Operation Sealion in 3mm

I have several times essayed to wargame Operation Sealion – the proposed German invasion of Britain in 1940. here is my latest attempt, to be played solo using the excellent 3mm (1/600) models from Oddzial Osmy.

For the orders of battle I am using an old (out of print) game booklet from the USA. Their idea was to “bathtub” everything to one level lower than reality, But somehow I found it hard to cope with concepts like “3rd Company Dorsetshire Battalion”, “2nd Royal Tank Squadron”, or “Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler Motorised Artillery Battalion”

So I have restored the designations to their original level, but “bathtubbing” back so that one model base represents a company rather than my normal platoon organisation.

This means that my 10″ square base must now represent three miles square instead of one mile, and each 1″ square is now about 180 yards across instead of the planned 60 yards. Rules must be adjusted accordingly – maybe!

I am creating a campaign map with subdivisions, based on a 1938 world atlas and a 1960 road atlas of Great Britain. There is a planned motorway from Rotherham to Faversham to be started in 1961 shown in these maps, but apart from that, the road network is very much as it was in 1940. Likewise the railway system is pre-Beeching, and represents the lines as they were at the time.

However for gaming I am using the Perry Miniatures “Travel Battle” boards. I have six boards, two of which I have adapted by not fitting the houses, removing and relocating walls and, in one case, adding a road link.

I have also created added terrain, currently consisting of two 2″ x 2″ farm/village/town elements and a 4″ x 3″ airfield, which can sit on the boards where needed.

I am indebted to Bob Cordery for his work in drawing the boards in detail, so that I can use them for planning my campaign.

For example, using Bob’s drawings nicked from his website “wargamingmiscellany.blogspot.com”, with my local adaptions as described above, I have created the first two battlefields. Here is the first.

By importing this picture as a background to an Excel spreadsheet and adjusting the cell sizes, I am able to superimpose the troops in their relative locations:

The red triangle at the top of each unit gives further detail, accessed by placing the cursor on the cell, for example:

I hope to be able to show the 3mm troops deployed in the next few days.

6mm Charity Painting Project

I have been following the blog of the prolific painter and wargamer of 6mm models, particularly following his Great Northern War and Scånian War games.

Recently Per announced that he was starting a project which now involves 45 wargamers each painting a small unit of Baccus 6mm soldiers from the 1690s to a pattern to create the fictitious armies of Denswe and Siarus.

The armies will be used for a wargame or two and then sold in aid of the Combat Stress charity.

I was allocated a unit of horse for the army of Denswe and my guidance was “blue coats and straw cuffs”.  I only had to paint nine cavalrymen, but over the last few days I have done my best, and far above any previous efforts.

Compared to some other examples mine are mediocre at best, but here they are:

Eighty years on. 30th June 1940


300 miles West of Brest, France, U-65 and U-43 attacked convoy SL-36.  U-43 sank the British SS Avelona Star, carrying frozen meat and oranges.  U-65 damaged the British SS Clan Ogilvy which was towed to Falmouth.  In the same area U-26 sank the Estonian SS Merkur  and the Norwegian MV BelmoiraU-47 sank the Greek SS Georgios Kyriakides, carrying sugar, West of Ireland.

The Germans began to occupy the British Channel Islands.  Three Germans landed by aircraft on Guernsey and demanded the surrender of the island from a local policeman.  The Channel Islands were demilitarized and partially evacuated since 15th June, considered by the British government as being of no military value to Germany.  It was, however, a boost to German propaganda as British territory occupied.  The Germans had previously dropped orders to the islands’ occupants to fly white flags to avoid bombing before the occupation.

It was revealed that Winston Churchill’s “We shall fight them on the beaches…” speech, broadcast by the BBC on June 4th, had been performed by an actor because the Prime Minister was otherwise engaged.  In any case, defences began to be constructed along the coast of Britain.

Game day 304. Italy

In Libya, eighteen infantry units moved eastwards to meet the British incursion from Eqypt, while a further six units moved south-west to block any treaty-breaking attack by the French in Algeria. 

Italy began to withdraw its armoured formations from the occupied zone of France, leaving three infantry units in place. 

In Italy, six armoured units moved to the coast north of Rome to be embarked for Tripoli.

The eighteen infantry units in Italian East Africa separated, with six moved north to threaten Egypt while twelve moved towards the Kenyan border to defend against possible attack.

