WW2 replayed

World War Two replayed day by day. I started a project using 6mm models some years ago which has so far reached 4th September 1939. I intend to continue this without much hope of success. But I have a new project which I also expect to fall by the wayside, as most of my “clever” ideas do. I intend to try to refight the war on a larger scale using the Axis & Allies game, adapted.

The plan

My plan is to follow the war, 80 years on, using a digital version of the Axis and Allies game board and adapted rules.

Wherever possible the various nations will try to follow historical precedent.  In the model created by Terry Pratchett, reality will try to reassert itself.

The game

I am using an adaptation of the game for a 1939 start point based on a variation published many years ago in one of the wargame magazines. The initial set-up was created by Peter Sides for 1940, so I have taken some liberties. I decided on 1st September 1939 as a start point, although it is arguable that the war started earlier with the Japanese invasion of Manchuria or the German occupation of Czechoslovakia.

I have adapted the timescale from the original game, which I believe is one turn per three months.  Each country will take their turn over one day, sequentially, in the order: Germany, Poland, British Empire, Japan, China, France, Italy, Norway, USSR, Finland, USA.  The Netherlands and Belgium are included with France for convenience, since all were attacked on the same day. Denmark is similarly included with Norway.  In this way one complete turn represents about a week and a half.

Each square on my map is approximately 140 miles/225 Km across (measuring equatorially). By using the original game movement capabilities in land areas, translated into squares, I have, for example, infantry moving at around 20 miles a day, twice that for armour, and I multiply air movement by 2, allowing a bomber group a range of something over 1,500 miles for one mission and a fighter group 560 miles.

And we shall see what we shall see. I hope I can spend 15-30 minutes a day when at home to play each turn. When I am away I hope to pre-play and post on a daily basis.

First post should be on Sunday 1st September 2019.

Encouraging young wargamers

This week my young neighbour Luke has visited the shedquarters twice. The first was for the assault on the north African hilltop village of El-andam Na’tion.

Luke wanted a tank battle, so I quickly painted up some of my spare tanks from the board game Memoir ‘44. By using the Japanese tanks as similar looking Italian types I was able to muster 30 tanks a side.

The British had a mix of Crusaders and Shermans. The Axis had a dozen Italian tanks holding the town, and reinforcements of PzIV with both short and long 75mm guns, and one troop of Tigers.

The rules were from Don Featherstone’s “Battles With Model Soldiers”., chosen as a simple introductory system.

The British won by taking the village. Then Luke reset the battlefield as a more open area with scattered buildings. In this scenario he thrashed me. At one point I surrounded one of his Tigers and with three Shermans at shortest range they all missed!!!

I don’t mind losing. If it brings one more young chap into the wargaming hobby I have won.

Model railways

In my WW2 gaming I frequently have to represent railways.

Unfortunately no supplier is able to provide 10cm railway tracks. The maximum metal (Irregular Miniatures) or resin (Leven Miniatures) seems to be 6cm, which has become the standard length. So every 10 cm hexagon terrain tile with railways is a compromise, involving cutting at least two pieces.

Cutting the rail sections is a problem. I am using Leven by default, but the resin pieces do have a tendency to snap unexpectedly during the cutting process and fly off in odd directions.

Anyway, here is my latest effort, awaiting painting…

Killing two birds with one stone

Recently I asked for suggestions for how to make my 6mm ruined towns look more rubble-strewn. Thank you for the ideas.

Today I mixed up a roll of Milliput modelling material for another domestic purpose before realising that it would not work. I now had a block of hardening putty with no apparent purpose.

My first idea was to make some entrenchments scaled to my 10cm hexagon edges. Then I remembered my previous problem. So I rolled the putty into small balls, crushed them flat, squashed the edges to 2cm (my gaming road width) and attacked them at random with a small cross-head screwdriver.

And here are the results, awaiting curing and painting:

A neat, pristine road amongst ruins
Several bases of rubble, awaiting painting
One new base in a street

Progress reports will follow.

PTSD

An item on the local TV news today covered a special tribute from a 70 year old son to his dad on his 100th birthday.

Apparently Dad was entitled to 6 medals for his service in WW2 but declined them at the end of the war because he did not want to be reminded of his wartime experiences, the friends he had lost and the sights he had seen.

For his 100th birthday, the son had the “missing” medals minted and awarded to his dad as a special tribute.

How bloody insensitive can you get? 

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is real and possibly forever.  Resurrecting bad memories after 70 years is not likely to help.

What can help is a donation to http://www.combatstress.org.uk , the charity that strives to help those who struggle with their memories of war.

The future of wargaming

We hear a lot of discussion about wargaming becoming a “grey” hobby, with the proponents generally ageing and no youngsters coming on board

This week I (a 65 year old retired gentleman) have played a board wargame of the Battle of Britain with a 23 year old and a table-top 1941 naval battle with an 11(?) year old. Both want to play again.

Ben is looking forward to the follow-up Indian Mutiny game at th3 Wargames Holiday Centre in October with the “Featherstone” crowd.

Luke has asked me to put together a “massive tank battle”. I have decided to use my redundant “Memoir ‘44” tanks (even if the scale and dimensions are a bit “iffy”) for a Western Desert battle in 1942. I will ask Luke to bring his mate for a 30 tanks a side game.

But first I have a load of painting to deal with…

And during both games I heard a lot of references to semi-equivalent computer games beyond my knowledge and comprehension, from which both opponents had gained much of their historical knowledge.

Matapan: phase 1

The Battle of Matapan – phase 1

Today I fought the opening stages of the Battle of Matapan 1941 with my young neighbour Luke.

This was his introduction to naval gaming, at his request.  He is hoping to join the Royal Navy when old enough.

The scenario was the opening stags of the battle of Matapan.  At 09:00 the Italian flotilla of 3 cruisers (Bolzano, Trento and Trieste), with three destroyers (Ascari, Carabiniere and Corazziere) were pursued by the British cruisers Gloucester, Perth, Ajax and Orion with the destroyers Hereward, Hasty and Ilex.

After one turn it was clear that the Italian cruisers would outpace their British counterparts and no battle would ensue so I obligingly turned them to fight.  I ran down the line of British cruisers, expecting to lose, but I knew that on turn 10 (2 hours in) if I could hold out that long, the battleship Vittorio Veneto would arrive and save us.

As it happened, after the two flotillas circled each other for an hour and a half the Italians had rolled the better combat dice and by turn 8 (10:50 am) the British were down to one destroyer while the Italians still had the cruiser Trento (severely damaged) and two destroyers.

At this point Luke conceded defeat. He then spent another hour playing with my toy ships before asking if we can play a major tank battle next time.

I am thinking that with the toys in my collection, Arras 1940 is probably the most likely. That might be an eye-opener for a young lad of about 10, who is expecting Tigers vs T34s.