Saturday, 20 January 2018

Mers el Kebir converted to Italian option

Just in case the French ships aren't available, we can do it with the Italian fleet.  I've looked at the points value for comparison.

Aircraft - use Macchi C.201 instead of Curtiss H-75.

Coastal batteries - 2 x  4 x 15" guns (ouch!).

French Ships

  • Mogador – destroyer (Mogador class) (7.5)
  • Volta – destroyer (Mogador class) (7.5)
  • Terrible – destroyer (Fantastique class) (5)
  • Kersaint – destroyer (Vacquelin class) (5)
  • Lynx – destroyer (Chacal class) (5)
  • Tigre – destroyer (Chacal class) (5)

Trying to balance these out, I'd suggest the following (as I have the ships!)

1 x Cavour class BC : (39)
1 x Doria class BC : (36)
1 x Littorio class : (56)
2 x Trento class cruiser (14)

4 x Navagatori destroyers (5)
2 Etna Class cruisers (7)

The Littorio will add a bit of bite for the Italians as well as an element of survivability.  Similarly the coastal guns will give the British pause for thought!

A Bridge too far ?

1.       The rout thru Holland to Arnhem was difficult when going cross country due to the terrain which was polder with lots of drainage ditches. All movement by vehicles is at half rate, unless on the road which is at normal rate plus road bonus.
2.       All woods and hills on table 3B are replaced with multiple village sectors to simulate the urban sprawl of Arnhem. The original town sectors for 3B will still be represented with outskirts, all other built up areas will be multiple village blocks with a max platoon limit of 4 per square sector. This will make 3B one big city fight.
3.       All entry points to adjacent tables will correspond with the exit point of the last table. Entry to 3B from 3A and 1B will be as per map i.e. right half of 3A to left half of 3B and left half of 1B to right half of 3B.
4.       The bridge on table 2B has been rigged with explosives and will explode on a 4+ when allied elements contact the bridge, an engineer may defuse the explosives by being stationary for 1 turn by the bridge. If there are any axis elements within 3” of the bridge it will explode on a 3+ when the allies reach it.
5.       Allied airborne elements will drop on turn 1 using the standard paratrooper deployment. Airborne elements may be held back but will have to have a turn No and drop point allocated prior to turn 1.
6.       There will be 1No standard (no attachments) volks grenadier battalion at the town in 1C and a small garrison at the airfield. Paras’s dropping on the airfield as part of turn 1 deployment will suffer D3 attacks from the AA emplacement. (AI v AI).
7.       The volks grenadier battalions and infantry regiment will enter from the sides of tables 1A, 2A, 3A, 1D, 2D, 1B. 1No random fighting battalion will arrive each turn and a roll of a D8 will indicate the table entry (7 and 8 no show). The battalions do not have to enter that turn if not desired by the axis player and will go back into supply for another turn. This will simulate the randomness of the axis response in a supposedly quite sector.
8.       The axis panzer division is off table beyond 3B and will not respond until any battalion, axis or allied enters table 3B (Must be more than 75% of battalion). When this happens on the very next turn the axis player can release I fighting battalion per turn onto table 3B via the road.
9.       Line of supply rules are in effect. If there are no opposing elements on a table then the line of supply is blocked in either direction, if enemy elements are on the same table then a 12” gap which no enemy can trace direct fire too must exist for units to be in supply ( out of supply = -1 shooting and -1 close combat)
10.   The allies will automatically win if they can get an armoured regiment off table 3B, otherwise it is points per table as usual.

Shit!!! who rolled a 4

Comments and suggestions please

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Naval Scenario #11 - Mers el Kebir

3rd July 1940.  

The Attack on Mers-el-Kébir (3 July 1940) also known as the Battle of Mers-el-Kébir, was part of Operation Catapult. The operation was a British naval attack on French Navy ships at the base at Mers El Kébir on the coast of French Algeria. The bombardment killed 1,297 French servicemen, sank a battleship and damaged five ships, for a British loss of five aircraft shot down and two crewmen killed.

