Vapour Trails Over Linton

A WW2 battle report from Andy King

Introduction

This game was staged a short notice to fill in for another game that had been postponed.

The scenario was a raid by two squadrons of German bombers with fighter escort, with two squadrons of British fighters opposing them.

We used Majestic 12 Games’ Spitting Fire rules with some additional home-grown rules for bombers and flak. Although, typically, I forgot to bring the scenario rules and the flak and target record sheets with me, so these had to be improvised.

Forces
Luftwaffe
Bob commanded two squadrons:
• 5.KG76 (F1+XN) consisting of 9 x JU88A-1s
• 7.JG51 (# + I) consisting of 8 x Bf109Es.
Kim commanded two squadrons:
• 9.KG76 (F1+XT) consisting of Do17Z-2s
• 8.JG51 (# + I) consisting of 8 x Bf109Es.

RAF
Paul commanded 602 squadron (Code LO) with 12 Spitfire Mk 1s.
Andy commanded 213 squadron (Code AK) with 12 Hurricane Mk 1s.

One of the house rules concerning bombers was to require them to stay at a set altitude until they had released their bombs; another was to require that some of the fighters remained as close escort to the bombers, rather than having all of them performing fighter sweeps ahead of the bomber force.

With the terrain laid out (a mixture of Irregular Miniatures, Navwar and Brigade Models) five potential targets were defined: an airfield (RAF Linton), a power station, a fuel tank farm, a railway marshalling yard and some railway sidings. Each of the German players were asked to make a note of their allocated target(s), but not to let the British side know which had been selected.

Victory points would be awarded as follows:
Fighter shot down: 2 VP
Bomber shot down: 4 VP
Each damage point inflicted on ground target: 1 VP

The players deployments left Paul (602 Sqn) facing Kim (9.KG76 and 8.JG51) and Andy (213 Sqn) facing Bob (5.KG76 and 7.JG51).

Individual reports from the players will follow, but in the end the game was a German Victory, 48 VP to 32 VP. All aircraft are from Tumbling Dice with decals from Dom’s Decals.

The Raid on Owain the Cantankerous

We recently published a report on one of the actions from our SAGA:Age of the Wolf campaign. In the spirit of balanced reporting, here’s the view from the other side of the battlefield…

Andraes Vilhelmsson and Uhtred Beornson let it be known that they would form an alliance.

Andraes gathered his men and went forth to teach that Welsh curmudgeon Owain the Cantankerous not to meddle in the business of the rightful rulers of this land.

Leading the way was Berwulf’s Levy, followed by Wynbald and his Warriors and the Hearthguards of Beorhtel and Ordlaf escorting Andraes himself.

Making their way through the valley they came across Owain’s men hiding among woods and tors. Berwulf’s Levy lead the way showering the Welsh with arrows, but the trees gave them protection, and few fell.

Wynbald’s Warriors then entered the woods and drove out some of the Welsh, while more Welsh knaves, knowing the secret ways of the woods, attacked showering them with javelins.

The Welsh sent some of their better men against Berwulf’s scouts, perhaps with some druidic sorcerer among them, as against their will the scouts were drawn towards the Welsh swords and axes. Many of the Scouts fell in that unequal fight, but a few survived and managed to resist the Welsh siren call, falling back to engage the Welsh with their bows.

Ordlaf’s Hearthguard charged from the woods, attacking a group of Welsh warriors in the rocky ground, surely the skills of the experienced blades would carry the day, but Welsh sorcery struck again and Ordlaf’s men were beaten back with heavy losses.

The Welsh sorcerers then tried to cloud Andraes’s mind and draw him away from his Hearthguard to attack a group of Welsh warriors, but he proved to be of stronger mind than the scouts and stood his ground.

As the battle progressed, casualties mounted on either side with the Welsh benefiting from the cover of the woods and rocks. It came to the point where the weasel Welsh sensed they had perhaps inflicted enough damage on Andraes’s men to carry the day and began to withdraw as fast as they could to save themselves from the cream of Andraes’s Hearthguard.

And where was Owain during this battle, you ask? He was fleetingly seen from time to time, hiding behind his men.

On returning to his hall, Andreas received word that Uhtred Beornson would continue the campaign against Owain, and sought aid under our alliance. Ordlaf’s Hearthguard were sent to join Uhtred’s raid, but that story is another man’s to tell.

Scenario Note

The Scouts Scenario starts the game with each side having one unit on the table, this must be Levy, Mounted or missile armed Warriors. The remainder of the Warband’s units enter the table one unit per turn, determined by the roll of a die. It requires opponents to keep track of VPs inflicted during game, when a side suffers 10 VP it must roll a number of SAGA dice, the same as would be rolled during the orders phase, needing at least one “6” to continue fighting. Stephen (Owain) inflicted 10.33 VP on me while I had inflicted 9 VP on him. I passed my first morale roll, but failed the second, ending the battle.

