Wednesday 8 July 2020

Operation Nostalgia: Allied Invasion of Rhodes Part 1

I did not realise it has been so long since I last posted on this campaign (Oct 2018!). Time to press on with this project.

Over the last couple of weeks I have been completing terrain for the invasion of Rhodes and is now ready to go.

The original magazine articles described Rhodes as made up of four 8' x 5' boards. Bearing in mind this was primarily designed for 20mm figures I have simply translated this to 8 x 5 of my own 9" terrain boards, or 6' x 3'9". 

When overlaying a grid on the original stylised plan of Rhodes I found that tables 2 to 4 were slightly squashed. Hence oblongs rather than squares. However, for the tabletop I will revert to squares which will slightly elongate the island.

Continued -

Turning now to the British plans:

The 1st Para Battalion will parachute onto Rhodes 2 hours before the main beach landing at Faliraki. They are tasked with capturing Lindos blocking any attempt at reinforcing the north from the south along the only good road on the island.

The 8th Army brigade will target the airfield at Maritza and the main port at Rhodes Town and if necessary, support the Para battalion at Lindos. Once the north of the island is secure, the combined force will strike south.

For the first game, the paratrooper drop, I did not use the full board representing approximately 2/3 of table 2. This equated to a 4'6" x 3'9" board (I added an extra 9" of sea for scenic pursposes).

It is now midday and the residents of Lindos are distracted to hear the drone of aircraft gradually getting louder.

Out at sea a mass of aircraft approach the coastline. On board the Beaufighters and Dakotas carrying the 1st Para battalion, they are alert to the possible intervention of enemy fighters. So far - nothing.

As they sweep over the Rhodes coastline, not only is there no sign of enemy aircraft but there is a total absence of AA fire.

Beaufighters flanking the Dakotas scan north but the skies are clear.  

As the Dakotas prepare to make their drop, all is suspiciously quiet on the ground. Either they have attained complete surprise or something unpleasant is waiting for them.

The paras make their drop and all is eerily quiet. The residents of Lindos observe British paras moving among the rocks across the hillside and within the valley.

Although a little scattered, most paras manage to land roughly within their formations. 

The HQ company lands in the valley floor and quickly takes cover behind a stone wall. Here are left to right, the HQ base, 2" mortar and Engineer platoon.

Another view of the HQ company with the 3" mortar having landed behind a wall to their rear (top far right).

The only mishap was that of C company who overshot their target and would now have to quickly make up ground to join the rest of the battalion.

A and B companies had become intermingled on the top and side of the hill overlooking Lindos.  

A platoon from A company have gathered on the hillside overlooking the valley below. 

Platoons from A and B companies prepare to move on Lindos. 

The Vickers machine gun team set up to cover the valley.

Turn 1

An Italian 45mm mortar team, on hearing the aircraft rush to occupy their dugout. Their orders had been to cover the coastal road not expecting to have paratroopers landing on the landward side of their position. The green Italians look on in horror as British troops move across their hillside. 

They hurriedly target the nearest para platoon but they are wildly inaccurate missing completely. 

This is not good news for the hapless mortar crew with 2 platoons of B company immediately returning devastating fire ending their brief experience of action.

Having eliminated the Italian mortar, B company overrun the position giving them a good view of Lindos.

A para sniper team quickly move up ready to target any movement in Lindos. 

In Lindos, the garrison - an Italian rifle company, gather in the village centre. The company commander appears panic-stricken and unable to give an order to his men! 

Turn 2

After finally gathering his wits, the Italian commander orders his company to take up position on the north side of the village to meet the threat coming from the hill.

The British paras have yet to spot any troops in the village and decide to close on the settlement as quickly as possible. Here B company move off the hill towards the north side of Lindos.

C company have made rapid progress and enter the south western side of Lindos. Still no contact!

Approaching from the west, the HQ company along with the engineer platoon take cover behind a stone wall. Movement is briefly seen within the walled garden of a house ahead. Could they have found the enemy?

