My basic idea is that in a naval wargame manoeuvre and visibility is what the player should concentrate on. Firing should not dominate the game, but be rapidly adjudicated and the damage caused should remain hidden from the opposition.
Thus hidden movement is used for most of the action at long range. Only for very close actions would we move to a model to model table top game.
Shell fire is abstracted to dice rolls and cards are drawn to determine special hits and their effects. Each ship would have a deck of cards with some element of its equipment highlighted and the effect caused if damaged. Each card would have the armour protection etc.
Two schemes present themselves.
1. The playing area is a large floor. The ship models are used at actual ground scale and are thus very small. The ship models only show the class of the ship and the nationality. The players are made to sit behind tables and can only observe from the side. The movement is not necessarily hidden but difficult to see.
2. The players and umpires have maps that have a large scale grid. Inside each grid is a smaller grid that enables exact location to be plotted. The players plot their moves on these small grids. The master map is updated from the player grids.
It will not be necessary to keep calculating the distance for firing at all times because at the speeds the ships move and the distances they fired at the distances won't change much.
Firing and Damage
A simple chart for firing salvos will be used that enables a dice roll to decide how many shells hit in each salvo. For each hit a card is chosen, this will show the location of the hit (the range of cards will be in proportion to the surface area of the ship), together with the armour protecting the area and what equipment will be damaged if the area is hit.
Damage will then affect the main ship record so that turrets, speed and other aspects of the ship handling will be noted as damage occurs.