Sicilian Channel – June 1940

A game report by Paul French

Introduction

Following the successful bombardment on Tripoli and Benghazi, units of the Mediterranean Fleet have been detached to sweep the Sicilian Channel. Warned by air reconnaissance the Italians have sortied two strong cruiser and destroyer groups to intercept.

Order Of Battle

RN Forces

2nd Division, 7th Cruiser Squadron
HMS Gloucester, HMS Liverpool, Town Class (2nd Group) CL.

14th Destroyer Flotilla
HMS Mohawk, HMS Nubian, Tribal Class DDs; HMS Jervis, HMS Juno, J Class DDs

Italian Forces
3rd Cruiser Divison
Pola, Zara Class, CA Trento, Trento Class, CA Bolzano, Bolzano Class CA.

11th Destroyer Division
Artigliere, Camicia Nera, Aviere, Geniere
All Soldati Class, DD

12th Destroyer Division
Lanciere, Carabinieri, Corrazziere, Ascari
All Soldati Class, DD

Contact

Screening destroyers made contact at 02:03, NW of Benghazi, at a range of about 9000 yards, starshells were deployed copiously from both sides but failed to illuminate enemy ships. Closing at a combined speed of 40 knots though meant that the action was fought at close range.

By 02:09 the Britsih commander (Jon) was aware he was in contact with a significant and superior force.

Holding his course he was able to get into a good torpedo position. Whilst the Italians (Paul & Mark), tried to get the 12th Div ahead and bring the cruisers into action.

The initial exchange resulted in minor damage to Nubian, Corrazziere and Trento. The Italian 3rd Division was blocked for a short period by the 12th Division. It was all that the Liverpool and Gloucester needed. Heavy fire came down on Corriziere and Lanciere . Leaving them burning and stationary – in torpedo water.

A few minutes later two torpedoes hit each destroyer – putting the fires out….. Nubian came under concentrated from the 11th Div and was left with overwhelming fires and flooding. The 3rd Divison cruisers landed effective fire on Gloucester.

At this point Jon decided discretion was the better part of valour and withdrew to the SW under smoke. Nubian was finished off by the cruisers and immediate contact was lost.

Outcome

A winning draw for the RN, as the Italians lost one more destroyer. Both sides had a destroyer with light damage and a cruiser (Trento and Gloucester) with minor damage. The RN really needed to retire to the east to join the battlefleet by daylight as being close to Sicilian and North Africa airfield in daylight was likely to be trying.

Rules

The game was played using Command at Sea, Version 4. Which gave a good feel for a night action. The range was down to 5000 yards at one point and attacks were potentially devastating. In fact the bulk of the damage was inflicted in two, three minute bounds which correlates well with historical actions. The smaller RN force was really at less of a disadvantage as the very low visibility meant that the larger Italian force found it difficult to get to grip.

Historical Outcome

The RN force carried out a bombardment of Tobruk, later rejoining the battlefleet. Other units were engaged at Benghazi and units were detached on anti-shipping sweeps. Italian units sortied from Messina and Taranto, covering the Sicilian Channel and sweeping into the Aegean, but failed to make contact.

Gasland Race Day #2

Some club members have recently been spreading post-apocalyptic death and destruction with the new Osprey Games’ Gaslands game. Last meeting saw the second Race Day, with five teams of two cars battling it out around the Langley Circuit.

After some mayhem (several cars slid off the track at the tricky first corner), destruction (two cars met a fiery end courtesy of a flamethrower), the winner by a bumper was Swampy, Tony’s pickup and one of the slowest cars on the track !

The Red Dragon And The White Wolves

Hark now and listen to yon bards!

Listen as they stretch the strings on their harps, as they tell their tales, for this is a story that children of the land must know.

Out there, there ‘pon the hill of dreams. There lies the Red Dragon, restful in its slumber. Though listen keenly and you will hear the howl of the wolves. Two vicious wolves, Guttersnipe and Ragamuffin by name. Though these are no ordinary wolves, these are the very worst kind – White Wolves!

These White Wolves looked on the Red Dragon’s hill, and their lusts and craves led them to steal the Dragon’s sheep, the Dragon’s wealth.

But this Dragon would have none of it.

Guttersnipe and Ragamuffin crept viciously in the dark, keeping low and trying to look innocent, they wished their white hides would make others think they were peaceful sheep – such is the treachery that these two knew.

What they would come to know all too soon, though, was the might and power of the Red Dragon who, upon seeing the two White Wolves making for his wealth and sheep, he rose up and with keen claws and fiery breath he did smite the two wolves! Harken and listen, I tell you! Harken and listen, for the Red Dragon’s wrath was furious and righteous.

