The Battle of Sevastopol, September 1902

Part of my “Diplomacy plus” campaign.

Situation:  The Turkish navy has been ordered to move into Sevastapol harbour.  The Russians have been ordered to move into the Black Sea.

The two Russian battleships in the harbour at Sevastopol were ordered to break the blockade and move out to the Black Sea.  However, a Turkish squadron of three ships was stationed to the east of the port to prevent such an excursion. The Turks wanted to capture and use Sevastapol for their own expansion into eastern Europe.

The battle was resolved on a 6’ x 4’ table with a 6cm hexagon grid superimposed. The model ships were painted models from the “Axis & Allies 1914” game. The rules were locally adapted from the “Axis & Allies Naval” game for World War 2, and further tweeked as the game progressed.

The Turkish battleships Abdülmecid I, Abdülaziz I and Mahmud II were cruising southwards off the western shore of Crimea. The Russian battleships Feodor II and Boris Gudenov attempted to break out to the south-west.

On first contact the enemy, at long range for their main guns, could barely be seen through the telescope. Here is a sample the opening view from the bridge of the Abdülaziz I

The Turks, having spotted the Russians to the north-east, began to turn to engage. The Russians turned north-west to engage with their full broadside while attempting to escape to the west.
The Mahmud II and Abdülaziz I were within long range but failed to score any hits with their first volley. The Russian ship Feodor II returned the fire and scored 3 hits on the Abdülaziz I but caused no damage.

The Turkish squadron turned to the north-east while the Russians steamed north-west with all speed.
The Mahmud II engaged Feodor II with its bow armament, scoring 6 hits, but no significant damage. Abdülaziz I joined in with her forward guns but with 7 further hits did not damage the enemy ship.
Feodor II returned fire with a broadside. 9 hits were scored causing 1 damage point, reducing the capability of the Mahmud II.
(Rule. If the armour points of the ship are equalled or exceeded by the enemy hits in one firing, all the ship’s factors are reduced by 1).
The Boris Gudenov also fired a broadside at Mahmud II, scoring 12 hits with the primary guns and a further 3 hits with the secondary guns. Mahmud II sank with 100 of the crew. (Most of the rest made it to the shore and spent the foreseeable future in a Russian PoW camp).

The Russians continued to make all speed to the north-west. The two remaining Turkish ships turned north to intercept them.
Feodor II fired at Abdülaziz I and scored 6 hits. Superficial damage only.
Boris Gudenov also fired at Abdülaziz but scored a paltry 2 hits.
(Note. Although the combined firing would cause a damage point, each ship’s firing is decided individually. Let us assume that between volleys the Damage Control Parties have been active.)

Abdülaziz I fired back with the forward turrets against Feodor II, hitting 6 times to no effect.

The Turks moved north to intercept the Russians. Abdülaziz I turned north-west to engage the Boris Gudenov with her broadside. The main guns scored 8 hits and the secondary batteries a further 5. this was enough to send her to the bottom with 400 crewmen lost.
Feodor II returned fire with her stern guns. 3 hits were scored on Abdülaziz I, who continued north-west to intercept the Russian escape.
Abdülmecid I continued north, having been the southernmost ship at the start of the engagement.
Feodor II turned south-west to use her broadside against the enemy.
Abdülaziz fired a broadside and scored 8 more hits on Feodor II, sufficient to reduce her capability. However, still fighting, she returned fire and with 10 hits damaged the Abdülaziz still further.

Abdülaziz I crept slowly onwards to the north-west despite the extreme damage. At the same time Abdülmecid I, who had been out of the battle, closed quickly and turned north-west to use her broadside.
Feodor II could only move north-west at a slow rate.
Abdülaziz I fired another reduced-power broadside at Feodor II, scoring 9 further hits and leaving her dead in the water. Abdülmecid I added to the damage.
Before finally going down Feodor II managed to score significant hits on Abdülaziz I, crippling her so that she needed to be towed back to port by Abdülmecid I.

