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”

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 www.imaginative-strategist.layfigures.com 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”.

DSCN0706

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.

DSCN0708

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.

Eastbourne, 17 September 1940

Yesterday, 3rd January, I played through another engagement of our long-running Operation Sealion Play-By-Email campaign.  The situation potentially called for a large amount of German units that I don’t currently have painted and prepared, as well as a lot of railway track terrain to build.  I opted to fight this as a “TEWTT” – a Tactical Exercise Without Tiny Troops.

I dug out my Memoir ’44 board game and designed tactical counters for platoon sized units, which were printed on A4 sticky label sheets, cut out and attached to plastic counters which I had previously bought from Plastics For Games.

tactical-labels

These labels follow the principles of the early war German map marking symbols as far as possible, but have additional elements for gaming purposes.  They were designed usin MS Paint on a pixel by pixel basis.  I have decided to create all the forces in the campaign on the same principle so that I can fight any forthcoming battles without delay.  Tokens will be kept in separate bags or boxes according to their current location on the campaign map.

It was one of those engagements that happen in a campaign which could practically only be fought as a solo exercise, and gave me a lot of fun. The situation is that a small, scratch force is being attacked from both sides by brigade sized forces and wisely decides to clear off before the pincers close, but will they make it?  And the battle ended with a “blue on blue” incident.  Unusually in this game neither side had any losses.

The battle report is here in MS Word format

battle-report-25-eastbourne-17-sep-1030-1200

and here as a PDF

battle-report-25-eastbourne-17-sep-1030-1200

The next engagement is at Lewes, concurrent with the attacks on Eastbourne.

 

The Defence of Bilsington 17 Sept 1940

The Defence of Bilsington

17 September 1940. 09:30 – 13:00

This was an interesting engagement. Here is the battle map supplied to both sides:

map-11-bilsington-6mmThe commanders are asked to give orders using map squares for reference. The hex grid is for my use when creating the battlefield and fighting the battle.

The British commander had forces retreating from the south after a previous engagement. There were several depleted infantry companies and three intact batteries of 25 pdr artillery, with the Brigade and Artillery HQ units. He also had reinforcements from the north: a machine gun company of four platoons, an engineer platoon and a squadron of three troops of Matilda 1 tanks.

His plan was as follows:

“The broad plan will be for the fresh troops coming from the north to take up defensive positions in and around the village to cover the bridge. The depleted forces will fall back through the village. The force will look to hold the river line, their exact response will depend on the size of the enemy forces and the security of their flanks.

More specifically, the two infantry companies from C1 (road from the north) will take positions in the village and on each flank to cover the bridge. The Matildas will wait at the crossroads as reserve, particularly against anything crossing the river to east or west. The engineers will prepare the bridge for demolition.

The three RA batteries from D4 (road from the south) will pass through the village and unlimber on the hill in C/D1. The infantry coming up the road will rally at the crossroads and those elements not too battered will also form a reserve.

The remains of the two Somerset companies (arriving from the south-west) will move north to the river. If they can cross they will, and fall back towards the village. If not they will move east to the bridge. This will also give the British commanders information about the fordability of the river, and hence the security of their flanks.

Once all the force is on the north bank they will establish their defensive positions and await developments. They will leave the bridge intact is case further British elements appear, but at the first sign of enemy approaching the bridge should be blown. They should hold the river line unless threatened by overwhelming strength, especially from enemy who have crossed the river and approach from the flanks.”

He was unaware that the Germans would be attacking from the east, and therefore north of his defended river line.

Here is the German plan. The German player was aware of the retreating British forces that he wished to cut off, but not of the British reinforcements from the north.

“Expected arrivals in game terms, with draft orders:

Turn 1.  Artillery HQ, 105mm howitzer with 1/2 track and supply truck, 75mm infantry gun and two trucks. 3 x 37mm AT guns with 3 trucks, SP 20mm Flak gun, SP 47mm AT gun.

