All posts by TWR

About TWR

Historical Miniatures Wargamer from Christchurch, New Zealand.

Rising Sun in the East

For many weeks our regular Tuesday evenings gaming slot has been earmarked for DBA. However, over the last two Tuesdays my regular opponent and I have taken to the skies for a little Wings of Glory action. For my part I have opted to get several Japanese aircraft in the air. After all they have been in their hangers for far too long!

I thought I would post a few photos of this evening’s two games along with a brief of description. Combined I hope they provide some interest and capture a little of the flavour.

First up a lumbering Val is tasked with a dive bombing mission. Here, the Val seems somewhat isolated. The supporting Zeros having opted for a wide sweep in support, coming in from the left.

Above and below the fighters engage. The Spitfire on the right suffered the concentrated fire of two Zeros. The Val is visible in the centre distance.

The Spitfire suffered heavy damage initially and was the target for another burst from one of the Zeros, while the other focussed on the Hurricane. Below, the situation just prior to the Spitfire going down.

The Zeros, now tailing the Hurricane, pursued with determination until the Hurricane also went down.

This first encounter was soon followed by a second game again pitting a Hurricane and Spitfire against Zeros but without the Val. The Japanese pilots attempted to maintain their formation while the British pilots conducted more complex manoeuvres.

In particular the Hurricane broke left early in an attempt to flank the Japanese. This complex manoeuvre was particularly risky and resulted in the Spitfire facing the two Zeros initially unsupported.

Head on passes are particularly dangerous in World War II and the Zero’s were tonight particularly effective. Alone, the Hurricane pilot opted for a battle of manoeuvre.

Turning, diving and looping he was difficult to catch. So difficult in fact that one Zero pilot, attempting to complete a Split-S, miscalculated his airspeed and lost control of his aircraft! I really need to check the rules more often!

Despite watching a Zero fall from the sky the Hurricane, now heavily damaged, broke off and ran for home. Another victory for the pilots of Japan, well at least until next time…

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Eugene on Campaign

During July I’ve managed to fit in three Volley & Bayonet games. First an American War of Independence refight of the Battle of Cowpens, in 3mm scale. This was in turn followed by a fictional 1864 American Civil War game in 6mm. Most recently, shaking free of the American theme, a Marlburian game in 15mm hosted by Robin and drawing on the well painted armies in Adrian’s collection. Three very different, due to the period specific rules, but fascinating games.

As I’ve mentioned previously Volley & Bayonet works just as well irrespective of the figure scale. Fortunately our group of gamers are more than happy to switch between either scale.

Here are a handful of pictures of the most recent game, where the Allies are attacking a French army deployed in a defensive positions comprised of towns, hills and woods. To make matters worse several field works have been placed to further bolster the French positions. Each infantry or cavalry stand represents around 1000 to 1500 men.

Above the Allied left wing prepare to engage the French right wing. The artillery once deployed were unable to move due to the civilian teams. As it transpired the limited Allied artillery was woefully ineffective in this sector.

Below, a view of the Allied right and the focus of the Allied main attack. The Allied artillery is not unlimited yet, which accounts for it’s facing. After several failed attempts the nearby town was taken by Allied Grenadiers with Prince Eugene, the Allied commander, at their front.

During the course of the battle increasing French reserves were dispatched to the French left, thus weakening the centre. This eventually resulted in a massed attack by Imperialist cavalry. In time this was supported by more cavalry and Imperialist infantry.

Above, the French cavalry on the left cover the hole in the French centre.

Another view, this time from the French lines on the French right. The French works here were eventually taken when the French infantry retired, a reaction to the worsening situation in the centre.

A fascinating game for the three players and a great way to spend a winters evening. Next, I think it’s back to the American Civil War…

Bag the Staaken

Friday evening found a group of us gathered in Robin’s new games room with plans to dominate the air over the Western Front during the Great War. In all we would play three multiplayer Wings of War games with all set in the period 1917 to 1918.

It’s impossible to provide a clear overview of the encounters as they can at best be described as free wheeling seat of your pants encounters, especially those involving fighters. During the course of the evenings Spads, Triplanes, Albatross, SE5 and others weaved, climbed and dived across the table.

One particular interesting game was that involving a four engined Zeppelin-Staaken R.VI. It was the first time most of us had seen the model and after discussion decided that the Staaken would undertake a bombing mission and intercepted by six fighters over London.

Only 18 of these monsters were built during the war. Wikipedia states that the Staaken Squadron on the Western Front had an average of five R.VI’s available for missions and conducted 11 raids on Great Britain between September 28, 1917, and May 20, 1918, dropping 27,190 kg (27 long tons; 30 short tons) of bombs in 30 sorties. Flying at night the aircraft flew individually to their targets on moonlit nights, requesting directional bearings by radio after takeoff, then using the River Thames as a navigational landmark. Missions on the 340-mile (550 km) round trip lasted seven hours. None were apparently lost in combat over Great Britain but two crashed returning to base in the dark.

Armed with one forward firing machine gun and four rear firing machine guns we all tried to engage the beast from the front. However, once past it gaining the front was slow work and instead a gaggle of aircraft soon formed biting at its rear as it slowly manoeuvred for its bombing run on Buckingham Palace.

Above the Staaken being pursued by Allied aircraft.

While German propaganda would declare the palace was bombed successfully in fact only one bomb fell any where near the palace and that fell harmlessly in the palace gardens. The Staaken of course failed to make it home, finally succumbing to the constant fire of the pursuing fighters, resulting in a victory for the Allies.

