A Tale of Two Skimishes

Alan K updates us on the club’s two visits to the the Skirmish wargames show in 2018.

As I was putting together the forces for our game at the next Skirmish show (the Second Battle of El Teb, 29 February 1884) I realised that I hadn’t written anything about our two visits last year.

For the first show we had decided on a 28mm Vietnam scenario based on a hastily mounted search and rescue operation for a downed helicopter crew. But as we watched the weather forecast steadily worsen (an interesting contrast to this year) with snow expected it was touch and go whether we might attend at all. In the end we decided to brave it and the snow turned out not to be anywhere near as bad as we had feared. Unfortunately it did have rather a chilling effect (sorry about that) on both the traders and visitors.

In any event, we arrived well in time and set up the game with the crashed chopper over to one side and the landing zone (LZ) over toward the other. The players took control of the small US unit designated to search this area and were duly landed at the LZ. The Viet Cong (VC) and other random encounters were all handled by the FNG rules from Two Hour Wargames.

Between the LZ and the main search area was a fast flowing stream crossed by a single ford on the main route to the nearby village. The players seemed reluctant to use the ford and so decided to cross the stream. Unfortunately the first man lost his footing and if it had not been for some quick reactions on behalf of his squad mates he might have drowned. Of course all the commotion attracted the attention of a lone VC who began taking pot shots from cover at the US troops in the open.

After dealing with this initial threat the Americans advanced and began to make their way slowly through the long grass towards the jungle encountering more VC emerging from cover or well concealed spider holes and always keeping an eye out for booby traps! The US forces made slow progress taking a few casualties before being assaulted by a larger VC force. Having seen them off they finally located the chopper crew and withdrew to the LZ for a dust off.

Our second visit to Skirmish later in the year was another 28mm affair but this time winding back to the Great War. In this case our game was set early in the war, featuring a certain Erwin Rommel and taken directly from his own account of the action in his book Infantry Attacks. In his own, admittedly potentially self-aggrandising narrative, after advancing west from Hill 325, Lt. Rommel stopped his platoon in cover in a field and took a scouting group ahead. Making use of cover and the foggy conditions, they passed one farm and found their way close to the Mussy-la-Ville road. As the scouting team approached they spotted a couple of French squads relaxing along the road. Rommel decided to attack rather than wait to bring up the rest of his platoon. Surprised by Rommel’s bold attack the French put up little resistance and then surrendered.

In our scenario the player who took Rommel was somewhat less bold and when he encounter the French decided to fall back and gather his platoon before attacking. Unfortunately for him that meant another French squad had arrived before the Germans returned and they had more of a fight on their hands!

Dogfight ’69

Dogfight ’69
The Hundred Hours War

Our new show game for 2019 had it’s first outing at Cavalier 2019.

The Salvadorean Invasion!

This is set in the war that briefly erupted between Honduras and El Salvador in 1969.  This was the last occasion in which piston-engined fighters engaged in air-to-air combat.

Honduran Corsairs approach

This is a participation game with the players taking on the role of Corsair pilots in the Honduran Air Force.

Salvadorean Mustangs on Combat Air Patrol

The players have to launch ground attacks on the invading Salvadorean Army column to halt their advance, whilst warding off the attention of patrolling Mustangs of the Salvadorean Air Force.

Honduran Corsairs approach the target

Congratulations to club member Dave Sime who put together the game, which scooped the Best Participation Game prize at the show.

Honduran Corsairs come in low to strafe over the Salvadorean invasion column
Corsairs and Mustangs go head to head above the Salvadorean column

SELWG 2018

The club had another successful day at SELWG 2018, winning the Best Terrain trophy for the third year in succession. Here’s Phil looking suitably pleased with life 🙂

We’ve posted plenty of photos of the game in the past, but this is surely an excuse for a few more ! Photos by Phil Richards and also courtesy of the official SELWG photographer.

Open Day 2018

The club is holding its annual Open Day on Saturday June 23rd (11am to 4pm). This when we put on many games and open our doors for all to come and visit and get a much wider idea of what we do and the games we play. We try to put on a good variety of games across all the popular periods and scales, all of which are open to visitors to join in. We offer a special discounted membership rate for anyone who joins the club on the day. There’s also a prize draw sponsored by local manufacturer Brigade Models for all visitors.

This year there are seven games, including one put on by Milton Hundred Wargames Club, our nearby friends and neighbours. The six club games are as follows:

The Fall of the Ramas Echor – a 28mm Lord of the Rings game set just before the Battle of Pelennor Fields, TA3019.

The Second Battle Of Sluys AD1370 – 28mm Medieval action using Lion Rampant rules.

Fields of Glory – a 15mm ancients game using the FoG ruleset.

Sharp Practice – 28mm Napoleonic skirmish action in the Spanish Peninsula.