The combined air-and-sea attack was conducted by the Royal Navy after the Second Armistice at Compiègne between Germany and France on 22 June. The only continental ally of Britain had been replaced by a government administered from Vichy, which inherited the French navy (Marine Nationale). Of particular significance to the British were the seven battleships of the Bretagne, Dunkerque and Richelieu classes, the second largest force of capital ships in Europe after the Royal Navy. The British War Cabinet feared that France would hand the ships to the Kriegsmarine, giving the Axis an advantage in the Battle of the Atlantic. Admiral François Darlan, commander of the French Navy, promised the British that the fleet would remain under French control but Winston Churchill and the War Cabinet judged that the fleet was too powerful to risk an Axis take-over.

Ships : 

Royal Navy

French Navy (Marine Nationale)


Assume an 8x6 table with long edges denoting North and South.  Set up the French fleet about 2' up from the South end of the table.  

Force H comes from the North side of the table.

Coastal guns are in effect from Fort Santon and Fort Mers-el-Kebir. 

Aircraft are Swordfish and Skuas for the British, Curtiss H-75 fighters for the French.  

Swordfish can drop magnetic mines and/or torpedoes but not in the same attack.  

All French ships are stationary at the start of the battle.  Surprise by the British will mean that the French ships can only respond after d3+2 turns (3-5 turns).  Roll individually for each capital ship.

Coastal guns can return fire after 3 turns.  Assume equivalent of 13.5" guns - 2 per fort.  British ships can engage the forts coastal guns (check GQ rules).

Response means both returning fire and moving.  Note the tight confines of the harbour and the necessity of not fouling on the defensive boom means that French ships will move at a maximum 1/4 of their maximum speed until clear of the boom.

Ships can exit the boom in single file (capital ships) or side by side (destroyers).  If the British have mined the boom exit, roll for mine attacks for ships exiting the boom.

Once out of the boom French ships can aim to escape from any table edge.

Objectives / victory conditions

Sink / cripple 3 or more French capital ships

Have 3 capital ships escape off table.

Referees Notes

The French player(s) will be up against it from the start so make it clear that they are not expected to win by engaging the British fleet directly but to escape to fight another day (although they will need to fight in the escape if only to reduce the amount of incoming fire!).  It is recommended to have more stoic players play the French.

Alternative Scenarios
a) The French have advance warning of British intentions and get underway from the end of Turn 1 

b) French warships dispatched from Toulon and Algiers in a reprise attack engage Force H as it returns to Gibraltar.  The French fleet consists of the remaining three battleships of the main classes of the French fleet with commensurate cruiser and destroyer escorts.  British ships are any remaining (and carrying over the damage) from the scenario above.

French ships at Mers el Kebir

Mogador runs aground after being hit by a 15 inch shell

Strasbourg under fire

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Naval Scenario #10 - Rodina

Note : points factors based on General Quarters 2 attack and defence factors added together.  Pints are in parentheses.  Message for Russ, Ian, Mark and Jon - this will be the scenario for Thursday

1943.  The Russians are riding on the back of their stunning victory at Stalingrad and on all fronts the German forces are being pushed back.  Stalin has decreed that it time for the Soviet navy to add its strength to the struggle - for too long the naval forces have sat behind minefields and let the Germans control the Baltic.  No more!  Orders are received to roam into the Baltic and sink any German ships (or those of their allies).  An opportunity has arisen to do so - a major convoy heading from Gdansk into Turku to supply armaments and other supplies into Finland.


Alas, it is a cunning ruse cooked up by the Abwehr.  Not a merchant convoy but a heavily armed squadron comprising some of the best remaining German ships afloat and a new type of destroyer.  

But Russia has its own effective spy network and they too know the composition of the forces ranged against them.

In the desperation of all-out war, there can be no compromise.  Make no mistake, this will be a battle to the death!

8x6 table.  Denote one wide edge north and the other south.  Germans enter from the South. Russians from the North East corner.  Place all ships within 12" of their entry point in whatever formation you choose.


Special Rules
Russians have initiative at the start of the battle.

Visibility is good (bright winters day)

Russian Forces
Battlecruiser - Sevestapol (44)

Cruisers - Kirov (11), Krasny Krim (9), Kasny Kavaz (9), Chervona Ukrania (9)

Destroyers - 4 Leningrad class destroyers (18 points)

Total : 100 points

German Forces

Battlecruiser - Scharnhorst (34) 

Pocket Battleship - Lutzow (18) 

Cruisers - Prinz Eugen (17), Nurnberg (9), Leipzig (9)

Destroyers - 3 x 1942 type (12 points)

Total : 100 points

Victory conditions
Russians - sink the Scharnhorst and any two major ships 

Germans - sink the Sevastapol and any two cruisers.