A Turkish narrow victory. 2 enemy ships sunk, one friendly ship lost, one badly damaged and one survived.

Operation Sealion – The Battle of Brighton

Hello followers,

Well, it has been a while since I posted, and here is why.

  1. Ongoing arguments between insurers and builders about the re-instatement of our house as it was before the fire of 4th July.
  2. Arguments with caravan insurers, purchasing a replacement caravan and trying to find someone who would insure the replacement.
  3. Finding somewhere to keep the new caravan while the builders – if we ever get any – repair the house and re-fence the garden.
  4. Sourcing a new garden shed/workshop.  Achieved as a local contractor will build a bespoke shed to fit the space available.
  5. Buying an awning that fits the new caravan, and, as yet not begun, selling the old one.
  6. Undergoing a biopsy to investigate my almost certain cancer.

and finally, the fact that I am running a PBEM wargame and anything that I post will be visible to both commanders.

So, with the game now poised at 07:00 18th September 1940, here are the battle reports for the previous 30 minutes from 06:00 to 06:30.

The situation is the German attack on Brighton, with the intention of capturing Shoreham harbour to allow unloading of armoured units.

Brighton 18th September 1940 British 0630

Brighton 18th September 1940 German 0630



A day of many parts

Today, despite being well into the second half of July, is dull and drizzly, following spectacular thunderstorms last night.

So I am confined indoors and catching up with several domestic and wargaming tasks.

I was inspired after listening to the latest Meeples and Miniatures podcast and after our recent fire to start documenting my wargame collection for insurance purposes.  It will be a long task.  It took me a week to collate from memory and photographs what we lost when the two sheds burned down.

Then I found a compiled list of unit values for Panzer Leader 1940 at for use in my Operation Sealion games, which I began to incorporate into my game records.

Next task was the pile of ironing, helped along by watching a couple of episodes of “By The Sword Divided”.


This is a BBC drama series screened between 1983 and 1985, like a sort of 1640s “Downton Abbey” which coincided with my early years of  English Civil War reenactment, and later episodes included some of my oldest – and in some cases sadly departed – friends as “supporting talent”.  The DVD series was released by the BBC in 2004.

Then I turned to some figure painting, namely the 1790s 6mm MDF soldiers from Commission Figurines.  These little “toy soldier” style figures are a little fragile, and because I expect them to be handled by small people I glue them in ranks of 3 to form blocks.


During the course of this I managed to drop a paint pot lid onto the beige carpet.  I hope that after some immediate panic action and a steam cleaner I have (almost) got away with it.  Time for a second application of carpet cleaner now before the Memsahib sees it.DSCN0707

And it’s still only 1:30pm!  Plenty of time for more catastrophes before bedtime.

A poor documentary

If anyone wants to watch a highly oversimplified Germano-centric and, from my other reading, somewhat inaccurate documentary of the first part of the Second World War, I can grudgingly recommend the Lamancha Productions “Visions of War” series, Galaxy Film 1983 presentation of “Blitzkrieg” by Karl Ullman, directed by Wolfgang Richter.

On the other hand if you want to view some excellent archive footage of the same period I can heartily recommend the same film without the soundtrack.

In its defence I would say that it is good to see anything from the other side of the hill.


Three days after

So, here we are, three days after the fire that destroyed our new caravan, two sheds, one bike store and part of our house.

We are waiting for some chaps to clean up and remove the debris.  Just as well as I now own neither broom nor shovel for this task.

Meanwhile I am going through the database that I have created of what I remember being in the sheds and photographing everything recognisable for the insurance claim.  This is inevitably adding items that I did not remember to the database.

The loss adjusters will be here next Friday and I am sure they will not believe how much we claim to have owned and stored, which is why this photographic evidence is so necessary.

Several people, including my mother who lives 100 miles away, have seen the story on the TV, but we have failed to spot it, or find it on “catch-up” services.  Why are we denied this when everyone else can watch our misfortune.?  But I did find the local newspaper, who took the trouble to send a reporter to get some (but by no means all) of the facts correct.

