Wednesday 28 October 2020

WW2 Operation Compass: Turn 1 Air Phase

10th December 1940

The first real action of the campaign involved British and Australian fighters intercepting an escorted Italian bomber formation.

2 squadrons of SM79 Sparviero bombers are escorted by fighters (left to right) 1 squadron each of Fiat Cr32 Chirri, Fiat Cr42 Falco and Breda Ba65.

They spot the British formations ahead of them at a higher altitude: 

Australian Gladiators on the left with Hurricane I's have yet to spot the Italians.

Continued -

Friday 23 October 2020

WW2 Campaign: Operation Compass

The 3rd and final new campaign is set in WW2 and based around Operation Compass in December 1940. My original project involving this operation was to play various historical scenarios and although enjoyable enough, as with the other periods felt it would benefit from a campaign setting.

Blitzkrieg Commander IV rules will be used. The 'Operation Compass' book by Osprey Publishing helpfully provide an air force orders of battle for both sides. This was a good excuse to include an air warfare element to the campaign using Bag The Hun rules. 

The map I used was taken from the old Avalon Hill game 'Afrika Korps'. 

I added detail to this including more settlements, roads, tracks and the site of several Italian camps:

Campaign movement rates are pretty much as per the AH rules. The British are heavily outnumbered which would make it supremely difficult in wargame terms to have any chance of victory over the Italians. 

To make it more balanced I had to look at how I could recreate the deficiencies of the Italian army at this stage of the war. Poor leadership, communication and morale with a propensity to surrender en-masse needed to be handled but in such a way that it would not be a pushover for the British.

Within BKCIV rules I made most of the Italians 'green' troops with some decent units among them. I gave them a 'rigid' tactical doctrine (a smaller command radius) rather than the 'normal' as recommended in the army lists. Each battalion would only have one HQ - the battalion HQ. For the British, battalions would be assigned company HQ's in addition to battalion and an overall higher command rating. And finally, any Italian green troops would automatically surrender if defeated with higher quality troops rolling a dice to determine if they followed suit.

There will be one air combat phase per turn with participants decided on the roll of a dice. The Italians have 18 squadrons split evenly between fighters and bombers to the British 6 squadrons also evenly split. The British have higher quality pilots and planes but will nevertheless be up against it. The consequences of air actions, particularly if either side gains air supremacy, will determine what is available for ground support. Each model will represent 3 aircraft to avoid the need to collect too many more.

Continued -

Tuesday 20 October 2020

ACW Warplan Campaign: Introduction

The second new campaign I am going to introduce you to is for the ACW period. I have played a good number of historical actions and although I enjoyed them, there was something missing. In just about all of them I thought 'if only this were part of a campaign'. So having bitten the bullet I have settled on the trusty old Warplan 5/5 system as used in my Napoleonic campaign.

This though will be a more modest affair. It will be set around a Confederate army holed up in a Peninsular. It is not aimed at any particular year although 1863 will be the closest. Nor is it set around any particular event. It is purely fictional, closer to a parallel universe.

The Warplan system details towns with railway stations but does not have railways marked on the map cards. Clearly being ACW, railways (or railroads!) should be added. Upon settling on the overall map I identified all those towns with railway stations and then added what I felt would be a believable rail network.

The added dotted line is the rail network. 
Continued -

Saturday 17 October 2020

Britannia Campaign: Introduction to Rome's Invasion of Britain

Over the past few months 3 new campaigns have been started. I now introduce you to my new ancients campaign which for me is a first for this period.

It is based on the Hail Caesar supplement "Britannia: Rome's Invasion of Britain". This is the invasion of 43AD and not Julius Caesar's of 54BC. 

The book features various historical scenarios and a campaign system. That system is designed for a fast moving game allowing opponents to conclude it in a relatively short amount of time. As readers of the blog know that is not really for me. I like my campaigns to be pretty deep and involving for the most part.

That said, this campaign does look interesting with plenty of potential. I have therefore taken its core components such as map, routes of movement and orders of battle adding my own detail to make it more involved.

Starting with the orders of battle. In the book you select a force of around 12 units from the Roman list whereas I have included every unit listed. To balance this out I have increased the size of the Ancient British tribes by approximately 50%. 

Each one of my Roman legions will consist of 1 cohort of 60 figures and 9 of 36 giving a figure ratio of around 1:13. Auxiliary cohorts are of similar strength. I have given the Ancient British tribes units of varying sizes with the overall tribal structure as listed in the book.

Also taken from the book is the method of calculating whether a tribe revolts or becomes allied. Each tribe is allocated a D6 number to be rolled and if equalled or exceeded it will rebel. They test as soon as they come into contact with a Roman force and in addition, any one other tribe may test each turn. This can include tribes that have allied themselves to Rome. If a tribe is defeated in battle it is classed as pacified and cannot rebel.

To win the Romans must capture Mona and have pacified or allied all tribes. Unlike the book I have not set any time limit for this. Again, unlike the book this will mean that potentially the Romans could be ejected from Britain. 

