Virtual Pulp Alley

Marcus reports (virtually) over a recent (virtual) game.

I have probably played Pulp Alley more than any other game in the last couple of years. Narrative, fun, good for solo games or multiple players, it is a skirmish game with a figure count per player typically ranging between around 4 and 12. A scenario can be completed in around two to three hours depending significantly on the number of players involved.

Did I say skirmish? Well, more or less. There is plenty of scope for pulp action fisticuffs and spraying bullets around. What is less typical of skirmish type games is the influence of fortune cards, which players can use to challenge their opponents with perils, or indeed, perils will also occur as players try to resolve a series of plot points on the table. A game can sometimes focus a little less on combat and more on the plot. Scenarios are can veer very much toward mystery or crime investigation and even social situations. Imagine James Bond trying to provoke a villain, gather clues and be generally charming in a Casino and you will have the idea, only you have a group of characters working together to accomplish this. The characters have various skills set at a combination of levels. The required characteristics and skills are: Health, Brawl, Shoot, Dodge, Might, Finesse and Cunning. Depending on the quality of the character these skills will have dice numbering from one to four and dice types ranging between D4 and D12. A roll of 4 or more is a success, but sometimes multiple successes are required, including difficult tasks.

The initiative changes over the course of the game. The last person to win a plot point or a combat steals the initiative from the previous holder. This keeps the game constantly interactive.

What can you play with Pulp Alley and what miniatures do you use? Well, almost anything you can imagine! The rules are remarkably adaptable. If it forms part of the pulp genre; 30’s archaeologists versus Nazi’s, fantasy, science fiction, westerns or lost worlds, anything in between and more. The list just goes on…Figures are widely available and in particular I like Copplestone Castings and Pulp Miniatures, Hydra Miniatures and Sally 4th, the UK home of Pulp Alley.

Fellow club member Alan set up this game over Zoom. While a degree of social interaction is lost over Zoom, it certainly played smoothly. I would have no hesitation in recommending Zoom as a tool for playing games like this. Perhaps the more limited social interaction actually sped up the game.
Alan set up two scenarios set in the late 30’s in the arctic. He deployed a team of Nazi’s (“I hate these guy’s…”) under Dr. Stalhelm, a dastardly figure in uniform and a fully enclosed face mask. I fielded a team of “stiff upper lip” Brits from the Long Range Arctic Survey Group (LRASG). This group had the perk of specialists 3 of the leaders skills were reduced by a die level to improve the other members of the party in one skill by one dice type. I had a couple of unusually tough academics, the Leader, Professor MacInnes accompanied by Dr. Kennedy with two military types and a couple of Inuit guides.

The Crash Site
Some unusual rumours of strange lights in the sky have been emanating from sources in the arctic circle. The LRASG have been dispatched to investigate. Aided by two local guides, Kallik and Allatok, the team approach a site of possible significance…

The table is difficult going, meaning that characters cannot move more than six inches without taking a challenge. There are four separate groups of wreckage distributed around the centre of the table. Due to some seismic activity, the wreckage is perilous and requires an automatic challenge. During the first couple of turns, the figures approach the wreckage from opposite directions in the swirling snow which limits visibility. MacInnes reaches one wreckage site but Alan plays a challenge card and MacInnes cannot manage the 3 Cunning or Finesse required and tumbles into a crevasse. However, he passed the resulting health check, so no damage done. Meanwhile the first Nazi minions reach some wreckage, but can’t seem to explore without experiencing serious hazards which prevent the search.

On turn three, MacInnes successfully negotiates the wreckage and locates a plot point a short distance away. The Inuit’s move toward the Nazi’s while the rest of the LRASG spread out between the two closest wreckage sites. The Nazi’s continue a very unsuccessful search and Stalhelm has to jump away from a peril. The Inuit’s move in on them. One of the Nazi’s, Weber exchanges fire with Allatok.

