A bit of conversion

In one of my slowly progressing projects I am playing the board game “Axis & Allies”, starting in 1939, but each engagement is resolved using the “Memoir 44” game using 1/285 models on a Kallistra hexxon game board.
The Axis & Allies game board has been added as a background to an Excel spreadsheet and movement is not by terrain area but by grid square. Movement has been reduced to weekly time periods and resource gathering to monthly. I believe the original game works in approximately quarterly turns.

So when two forces meet in adjacent squares they, and any supports within one move, are converted as below. This means that strategically I may be moving the 3rd Tank Army, but the commander on the field has to work with whatever is available on the day.

Conversion from Axis & Allies to Memoir 44.

For each full strength Axis & Allies unit, roll all 8 battle dice.
Battle Dice have faces showing 1 tank, 2 infantry, 1 grenade, 1 star & 1 flag.  As the campaign progresses, units are weakened in battle and fewer dice are rolled.

Infantry piece
Infantry face = Rifle unit (4 Rifle bases)
Tank face = Tank unit (3 medium tanks)
Grenade face = Artillery Unit (2 towed guns)
Re-roll Flag and Star faces.
Infantry face = MG unit. (1 MG + 3 Rifle bases)
Tank face = Anti-Tank unit. (1 ATR + 3 Rifle bases)
Grenade face = Mortar unit. (1 Mortar + 3 Rifle bases)
Flag face = Cavalry unit. (4 Cavalry or 4 tankettes)
Star face = Supply trucks. (3 Trucks)

Tank piece
Tank face = Tank unit (3 medium tanks)
Grenade face = SP Artillery unit (2 SP guns)
Flag face = Armoured Car unit. (3 armoured cars*)
Star face = Half-tracks. (3 half-tracks)
Re-roll Infantry faces.
Infantry face = Infantry (4 Rifle bases)
Grenade face = towed artillery (2 towed guns)
Tank face = Light tank unit (2 tanks)
Flag face = Heavy tank (1 tank) (use Tiger rules)
Star face = Supply trucks (3 trucks)
* Armoured cars battle as patrol cars, target as armour.

Fighter piece
Star face = Fighter aircraft (1 ME109, Spitfire. etc)
Grenade face = Fighter-bomber aircraft (1 Stuka, Typhoon, etc)
Flag face = Reconnaissance aircraft (1 Storch, Lysander, etc)
All other faces ignored

Bomber piece
Grenade face = Bomber aircraft (1)
Star face = Transport aircraft (1)
Flag face = Glider (1)
Other faces ignored

Transport ship
Infantry face = troopship
Tank face = cargo ship
Grenade face = cargo ship – munitions
Star face = oil tanker
Flag face = convoy escort

Flag face = Battleship
Star face = Cruiser
Tank face = Destroyer
Grenade face = Anti-Submarine Destroyer
Infantry face ignored

Aircraft carrier
Flag face = Carrier
Star face = Cruiser
Tank face = Destroyer
Grenade face = Anti-Submarine Destroyer
Infantry face ignored

Infantry = submarine
Flag = supply ship
All other faces ignored.

Thus: for example, my next conflict (Polish counterattack 4th September 1939)  has these forces:
Polish forces:
2nd Infantry Army (8)
5 Infantry = 5 x rifle units of 4 rifle bases
1 Tank = 3 medium tanks 7TP 37mm
1 Grenade = 2 x horse-towed 75mm guns
1 Star re-rolled as tank = 1 AT Rifle base +3 rifle base.

Support (1st Tank Army) (4) (May arrive Polish left flank when left flank cards are played. Units as card)
1 Tank = 3 medium tanks 7TP with 2MG
1 Grenade = 2 towed 105mm guns with half tracks
1 Flag = 3 Armoured cars
1 Infantry rerolled as infantry = 4 rifle bases

German forces:
1st Tank Army (5)
1 Tank = 3 medium tanks (PzII)
1 Flag = 3 armoured cars (SdKfz222)
3 Infantry rerolled as Flag, Grenade, Tank
Flag = 1 Heavy Tank (PzIV)
Grenade = 2 Towed guns (105mm) with half-tracks
Tank face = 1 AT Rifle base + 3 rifle bases

Support (2nd Infantry Army) (8) May arrive German left flank if “Direct from HQ” card played.
1 Infantry = 1 Rifle unit of 4 rifle bases
2 Grenades = 2 units of 2 towed 105mm guns
2 Stars = 2 units of 3 Supply trucks
3 Flags = 3 units of 4 cavalry bases or 4 Pz1 tanks

Support (1st Infantry Army) (6) may arrive in German rear if “Direct from HQ” card played.
5 Infantry = 5 units of 4 rifle bases
1 star = 1 unit of 3 supply trucks

Support (1st Jagd Luftflotte) (8) – fighter – may arrive from German rear if “Air Power” card played.
4 Grenades = 4 JU87 Stukas
1 Star = 1 ME109
1 Flag = 1 Fiesler Storch
2 Tanks ignored

Support (1st Bomber Luftflotte) (8) – bomber – may arrive from German left if “Air Power” card played.
1 Grenade = 1 HE111 Bomber
5 Infantry ignored
2 Tanks ignored

NOTE that it is no relevance which elements were engaged previously. For each battle the dice are rolled anew.

