A bit of painting

Today I have been painting with (I think) Coat d’Arms 515 Iron Grey.  The label has faded so this is my best guess.

Whatever it is, I have painted the roof tops of my square and hexagonal town outlines for gridded wargames, touched up several roofs on my “tiny towns” and base coated some 3mm WW2 German guns and prime movers.

Oh – and relabelled the paint bottle. 🙂

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.




1/600 Forests

As part of my Operation Sealion campaign, the latest battle calls for 39 hexagons of fir tree forest.

Because of the number of units involved in this engagement I decided to play it in 3mm or 1/600 scale.

And so I began my forest construction.  My first priority is playability and my second is that it should look reasonably realistic.  In my terrain design I had to allow for the insertion of WW2 bases of 15 x 10 mm and earlier (2mm) periods of 60 x 5 mm.

The first step was to use my hexagon tiles bought from Warbases, and then to add trees purchased from Busch.  Many of the Busch trees were far too large for my game, so I adapted them.  The first step was to cut the top half from the tree and use it as a separate tree.  The remainder was trimmed with scissors to form a second tree. Then the trunk  was cut to the minimum level to facilitate glue adhesion.   Occasionally a brush of dark green paint to the exposed wire on the top of the cut down tree was needed, after the trees were attached using a large dollop of “very sticky glue”, available from “The Works” or “Hobbycraft” in the UK.


This photo shows: a Warbases hexagon base, two bases after painting with Basetex, a small tree and a large tree, the large tree separated into two, and finally the two trees made from one large tree ready to affix.

And here is a view of the 39 hexagons drying out on my bookshelf (most of them appallingly out of focus, because the picture is taken with a smartphone).  The out of focus technique prevents fellow gamers from reviewing my book collection and comparing it with their own.


I will post a view of the finished battlefield soon.

NB “soon” is a wargamer’s term approximating to the Devon/Cornish term “Directly” or the Spanish “Mañana”.  i.e. “When I get around to it”




Sealion: Winchelsea 17 September 1939 07:30-09:00

Here is the report of the battle at Winchelsea on 17th September 1940.  This was an opposed landing, actually opposed only by a single Vickers Machine Gun team in a pill box.

Battle report D Winchelsea 17 Sep 0730-0900


Battle report: Rye, 17 September 1940, 08:17-10:15

This battle, part of my Play By E-mail campaign of Operation Sealion, was fought using 3mm models by Osmy Oddzial on scratch-built terrain built on Kallistra Hexon tiles.

08:17. 62nd Infantry Battalion suffered from Communications issues.  The 88mm guns offshore and the supporting destroyer had no visible targets.  However the 81mm mortar platoon of 4th Company, 19th Infantry Battalion was able to see the 1st machine gun platoon of 7th Devons, but unfortunately unable to hit anything.  2nd Company 19th Battalion also fired on them but also missed.

The machine gun platoon of 1st Company 19th managed to hit and wound one of the gunners of 4 Platoon 7th Devons further along the main road.  The 19th Battalion continued to press westwards towards the stream running west of Camber Castle.

62nd Infantry Battalion’s task was to advance from Rye Harbour towards Rye Town along the minor road, but first most of them had to pass through the now blazing village.

On the northeast flank the pioneers who had landed east of the river began to clear the barbed wire from the beach.  Offshore the barges were milling about, but one more barge with two 75mm infantry guns landed at the beach where the pioneers were working.

08:18 The Royal Artillery spotter concentrated the fire of all six 25pr guns on 5th and 6th companies of 62nd Infantry Battalion moving out of Rye Harbour along the road.  Despite the cover from the hedgerows one man was killed and three wounded.

C Rye 17 08 a The road to Rye

2nd Platoon 7th Devons fired at the pioneers near the destroyed bridge wounding one of them.  All available British infantry, including the motorcycle platoon, were rushed towards the southwest flank where the Germans were approaching in force.  The Royal Irish Fusiliers north of the river moved into the northeast end of Rye.

08:24 The 62nd Infantry Battalion around Rye Harbour gathered in stragglers to their respective companies while the 19th Battalion was ordered to move westwards from the beachhead southwest of Rye Harbour.  All Regimental Assets were ordered to land wherever they could get ashore and regroup later.

The machine gun of 3rd Company 19th fired from the central tower of the castle and wiped out 4th Platoon of 7th Devons, killing two men and wounding the other one.

C Rye 17 08 b Camber Castle

In the northeast the pioneers and one machine gun platoon moved off the beach, while behind them two 75mm gun platoons made their way across the beach.

