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Bismarck's Breakout - A Striking Effectively First scenarioClick to magnify
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Bismarck's Breakout - A Striking Effectively First scenario

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Ship unmanoeuvrable. We shall fight to the last shell.

– Vice-Admiral Günther Lütjens

This is a scenario for my ruleset There's The Effing Scheer, and its expansion Striking Effectively First, which allows you to wargame early- to mid-war WW2 naval combat. 

I really enjoyed researching, writing and playtesting this scenario. And it is a very challenging scenario for the Kriegsmarine. On the face of it, the tiny German task force should have no chance against the sheer numbers of the Royal Navy.

But then a wargamer's inquisitiveness kicks in... Did they need just one lucky hit to win that battle? Could they have brushed past a pair of cruisers the day before to prevent being shadowed? What if the Germans had tried a different route? What if Holland had let the German task force slip past his capital ships while waiting for Tovey to come up? What if that Catalina had never spotted Bismarck? Or that torpedo hadn't jammed the rudder? What if Bismarck had made it into range of its land-based air cover? For such a sure thing of a scenario, there were a lot of variables.

The German mission to harry the British convoy routes in mid-1941 was always to be a perilous one, as the quote above illustrates. British intelligence, combined with the substantial strength of the Home Fleet, gave the Royal Navy all of the cards, yet Lütjens and his task force came surprisingly close to success. There are a fair few special rules for this scenario to represent not just the huge scope of this operation (at double the distance scale of my other scenarios) but also to capture the game of cat and mouse the two navies played for several days.

This scenario allows you to play as Tovey, aiming to bring the elusive German warships to heel as the net slowly tightens around them, shepherding your convoys to safety. Or maybe you will play as Lütjens, hoping to repeat his earlier success in Operation Berlin by slipping past British task forces and wreaking havoc in the North Atlantic. Just don't expect all your ships to make it back.

Happy gaming.

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File Last Updated:
May 23, 2023
This title was added to our catalog on May 23, 2023.
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