Cruel Seas German Kriegsmarine Fleet
Kaiser Wilhelm’s vision, indeed obsession, with building a vast fleet of dreadnoughts came to nought during the Great War. He knew that his excellent fleet could not risk significant battles with the Royal Navy, it was a one-shot weapon. The lighter units, particularly the U Boats, did most of the real work on a weekly basis.
The German Navy was only raised in 1871, with a brief to concentrate on the North Sea and Baltic Coasts. Perhaps because of its youth, the Kriegsmarine was quick to appreciate the power of the humble torpedo that could cripple or kill a vessel worth millions of marks. They were thus also keen to develop the promise of the torpedo boat, cheap, potentially deadly and of great use in restricted waters.
The German Kriegsmarine Fleet Contains:
2 x Plastic S-100 E-boats
2 x Plastic S-38 E-boats
1 x Vorpostenboot flakship (resin and metal)
1 x M-class minesweeper (resin and metal)
1 x Ju-87D Stuka (metal)
Plastic Torpedo markers
Cruel Seas IJN Fleet
Between the wars Japan reassessed its position with its navy, building the world’s first purpose-built aircraft carrier, the Hosho in 1921 and inventing its deadly fast and powerful type 93 24’’ oxygen fuelled torpedoes. They also decided that as their industrial might could not match that of the west, then they would have to have sharp, training tactics and a crew of superior quality to their foe, and for a while, achieved just this.
Their battleships and cruisers were of excellent quality and their growing fleet or aircraft carriers would, after Pearl Harbor, give them the edge in the opening phase of the Pacific War. Excellent training, use of the Long Lance torpedoes and aggressive use of nighttime fast attacks with their destroyers also gave the allies a bloody nose before they learned to counter these attacks.
Imperial Japanese Navy Fleet
Cruel Seas focuses on the cat and mouse hunts that happened nightly in the Philippines, Guadalcanal and the Solomon’s. They could be IJN sub chasers stalking a crippled US submarine, or mine layers playing their trade at night. Most commonly it will be Japanese barge convoys defending themselves in shallow water against rapacious PT boats. Turning the tables, a late war game could be played out with American landing ships and the terrifying Shin’yo Kamikaze craft.
The IJN, therefore, is an interesting mixture of the very sophisticated and the very amateur, boldness being a connecting factor whether in battleships or tiny craft. It is a do or die force, get in close and things will go well, dither or maintain the range of the allied technology and firepower will overreach you.
The Imperial Japanese Navy Fleet Contains:
6 x T-14-class MTBs (metal)
3 x Maru-Ni kamikaze boats (metal)
3 x Shin-Yo kamikaze boats (metal)
4 x large Sampan (resin and metal - two of each canopied boat)
1 x Escort Type Hei minesweeper (resin & metal)
1 x Aichi D3A 'Val' (metal)
Plastic Torpedo markers
Description The Regia Marina was confident, had indisputably the most handsome ships in the world and referred to the troubled waters of the Mediterranean as Mare nostrum(our sea). By the start of the war, as well as capital ships, it fielded 59 destroyers and 67 torpedo boats, a fast class of small destroyers. In May 1942, at Germany’s request, the Regia Marina deployed four 24 tonnes Motoscafo Anti Sommergibile, or MAS boats, six CB midget submarines, five torpedo boats and five explosive boats to the Black Sea, and appear to have done well against merchantmen, barges and even a cruiser. One exotic posting for the Italian light fleet was an expedition to Lake Lagoda and the Leningrad Siege. Four MAS boats, naval detachment K, teamed up with German and Finnish forces to blockade Russian forces. MAS boats 526, 527, 528, & 529 took part with minelayers, Siebel ferries and Finnish patrol boats, the whole force titled Einsatzstab Fahre Ost, a fascinating flotilla to collect and game with! Regia Marina Fleet The Italians favoured their fast small boats, typically the MAS boats ( Motoscafo Anti Sommergibile) weighing