08:30. The Royal Artillery Spotter lost contact with his Regimental HQ, thus allowing the Germans a brief chance to consolidate.  2nd Platoon, 7th Devons used their Vickers machine gun against the last of 2nd Platoon 62nd Infantry east of the destroyed bridge, wounding one man, while 1st platoon wasted ammunition against the German Machine Gunners in the castle tower.

The remnants of the battered machine gun platoons of 7th Company Devons loaded up and began to withdraw in their 15cwt trucks toward Rye while the infantry were trucked south to replace them.

08:31. Any targets for the offshore guns were blocked by other barges across the line of sight of the spotter.  19th Battalion’s mortar fired at the British motorcyclists but failed to do any damage, as did two machine guns.

The first platoon of 1st Company 19th struggled across the stream southwest of the castle while the 62nd Battalion continued to push along the minor road from Rye Harbour.

The two infantry guns got off the beach in the northeast while another barge beached immediately southwest of Rye Harbour.

08:33. The guns of the Royal Artillery concentrated on the captured trucks and German infantry east of the destroyed bridge but achieved nothing but to churn up the grass.  The British machine guns were just as effective.  The two 15cwt trucks arrived at Rye while the motorcyclists dismounted at the southwest end of the defensive line along the Winchelsea Road.

08:35. No sooner had the motorcyclists dismounted than one was killed by a mortar shell and the others fled.  Rye was also shelled by mortars but no damage was done.

Two more platoons of 1st Company 19th Infantry Battalion managed to cross the stream southwest of the castle, leaving only the machine gun platoon to catch up as it could.

C Rye 17 08 c Winchelsea Road

On the road from Rye Harbour the two machine gun platoons of 4th Company 62nd Infantry waited for their mortar platoon to dismount the tubes and join them. The pioneers began to move westwards along the northern river bank while the 75mm guns deployed to their northeast.

Two 37mm anti-tank guns disembarked on the beach southwest of Rye Harbour

C Rye 17 08 d Rye Harbour

08:38.  Despite the smoke around the bridge the RA spotter was able to make out movement around the captured lorries lined up on the road.  He plastered the area again, but continued to hit nothing.  The supporting machine guns west of the bridge had more success though, killing one German and wounding a second.  That put paid to 7th Company, 62nd Infantry and left 62nd Battalion HQ isolated in the front line!

The remnants of 6th and 8th Company Devonshires debussed to the west of the main road near the castle and prepared to take up defensive positions.

08:42.  The two 88mm guns opened up again against Rye town.  Although one shell landed close to a 15cwt truck, no damage was suffered.

The pioneers continued westwards along the northern river bank while the newly-arrived 37mm guns began to circumnavigate the larger lake, moving to the southwest.  They were met by two more barges, one with the third anti-tank gun and a SP 20mm AA gun, and another with two platoons of cyclists.

C Rye 17 08 e German cyclists landing

The fourth platoon of 1st Company 19th Infantry Battalion joined their comrades on the western bank of the stream to the southwest, while the heavy weapons company moved up to the stream in an attempt to follow them.

C Rye 17 08 f 19th Bn close up

08:43. The 25pr guns destroyed two of the three captured lorries on the road east of the destroyed bridge, but hurt no Germans in the process.  The two machine guns also fired and suppressed the 62nd Battalion HQ.

As the rifles of 6th and 8th Devonshires moved forwards the Anti-tank team of 62nd AT Battery embussed for the withdrawal into Rye.

08:49. The 88mm guns fired again at Rye, doing no significant damage.  On the southwest flank 19th Battalion’s mortar inflicted two dead and one wounded against 8th Company Devonshires, as the infantry of 1st Company 19th moved onto the Winchelsea Road.

Back at the beach two platoons of cyclists cursed their bicycles as they struggled out of the surf and onto the shingle.

C Rye 17 08 g overview

08:54. The only target visible to the RA spotter was a machine gun team north of the Rye Harbour Road, but not for long.  Soon two of the crew were badly wounded and the third was dead.

Regimental HQ ordered all troops to withdraw into Rye Town, while the HQ would move into the northeast end of the town.

08:59.  The 88mm guns offshore fired their last rounds at Rye, causing no casualties, and then the ferry withdrew.

German companies across the front consolidated their positions.  There was some sporadic machine gun fire to no effect.

09:05. The British commenced their consolidation for the defence of Rye.

09:06.  Just as the 15cwt truck with 62nd AT Battery arrived in Rye it was hit by a mortar shell, destroying it with its passengers.

