Dreadnought is an exciting and easily playable simulation of surface combat, but several design errors may influence play to a degree not seen in actual naval combat.

Range Allowances

Foremost of these minor faults are Range Allowances for several types of British and Japanese capital ships. It is with the Japanese BB’s and BC’s that I begin. The game allows the 780 Fuso, 800 Ise, 820 Nagato, 850 Kongo and 870 Kirishima Classes to fire to ranges (21-23 hexes) that these vessels were not able to attain until their reconstructions in the mid-1930’s. Corrected values and hex equivalents follow:

Kongo, Kirishima (850,870) as built… 25,800m (28,200 yds) = 14 hexes.

Fuso, Ise (780, 800) as built; 850, 870 in 1925… 29,00m (31,700 yds) = 16 hexes.

Nagato (820) as built… 32,000m (35,000 yds) = 18 hexes.

790, 810, 860, 880 in 1936… 38,000m (41,500 yds) = 21 hexes

830 in 1936… 42,000m (46,000 yds) = 23 hexes

These differences are caused by the increase in elevation (generally from 33 to 43 degrees) of the main batteries of the ships in their rebuilds. The same case is made for the British capital ships, Queen Elizabeth (110-120), Royal Sovereign (140-150), Renown (230-250) and Courageous (260), armed with the 15"/42 Mk.I rifle. When build, the elevations of the 15" aboard these ships was 20 degrees, giving a maximum range with the 1920 lb. AP shell of 22,500m (24,600 yds) or 13 hexes.

When the Queen Elizabeth (131), Valiant (132), Warspite (134) and Renown (251) were extensively rebuilt prior to World War II, elevation increased to 30 degrees, allowing fire to 32,000m (35,000 yds) or 18 hexes.

All other ships armed with the 15"/42 except the Hood (271-281) retain the lesser range, including the Malaya (133) and Repulse (252), which were not as extensively rebuilt as their sisters.

Base Visibility

Another bone of contention is the base visibility in the Campaign Scenarios. It is possible to have a maximum visibility of 18 hexes on individual turns. Fine, you say, as most ships’ ranges fall short of 18 hexes, allowing visual fire to maximum distance. But, few ships, if any, had observation or fire-control posts high enough (about 230 feet) to see this far. The magnificent Yamato, with her tremendous bridge structure, had her highest post 130 feet above sea level, giving her the ability to ‘see’ 13.1 miles (26,200 yds, or 24,000m or 13 hexes) to the relative horizon. Firing at a target beyond this range would be extremely difficult or impossible as the target would be hull-down. Then again, few bodies of water in the world are calm enough or untouched by foul weather to allow this kind of visibility year-round. Opening fire at 25,00 yards in the North Sea or Denmark Straight in winter? Unlikely, without radar, which was not generally in use for 34 of the battleship’s 39-year existence. Therefore, I suggest that maximum visibility for initial contact be no more that 14 hexes and that maximum visibility for firing be no more than 13 hexes, or the result of the die roll (see 5.7, Visibility), whichever is less.

Information cited is from Breyer’s Battleships and Battlecuisers, 1905-1970, Warship Profile #12 "IJN Kongo", Warship Profile #30 "IJN Yamato and Musashi" and Alnavco’s Seapower III Surface Action Rules (for the visibility data). — Dave Newman

Footnotes, MOVES nr. 23, Oct-Nov 1975