in at between 20 and 30 tons, smaller than most other nations small craft. They were, however, good boats and gave the Allies a tough time. They had a ten-man crew; their principal armament was two torpedoes and a 20 mm Breda A/A on the rear deck. They were fast, very fast and could make up to 45 knots, outrunning all PT boats and British MTBs. By 1940 48 of the MAS 500 class were available. Another excellent maid of all work for the Italian fleet was the Gabbiano-class Corvette. At 660 tons they carried a 100 mm main gun forward, three 20 mm A/A and four 20 mm in dual mounts. They were also equipped with two torpedo tubes. These were excellent ships, well-built and pleasing to the eye, not fast (18 knots at best) but with good tactical options for a good commander. An Italian coastal force is an attractive force to collect. The MAS boat, your main strike force, must use its speed and small size to survive, but although lightly armed and fragile, they are inexpensive boats to add to your fleet. Overwhelm them with numbers and manoeuvring, then hit hard with your torpedoes. The Regia Marina Fleet Contains: 4 x MAS boats MTBs (metal) 1 x Italian MZ Motozattera (resin and metal) 1 x Marinefährprahm - F-Lighter (resin and metal) 1 x Gabbiano-class corvette (resin and metal) 1 x CR 32 Fighter (metal) Ship Cards Wakes Plastic Torpedo markers
Description Voyenno-morskoy flot SSSR (VMF) – i.e. The Military Maritime Fleet of the USSR, or the ‘Red Fleet’ for short. The Russian Armed forces of WWII are an interesting blend of extraordinary innovation and technical achievement, and extraordinary inexperience and foolish management of its huge forces. Russia had plenty of small ships and boats for both offensive and defensive purposes. These small ships and boats came in many shapes and sizes. A common class, over 350 being put into service, was the MO small guard ship. It stood for Maly Okhotnik, or “small hunter” and gained the nickname Moshkaor “fly”. These useful vessels were primarily built for anti-submarine work, but soon extra roles were found for them: minelaying and sweeping, convoy, patrol and even supporting ground operations. Captured craft and lend-lease British and American MTBs were used in their light flotillas. Their home-grown efforts, however, produced the peculiar looking G-5 light torpedo boats. The G-5s main strike weapon was two torpedoes, stern launched, which was rare in WWII. They were dropped tail first into the water, so a sharp turn was necessary on launch to get out of the way. Unlike most other nations, the boats carried no cannon but were armed with one 12.7mm machine gun and normally two 7.62mm MMGs. Soviet Navy Fleet The Soviet Navy then is not a glamorous fleet for the gamer. Rather it’s a solid, unsophisticated affair, with no radar, little radio, few automatic cannons or other refinements. As ever with Russian forces, quantity has a quality all its own. Your best tactic is to get in quick, torpedo your target and escape fast as you are likely to take much damage from concentrated cannon fire. Use the MO boats to support you, use minefields to hide in, and if desperate, use the threat of your terrifying if inaccurate Katyusha rocket! URRAH! The Soviet Navy Fleet Contains: 4 x G5 MTB (metal) 4 x D3 MTB (metal) 2 x Bronekaters (metal) 1 x Fugas class Minesweeper (resin and metal) 1 x Il-2 Sturmovik (metal) Ship Cards Wakes Plastic Torpedo markers
Cruel Seas US Navy Fleet
By 1941 there were 29 total PT’s total in the US Navy, by December ’43 there were 29 squadrons. Indeed, by the end of the war the small ships, PT’s LCI etc. numbered 7,000 craft of 80 types. Many Early PT boats had up to 4 torpedoes and 2 twin .50 Cal guns in powered mounting, a heavy load for the day. As with most American hardware, this was only the start! Soon a 20mm was added at the stern as standard, useful for surface or air action. Then, enterprising crews frustrated by strafing the tough Japanese barges to negligible effect mounted a USAAF 37mm automatic gun (acquired from an Air Cobra) and found it most effective!
