THE GREAT WAR AT SEA GAME SERIES
VOLUME #3: U.S. NAVY PLAN ORANGE
ERRATA AND CLARIFICATIONS
Alan R. Arvold
The following errata and clarifications were based on a series
of questions put to, and answered by, Avalanche Press in a number
of phone calls. Also consulted were the numerous entries and
their responses listed in the GREAT WAR AT SEA section on
Consimworld. However, all errata and clarifications in this
article should be considered to be unofficial.
SERIES RULES BOOK
There have been three different Series Rules Books in the game
series. The first version came in the first three games of the
series (THE MEDITERRANEAN, THE NORTH & BALTIC SEAS, and U.S. NAVY
PLAN ORANGE). The second version came in the fourth and fifth
games of the series (1904-1905: THE RUSSO-JAPANESE NAVAL WAR and
U.S. NAVY PLAN BLACK) and was available as replacements for the
rule books in the first three games. These versions are now
obsolete. The third version came in the sixth and seventh games
of the series (1898: THE SPANISH AMERICAN WAR and U.S. NAVY PLAN
RED) and the second edition of the first game. This is the
current version of the Standard Rules for the game series.
8.5 Dead in the Water
8.51 Speed Loss (Add): If a ship which suffers a hit whose
printed damage result includes losing one movement, and from the
same hit has more than half of the number of hull boxes crossed
off, than that ship suffers the loss of two movement, not one. A
ship may not lose more than one movement due to having more than
half of its hull boxes crossed off in a game, no matter how many
additional hull boxes are crossed off later on. Additional
printed movement losses from damage results still apply though.
(This rule represents the reduction of a ship's speed due to the
gradual flooding in the damaged hull spaces. The printed movement
losses in the various damage tables represent engine room hits.)
8.6 Referred Pain
(Add): 8.63 If primary hits on primary and secondary armament
with light or no armor cause excess damage, the excess damage can
be taken as a hull hit if the original primary hit takes out the
last armament box of the required type. However, the excess
damage is ignored if the hull has heavy armor.
9.0 Multiple-Ship Counters
9.3 Combat (Clarification): A player can not place all hits on
one ship in the counter if there are more hits than the one ship
can possibly absorb. In addition, once a ship has taken enough
hull hits to sink, it is no longer eligible to receive any more
ADVANCED TACTICAL RULES
In the first sets of the game that was released in 1998, there
were copies of the Advanced Tactical Rules for the GREAT WAR AT
SEA system in the game box. These were an experimental set of
rules which were never official and were subsequently left out
when the second edition of the Standard Series Rules started to
be included in the game instead of the first edition. These rules
are still considered experimental for those players who want to
try them out, but will never be part of the standard rules.
There was also a chart with various tables for use in the
game. Several of these tables are no longer valid due to changes
in the later editions of the Standard Series Rules. These are the
Spotting Table, the Air Search Table, the Weather Effects Table,
the Critical Damage Table, the NPO Gunnery Die Roll Table, and
the Initiative Table. Ignore all tables pertaining to the GREAT
WAR AT SEA VOLUME #2 game. The Aircraft vs Ship Combat Table,
Torpedo Damage Table, and the Gunnery Damage Table can be used
but note the minor changes in the third edition of the Standard
Series Rules for them. The Weather Track should still be used as
there is no weather track printed on the operational map sheet as
in other games of the series. (For those games without this
chart, merely photocopy the Weather Track off of one of the
operational map sheets from another game in the series.)
Japanese Kongo Class Battlecruisers (Clarification): Many people
wonder why the Kongo class of battlecruisers have an attack
factor of 9 in U.S. NAVY PLAN ORANGE while having an attack
factor of only 8 in GREAT WAR AT SEA: THE NORTH & BALTIC SEAS.