1st Company 19th Battalion regrouped on the main road in the southwest.  4th company failed to find a crossing point at the stream while 2nd company, less the machine gun platoon, prepared to leave the castle.

The two 75mm guns unlimbered east of Rye and deployed to open fire, while the smaller anti-tank guns struggled along the beach east of the large lake.

C Rye 17 08 h 19th Bn cross the stream

09:11. The RA spotter having reestablished himself in the northeast corner of Rye and made contact with HQ was able to bring down fire on the pioneers moving along the river bank.  Between the pioneers and the accompanying machine gun six men fell dead or wounded.  Rifle fire from Rye wounded a seventh man.

Two machine gun platoons debussed in Rye and began to set up on the southern edge of town.

09:16.  The two 75mm infantry guns opened fire on Rye, but no casualties were inflicted.  1st Company 19th began to advance up the main road while 3rd company began to move out of the castle and 4th company started to cross the stream.

The troops on the beach moved slowly to the southwest and were joined by a third company of cyclists and an artillery observation team.

C Rye 17 08 i Artillery reinforcements

09:22.  The Royal Artillery turned their attention to the newly deployed 75mm guns and one of the Opel trucks exploded.  The lorry with the last of 8th Devonshires continued towards Rye along the side of the railway track.

09:26. The 75mm guns continued to fire against Rye, with a few near misses.

4th Company 62nd Battalion moved west along the road from Rye Harbour.

19th Battalion continued their gradual advance between the Winchelsea Road and Camber Castle.

09:31. The second Opel truck of the 75mm battery was hit by a further barrage from the 25pr guns.  This left the German guns with only seven rounds between them.

C Rye 17 08 l German artillery under fire

Two machine guns in Rye fired at 4th Company 62nd and wounded one of the crew.

The lorry reached the railway crossing and headed towards Rye.

09:36. The Germans suffered from wireless failures and only the 19th Battalion was able to communicate.  The only effective firing was a machine gun of 4th Company 62nd which knocked out the 2nd Platoon MG of 7th Devonshires.

The cyclists managed to move off the beach south of the large lake, while a battery of 105mm guns disembarked on the same beach.

09:42. The 25pr guns hit one of the 75mm guns east of Rye, wounding three of the crew and disabling the gun.

09:47. The mortar of 4th Company 62nd Infantry destroyed one of the empty 15cwt trucks in Rye, while the remaining company MG hit the last MG team of 7th Devons.  The remnants of that battalion retreated Northeast towards Brookland.

19th Infantry Battalion was impeded by hedgerows but continued their slow progress towards Rye from the southwest.  Two more barges beached at and south of Rye Harbour.

09:48 British RHQ gave orders to pull out of Rye and move northeast towards Brookland.  The RA observer team moved northeast to rejoin the regiment and thence on to Brookland

09:51. All German shooting was ineffective.  A second 105mm battery landed at Rye Harbour and a third immediately to the southwest, on the beach.  The 7th Infantry Regiment HQ with a PzJg I SP anti-tank gun landed east of the river mouth.

C Rye 17 08 m Final barges head ashore

Most of the troops on the beach by the lake were struggling to move.

09:56 The British Regimental HQ left Rye, followed by the Royal Irish Fusiliers on foot.  Rye was now open for occupation and by 10:10 the first German infantry cautiously entered the town.

C Rye 17 08 q Rye in German hands

10:11 The last of the British troops left the area along the road towards Brookland.

10:15. The Germans commenced regrouping.  19th Infantry Battalion in Rye, 62nd Battalion on the Rye Harbour Road. The anti-tank guns at the castle and the howitzer batteries between the two lakes.

C Rye 17 08 n Rye harbour to Rye

C Rye 17 08 o German cyclists and artillery

The Battle of Newhaven 17 September 1940

H Newhaven 17 06i burning warehouses

This engagement was fought using 3mm models on a grid of 10cm hexagonal landscaped tiles.  The rules were my own fast-play set.  One base represents a platoon or equivalent and the battle rules are of the “bang, you’re dead” variety.  However, actual casualties are recorded and companies can regroup with reduced numbers for the next action.

Newhaven: 17th September 1940, 06:00 – 08:20

The area of Newhaven was held by the 29th Infantry Battalion Group, consisting of four infantry rifle companies, an HQ company with AT Rifle and mortar platoons, supported by two engineer platoons and a battery of 25pr Guns.

