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Fire at Sea: Bitter Enemies

Fire at Sea: Bitter Enemies

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A seen on Little Wars TV, Fire at Sea: Bitter Enemies allows you to refight all of the major battles between Germany’s Kreigsmarine and the Royal Navy!  These fun, action-packed rules allow you to play several engagements in an evening. Hunt down the mighty Scharnhorst or fight your way through the English Channel in a series of battles.  Whether you are brand new to naval miniatures games or a veteran, these rules offer a fresh look at gaming the classic naval battles of World War Two!  You must combine skill and luck to defeat your most bitter enemy on in the North Atlantic, Arctic Ocean or off the coast of Uruguay!  YOU ARE IN COMMAND!


Fire at Sea: Bitter Enemies includes the game rules and the following 16 scenarios, most of which contain multiple scenarios and can be played as mini-campaigns.


  • Battle of the River Plate
  • Battle of Narvik
  • Operation Rhine (Sink the Bismarck!)
  • The Channel Dash
  • Bear Island
  • Battle of the Barents Sea
  • Battle of North Cape

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Reviews (0)
Discussions (9)
Customer avatar
Viacheslav Z September 24, 2021 7:14 pm UTC
Is there any way to get clarification from the author of the game?

There are mistakes in the scenarios. There is a really strange self-contradictory paragraph on the page 2 regarding smoke.

Fireball forward site looks really strange - it seems like a generic tourist agency template on some pages.
Customer avatar
David E August 23, 2021 2:37 pm UTC
Fun set of rule,
In BE how many ships can occupy a square?
Customer avatar
Peter G August 26, 2021 2:53 am UTC
Hi David,
we interpret it as being no more than 2 ships, and only if at least one of the two is a DD, (or a flotilla of E boats, MTBs, or MGBs).

Customer avatar
David E August 27, 2021 3:05 am UTC
Thanks for that Peter, seems logical.
Another question, ship car/stats for merchant ships?
Customer avatar
Peter G August 27, 2021 5:48 am UTC
Sorry, I have no real idea ... if pressed, probably I'd rate them like a CL, or a CA ... below the author suggested using CA factors to represent the carrier HMS Glorious when it faced KMS Scharnhorst & Gneisenau.
Customer avatar
Peter G September 04, 2021 1:28 pm UTC
Sorry David,
what I'd meant to say was... "we interpret it as being no more than 2 ships, and only 2 if BOTH are DDs, or flotillas of E boats, MTBs, or MGBs)."
Customer avatar
Dickon J July 20, 2021 10:57 am UTC
Thank you for a really fun set of rules... I last wargamed >25 years ago. My spouse and 2 daughters (aged 8 and 14) played the Denmark Strait game with the FREE rules (what an awesome concept. Thank you)... They all picked up the concepts very quickly and understood 'how' to play with very little instruction.
Anyway... I am THINKING of getting the full set of campaigns/scenarios but I have a CRUCIAL question. Getting miniatures to South Africa is going to take a long time (if they ever arrive at all) and be very expensive (shipping). And I am certain there is very little interest in painting them up. Do the scenarios have the ships as paper cut outs like the Denmark Strait game? The paper cut outs cut down cost immensely and 'work'. Sure they don't look as good but it is pretty cool being able to play without waiting months for the models to arrive and get painted. Thanks in advance.
Customer avatar
Peter G July 24, 2021 6:03 am UTC
Hi DJ,
the scenarios don't come with the ships.
However, a cheap and very quick and easy way to get all of the ships you'll need is to go to
to get detailed, coloured pdf's in scales of your choice. Free examples can be downloaded to see if you like them. I hasten to add that I have no affiliation with this company!
Customer avatar
Dickon J July 24, 2021 8:27 am UTC
Thanks for the feedback Peter.
Disappointing but not insurmountabke it seems.
Will take a look at the link you kinfly supplied.
Customer avatar
Scott S June 01, 2021 12:42 am UTC
If the HMS Glorious is fired upon and is hit how does she fit into the gun effectiveness chart? I see that she fires are a DD, but if the target what is she considered as?
Customer avatar
Mark F June 03, 2021 5:01 am UTC
Good question! We played her as a CA.
Customer avatar
Bill C May 28, 2021 1:42 pm UTC
Thank you Mark for your quick responses and hoping to put on a game this weekend with a friend, excited to take it our for a spin. I'm still learning, reading up on the game and have some more questions. Thank you in advance for your patience with me and so far many questions. Your responses are very helpful for me and understanding.

Q8: Bitter Enemies(BE), file 4-29-21 and FaS DS file 4-27-21 are being used for reference.
How many ships may occupy a space(square) in BE?
Does this depend on ship size at all?
Scenario specific rule?
I ask, as the “The Battle of Narvik” scenario on p.9 shows 2 German ships in a space and the only mention of stacking is from the FaS DS stating that one ship per space is allowed, reference on p.4 of these rules. I didn’t see a reference in BE updating this limit. The scenario mentioned above does not comment on stacking or limits changes.

