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Thread: Smoke as an Obstruction

  1. #1
    2nd Lieutenant
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    Default Smoke as an Obstruction

    I picked up some smoke chits from the Anchorage, and using them this weekend, one of my players asked if they blocked line of sight. That seemed like a good question. We thought they should stick around for 2 turns before being removed, and to ponder the LOS issue for future games. One thing I was thinking was to reduce a ship's broadside strength by 1 if the LOS passes through a broadside cloud.

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    Fair point Dobbs.

  3. #3
    Admiral of the Blue.
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    There is a lot of evidence that smoke in battle did influence the outcome of gunnery, and that it was one of the factors which helped downwind ships as they were not impeded from seeing by their own gun-smoke. Depending on the wind direction and speed, smoke could be a real handicap to rapid and accurate firing. I think an optional well considered rule could not only add an extra dimension to the game but also induce Captain's to plot their approach to battle with care.
    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Currently the rules for shooting are for full or partial broadsides snd takes a full turn to reload.
    Will not any smoke thrown out by a broadside be sufficiently gone after a movement card and a full turn reloading ?
    If using the optional continuous fire rule I would agree to the smoke being an issue but waiting for a full turn, cant remember ehat the time scale is at moment, would it really affect things ?
    Ships travelling astern of a firing ship could be affected by smoke I suppose but then again will they not either have fired or already loaded before entering the smoke.
    A stationary target yes I can see but the ships are moving continuously so will smake be that distracting ?

  5. #5

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    If both ships are moving slowly and the wind is light then gunsmoke could accumulate from broadside to broadside. In a stiff breeze its likely to disperse to a greater degree.

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    Admiral of the Blue.
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    Chris.
    I can only go on what has been said in volumes about sea battles by the commentators of the time.
    Admittedly many were large fights, and ships may have been moving slowly under fighting sails, very close together, with the smoke hanging in the trough between ships, but enough was made of the problem of smoke and the approach of contesting fleets to mention it in the fighting instructions of those who wrote the tactics.
    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Admiral of the Blue.
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Manley View Post
    If both ships are moving slowly and the wind is light then gunsmoke could accumulate from broadside to broadside. In a stiff breeze its likely to disperse to a greater degree.
    Cheers Dave.
    Only just caught this. We must have been writing at the same time as each other.
    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Here is a modern image of an old ship in action. Note the drift and size of the cloud. I'm guessing that a full broadside wasn't used but for reference a couple of guns can produce quite a bit of blinding smoke. Some members may have even attended this event.

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  9. #9
    Captain of the Fleet
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    Fair enough, I have only experienced black powder shot from an infantry line and column there it did hang as no movement from the line but the column was soon through , but I am happy to defer to more the knowledgable . Means I learn more also.

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    Admiral of the Blue.
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    In all fairness to you Chris I must admit that the fog of war is very dependent upon the air conditions. Just like real Fog it may hang around for hours or disperse in minutes depending on all manner of things such as the humidity, wind speed, direction ships stealing the wind etc, so a hard and fast rule would only work in a simplified general way unless you wanted to write a set of rules for it. (Heaven forbid)
    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bligh View Post
    There is a lot of evidence that smoke in battle did influence the outcome of gunnery, and that it was one of the factors which helped downwind ships as they were not impeded from seeing by their own gun-smoke. Depending on the wind direction and speed, smoke could be a real handicap to rapid and accurate firing. I think an optional well considered rule could not only add an extra dimension to the game but also induce Captain's to plot their approach to battle with care.
    Rob.
    Remember, the smoke stays were the ship was when it fired and where the wind pushes it, not were the ship is after moving the next turn.

    We could move the smoke directly downwind which would allow ships to cut through their gun smoke surprising the enemy.

    Hold it, this is getting complicated.
    Bob

    Rules are rough approximations of what you think I might do!

  12. #12
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    When we played, the smoke was placed on the turn the ship fired and remained through the next turn. It didn't move.

    My thought was to reduce the broadside by 1 of any ship firing through a cloud. This could be very important when determining whether or not to fire on a turn.

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