A first rate series of games which was ideal on a cold winter’s evening.

The Glorious First of June

It’s been a just over a month since I have posted here, where the time has gone I’m not entirely sure. However, yesterday it was the 1st of June and realising that our regular Friday evening gaming slot fell on this date we thought a it appropriate that we mark the famous naval battle the “Glorious First of June” with a Sails of Glory encounter.

Below, “Lorde Howe’s Action, or The Glorious First of June” by Philip James de Loutherbourg.

Unlike the actual battle our game would involve only a few ships of the line, which of course it in no way came close to representing the battle. Despite that, it provided an entertaining evening with a nautical theme which involved four players.

The British squadron comprised in order HMS Defence, HMS Spaitiate, HMS Bellona and finally HMS Royal George. The first three were Third Rates while the Royal George was of course a First Rate. The French squadron was similar, though a the first ship in the squadron was Argonauta, a Spanish vessel which had recently joined the squadron. She was a late replacement as the one of the French commanders had left his French ships in port (at home). Argonauta was followed by Doguay-Trouin, Le Swiftsure and finally the 118 gun flag Montagne.

Both squadrons held a generally southerly converging course with the wind blowing from the north. The British came from the west and the Franco-Spanish from the east. On these courses the advanced ships of both squadrons would come into range first and only later would the First Rates come into range.

Aware of this the captain of HMS Royal George, William Domett, determined to act and close the range with speed. The Royal George turned first east before she was hauled back onto the general heading. This closed the range but left her further separated from the squadron and somewhat isolated. Soon the HMS Royal George, with 100 guns, was exchanging broadsides with both Le Swiftsure (74 guns) and the Montagne (118 guns). Royal George was heavily damaged in the first exchanges suffering damage to her hull and a fire which was to cause significant damage. Her crews were focussed on pumping, undertaking repairs and of course fighting a raging fire. Her captain therefore ordered her to increase the range and hopefully regain the squadron.

Above, the French on the left and British on the right. The Royal George has begun to close the range but is not yet in range.

Simultaneously the Captain of the Spanish ship Argonauta executed a series of turns in an attempt to cut the British line. The Spanish captain however miscalculated and soon the Argonauta, followed by the Doguay-Trouin, we’re heading directly into the British line. Aboard HMS Defence Captain James Gambier had ordered double shot to be loaded and as the Argonauta came into range she was hit by fire from both HMS Defence and HMS Spartiate.

Above, the Argonauta closes the range while the British ships prepare to fire. Here, the British ships are just out of double shot range. HMS Defence and HMS Spartiate are on the right.

In just a few minutes Argonauta, that once fine Spanish vessel, had suffered the loss of two masts and her crew would be overwhelmed by fires while she took on water below decks due to a hull breach. The Spanish captain’s efforts were not totally fruitless as she would deliver a full broadside into HMS Bellona.

Above, the British unleash their broadsides on the luckless Argonauta. The British ships from the right foreground are HMS Bellona, HMS Spartiate with HMS Defence in the right distance. The Argonauta, in the centre, is followed by Doguay-Trouin.

Captain Gambier now bought his two ships south of the Argonauta and, having reloaded, continued to fire at the Spaniard until she was finally overwhelmed.

Meanwhile, the battle at the rear of the squadrons was reaching a climax. The Royal George had manoeuvred to increase the range but her movements were insufficient. Captain of the Montagne, Rear-Admiral Villaret-Joyeuse, watched from the bridge as Montagne, Doguay-Trouin and Le Swiftsure delivered broadsides into the Royal George at extreme range.

Above, HMS Royal George is in the right foreground while the French ships are on the left with Montagne on the extreme left and only just in range.

The Royal George was in an impossible position while under fire by three ships. Her crew, who had only just bought the fires under control, watched as two masts crashed down and her remaining sails were riddled with holes. She was dead in the water. If that wasn’t enough another fire broke out. Faced with a disastrous situation HMS Royal George struck her colours.

Yet despite the turn of events the French squadron was itself in trouble. The loss of the Argonauta caused a lack of room to manoeuvre. Le Swiftsure and Montagne reduced sail, having previously increased sail to catch the Royal George, in a desperate attempt to avoid a collision with Doguay-Trouin. Alas it was not to be. As the French squadron attempted to reorganise itself the remaining ships of the British squadron, less the Royal George, broke off the action and fell back to the main fleet.

That is of course where we ended our game. An enjoyable nautical evening and a great way to mark the date of this famous battle.

Air Defence Suppression in Modern Spearhead

Friday evening found a couple of us setting up another Modern Spearhead game, yet again set in 1982. We use the Scenario Generation System to develop the context of our games and this uses various lists in the different scenarios that are generated. For my part I had spent a couple of hours coming up with a list that would enable me to use my West Germans. I have a tendency to use tanks that aren’t particularly powerful. However, I wanted to use something different this time to counter the T-80s my opponent has been using of late.

Having not used Leopard 2s for several years I focussed my efforts on the Defend List which had some of these beasts. Of course I didn’t spend as much time on an Attack List and then found the West Germans were conducting a hasty attack. My three West German battalions, from a Panzer Grenadier Brigade, would be facing a Soviet Naval Infantry Regiment – that had no tanks!

Now, I won’t give a blow by blow of the game. However, one aspect that was absolutely fascinating was the various initiatives used by the Soviets to suppress the German air defences. Critical if the Soviets were counter the Leopards. If you are interested I have placed a short article on my Modern Spearhead site. It looks at fixed wing air support and air defence suppression in general and the how it played out last night. You can find it here.