The Royal Scots Fusiliers were occupying Newhaven Fort and a large warehouse complex at the port.  The Royal Welch were in Seaford to the east.  Between these two were the 2nd East Lancs. entrenched north of the railway line, and the 2nd South Lancs. were held in reserve on the high ground to the north.  The 25pr battery was further north and all the other troops were in Newhaven town, clustered around the railway station.

At 06:00 the two 88mm guns on a ferry offshore opened fire on the warehouses on the quay and the first barges began to move in towards the beach area between Newhaven port and Seaford.

The barge carrying part of 1st Company 28th Infantry drifted a little too close to Seaford and the riflemen of the Royal Welch defending the town opened fire, accounting for two men.  The Germans were stalled for some minutes.

H Newhaven 17 06h Seaford
The Germans land at Seaford

By 06:10 most of 2nd and 3rd Companies of the 28th had disembarked on the beach with the Battalion HQ.  They moved cautiously through the marked minefields which turned out to be dummies.  The 88s continued to shell the warehouses and set fire to one of the buildings.

The East Lancs. opened fire from their trenches against the German Infantry killing one and wounding two of 3rd Company.  1st Company took two more hits from the Royal Welch in Seaford.  They fell back towards the rest of the battalion on the beach.

As the main thrust of the German attack became clear the South Lancs. began to advance to support the East Lancs. in the centre.  Meanwhile the two platoons of the Royal Scots abandoned the burning warehouses and moved west towards the river.

The British commander ordered the 2pr AT gun stationed at the SE corner of Newhaven to move up to Newhaven Fort to try to do something about the ferry with the Flak guns.  The 3″ Mortar Platoon moved forwards to the Newhaven railway crossing.

H Newhaven 17 06c fort and harbour
A view of the fort and the harbour area with the main landing beach and Seaford in the background,

2nd Company 28th Infantry managed to get its MG into action against the East Lancs. trenches, but without effect.  The rest of 1st Company disembarked directly into Seaford at 06:15.  The Royal Welch fired from the houses, but no casualties were inflicted on the Germans.  The East Lancs. managed to wound one of 2nd Company.

German return fire, both against the British trenches and the Royal Welch in Seaford, was heavy but totally ineffective.

A second wave of barges began to make its way towards the beach.

A couple of minutes later the British rifles began to tell, a total of four Germans killed and five wounded.  1st Company 28th Battalion was forced back out of Seaford.

3rd and 4th Platoons Royal Scots managed to cross the river and halted under the lee of the hill on which the fort was built.  The 2pr AT gun platoon entered the fort and began to manhandle the gun onto the eastern wall.

At 06:20 the AA guns switched their attention to the East Lancs. in their trenches, but missed.  The German MGs had more success, killing and wounding three of the East Lancs. and killing one of the Royal Welch.  8th Pioneer Company disembarked with 4th Company of 28th Battalion and the MG Platoon of 3rd Company.  A 20mm AA gun mounted on a half-track also came ashore near Seaford.

At 06:25 the Germans concentrated almost all of their machine guns and the mortar on the trenches occupied by the East Lancs. Three men were killed and one wounded.  8th Pioneer Company and the remaining rifle platoons advanced to close with the East Lancs. while the SP AA gun moved up to the railway crossing at Seaford.

H Newhaven 17 06f
The German MGs begin to clear the British trenches.

The German flamethrower badly burned two men of 4th Platoon of the East Lancs., and the rest of the company fled.

At 06:30 the German infantry moved into the abandoned trench line.  They were now faced by the South Lancs. who had moved up to the main east-west road.  The German machine guns killed two and wounded two of them.  In an exchange of fire between the British 2pr gun and the German 88s, no hits were scored.

At 06:40 the Germans brought a 105mm howitzer ashore.  At Seaford 1st Company 28th lost its MG and crew to rifle fire.  The now exposed Battalion HQ retired to join the rest of the battalion in the centre.

H Newhaven 17 06b
The 105mm Howitzer approaching the beach east of Newhaven

The British commander ordered the 25pr battery forward onto the hill overlooking the beach.  The battery was suffering from the lack of an observer team and were forced to resort to direct firing.

At 06:45 the German 88s managed to destroy the 2pr gun in the fort, wounding one of the crew.  The 105mm howitzer unlimbered to fire at Seaford.  The British 3″ mortar shelled the German artillery and knocked out the prime mover.

At 06:50 the next wave of German reinforcements began their run ashore. Two companies of the 84th Battalion headed for the beach area, while the 88mm guns ineffectually fired at Seaford.

The combined MGs and mortar of 28th Battalion fired at 1st Platoon South Lancs. and wiped it out.  3rd Platoon of the Royal Welch took a hit from the 105mm gun.