Indeed, America had not been blind to the possibilities of the coming war and took great pains to watch and learn from her allies and foes so that when war came, America was ready to put into place a building program that dwarfed all the other navies combined and led to the naval dominance that she still enjoys today.
The US Navy Fleet Contains:
2 x Plastic Elco PT boat
2 x Plastic Higgins PT boat
1 x Coastal Cutter sub chaser (resin and metal)
1 x LCI-(L) landing craft (resin and metal)
4 x LCM-3 landing craft (metal)
1 x F4U Corsair (metal)
Plastic Torpedo markers
Kriegsmarine S-boat flotilla
The Schnellboat or ‘E Boat’ as the British Admiralty called them, E for enemy, was a truly formidable beast, in many ways incomparable in detail to the other nation’s boats.
In sheer size alone, the E boat was much, much bigger. Allied boats tended to be 70-80 feet in length, the E boat 115 feet long, and the laws of physics, though complex, favour a larger hull for speed over a shorter one.
German engineering also gave them another advantage, as when speed reached 25 knots, a crank mechanism when turned moved 2 side rudders to flare, symmetrically outward at 30 degrees, creating an air-filled hollow space, the so-called Lürssen effect. This gave three distinct advantages, greater speed, a reduction in the tell-tale wake of the speeding boat, and finally settled the boat in a more efficient plane, leaving the vessel shallower in the water, most useful in mine and torpedo infested waters and remarkable for a boat weighing in at 100 tons!
Contains: six E-boats (3x S-38 & 3x S-100)
Royal Navy Vosper MTB flotilla
At the outbreak of war, Britain had 3 formed MTB flotillas, precious few to cover the world’s largest empire. But with judicious use of what were pre-war civilian boatyards and the huge resources of their empire and help from the USA, the Coastal Forces would in 1944 have 25,000 sailors in over 2000 small craft!
These Flotillas, enhanced by Commonwealth, Dutch, Norwegian, French, and other free forces sank over 400 enemy vessels, including 48 E-boats and 32 midget submarines. They also accounted for 32 axis aircraft and fired in total 1169 very expensive torpedoes. This impressive tactical achievement contributed mightily to the allied strategic successes. It ensured that Britain was not isolated for trade. It put a stranglehold on Axis Supply lines and ultimately formed a force that could not be resisted, so much so that by the D Day landings in 1944, the Kriegsmarine was impotent to resist.
Contains: Six Vosper MTBs (3 early & 3 late)
US Navy PT boat flotilla
On December 7th, 1941, the US Navy could only boast 3 squadrons of motor torpedo boats, or PT boats (patrol torpedo) as they were named. PT squadron 1 was based on Pearl Harbor and the 12 boats opened fire on the incoming Japanese bombers, claiming 2 planes downed for sure and others damaged. Squadron 2 was based in Manila Bay of the Philippines and had a similar introduction to their war, shooting down a few attackers and learning that fast boats were a tricky target for bombers. Squadron 3 was in New York working up and would later see great service in Guadalcanal.
The PT boats fought all over the globe, from Pearl Harbor to the Philippines, the Adriatic and Mediterranean and also in the English Channel. They achieved many successes, particularly in the last two years of the Pacific War they accounted for many stalking float planes and many hundreds of barges which were the lifeblood of the overextended Japanese army. This barge hunting was a gruelling business and needed a certain ruthlessness on the behalf of the American crews, Japanese soldiers and sailors being loath to surrender, hence a grizzly end to many a barge crew.
Contains: Six PT boats (3x Elco & 3x Higgins)
In Cruel Seas, the focus may be on the fast MTB's but these boats were also ably supported by many hundreds of other craft, from purpose-built landing ships, sloops and corvettes to converted trawlers thrust into the joys of minesweeping.
There is great fun in researching these plucky little vessels, and even greater pleasure in gaming them on the wargames table. What they may lack in speed, armour or hitting power, they make up for in character, specialisation and being economic to field in your flotillas.