My life. Upate 5th February 2018

What’s been happening since my last post on 24th January?
I have asked three times for the scaffolding around our house to be removed, so far to no effect. Actually it may be a “Good Thing” that it is still there because I discovered that the builders have installed guttering to the side of our flat-roof extension but have forgotten to divert the down-pipe into that guttering.

This not only makes a disturbing noise when it rains but is not useful for the long-term preservation of the felt roof.

There is no progress yet on re-roofing of the man-cave/workshop. The inside of the roof and joists are developing mildew, so I have installed an oil-filled radiator to help keep the place dry until a proper roof can be fitted.
Over the weekend my wife and I independently came up with the idea that a clear plastic corrugated roof would have drained better and let in more light at the expense of temperature. Ho-hum. Spilt milk, no use crying over.

Some of my MDF war game tokens in use in the shed  have also gone a bit “furry” in the past week, and needed a clean-up.

I have progressed the end stages of the Battle of Brighton by another five minutes (Wow!). The British are extracting their forces while the Germans keep up the pressure. Once the Germans hold Brighton they will have another port (Shoreham) to begin unloading armoured forces. Currently only Rye and Newhaven are available. Brighton is area 38 in the map below.

On other wargaming fronts most of the progress is with evening painting sessions. Due to my recent extreme fatigue from mid-afternoon onwards I have not made much progress, but to keep up the variety I am using one paint-pot at a time for at least four projects. Lately it has been grass-green bases for my 2mm 1700 and 3mm WW2 troops, and for the “Battle Chess” game that I am developing for our young re-enactors.

I have now moved on to “Horse Tone Brown”, which will give me plenty to do.

Health-wise, I continue to improve, apart from the general feeling of lassitude.  I walk the dog twice a day which keeps me active. I try to walk at least 4-5 Km each day.  There are good days and bad days.  I am sure that I will feel more positive WHEN (not IF) I get the “all-clear” from cancer* at the end of the month.

Last Thursday we made a trip to North Somerset (near Minehead) – a 7 hour, 300 mile round-trip, to visit the yard where one of our British Racing Club horses is in training. Festival Dawn (photo) looked to be in good form on the gallops, and we had an interesting tour by the yard manager who showed us all his lists and procedures.

I was impressed by the way that Philip Hobbs runs His training yard, particularly that the employees who look after and ride the horses on a daily basis where possible accompany “their” horse to the races, rather than having  separate travelling staff and yard staff.  A good day out with my wife and dog.

* With the recent news that Prostate Cancer is now killing 7,000 men each year in the UK and has overtaken Breast Cancer in numbers, I am campaigning for the charity Prostate Cancer UK, and for a nationwide screening programme.  I think (and hope) I am one of the lucky escapees.  Please, gentlemen, get yourselves checked and donate if you can.  A heart-felt “Thank You”

Life and wargaming – an update

In addition to making a little progress on the longest running wargame move I have ever experienced – the Battle for Brighton currently set up in my cold, damp shed – I Brighton 18 0815 front lineshave had a few wargaming and other diversions.

The builders have finished restoring our house. Their company has closed the case. A pity nobody has thought to inform the scaffolding company that their decoration to our property is no longer required.
Just a bit more arguing with the insurer’s agents about replacing the gravel removed from the side of the house and maybe we can bring the caravan home.


The new man-cave…shed

is going to have a new roof, yes – already! Half of the second botched covering over the first leaky roofing blew away in the recent storms. I have hired a professional company (who re-roofed both my lost sheds) to torch on a decent roof. I do have electricity, and therefore heating, installed. When the wargame is finished I can continue with putting up shelving.

My hospital check-up revealed that my cancer was further advanced than the doctors or surgeons had expected. They believe they removed it all, but further tests towards the end of February should confirm or deny the fact. It is some relief, but still a nagging doubt.  Things in the underpant department are no longer as they used to be.

(No photo here. I think it may be inappropriate!).

So, back to the wargaming.
Projects that have emerged from my in-tray recently and been progressed:

1. Preparation of 3mm scale counter-mounted replacement gaming tokens for “Memoir 44” games, in particular Arras 1940. A lot of the infantry are on back order from Magister Militum, but most of the artillery and tank units are based, and some are painted. I have designed the bases to be used with “Memoir 44” and “Panzer Leader” rules on the same boards. I also have 3mm scenic models to be used with 3D terrain for World War II

new units

2. The naval Battle of Sevastopol, 1902. Part of my “Diplomacy plus” solo campaign and covered in this post.

3. Basing and painting my 2mm horse-and-musket cavalry units in preparation for the next campaign battle in 1702. Each unit needs three sets of bases: Deployed, March column and Routing. Each cavalry base is around 50 “figures”. Eventually this will represent a troop, but for the next game will be 1/3 of a regiment (maybe a squadron?).


