Mediterranean scenarios for Cruel Seas. Download: ship model requirements (PDF).
I envisage these scenarios on a six foot by four playing area but scenarios with destroyers and larger ships probably need a six by eight playing area. Except when the ships start at close quarters, always try to start a scenario with markers, using the same number of dummies as real ships. If torpedo boats go against big ships, strictly enforce visibility rules. Don’t allow players to see the force list or specifications of their opponents. The emphasis here is on matching the historical events, moreso than strict play balance. The scenarios may be balanced by changing crew quality or having the weaker force inflict damage and then be permitted to retire. Most of the information for these scenarios come from these books:
Flag 4 by Dudley Pope
Motor Torpedoboat 658 by L. C. Reynolds
Schnellboote by Lawrence Paterson
The War of the Gunboats by Bryan Cooper
- Unless indicated, there is no turn limit to any scenario. You decide when it is over.
- For victory points, use the points lost from each ship, divided by ten and rounded down. This makes damage to enemy boats, rather than simply their total loss, worthwhile. The side with the most points wins. Boats can leave the table to keep the enemy from earning more points.
- All E-boats are S-38b (armoured wheelhouse), all MTBs (except MTB 6xx) are Vosper Type I (mid) and all MTB 6xx are Fairmile Ds with torpedo tubes. MGBs are Fairmile Ds with guns only. On all Fairmiles the forward gun is 40mm AA (the six pounders were not installed until the last few months of the war).
- All crews are Regular.
- All vessels start at Combat speed
- All scenarios are set at night and with average seas, unless otherwise indicated.
- When a scenario uses a ship that is not in the rulebook, check the appendix for ship specs and special rules.
- MFP = Marinefährprahm (German Mottozatera)
There was very little combat between small craft in the Mediterranean for the first three years of the war. The reason for this was the great disparity of numbers. At the start of the war the Italians had 48 new MAS boats as well as many other torpedo vessels. The British had ren old MTBs, five of which had to be sent back to Britain. Most of the remaining five were lost during the evacuation of Crete. New Vospers and Fairmiles started to arrive in 1942.
1. Benghazi to Derna 19 April 1942
British: Surfaced submarine, HMS Thrasher (20mm AA, 75mm deck gun)
Axis: MFPs F154 and F156
Set-Up: Daytime. Head-on.
Historical Result: The submarine left.
2. Off Bomba 26/27 May 1942
British torpedo boats patrol the coast of North Africa to disrupt Axis supplies.
British: MTBs 309 (Jermain) and 312 (Quarrie)
Axis: MFP F149
Set-up: South edge is land. MFP enters on western edge, MTBs opposite
Historical Result: Uncertain – the MFP may have been sunk
3. Bring Home the Groceries 16/17 Feb 1943
British command reports an enemy convoy going from Palermo to Bizerta.
British: MTBs 61 (Bligh), 77 (Sturgeon) and 82 (Taylor) [Henessey]
Axis: Three E-boats, corvette Antiope and four merchantmen (Prosinone, Alcamo, Chieti, Labor) in convoy
Set-up: Place Axis in convoy with the merchants formed two by two within 40cms of the eastern edge heading west. British enter on western edge. Use Gabbiano for corvette.
Historical Result: Nothing.
4. Plane Island 22/23 March 1943
British: MTBs 265 (Oxley) and 311 (Lancaster)
Axis: Four Siebel ferries (lightly armed version – see Appendix)
Set-up: Ferries start within 40 cms of eastern edge, MTBs within 40cms of western edge
Historical Result: One ferry believed sunk.
5. Cape Zebib 31March/1April 1943
British: MTBs 266 (Smith) and 315 (Newell)
Axis: Three E-boats, two destroyers and two merchantmen in convoy
Set-up: A point of land sticks out into the NW portion of the map. A collection of rocks (Cani Rocks) fills the NE corner. The Axis enter from the northern edge in convoy. British enter second on southern edge.
Conditions: Night. Choppy seas
Historical Result: A depth charge attack was made. Two merchantmen sunk.
