|Steel Fleet||Battle of Coronel Designer's notes|
No rules for coal smoke, it was too windy. No rules for torpedos, nets, mines or sweeping. No rules for wireless in the tactical game. No airships, aircraft, air observation or anti-aircraft gunnery. No making smoke. This scenario was chosen not just because it has a number of intriguing 'what-if' possibilities; it really was, excepting lighting and the weather, a perfectly straightforward encounter of pure surface gunnery.
We are at this late stage1 still debating adding early torpedo rules developed for Yellow Sea.
Any comprehensive simulation of Coronel should probably include her as an optional reinforcement for Cradock's cruiser squadron on a 'what if' basis.
optional orders of battle
It is worth noting that by the time von Spee had concentrated at Pagan in mid-August HMS Inflexible and Invincible were back in home waters. Inflexible, already eluded by SMS Goeben in the Mediterranean, was recalled soon after and while Invincible played a minor role at Heligoland on 28 August there seems no compelling reason why both could not have been made available; at least from September 1914 if not earlier.
Whatever the arguments in favour of their retention they were hastily abandoned when news of Coronel arrived at the Admiralty.
Alternatively, it's also puzzling that the battlecruiser HMAS Australia, a vessel von Spee surely dreaded as it dogged him across the Pacific, was held back near Suva while Cradock's intercepting squadron was inadequately reinforced even though von Spee's strength was well known.
From a designer's perspective this seems an argument for providing at least a pair of optional Coronel scenarios. One with Rear Admiral Cradock scouting the Chilean coastal waters with HMS Invincible and Inflexible already in the vicinity or arriving soon. And alternately one with an initial reinforcement of HMAS Australia accompanied by one of the cruisers HMS Encounter, Newcastle or the French Montcalm or combinations thereof.
Shaun Appleby 03 August 2014
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