Torpedo Rules

I've always thought the torpedo rules in GQ were kind of fun, but a little too slow and probably not quite abstract enough given the stated level of abstraction of the game. In a game where each player is supposed to represent a task force or sqadron commander, should the players really be trying to target individual torpedoes?

I decided I needed something faster, and probably more abstract. What I came up with seems to work just fine for the WWI era.

Torpedo ranges are measured with torpedo rangefinding sticks, similar to my gunnery rangefinding sticks (but much shorter). Each class of torpedoes in the rules (Standard and Light) has its own stick; the Standard torpedo sticks are 24 cm long, the Light torpedo sticks are 18 cm long. Each stick is divided into 5 range bands. All of the range bands are 1/6 of the length of the stick (either 3 or 4 cm), except the center range band, which is 1/3 the length of the stick (either 6 or 8 cm). The sticks have a pointy end which is the shooter's end. Starting with the shooter's end, the range bands are numbered 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. This number shows the d10 score needed to hit the target.

The torpedo firing procedure goes like this:

  1. Using the appropriate stick, measure the distance from shooter to target.
  2. Roll a d10.
  3. Modify the d10 score with the modifiers shown in the Torpedo Hits table of my QRC.
  4. If the modified d10 score is equal to or less than the number shown by the appropriate range band on the stick, it's a hit.
  5. Roll damage for each hit on the Mine and Torpedo Damage table (on the QRC or in the rules; it's the same table).

As you can see in the QRC, torpedo combat is resolved before gunnery combat. All torpedo damage takes effect before gunnery starts, so torpedo hits may affect the strength (or existence!) of gunnery.

For the WWI era, I also have a few house rules about torpedoes:

  • Multi-torpedo spreads are severely limited. Destroyers may fire 2 torpedoes; other ships may only fire 1 torpedo at a time. I've been unable to find any definitive statements by period sources, but so far it appears to me that torpedo doctrine of the era was to fire a single torpedo per run.
  • There are no reloads allowed in tactical (non-campaign) turns.
  • Only destroyers can fire torpedoes through the entire broadside arc. Other ships may fire torpedoes to front, side, or stern, but only on the narrow (wing turret) arc. This is to represent the fixed torpedo tubes which were the norm in ships larger than destroyers.
  • I don't play with MTBs or subs on the table, but if I did, I would allow MTBs to fire up to their full complement of torpedoes in a single spread. Subs of this era, on the other hand, may only fire one torpedo at a time. In any case, I consider MTBs and subs to be strategic events, not worth gaming on the table.