Monday 29 April 2019

WW1 Naval Campaign - War is Declared !

It's that time of year again, Easter always heralds the start of our annual Naval Campaign and this year we are focusing on early WW1, which is a great excuse to get Project Jutland out of the boxes again and of course add some new ships to the collection.

Thankfully this time rather than doing a load of prep myself prior to the Campaign I am using the book below to guide us through our journey.

The book was a download from Wargames Vault and is highly recommended, it has two levels, the tactical tabletop based element (report below) and a higher level Campaign Event element. I have decided to introduce the world to T'Yarkshire Ferret Newspaper, this esteemed publication will bring you the gossip and tittle tattle of the Campaign Events whilst the more traditional blog format below will bring you the blow by blow game reports. Make sure you have a good look at Ferret for the latest stories.

The Könign Luise (or as close as I have in my collection)

With the game reports I will be reporting what happened in our games, if you purchase the Campaign book you will find that each game has numerous potential paths that are determined by dice rolls or Campaign Events so each time you play the scenarios they have the potential of being different.

Game 1 - Chasing Königin Luise - 5th August 1914

In early August 14 with war imminent Jellicoe and the Grand Fleet put to sea, encouraged by the King with the following message, (they were of course further moved by the message from The King in the North Geoffrey Boycott see the latest edition of T'Ferret)

"At this grave moment in our national history I send to you, and through you to the officers and men of the Fleet of which you have assumed command, the assurance of my confidence that under your direction they will revive and renew the old glories of the Royal Navy, and prove once again the sure shield of Britain and her Empire in the hour of trial"

The Könign Luise was a liner that had been hastily converted to a minelayer and she had been out at sea around 30 miles off Harwich laying mines when she was sighted by two RN destroyers who were on patrol HMS Landrail and Laurel and the chase was on. I gave the Könign a couple of deck guns to liven things up.

The game starts at 11.00 am, the two destroyers are heading East 10,000 yards behind the Könign Luise. With a top speed of 30 knots to 16 in the Destroyers favour the boilers were stoked and the game begins. Visibility is 12,000 yards but there are a number of squalls in the area where visibility is as low as 2,000.

HMS Fearless to the rescue
11.15 following a radio message from HMS Landrail the nearest supporting unit, a Active Class Light Cruiser Fearless appears out of the gloom 12,000 yards East of the Könign.

11.23 First shell hit of the war as the front gun from HMS Landrail lands a hit on the deck of Könign.

Strike One to Landrail
11.37 The Germans haven't been asleep though and 5 Torpedo Boats V1,2,3,4 and 6 appear at full speed 12,000 yards West of Könign heading towards the Minelayer.

German reinforcements arrive
11.45 A squall settles over the table reducing visibility to 5,000 yards, initially leaving only the two destroyers and the Könign in sight of each other, shot continue to be traded, the Minelayer is struck a couple of times but without any critical damage. HMS Laurel is unlucky though as one of the shells from Könign finds the base of her funnel reducing her top speed by 4 knots.

12.00 visibility increases to 7,000 yards bringing the German Torpedo Boats into visible range of the British Destroyers.

First blood to the Germans
12.07 The Germans sink the first ship of the game as V1 puts a round into the Magazine of the Destroyer HMS Laurel, without warning the ship explodes sinking rapidly.

12.15 Visibility increases to 9,000 yards.

12.23 further German ships arrive in the shape of the light cruisers Breslau, Regensberg and Rostock 10,000 yards South of the Könign.

British Light Cruisers
At the same time 12,000 yards to the east of Könign two British Light Cruisers in the shape of Lowestoft and Southampton steam into view.

12.30 Meanwhile it's all getting a bit messy in the middle of the table as the close range destroyer action continues around the burning wreck of the Laurel. It's not all going the Germans way as a hit on V1 from HMS Fearless starts a fire on board the German Torpedo Boat.

12.37 in the general Melee in the centre there is a narrow miss as the leading German TB narrowly misses HMS Fearless only for the next in line to strike her.

12.45 The fighting in the middle is getting nasty as the photo below shows, V3 has a none exploding magazine hit whilst V6 stumbles ahead blindly with her Bridge destroyed whilst the Germans pour fire on the slow moving Fearless who is getting underway post collision.

12.52 Torpedoes are in the water and heading towards the slowly accelerating Fearless, she is a small ship combing the tracks so all the odds are in her favour.

13.00 in what turned out to be the final turn as Visiblity drastically reduced again due to a Squal and the Germans took their first loss, the V3 was unable to extinguish an on board fire which raged out of control.