MacInnes keeps working on the plot point on turn four. He successfully negotiates the treacherous ground and shifting visibility. With one success in recovering some clue from the snows. He is loosening it from the ice… At another site, Dr. Kennedy gets a bit disorientated in the swirling snow. Nearby while the Nazi’s continue with a frustrating search, Allatok and Webber exchange fire again and both are hit. They fail health checks and are out of the scenario injured. Another Nazi, Schneider, opens fire on one of the LRASG’s military types, Lt. Baylis.

Turn 5 and MacInnes keeps working to free the clue from the ice. Suddenly, he takes a hit from Nazi gunfire and is stunned. Baylis fires back to no effect. Meanwhile Dr. Kennedy finds his way back to the wreckage, makes a search and finds a perilous area: the ice shifts under the wreckage which is in danger of falling through into a lake below. However, Lt. Booth, (the Brits other military type) successfully locates a plot point himself. Muller shoots Kallik who fires back, but he goes down too. Baylis shoots Schneider, but he dodges.

On turn 6 MacInnes gets the final successes and frees the clue from the ice. A cache of “Top Secret” documents! Schmidt now attempts a plot point and successfully discovers an injured crewman. With that first success, Alan becomes Director (initiative), deciding the turn order. Booth and Fischer exchange fire. Baylis brings down Schneider who is out of the game, after failing a recovery roll, while MacInnes and Stahlhelm exchange fire. Elsewhere, Kennedy successfully deals with the plot point and discovers: an experimental bomb sight. Booth closes with Muller and gets into a punch up, but Booth gets knocked out cold (quite literally).

At this point the two sides disengage as the wreckage shifts and slips below the icy surface of a frozen lake. A success for the Brits who recover two plot points to the Nazi’s one. They collect two Gear points as a result: Some smoke grenades which Dr. Kennedy carries and Gadget X, carried by Mac Innes, which automatically allows passing one plot point instead of rolling.

A Secret Nazi Base…Where Else?

Scenario 2 saw the LRASG tasked with recovering the aircraft’s inventor and destroying the Nazi base. Approaching from some woods the Brits use the trees to mask their approach and their smoke grenades in turn two to reach the gate, despatching the sentry. The base remains oblivious. However, it all kicks off in turn three when MacInnes is forced to shoot a guard dog which attacks them and Baylis shoots his sentry/handler. They move toward a group of huts while Booth and Dr. Kennedy move along the fence to discover a plot point. The alerted Nazi’s get out of a truck and move toward the huts in turn 4.

Kennedy and Booth successfully locate a plot point and pass it: a wire cut hole in the perimeter fence. Someone else has already broken in! both teams converge on a stack of supply crates. Fischer and Muller push toward a plane on the airfield while Schmidt and Booth exchange fire in the location of the huts and crates. Both shrug off hits.

MacInnes discovers explosives already on the crates and lighting the fuse, sprints away. A new plot point appears in a hut near the gate. Stalhelm. Fischer attempts to deal with a bomb on the fuel drums near the plane, but fails.

Fischer suffers a peril on turn 7, possibly electrocuted as he tries, inexpertly, to deal with the booby-trapped explosives on the plane. Fischer goes down! Meanwhile MacInnes and the Nazi scum exchange furious fire, but the Nazi’s pass 3 hits! Muller is trying to disarm another bomb in the corner of the far corner of the airfield, at a fuel dump. About to attempt it he suffers misfortune as Marcus plays a fortune card and Muller falls, failing his health check.

Fischer recovers in turn 8 to disarm the bomb on the plane, but unfortunately for the Nazi’s Muller again fails a peril and a health check. Fischer however gets up and removes the explosives from the plane. MacInnes blazes away at Schmidt, who goes down and joins Bush and Kennedy in cover close to the gate. Kennedy moves to the plot point near the gate and passes it; the inventor! Dr. Stalhelm lurks in the proximity…but Booth engages him in fisticuffs.

In the final turn, Booth manages to land a blow on Dr. Stalhelm and rushes to the gate. Both MacInnes and Dr. Kennedy both open-up on Dr. Stalhelm and also escape. While the Nazi’s try to deal with the explosives, they detonate, destroying most of the Nazi’s secret lair.