The rules I shall be using will be my own using the General de Brigade engine. This has been a work in progress over the past couple of years and I am now approaching the point in which I am reasonably happy with them. 

Continued -

Wednesday 14 October 2020

ACW: The Battle of 1st Winchester

1st Winchester

15th May 1862

Rules: Guns at Gettysburg

Table Size: 6' x 4'

Figures: 6mm Baccus

Orders of Battle:

Continued -

Saturday 10 October 2020

Nap Campaign: Map Moves 30th March 1808

 The situation by nightfall on 30th March 1808:

Now for a closer look at each sector:

Continued -

Thursday 8 October 2020

Nap Campaign: Ambush in Rock Valley

Three Swiss battalions have been making their way across France to join the French 6th Corps. They are destined to join Lafitte's brigade providing a much needed addition to the 2 French battalions.

They have crossed the border into Spain expecting no opposition having been lead to believe that much of the country had been subdued. As a result only a handful of scouts had been sent ahead of the main column.

The order of march consisted of 1/2nd Swiss, 2/2nd Swiss and 1/3rd Swiss. All are inexperienced 2nd Line troops and have no overall commander. The Colonel in command of the 1/2nd battalion, being the most senior, was ostensibly in command but with no plans in the event of any action, all 3 battalion commanders would be acting under their own initiative is such circumstances. They fully expected a stroll in the countryside before arrival at 6th Corps.

Continued -

Tuesday 6 October 2020

Blog Update Part 2

Enough dust has settled on the blog -  time for an update.

I have now cleared out almost all the larger scales leaving me with just 6mm figures and a small collection of 2mm. Its bad enough wanting to play out every conflict throughout history but in different scales as well!

In my previous update I had decided to call it a day on my terrain tiles and switch to gaming mats. The primary reason being to save space and I also liked the idea of creating naturally looking undulating ground. Several mats were purchased from Tiny Wargames and another from Geek Villain. The sea mat from TW included hexes for Bag The Hun rules.

So far I have tried out the sea mat and a TW rocky grass mat (you will see these in future postings). So having got the mats and photographed my terrain tiles prior to selling it was all good to go. And then! There is no doubting the quality of the mats but to put it bluntly, in my opinion they are not as good as my tiles. The urge to sell them quickly drained away and I have now decided to keep them.

The mats will not be wasted. The sea mat and the mat from Geek Villain which is destined for the Peninsular War or games set in southern Europe will certainly be used again. I also anticipate using the grass and especially the desert mat. My only complaint regarding the TW mats are that they are slippery making it difficult to place figures on hill slopes. The GV mat is fleece and hopefully will create a little more friction. 

Since my last posting I have played a couple of ACW games, the introduction to my N.Africa campaign being an RAF v Italian air action and a Napoleonic skirmish in the Napoleonic campaign.

Current projects have been reviewed and new ones added. A central theme has been to introduce campaigns to as many of my periods as possible.

In chronological order:

1. Ancients.

I have finally started my first Ancients campaign ever! Focussing on my existing collection this is centred around the Roman invasion of Britain in 43AD. 'Hail Caesar' produced a scenario and campaign book which I have used to formulate my own system. 

2. Wars of the Roses.

Kingmaker campaign to continue with my son.

3. ECW.

I shall continue playing the occasional historical scenario but it is my intention to introduce a campaign for this period as soon as I have time.

4. Napoleonic.

Playing battles from the Peninsular War and my long-standing campaign will continue.

5. ACW.

I hope to play Gettysburg within the next 12 months and other historical scenarios will occasionally be played. I have now commenced a campaign using the Warplan 5/5 system (as used in my Napoleonic campaign but rather more modest in size). 

6. Colonial - Zulu Wars.

Rorkes Drift followed by Isandlwana to be played. In time I will seek out a suitable campaign.

7. WW2 N.Africa.

I have now cancelled playing any further one-off battles from Operation Compass and replaced them with a campaign of the same operation. 

8. WW2 Eastern Front.

Work continues towards the 'Reconnaissance in Strength' mini campaign.

9. WW2 North Western Europe.

I should be ready soon to start playing Op Market Garden games with the possibility of turning this into a campaign. Other historical scenarios are in the pipeline and a possible larger campaign associated with D Day/Normandy.

WW2 - Op Nostalgia Campaign discontinued.

I covered many of the reasons for this in my last blog. It has been replaced with the Op Compass campaign.

For the future, I intend now to reboot the blog but postings will be a little less than before. I intend to concentrate on AAR's and hopefully showcase 6mm figures as well as the benefits of solo wargaming. I also need to review how I complete the AAR's. They will be shorter and thus not such of a slog to read through. All being well they will be entertaining and contain enough information for the reader to be able to follow the action.

Quite simply I need to balance the amount of time I spend on each facet of the hobby. The blog was becoming all-consuming previously and rather than give up on it entirely, this should enable me to continue what is still an enjoyable exercise.

I will post AAR's on the games already played over next few days and weeks.