Monday, 28 March 2016

US Navy film. Aerial bombardment of WW1 vintage ships in 1920

Some interesting stuff here.  Use of chemical and phosphorous weapons as well as an aerially deployed smoke curtain and a 2000 lb bomb that sinks a German battleship in seconds!

Sinking of the Yamato

For Jon and Mark ..... Japanese ships are NOT invincible 😀

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Every single ship the German's had (or planned to have) in WW1

Incredible - ship plans, stats, pics, etc.  I will be perusing this with interest...

Friday, 25 March 2016

Battles of Coronel and the Falkland Islands

Classic film of these two ww1 battles.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Battle for Leros

A little greener than I would imagine, but that's generic terrain for you.  If you look carefully an Arado floatplane attempts to scout the dock area.

A sneak preview of the Good Friday game.  Its November 1943 and Italy has changed sides and joined the Allies.  The sleepy port of Leros, outpost of the defeated Italian Empire is about to be attacked.  Russ will be taking charge of the newly arrived British garrison and their recently acquired Italian friends!  Mark and Phil will command the adhoc German invasion force.

Can the British lead the Italians against the combined might of the Wehrmacht, Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine?

Monday, 21 March 2016

Ship Data - Germany

Phil - German ship data, you should be able to zoom in on these to get the info.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

A few additions to the German fleets

Finally got my copy of General Quarters from Navwar - together with a collection of WW1 and WW2 German ships.

Supposed to be the WW2 Blucher (sister of the Hipper) but Navwar sent the wrong one. I'm keeping it anyway because a) I don't have it and b) why not!?
Experimental WW1 German battleship.  Never built but that will never stop me!  8 x 42cm guns - whoop whoop!

Another experimental WW1 German ship.  Heavily armed and quick with it.

WW2 - Admiral Hipper Basic cruiser but with spotter aircraft to extend effective range.  Plus loads of torpedoes.
The Graf Spee - early WW2 German.  11" guns give it some hitting power compared to most cruisers armed with 8" guns.
Graf Spee's sister ship the Admiral Scheer.  With aircraft.

H44 Frederich der Grosse.  With the Hipper for scale.  Monster of a ship with 8 x 20" guns!!  Horrendous hitting power at all ranges (and 6 spotter aircraft).  A monster.  Never built but imagine if it had been! 

Friday, 18 March 2016

Admiral Dwane Pipe triumphs again

Last Night saw the US navy take on the Italian fleet in support of their Mediterranean landings
We both had 150 points limiting BA and BB ships to one per 100 points

The US fleet turn to engage

Mark is told to keep the US plan to himself!!!

Italian commander Phil keeps a brave face as he has his toe nails removed

Russ explaining how to fire the gun to his troops
"Boys all you need is a critical followed by a nine followed by a six"
"here let me show you"
 US fleet closes for action, battle ship "North Carolina" ready to "dish out the lead"
notice the fancy splash markers, Russ had to sell his house to buy these and now lives in the terrain cupboard.
 Italian fleet advancing towards the enemy (a novel move by the Italians)
Notice the battleship on the right there, don't blink
 And there it was gone
(Refer to Russ's instruction on gun firing)
Pride of the Italian fleet

 Phil's toe nails being used as splash markers
 Phil's dice rolling, after this he asked for an American visa

End game, Italian fleet took a bit of a battering with their DD's not getting into torpedo range
Largest Italian ship at the end of the night

We tried out Phil's alternative torpedo rules which did work and didn't seem to alter the feel of the  battle
When using multiple ships firing torpedoes at multiple targets we need something to speed up the game
As it was the torpedoes acted in the same way as in the written rules
the key seems to be "get in close with multiple launches"
Thank you gents a good game

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

One Day Campaign Design Notes

Mark asked me to blog my design notes for the one day campaign.  As the object was to create a wargames format that would allow any of us to put on a game using whatever period or army we wished to use I thought this would be useful.  Also, it will allow me to look back and ensure that any future variation is anchored on the same principles.

The table layout worked very well and I have George Gush's article written in miniature wargames back in 1982 to thank.  I think this has given us a new way of gaming that prevents the sense of "fizzle out" that is a risk of two day games but gives the big game, that I think, we all want to play.  It also gives a format for fielding an entire army on a regular basis.