4. Painting my bargain basement 20mm plastic 30 Years War figures in preparation to introduce the younger chaps in my English Civil War Society cavalry unit to the joys of playing with soldiers. I am developing a game on a squared card table that I call “Battle Chess”. It will be a bit like a table-top version of a re-enactment battle, but with dice, and the casualties will not be recycled! Rules to follow after play-testing. (No photo yet)

5. Preparing the 3mm models for the first engagement in my Operation Market Garden campaign. Gough’s jeeps against a similar number of obsolete armoured cars. The scenario calls for only 3 models on each side, but I have 15 of each – should I shrink the ground scale and quintuple the chaos? – answers on a postcard please (or reply to this post).

To be fair, most of the recent progress has been painting the black bits on all the models in preparation. By using the “next paint pot in the queue” method I don’t get so bored, even if every painting project takes an age to complete.




Operation Sealion. The Battle of Brighton – 06:30-07:00

Eventually I have reached 90 minutes into the German attack on Brighton.  This battle is beginning to look like the representation of Stalingrad refought by Lionel Tarr in the 1960s and referenced in Donald Featherstone’s books “War Games” and “Advanced War Games”

The following are the reports sent at 07:00 to the German and British overall commanders in this Play by E-mail campaign.  The battle has now reached 07:30 but for security reasons I am publishing one half hour in arrears.

Brighton 18th September 1940 British 0700

Brighton 18th September 1940 German 0700

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 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.


A busy man

Winston Churchill once said: “If you want something done, ask a busy man.”  Clearly this did not involve blogging. (A noticeable exception to the blogging rule is Neil Shuck of Meeples and Miniatures fame. He manages to keep up a daily blog, a weekly podcast and who knows what else in addition to a full time job, a family, a hobby and recently a broken wrist)

Anyway, back to me.  I have not posted for 6 weeks.  I have had plenty to do, but little time at the “real” computer, having spent a lot of time on the iPad and iPhone simply catching up.

So what have I been up to?

I will try to cover these activities in detail later with photographs, but meanwhile, here is the boring stuff.

I have been vainly trying to progress my “Operation Sealion” PBEM campaign, which is stagnating mainly due to the fact that I want to get all my models looking as good as possible on the table (shades of Peter Stringfellow?).

The next battle is the German assault on Brighton, which calls for a lot of railway track.  My blog followers will know that I normally use Hexon tiles for my gaming area, but extensively remodelled by me.  Well, this time I tried to mount the railway track by Irregular Miniatures and Leven Miniatures onto the raised rubber-ish roads produced by Total Battle Miniatures.  This was not successful because everything delaminated, and I am now remodelling all the railway hexagons, and, having spotted it while ordering more track I have a new railway station from Leven to paint.  I should mention that Leven have taken the trouble when asked to cast in resin a new 4-piece set of double rail track that will make a 60 degree curve specifically to fit a 10cm hexagon tile (2 inner curves, 2 outer curves).  I hope to see it on the website for general order soon.

In addition, this battle – without giving away too much to my German commander – needs a lot of British transport.  I have loads of 6mm trucks and lorries for 1944, but I want to get it right, so several packs of GHQ vehicles were ordered from Magister Militum, my UK supplier.

All of this stuff needs painting.

A failure to paint in time resulted in me not taking my semi-portable in-period wargame to the (bizarrely) 217th anniversary of the Battle of Marengo.  For wargamers, I am building armies from the Commission Figurines MDF range, but my figures are glued together in blocks for small people’s fingers to handle.  The project to create, initially French and Austrian,  armies for the French Revolutionary Wars is ongoing.

The trip to Marengo occupied much of my time, including all the necessary requirements of taking my dog camping in Europe and bringing him home again without quarantine. Superb driving over the Alps, including the St. Bernard Pass, last visited in 1989 in full Napoleonic kit for a reconstructed crossing by Napoleon in 1800.

Additional problems are having my car fixed after a sunroof motor failure (luckily it was a heatwave with the roof jammed open) and some kind individual ramming the rear end of my car in the Marengo car park.

We took our new caravan (collected the day after my return from Italy) to Wales for an English Civil War re-enactment weekend, and I am still resolving, and paying for, the failures of the vehicle.

I have also been instructed by my GP to have certain areas of my body checked for issues that affect gentlemen of my age, culminating – I hope – in an hour of MRI scanning this morning.

And so I am returned to the “real world” of painting, modelling, and hopefully actually playing some wargames, with a resolve to post more frequently in future.