The Fred Jane Naval Wargame (1906)

including the Royal Navy Wargaming Rules (1921)
edited by John Curry

Foreword by Richard Brooks
author of the Jane's Company biography of Fred Jane

211 pages, ISBN ISBN 978-1-4092-4407-7


When I produced this book, I thought that perhaps 10 people in the world would buy it, 6 of whom I would know. I was somewhat suprised when the 11th person bought the book.

As my first book, the proof reading was not as good as it should have been been, but I have always been too busy with the next books to revisit it.

It did however launch the History of Wargaming Project. It also contains a collection of material that is hard to come by about Fred Jane, the second naval wargamer.

The Fred Jane Naval Wargame was the second realistic naval wargame to be produced (the first was a naval training game, the third was the Fletcher Pratt Naval Wargame).

The game was very well known in naval circles and was considered realistic enough to cite in academic articles on naval matters and various books.

On this site is a summary of the rules, a sample ship card used to play the game, some photos of the game and a short video explaining the firing mechanism. If you want to purchase the rules, go to the purchase link. Buying the rules gives the password for access to the download area that has a number of ship cards ready for immediate use.

In addition to the actual rules, this edition includes the complete text of the classic book by Fred Jane, Your Navy as a Fighting Machine.

To complete the introduction, I have included the actual introduction from the first published edition of the rules.

All I can say is, we do not get introductions to wargaming rules like that anymore.

RULES
FOR
THE JANE NAVAL WAR GAME
A SEA KRIEGSPIEL SIMULATING ALL THE MOVEMENTS AND EVOLUTIONS OF EVERY INDIVIDUAL TYPE OF MODERN WARSHIP, AND THE PROPORTIONATE EFFECT OF EVERY SORT OF GUN AND PROJECTILE PART I. TACTICAL PART II. STRATEGICAL

INVENTED BY
FRED T. JANE
AUTHOR OF "ALL THE WORLD'S FIGHTING SHIPS," ETC., ETC.

REVISED AND APPROVED BY CAPTAIN H.I.H. GRAND DUKE ALEXANDER MIHAILOVITCH OF RUSSIA, I.R.N; CAPTAIN H.S.H. PRINCE LOUIS OF BATTENBERG, R.N.; CAPTAIN H. J. MAY, R.N.; AND LIEUTENANT R. KAWASHIMA, I.J.N.

LONDON
SAMPSON LOW, MARSTON AND COMPANY
LIMITED
ST. DUNSTAN'S HOUSE, FETTER LANE, E.C.
1898
LONDON:
PRINTED BY WILLIAM CLOWES AND SONS, LIMITED
STAMFORD STREET AND CHARING CROSS.

INTRODUCTORY NOTE

The aim of this Naval War Game is to provide a thorough sea equivalent to the Army War Game. The essential idea has been to produce something by which any problems can be worked out with the greatest possible simulation of actuality, especially such as least easily lend themselves to solution on paper. In particular, the game is designed for us in all such interesting problems as those connected with "discriminating fire," and to that end not only each individual type of ship, but also every individual gun and projectile, method of protection, thickness and quality of armour is allowed for. In some of these things a certain amount of approximation has, for simplicity, been necessary, but for practical purposes the differentiation will be found sufficiently ample.

The majority of the rules do not call for special comment; all represent attempts to simulate the real thing as closely as possible; all are framed with a view to avoiding any unnecessary complications. Comparatively few of them are needed for any one game. For such as are most frequently required summaries are provided, either upon loose sheets, or upon the pieces; there is, consequently, no necessity to "learn" the game. It can be played by any naval officer after five minutes' study.

All the "shooting targets" are drawn upon the same scale, with particular attention to certain essential minutae, consequently a gun muzzle or a sighting hood has approximately its actual chance of being hit. The particular form of "striker," for localising hits, has been adopted after considerable trial with various systems. It will be found that this device affords some sort of equivalent for the moral effect of the personnel caused by damage to the matériel. It is rare to find a player "shooting" well after his ship has sustained heavy damage; very little is needed to make the aim wild. I must admit that this result is incidental rather than designed, the adoption of this device having been die to a desire to embody something that made direction easier than elevation, and did away with certainty. No tactical problem can be worked out on a basis of certainty in hitting. The accuracy obtainable is, perhaps, considerably higher than may reasonably be hoped for in action*; the necessity of keeping a game from taking too long to play compels that, but as a general rule accuracy is sufficiently difficult not to interfere with any evolution.

