Wednesday 29 August 2018

On the Workbench: Italian Folgore Fighters and British Seafires

Over the last few days a couple more squadrons have been added to the air wings:

A squadron of Macchi MC202 Folgores completes the Italian fighters for Operation Nostalgia. The Italians definitely had a flair for camo schemes.

Continued -

Saturday 25 August 2018

Operation Nostalgia: Air attack on Cyprus fleet.

As HMS Biter's fighter squadron gains height, formations of German aircraft approach:

Table size = 6' x 3'9"
Scale = 1/600th
Rules = Bag The Hun 2 (GQ3 for Air attack on fleet)


8 x Grumman Martlet F4-F
4 x Sea Hurricanes IIC

12 x Me BF109G-6
12 x Junkers Ju-87D Stukas

British Fleet
Exeter - 8" Cruiser (Flagship)
Biter - Light Escort Carrier
Sheffield - 6" Cruiser
Dauntless - 6" Light Cruiser
Hero - Destroyer
Jervis - Destroyer
Jackal - Destroyer
Aldenham - Destroyer
Envoy - Admiralty tug

Invasion force transports:
Prince David - Landing Ship

8 x Grumman Martlets and 4 x Sea Hurricanes from HMS Biter climb up through 20,000 feet acutely aware that the German formations are not far away.

A squadron of Me109's escorting a squadron of Stuka dive bombers approach at high altitude.

Continued - 

Monday 20 August 2018

On the Workbench: Me109's and Douglas Boston bombers.

With an air battle now underway painting has slowed a little over the last few days. The aim is to complete all the aircraft required for Op Nostalgia before returning to ships. There is good news on the 6mm infantry front with Heroics & Ros announcing the release of their new German Paratroops range which I will need for the campaign. 

As for the past week a couple more squadrons have been completed:

Me BFf109G-6 

Douglas Boston medium bombers.

Both of these will be involved in the scheduled battles with the 109's first up and on the table scrapping away as I type this.

Wednesday 15 August 2018

Fleet Air Arm Museum, Yeovilton

Within a 20 minute drive from where I live is the Fleet Air Arm Museum at the Royal Navy Air Station, Yeovilton. After living here for 9 years I felt it was about time I paid it a visit, especially with Op Nostalgia now underway! I have absolutely no idea why I have left it so long. One of those things on the 'to do' list but never seemed to get around to it.

For anybody who has not had a chance to visit the museum, it is very impressive spread over 4 halls. Unfortunately I ran out of time for the Carrier experience which lasts about 45 minutes. Here are a few photos from that visit.

Continued -

Tuesday 14 August 2018

On the Workbench: Planes and more Planes!

The production line continues in painting up 1/600th aircraft for the Op Nostalgia campaign.

A squadron of B-25b Mitchell bombers have been completed. I agonised about which colour to paint them given their future intended use. Ideally they should have been painted sand as in the Tunisian theatre but I hope one day to cover some of the naval and air war in the Pacific for which these could prove useful. I therefore opted for the green livery which was also used in Sicily and Italy.

Continued -

Monday 13 August 2018

Operation Nostalgia: The Air War Begins

I am going to change the way I provide the After Action Reports a little for this campaign. It will be written up from the Allied perspective which I hope will make it a little more interesting for the reader. With that in mind, with good weather the war in the air has begun -

The Cyprus fleet regroup following the U-Boat attack and as they resume their slow passage back to Limassol, Biter's radar picks up a formation of aircraft heading in their direction out at the maximum 35,000 yards range. With their aircraft on deck and ready to launch, the Grumman Martlet's are first into the air followed by the Hurricanes. As the fighters form up with those already in the air performing the CAP, a decision is made to fly off the Swordfish to make for safety at Cyprus.

As the Fleet Air Arm fighters gain altitude they see two formations of aircraft ahead of them and heading in their direction.

Meanwhile two allied bombing raids are underway. A squadron of American B-25 Mitchell bombers escorted by a squadron of P-38 Lightning fighters have flown out of Cyprus heading for the airfield at Maritza on Rhodes. As they cross the coastline of Rhodes and approach the airfield at high altitude all is quiet. They become increasingly confident that they have surprised the Axis forces, but that turns to concern as the airfield comes into view. There is not a sign of a single aircraft on the ground!

A few puffs of smoke below them show that some AA batteries have sprung into life but clearly they are of insufficient calibre to reach their altitude. The Mitchell's aim to put the airfield out of action for a day or two and unload their bombs over the runway. Luck is not on their side as all miss and the only damage caused was to a hapless Italian truck who took a direct hit. Both squadrons immediately turn for home aiming to refuel and re-arm for another attempt.

To the south a squadron of British Douglas A-20 Boston bombers escorted by a squadron of Hurricanes are en-route to bomb the Rhodes airfield on the south of the island at Cattavia. They arrive approximately 1 hour after the American raid and as they approach the southern Rhodes coastline a formation of enemy fighters appears hurtling towards them.


For the Mitchell's bombing raid I did not set up the board. I am more than happy playing small actions in campaigns but to go to the trouble of building an airfield for the sake of one dice roll seemed a little excessive. Hence I used the system in GQ3 to determine damage, AA fire etc. The only difference being I wanted to determine what, if any, units on the ground are hit. The Mitchell's had two near misses which I took to mean landed within the environs of the airfield and therefore could affect any units based there. A dice roll determined that one had no effect but the second had hit something. Therefore, I rolled another dice to determine at random which unit had been on the receiving end. Fortunately for the Axis forces it was just a truck!

