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 – 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

An ACW Excursion

Feeling the need to get away from painting and preparation for a day or so and to actually play a game with stuff that I already have prepared, and coincidentally next in my project list, I have played a solo game from “Battle Cry”, the American Civil War board game, transferred to a 4ft x 3ft table with 4″ Kallistra hexagons and 6mm figures from Irregular Miniatures.

Here is the battle report in Word and PDF formats.

Battle Cry Bull Run (Word)

Battle Cry Bull Run (PDF)

This was a fun game – with “game” being the overriding objective for some light relief.

Always something new to do.

While my main project is to keep my somewhat slow-running campaign of Operation Sealion running, I also have many personal wargaming projects on the go.

The latest to appear in my in-tray is Market Garden, which awaits the first contact between the 1st Airborne Reconnaissance Squadron and reconnaissance elements of 10th SS Panzer Division in this area.

17 Sep first contact

I have two possibilities to work on:

  1. To use the orders of battle from the “Rapid Fire” campaign book
  2. To use my own adaptation of troops, based largely on units from the SPI game “Arnhem” with a simplistic conversion to the wargame table. (Note that 1 A/B Recce Sqn is not included in the SPI version)

Option 1 gives me the following order of battle:

1st Airborne

Recce Jeep squadron
CO + 12 men
4 Jeeps with MG
1 Motorcycle
1 20mm Polsten Cannon (towed)

10th SS

Recce Armoured Car battalion
CO + 19
2 Panzerfaust
1 SdKfz250 half-track
1 Opel Blitz
2 SdKfz232 Armoured car (30mm)
2 SdKfz 250/9 half track (20mm)
1 SdKfz 251/9 half track (75mm)

Option 2 gives me:

1st Airborne

4 x 4 rifles + 4 jeeps
1 x MG + 3 crew  + 1 jeep

10th SS

2 armoured cars, SdKfz 232, 6 wheel version.

If I opt for the first version it will probably be a more interesting battle, but on the other hand, future engagements should follow the same principle on a larger scale, and I try to aim for simplicity in my gaming.

I am tempted to play the second, simpler version.


Polish uniforms 1939

I have a dilemma, or possibly a trilemma if such a thing exists.  I am watching the DVD “The Battle of Westerplatte 1939” and it appears that the Polish khak uniform is significantly greener than most painting guides suggest – assuming the film makers got it right and my TV colour balance is correct.

So, looking at the title photo on this post, should I:

a. Try to repaint these fellows?

b. Paint their reinforcements as their existing comrades?

c. Use a greener tint and claim it was a different issue or that colour has faded in the field?

A second question. Does anyone know which of the two tents in the photo would be more appropriate as to colour for Polish forces in 1939?


New Rail track in 6mm

A thank you to Leven Miniatures for producing for me – and no doubt for you too – some new 6mm railway track.
I was struggling with creating curved railways – specifically twin-track – for my Hexxon II tiles and asked Mick if he could design a double track curved railway, compatible with his (and other) 6mm railway systems.
I have received these samples. Four pieces designed specifically to fit 10cm hexagons, and useful for any double track railway.
Well done Mick. I will be placing an order as soon as they are on the website.

Bomber – the Wargame. Part 2

I thought it may be of interest to publish the draft rules that we will be using.  After drafting the rules I found the booklet shown in the header photograph, and was very pleased to find that the technical specs for a Lancaster matched very well with my own performance estimates.  The booklet is very useful for extra information on such things as take-off and landing speeds and – something I had not previously considered – which engines also power which subsidiary functions like gun turret hydraulics.  This in itself has added an element to my game.

And so to the draft rules:

BOMBER – Draft rules.

Designer’s Note:  Regardless of the apparent detail in these rules, it is intended to be competitive fun in the spirit of “one for all, and every man for himself”.  I have been surprised how close my first draft was to the real capabilities of the aircraft.


Each aircraft crew member has an ability level based on his training, natural skill and equipment efficiency.  These have been randomised, but every equivalent aircraft has the same total score.  Pilots cannot have the lowest ability rating.  Nobody’s ability can fall below level 1.

These abilities will be used to determine performance against problems.  Abilities may be reduced as the game progresses.  Generally you must roll below your ability to perform a task.  The exception is trying to fly higher or faster.

 Game Scales. (For reality checks)

The game is played on a 6cm hexagon grid.  Each hexagon is approximately 4 miles from side to side for strategic purposes, but for tactical engagements and bombing this is somewhat telescoped.

One turn is 10 minutes.

One altitude level is approximately 2,500 feet.  A Lancaster will normally cruise at and bomb from around level 6-8 (15-20,000 ft).  Maximum height is 11 (27,500 ft).

Flying higher will reduce vulnerability to Flak, but may make you more of a target for night fighters and will consume more fuel.  For aerial combat the difference between levels is assumed to be reduced to around 500 feet relative to the target.

One speed level is around 25 mph.  A Lancaster will normally cruise around level 6-7 (real = 160-170mph), but the maximum speed is 11 (real = 270 mph).

The minimum (stalling) speed is 4. (real =118 mph).

One fuel unit is 10 gallons.

Flak Guns have a range of 3 hexagons.  In reality the range is around 19,000 m level (3 hexagons) or 9,500 m vertical (12 altitude levels).  In the game the range for calculating shooting is the total of hexagons + altitude, but only up to 3 hexagons horizontal.

JU88 night fighters have a speed of between 5 and 12 hexagons (200 – 480 kph) and a maximum ceiling of 13 (9,250 m).