Orders: SP guns to move directly to the village, then swing south towards the bridge.  37mm guns to take up defensive positions in the village, covered by 75mm gun.  105mm to take position to cover both village and bridge, with artillery HQ.

Turn 5. (approx).  Infantry Regimental HQ, SP 20mm Flak, 150mm Howitzer with 1/2 track & supply truck, Bicycle Infantry Company.

Orders.  Artillery to take position with 105mm battery.  Infantry to move to village and then towards the river line taking defensive posture.  SP Flak gun to take post at crossroads.

Turn 13. (approx). 1 Infantry Company and 2 Rifle Platoons, 3 Pioneer platoons (one with flamethrowers).

Orders. To move towards village or river line as the situation demands.

Turn 17. (approx). 1 Infantry Company.  To be deployed as the situation demands.”

I played this game using my amended memoir 44 rules. The main changes, apart from weapon capabilities for 1940, were to the order structure. Memoir 44 is a card-driven game and players’ orders are restricted by the cards they have in their hand at each turn. Both sides were restricted further due to the fact that they initially had troops only in a limited sector of the battlefield, so cards ordering troops in the left, right or centre sectors could be useless. The number of cards issued to each player was equal to the number of HQ and Radio truck units available added to the number of flags rolled with all eight battle dice. As it happened, neither side rolled any flags, and so the cards were 5 to the British and 3 to the Germans.

Because I was using 3-D terrain (incidentally the models are from Odzial Osmy’s 3mm range and the terrain hexagons are based on Warbases’ 6cm hexagon MDF tiles), the deployment of model bases could not be the same as in the board game. I therefore decided that each base would form a “unit” in M44 terms for all combat purposes, but that for orders, each campaign unit would be treated as a “unit”.  Example: 8/RTS (8th Royal Tank Squadron – reduced scale from 8th Royal Tank Regiment) had three models, representing 1st, 2nd and 3rd troops. Each model could fire individually and take three hits before being destroyed. However, they could be deployed in separate hexagons, but commanded as one unit.

I also expanded the “Command Car” rule to include radio trucks, so that the potential orders in any one sector could be increased. This all helped to limit the sometimes stilted nature of the game where units with clear orders can fail to move for several turns while attention is diverted elsewhere according to the turn of the card.

And so to the battle. I kept a track of the time for each turn (1 average die x minutes per player turn) but will not report it as it seems disruptive to the narrative.

(Note: due to automatic corrective text editing, the expression “anti-tank” has been rendered as “Ant-tank” several times.  Apologies.)

Also the reference to 6th Dorsets in the narrative should be 6th Devonshire Battalion.

Word version:

battle-report-11-bilsington-17-sep-0930-1300battle-report-11-bilsington-17-sep-0930-1300

PDF version

battle-report-11-bilsington-17-sep-0930-1300

An engagement at Postling

Continuing the saga of Operation Sealion, it is now 10:00 am on 17th September 1940 and British reinforcements moving towards Lympne run into a German Parachute Battalion near Postling.

Here is the battle report.  In hindsight it appears from the photographs that the spitfire mentioned in the report is actually a hurricane, but as far as the Germans were concerned it felt like a spitfire!

Word document: battle-report-j-postling-17-sep-1000-1200

PDF: battle-report-j-postling-17-sep-1000-1200

 

 

Defence of Lympne Airfield 17 Sept 1940

The latest action in my PBEM campaign of Operation Sealion – the German invasion of Britain in 1940.  The campaign is fought using the rules supplied by S-2 Shop Productions, which is a useful guide with orders of battle, but also has several failings in accuracy.

Background:  At 01:00 on 17th September 1940 3rd Fallschirmjaeger Battalion landed and captured Lympne Airfield in Kent.  The attached reports document the first British counter-attack.

I have created the report in a PDF format for quick viewing and also a Word document for those who wish to view the photographs in greater detail.

Word  Battle report K Lympne 17 Sep 0920 – 1140

PDF  Battle report K Lympne 17 Sep 0920 – 1140