While the official explanation has been improvements in fire
control, this can not be true as all other major navies made
improvements to their fire control systems and kept pace. No, the
answer here is in the type of armor-piercing shell the Japanese
were beginning to use in 1930. These shells when striking the
water would not plunge deep in the water and explode. Instead
they would travel just under the surface for about a 100 meters
or so in their general line of trajectory before exploding. The
theory behind these special shells was that if they landed just
short of, but in line of, the target ship, they would travel
underwater and hit the target ship's hull much like a torpedo.
This had the potential of causing more damage to the target ship
than if the shells hit it normally. The first type of these
special shells was for the 14" gun. However the Japanese were
just beginning production of them in 1930 and so supplies were
limited. They initially went to the Kongo class battlecruisers as
they had the fewest primary guns of all of their capital ships,
thus increasing their effectiveness.
(Historically these shells, which were later made in 6", 8", and
16" versions as well, seemed to work fine when fired at
stationary target ships. However in combat their performance was
Japanese Battlecruiser Armor (Clarification): Many people wonder
why the Japanese battlecruisers have heavy armor and deck armor
in this game while in earlier games they have light armor.
Assuming that the Washington treaty did not come about, the
Japanese would have uparmored their ships during the 1920s, most
especially their battlecruisers, taking into account the lessons
learned from naval combat in the First World War.
Japanese Furutaka Class Light Cruisers (Clarification): Many
people wonder why the cruisers Furutaka and Kako are designated
light cruisers in the game, yet during the Second World War they
were designated as heavy cruisers. The Furutaka and Kako were the
first of a new type of light cruiser in the Japanese Navy which
was more powerfully armed than previous ones. Mounting 8" guns,
these ships were suppose to take the place of the old armored
cruisers of the previous decades. (Other navies in the world were
designing and building this same type of new cruiser during this
time as well.) However the London Treaty of 1930 redesignated all
cruisers in the world as either being light or heavy cruisers.
This did away with all the other old designations such as
armored, protected, and scout cruisers which had been causing a
lot of confusion as to cruiser types and functions. Cruisers with
8" guns were redesignated as heavy cruisers. In this game it is
presumed that the London Treaty never occured and that these
ships retained their light cruiser designations.
Many players wonder why the Japanese are still using coal in 1930
for fuel in their large capital ships while the Americans are
using oil in theirs. The Japanese got into the conversion from
coal to oil fueled ships rather late due to their lack of the
sufficent oil reserves necessary to maintain an oil fueled navy
in full operational status. (They had to import all of their
oil.) When they did start converting over to oil, they first
concentrated on their lighter ships (cruisers and destroyers) in
order to increase their range and keep up with the large capital
ships for longer distances before refueling. By the mid 1930's
the Japanese had accumulated sufficent enough oil reserves to
make the fuel conversion of their large capital ships more
practical, which they did in a massive rebuilding program during
The Japanese minelayer Itsukushima (ML02) counter should have a
tertiary gunnery value of 2, not 1. This applies to both the
counter in the game and the counter from the variant light ship
counter sheet (available from Grognard). The Hit Record Chart is
The American battlecruiser Constellation is misnumbered, both on
the counter, and on the Hit Record Sheets as well as in several
of the scenarios in the book. Its number should be CC02, not
The American armored cruiser Rochester is the same ship as the
armored cruiser New York in the game 1898. Her name was changed
in 1911 to the Saratoga to free up her original name for the new
battleship being built at the time. In 1917 her name was changed
again to the Rochester to free up her second name for one of the
planned ships of the Lexington Class of battlecruisers.
The variant light ship counters of the American gunboats Ashville
and Tulsa are misnumbered. They should be GB21 and GB22
respectively, not GB20 and GB21.
A lot of people wonder why the American battleship Utah has deck
armor while her sister ship, the Florida, does not. The Utah went
through a modernization upgrade in the late 1920s where she got
increased deck armor. The Florida did not because she was slated
to be decommissioned and scrapped about the time frame of the
game. Of course this hypothetical war with Japan delays her
decommissioning and she goes to war as is.