1x resin & metal armed trawler
Capable of carrying 120 men or a medium tank, the LCM III used by the Royal Navy was the largest craft carried by attack transports. It was able to make up to 10 knots When loaded and had anchors and winches to back itself off the beach for a return trip to its transport.
The Royal Navy operated over 170 during Operation Neptune, the assault on the beaches known as D-Day 6th June 1944.
Cruel Seas British Royal Navy Fleet
Great Britain never built a vessel as fast or as deadly as the E-boats, instead, fielding many types of MTB and motor gunboats. After a slow start, the Royal Navy helped by construction in the USA, Canada and India, built an extraordinary catalogue of excellent small boats, supported by larger vessels which gave serious firepower and, using the characteristics of each boat to maximum effect, fielded mixed formations supported by destroyers or powerful gun equipped LCTs. They generally fought at night and using radar and radiotelephone, coupled with RAF and fleet air arm support and even secret information from intercepts they fought the Kriegsmarine to a standstill and by 1944, with hugely superior numbers and technological advantage truly ruled any waters which they chose to dominate.
The British Royal Navy Fleet Contains:
2 x Plastic Early Vosper MTBs
2 x Plastic Mid/Late Vosper MTBs
2 x Fairmile D (resin and metal)
1 x Armed Trawler (resin and metal)
1 x Bristol Beaufighter Mk Ic (metal)
Plastic Torpedo markers
Two resin and metal Cruel Seas Fairmile D MTB 624s
One Resin and Metal Cruel Seas Marinefahprahm F-lighter
One Resin and Metal Cruel Seas Merchant Tanker.
Tasked with the ferry of supplies such as food, fuel, steel, clothing to munitions and weaponry. Many nations were heavily reliant on such ships completing the journey and securing their goods. As a result, this made them obvious targets for the nimble torpedo boats.
Note: All Cruel Seas items manufactured by Warlord Games are 1/300th (6mm) scale.
A perfect harbour for any fleet, return from action to your safe harbour and a hot mug of tea before re-fueling and arming and on to your next mission.
This product has the following dimensions:
10cm x 2cm
26cm x 11cm
This kit also comes with 2 cranes, 4 jetty's, set of steps, a warehouse.
Two Metal and Resin Cruel Seas R-23 R-boats
In Cruel Seas, you take on the role of a naval crew manning their fragile coastal craft as they head out day and night to take on both the sea and the enemy.
Command your flotilla of small ships as they head out to attack a convoy, drop off Commandoes for a behind-the-lines mission or task them with one of the other myriads of missions this small and versatile craft would perform.
Be it the Coastal waters of England or across the Channel to France, on to the Mediterranean waters or on further to the vast Island chains of the Pacific, Cruel seas will ensure your small ships see plenty of adrenaline-fuelled action!
FREE Special Miniature (while stocks last)
As with many of our Bolt Action range of books if you order direct from our webstore you will receive a fantastically crafted model and Cruel Seas is no exception! Warlord sculptor Marco has produced this iconic piece, the conning tower of a German U-Boat breaking the surface...
Cruel Seas, the rules
Within the pages of Cruel Seas you'll find the complete rules for small ship action plus full-colour guides, superb art courtesy of Osprey Publishing, history on your fleets, Campaign rules and special weaponry, Aircraft rules and more!
A most peculiar type of riverine and estuary craft was also developed by the Russians. This was the 1124 and 1125 class of armoured rivercraft or Bronekater. These shallow draught craft, drawing only 2-foot of water, could penetrate river systems and lakes, even being moved by rail and lorry to new locations. Some featured numerous armoured turrets, even T-34 tank turrets, and again, frequently equipped themselves with rails for the Katyusha launchers. They were tough little boats capable of receiving and dishing out punishment, though they had a small crew and were slow and poor deep watercraft.
The D-3 class was built in wood, and carrying torpedoes openly on deck could attain speeds of 32 knots(59 km/h, 37 mph). Later boats in the series had improved engines increasing operating speeds to 48 knots (89 km/h, 55 mph)!