WW2 Naval – early war action between the French and Italian navies in the Mediterranean.

Gaslands – post-apocalyptic car racing.

Directions to the club’s venue in Linton, near Maidstone, can be found on our website.

From the Archive

Member Phil Richards recently unearthed a load of very old photos relating to show games in the 85-88 period. You’ll find them linked below (be prepared to be amazed at what some of us used to look like when we had hair…):

Unnamed 15mm Ancients Game – Tunbridge Wells ’85

The Vire Incident (WW2 54mm game) – SELWG ’86 and Tunbridge Wells ’87

Berlin or Bust (20mm WW2 Participation game) – Salute ’88 and SELWG ’88

Best Historical Game at Salute 2018

Here is a gallery of pictures from Salute 2018 of our Zeebrugge 1918 game.  Lots of detail added to the Vindictive, including; a new coat of paint and weathering, the 11″ Howitzer, two 7.5″ Howitzers, the foremast together with its fighting top and pompom gun, and crew figures for Vindictive and her guns.  We had lots of players take part on the day leading their squads to attack targets on the mole.  The game won the Robert Bothwell Best Historical Game Memorial Award.  The games creator, Phil, can be seen pointing at his creation below.

Zeebrugge 1918 – Salute and National Museum of the Royal Navy

The finishing touches are going in to the model of HMS Vindictive prior to two big outings for the game at Salute (London Excel on 14th April) and the Zeebrugge Centenary events at the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth (Museum Galleries at The Historic Dockyard on 22nd April).

These are the almost finished 11-inch and two 7.5-inch howitzers that were fitted to provide covering fire for the attack in place of some of the Vindictive’s 6-inch guns.  These guns had been designed as anti-submarine weapons firing a special “depth charge” type shell.  The 11-inch was the first gun completed.

Also below, continuing the Italian food theme is some spaghetti that will be used as part of the final model.  Any guesses what it is for?

Best Participation Game at Cavalier 2018

Our 2018 Showgame of the Zeebrugge Raid won Best Participation Game at the Cavalier Show in Tonbridge today.  Congratulations to the builder – Phil (with a little help from his offspring).  Finishing touches to the HMS Vindictive model will follow in time for Salute in April.  Gallery below:

Our 2018 Showgame – Zeebrugge 1918 – A Sneak Peak

Work continues to complete our game for Cavalier in Tonbridge on Sunday the 25th.  The HMS Vindictive model is a scratchbuilt 1/56 scale replica of the ship on the day, total length 2 metres!  Hats off to her architect – club member Phil.  Can you guess what role tomato puree played in making the model?

We gave the game rules a run through at our last meeting – this will be a participation game, with players leading a squad of the attacking British sailors and marines to destroy objectives on the Mole.

Our 2018 Show Game – Zeebrugge Centenary

The MWS show game for 2018, now in the final stage of preparation will commemorate the centenary of the naval assault on Zeebrugge on 23rd April 1918 – St George’s Day.

You can see it at the Cavalier Show at the Angel Centre in Tonbridge on 25th February.

It will feature a recreation of the assault on the Zeebrugge Mole focussing on a scratchbuilt model of the attacking Cruiser HMS Vindictive at 25mm figure scale.  Look out for more about how this game was put together.

There was so much bravery shown by the men of the ships that assaulted the Mole under a continuous storm of fire that VCs for two members of the naval crew (one officer, one other rank) would be awarded through a special ballot of all the officers and men who took part.  Two VCs were also awarded on the same basis to the Royal Marines.

Every member of the crews was thus deemed eligible to receive the VC.

Vindictive’s commander, Acting Captain Alfred Carpenter, pictured below with one of the ships cats, was the officer the crew chose. He also received special advancement to the rank of Captain.

Able Seaman Albert Edward McKenzie pictured above, a volunteer chosen from the crew of the Battleship, HMS Neptune, was the other rank the crew chose.

Carpenter’s Victoria Cross medal citation perhaps speaks best to his qualities:

… He set a magnificent example to all those under his command by his calm composure when navigating mined waters…. He showed most conspicuous bravery, and did much to encourage similar behaviour on the part of the crew, supervising the landing from the “Vindictive” on to the mole, and walking round the decks directing operations and encouraging the men in the most dangerous and exposed positions. By his encouragement to those under him, his power of command and personal bearing, he undoubtedly contributed greatly to the success of the operation.

McKenzie was a member of the storming party, landing with his Lewis Gun into the storm of fire, advancing down the Mole with his CO (Arthur Leyland Harrison) who with most of his party was killed. He was severely wounded and after his Lewis Gun was wrecked had to fight his way back to the ship in hand to hand combat, with only a pistol, a bayonet and his boxing skills. Whilst recovering from his wounds he died in the Spanish Flu epidemic.

Photos courtesy of the IWM on-line archive