If time runs out, whichever side is closest to their victory condition wins.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Battle of Coronel 1914

We're getting back into some naval wargaming using General Quarters (which is - from experience - a much better rule set than Victory at Sea).  We're digging out the WW1 fleets for these and played Dogger Bank on Thursday (which ended as a draw although the German ships - as would be expected - took a battering from the superior Royal Navy forces with only the Derflinger escaping relatively unscathed.

Still, a chance now for the German Navy to exact revenge as next Thursday we're doing the Battle of Coronel.

The Battle of Coronel was a First World War Imperial German Naval victory over the Royal Navy on 1 November 1914, off the coast of central Chile near the city of Coronel. The East Asia Squadron (Ostasiengeschwader or Kreuzergeschwader) of the Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial German Navy) led by Vice-Admiral Graf Maximilian von Spee met and defeated the British West Indies Squadron commanded by Rear-Admiral Sir Christopher Cradock.

The engagement probably took place as a result of misunderstandings. Neither admiral expected to meet the other in full force. Once the two met, Cradock understood his orders were to fight to the end, despite the odds heavily against him. Although Spee had an easy victory, destroying two enemy armoured cruisers for just three men injured, the engagement also cost him almost half his supply of ammunition, which was irreplaceable. Shock at the British losses led the Admiralty to send more ships including two modern battlecruisers, which in turn destroyed Spee and the majority of his squadron on 8 December at the Battle of the Falkland Islands.

The Royal Navy and the Royal Australian Navy, with assistance from other Allied naval and land forces in the Far East, had captured the German colonies of Kaiser-Wilhelmsland, Yap, Nauru and Samoa early in the war, instead of searching for the German East Asiatic Squadron (Vice-Admiral Maximilian von Spee), which had abandoned its base at the German concession at Tsingtao in China, in the expectation of war with Japan. The East Asiatic Squadron rendezvoused at Pagan Island in the Marianas (early August 1914) and Japan entered the war against Germany on 23 August 1914. Spee intended to establish a temporary domination of the Pacific, paralysing commerce. Eventually, recognising the German squadron's potential for commerce raiding in the Pacific, the British Admiralty decided to destroy the squadron and searched the western Pacific Ocean after the East Asiatic Squadron had conducted the Bombardment of Papeete (22 September 1914), where a French steamer reported its presence.

The German squadron leaves their Chilean port

On 4 October 1914, the British learned from intercepted radio messages that Spee planned to attack shipping on the trade routes along the west coast of South America. Having correctly guessed the intention of the German commander, Rear-Admiral Sir Christopher Cradock patrolled the area with the 4th Cruiser Squadron, consisting of the armoured cruisers HMS Good Hope (flagship) and HMS Monmouth, the modern light cruiser HMS Glasgow, three other light cruisers, HMS Otranto a converted liner and two other armed merchantmen. The Admiralty had planned to reinforce the squadron by sending the newer and more powerful armoured cruiser HMS Defence from the Mediterranean but temporarily diverted this ship to patrol the western Atlantic. Defence reached Montevideo two days after the battle and instead, Cradock received the pre-dreadnought battleship HMS Canopus.

The change of plan meant that the British squadron comprised obsolete or under-armed vessels, crewed by inexperienced naval reservists.[citation needed] Monmouth and Good Hope possessed a large number of 6-inch guns but only Good Hope was equipped with two 9.2-inch guns mounted in single turrets. Spee had a formidable force of five modern vessels (the armoured cruisers SMS Scharnhorst and Gneisenau and the light cruisers SMS Dresden, Leipzig and Nürnberg), led by officers hand-picked by Grand Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz.

Scharnhorst and Gneisenau carried eight 8.2-inch guns each, which gave them an overwhelming advantage in range and firepower; the crews of both ships had earned accolades for their gunnery before the war.