6. Bizerta 14/15April 1943
British: MTBs 634 (Eason) 638 (Rose) and MGB 643 (Hobday)
Axis: Two U-boats, surfaced.
Set-up: Place subs in the centre, facing east. British enter on weatern edge
Special Rules: MTB 634 had used up its torpedoes earlier that night.
Historical Result: The U-boats dived and escaped.
7. Zembra 16/17 April 1943
British: MTBs 634 (Eason) and 665 (Tate)
Axis: Four destroyers and two merchantmen, in convoy
Set-up: Place Axis within 40cm of eastern edge facing west. British enter on western edge.
Historical Result: Nothing.
8. Cape Guardia 18/19 April 1943
British: MTB 640 and MGB 644
Axis: Three E-boats
Set-up: A head-to-head shootout.
9. Bizerta Bay 25/26April 1943
British: MTBs 635 (Parks) and 639 (Russell) [Gould]
Axis: Two Motozattera
Conditions: Poor visibility due to a mist.
Historical Result: Both MZ on fire.
10. The Dogs’ Day Out 26 April 1943
A two-part scenario. Carry over MTB damage and torpedo supply.
Part A. Ras-el-Amar
British: MTBs 633 (Russell), 637 (Butler) and 639 (Smyth)
Axis: Two Italian motor minesweepers (MMS) and one 1 R-boat
Set-up: Western edge is land. British enter from southern edge. Minesweepers enter from northern edge.
Conditions: Daytime. Average seas.
Special Rules: Starting at the beginning of turn two, roll 1D6. If the turn number is equal to or less than the die result, an R-boat enters from the northern edge that turn. See Appendix for MMS specs.
Historical Result: Both minesweepers sunk.
Part B. Ras Idda
British: As Part A
Axis: Destroyer Sagittario, merchantman Teramo, up to 30 fighter aircraft overhead and two shore batteries
Set-up: Western edge is land. British enter from southern edge. Axis vessels enter from northern edge in convoy.
Conditions: Daytime. Average seas.
Special Rules: A flight of three Axis fighter aircraft starts above the merchantman. After they strafe a British vessel, they are removed and a new flight starts over the merchantman. The Axis player may do this ten times or until the British leave the map. Starting on turn five, two Axis shore batteries on the western edge open up.
Historical Result: MTB 639 sunk.
11. On the Way 3/4 May 1943
16 Fairmile Ds and MLs (motor launches) led by a trawler had to cross the Bay of Biscay to reach Gibraltar and enter the Mediterranean. They were in four columns – four MGBs on the left, eight MLs in two columns in the middle and four Fairmile MTBs on the right.
British: MTBs 657 (torpedoes) and 658 (guns)
German: U-439 (von Tippelskirch) and U-659 (Stock)
Set-Up: The MTBs set up 50 cms apart, heading south. Place U-439 50 cms ahead of MTB 657 and heading north. Use the visibility rules (Appendix). Every vessel is a marker and needs to be spotted. U-439 should be 50 cms from the southern edge. On the first turn after there is any shooting or star shells, U-659 enters from the southern edge. See Appendix rules for subs.
Conditions: Poor visibility.
Historical Result: After exchanging a few shots with MTB 657 one U-boat crashed into the other and they both sank.
Variation: Four or five U-boats out of a pack of nine were supposed to attack the light boat convoy. You can feed two more U-boats and two more MTBs (663 (t) and 648 (g)) into the battle if you have the models – perhaps on alternating turns, from opposite edges, unspotted. The crews could be rated Inexperienced.
12. Dire Straits (of Messina) 14/15 July 1943
A three-part scenario. Carry forward MTB damage and torpedo supply.
Part A. Double Surprise
British: MTBs 633 (Fuller), 655 (Tate) and 656 (Joy)
Axis: U-boats 375 (Konenkamp) and 561 (Henning)
Set-up: Place the MTBs in a line abreast, 10cms apart, engines off, in the centre. Then place U 561 within 10cms of the British line, with U 375 behind it. On the first turn, all three MTBs move first. Surface submarine rules in the Appendix.
