Achtung – Spitfire !

From officer commanding 9.KG76, Hauptmann Joachim Roth.

Two flights of bombers (6 x Do17) from 9. KG76 were designated to target the power station and one flight (3 x Do17) were assigned to the sidings; all escorted by 4 Bf109E from 8. JG51with another 4 Bf109E flying independently.

As we neared the targets two fighters broke off to get behind the approaching Spitfires. However, we were surprised that the Spitfires grouped up and attacked the fighters and not the bombers as expected.
Our fighters were soon losing numbers fast however this gave the bombers a clearer run at the targets. All of the bombers released their bombs over the assigned targets; however accuracy was not particularly good.

Our fighters took a number of wrong turns and were not as effective as they should have been especially against the tight turns of the Spitfires. Eventually 3 of our Do17s assigned to the power station attack and all our fighters were destroyed; the remaining bombers, one of which was severely damaged, broke off and headed for home.

Scramble Spitfires

Squadron Leader Hetherington – Smythe, CO 602 Sqn – Tangmere

The squadron was scrambled along with Hurricanes from 213 Sqn to intercept a raid into southern England. We were vectored onto the raiders numbering some 18 bombers with numerous escorting fighters.

We climbed to high altitude with two flights providing top cover. The Hurricanes were at lower altitude to the west. The raiders were in two more or less equal groups. The Hurricanes went for the western group, whilst 602 moved to engage the Eastern group. Initial contact with this group was on our 11:00 someway below us. The initial contact made interception tricky as we would approach nearly head on. Using our height and speed advantage the squadron moved to the SW with a view to engaging from the beam and stern of the group. However, the loose escorting fighters were going to be a problem. Therefore, the squadron was kept concentrated and focused on the escorting fighters. We managed to overwhelm them destroying seven and damaging one for two damaged Spitfires. This took time and the bombers were able to reach their target with minimal losses, one destroyed and one lightly damaged. The Hurricanes trying to concentrate on the bombers suffered at the hands of the escorting fighters.

It is suggested that the Duxford Big Wing concept is developed so that our fighters engage both the escorts and the bombers. I considered joining the Hurricanes in engaging the western group, at the time going for the closer group seemed the way ahead. On reflection the Spitfires concentrating on the western fighters would most likely have allowed the Hurricanes to deal with the bombers more effectively.

Paul had to leave early so Andy took over 602 Sqn.

The squadron continued to attack the Do17s and their escorting Me109s as they turned for home, eventually shooting down the last Me109 and three of the nine Do17’s. Part of the Squadron headed west to assist the Hurricanes of 213 Sqn. Only one plane from 602 Sqn was shot down, LO-J.

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.

What Have The Romans Ever Done For Us?

At the next meeting we are having a game of Sword & Spear. We’ve played it couple of times and really enjoy the game. What’s so good is that both sides are involved in the game at all times, so you don’t have to just sit back and take a good kicking without being able to do anything about it.

It’s going to be a 15mm game with Romans against Sarmatians. So ahead of the game I’ve been building some Roman buildings – a camp, a villa, and a couple of houses. All to help create that Roman feel to the games table.

All buildings are scratchbuilt to 15mm scale/height/however-you-want-to-think-about-it. Made from a variety of bits and pieces – cocktail sticks, milliput, balsa, card, foamboard, and some filler.
Then just a matter of slapping some paint on. I decided to give them a bit of external colour. We know the Romans painted the inside of their buildings and I decided to elaborate on that and give the outside some decoration as well. I’m pretty sure they would have done as well.

If you fancy giving Sword & Spear a go then pop along and you’d be more than welcome to join in – whether you see yourself as a mounted barbarian from the Black Sea, or a Provost from the hills of Rome!

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.

Viva Mexico !

More Andy King updates today – he’s been busy !

Another contingent of Mexican republican troops, an Officer, a Dismounted Cavalryman and 6 x Soldiers. These are all from the Wargames Foundry Maximillian range.

And some more villagers from the Old West range, 4 men and 4 women. Some of them might also see service as artillery crew for a Poorly Drilled Field Gun in The Men Who Would Be Kings games.

These were grey undercoated (ran out of black) then block painted in acrylics, washed with AP tone washes and matt varnished. Fiddliest bit was the officer’s cuff lace.

More LotR Goblins

Another To-Do list update from Andy King…

Last instalment for the Moria Goblin force are two bases of smaller spiders. These came from a Tesco Halloween novelty pack, around 50 spiders for £1. They are not that big, around 20mm across the legs, so only room for 2 on a 40mm base. I only wanted 2 more bases, and didn’t want another full pack of Copplestone spiders.

The paint job is similar to their larger cousins, a dark brown basecoat followed by drybrushing lighter shades of brown. Leg segments, eyes, pincers and body spots were then added.

I’ve also finished three Khazâd Guard Dwarves, there were E-bay purchases and were partly painted when I bought them.

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.

‘Coming Soon…

The quaint, and peaceful, medieval port of Stephenshaven. Quaint and peaceful for the time being only!

This is my work-in-progress for one of the games at this year’s Open Day on June 23rd. It will feature a full table (6’x4′) medieval port!
The game will be set during the Hundred’s Year War and will be a French raid on an English town, or maybe an English raid on a French town.
I will be using the Lion Rampant rules and any visitors will be welcome to join in for a game.
If you fancy a go then come along to the Open Day where you will be welcome to join in my game or any of the others that members will be putting on.
Right, back to the scalpel and paint brushes for me…