The British Commander took stock of the situation.  His centre had collapsed and the Seaford garrison was down to half strength operational.  Newhaven town and fort were still held in some strength but it was clear that the Germans were bringing in more troops and vehicles in the centre.  His own main strength now was the mortar platoon and the 25pr battery which was preparing to unlimber.

At 06:55 the 88mm guns switched their attention to the Royal Scots outside the fort, killing one man and wounding a further three.  This was the last of their ammunition and the ferry headed back out to sea.  The 105mm gun and the SP 20mm failed to hit anything in Seaford.

The German MGs from 2, 3 and 4 companies of the 28th moved forwards towards the main road, while the 5th and 6th companies of the 84th Battalion landed behind them.

The British mortar platoon attacked the 8th Pioneer Company and drove it back with casualties.

At 07:00 the 105mm gun hit a platoon of the Royal Welch Fusiliers in Seaford.  One man was killed and two wounded.  The Royal Welch pulled back and headed towards Cuckmere Haven.  The remains of the German 28th Battalion began to swing towards the west and the harbour area.  The 81mm mortar platoon bombarded the 25pr battery which replied and disabled the mortar, wounding one man.

The British commander began to make preparations for a strategic withdrawal.  He sent the two companies of engineers and the transport companies towards the fort.  Meanwhile the 3″ mortar platoon shelled the German pioneer company near the warehouse complex.  One man was killed, two were wounded and the company ceased to function.

At 07:10 the 105mm battery redeployed to face the 25pr battery to the north.  5th company 84th Battalion consolidated north of the beach while 6th Company moved into Seaford.

The 25pr guns shelled the German artillery and spectacularly blew up the ammo truck.  The Germans now had only 3 rounds for the 105mm.  The 3″ mortar turned its attention on the machine guns of 28th Battalion, with a couple of near misses.

By 07:25 the British trucks arrived at Newhaven Fort.  The remaining two platoons of the Royal Scots embarked while the Engineers began to prepare the landward side of the fort for demolition.  Artillery exchanges were ineffectual.

Two more companies of 84th Infantry Battalion disembarked on the beaches with their battalion HQ and two vehicles, a SP AT gun and a towed 2cm FLAK gun.

At 07:30 another wave of German reinforcements began to approach the beach.

H Newhaven 17 06p
The landing of the 84th Battalion

The SP 2cm gun moved around the eastern flank of the 25prs.  The German infantry of 84th Battalion began to probe northwards, but the 25prs shelled them, killing a further three men.

At 07:45 the guns and 3″ mortar caused a further three casualties to 5th Company 84th Battalion, but at 07:50 the 105mm gun fired its last ammunition and knocked out one of the 25prs and its prime mover. 1 crew member was killed and 3 wounded.  The remaining gun prepared to move out of danger.

The Royal Scots began to move back from Newhaven Fort on the road to Newhaven Town.  The German infantry commenced their move on Newhaven using the main road, but the 3″ mortar laid down suppressive fire on them.  On the hill the 2cmm SP AA gun shot at the remaining 25pr, disabling the gun and wounding two of the crew.

At 08:10 the northern wall of Newhaven Fort collapsed with an almighty explosion as the Royal Engineers made their withdrawal towards Newhaven.  All British units commenced their move north from Newhaven towards Lewes, with the 3” mortar unit maintaining the fire for as long as possible.

At 08:20 the first German bicycle troops began to land and move forwards to occupy Newhaven.


The best laid plans…

I have recently started to downsize my models for Operation Sealion for situations where a full size (6ft x 4ft) table is needed.  By using 3mm (1/600) models I can fight the battle on a 3ft x 2ft area.

Here is Newhaven harbour in the smaller scale (and in poor light!)


It can be surprisingly effective, as this close-up shows.


Final touch-up painting remained to be done when this picture was taken.  Most of the buildings are similar to “Monopoly” hotels, but sourced from a game components manufacturer.  I printed the doors and windows on sticky labels to wrap around the walls.

I started basing the models on 1cm x 1cm MDF of 1mm thick, but have  migrated to Renedra’s smallest plastic bases for the future.  Unit identification is a small problem, not wanting to keep moving the units to read the underside, so I tried some tiny, cut-down thermal labels.    So far, so good, but they did not adhere well to the basetex paint on the top of the bases.

I decided to use spray varnish to protect the figures (paint seems to rub off quicker than from most metal models) and help the labels adhere, but alas! it seems that the varnish reacts with the labels and many have become indistinct.  See the rightmost base below as an example.


The search for a solution continues…