But at the same time even with all the odds in her favour Fearless was struck in the rudder by a torpedo causing massive damage and flooding she too quickly sank.

But it wasn't all good news for the Germans as they lost a further two Torpedo Boats in the post action phase, one failed to deal with damage sustained in the fight, the other had sustained so much damage that she was unable to make it back to port and had to be scuttled by her crew.

So in a quite bloody first encounter the British have lost a Light Cruiser and a Destroyer whilst the Germans have lost three Torpedo Boats, next time will see us cruising round the sights of Heligoland Blight.

Monday 22 April 2019

Op Compass Game 6 - Surprise, Surprise

Back to the Desert for the 6th game of our ongoing Op Compass, linked scenario Campaign. In this match up the two forces are rushing to their own objectives in the middle of a Sandstorm when the weather clears and they spot each other across the Desert plain.

If you want more information on the Campaign I have set up a separate page which is updated regularly with updates on rules along with links to all the previous games,

The games are based on an excellent book by Robert Avery which is available from The Toofatlardies, there is a direct link to purchase the book on the Resource Page.We use 28mm figures with this scenario taking place on an 12 x 6 table using a home brew set of rules, based on Iron Ivans Disposable Hero's.

Don't laugh, at least they don't have to walk.
Historical Background 

It's the 9th December 1940 and the Italian Forts at Tummar West and Nibeiwa have fallen, it's time for the British and Empire Forces to move onto the Tummar East defences. 

The weather had deteriorated and visibility was poor as British troops raced towards the start line for their attack on Tummar East, Italian Forces drove in the opposite direction to relieve Tummar West, as the weather cleared both sides were surprised by what they saw.

Pass me a Yorkie Bar you big Trucker !
Table Set Up and Terrain 

This game was played on a 12 x 6 table which was covered in areas of scrub and low hills, the area to the top right of the photo below represents the ditch around Tummar East with a lone unoccupied watch tower.

The following Special Rules are in force (see Resource Page for full details.

All vehicles which move off the tracks are subject to a Difficult Going Roll.

Sandstorm  - there are 3 Sandstorms placed down the long center axis of the table, one in the centre and the other two equidistant to the short table edges. I used some randomly shaped pieces of card about 12 inches round to represent, see Resource Page for full details.

British Briefing

The day is going well and Italian Forts have fallen, it's time to move on to the next. No time to rest. Move your forces off the far end of the table defeating any opposition you meet. Don't expect reinforcements, this time you are on your own.

Your troops are as follows,

In the lead of the convoy are 3 Bren Carriers, each contains 3 men who may dismount as either a Boyes AT Team or a Bren LMG team.

Next up are eight trucks, the first four contain,

Truck 1 - HQ Section of Officer, Radioman and Sgt, a 2 man 2" Mortar Team and a 2 man Boyes AT Team.
Trucks 2,3,4 each with 1 x 10 man squad Sgt with SMG, 2 man Bren Team and 7 Rifles.

The following 4 trucks are the same with the rear of the column brought up by two Bren Carriers, one with a 3 man HMG Team, the other with a Mortar.

The front of the column is halfway down the table opposite the front of the Italian column.

Italian Briefing

Things haven't been going to well, reports coming in are all about losses and surrender, Tummar East will no doubt be the next target. It's time to fight back and get troops in motion towards Tummar West and hold the line there.

Get the convoy of trucks off the bottom end of the table as soon as you can, the rest of your troops will arrive on foot. Engage any British troops you find and stop them from exiting the top of the board.

The Italian Convoy sets up on the opposite side of the table with the front of the column level with the watch tower and the front of the British.

1 x Staff Car with 2 x HQ Figs 
6 x Trucks each with 1 x Italian Squad of 1 Sgt with SMG, 1 LMG with two men and 7 Rifles.

The remaining Italian Troops will arrive at random, place an Italian Reinforcements card to the activation deck, each time the card comes out the Italian players will pick one card at random to add to the game deck. The new unit arriving on the next turn of its card.

Italian Reinforcement Cards
4 x Rifle Section each with 1 Sgt with SMG and 10 Sgts
4 x LMG Sections each with 1 Sgt with SMG, 2 x 3 man LMG teams and 2 Rifles 
2 x Tankette Sections 3 x L3 each
1 x Medium Mortar
1 x 3 Man MMG Team
1 x 10 man Bersaglieri Motorcycle Squad 1 Sgt with SMG, 2 man LMG team and 7 Rifles.

Draw 4 cards at random prior to the start of the game and add to the deck, the remainder added as reinforcements as above.

How did we get on

Another great game, what I have really enjoyed about the match ups so far is we are playing with troop types and mixes of troops that we normally wouldn't go near and as a result  having fun.