The Admiralty ordered Cradock to "be prepared to meet them in company", with no effort made to clarify what action he was expected to take should he find Spee. On receiving his orders, Cradock asked the Admiralty for permission to split his fleet into two forces, each able to face Spee independently. The two groups would operate on the east and west coasts of South America to counter the possibility of Spee slipping past Cradock and raiding into the Atlantic Ocean. The Admiralty agreed and established the east coast squadron (Rear-Admiral Archibald Stoddart), consisting of three cruisers and two armed merchantmen.

The remaining vessels formed the west coast squadron, which was reinforced by Canopus on 18 October. Reprieved from scrapping by the outbreak of war and badly in need of overhaul, Canopus had a top speed of only 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph), about two-thirds her design speed and just over half that of the remainder of the squadron. (After the fleet sailed, it was found that the ship could make 16 kn (30 km/h; 18 mph) and that the senior engineer was mentally ill.)

The Admiralty agreed that with Canopus the fleet would be too slow to force an engagement with the German cruisers and that without Canopus the west coast squadron stood no chance. Cradock sailed from the Falklands on 20 October, still under the impression that Defence would soon arrive and with Admiralty orders to attack German merchant ships and to seek out the East Asiatic Squadron. As the British squadron rounded Cape Horn, wireless transmissions from Leipzig increased in power and it seemed that the British would catch the ship while isolated but Spee had made rendezvous with Leipzig on 14 October and had enforced wireless silence on the other ships.

On 31 October, Glasgow entered Coronel harbour to collect messages and news from the British consul. Also in harbour was a supply ship—Göttingen—working for Spee, which immediately radioed with the news of the British ship entering harbour. Glasgow was listening to radio traffic, which suggested that German warships were close. Matters were confused, because the German ships had been instructed to all use the same call sign, that of Leipzig. Spee decided to move his ships to Coronel, to trap Glasgow, while Admiral Cradock hurried north to catch Leipzig. Neither side realised the other's main force was nearby.

The Battle

At 09:15 on 1 November, Glasgow left port to meet Cradock at noon, 40 mi (34.8 nmi; 64.4 km) west of Coronel. Seas were stormy so that it was impossible to send a boat between the ships to deliver the messages, which had to be transferred on a line floated in the sea. At 13:50, the ships formed into a line of battle 15 mi (13.0 nmi; 24.1 km) apart and started to steam north at 10 nautical miles (19 km; 12 mi) searching for Leipzig. At 16:17 Leipzig accompanied by the other German ships, spotted smoke from the line of British ships. Spee ordered full speed so that Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Leipzig were approaching the British at 20 nautical miles (37 km; 23 mi), with the slower light cruisers Dresden and Nürnberg some way behind.

At 16:20, Glasgow and Otranto saw smoke to the north and then three ships at a range of 12 mi (10.4 nmi; 19.3 km). The British reversed direction, so that both fleets were moving south, and a chase began which lasted 90 minutes. Cradock was faced with a choice; he could either take his three cruisers capable of 20 kn (23 mph; 37 km/h), abandon Otranto and run from the Germans, or stay and fight with Otranto, which could only manage 16 kn (18 mph; 30 km/h). The German ships slowed at a range of 15,000 yd (13,720 m) to reorganise themselves for best positions, and to await best visibility, when the British to their west would be outlined against the setting sun.

At 17:10, Cradock decided he must fight, and drew his ships closer together. He changed course to south-east and attempted to close upon the German ships while the sun remained high. Spee declined to engage and turned his faster ships away, maintaining the distance between the forces which sailed roughly parallel at a distance of 14,000 yd (12,800 m). At 18:18, Cradock again attempted to close, steering directly towards the enemy, which once again turned away to a greater range of 18,000 yd (16,460 m). At 18:50, the sun set; Spee closed to 12,000 yd (10,970 m) and commenced firing.

The German ships had sixteen 21 cm (8 in) guns of comparable range to the two 9.2 in (234 mm) guns on Good Hope. One of these was hit within five minutes of the engagement's starting. Of the remaining 6 in (152 mm) guns on the British ships, most were in casemates along the sides of the ships, which continually flooded if the gun doors were opened to fire in heavy seas. The merchant cruiser Otranto—having only 4 in (100 mm) guns and being a much larger target than the other ships—retired west at full speed.