Historical Result: One U-boat sunk, one MIA.
Part B. Three Dog Night
British: As Part A
Axis: two E-boats and two shore batteries with searchlights
Set-up: The western edge is land (Sicily). Germans enter SE corner. British enter centre of northern edge.The shore batteries become active on the turn after an E-Boat moves within 40cms of land.
Historical Result: Both E-Boats driven ashore, one burning.
Part C. Cape Alessio (The Seven Dwarfs)
British: As Part A
Axis: Seven MAS boats
Set-up: British enter northern edge in any formation. MAS boats in column, heading NW, with last vessel at the center of the southern edge. Each side needs to reach the opposite edge.
Historical Result: The worn-out Brits thought the MAS boats were E-boats and left them alone.
13. Messina 14/15July 1943
British: MTB 640 and MGBs 641 and 643
Axis: U-boat, surfaced and three shore batteries on land
Set-up: Northern edge is land. U-boat in centre, facing east. British enter at centre of eastern edge. The turn after a vessel shoots, the shore batteries open up.
Historical Result: The British boats took a pasting but were able to leave under their own power.
14. Don’t Mess with Messina 15/16 July 1943
British: MTBs 57*, 62, 77 and 82* (Vospers) – all veteran
Axis: Six E-boats and two shore batteries
Set-Up: Eastern edge is land (Italy). British in centre, in line abreast with engines off, facing south. Germans enter southern edge within 40cms of eastern edge.
Special Rules: Somehow the British were able to hit an E-boat with a torpedo. To reflect this, allow a torpedo hit on a natural 1 or 2. MTBs 57 and 82 are ‘gun boats’. Their torpedo tubes have been replaced by two 20mm guns. Two more shore batteries open up on turn five, and a further two on turn eight.
Historical Result: E-boats: one blown up, one stopped and one burning. British damaged by the shelling.
15. Who Let the Dogs Out? 15/16 July 1943
British: MTBs 57*, 62, 77, 82* (Vospers) – all veteran – survivors of Scenario 12
British: MTBs 634, 640, 651, 670 (all with torpedoes – ‘Dog Boats’)
Axis: Five E-boats
Set-Up: E-boats in any formation within 50cms of the southern edge, heading north. The Dog boats enter the southern edge. The Vospers enter the northern edge and need to exit the southern edge.
Results: All the Vospers were damaged. At least one E-boat damaged.
16. SURPRISE! (Pezzo Point) 16/17 July 1943
British: MTBs 260, 313, 315, 316 (new Vospers)
Axis: Italian Light Cruiser Scipio Africano
Set-Up: Land (Pezzo Point) sticks out across the western third of the north edge. The MTBs are in the centre of the map, line abreast, with their engines off. The CL enters from the centre of the northern edge.
Special: CL armament – eight 5.3 inch guns, five 40mm and eight 20mm. Speed – 14/28/42 knots. Use a DD model.
Results: One MTB sunk. The British fought until they ran out of torpedoes.
17. An Angel’s Journey 9 September 1943
A British submarine intercepts Axis vessels leaving Corsica.
British: surface submarine HMS Seraph
Axis (1): One R-boat towing another. One flight of three Stukas arrive on map edge when 1D6 roll is less than the turn number.
Result: The submarine had to dive.
Axis (2): One vehicle I-lighter (Eva) towing another (Margot)
Result: Both barges were left burning. See Appendix for I-lighter specifications.
Axis (3): Two MFPs
Result: Both barges were blown up.
18. Let’s Sink This Freighter 11/12 October 1943
British: Two Vospers
Axis: One trawler (until it opens fire, then it’s a Vorpostenboot!)
This will not be the first time that the British crews do not realize how heavily armed this “cargo ship” is.