The objective of the whole exercise is to create as large a game as possible, with all players involved, utilising all the tables and with a clear result by the end of one days game.  This is an opportunity to use specialist units that seldom get used in standard games, especially air assets, engineers and transport units.  The emphasis should be on manoeuvre and grand tactical decision making.  The defending players must feel that they have the ability to retire, defend and attack whilst the attacker has the chance to use reinforcements to influence particular combats.


The mechanics of the overall game must be simple.

The rules used must be well understood by all the players involved.

The umpire must facilitate all the objectives and resist doing anything that will slow the game down.

The attacker/defender ratio must be 100% v 50%  (in games where there is a disparity in weaponry or command and control this ratio can be altered but only after a great deal of consideration).  Most military pundits would argue for a 3 to 1 ratio for a successful attack but my ratio allows for local superiority by both sides.

The defender must have units that are capable of counter attack or the game will only flow one way.

The terrain must give opportunity for both movement and defence.  Roads and rivers should be fixed, as should the difficulty or amount of terrain on each of the boards.  I would say the layouts we have should be fixed as it enables the players to get better and quicker at making decisions (as we found using Russ' original spearhead table) as we already have an appreciation of the tactical issues for each table.  Like professional generals, we already weigh up the issues regarding a terrain feature.  This results in a quicker game - or more turns in a day.

The points on the tables reflect the distance advanced by the attacker and the number of objectives on a given table.  Points for objectives are vital as this makes it obvious as to which side has the points at the end of the game and avoids any vague debate as to who dominates a particular table.

12 turns or less in a day is a fail.  18 should be the minimum.  We got 25 in our last game which got a decisive result.

Ideally, we could do with another two players as CinCs.  These would enable a better level of overall decision making and commitment of reserves.  Air assets would also be easier to control.  Messages between both sides of the table would be better managed.  However, we would need to ensure that any extra players understood the rules well and got on with all the other players. (Any suggestions?)

The left and right side of the overall game must be allowed to play at their own speed but must be kept informed by the umpire of the number of turns played on the other side.  Units can move from one side to the other limited only by the correct phase being played.

Air attacks on the hour (or half hour if the on table airfield is used) irrespective of the turns played gives a framework to the game and is a useful reminder to all the players of what time is passing. Lunch breaks should not be taken on the hour as this gives quite a large bonus to the defender.

Communication between players should be minimised and limited to texts.  Collective decisions should be allowed to make air attacks but the umpire should only allow a brief meeting.  Players can talk openly across the tables (uncoded radio traffic) as long as this doesn't interfere with game play.  Lunch should be the only opportunity for detailed conversation.  Again, CinCs would greatly facilitate this.


That's basically it.  With the same tables and general layout, numerous different games can be played. The road can become a motorway, railway, canal and the towns can become fortifications, monasteries or prepared positions and the river could be a wadi, frozen river, impassable ridge with limited passes or a mass dragons teeth obstacle.  As long as you keep the restrictive or enabling feature of the terrain you can change the flavour without ruining the balance.

The easiest items to change are the troops.  I am beefing up my Soviets for a 1942 game, Mark has his US division (attacking the Siegfried Line?) and Phil is working on a winter war eastern front setting.  Tunisia would make an excellent setting, as possibly could Malaya and Burma.

WW1 would be another easy option with the three lines of table allowing for the three defensive lines with the gun line on the back tables - in the scale we play I think we could use two corps for the attacker!  ACW could also be easily transferred to this system and I don't think the above rules would need much altering.

For the future I am also working on an amphibious version of this game, but that will be for a later blog.  However, everyone has confirmed they can attend the rematch on the 2nd April which I hope will confirm the attack/defence ratios - if so I will use a points system for the defender in future games.

Please let me know what you think of the above as the most important ingredient is that five different players are committed to what is a very intense day of gaming!

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Splash markers ordered!

I just ordered 3 packs of these so they should help "enhance" the game further.

They were not cheap though and you only get 5 markers for £4.50 (ouch)

I have 15 which will cover some firing during gunnery.

Feel free to buy some!!

Saturday, 12 March 2016

General Quarters torpedo rules

I gave this a bit more thought and realised that I overlooked a couple of things.  So here are my suggested final rules for torpedoes based on the following points.

1. Players should be given the option to improve their chances to hit a target at the cost of reducing the number of torpedoes that actually hit.

