Suggested Collision / ram system change

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    We have played at our club and found the collision and ramming rules confusing and unsatisfying. I attach a suggested alternative – needs a bit of polishing, but allows ramming / dodging, and enhanced damage for an intended ram on the side of a target (which fits with Peter Scott’s accounts in The Narrow Seas).
    Anyway …..just a thought.


    Attachment for post above

    invisible officer

    Scott’s “When two fast boats are approaching each other at right angles, split seconds make the difference between ramming and being rammed. Thomas had judged it well but, in spite of that at this stage the M.L. had received greater damage than the E boat. Her bows had been carried away to the forward side of the wheelhouse, and she was in some danger of sinking. But the E boat’s speed had been reduced. ” shows that ramming with a wooden boat is a stupid idea.

    Only a navy with many boats can try that. The S-Boote would never try that, in fact they ran away from fight with small boats as fast as posible. Ramming a ML, MGB or MTB by intent was no option a German S-Boot CO used.
    He would not get an Iron cross for that but a big xxxxxxx


    Don’t disagree with this quote or the S Boat strategies.

    The British MTB’s sound like typical British Cavalry from an earlier era. Scott’s account suggests they charge in regarless of odds and there is another account in The Narrow seas, where an MTB rams and the bows ride up and then down into the S boat which later sinks (though it had taken a lot of other damage).
    I will dig out the quote.

    My suggestions are in need of polish,but I suggest them as an alternative (with some modification on damage perhaps). Don’t mind either way. What I was trying to do was tidy the collision and ramming rules a bit.


    I have done some more research on this and:

    I have found numerous further quotes from ‘Narrow Seas’ and ‘Schnellboote’ (I have the kindle versions and you can do a word search), in which ramming is referred to by both sides.

    I would not say it was common, but it was definitely an option taken up by both sides in moments of impetuousness or desperation.

    In Schnellboote there are also several honest records of accidental collisions S boats hitting S boats and R boats, and also accounts of near misses (dodges).

    invisible officer

    No German unit’s Kriegstagebuch mentions a German S-Boot doing a ramming by intend. But some done by RN and many accidental by both navies.

    Some S-Boote got lost by these accidents, colliding with own or enemy vessels..

    The expensive S-Boot was built to kill big warships or merchant ships. Destroying a MGB / MTB was not worth to risk it.
    They did not search for fights with them.


    There are a number of uses of the word ram in connection with A boats striking other vessels in ‘Schnellboote’, though I accept that many are accidental incidents between boats of the same side, intentional ramming is a possibility – E.g. Ch 18. S176 rams MTG 497 and it sinks with the loss of 14 crew. In the same action another S boat collided with an MTG though whether or not this was intended is not stated.

    May 9th 1940 S33 rammed HMS Bulldog and Kelly.(not clear if this was intentional – but the word ram is used).

    I grant you that there are fewer references to S boats ramming than MTB’s/MGB’s trying it, but this is a game, there is precedent for it, and the possibility should still remain, however risky to the aggressor.

    It could/should be a last resort, and clearly did risk and cause significant damage to the attacker, (‘MGB 333 rammed a damaged S boat and sliced the stern off but was forced to retire with it’s own damage).

    S Boots may not have searched for fights with MTB/MGBs but there are plenty of accounts of fights between them whoever instigated the actions, and collisions/rams within those actions, whether intentional or not. Certainly, at least from the UK side, from the accounts of participants, some were definitely intentional.

    invisible officer

    S 33 CO Lt Schultze-Jena would have been crazy to try to ram a Destroyer with a 102 t S-Boot. The S-Boot came blind out of the fog and hit the DD lightly. Glancing away. And then DD Kelly.

    S-33 survived (a clear indicator that the collision was relatively light) despite much damage. It was able to reach 20 kts on way home.

    S-176 and 177 is similar. Lost 7.4.45 on a mine laying Mission done by 2. S-Boot Flottille (Kaleu Wendler) in a fight with vessels at Humber. In same S-177 collided with a RN vessel and sank.
    Lt Stockfleth (176) and Lt Bosenuik (177) had no intention to ram. The KTB includes the UKW talking.

    Next night in a similar fight 4. Flottille lost S 202 and S 703. In a collision. “Ramming” each other.

    The problem is that some authors use the word ramming for the hitting ship in a collision. So for 176. One should not forget that it was a night fight, men’s night vision lost by tracer. Chaotic moves at 40 kts.


    I’m not actually arguing here with the principles you express, and I accept that the book uses the word ram to mean accidental collision.

    The book does not make reference to the intent of either of the two stated situations and although it is accepted that the rules of engagement were to avoid conflict with MGB and MTB in favour of large targets, and certainly in the case of the impact with the destroyers this was in fog, in the heat of battle people do what is necessary and sometimes emotions overcome rules – the book does not get inside the head of the protagonists in these incidents – it is not clear from the book alone, so the possibility exists that there was intent/ some intent to collide with the enemy.

    It is clear that the British did, on rare occasions revert to impetuous attempts to ram, and within the context of this game, the opportunity should exist for all parties including German boats.

    Having said that, if the system every makes it to campaign rules, then to take serious damage to your own boat would take it out of use for a substantial period of time.

    I have enjoyed the discussion, but lets not fall out over it !
    Kind regards

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