If, however, a nearer approximation to battle conditions is desired it is obtainable be reducing the rate of fire, or counting every two guns as one. It is, however, open to the objection that the chance element and the lucky shot get thereby a possibly undue value in a game that generally presupposes a comparative equality in gunnery on both sides, though it muist be borne in mind that the game allows great scope for neutralising superior gunnery by superior evolutions.

A word is necessary about the gunnery rules. It is exceedingly difficult to make a general allowance for shell. Against armour they are very likely to break without bursting in the act of perforation, but the pieces carried through are likely to effect considerable damage; consequently all shell, and also shot which would carry fragments through medium armour, are given one general effect against medium armour. Another difficult problem is the behaviour of very thick Harveyised plates. There is reason to believe that if 6-inch Harvey may be considered equal to 12 inches of iron, 9 may be barely equally to 18 and 18 not equal to 36 inches of iron.

There are also innumerable side issues. This is mentioned in order to draw attention to the fact that in the letter notation an attempt is made at an approximately general allowance.

The turning and other manoeuvring qualities of ships are allowed for upon a convention. With a pair of dividers and a certain amount of patience it is of course possible to give any vessel its exact circle, but this is avoided as an unnecessary complication. In an attempt to ram, with ships of equal or nearly equal speed, it is just possible that the use of such circles might be of utility, but in such cases umpire's decision is a simple substitute. The circle selected for general use is practically the average. In the case of ships whose circle is considerably beyond the average, a perhaps somewhat unduly larger circle is given, while very handy ships have a slight undue advantage. The approximation will, however, be found satisfactory for all ordinary purposes.

Speed is also subject to arbitrary convention much as the circles are. Slight individual differences of speed do not appear to be of prime importance where the evolutions of fleets are in question: where a slightly better speed would affect results, allowance is made (see Strategical Rules). "Scoring tables" - plan and elevation with all details as to armour, etc. - of any particular ship not given with the game can be procured from the publishers, and if necessary the corresponding "shooting targets" and model ships.

None of the "shooting targets" are named. The reasons for this will be found on page 15, under the head of "General Notes."

My best thanks are due to Captain H.I.H. Grand Duke Alexander Mihailovitch of Russia, Imperial Russian Navy; Captain H. J. May, C.B., and Captain H.S.H. Prince Louis of Battenberg, K.C.B., Royal British Navy; and Lieutenant Kawashima, Imperial Japanese Navy, for looking over the proofs of the rules, and for all the kind interest they have taken in the game. I must also express my gratitude to Commander H. Russell Robinson Commander H. H. Campbell, Lieutenant Barry, and Mr. H. W. Metcalfe, all of the Royal Navy; to Mr. Kondo, of the Imperial Japanese Navy; and generally to the wardroom officers of H.M.Ss Majestic, Trafalgar, St. George (1894-8 commission), Royal Yacht, Mars, Alexandra, and Australia, and of H.I.J.M.S. Takasago, for their kindness in connection with many experimental games played on board their ships.

In conclusion it should be stated that all important shops of new type will be added to the game from time to time as they may be completed for sea, and for any new invention provision will at once be made in the rules. Any such changes will be announced in the Army and Navy gazette, Le Yacht, and one or two other papers; but, so far as possible, notice will also be sent to any shop known to be in possession of the game.

Any suggestions in the way of increased realism and simplicity, sent to me, c/o Sampson Low, Marston & Co., Ltd., Publishers, London, will be thankfully received and acknowledged. Any notes upon interesting actions will also be very welcome.

Portsmouth FRED T. JANE

June, 1898

* From certain experiments made at target practice in board the Takasago, there is, however, reason to believe that, unless the excitement of action largely affects results, the accuracy obtainable by game methods is not much too high for modern guns.