Before we started the game I thought this would be an easy win for the Italians, dash the convoy off the table and hold the line with superior numbers preventing the British from exiting the table, Bing bang bosh, easy win for the Italians and onto game 7.

It all went wrong for the Italian Convoy very early on, I had command of the rear of the Allied Column and immediately on spotting the enemy trucks, I debussed my Mortar and Vickers. Hands up I got lucky, I underestimated my Mortar aim point and missed by a good 10 inch, spun the spinny thing and rolled my dice and deviated right on top of one of the trucks. The same turn, the truck in the photo two up was bogged down and easy prey for the Vickers. 

Meanwhile at the other end of the table the Italians had got all their Tankettes on the table early doors and formed a solid (ish) line on the hills just North of the Watch Tower. L3s aren't much use but 6 of them with 2 machine guns a piece is a decent amount of firepower.

The British Infantry took up a position on the low ridge in front of the Italians, the Bren Carriers selected Boyes AT mode and a big firefight started up.

But even with some cover the Boyes teams and the Allied Mortars started to pick the tiny Italian Machines off one by one. Things hadn't got any better for the Convoy either, turn after turn trucks where taken out by Mortar and HMG fire until the Italians escaped with only a Staff Car and one Truck.

Under the cover of one of the Sandstorms the South African Infantry dashed across the open gap and into the trench and the Watch Tower in an attempt to break the deadlock.

With the convoy destroyed I had the chance to reposition the HMG and pour some more fire on the Italians.

One red meeple equals one morale fail, safe to say this Italian Tank wasnt happy !

The British and Empire Commander declared that he had insufficient forces to breakout and the game ended in a draw. The Brits had prevented the Italian Convoy leaving the table whilst the Italians had prevented the British from breaking out.

So that's 2 points a piece and the British lead in the Campaign 15 to 9. 

Just remains to say that my brand new Bersaglieri Motorcycle Squad was the last reinforcement card out of the deck and spent a grand total of one turn on the table, on the plus side it didn't take any casualties and avoided the traditional first game drumming.

The Op Compass Campaign will take a break for a while whilst we concentrate on our yearly Naval Campaign. See you all soon.

Saturday 6 April 2019

Up Against the Wall - 1944 Scenario AAR

The problem with having a lot of figure collections is not being able to use them very often, I try and get round most of the stuff I have at least once a year but my 6mm WW2 has been away too long (April 2016) so it was about time we continued our journey from D-Day to the Assault on the Rhine.

Scale 6mm, Rules Homebrew based on Korp Commander by Bruce Tea Taylor, figure scale approx 1:4.

Based on a scenario from the book White Star Rising, scenarios for Spearhead published in 1997.

A King Tiger waits for its prey on the edge of the village
Historical Background

12th Sept 1944 near Aachen Germany - it's been just three months since the landings and after a slow start it's been a wild ride to get to here but things have been slowing down. Montgomery in Holland and Patton against the Vosges Mountains.

Here in 1st Army sector the going is easier, the plan to punch through the lightly held Siegfried Line and maybe even reach the Rhine, after all the Germans haven't got anything left..... have they ?

The table is 8ft x 6ft and is shown above, you should be able to see all the main features.

Germans set up hidden anywhere to the left (as viewed) of the line of hill, field, hill, field hill on the far right (apologies for adding humour) of the table. Germans set up on numbered counters with 1 blank counter for each real one.

Americans enter the table anywhere along the right table edge.

The Westwall runs along the left hand side of the table.

The game is decided by a points count up after 15 turns.

American Forces

The game will be decided on points you will receive 5pts per town sector held at the end of the game. 2pts for each AFV destroyed and 5pts for any enemy Battalion routed.

Initial Wave consists of 2 Tank Battalions (Morale 5) each with,

BHQ 2 x M4A3E8 Str 5, Recce Company Inf in Jeep Str 3
Gun Co M8HMC Str 3 and a Mortar Company M21 Sgt 3
2 x Tank Companies with 3 x M4A3 Str 5
1 x Tank Companies with 3 x M4A3E8 Str 5
1 x Tank Companies with 3 x M24 Str 5 (Second Battalion has M5s)
Attached 1 Tank Destroyer Company with 3 x M36 Str 4

2 x Armoured Infantry Battalions Morale 5

BHQ in M3 Str5, Recce Company Inf in Jeep Str 3, MMG Coy 3 x MMG in M3
Gun Coy M7 Priest Str 3, Mortar Coy M21 Sgt 3, AT Coy 2 x 57mm AT & Tow Str 5
3 x Inf Companies each with 3 x Inf mounted in M3 Str 6

On table Art 3 Batteries of M7 Priest Str 6

Off table Art, 1 Battery of 8" How Str 6 and 3 Batteries of 105mm How Str 6


Any remaining assets from a standard US Armoured Division at the time so 1 Tank Battalion, 1 Armoured Infantry Battalion, Recce Battalion, Engineer Battalion, Artillery Battalion (2 Companies left) at a rate of 2 Companies per turn anywhere on the US baseline. Once a Battalion is committed all of its companies must be activated before another Battalion can be selected.