So, as the credits roll the Brits return from a successful mission, with the Nazi’s vanquished again; which is how it should be. Inevitably since Alan rolled some appalling dice and Lt. Booth passed more recovery checks than he had any right to. An enjoyable mini campaign all organized by Alan with some great scenery and miniatures, all played very entertainingly via this new-fangled thingy; Zoom…Bang! Bang!

Air War Germany 1944 – Session 4

Me 110G-4s scramble

Our Treasurer has just realised that he had omitted to write up the fourth session of our campaign from the end of last year – still better late than never!

This session began with an attack by the Me110s of 3.NJG5, which had just infiltrated the tail of the bomber stream as it left Berlin.  The Me110s weaved backwards and forwards across the bomber stream using their on-board radar to detect and attack targets.  John La was first onto the score sheet, detecting ‘Q for Queenie’.  He missed the target on the first pass, but sent the bomber down on his second.

As the bombers headed off to the northwest, 3.NJG5 stuck with them and continued their attack. Three bombers went down in quick succession, the first, ‘O for Oboe’ to John, then ‘P for Peter’ to Andy and finally ‘N for Nab’ by Marcus in his first combat.  However, the bombers then struck back, as first Steve took damage and was forced to break off in an attack on ‘M for Mother’, then worse still Marcus was shot down by ‘L for Love’.

Lancaster MkI/IIIs of B Flight, 460 Squadron RAAF. Letters ‘J Jig’ to ‘Q Queen’

Now another Me-110 unit, 4.NJG3 of Steve’s 2.Jagddivision was able to infiltrate the bomber stream.  However, their attack got off to a poor start as the alert gunners of ‘K for King’ shot down John’s attacking fighter.

The bombers were now re-crossing the German defensive radar line and the Me-110s of 3.NJG3 were successfully vectored in to attack from their overwatch positions.

At this point we ran out of time for the day, leaving the raid to be concluded in a fifth and final session, which will be a catch up to bring all players up to 2 sessions played.

At the end of session 4 the points scored were as follows:

Andy (4JD)                        +1             +1 for Lancaster shot down

Steve (2JD)                        +1            +1 for GCI Intercept, +1 for tame boar                                                                                  infitration, -1 for fighter damaged

John La (7JD)                       0             +2 for Lancasters shot down, -2 for fighter                                                                     shot down

Marcus (3JD)                     -1             +1 for Lancaster shot down. -2 for fighter                                                                        shot down

Tony (1JD)                             –           Unable to fly

That leaves the individual League table so far as follows, with Steve just passing Dave at the top of league table, as he has shot down more bombers (4 to Dave’s 3).  1 JD keep their lead in the team competition with 11 points:

Steve (2JD)                      +6         2 sessions played (4 bombers downed)

Dave (1JD)                        +6         2 sessions played (3 bombers downed)

Tony (1JD)                       +5        1 session played

Mike (2JD)                       +3           2 sessions played

Chairman John (3JD)  +2.5        2 sessions played

John L (7JD)                      +1           2 sessions played

Marcus (3JD)                     -1           1 session played

Andy (4JD)                        -1.5       2 sessions played

Bob (4JD)                          -2             1 session played

Chris (7JD)                       -3.5           2 sessions played

Virtually Meeting

Last Saturday, at Stephen’s suggestion, some club members held a ‘virtual’ club meeting; some played solo games or with family members at home, and three even managed to play a board game over Zoom. Here’s a round up of what went on.

Mark H, Mark J and Seán – Nightfighter
Mark H ran a three-player game over Zoom – he’s written it up fully in a separate report.

Marcus – Air Combat in the Gulf War
Marcus played a solo game of modern air combat using Wings at War; this will also be getting its own write-up soon.

Phil – Space Hulk
Phil broke out the new (ish) re-issue of Games Workshop’s Space Hulk with his eldest son; unpainted figures, really!