And there lie the remains of the two White Wolves. The two wretched carcasses. And the Red Dragon, as a show of his power, did rend their tails from their hides and he did place them upon his war banner so that all would know that any who dared meddle and steal from the Red Dragon would meet an equal fate.

Arise now. Arise and go.

Go out into the land and the people will know thy name. For thou art no longer just Owain of Bangor, thou art OWAIN THE WOLF TAMER.

Eliminate the Emperor

A Star Wars X-Wing Scenario

The rescue team put down at the Rebel outpost for much needed repairs following the rescue of the Imperial defector, Danor Jax. Whilst their ships were being seen to they downloaded and decoded Danor’s data. He immediately pointed his rescuers to some critical and time sensitive information. It concerned a secret meeting later that day, being attended by the Emperor himself. The co-ordinates and time of the meeting were accompanied by the intended flight plan of the Emperor’s personal shuttle and details of his small escort.

With only a small window available Wedge Antilles gathered the team together to discuss an audacious plan – to intercept and destroy the Emperor’s shuttle. Cut off the head and the body dies. Unfortunately, Roark Garnet’s HWK-290 had been too badly damaged and could not be made serviceable in time but both Wedge and Biggs Darklighter’s X-Wings and the Y-Wing could. The team knew the risks, their ships would not be fully repaired and the Emperor would be guarded by two of this elite Royal Guard pilots flying upgraded TIE Interceptors but this was an opportunity too good to miss. Wedge sent out a last minute message and the three ships made the jump to light speed.

Arriving at the co-ordinates the Rebels spotted the shuttle and its escort flying past an asteroid field. Biggs peered at his sensors, the readings didn’t make sense, their was something else registering moving through the asteroids – but he couldn’t get a lock on it.

The TIE Phantom moved out from its position with its cloaking device in operation and sped towards the approaching rebel ships. The Rebels opened fire but without a sensor lock the TIE was just too hard to hit! The Phantom decloaked, fired and recloaked. Biggs’ shields evaporated and his X-Wing shuddered under the barrage. The TIE flew past, perfectly executed a Koiogran turn and moved onto Bigg’s tail. He couldn’t shake it. The TIE decloaked, fired and recloaked again. Biggs’ was hit bad, another barrage would finish him. He told his astromech to programme the nav computer and span up the hyperdrive.

Meanwhile the Royal Guard pilots had moved ahead of the Imperial shuttle to intercept the rebels. Wedge engaged the first but the earlier damage had made his ship sluggish and he caught a burst from the TIE Interceptor which took down his shields. The two craft began a series of tight manoeuvres but the TIE was simply more agile than the damaged X-Wing and unleashed another burst which forced Wedge to withdraw.

The Y-Wing had managed to slip past the second Royal Guard TIE and engaged the shuttle. But the TIE swung around and the Y-Wing too came under heavy fire.

But just then, another X-Wing dropped out of hyperspace. Luke Skywalker had received Wedge’s message and come to help his old friend. His arrival couldn’t have been better timed, with the two Royal Guard TIEs already engaged the shuttle was on its own. Luke swung into action fired burst after burst at the larger ship as they flew towards one another. He slipped past the shuttle and brought his X-Wing around to move onto its tail and just as the Royal Guard TIEs started to engage him, he fired again into the rear of the shuttle. The resulting explosion was enormous.

With a huge cheer the Rebel ships made the jump to light speed.

Back at the output the rebel pilots were celebrating when the devastating news came in. The Emperor was still alive – the shuttle had only been one of his decoys! “It was a set up”, said Wedge, “that would explain the TIE Phantom which was already hidden in the asteroid field”.

“At least were all here to tell the tale”, said Luke.

Revolt in the Regency Isles

The guns have fallen silent now.

The bodies of many a sailor now reside in Davey Jones’ locker.

In our game of Fighting Sail we had a fleet of pirate ships, sailing under a French letter of marque, led by Mark ‘Black Ned the Nobbler’ Harris and Bob ‘The Scourge’ Collman harassing the British colony of the Regency Isles somewhere in the Caribbean. Coming to the colonist’s rescue were two flotillas of British ships under the command of Tony ‘Admiral Dalrymple’ Gibbs and Stephen ‘Barely Able Seaman’ Tucker.

This was the first time any of us had played Fighting Sail. It falls very much in the ‘game’ category rather than ‘simulation’ and for a non-naval man such as myself that is a positive boon.

It’s a very simple game. Good navigation rules (according to Mark, and he’s the club’s naval man) and bloody and brutal cannon rules.

In our game the privateers came out from the islands and confronted the British. The British fleet had larger vessels and engaged the pirates with cannons. The privateers steadily swung their ships around, but not before Bob accidentally engaged one of his own ships with a broadside.

