Wednesday, April 20, 2016

First of May

...But the greatest fight in history was fought on the first of May, By Commodore George Dewey, the hero of Manila Bay.
THE HERO OF MANILA BAY. Copyright, 1898. by Tom J. Quigley.

Latter this month my club will meet for our monthly get together. We often play games as diverse as WWI air combat, battles near Caen during Normandy and last time fighting in and around Peking during the Boxer Rebellion. But this next meet-up will be onboard the USS Olympia, flagship of Commodore Dewey and the Battle of Manila Bay. The event is being held on April 30th to the morning of May 1st, the anniversary of the battle.

Now as venues go this is awesome, we not only have a protected cruiser but a diesel submarine that fought in WWII and than in the Cold War as a GUPPY Ia class of boats and across the river the battleship New Jersey.  I promise to write more about the event after this overnighter.

What has me most excited about this weekend event is the ability to play games from the Spanish American War on this pre-dreadnought period vessel.

I have in my collection at least three games that cover this period. Remember the Maine is the name of two games dealing with the Spanish American War, a conflict that was to move America from being a regional power to an international player. A third is a land based supplement called Remember the Maine and to Hell with Spain.  It appears there is not a lot of originality in naming games.

While all are great games and designs for their periods, what has me coming back to them again and again is the technology of the conflict, or specifically the wacky ship designs. We have the Spanish battleship Pelayo (a real ironclad), the American monitor Amphitrite (not a great deal of freeboard here) and a favorite of many the USS Vesuvius a dynamite cruiser. All push designs based on new (or old) techniques and materials. We have different propulsion systems, armor placement covering important areas heavily and in other cases covering the entire ship in light armour.  Gun designs go from being in armoured turrets to barbettes.

Tactics were also influx.  In The Great War and again in World War Two warships were put into squadrons based on warships being of the same class or having similar characteristics, often have a group of four to six battleships in the same squadron. In the pre-dreadnought period warships were often designed as one offs trying to determine if they were going to be useful for fleet actions. This made for squadrons and fleets with interesting characteristics once ships went to sea to do battle.

Do I look forward to commanding the Vesuvius, Texas or Carlos V at our games day, absolutely. I also hope I am given a warship that I am unfamiliar with and that I will have fun learning more about it. Wish me luck.


  1. The pre-dreadnought period of naval warfare is one of my favorites as well. I, too, am fascinated by the variety of ship designs and have much of the Spanish and American fleets fit for service using Houston's 1/1100 ships. I still have the old S&T Remember the Maine but have never given it a try.

    Sounds like you will have a fun weekend aboard the Oregon. The USS Oregon has a special place for me because of its excellent design and I am a native Oregonian.

    1. I wish I was going to be on the Oregon, but she was sold for scrap in 1956. We will be on the Olympia.

      As for the S&T game it has a lot going for it. I like that as the Spaniard you have to wait for the fleet to be repaired and supplied before you head across the Atlantic. A lot of options here.

    2. Olympia, of course! Sorry about that. Have you played the S&T game?

  2. I am very envious. I follow the Olympia Facebook page and admire the work its dedicated volunteers do. I am looking forward to the pictures of this weekend!