2. The closer you are then you should have a better chance to hit the target.

3. If the ship being attacked cannot turn then the attacker should have a much better chance of hitting it (speed factors are already covered in the hit / damage tables).

4. Japanese Long Lance torpedo warheads were bigger than conventional warheads.

5. Reloading is easier on some ships than others but hard for everyone when evading enemy fire.

Torpedo range is 36cm for conventional, 72 for Japanese 'Long Lance'.  Launching takes place as specified in the rules and damage / hit tables are as per the standard rules except for the following.

1. Players can opt to either aim direct at a ship (standard hit on 1-2) or aim to spread the torpedoes arc by adding 1 pip to the hit die (i.e. 1-3) BUT with the effect of halving the damage done (as less torpedoes will impact on the target as a result.  Therefore if a commander launches 4 torpedoes direct he has a 1-2 chance to hit but all 4 will get in.  Alternatively he can choose a spread (1-3) which means his chance to hit increases BUT only 2 torpedoes will hit.  Damage calculated as standard,

The commander chooses the torpedo template required (see image) and marks on their sheet how many torpedoes are being launched and at which target. If the attacking player commits their full complement of torpedoes then they must reload (see below) before commencing another torpedo attack.

The attacker on the right has opted to aim 'direct' at the ship and will hit with everything on a 1-2.  The one on the left is hedging his bets with a wider spread.  He will hit on a 1-3 but with only half his torpedoes.

Torpedoes away.  We know who has opted for spread and who for direct and how many torpedoes have been committed at which target,

2. For targets at 'close' (less than 18cm) and 'point blank' range (less than 9cm) then the chance to hit is increased by +1 pip on the die (1-2, 1-3, 1-4).  This will encourage commanders to get their ships in as close as they dare in order to improve hit chances.  Damage is calculated as standard.  This represents the fact that at closer ranges, evasive manouvres are less effective and its easier to hit a closer target.  However, a ship surviving long enough to get that close is another matter.

Use of direct or spread tactics (see above) is cumulative so a ship at point blank range can opt for a spread (additional +1 on the die) but will halve the number of potential hits.  So the chance to hit can be 1-5 but hit at half effect (so if 4 torpedoes were used, deduct 2 from the hit table).

The attacking ship on the right has managed to get within 9cm of his target.  He opts to shoot direct as he will hit on a 1-4.  The ship on the left is less sure of his chances as he is outside 18cm and so would only hit on a 1-2.  He therefore opts to increase his hit chances with a spread (hit on a 1-3) but half his torpedoes will miss in any event.  

3. For targets that cannot turn due to rudder damage etc. then the chance of hitting is increased from 1:3 to 2:3 (i.e. 1-4 on the dice).  For Japanese ships at extreme range that means a 1-4 followed by a 1-4 means a hit.  In the standard rules, if you knew that the enemy ship has lost rudder control then you would predict that the ship will only go ahead and so guarantee a hit.  However, in a combat situation you wouldn't know that the enemy couldn't steer - therefore this seems a fairer way of simulating a torpedo run against a damaged opponent with steering issues.

4. Japanese Long Lance torpedoes had a larger warhead than conventional torpedoes.  Therefore calculate damage one column to the left for any hits with this weapon.

5. Ships with automatic reloading facilities will reload within 3 turns (not 5) BUT must still reduce speed and not be in combat during the reloading process (any hit or shot counts as being in combat and a hit on a reloading destroyer resets the turn 'clock).  Also no destroyer can reload torpedoes whilst under evade orders (rapid movements hampering the reloading process).

Your thoughts welcome...

WW1 German Fleet

Bought these from Davco about 12 months ago and finally got around to basing and painting them up.

The fleet comprises battleships, battlecruisers, armoured cruisers, light cruisers, destroyers and torpedo boats.  The latter two are painted (there are hundreds of the buggers) and just need to be based but the bulk of the fleet is done.

Battleships and battlecruisers

The sea effect is done by sticking textured wallpaper to the base, painting it a deep blue then dry-brushing with lighter blues each time.  Then I draw around the ship in pencil then drybrush white around the ship shape and back to form the wake.

Wake effect.  Textured wallpaper stuck to MDF base and painted.