19. Piombo Channel 14/15 October 1943
British: MTBs 636 (torpedoes), 658 (guns)
German: Two flak ships* and Two shore batteries with an immortal searchlight (actually *Vorpostenboot)
Set-Up: The British set up in the centre facing east. The western edge is land (Italy). Place one flak ship in the NE corner, facing SW; one in the SE corner, facing NW. Must use Visibility spotting rules. The searchlight and shore batteries go into action in the turn after a ship catches fire or sinks.
Result: Both flak ships were set on fire, so was the MTB…by the MGB!
20. Zara (The Adriatic) 1 November 1944
Two German corvettes leaving Zara Harbor south of the island of Lussino are attacked by British destroyers. A German torpedo boat comes to help.
British: Two Destroyers – HMSs Avon Vale and Wheatland (Hunt class)
Axis: UJ202 (Trautwein), UJ208 (Wenke) and TA20 (Guhrke)
Set-Up: Corvettes enter from eastern edge, heading west. TA20 comes to help on turn three from eastern edge. Large island in northern part of map. British enter on southern edge.
Result: All three German ships sunk.
21. South of Giglio Island 20/21January 1944
British: MGBs 657, 658, 663, 659 and MTB 655
German: Two E-boats and one MFP
Set-Up: Head on. British in column. MFP flanked by E-boats. Treat British as if they have radar thanks to help from nearby PT Boats. Try replacing MFP with the six gun flak lighter. You could also reduce number of Dog Boats.
Historical Result: MFP and 1 E-boat sunk.
22. South of Capraia Island 21/22 January 1944
Allies: MTBs 655 (torpedoes), 658 (guns) and PT 217 (Doyle, radar) – all veteran
German: Four MFP, two flak lighters, one E-boat, in convoy
Set-Up: Axis in convoy – two columns of one F-lighter and two MZs with the E-boat to the rear. Allies come in perpendicular to Axis line thanks to US radar.
Historical Result: One lighter and the E-boat sunk.
23. San Stefano Early February 1944
British: MTBs 657 (torpedoes) and 658 (guns) – both veteran
German: Four MFP, two F-lighters, two flak ships, in convoy
Set-Up: Axis in convoy – two columns of one F-lighter and two MFPs, one flak ship at front, one at back. Allies come in perpendicular to Axis line. Bright moonlight.
Historical Result: The two flak lighters swung out to screen the convoy. After receiving 88mm fire to which they were unable to effectively reply, the British withdrew.
24. Vada Rocks mid February 1944
Allies: MTBs 640 (torpedoes) and 658 (guns) – both veteran. Two PT boats (radar)
German: One trawler*, one E-boat and two shore batteries (*in reality a a Vorpostenboot)
Set-Up: Axis in convoy, in centre, heading south. Eastern edge is land. Allies enter on the western edge. Use unarmed model or marker for trawler. Do not tell the Allies that the trawler is armed until it starts shooting. At the beginning of turn four tell the Allies that a second Axis convoy is entering from the north. At the beginning of turn six, two Axis shore batteries become active. If the Allies have not left the map by turn nine, bring at least three German ships (anything) on at the northern edge. Bright moonlight.
Result: The PTs fired torpedoes early and left. Both the British and the E-boat were heavily damaged.
25. Elba Surprise 16/17 June 1944
Allies: MTBs 655, 633 (torpedoes) and 663, 658 (guns) – all veteran
German: One MFP and one destroyer
Set-Up: Fill the NW third of the map with land (Elba). British move east in column along the southern side of the land. Germans come down the eastern side of the land, moving south. Elba blocks line of sight.
Result: Two British boats were damaged and the MFP sunk.
26. Miraglia, Adriatic April 1945
Allies: Three Vospers (radar, special torpedoes*)
German: Two MFP and three F-lighters in convoy
Set-Up: Convoy in centre. Vospers choose entry point.
*The new torpedoes have proximity fuses. Use medium size and crew quality when rolling Torpedo To Hit for the lighters.
Result: All five lighters were hit by torpedoes, supposedly.
