“Bathtubbing’ in reverse

Many wargamers are familiar with the term “bathtubbing”, which means taking a historical battle and reducing it to a scale compatible with their own gaming area.

Thus, for example, a game of the battle of Waterloo reduced to a 6ft x 4ft table (180cm x 100cm) might reduce each brigade, or even a division, to a battalion in wargame representation.

This tends to be more common in 20th century warfare, maybe reducing every real formation to the next lower, so that a division becomes a brigade/regiment, a brigade/regiment becomes a battalion, a battalion becomes a company and a company becomes a platoon.

I am trying a new method.  Let us call it “Swimming Pool Method”  (SPM).  My idea is to use Squad Leader boards and 13mm counters to reproduce battles in many eras.  I have already successfully fought a Napoleonic game.

But my current project is to use the Squad Leader boards for a rolling campaign, beginning on 6th June 1944 (2019).  I have “Swimming Pooled” the boards from the designer’s 40m per hex to a, more realistic for the artwork,  20m per hex.

At the same time I have delved deeper into the unit ratio so that in my game an infantry base is, rather than a platoon or squad, a half-section, for the infantry either a light MG team or a rifle team.  (In my Napoleonic version a base occupying the same area would be a company of 60 men in 2 or 3 ranks!)

My initial game will involve a reinforced British infantry company assaulting the coast of Normandy on 6th June 1944.  The infantry company has:

2 bases for the company HQ

3 Platoons of:

         Command base

          PIAT team,

          2” Mortar team,

          3 x Bren team,

          3 x Rifle team.

German defenders are similarly organised, but according to national standards:

     HQ: 2 command bases

         3 platoons, reach of:

            Platoon HQ

            Panzerfaust team,

            3 x MG42 LMG team

            3 x Rifle team.

Reinforcements may include tanks, mortars, artillery or many other options.

Each tank, armoured car, artillery piece, etc.  is individually represented.

Although I would have liked to use ‘top-down’ illustrations to fit with the map/game-board style, I found that those available for download would not reduce satisfactorily to a 13mm x 13mm print.  Therefore I went back to the military mapping symbols of the time, but once again using the Swimming Pool Method I have adopted platoon symbols for sections or sub-sections.

Thus the symbol for a company HQ will represent a Platoon HQ.  An LMG platoon symbol may represent a single Bren gun squad. Some bases are reversible to show the “mounted” or “deployed” status, particularly for HQ or artillery units.

We shall see how it actually works on 6th June…

A restricted game planner

I have been “unavailable” of late, due mainly to the Memsahib occupying the home office.  It is a public holiday weekend, therefore she has been working on her normal office work for around two thirds of every day (“because I can do it here uninterrupted”).

Therefore I have been excluded from the home office with my main computer and relegated to functions available on my i-Pad or my old Windows 7 Notepad, which is painfully slow (it was the latest technology when I bought it at Currys duty-free at Heathrow)

However, I have this afternoon been allowed an hour to update my Market Garden campaign by a further 30 minutes and send reports to two of my PBEM “Generals”.  We are just approaching 15:30 on 18th September (day 2 of the operation), although some individual combats have progressed as far as 19:00.

It is not easy to keep track of where every unit is on the main map, particularly when a local engagement is played that continues beyond the current campaign time frame.

I think I may have one more engagement to play before everyone settles down for the night and brings in stragglers and recovered casualties.

On other fronts, I have managed some painting, but my 3D printer has packed up and a new “more precise” print head is on order.

I have been able to use the old notepad PC to create unit stickers for my 13mm plastic counters for my planned “D-day and beyond” solo game (of which more later).  I have to find my opportunities to print the stickers during the Memsahib’s coffee breaks, and then spend hours attaching them to the blank plastic tokens.