Credits:   Historical information:  http://www.worldwar2daybyday.blogspot.com, Wikipedia, Chronicle of the Second World War (JL International Publications, 1994).  Background image to game maps: Hasbro Ltd.  

Eighty years on. 29th June 1940


For Operation “Catapult”, the British Admiralty gave Vice Admiral Somerville explicit instructions to secure the transfer, surrender, or destruction of the French warships at Mers-el-Kébir, Algeria, with no concessions to be given to the French.  They must either accept the British terms or face destruction. Somerville’s Force H consists of the battleships HMS Valiant and Resolution, the battlecruiser HMS Hood, the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal, the cruisers HMS Arethusa and Enterprise and eleven destroyers.

U-99 was again subjected to friendly fire.  Leaving Wilhelmshaven, she was attacked by a German aircraft with three bombs.  She crash-dived and struck the sea floor, causing minor damage.

U-51 sank Royal Navy decoy ship HMS Edgehill (with concealed armament of nine 4in guns, four torpedo tubes and a buoyant cargo to help keep her afloat if hit). It took three torpedoes to sink her.

U-47 torpedoed the British SS Empire Toucan which broke in two, and U-26 sank the Greek steamer Frangoula B. Goulandris

The Italian submarine Rubino was sunk by RAF Short Sunderland flying boats in the Ionian Sea between Italy and Greece.  Off Tobruk, the Italian submarine Sirena was damaged by Sunderlands.  West of Crete, the Italian submarines Uebi Scebeli and Salpa were damaged by the British destroyers HMS Dainty, Ilex, Defender and VoyagerUebi Scebeli later sank.

British authorities arrested Diana Mitford, wife of fascist leader Oswald Mosley. The police had already arrested her husband under Defence Regulation 18B a month earlier, but they waited to arrest her as well since she had just given birth to their son Max.

The “Smith Act” was enacted in the United States, setting criminal penalties for advocating the overthrow of the U.S. government and requiring all non-citizen adult residents to be registered.

In Tokyo the Japanese government announced Japan’s intention of controlling the South Seas, which it considered to be in Japan’s “sphere of influence”.

Game day 303. USSR

Rumania having ceded parts of Bukovina and Bessarabia to the Soviet Union.  The borders between the Soviet Union and Rumania were redrawn.  Six infantry units moved south-west to occupy the new territory.

Credits:   Historical information:  http://www.worldwar2daybyday.blogspot.com, Wikipedia, Chronicle of the Second World War (JL International Publications, 1994).  Background image to game maps: Hasbro Ltd.  

Eighty years on. 28th June 1940


British Bristol Blenheims bombed Tobruk.  After the air raid, Marshal Italo Balbo (Italian Governor-General of Libya and Commander-in-Chief of Italian North Africa) was returning from a reconnaissance flight, but was killed when his aircraft was shot down by Italian anti-aircraft fire.  Marshal Graziani was appointed to replace him.

The Italian destroyers Espero, Zeffiro and Ostro were sighted by air reconnaissance and intercepted by a British light cruiser squadron from Alexandria.  Espero was sunk in the Ionian Sea, but the other two destroyers escaped and continued to Tripoli.  The British cruiser HMS Liverpool was hit by a single 4.7 inch shell, cutting the anti-mine degaussing wire

U-30 sank the British SS Llanarth, carrying flour from Australia, 250 miles West of Brest.  The British trawler Castleton went missing in the Orkney Islands, probably sunk by U-102 which failed return from patrol.

The Luftwaffe bombed harbours on the islands of Guernsey and Jersey.

The British government recognized General de Gaulle as “Leader of All Free Frenchmen.”

The Soviet Union occupied Bessarabia and Northern Bucovina, ceded by Rumania.  King Carol ordered mobilisation of the Rumanian army.

Game day 302. France and colonies.

The French army surrendered to the Italians and Germans.  The borders were redrawn.  Germany seized the resources of France.  Vichy France retained control of the colonies.

For game purposes the borders of Belgium, the Netherlands and Denmark were removed and the area known as “Western Europe” was amalgamated.

The French navy reached Oran in Algeria.

Credits:   Historical information:  http://www.worldwar2daybyday.blogspot.com, Wikipedia, Chronicle of the Second World War (JL International Publications, 1994).  Background image to game maps: Hasbro Ltd.   Other maps and photographs Odhams Press Limited.

