Let me just state right up front that, once again, I forgot my camera so I have no pictures. Doh! Michael Koznarsky, in the last issue of Historical Miniature Gamer, reviewed some newish Thoroughbred Miniatures, as well as discussing 1/600 ACW ironclad games using Ironclads. Being an Ironclads enthusiast for many years, and possessing about 60 painted ships as well as a few unpainted, I broached the idea of a game at our August game day. Michael was interested, and yesterday we played it out.
The scenario required a flotilla of Yankees to escort a trio of transports up river to invade Fort Shein. No problem, right? Ahhh! The Johnnies had two nasty ironclads and a few river rams to keep us from exiting our transports from the board. I commanded a double end gunboat, one of my favorite ship types. Though I was pretty much on the periphery of the action, the two 100 lb. Parrotts on swivels allowed me to reach out and touch the wooden rams from quite a distance. On turn three at medium range, I inflicted a boiler explosion on Dale Mickel's Gen. Bragg, which soon burned and became a non factor. Two of the Yankee gunboats ran interference for the transports, commanded by Gene Anderson and Michael and were shot up and rammed by the combined fire of the Confederate ram Richmond and the river rams. The Confederates made their job much more difficult through a couple of self inflicted collisions. The Richmond sailed through the Union squadron, only to find itself unable to chug back into the action, though it continued to shoot up the Mark Waddington's Keystone State. Picture below is of the USS Octorora, the gunboat I ran in the game. The ironclad ram, Richmond, commanded by Gary Griess in our game is below it. Illustrations from the Naval Historical Center, U.S. Department of the Navy.
After my initial moment of glory, I found myself in the difficult position of trying to steer my ship back into the action. Scott Murphy's Chickasaw and Keystone State seemed to be traveling in the same arc I was, and a sudden right turn would have resulted in a collision. I kept finding my gunfire masked, as well as my ship protected from enemy fire. I took one shot from the ram Fredricksburg, which did minor damage. I finally hit the Queen of the West, which did some good flotation damage and was able to run interference on the last turn protecting the transports hotfooting up the river, and the game ended.
I love Ironclads. It was a crowded game, and it did take some time to get through the turns, but it was still a lot of fun.
I'm a high school history and journalism teacher, a career I've loved and continued to enjoy. Aside from my family I have several passions-miniature wargaming, movies, books and music. I'm also a died in the wool Mariners fan and baseball lover.