Q9: BE, p.9 “The Battle of Narvik” scenario, the compass is missing,...See more
Customer avatar
Bill C May 27, 2021 3:35 pm UTC
For consideration, review on rules and charts. NOTE this is from file 4-28-21 for B.E.
Q6: Should the Movement section of the chart on p.55 QRC, include Internal Fires as a consideration for Movement, possible add to that section. I say that as there is an Internal Fire counter counter, maybe add speed impact there. Do Internal Fires stack as for as speed impacts? B.E. p.2 talks about damage cards, so understand if no changes here, just trying to help for new players like me and catching some of these.

Q7: Morale. p.5 modifiers and chart on p.54 mismatch. The modifier symbols for plus and minus are opposite. I assume rules on p.5 are correct, but either way could this be updated, resolved. Clarification on Morale and damage marker reference, this applies to all damage markers, so a 4 hull, 10 hull would count as 2 markers? Should there be a note in the rules about not making "change" for hull hit markers? This would offset the Morale modifiers, e.g. 4 Hull marker and 5 Hull...See more
Customer avatar
Peter G May 27, 2021 1:08 pm UTC
Hi Mark,
yes the updated version has been made available for download here on Wargames Vault. Thanks again for your prompt response - we're looking forward to trying this game ... the grids, cards and rosters all suggest it will play fast and cleanly, but with enough detail embedded in the system to provide historical flavour and fun
Customer avatar
Bill C May 27, 2021 12:56 pm UTC
Rules questions. Thank you by the way for providing and selling this add-on, excited to play.
Q1: RE German captains Otto Ciliax and Erich Bey, they both mention Initiative skills, but I don’t see when these come into play or how used. Please advise? NOTE file referenced is 4-24-21 for these skills.
Q2: Smoke. How long does smoke last? When removed? Does weather affect ability to lay smoke? E.g. scenario with snow
Q3: RE broadside arc of fire from B.E. p.3 bottom of two diagrams, showing white/gray diagonal/half. Clarification, I assume these squares are in arc that show half gray?
Q4: Where did you get your splash markers? Or if 3D printed, is it a free STL, link?
Q5: The rules and video appear out of sync regarding who goes first in each phase. E.g. turn 1 of video, Germans move, then British move, but in Fire at Sea rules it states that the British move first. Which is correct? To add, the British shot first in turn 1, then the Germans. This contradicts the...See more
Customer avatar
Mark F May 27, 2021 3:40 pm UTC
Hi Bill! Thank you for your interest!
Q1: This is from the Denmark Straight game. That is an old file! I will post the new one later today.
Q2: Smoke lasts until the end of the turn. You can lay smoke in any weather.
Q3: Correct. Squares that are half great ARE in broadside.
Q4: My splash markers are shell burst markers from Frontline Wargames. 20MS15 Shell Burst Markers(bag of 5)
Q5: The correct turn sequence is: Germans move, British move, British Fire, Germans fire. In editing the video for time it got out of whack.

I will update the pdf and upload it today!
Customer avatar
Peter G May 26, 2021 1:55 pm UTC
Having just purchased this scenarioruleset after looking at the Little Wars presentation and the Fire Ball Forward website, I'm hoping the author may be able to answer some minor queries...
- Are the "Captains Cards" mentioned on p1 of "Bitter Enemies" actually only referring to the Captains Points, "ability notes" and Morale Points which appear on the ship detail cards? (This is different to the materials provided for the free scenario on the website.)
- KMS Bismarck is given a Hull Rating of 35 in "Bitter Enemies", but only 30 in the free scenario provided on the website. Which is right?
- KMS Admiral Hipper is slower than KMS Prinz Eugen despite being sisters. Is this an intended difference, (I'm aware that you've differentiated firing and morale factors for other ships in the same classes to reflect training etc)?
- HMS Ajax has a very generous Hull Rating of 25 compared to her sister HMS Achilles' 15.
- HMS King George V was a BB, not a...See more
Customer avatar
Mark F May 27, 2021 11:36 am UTC
Hi Peter,
Several of these are typos. Thanks for catching them! Apparently when I converted my word doc to a pdf some of the changes did not carry over. They have all been corrected and replaced in the download. According to War-games Vault you should receive an email when a new version has been uploaded. Can you let me know if you do in fact get that email?
The answer to your second query about the Bismarck is that both Hull ratings are correct. How damage is calculated in Bitter Enemies changes slightly so we changed the Bismarck's Hull rating.
Thanks for your interest in the game and I hope you have as much fun with it as we do!
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This title was added to our catalog on May 25, 2021.