The two air contacts will be played out although there will be a delay of a few days until I get the final units painted.

NEXT: Air strike on the Cyprus fleet.

Friday 10 August 2018

Operation Nostalgia: U-Boat sighted by Cyprus Fleet

With dawn came a new problem for the battered invasion fleet from Cyprus. The German submarine, U515, sighted the British fleet slowly making their way back to Cyprus: -

Scale = 1/3000th
Rules = General Quarters 3
Table Size = 4'6" x 3'9"

The Opposing Forces:-

Exeter - 8" Cruiser (Flagship)
Biter - Light Escort Carrier
Sheffield - 6" Cruiser
Dauntless - 6" Light Cruiser
Hero - Destroyer
Jervis - Destroyer
Jackal - Destroyer
Aldenham - Destroyer
Envoy - Admiralty tug

Invasion force transports:
Prince David - Landing Ship

U515 - Type XIC Submarine

The opening scene with U515 in the foreground. 2 combat air patrols are currently circling the British fleet. At the top left corner is one of those CAP's, a pair of Grumman Martlets, at 9,000 feet.

Continued -

Tuesday 7 August 2018

Operation Nostalgia: Naval Battle Assessment and Map Moves

As ships completed the task of rescuing survivors from sunken ships, a roll call was made to assess the current state of the 1st Army Brigade and the viability of continuing to land what was left of them.

To assess casualties I created a system calculating losses dependent on the amount of damage suffered and if the ship sinks. If a ship does sink then the numbers who survive will depend on how long it takes for it to slip beneath the waves. In the rules a D12 is rolled with the result being the number of moves it takes to sink. So 10 - 12 moves = 90% saved down to 1 move = 10% saved. These percentages are of the total number of survivors from ship damage.

In the battle the Transports Leeds and Sepoy were torpedoed. The former took 5 moves to sink and the latter 1 move. That equates to 50% lost in the Leeds and 90% in the Sepoy with all equipment lost in both.

The Landing Ship, Prince David, survived but suffered significant damage. All 3 cargo holds, two of which contained troops and the 3rd equipment, were damaged with 2 set on fire. It also lost 3 of its 6 hull boxes. This equated to the loss of 40% of its men, 75% of its equipment and 6 of its 10 landing craft.

Of the 3 infantry battalions, there were now only the equivalent of just over one left with the 2nd battalion suffering particularly badly (being transported on the Sepoy). Only 2 infantry rifle platoons survived. The motorised battalion lost a third of its number and was no longer effectively motorised. The Brigade HQ survived.

Of the Brigade supports, the following were lost:
1 tank squadron (3 Sherman tanks)
Recce Squadron
Light AA battery
Field Artillery Battery (25pdrs)
1 of the 2 Sextons in the SP Field Artillery Battery
Both Forward Artillery Observers
1 of 2 Forward Air Controllers
The entire Supply company

The Biter, Sheffield and Aldenham were now carrying the survivors from the sunken transports.

Many of the surviving warships had suffered heavy damage, particularly the destroyers and the cruiser Sheffield.

It was felt that to continue would be inviting disaster and it would be wiser to return to Cyprus to conduct repairs and give the troops a chance to recover.

Continued -

Sunday 5 August 2018

On The Workbench: Fleet Air Arm and Arados

Interspersed with playing a naval battle for 'Operation Nostalgia' I have continued painting up aircraft for that campaign. All are 1/600 from Tumbling Dice.

A full squadron of Swordfish have been completed. 4 are destined for HMS Biter and 8 for HMS Avenger, both are escort carriers.

6 Sea Hurricanes complete, 4 of which will be on the deck of HMS Biter.

And finally 3 Arado Ar 196 Floatplanes. These will be the eyes of the Axis forces in 'Operation Nostalgia'.

Until the next battle is identified in the campaign I intend to continue to make inroads into painting up the aircraft involved. Next up is a squadron of B-25 Mitchells and then the Italian Macchi 200 Saetta fighter.

Friday 3 August 2018

Operation Nostalgia: Naval Battle off Cyprus

Scale: 1/3000th
Ground Scale: 1cm = 100yds
Models: Mostly Navwar with a couple of Davco
Rules: General Quarters 3
Table size: 6' x 3'9"

The Opposing Fleets:-

Exeter - 8" Cruiser (Flagship)
Biter - Light Escort Carrier
Sheffield - 6" Cruiser
Dauntless - 6" Light Cruiser
Havock - Destroyer
Hero - Destroyer
Jervis - Destroyer
Jackal - Destroyer
Troubridge - Destroyer
Aldenham - Destroyer
Woodruff - Corvette
Brave - Minesweeper/Escort
Envoy - Admiralty tug

Invasion force transports:
Prince David - Landing Ship
Leeds - Transport
Sepoy - Transport

Koln - 6" Cruiser (German flagship)
Z1 Leberecht Maass - Destroyer
Z2 Georg Thiele - Destroyer
Z3 Max SchultzDestroyer
Z4 Richard BeitzenDestroyer
Z18 Hans LudemannDestroyer
Z32 - Destroyer

Raimondo Montecuccoli - 6" Cruiser
Lince - Torpedo Boat
Antares - Torpedo Boat
Palestro - Torpedo Boat

The British Fleet moving west at a sedate 8 knots due to the slow moving LCT.
German Flotilla steaming due east at 26 knots.

To the north of the Germans, the Italian flotilla also steams east at 26 knots.
Continued -