Eighty years on. 27th June 1940


Churchill still worried that Germany would capture the French fleet, particularly the vessels at Mers-el-Kébir, thereby restoring German sea power lost in the Norwegian campaign.  Despite Admiral Darlan’s assurances, the War Cabinet instructed the Royal Navy to neutralise, seize or destroy French warships in various British and North African ports (Operation Catapult).  Vice Admiral Sir James Somerville was ordered to take newly-formed Force H to Algeria.

U-47 sank two merchant ships south-west of Ireland.   She shelled the Norwegian MV Lenda carrying timber, which caught fire. Later she shelled the Dutch tanker Leticia carrying 2,568 tons of fuel oil. Twenty-five crew got off in two lifeboats.  Three men were rescued from the water by U-47 and brought to the lifeboats, where they were given first aid material, sausages and wine.  Survivors from both ships were picked up in the afternoon by the British destroyers HMS Hurricane and Havelock and taken to Plymouth.

The German submarine U-138 was commissioned.

German forces completed the occupation of France by reaching the Spanish border.  Britain announced a general blockade of the European coastline from the Bay of Biscay to the North Cape of Norway.

The Italian submarine Console Generale Luizzi was sunk by destroyers HMS Dainty, Defender and Ilex south of Crete.  HMS Voyager and Dainty rescued the survivors.  Off the coast of Eritrea near Port Sudan, the beached Italian submarine Macalle was destroyed by shelling from the British destroyers HMS Kandahar and Kingston and the light cruiser HMS Leander (serving in the New Zealand Division of the Royal Navy).  HMS Leander’s aircraft also dropped four bombs on the submarine.

All factories in the Soviet Union were put onto a seven day working week.

Game day 301.  China

Chinese forces manoeuvred to defend against the attacking Japanese forces, particularly to defend the industrial area in the centre of China.  In the south six infantry units crossed the border into Kwangtung to confront the Japanese infantry moving westwards from Shanghai, and an attack was launched on the single Japanese armoured unit at map reference DJ49.   The Japanese were destroyed for the loss of one infantry unit.

Credits:   Historical information:  http://www.worldwar2daybyday.blogspot.com, Wikipedia, Chronicle of the Second World War (JL International Publications, 1994).  Background image to game maps: Hasbro Ltd.  

Eighty years on. 26th June 1940

The war entered it’s 300th day (from a European perspective).


The German submarine UA sank the Norwegian MV Crux, carrying 6,300 tons of fuel from Britain to Brazil, west of Cape St. Vincent, Portugal.  U-29 stopped the Greek SS Dimitris with a shot across her bow off Cape Finisterre, Spain.  Dimitris, carrying 9000 tons of cereal grains from Argentina to Liverpool, was sunk by gunfire after the crew abandoned ship.

The Soviet Union presented an ultimatum demanding territory in Bessarabia and Northern Bucovina from Romania. Hitler suggested that the Romanian government give in and satisfy the Soviet demands.

Game day 300. Japan

Two attacks were made across the Kwangtung/China border.  At DJ37 a total of seven infantry units supported by six fighter units attacked four defending Chinese infantry units.  The Chinese lost three units and the remaining one retreated westwards, pursued by Japanese infantry.  One fighter unit was shot down.

Further south at DK44 3 infantry units supported by 3 bomber units attacked a single Chinese armoured unit.

Five troop transports carrying ten infantry units and escorted by three battleships left Okinawa for Shanghai.

Credits:   Historical information:  http://www.worldwar2daybyday.blogspot.com, Wikipedia, Chronicle of the Second World War (JL International Publications, 1994).  Background image to game maps: Hasbro Ltd.   Other maps and photographs Odhams Press Limited.

Eighty years on. 25th June 1940


The French armistices with Germany and Italy came into effect and fighting was over in France.  France had lost 92,000 dead, 250,000 wounded and 1.5 million taken prisoner*.  British losses in the campaign were 68,000 killed, wounded or captured.  The German army and Luftwaffe losses were 29,000 dead, 133,000 wounded and missing.  Since 21st June Italy had 631 dead, 2,631 wounded, 2,151 hospitalised with frostbite and 616 missing, while the French defenders against their attack suffered only 37 killed, 42 wounded and 150 missing.

*With Britain continuing to fight, many of the French prisoners would remain incarcerated for four more years, instead of the few weeks expected by the Generals who negotiated the armistice.