With the British 6 in (152 mm) guns having insufficient range to match the German 21 cm (8 in) guns, Cradock attempted to close on the German ships. By 19:30, he had reached 6,000 yd (5,490 m) but as he closed, the German fire became correspondingly more accurate. Good Hope and Monmouth caught fire, presenting easy targets to the German gunners now that darkness had fallen, whereas the German ships had disappeared into the dark. Monmouth was first to be silenced. Good Hope continued firing, continuing to close on the German ships and receiving more and more fire. By 19:50, she had also ceased firing; subsequently her forward section exploded, then she broke apart and sank, with no-one witness to the sinking.

Scharnhorst switched firing towards Monmouth while Gneisenau joined Leipzig and Dresden which had been engaging Glasgow. The German light cruisers had only 10.5 cm (4 in) guns, which had left Glasgow relatively unscathed but these were now joined by the 21 cm (8 in) guns of Gneisenau.

John Luce, captain of Glasgow, determined that nothing was to be gained by staying and attempting to fight. It was noticed that each time he fired, the flash of his guns was used by the Germans to aim a new salvo, so he also ceased firing. One compartment of the ship was flooded but she could still manage 24 kn (28 mph; 44 km/h). He returned first to Monmouth, which was now dark but still afloat. Nothing was to be done for the ship, which was sinking slowly but would attempt to beach on the Chilean coast. Glasgow turned south and departed.

There was some confusion amongst the German ships as to the fate of the two armoured cruisers, which had disappeared into the dark once they ceased firing, and a hunt began. Leipzig saw something burning, but on approaching found only wreckage. Nürnberg—slower than the other German ships—arrived late at the battle and sighted Monmouth, listing and badly damaged but still moving. After pointedly directing his searchlights at the ship's ensign, an invitation to surrender—which was declined—he opened fire, finally sinking the ship. Without firm information, Spee decided that Good Hope had escaped and called off the search at 22:15. Mindful of the reports that a British battleship was around somewhere, he turned north.

With no survivors from either Good Hope or Monmouth, 1,600 British officers and men were dead, including Admiral Cradock.

HMS Good Hope

Glasgow and Otranto both escaped (the former suffering five hits and five wounded men). Just two shells had struck Scharnhorst, neither of which exploded: one 6-inch shell hit above the armour belt and penetrated to a storeroom where, in Spee's words, "the creature just lay there as a kind of greeting." Another struck a funnel. In return, Scharnhorst had managed at least 35 hits on Good Hope, but at the expense of 422 21 cm (8 in) shells, leaving her with 350. Four shells had struck Gneisenau, one of which nearly flooded the officers' wardroom. A shell from Glasgow struck her after turret and temporarily knocked it out.Three of Gneisenau's men were wounded; she expended 244 of her shells and had 528 left.

Spee commented on the British tactics. He had been misinformed that the battleship Canopus sighted in the area was a relatively modern Queen class battleship, whereas it was similar appearing, old and barely seaworthy Canopus-class battleship but had four 12-inch and ten 6-inch guns. Spee believed he would have lost the engagement had all the British ships been together. Despite his victory he was pessimistic with regard to the real harm done to the British navy and also to his own chances of survival. Cradock had been less convinced of the value of Canopus, which was too slow at 12 knots to allow his other ships freedom of movement and was manned only by inexperienced reservists.

The official explanation of the defeat as presented to the House of Commons by Winston Churchill stated: "feeling he could not bring the enemy immediately to action as long as he kept with Canopus, he decided to attack them with his fast ships alone, in the belief that even if he himself were destroyed... he would inflict damage on them which ...would lead to their certain subsequent destruction."

On 3 November, Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Nürnberg entered Valparaiso harbour to a welcome by the German population. Spee refused to join in the celebrations; when presented with a bouquet of flowers, he refused them, commenting that "these will do nicely for my grave". He was to die with most of the men on his ships approximately one month later at the Battle of the Falkland Islands, on 8 December 1914.

Note to Russ : Looking at my German Fleet I only appear to have Scharnhorst and not Gneisenau.  Got Dresden, Leipzig and Nurnberg.  May have to use a Magdeburg class instead.

Monday, 1 January 2018

The Battle Of Dogger Bank 24th January 1915

I managed to find my missing turn indicators for General Quarters WW1 so I will be putting on the historical scenario of Dogger Bank this Thursday at the club.

The background for the battle is as follows......