Although not many D-3s served in the Black Sea they were quite active, sinking German Barges and an Italian midget submarine. A most notable action was the sinking of the Elbing-class large torpedo boat T-31 in the Battle of Nerva Island.
There was much confusion in the dogfight that was a WW2 motor torpedo boat battle. Poor visibility, gunfire, smoke and noise could overwhelm the senses of even experienced captains. In ‘Cruel Seas’, things are rather more predictable whilst ensuring the best-laid plans can go awry at the last minute…
The Cruel Seas Starter Set contains everything you need to command your flotilla in this fast-paced 1/300th scale tabletop game.
The Cruel Seas boxed game, ‘Strike Fast, Strike Hard!’, contains:
A4 softback rulebook
A4 quick start guide with painting guides and flags
6 x Plastic Vosper Motor Torpedo Boats
4 x plastic E-boats
1 x set of plastic torpedo markers
1 x set of plastic plume markers
1 x A0 double-sided battle mat
3x die-cut punchboards - double sided and full colour (islands, sandbars, rulers, mine markers, game tokens, lighthouse, aircraft, etc)
Ship data-cards for Vosper MTBs, E-boats and a merchant ship
Fleet order chits (Royal Navy and Kriegsmarine)
Set of game dice (D10 & D6)
plus FREE Special Miniature! (while stocks last)
Submarine chasers were used for destroying German U-boats that were stationed off the coast of the United States (some 67 German U-boats were sunk). In the Pacific Theatre, submarine chasers were used for amphibious landings, courier and escort duty.
SC-497-class submarine chasers were a class of 438 submarine chasers, 98 tons with a length of 110 ft 10 in (34 m) and a speed of 18 knots. 142 were part of the Lend-Lease program with 78 sent to the Soviet Union, 50 to France and 3 to Norway. The three Norwegian examples served with distinction on the Shetland bus service, running agents, refugees and weapons past the German blockade between occupied Norway and Britain.
2x resin & metal US Coastal Cutter Subchaser
The Fairmile company produced a mass production vessel, which had good seagoing qualities and was used also for mine laying. Their most famous boat was probably the Fairmile D or ‘Dog’ boat, a dual MTB/MGB, possibly the best-armed vessel size for its size in the world.
This model represents motor gun boat 660 in its final configuration, including an automatic 6pdr on the foredeck, a 20mm on either side of the bridge, a twin 20mm amidships and a quick firing 3pdr (effectively a 40mm) cannon on the stern.
MG660 - Built by Brooke Marine Ltd. (Oulton Broad, England, U.K.), Commissioned 21 Apr 1943.
First commanded by Alexander Robert Todd, RNZNVR from 8 Jul 1943 to 6 Aug 1943 and then A T Robinson, RNVR till mid-1945.
The Fairmile D MGB 660 comes in packs of two to boost your Royal Navy coastal forces.
Dubbed the Kleine fähre (small ferry) the Siebel ferry would prove it's self a highly useful and adaptable vessel.
Aircraft designer Fritz Siebel (A commissioned a colonel in the Luftwaffe) had been assigned his own Sonderkommando (special command) for improvising Luftwaffe invasion craft for Operation Sea Lion.
Colonel Siebel's ferry used flat-bottomed pontoons that were squared off in front. In combination with the vessel’s wide cargo deck, this made for an exceptionally stable gun platform, capable of surviving even Force 6 waves.
In fact, the Luftwaffe mounted various-sized flak pieces on the ferries finding the 8.8 cm guns, in particular, well-adapted for this role.
The Luftwaffe continue producing Siebel ferries under its own Special Ferry Command (Fähre-Sonderkommando). Configured to serve a variety of special purposes, from minelaying to convoy escort, most would see action transporting troops, vehicles and supplies.
The Siebel Ferry comes in packs of two expand your Kriegsmarine fleet.