Turn 3

The Italians, having been initially slow to react, now move with a purpose. Two platoons quickly take up position behind sandbagged emplacements catching B company in the open. Both platoons pour fire into the lead para platoon suppressing it. 

A company hurry down off the hill to support the now struggling B company. 

The HQ 2" mortar section with the Engineer platoon exchange fire with an Italian platoon positioned in a walled compound.

This was a very poor turn for the paras with only A company activating once.

Turn 4

B company charged into close combat with the two Italian platoons that had been causing them so much grief. They were supremely confident of eliminating the green Italians, especially as A company was on hand to give them support. This was going to be so easy for the paras!

Or so they thought! The Italians had other ideas and fought surprisingly tenaciously destroying both para platoons. 

In the command phase the paras had far more success than the previous turn. C company swept through the village falling on the rear of the 2 Italians platoons while A company charged their front. The Italians stood no chance and were quickly destroyed.

A platoon of C company ran towards the sound of gunfire from the walled compound and fell upon another Italian platoon whose attention was focussed on the Engineer platoon. Again there was no contest and the Italians were quickly dealt with. 

The paras now swept Lindos for any further opposition but none were found. They now began preparing to hold the coastal road against any attempt by enemy forces to reinforce the north of the island in dealing with the impending landings. 

Within Lindos buildings were occupied. Although they had achieved their task on time, it was at a heavy cost against such light opposition. Over-confidence combined with being caught in the open resulted in B company being punished heavily.

Orders of Battle:

B company 1st Bn 1st Coastal Defence Regt
3 Rifle stands, Coy HQ CV7
Support Coy
1 x 45mm mortar.

1st Para Battalion
HQ   CV10
2" Mortar
Sniper team
Engineer platoon     1 x stand
A - C companies each 3 x stands. Each company HQ CV9
Support Company:
Vickers MMG
3" Mortar

It was now 2pm and the landings are about to begin.


  1. Jon, that looks very impressive, especially as the aircraft move to the coast and then the Dakotas flying overland - very visual.

    1. Thanks Norm. Yes I was pleased with the look of the aircraft.

  2. Hi Jon

    Strange there was no initial opposition?



    1. Hi Peter. To cut a long story short, I planned this campaign a couple of years ago including all the Axis deployments. I deliberately did not check where those units had been deployed before planning the landings and so long ago I could not remember. The paras got lucky!
      All the best

  3. Great to see this campaign kicking off and certainly has given me ideas for something similar in the future. The board and figures look great (as always) and the planes flying in just a magnificent spectacle. I'm imagining 6mm figures and BKC rules? Really looking forward to the landings taking place and to see how that goes.

    1. Thanks Steve. As I mentioned to Peter above, it was only when I came to set the table that I checked what Axis forces were deployed. Even though really only a skirmish it still contributes to the unfolding story. BKC still provided for a fun game even when only a few units involved. The next game will be rather more dramatic.

  4. Superb visual treat, Jon! as others have commented, the photo of the aircraft approaching the bluffs is the money shot. Very nicely done and an interesting start to the campaign.

  5. Great beginning - narratively speaking - to what promises to be a fine operation. Great to see the return of this whole Ionian Islands campaign!

  6. An excellent AAR Jon, and really well photographed. I wish I could get half as a good photos of my 6mm games. Looking forward to the next instalment.

  7. That was a lot of fun to read, Jon, and beautiful presentation all around!

  8. Fantastic as always Jon. Great to see this campaign restarted and the table looks superb. Love the coastline shot with the caves on the beaches, are they a scratch build? Looking forward to the beach landings.

    Cheers, Richard P

    1. Sorry for the delay getting back to you Richard. All the coastline sections are Commercially produced by the now defunct Purbeck Terrain. I am gradually upgrading them adding more detail and where possible, more suitable for 6mm.

    2. Thanks Jon, they look great 👍

  9. Brilliant idea and beautiful game, thank you.