On January 23rd 1915, Rear Admiral Hipper was ordered to scout the Dogger Bank region of the North Sea and attack any British light forces in the region. He sailed with the 1st and 2nd scouting groups of three battlecruisers, the large armoured cruiser Blucher and four light cruisers. Unfortunately, the order to Hipper was intercepted and decoded by the British and Vice-Admiral Beatty and his battlecruiser, light cruiser and destroyer force was ordered to rendezvous at Dogger Bank.

The British units left port only minutes after the German fleet.

At day break of 24th January the German light cruiser Kolberg sighted and exchanged fire with the British light cruiser Aurora. Hipper turned his heavy units towards the firing thinking there were only light enemy units in the area. Almost immediately upon turning, the smoke from Beatty's battlecruisers was spotted but Hipper at first thought they were battleships, which he could easily outrun. By the time he realised they were battlecruisers, the range had already dropped to 25,000 yards and the battle was on!

Fleets: The Kaiserliche Marine players start with SMS Seydlitz, SMS Moltke and SMS Derflinger battlecruisers with SMS Blucher armoured cruiser.

The Royal Navy players start with two Lion class battlecruisers (HMS Lion & HMS Princess Royal)
One Invincible class battlecruiser (HMS Indomitable), HMS New Zealand battlecruiser and one Tiger class battlecruiser

Game Length: The game will last 10 turns

Victory & Defeat: If one fleet manages to destroy the other, that side may claim outright victory. If the Kaiserliche Marine players can survive for eight turns they may claim a partial victory only if they have sunk or damaged at least as many ships as they have lost. 

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Battle of Worcester 1651

A few shots of the game on Saturday.  Phil took the Royalists whilst Russ commanded the forces of Parliament.

I've used the old pictures from the game I played last year against  Mark.

King Charles I is dead, executed by Parliament which is dominated by the army under Cromwell.  However, the country is ill at ease, and his son has returned to Edinburgh, accepted the covenant of the Scottish Kirk and been crowned King of Scotland.  With command of the army of the Solemn League and Covenant he heads south, hopeful of Royalist support in England and Wales, and with the intention of securing his father's crown and punishing the regicides.  However, Cromwell is determined that there will be no return of the king, shadows the Scots army and forces them to battle at Worcester.  The future of Britain is about to be determined.

Worcester at the top, with the Severn stretching southwards

Phil's outclassed and out numbered Scots held Worcester under King Charles, whilst a detachment under Montgomery held crossing points across the river Teme to the south of the city.  Cavalry under Leslie were kept in reserve to support either flank

Fleetwood manoeuvres towards the Teme whilst Cromwell advances in support from the right.

Russ' troops were divided between three contingents.  Lambert held a besieging force close to Worcester along the high ground astride the Stratford Road.  Fleetwood was positioned to the south of the Teme whilst Cromwell with the main Parliamentarian force was between both commands with a pontoon across the Severn ready to intervene against either Royalist flank.

The Scots fight hard to prevent the Parliamentarians from crossing the pontoons.

Phil, aware of his weaker position, had resolved on a bold plan.  He placed Montgomery in a forward position at the confluence of the Teme and Severn, hoping to encourage Cromwell's force to actively support an attack with Fleetwood.  Once Russ had committed Cromwell, Phil would then order Charles supported by Leslie to attack Lambert and win the battle outside the walls of Worcester.

Fort Royal protects the main gate to Worcester.  The Royalists attack Lambert with artillery support from this advanced stronghold.

Russ took the bait, but his organised and methodical attack annihilated Montgomery, despite a tenacious defence.  Cromwell's support enabled Fleetwood to cross the Teme and threaten the southern approaches to Worcester.

Meanwhile, Phil took the opportunity to march out of Worcester and smash Lambert.  This was exactly the approach Charles took in the real battle, but unfortunately for him Leslie refused to support the attack and as a result he wasn't able to exploit his initial successes before Cromwell dashed north to intervene.  Phil suffered no such misfortune and by the end of the day the road to Stratford was open. 

The result of our game was a draw.  Phil still had two roads open for his army to retire along and his main command was relatively intact.  Russ had destroyed the Scots along the Teme and was confident that another day of battle would lead to success. 

A great game intelligently and boldly played by both sides.