Air Power

Each player rolls 1d20 and any score over 15 will bring a supporting flight of aircraft. Roll a second dice on any success with a 50% chance of receiving a flight of rocket armed Typhoons if not a flight of CAP arrives over the table, they will remain over the table for 6 turns and may perform 1 gun attack on a ground target as they leave.

German Forces

The German player scores 2 points for each enemy Rifle Platoon Killed, 1 point for each Tank Platoon Killed, 10 points for each enemy Battalion routed.

81st Korps Tank Reserve Morale 8
1 Company of 3 x Tiger II tanks Str 4
1 Company of 3 x Jagdpanther Str 4
2 Companies of 3 x Jagdpanzer IV/70 Str 4

48th Volksgrenadier Regt Morale 5

RHQ Str 5 in Horsch Car, Recce Company Inf on Bicycle Sgt 3
Gun Coy 120mm Mortar Sgt 8, Engineer Platoon 3 x Engineer in Sdkfz 10

2 Battalions each with
BHQ Str 4, 81mm Mortar Str 4 and 75mm Infantry Gun Str 6
3 Companies each with 2 x V Gren Str 7

Set up as described above, there is no off table artillery, all German players will receive 1 roll of a d20 per turn with the Luftwaffe turning up on a 20. Roll for type as American.

How did we get on 

This is quite an interesting game with the Germans having all the Gucci toys but the Americans having all the resources. The Germans set their main line of defence down the centre of the table from the large wood in the foreground of the set up shot across the villages using the Armoured resources to form killing grounds in front of the terrain whilst the Infantry waited in Ambush in the cover.

Tigers spotted
The American Players, uncertain of the location began their attack with two main lines of attack. One against the hill nearest the camera on the set up shot, commanded by myself. My plan was to push forward in the centre with my tanks whilst rushing my APC borne Infantry round the wood to flank the hill, leaving my M36 Tank Destroyers on the hill behind on Overwatch. Let's call this the Left Column.

Left Column Advance
The second column pushed forward around the hill and woods in the centre of the American lines, the Infantry heading for the wood, the Tanks for the two section village. I will call this the Right Column.

Both columns came under heavy fire as soon as they broke cover, the Left by a Company of Tiger II, the Left by some Jagdpanthers on a hill and the JpzIV in the village.

Casualties were as expected quite heavy, especially on the right where the Americans were caught in the open as shown in the above. However the main German Armour had been located, it just needed the Air Force to turn up.

German AA waiting .........and waiting 
The problem was it didn't turn up enough and when it did it was CAP and not Ground Attack ! But that's the dice for you. The Luftwaffe wisely didn't turn up at all, it wouldn't have got anywhere anyway as there was around 20 Spitfires over the table waiting for something to chew up.

The American Infantry on the left got into the woods in strength driving out the Volks Grenadiers who had been holding out in there, this allowed them to start turning the flank of the Tigers. On the other side of the table the Americans had brought on their ACAV battalion and scores of Jeeps Greyhounds and M5s started to pour down the right flank.

The game ended after a couple of our evening sessions and all that was left to do was add up the points.

German Losses

6 Tiger II, 6 Jagdpanzer IV, 3 x Recce, 3 x 75mm Infantry Guns and 9 Infantry

24 points to the Americans for 12 AFV kills.

American Losses

Right Flank
15th Tank Battalion 2 x Recce, 27 M4A3, 15 M4A3E8, 9 M24
613 Tank Destroyer Btn 9 x M36 Jackson
9th Armoured Infantry 3 x 57mm AT Guns and 3 Infantry
86th Armoured Cavalry 1 x M5 and 33 M8 and 2 Infantry

Left Flank
69th Tank Battalion 14 x M4A3, 16 M4A3E8
40th Armoured Infantry 2 x Recce and 12 Infantry

17 points to the Germans for 15 Tank Platoon losses and 1 Infantry loss.

A good scenario, the Germans get to shoot loads of stuff but the Americans have the upper edge in numbers. Next up in our WW2 6mm games will be a Market Garden game whilst on the table we have the next instalment of our Op Compass Campaign.