issue orders in late 43 to consider other options BEFORE ramming another vessel.  It seems that most incidences were surface ships ramming submarines.

    In World War II, naval ships often rammed other vessels, though this was often due to circumstances, as considerable damage could be caused to the attacking ship. The damage that lightly constructed destroyers took from the tactic led to it being officially discouraged by the Royal Navy from early 1943, after the HMS Hesperus was dry-docked for three months following sinking U-357 in December 1942 and HMS Harvester was torpedoed and sunk following damaging her propellers during the ramming of U-444 in March 1943. USS Buckley (DE-51) rammed U-66; and HMS Easton rammed U-458.

    On 29 January 1943 the Japanese submarine I-1 was rammed and wrecked by the New Zealand naval trawlers, Kiwi and Moa in shallow water at Kamimbo Bay, Guadalcanal during Operation Ke. The submarine of 2135 tons was much larger and more heavily armed than the minesweeping trawlers of 607 tons each.

    During anti-submarine action, ramming was an alternative if the destroyer was too close to the surfaced submarine for her main guns to fire into the water. The tactic was used by the famous British anti-submarine specialist, Captain Frederic John Walker from December 1941 to the end of the war.

    Superannuated British destroyer HMS Campbeltown was disguised as a German ship for the purpose of ramming the lock gates of the U-boat base at St. Nazaire on 28 March 1942. A large explosive time bomb charge in the bow of the ship exploded the next day, putting the dock out of commission for five years.

    PT-109 was rammed and crushed by a Japanese destroyer, though the incident was at night and the PT-boat was idling to avoid detection, making it doubtful the destroyer’s actions were intentional.

    HMS Glowworm rammed the German cruiser Admiral Hipper in a famous act of desperation.

    Let me see if I can find some stories about the GLOWWORM!


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @Gargantua:

    GREAT examples by the way, what inspiration!

    Here are a couple of others.  The idea of fitting ramming bows on battleships became quite fashionable after the Battle of Lissa, in which the ironclad Re d’Italia was rammed and sunk by an enemy ship.  Naval architects and naval officers became mesmerized by the impressive image of the Re d’Italia rolling over and sinking…but ignored the fact that, prior to being rammed, it had been lying dead in the water from battle damage.  Fast-forwarding a bit, an example of the kind of peacetime accident which finally convinced people that ram bows could be more dangerous to your friend and enemies is the Victoria-Camperdown collision of 1893, which is described in detail in the Wikipedia article on HMS Victoria (1887).

    Of course, a ship doesn’t need a special ramming bow to ram another ship.  A dedicated ram simply increases the amount of damage to the enemy and minimizes the damage to yours.

    For a few civilian examples of ships plowing bow-first into other ships (collisions, not ramming attempts), see:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empress_of_ireland

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halifax_Explosion

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Andrea_Doria

    Note in the case of the Andrea Doria sinking that the vessel which struck it –  MS Stockholm – was equiped with an icebreaking prow, and collided at a 90-degree angle, so the result was severe damage.


  • Customizer

    I read an issue of GI Combat where Lt Jeb Stuart’s Sherman tank was on the deck of a US cargo ship when they were surprised by a German Pocket Battleship. The US Cargo ship rammed the German Pocket Battleship and Lt. Jeb Stuart drove his Sherman tank onto the deck of the German ship, blasting away at German sailors and causing much damage before returning to the cargo ship. The US Cargo ship then retreated with moderate damage to it’s bow while the German Pocket Battleship went down in flames.

    So, we need to expand this rule to allow transport ships carrying tanks to ram enemy warships, at which point the tank will become an active participant in a naval conflict against the enemy warship.

    (hee hee hee hee hee)


  • TripleA '12

    I once saw a poster of an Allied warship (a destroyer, I think) ramming an Axis submarine. How about a rule whereby your ships could try and ram an enemy sub before it submerges, or something?


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @Lozmoid:

    I once saw a poster of an Allied warship (a destroyer, I think) ramming an Axis submarine. How about a rule whereby your ships could try and ram an enemy sub before it submerges, or something?

    For inspiration, I recommend watching the last 10 minutes or so of the movies Action in the North Atlantic and The Enemy Below.  Both show an Allied surface ship ramming a sub which they’ve tricked into surfacing.


  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    How do you “trick” someone into surfacing?


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @Gargantua:

    How do you “trick” someone into surfacing?

    The same trick was used in both films.  After the ship was torpedoed (but was still operational to some degree), its captain called for all stop on the engines (so the ship would look dead in the water), then ordered his men to simulate severe damage (by setting fire to the deck cargo in one film, by ordering his engineer to generate black smoke from the funnel in the other).  The rationale in both cases was to convince the U-boat captain to save his torpedoes by surfacing and finishing them off with his deck gun.  As soon as the Germans fell for it (in both films), the ship captain ordered full steam on all engines, turned sharply and headed straight for the sub.


  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    They used that trick in an episode of Star-Trek voyager too.  To get someone to uncloak.

    As I recall Chekotay vented plasma through the port necels.



  • Apparently Star Trek is more realistic than any of us ever expected…


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @Gargantua:

    They used that trick in an episode of Star-Trek voyager too.  To get someone to uncloak.

    Which is hardly a coincidence because the script for the episode in question is a blatant rip-off of The Enemy Below, with a few elements of Run Silent, Run Deep thrown in for good measure.



  • I would think that any ramming scenario is already factored in to the attack and defense values.

    Yes, ramming was still occurring, but most of what I recall involves destroyers or other vessels ramming surfaced subs, or the collision between the cruiser Hipper and the destroyer Glowworm (which is credited as ramming by the Glowworm although it was the Hipper’s intent to ram the destroyer and the destroyer’s steering was out by then, so its turn was coincidence), or the sinking of PT-109 by the destroyer Amagiri.

    The last boats that I would think of making a ramming attack in the WWII era would be capital ships, particularly undamaged capital ships.  Big ships were stand off weapons (aircraft carriers and battleships.)  Unless there is a long/mid range combat phase followed by a short range naval combat phase I don’t see how the attack roll would work conceptually.



  • Can’t believe none of you listed the RMS Queen Mary’s run in (so to speak) with the light cruiser HMS Curacoa…


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @Red:

    The last boats that I would think of making a ramming attack in the WWII era would be capital ships, particularly undamaged capital ships.  Big ships were stand off weapons (aircraft carriers and battleships.)  Unless there is a long/mid range combat phase followed by a short range naval combat phase I don’t see how the attack roll would work conceptually.

    An excellent point.  Using big ships as rams rather than as long-range weapon platforms would be roughly in the same league (though slightly more credible) than bringing them alongside an enemy ship so that the crew – armed with pistols and cutlasses, if their captain is a traditionalist – could board it.  The British captain who came closest to carrying on this tradition during WWII was (as I recall) Captain Vian of HMS Cossack (a destroyer), who led a boarding party over to the German supply ship Altmark and freed its POWs with the dashing remark (addressed towards the ship’s holds), “Any British down there?  Well, come on up – the Navy’s here!”


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