Rules we currently play are the excellent General Quarters from Navwar which play quicker than Victory at Sea (especially for WW1 battles).  I also thought VaS was too biased towards Japanese and American ships in terms of firepower and British ships in WW1

Cruisers and smaller / older battleships 

Each ship is labelled underneath so I know which is which (I'm not a big fan of having labels visible on the table).  Identification is through very small dot stickers which have either 1 - 10 or A-Z on them in different colours.  Before the game I can mark on the sheet which ship is which then get on without having to turn them over every time.

Label underneath

Battle of Worcester 1651

Mark was free for a game and we decided to play ECW Principles of War as we hadn't played this period in a very long time.  Won't bore you with the details other than this is the last battle of the Civil Wars in which King Charles II of Scotland attempts to avenge his fathers death by using a Scottish army to secure England against Cromwell and Parliament.  With the odds against him he is cornered at Worcester and the last Royalist Army is destroyed and Britain becomes a military dictatorship under Cromwell for the next decade.  Wikipedia and the Battlefield Trust have very good write ups on the campaign and battle.

Mark elected to go Cromwell and I attempted to keep the Royalist cause alive!

Above is the battlefield.  The River Severn cuts north up the table whilst the River Teme flows into the Severn from the west.  Cromwell has two pontoons across the Teme and Severn at their confluence.  Midway on the Teme is Powick Bridge which has been partly demolished (Incidentally, this is where the first clash of the Civil Wars began!).  The road then continues to the parish of St John where it divides towards Wales and Worcester.  Worcester is a fortified city with an intact bridge across the Severn.  King Charles is holding Worcester and a star fort to its East called Fort Royal.  Parliament troops hold the hills to the east of Worcester, Cromwells main veteran troops are massed on the hill to the south and a strong Parliamentarian force is positioned to the south of the Teme.  Between Powick and the Severn a Scots contingent is trying to prevent a crossing and a small Scots Cavalry reserve is in position at St Johns ready to reinforce either flank.

Mark decides to launch an assault with all three commands, trusting in his numerical superiority and better quality troops.  The Scots only advantage is the terrain and interior lines of communication.  I have to decide where to hold and where, if possible, I can launch an attack.  I decide to reinforce Charles with the cavalry and launch a counter attack from Worcester.

Fortunately for me, Mark hadn't appreciated that the force he had ordered to assault Fort Royal was his weakest.  He understood that the fall of the fort would result in an army morale check for the Scots and he hoped that this would assist his assaults to the south.  He hadn't expected a counter attack from the weak Scottish army!

With his superior artillery he was able to repulse the Scottish dragoons weakly holding the crossing.  Determined to exploit this success, a veteran brigade of infantry stormed across the pontoons.  Without confidence (my dice had been predictably shocking) I flung a Scots brigade against it and hoped that my superior pike ratio might tip the balance - it did - and as Mark rolled a twenty I couldn't help rub it in with a Phil-like victory jig!  Mark tried to recover by throwing his cuirassiers across the bridge but miraculously the weakened Scots grimly saw them off.

Mark had not expected this set back and instead of supporting Cromwells attack from his southern force he had ordered them to use their artillery to drive away the flimsy Scots defence around Powick Bridge and then use planks to storm across.  He had hoped that this would stretch the thin Scottish line and help with a quick collapse in  this sector.  However, a battery of Scots light artillery delayed the advance and the stout defence of the pontoon had enabled the local Scottish commander to redeploy his meagre force to repel this next attack.

Meanwhile, the defence of the river had enabled Charles to attack in the north.  Mark had quickly launched assaults against Fort Royal and I barely held the position (again shocking dice!).  However, as the garrison of Worcester emerged with Charles at their head they were able to hold the Parliamentarian attack, and then as the cavalry reinforced the King, flanks were charged and within a few moves the whole Parliamentarian force had routed!  The Royalists had won and history had been reversed.

Mark had relied on an aggressive plan when perhaps holding the force in the north on defence would have been prudent.  He had been unlucky in his attacks across the Severn and although the assault across the Teme looked feasible, the battle would not be won in the 16 turns we decided the game should last.  Also, another objective was the closing of all roads to Worcester, and with the Welsh road and the Stratford road open the Royalists had secured another two objectives.

My army had been weakened in the fight outside Worcester and I didn't fancy heading south to attack Cromwell's still impressive army.  Therefore, I think the King would probably retreat in the night along one of the open roads.

This was a great fight with some very hard decisions for both sides.  I think this would play well with more players and I will put it on again for all of us.