There were two editions of the Scenario Book. The first
edition came in the early sets of the game and is no longer
valid. The first edition Scenario Book did contain a Campaign
Game which was left out of the second edition. This Campaign Game
can still be used.
There are several special rules listed here which later appear
in the games U.S. NAVY PLAN BLACK and U.S. NAVY PLAN RED. These
are placed here to update U.S. NAVY PLAN ORANGE rules to their
standard. There are some differences though which account for the
advances in technology and techniques in the years between PLAN
ORANGE and PLANS BLACK/RED.
Sequence of Play (Addition): At the end of the Sequence of Play
List, after the Tactical Phase, add the following bullet:
Aircraft Return Phase
Victory Points: Each destroyed airship is worth six victory
points, not five. (Post World War One airships were more capable
than those made during the war.)
Combat Round (Addition): A "round of combat" (used to describe
the length of some battle scenarios) is one completion of the
tactical sequence (all 20 steps).
Crippled Ships (Addition): During tactical combat, a player may
separate an individual ship counter from a group once the ship
counter has lost at least half of its largest type of guns or
half of its hull boxes, or if it has suffered a reduction in
Gunnery (Clarification): The reason that all guns hit on a die
roll of 5 or 6 is two fold. First, this reflects the advancement
of fire control procedures and equipment that occured in the
1920's incorperating the lessons learned from the First World
War. Second, both sides were carrying spotter planes on their
capital ships which they used to better observe the fall of their
rounds around their targets, substantially improving the
adjustment of their fires upon the same.
Release (Addition): In some scenarios, ships are not allowed to
leave port until some specified event has taken place. the owning
player may begin writing orders for these ships when they are
released; they may only be assigned an intercept mission, and
thus may not leave until two turns after they are released (in
addition to any delay specified by the scenario instructions).
American Methods (Addition): Large American warships employed
more labor-saving devices than those of the other navies of the
world (which also included more extensive on-board machine
shops). This plus the American practice of heating living spaces
(in colder climates) required power even when in port; therefore,
American BBs and CCs expend fuel even when in port (an exception
to 12.12), but not while refueling. However, the greater
efficiencies gained plus cross-training and an emphasis on
individual initiative had other benefits. Subtract one from the
die roll when an American BB or CC attempts emergency repairs
19.0 Air Operations
19.17 (Change): The first bullet should read as follows:
If an airbase is within range, they may land there. They may land
on another carrier later in the game if it is within range and
capacity is available.
19.3 Takeoff and Landing
(Clarification): Most planes did not fly night missions during
this time, though airships and seaplanes did. The take-off and
landing modifiers at night are for seaplanes. The landing
modifier is also for those planes in an Air Strike which take off
on the last day turn and return on the following night turn.
19.7 Air Search
(Add) 19.73 The searching player may also attempt to locate enemy
raiding fleets which are not on the operational map. The
searching player designates the aircraft performing the search
and rolls the die. The raiding player consults the Air Search
Table and places his raiding fleet on the map if the search is
successful, and reports the number of capital and light ships in
the fleet and whether any aircraft carriers are present.
(Add): 19.74 If more than one fleet occupies the same search
zone, search attempts are resolved for each fleet.
(Add): 19.75 If an enemy fleet is spotted by air search this
turn, add two to the die roll for friendly fleets in the same sea
zone attempting to make contact.
(Add): 19.76 The Japanese seaplane counters (E2N) may either
participate in the regular day search (using the rules above) or
may conduct their own independent searches during day or night
turns using the rules in section 14.0. If using these rules, the
E2N may be placed on a sea zone within eight hexes of its point
of launch. A sea plane counter may be placed in a sea zone
containing a fleet counter only if that fleet counter was spotted
in the previous daylight turn or had a seaplane counter in its
hex during the previous night turn. A seaplane counter may shadow
a fleet counter in the same manner as an airship (21.53)
providing it does not go beyond its range from its point of
launch. If its point of launch is a ship, that ship may move
while the seaplane counter is in the air and the point of launch
for recon and recovery purposes may change. However the ship may
not move in the turns in which it launches or recovers seaplanes.