Stephen – Full Thrust
Stephen, whose idea this all was, went for some solo Full Thrust. Which just sounds all wrong…

Mark J – Kobolds and Cobblestones
Mark.2 played out a Fantasy rumble at the docks.

Tony F – Lord of the Rings
And finally, the webmaster played out a simple Lord of the Rings scenario (the one where Sean Bean/Boromir gets shot full of arrows defending Merry and Pippin).

Wargaming in the Pandemic – Playing Nightfighter over Zoom

As we currently have no meetings and gathering indoors is not possible, we have been starved of our wargames for 2 months!

We tried a game of GMT’s Nightfighter over Zoom.  The game uses some house scenarios that allow multiple players on the German side.  The main game map is enlarged and uses miniatures to substitute for counters.

There were four Ju88C-6 night fighters patrolling to intercept bombers over the targets.  These could be coned by the searchlights on the ground, spotted by the onboard radar, or spotted visually.

Here is the hidden umpire map showing the Lancaster position at close of play:

We played until a Lancaster was shot down.  Mark shot down ‘E for East’ after a four move duel.  The bomber spotted him before he attacked and got two rounds of fire, but failed to score a hit.

The Ju88 missed on the first pass from a poor position, then scored heavy damage on the second pass.

The Ju-88 mis-timed the third pass, but finished the target off on the final pass.

Sean had meanwhile homed in on a bomber with one of his Ju-88s, but ran out of time to shoot it down.

This was the game board at close of play:

A scan of the battle map was shared on Zoom with the players and annotated with the fighter positions, radar sightings and searchlight spots.

Game play is slowed, as moves have to be described sequentially, so the game would have worked faster with less planes controlled by one player with hindsight, but the board game hex playing surface does make a game over Zoom possible!  We may give it another go having worked out the snags.

Armoured Bears

Mark J (also known as Mark2), who recently joined the club after being away from the hobby for a while, paints some Germans.

Latest addition to my 20mm early/mid Russian Front 3rd Panzer Division army. Back in the 90s I played a lot of Rapid Fire and I have a fairly large collection of tanks and vehicles, mainly Matchbox and and SHQ, with a couple of aircraft, assault boats and a pontoon bridge thrown in for good measure. Recently recovered this collection from an old mate up north, however the infantry were missing, probably KIA!

Planning to adapt this collection to use Chain of Command rules, and have started to paint some 20mm Eureka miniatures. They are a little on the tall side, but nicely cast with plenty of detail. These guys are Panzer Grenadiers in great coat, there’s one rifle section and a command section with a radio operator.

I used the Vallejo Flames of War German infantry paint set and GW Nuln Oil wash and Adminstratum Grey for the uniform highlights and general battle field look. For the bases I used small gage grey gravel
and dry brushed light grey to white with a Nuln Oil wash for the snow effect.

I’ve recently been reading about the 3rd Panzer Division and their exploits around Kharkov during 1942. These guys are part of Kampfgruppe de Beaulieu, this group was formed around March 1942 and consisted of 12 Panzer IIIs and a panzer grenadier battalion, its orders were to push back the Russian advance to the east of Kharkov and to take back the Babka River line which they did, despite freezing temperatures and poor supplies. I have another 5 rifle sections to do and a couple of heavy support sections, if anyone has some Russians it would be good to take them on some point in the future.

AGM 2020

The first meeting of the year is when we hold our AGM – we try to keep it brief, and no more formal than is absolutely necessary. It’s generally a good meeting since we get more attendees than normal and this more games are put on. So rather than dwell on the thrills of the treasurer’s report on the club’s finances (healthy, by the way), here’s a gallery of the gaming highlights of the day.

Photos by Tony Francis and Andy King

During the AGM, John Legg collected the trophy for last year’s Field of Glory tournament from Paul Lymath, the 2018 winner.

Alan Kirk hosted a large 1940 Chain of Command game.