Basingstoke Gazette website 1

Basingstoke Gazette website 2

Basingstoke Gazette newspaper article



Normal service will be resumed…

Everything has come to a grinding halt here since Tuesday afternoon.  Around 3:20 in the afternoon I was putting the finishing touches to some Morris 15cwt trucks for our next wargame when the doorbell rang.

It was Dave, our neighbour.  He said: “Your shed’s on fire. I’ve called the fire brigade.”

I rushed out of the back door and to the summer house where I keep a large fire extinguisher.  By the time I got back it was clear that would not be enough.  I began to unreel the garden hose, but another neighbour appeared and dragged me away.  As we left the garden I saw that the garden fence was alight and the back end of our caravan had begun to melt, as had the guttering on the flat-roofed extension to the house.

My rescuer asked what was in the shed.  Apart from the usual collection of old paint tins there were 3 large gas bottles, propane and butane.  I and everyone else were forcibly retired to the other end of the street.

By the time we could hear the fire engines trying to battle with the traffic – at this time of day our area is crowded with “Chelsea Tractors” each with a doting parent and a brat who would benefit from walking home from school occasionally – the scene looked like this:

I will try to get a copy of the video posted directly here to avoid the Facebook log-on. Meanwhile here is a taster:

This is the scene my wife arrived to see. She was releived that the house was not gutted as she had seen the smoke on her dash home.

We had four fire engines, numerous police cars and two paramedic cars.  I was taken to hospital to have my burned face dressed.

When I returned from hospital, everything had died down and everyone had left we faced this sight:

What I came home to. This used to be a bike store, a garden tool shed, a larger shed/workshop and a caravan.
The house and garden. In fact there is little structural damage to the house, but the builders will need to be called in.

So, two days later, we are still waiting for the insurance assessor to call, and everything remains untouched.  We have come down from the adrenalin rush and the initial shock to a state of mild depression.

But it could have been much worse.  We have only lost stuff.  The caravan was fully insured for market value and there would have been littla depreciation since we bought it just three weeks ago.  I doubt if the home contents insurance amount will cover all the lost items, but many were d-i-y tools bought for a specific job in the past and stored in the big shed.

A massive thank you to the fire crews who saved the house and were so considerate – they even went into the our bedroom, under the part that was burning, chucked all the teddy bears from the shelves onto the bed, and covered bed and wardrobe with plastic sheeting to minimise water damage.

All the teddies are safe from drowning!

And where would we be without all our neighbours, who alerted me, called the fire brigade, saved me from severe injury, found our dog two streets away and gave physical and moral support, and have offered to help clean up the mess?

When this is all over we intend to hold a “thank you” party for them all – but probably not a barbecue!

And the cause of the fire is not yet known.

In the past few days I have added from eBay to my collection of ASL game boards.

I do not play Squad Leader because it is far too complex for my taste, but I do use the geomorphic game boards for my home-grown games.

The photo shows a Napoleonic battle in progress. Each infantry block represents a close order company of 60 men in two ranks or 90 men in three ranks. “Dotted” infantry are skirmishers, representing 30 light infantry. A French light Infantry battalion can be seen advancing through the woods on their right flank in skirmish order.

For cavalry a block represents three ranks of 10 men and artillery blocks each represent a gun and crew.

For these games I halve the Squad Leader claimed ground scale so that each hexagon is 20 yards across (could also be 20 paces or 20 metres according to period).

The plastic blocks are sourced from “Plastics for Games” with labels created in Excel.

I aim to eventually own the entire collection of ASL boards. My stock of boards is currently:

When I set up a game I take the stack of boards and roll three dice to select which three boards from the stack I will use. A further die roll decides the orientation of each board.

As I go through the stack to select the boards for play, boards that are not chosen go to the bottom of the pile, thus further randomising future selections.