Cruel Seas: Glide Bombs at Close Quarters

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Close Quarters is packed full of new rules to spice up your games of Cruel Seas. This week, we’re taking a look at some German glide bombs – the Fritz X and Hs 293.

Precision Guidance

Luftwaffe pilots and analysts recognised the difficulty of accurately bombing moving ships during the Spanish Civil War. Tactics at the time called for a swarm of single-engined dive bombers to attack ships at low altitude, dropping 250kg and 500kg bombs through the ship’s vulnerable deck armour, hopefully striking a magazine or fuel bunker, destroying the ship with a devastating strike.

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A diagram of the Fritz X guided weapon.

The proliferation of anti-aircraft guns on even the smallest ship made bombing runs particularly hazardous. Experiments began with radio-controlled weapons began in 1938, with the fitting of radio-controlled fins to a 250kg bomb. By 1943, German scientists had fitted control surfaces and radio receivers to a 1,400kg armour-piercing bomb, giving it a maximum range of 5km.

At the same time, a team at Henschel had upgraded an existing glide bomb design with a rocket motor and the same radio control system. Complete with wings and rocket motor, the Hs 293 had a much greater range of 12km.

Designated the Hs 293, this weapon was designed to be used against unarmoured ships, while the Fritz X was intended for use against armoured targets.

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A clapped-out German minesweeper provides the perfect target for a Fritz X!

Glide to Victory!

We got a chance to find out how these incredible weapons worked in a game of Cruel Seas!

A guided weapon may be purchased for 25 points. It behaves like an aircraft – use all the usual aircraft rules – but it cannot be attacked by Flak. The weapon may only attack Large or Huge ships. When the Fritz is deployed, a British or UK player may attempt an ECM jam. Roll a D6, a 5+ jams the weapon and it is removed. If it hits, it causes 8D6 damage to the target.

We pitted a salvo of Fritz X guided weapons against a Flower-class Corvette and a couple of merchantmen. We imagined a scenario where an S-Boat flotilla would wait for the glide bombs to knock out the convoy escort before pouncing on the hapless merchantmen.

The ECM aboard the Flower-class defeated one of the weapons, but the other two hit home. Blazing stem to stern, the corvette was in no shape to fend off the predatory S-Boats who raked the convoy with cannon and torpedo before heading home!

Engage at Close Quarters!

Pre-order your copy of Cruel Seas: Close Quarters for when it releases on February 22nd!

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