Tony Francis and Jeremey Claridge put on a Celtos game (but didn’t play in it themselves…)

Instead, they both took part in some aerial combat over the Sinai desert in 1956

As always, there was a Field of Glory game going on – the first of the 2020 tournament

And Jon Roche and John Lambert took to the seas in some ancient galleys

Air War Germany 1944 – Session 3

De Havilland Mosquito Mk IV bombers of 692 Squadron, part of the Light Night Striking Force. These delivered small high level raids as diversions from Main Force raids. They were unarmed and relied on their speed to escape interception.

The results for our third session are in.  This was to be a session dominated by Wild Boar attack over the city of Berlin,as fighters sought to attack bomber caught in the glare of the clouds illuminated by the searchlights below.  One of the JG commanders was absent due to sickness and another had temporarily lost use of his headquarters (aka house) so we were down to three players on the day .  Two players babysat for the missing players JagdGeschwader for their map moves.  Absent players do not affect the tactical combat results, as each player simply flies one plane.

The day began with the Me110s of NJG engaging the bomber stream over Berlin.  This unit was depleted, so the number of tactics was reduced.  3.NJG5 was also handicapped by having some relatively slow Me110F-4s among its Me110G-4s; these struggled to match the speed of the Lancaster at high altitude.  The action was something of a damp squib with no Lancasters engaged and the Me110F of Chris damaged by fire from the defending Berlin flak batteries.

After another map turn the bomber steam continued to move through the city and the German players now had a final chance for their units to engage the tail end of the bomber stream over the city searchlights.

First in were the Me109G-6s of 1.JG302 belonging to Tony’s JagdDivision 1.  Things looked up for Chris as he was first off the scoreboard the day, downing C for Charlie.  However, he did a bit too good a job as his fire detonated the bomb bay and his own fighter was consumed in the explosion!  Things took an even worse turn for the Germans as Tony’s 109 was shot down by an alert gunner on E for Easy.

Next up was Tony’s 3.NJG5 coming round for another go. Michael got involved in a running fight with, funnily enough M for Mike.  His first pass winged the Lancaster, but the defending gunners in turn damaged the attacking Me110.  However, Mike hung on and made another pass, sending the Lancaster down.  Tony now got into his stride with his pilot bagging first N for Nab, then K for King.

As the last of the bomber stream came in over the searchlights the Me110G-4s  of 1.NJG5 also belonging to Tony’s JagdDivision1 arrived over the city.  Tony continued on his combat roll by adding J2 for Jig squared to his total for the day.

The ever persistent 3.NJG5 now succeeded in infiltrating itself into the bomber stream as it left the city, becoming the first night fighter unit to do so.

With time up for the day and four tactical combats played out, the resolution of the Tame Boar attack was left for the next session.

At the end of session 3 the points scored were as follows:

Tony (1JD)                        +5             +3 for Lancasters shot down, +3 for Wild Boar attacks, +1 for Tame Boar infiltration, -2 for fighter shot down

Michael (2JD)                   0            +1 for Lancaster shot down, -1 for fighter damaged

Chris (7JD)                        -2             +1 for Lancaster shot down, -2 for fighter downed, -1 for fighter damaged by flak

Marcus (3JD)                     –             On leave

Bob (4JD)                             –           Unable to fly

That leaves the individual League table so far as follows (with 1JD going into the team lead with 11 points):

Dave (1JD)                        +6         2 sessions played

Steve (2JD)                      +5         1 session played

Tony (1JD)                       +5        1 session played

Mike (2JD)                       +3           2 sessions played

Chairman John (3JD)  +2.5        2 sessions played

John L (7JD)                      +1           1 session played

Bob (4JD)                          -2             1 session played

Andy (4JD)                        -2.5       1 session played

Chris (7JD)                       -3.5           2 sessions played

Worth saying that you score as follows:
Map points:
1 point for each successful interception on the map by a unit, doubled if done before raid passes through own division area
1 point for identifying a main force raid or mosquito raid before air picture is clarified, doubled if done before raid passes through own division area
Air to air combat points:
1 point for shooting down a four engined bomber
2 points for shooting down a Mosquito2 points lost if own nightfighter shot down
Damaged aircraft score half points, for and against.  Ties decided by number of bomber shot down.