The Daihatsu-class landing craft was a 14-meter long troop transport constructed of metal and powered by a diesel engine. Potentially armed with weapons up to 37mm in size, it was quite seaworthy and could travel at 8 knots for 50 miles carrying 1 type 95 tank or 70 men.
Just as Nazi Germany had to reach for desperate solutions toward war’s end, Japan followed their air force in developing a Kamikaze or suicide weapon that might just turn the tide of the battle. These were the Shin’yo (Seaquake) speedboats. Over 6,000 were built after 1943. A one-man power boat with a speed of 30 knots and a massive 700-pound explosive charge, they were to be run at enemy vessels and if a hit scored it would be deadly. The army also built tiny speedboats, the 2-man Maruni which carried two depth charges as its main weapon.
Mainly used in the Philippines, they were organized into sea raiding regiments, 1, 2, 3, 26, 27, 28 & 29, with 100 boats in each regiment. They fought bravely in numerous actions but were mostly sunk by aircraft, destroyers, and PT boats.As they were manned they could even turn around and do a second run if they missed their target and had the option of abandoning the craft if possible, rather than suffer certain self-immolation. Fortunately for the Allies, the vast majority of the boats were not in the front line but held back in Japan for the proposed final battles. They did cause some severe damage to US destroyers, particularly the large landing craft, several of which were sunk.
6x metal Shin’yo
6x metal Maruni
The T-14 was the most numerous of the three torpedo boats used by the Imperial Japanese Navy. Despite this, they were still few in number compared to the Allied MTBs. It could carry two torpedoes, one 25mm gun, depth charges and could make 33 knots.
4x metal T-14 class MTBs
Motoscafo Anti Sommergibile, or MAS boats, weighed between 20 and 30 tons and were smaller than most other nations. They were, however, good boats and gave the Allies a tough time.
They had a ten-man crew; their principal armament was two torpedoes and a 20 mm Breda A/A on the rear deck. They were fast, very fast and could make up to 45 knots, outrunning all PT boats and British MTBs. By 1940, 48 of the MAS 500 class were available.
Often referred to as the “riverine tanks” or “Bronekater” the gunboats of the project 1124 and 1125 series played an important role in securing the large system of waterways of the Soviet Union.
Transportable by train from a river to other, it was designed to enter tunnels and cross bridges aboard wagon trains.
This model represents Soviet Bronekater pr.1125 with M-13-M Rocket Launcher (Katyusha), 76.2mm F-34 T-34 Cast Turret and DShKM-2B Duel 12.7mm DshK Machine guns.
This model is of a rare ship that saw action as part of the Asov Flotilla during the Kerch-Eltigen Amphibious Operation, Kerch peninsula, Krim, November 1943.
The Soviet Bronekater pr.1125 with Katyusha comes in a pack of two to boost your Soviet Navy coastal forces.
The Soviets used many captured craft and received British and American MTBs that were used in their light flotillas. Their home-grown efforts, however, produced the peculiar looking G-5 light torpedo boats. They built scores of these aluminium boats, a material which was vulnerable to salt water.
They were small and initially not very fast, but later models were 16 tons in weight and could manage 38 knots. Later G-5s could even achieve speeds of up to 40-48 knots if well maintained. They had a petrol engine. The late series even got up to 53 knots!
Their main strike weapon was two torpedoes, stern launched, which was rare in WWII. They were dropped tail first into the water, so a sharp turn was necessary on launch to get out of the way. Unlike most other nations, the boats carried no cannon but were armed with one 12.7mm machine gun and normally two 7.62mm MMGs.
Built by several different manufacturers in different designs the landing craft mechanized (LCM) bore the brunt of transport duties in some of the most famous landings in history.
The LCM (3) Higgins is perhaps the most famous, at a length of 50 feet (15 m), it had the capacity to carry one 30-ton tank (e.g. M4 Sherman), 60 troops, or 60,000 lb (27,000 kg) of cargo.
4x metal LCM3 Landing craft