27. Planinski Channel, Adriatic 12/13April 1945
Allies: MGB 658 (Reynolds – veteran), 670 (Hewitt), 697 (Booth) – all guns armed
Germans: two Torpedo Boats TA40 (Spica class) and TA45 (Ariete Class)
Set-Up: Land should crowd in from the western and eastern sides, leaving only a narrow channel about 80cms wide. British deploy in the centre, line abreast, engines off. Germans enter from northern edge.
- If a vessel runs over a torpedo, roll for a hit
- If a vessel sinks before it moves in a turn, move its torpedoes when its die/chit is pulled
- In a minefield, roll once for every 10cms moved. Place a 1D10 next to each vessel to track any ‘leftover’ distance to be added next turn
- Turning when stopped – Large and Huge vessels can make only one turn
- Critical Damage Table – Ignore critical hits 1, 3, 4, 6 and 8 on Large and Huge steel warships unless caused by 3 inch guns or larger.
- Visibility Rules [rulebook Scenario 6, page 42] – ‘In a standard night scenario, you may not engage the enemy until they reveal themselves by moving above Slow speed, opening fire or are spotted. To spot, pass a Skill Test when you are within 80cms of the enemy.’
- Use a marker if a vessel is out of sight. Use models when the vessels move into visibility range. Illuminated craft (lit by searchlights, fire, star shells, shooting) can be seen and engaged at any range. With good visibility (full moon) or daytime, everything on the map is visible. With poor or obscured visibility, reduce spotting distance to 40cms
- Radar can identify the general location, size, and speed of enemy ships but you may not shoot at them using just radar. Remove dummy markers and consider using three sizes of markers
- Air attacks – Aircraft can strafe one vessel that they pass over during movement instead of a bomb or torpedo attack. Treat as normal machine gun or cannon attacks. Ignore the -2 modifier for speed of shooter and the +2 for point blank range. Apply the damage bonus for the number of guns firing up to a maximum of +3D6.
- Torpedo reloads. One torpedo can be reloaded at the end of a turn if
- the vessel is at Slow speed
- does not make any turns
- does not fire any weapons
- is not itself under fire and
- the crew makes a successful skill test with a +1 modifier.
This rule is mainly for E-boats.
- All lighters have very shallow drafts, so torpedoes hit only on a natural (unmodified) 1 or 2
- Surfaced submarines – see page 58 of rulebook. Additionally when a submarine is declared to be diving, remove it from the game. Treat submarines as Medium targets for torpedoes
- When a scenario includes a convoy, use the Convoy Dice System – rulebook Scenario 5, page 41.
Ship Types not in the Rules
Lightly-armed Siebel ferry 85 points
Size: Large 40 hull points speed: 5/10/15 red turn
With just a few light guns, most of the deck was still free to hold cargo. The specifications in the rulebook are for a ‘heavily-armed’ ferry. Armament – one 37mm AA gun (top of bridge) and two twin 20mm AA guns (each side of the bridge)
Italian CA Scipione Africano 1100 points
Size: Huge 360 hull points speed: 13/26/39 yellow turn
Armament – eight 5.3 inch QF guns; eight 37mm AA guns; eight 20mm AA guns; eight torpedo tubes and radar, mines, gun director
Vosper I ‘gun boat’
Size: Small 40 hull points 85 points speed and turn the same
Armament – three 20mm AA guns and two MGs. No torpedo tubes
A smaller lighter designed to transport vehicles. German: Marine Nachschub Leichter (MNL)
Size: Medium 80 hull points speed 3/6/8 yellow turn
Armament – one 57mm and one quad 20mm
WWI Italian destroyer
Size: Large 100 hull points speed 10/20/30 yellow turn
Armament – seven 4 inch guns, two twin 40mm and two torpedo tubes
French torpedo boat
Size: Large 60 hull points speed 11/22/33 yellow turn
Armament – two 4 inch guns, two 37mm, two HMG and three torpedo tubes
Italian sub chaser
Size: Large 60 hull points speed 6/12/18 yellow turn
Armament – one 4 inch gun, two 37mm, ten 20mm AA and depth charges
Article by Christopher Salander.