Air War Germany 1944 – Session 2

We played out our second session of the campaign in April 2019 and as we have our third session at Next Saturday’s meeting it was high time to write it up!

The British were approaching their target and had been benefited by fog that had hampered the take-off of nightfighters from 1.Jagddivision, but the British umpire now played a weather change card as the main raid neared its target, which luckily cleared the ground in just the right area and replaced it with heavy cloud cover for the attacking bombers!

Me 110G-4s scramble – planes used in the campaign are all 1/600 Tumbling Dice with Dom’s Decals, from the Umpire’s collection

The first action resulted from a straggler interception of the main raid by the commander of 2.Jagddivision, Steve, which allowed him to vector in the Me110G-4s of III.NJG3 as the raid passed Rostock in a ‘Tame Boar’ attack.  In this type of attack each nightfighter followed the bomber stream using on-board radar to detect and close on targets.  The targets proved hard to find, but Dave detected and successfully shot down 1 straggling Lancaster, K for King.

Another night-fighter unit from 1.Jagddivision, commanded by Dave, now made the first successful infiltration of the main bomber stream.  The attacking unit was 2.NJG5, also equipped with Me110-G-4s, but it’s impact was reduced by having been scattered on take-off in foggy weather.  Not only did it fail to inflict any damage but one of the attacking fighters piloted by Andy was shot down by defensive fire when if homed in on it’s target, B for Baker.

ME 109G-6s scramble

The raid move on and the target was now revealed as the raid stream turned south and began bombing its target, Berlin.  Dave was able to vector in the Me109G-6s of 1.JG302 to attack the the head of the bomber stream as it passed over the target in a ‘Wild Boar’ attack, closely followed by the Me110F-4s and G-4s of 3.NJG5, which were directed in from the radar beacon north-west of Berlin where they had been orbiting.  This type of attack was made by visually intercepting bombers lit up by searchlights.  The cloud cover reduced the searchlight effect, but bombers could still be attacked against the illuminated clouds.  The defending fighters had to take their chances with defending flak fire.

The first attack by the Me-109s resulted in heavy losses for the attackers.  Steve made a spectacular high score, shooting down four attacking Lancasters – G for George, F for Fox, M for Mike and P for Peter.  Dave added to his score with two more bombers, D for Dog and J for Jig.  John L opened his score with E2 for Easy Squared.  Chairman John pursued another bomber, J2 for Jig Squared, but only managed to damage her before she exited the illuminated zone.  The British scored back as Andy homed in on D2 for Dog Squared, damaging the bomber with his first burst, only to be damaged in turn and driven off by defensive fire from the bombers gunners.

The air picture around Berlin at the end of the second session, with the position of the bomber stream in the previous move shown as a tracked target

The resolution of the attack by 3.NJG5 was postponed until the next session, as time was up for the day….

At the end of session 2 the points scored were as follows:

Dave (1JD)                        +6             +3 for Lancasters shot down, +1 for Tame Boar attack, +2 for Wild Boar attacks

Steve (2JD)                       +5            +4 for Lancasters shot down, +1 for Tame Boar attack

John L (7JD)                      +1             +1 for Lancaster shot down

Chairman John (3JD)    +0.5       +.5 for Lancaster damaged

Andy (4JD)                         -2.5      +.5 for Lancaster damaged, -2 for Me110 shot down, -1 for Me109 damaged

That leaves the individual League table so far as follows (with 2JD the leading team so far with 8 points):

Dave (1JD)                        +6         2 sessions played

Steve (2JD)                       +5         1 session played

Mike (2JD)                       +3           1 session played

Chairman John (3JD)  +2.5        2 sessions played

John L (7JD)                      +1           1 session played

Chris (7JD)                       -1.5           1 session played

Bob (4JD)                          -2             1 session played

Andy (4JD)                        -2.5       1 session played

From The Halls Of Montezuma

Stephen goes all John Wayne on us.