To compound the French misery, Hitler ordered the destruction of the 1918 Armistice site at Compiègne.  The railway carriage, a massive dedication tablet and the 1918 Alsace-Lorraine Monument (depicting a German eagle impaled by a sword) were removed to Germany.  However, Hitler left the statue of the French WWI victor, Maréchal Foch, watching over the remains.

Hitler addressed the German nation, praising the Wehrmacht for its victory and ordering that all flags be displayed for ten days and that church bells be rung for a week.  German troops were issued English phrase books in preparation for an invasion of Britain.  France observed a day of national mourning.

The Petain government, now in Bordeaux, called on the French colonies to cease hostilities.  Forces in North Africa, Somaliland, Syria, Lebanon and Indo-China indicated their support for the alliance and their will to continue the fight.

Churchill made a speech to the House of Commons on the Franco-German peace and, specifically on the disposition of the French battleships and other warships.  He said: “…the solemn declaration of the German Government that they have no intention of using them for their own purposes during the war. What is the value of that? Ask half a dozen countries what is the value of such a solemn assurance”.  He was clearly worried about the fate of the French fleet, despite the assurances of Admiral Darlan.

U-51 attacked convoy OA-172 about 400 miles west of Land’s End, sinking the British SS Windsorwood, carrying 7100 tons of coal and the British tanker Saranac

Canadian destroyers HCMS Fraser and Restigouche were sent with the British cruiser HMS Calcutta to rescue 4,000 allied soldiers trapped on the Bordeaux coast.  In rough seas and poor visibility, HCMS Fraser collided with HMS Calcutta and was cut into three pieces.  66 men were lost.  

Game day 299.  Great Britain, its Empire and Dominions

The Battleship unit (task force?) en route to Singapore passed through the Suez Canal and began its journey down the Red Sea.  In the opposite direction the convoy carrying six infantry units from Australia sailed northwards up the Red Sea towards Cairo.

In Egypt the infantry stationed around Cairo moved eastwards while the six units already in Libya moved north-west towards the Italian force.  Eighteen new infantry units were deployed in Egypt.

Around Britain the story was all about consolidation of resources against an expected German invasion.  The supply convoy left Portugal and headed for Britain, taking advantage of the French naval force sailing southwards and screening it from the German raiders.  Two Royal Navy units were despatched from Portsmouth for protection of these vital supplies.

Four infantry units were evacuated from Cherbourg and returned to Southampton.

Credits:   Historical information:  http://www.worldwar2daybyday.blogspot.com, Wikipedia, Chronicle of the Second World War (JL International Publications, 1994).  Background image to game maps: Hasbro Ltd.   Other maps and photographs Odhams Press Limited.

Eighty years on. 24th June 1940


The French fleet was scattered at Dakar (French West Africa), Alexandria (Egypt), Casablanca (Morocco), Algiers & Mers-el-Kébir (Algeria), Plymouth (England) and Portsmouth (England).  Britain wanted these assets and moreso was determined that Germany did not take them.  French Admiral Darlan again assured Churchill that his warships would not fall into German hands.

The Franco-Italian armistice was signed at Villa Olgiata near Rome by French General Huntziger and Italian General Badoglio.  However, the armistice did not come into effect until 25th June and so both Italy and Germany continued fighting in France.  22,000 French soldiers surrendered in the Vosges mountains.

U-47 used her deck gun to sink the small Panamanian steamer Cathrine, carrying general cargo and wheat from the U.S.A. to Britain, some two hundred miles west of Land’s End.  U-47 gave the crew food and wine and set them adrift in the lifeboat.  They were rescued and taken to Milford Haven, Wales.

The British sloop HMS Falmouth sank the Italian submarine Luigi Galvani in the Gulf of Oman.

Japan formally requested Britain to close the “Burma Road”, supplying China through Hong Kong.

Game day 298. Germany

German troops took Paris.  The remaining defenders, Anti-Aircraft units, surrendered.  The industrial area of north-east France was now in German hands.   Elsewhere German forces continued to press south and west through France.

In the Bay of Biscay, the lone naval unit was aware that a substantial French fleet was heading southwards and took avoiding action by moving to the North Atlantic.

Credits:   Historical information:  http://www.worldwar2daybyday.blogspot.com, Wikipedia, Chronicle of the Second World War (JL International Publications, 1994).  Background image to game maps: Hasbro Ltd.