In the end it would be a British victory – those damned pirate dogs turning sail and making off to whatever rum-soaked hole it is they came from.

Fighting Sail proved to be a very enjoyable game. If you want to have fun, want to feel like you are playing a sailing game, but not of a mind of having to know how to actually sail a ship to be able to play a game then it I’m sure you would also enjoy it.

We’ll certainly be playing it again.

If you have any questions then please ask.

Rebel Rescue

A Star Wars X-Wing Scenario

Danor Jax had only ever wanted a quiet life. He had reluctantly joined the Imperial Information Office largely because it was steady work and they let him do what he loved, working with data streams. His had been a quiet life monitoring the equipment at the communications relay station and operating the cryptographic decoders when the need arose. That all ended when Darth Vader made a surprise visit to the station. Watching his senior officer being choked and then thrown into a bulkhead using the force should have made Danor cower out of fear. But that day something in Danor snapped, the Empire and all it stood for came into sharp focus and he knew he had to do something about it. As soon as the dark lord had departed Danor downloaded and decoded as much Imperial data from the streams as his AJ^6 headgear would accept and ran away to find the rebels.

The trip to Tatooine had been long and arduous but when Danor finally made contact with a Rebel agent he was elated. The agent had slipped away to arrange for Danor to be picked up and his data downloaded. Danor sat quietly in a cantina in Mos Eisley trying to avoid being noticed when a rough looking Rodian approached him. It turned out that his absence had been noted and with his access to sensitive data streams the Empire had started a manhunt. The Rodian promptly marched Danor at blaster point out of the cantina and along to his ship.

Having made contact, indicated the enormous value of Danor’s information and arranged for him to be collected, the Rebel agent was returning to the cantina and spotted the Rodian and Danor leaving. With too many Sandtroopers around to allow him to intervene, the agent contacted the approaching Rebel ships and told them the situation as the Rodian’s ship blasted off.

Wedge Antilles easily spotted the bounty hunter’s Firespray-31 on his X-Wing’s scopes but he also saw the orbiting Gozanti-class cruiser and its four TIE fighters. Forming up with his accompanying Y-Wing Wedge sent Biggs Darklighter and his X-Wing with Roark Garnet’s HWK-290 on a different course, avoiding the Gozanti but coming around to cut off the other routes of escape.

When Gozanti’s captain was informed of the appearance of the X-Wings he ordered it out of orbit on a course to intercept the bounty hunter and for the TIE pilots to scramble their ships.

Wedge and his wingman swung around to intercept the TIE fighters whilst Biggs and Roark moved to intercept the bounty hunter.

The Rodian spotted the HWK-290 and X-Wing approaching and veered to the right. Meanwhile two TIE fighters had detached from the cruiser and were speeding toward the rear of Biggs and Roark. Fortunately Roark had equipped the HWK-290 with an ion cannon turret which was a surprise to the pilot of one of the TIEs when all his systems shutdown and he began to drift.

The remaining two TIE fighters had also detached and made straight for Wedge and the Y-Wing with the laser turrets on the Gozanti also blasting away at them for good measure.

So two dogfights ensued with TIE fighters trying to outmanoeuvre the rebel craft. Unfortunately the less agile HWK-290 came under some heavy fire and with his shields down and having taken some heavy damage Roark had to withdraw. The loss of the ion cannon was a serious blow to the rebels but with a barrage of fire they dispatched two of the TIE fighters and gained the upper hand.

Unfortunately, the wily bounty hunter had slipped through both dogfights and with the rebel ships too busy to intervene, managed to dock with the Gozanti to transfer his rebel captive.

With this dire turn of events, there was only one option for the rebels, to attack the cruiser itself!

The three rebel ships made multiple runs as the cruiser and despite the heavy laser fire from its turrets managed to land several good hits.

With the prisoner transfer complete and sensing the increasing panic of the Imperials the bounty hunter cut his negotiations short, rushed back to his ship and released the docking clamps.

The remaining TIE fighters were desperately trying to protect their mothership but Biggs downed one of them and the other was damaged by Wedge. With Gozanti’s shields down, the Y-Wing making another run at the aft section with its proton torpedoes and did some serious damage.

Whilst the rebel ships focussed on the cruiser the Rodian made the jump to light speed and his next assignment.

His ship rapidly coming apart at the seams the cruiser’s Captain offered to trade his prisoner for safe passage and the rebels accepted.

Danor was saved and the battered X-Wings and Y-Wing jumped away to safety.

Ahoy me hearties!

It be that this Saturday we’re weighing anchor and making for the high seas with a game of Fighting Sail.

If you be an old salty sea-dog, or maybe a scurvy land-lubber who wishes to take to the seas, then get ye-self down to Maidstone Wargames Society this weekend and we’ll put ye to work swabbing the decks, pumping the bilges, and fetching powder!

A-Ha!