I’ve toyed with the idea of doing some WW2 games for a while but never really knew what I wanted to do. I had a false start with Flames Of War some time ago but I found the rules so dire that it soon fell by the wayside.

But then a recent issue of Wargames Illustrated had some plastic 28mm US infantry as a freebie. I bought an issue, put them together and then slapped some paint on them. I enjoyed it so much that I decided that 28mm WW2 was the way I was going to go. I also decided that I would focus on small-scale infantry actions rather than huge set-piece battles – Chain Of Command has been played at the club and it seemed like the scale of game I was interested in.

I then bought another copy of WI so I could get some more. Realising this could be an expensive way to go about it I then asked if anyone at the club had an unwanted sprue from the magazine. Phil and Marcus both stepped up (cheers, chaps).

When it came to painting them I made a snap decision.

I was going to paint them in standard European theatre colours and do late war games. Then I thought about the scenery. Woods, roads, hills, etc would be no problem – I have plenty already. It was the houses though, that made me pause. I wanted to do this on the cheap because WW2 would never be a ‘main’ period for me, so it had to pay its way in terms of money and storage space. Piles of European houses, that would not be used for anything else I do, would take a lot of space and money.

So I suddenly thought, ‘Pacific war!’

Trees, trees, and more trees.

I know there’ll be some out there who will object and say the figures aren’t wearing Marine issue equipment. Quite frankly, I couldn’t give a monkey’s. Once painted, especially in that duck-hunter camouflage the Marines wore, I reckoned no one would be able to tell.

So I went for it.

They were given an all-over spray of khaki. Flesh and weapons were given a base-coat of a chocolate brown colour. I then washed all webbing and weapons with GW’s agrax earthshade. I use VMJ medium flesh for…er…flesh. The wooden bits on the guns were picked out with GW’s Bestial Brown (or whatever they now call it). The webbing was given a base-coat made from a mix of khaki and mid green, and a bit of white was added for highlights.

For the uniforms I decided to mix it up a bit to create a rag-tag look. Some would be in green, some in duck-hunter, some in a mix of the two. For the green just choose your favourite olive drab colour. For the camouflage the base colour was a 50/50 mix of khaki and white. And then blobs of chocolate brown and mid-green were randomly dotted all over.

The sprues themselves give a good mix of poses. I managed to get a good variety, even better with a slight bit of chopping up. I’ve given each squad a sergeant (armed with a Thompson), two BARs, and nine M1-armed infantry.

I also scratch-built a flamethrower using bits from the sprue.

The motivation is still there so I’m making head-way in painting these whilst I can. I will need a few more to complete a platoon. And I will also have to get some Japanese. So an order to Warlord will be made later in the year.

By the time it’s all done and ready it will likely be 2020, so for next year some WW2 games will be in the offing.

Air War Germany 1944

Our new Society campaign for 2019 kicked off with the first day of gaming yesterday.

The campaign uses GMT Games “Bomber Command” board game (see https://www.gmtgames.com/p-302-bomber-command.aspx) to set up tactical actions, which are then played out using 1/600 aircraft from the Tumbling Dice range (see http://www.tumblingdiceuk.com/product-category/1600) and GMT Games “Nightfighter” rules (see https://www.gmtgames.com/p-233-nightfighter.aspx).  The action is set in early 1944 and the Bomber Command Force is controlled by the Umpire.

The Bomber Command Force. Lancaster MkI/IIIs of A and B Flights, 460 Squadron RAAF and 4 De Havilland Mosquito Mk IV bombers of 692 Squadron

In our first session the five German players each commanded their own JagdDivision of Night Fighters, aiming to intercept the incoming bomber Command raids that night.