(The Japanese used seaplanes to supplement their regular day
search or strike aircraft or to shadow spotted enemy fleets at
night when their day search aircraft were landed.)
19.8 Air Strike
19.81 (Add): If the target fleet has moved beyond the range of
the strike aircraft, they return to base without striking the
fleet. An air strike may not hit a fleet during a night turn; if
the next turn is a night turn the strike aircraft return to base
without striking the fleet. Seaplanes, which may fly at night,
may not perform air strikes at night although they may search in
accordance with Rule 14.0.
19.82 (Add): Add one to the die roll if the current weather
condition is Fog.
20.0 Air Combat
20.1 Air-to Air Combat (Clarification): Only those aircraft with
circled Air-to-Air factors (fighters) may initiate combat.
Aircraft of the attack force may return fire against CAP aircraft
in this game.
(Strike and bomber aircraft had started carrying defensive
armament by this time period. Airships had carried defensive
armament for some time by now.)
20.4 Torpedo and Bomb Damage (Add): Bomb hits do penetrate hull
armor which is immune to plunging fire. (This simulates dive
bombing, a bombing technique which was in its infancy at this
time. Also airships and bombers were flying high enough that the
bombs that they dropped had gathered enough speed to penetrate
deck armor by the time they had hit the target ship.) A bomb hit
on ships with light or no armor may cause excess damage (8.3).
21.5 Airship Missions
(Add) 21.53 If an airship spots an enemy fleet, it may shadow the
fleet for as long as the owning player desires and as long as the
airship's endurance allows. Place the airship counter on the
enemy fleet counter; it moves whenever the fleet counter moves (a
raiding fleet counter shadowed by an airship may not be removed
from the map).
21.6 Airship Endurance (Add): An airship which does not return to
base is destroyed (garnering the enemy player six victory
22.0 Submarine Flotillas
22.3 Submarine Reconnaissance
(Add) 22.33 No more than two submarines may attack the same ship
in the same turn.
(Add) 22.34 Each submarine may attack three times in the course
of the game unless it leaves the operational map (see below). A
submarine may only attack once per game turn.
(The submarines built in the 1920's carried a larger supply of
torpedoes than those built during the First World War or even
those built shortly thereafter.)
22.4 Submarine Movement
(Add): All of its submarines have a full allotment of torpedoes
upon their return to the map and may make three more attacks.
Battle Scenario 2
(Correction): The date of the battle is 1 September 1930, not 5
Operational Scenario 1
(Clarification): The Special Rule for Merchant Shipping is here
because there is no shipping routes printed on the operational
mapsheet in the game. Still all the rules from Section 10.0 in
the Standard Rules do apply as if there was a shipping route
printed on the hexrow indicated in the special rule.
Operational Scenario 2
(Correction): The Japanese carrier Hosho and its accompanying
aircraft counter (1 x A2N) are listed twice in the Japanese order
of battle, once in the force at Cavite and once in the force at
Sasebo. Delete the listing from the force at Sasebo.
On the Aircraft vs. Ships Table on the last page of the book,
make the following correction:
Die Roll Modifiers
+2 if the target is dead in the water.
HIT RECORD CHARTS
American Capital Ships
The battlecruisers Constellation and United States each should
have a boxed torpedo value of 2, not 1.
The light cruisers are misnumbered. They should be Omaha (CL04),
Cincinnati (CL06), Raleigh (CL07), Detroit (CL08), Richmond
(CL09), Marblehead (CL12), and Memphis (CL13). The counters are
correctly numbered though.
American Light Ships
The destroyer counter Clemson-16 should be listed as DD-22. There
is no Clemson-17 counter in the game.