General Quarters I & II, Defining Ships

Originally Posted by: ThomoTheLost on 4 June 2003 at 00:21

Updated with a download link for GQHelper for GQ1 and 2 on 15 January 2019 (OK, so I am slow sometimes).

I like to use General Quarters Rules for Naval Battles. At the same time, not all the ships I play with are defined in the wonderful GQHelper Program. So, to build them, the basic specifications of the vessels need to be converted to game terms.

Following then is information that was provided by Jimmy Sperling (principally) in a number of posts to the GQ List at Yahoo Groups. Some additional information, suggestions and such came from other members of the group.

Of course, there is a certain amount of RTFM[1] in all this as these items are outlined at the end of the rules. I will admit, the print there is small but it is there never-the-less.

With regards to the GQHelper and supporting files, I can’t store them locally here but they can be downloaded from Google Sites.


DF is based on a ship’s displacement in tons.

250-500 t. 1/2 (0.5)
600-900 t. 1
950-1450 t. 1 1/2 (1.5)
1500-2500 t. 2
2500-3500 t. 2 1/2 (2.5)
4000-6000 t. 3
6000+ tons Divide tons by 2000

Above 6000 tons the DF is found by dividing the ships displacement by 2000. Round up or down normally from this calculation.


At the back of GQ1 and GQ2 right after the list of ship stats is a table for individual gun AF. Total the number of guns that can fire in a ships’ broadside and multiply by the AF.

1 1/2 is usually rounded up to 2 in GQ1, but sometimes left as-is in GQ2; 2 1/2 is usually rounded up to 3.

I do note that, if you are doing some of the earlier pre-dreadnought era vessels from say the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905, then you may find ships with a fair mix of armament (that is, primary, secondary and sufficient weapons for a tertiary set of batteries). I normally calculate a maximum of three – that is, assuming the ship is armed with 10″, 6″ and 3″ guns, then I would calculate Primary Battery figures and two sets of secondary battery figures.

Where there are other weapons listed, like, say, 12 pdrs and so on, then I usually adjust the secondary batteries a little to allow for them or simply just ignore them.


Right after the gun AF table is a listing for the strength of AA guns. The values are as follows. 1 AA strength point equals any of the following:

8 MG

6 20-25mm guns

4 37mm-57mm guns

2 65mm and larger guns

Total the ships’ AA Strength and divide by 2 (except for MTBs and submarines)


One MP (1″/1 cm) in GQ equals 2 1/2 knots. Divide the ships’ max speed by 2 1/2 for the max value, then multiply by 25%, 50%, and 75% to find the values for 20%, 40% and 60% damage. In GQ1 a ship has no movement at 80% damage (unless it makes a die roll).

For GQ2, multiply the speed by 80%, 60%, 40% and 20% to find the speeds.

Ken Hall noted to the list:

Didn’t someone somewhere post some suggestions for changing the formulas for merchantmen and other ships with large displacement but nonexistent subdivision, etc.? A fix to that would go a long way toward addressing that “DDs vs. troopships at 1/3 odds” mentioned in another thread.

Jimmy replied:

Yes, as a matter of fact I offered an idea. For larger merchant ships I would suggest taking the formula for larger ships (t. disp./2000) and multiplying it 0.75 for ocean liners and 0.5 for cargo ships. The Command at Sea system already does this – The Japanese CVE Ryuho (converted from a liner) has a really bad DP total in Command at Sea.

Art Braune then asked if there was any chance of submarine conversion notes as well.

Jimmy recorded that he pretty much used the standard displacement figures as is. That is:

Displacement DF
250-450 tons 1/2(0.5)
500-900 tons 1
950-1450 tons 1 1/2(1.5)
1500-2500 tons 2
2800-4500 tons 2 1/2(2.5)
5000-6500 tons 3

Jimmy also noted that it might be more realistic to take the sub’s submerged displacement value and multiply that by 0.5, but the results don’t seem to justify the bother.


[1] RTFM = Read The ****** Manual (Full perhaps?)

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