The NachtJagd force. From left to right – Bottom: five Messerschmitt Bf-109 G6s of JagdGeschwader 300, 301 and 302 and one 262 B-1a/U1 of NachtJagdGeschwader 11.  Middle Messerschmitt Bf110s – four G4 and one F4.  Top: five Junkers Ju88 C6s of NachtJagdGeschwader 1-5

The Germans were lulled into a bit of a false sense of security as they did not spot any incoming raids until turn 3.  The air picture then clarified and the main force raid was identified using a northern route, with a mosquito raid to the south and two other diversionary raids emerging from the main force attack.

Junkers Ju88 C6 radar equipped night fighters of the NachtJagdGeschwader

The first unit to strike were the Ju-88 C-6 of Mike’s II Gruppe, NJG3, which had been placed on overwatch under control of the defensive radar chain in Northern Germany.  They attacked as the Main Force Raid Lancasters passed over the radar line.  However, this unit had been dispersed by the poor weather on take off, reducing its impact.

Lancaster MkI/IIIs of A Flight, 460 Squadron RAAF. The Lancaster had become the main type of heavy bomber in Bomber Command by 1944. “D Dog” was crewed as a Mid-Upper Air Gunner by the Society Treasurer’s father, then RAF Sergeant Ray Harris in 1945

Fighters were given only a very general indication of where the bombers were by their heavily jammed ground radar and mainly relied on their own airborne radar to find targets.  However, only 2 of the players had the new sets that were free from British jamming.

In the action that followed, it was Chris that got in the first attack, badly damaging Lancaster C for Charlie in a hasty attack.  However, he’d picked the wrong plane to mess with and his Ju88 was shot down by return fire from the defending gunners.

The first air to air attack. Lancaster ‘C for Charlie’ is winged, but shoots down the attacking Ju88 C6 of Chris

Next up was Bob, who homed in on Lancaster E for Easy.  However, this plane’s gunners were really on alert and they opened fire first and shot the Ju88 down before it had a chance to land any hits.

The second air to air attack. Lancaster ‘E for Easy’ plays a blinder and shoots down the attacking Ju88 C6 of ‘Experten’ rated Bob

However, at last the NachtJagd managed to get off the scoreboard as John locked on to Lancaster H for How, damaging the target on his first pass.  A second pass shot the Lancaster down.  The gunners never saw what hit them.

The first score for the NachtJagd as ‘H for How’ is shot down by the attacking Ju88 C6 of John

With the first attack completed the players returned to the raid map.  Here diversionary Mosquito raids were beginning to hit their targets in Duisburg, Witten and Hamburg.    The Duisburg raiders got clean away without being intercepted.  However, the only unit equipped with high-speed specialised He-219 A-2 Night Fighters, Chairman John’s  I Gruppe NJG1, was now placed on overwatch in the radar line astride their return route and were vectored in to attack the Mosquitos that had raided Witten.  The Ju-88s and Me-110s in the air in the area were too slow to catch the Mosquitos.

De Havilland Mosquito Mk IV bombers of 692 Squadron, part of the Light Night Striking Force. These delivered small high level raids as diversions from Main Force raids. They were unarmed and relied on their speed to escape interception.

In this second action the unarmed Mosquito Mk IVs played a cat and mouse game as the Heinkels tried to home in on their targets, relying on their speed for protection.  Mike managed to get into position to make a power dive to pounce on one of the raiders, but his approach was spotted and the Mosquito attempted to shake him off with a corkscrew turn.  Mike second guessed this and followed the Mosquito through the turn, then shot it down with a well-aimed burst, as it began a second corkscrew evasion.

The raid will continue at the next session in April.

At the end of session 1 the league table points scored are as follows (it is worth noting that the Germans were stupendously unlucky in their dice rolls to lose 2 Night Fighters in air to air combat):

Mike (2JD)                       3            +2 for Mosquito shot down, +1 for GCI attack

Chairman John (3JD)  2             +1 for Lancaster shot down, +1 for GCI attack

Dave (1JD)                        0             no gains, no losses

Chris (7JD)                     -1.5       +.5 for Lancaster damaged, -2 for Ju88 shot down

Bob (4JD)                         -2         -2 for Ju88 shot down