Combat ranges between fighters and bombers have been stretched, as the minimum space between models at the strategic scale is 4 miles.  Opening fire with a Browning .303” gun at 7,000 yards in the dark would be fairly pointless.  All combat between fighters and bombers is carried out at a range of 1 hexagon.

Aircraft will move in a randomised sequence determined by the draw of a card or a chit.

Flying a Lancaster bomber.

The Lancaster bomber can fly at a height between 1 and 11 (2,500 – 27,500 ft) and a speed between 4 and 11 (100mph-275mph).  If the speed is below 4 it will require a pilot ability roll to pull out of the uncontrolled dive.   The height is shown by one or two blue dice on the right side of the base.  The speed is shown by one or two red dice on the left side of the base.  At the start of each turn, the player may try to change either speed or altitude by one point up or down.

First declare the intention.  Roll a D6 and add or subtract the pilot ability level as desired.  If the result is higher than the factor to be increased then that factor is increased by one.  If the result is lower than the factor to be decreased then that factor is decreased by one.  Note that there is no trade-off of height for speed, to keep it simple.


A Bomber may turn by 60 degrees after each forward move of one hexagon.  The maximum number of turns in one move is equal to the ability of the navigator.  The minimum number of turns allowed in one move is one.  After damage to the aircraft it may be necessary to move two hexagons forwards before each turn.

Potential Collisions

An aircraft may pass through a hexagon containing another aircraft.  No aircraft may occupy the same hexagon as another aircraft at the end of the turn.  The aircraft that arrived last must reduce speed or turn away to complete its move.

After moving, the player deducts the total of the current altitude and speed from his fuel tally on the log sheet, also marking the heading, height and speed.

The cards

 At the end of each turn after the first aircraft reaches the enemy coast the umpire will draw a “Gremlin” card and advise the relevant player(s) of the consequences.

Damage cards are drawn when an aircraft suffers hits or if the Gremlin card indicates a systems failure.  Damage must be noted on the pilot’s log.

FLAK Batteries

FLAK takes priority over other combat.   At the end of its move each aircraft must dice for damage from all FLAK batteries within 3 hexagons.   Roll 2D6.  Subtract 1 for each hexagon of range and 1 for each level of altitude.  The result is the number of damage cards dealt to the player.  Damage is inflicted in the sequence of the cards dealt.

Night Fighters.

Each player has one JU88 night fighter.  The JU88 may be deployed at the player’s discretion, subject to the following:  Roll 1D8 and 2D6.  If the D8<2D6 the aircraft may be deployed.  It is placed on the table edge in occupied territory with an initial speed of 1D8 (minimum 5) and height of 1D8.

JU88 night fighters have a crew of 3.  They fly under the same rules as a Lancaster, but at a speed of 5 – 13 hexagons and an altitude of 1 – 13 hexagons, using a D8 instead of a D6.  If the speed falls below 5 it will require a pilot ability roll to pull out of the uncontrolled dive.

A JU88 starts with 200 fuel points and marks off the tally as for Lancaster bombers.  It must leave the table before running out of fuel.  It may be refuelled and rearmed after 2D6 turns.

Aerial combat

Each aircraft may fire before moving, after moving, or both. When the JU88 has moved within one hexagon of the Lancaster:

Lancaster gunners (depending on angle of attack) roll against their ability.  If 1D6<ability the gunner saw the JU88 approaching and warns the pilot.  The pilot rolls against his ability.  If 1D6<ability, the aircraft may move 1 hexagon in any forward direction and 1 level up or down.

The JU88 has:

4 x 20mm cannon firing directly forwards.  If the target is within 1 hexagon and directly in front of the JU88 and at the same altitude, roll 2D6.  Subtract the die roll for each die from the Pilot ability.  The result is the number of hits.  Take 2 damage cards on the target for each hit.

2 x 20mm cannon firing forwards and upwards.  If the target is within 1 hexagon and directly in front of the JU88 and 1 level higher, roll 1D6.  Subtract the die roll from the Pilot ability.  The result is the number of hits.  Take 2 damage cards on the target for each hit

1 x 7.92 MG firing directly to the rear.  If the target is within 1 hexagon and directly to the rear of the JU88 and 1 level higher, roll 1D6.  Subtract the die roll from the Navigator ability.  The result is the number of hits.  Take 1 damage card on the target for each two hits, rounding down.

FLAK and JU88 Night Fighters.

If a JU88 strays within 3 hexagons of a FLAK position, roll 2D6 for identification.  Subtract the range in hexagons and the altitude.   If the result is positive the FLAK guns have misidentified the aircraft as a Blenheim and open fire, as for Lancaster bombers.

Lancaster Bombers – Combat

May shoot before moving, after moving, or both.  Lancasters are armed with:

Front:  (Bomb Aimer is also Front Gunner.)  2 x .303” MGs.  May fire at targets within one hexagon ahead, to left or right at the same altitude, one level above or one below.  Roll 1D6 and subtract from the gunner’s ability.  Remainder is hits.  Target takes one damage card for each hit.

Mid-Upper: 2 x .303″ MGs.  May fire at any target within the same altitude or one above and one hexagon range, except directly to the rear at the same altitude.  Roll 1D6 and subtract from the gunner’s ability.  Remainder is hits.  Target takes one damage card for each hit.

Tail: 4 x .303″ MGs.  May fire at targets within one hexagon to the rear, to left or right at the same altitude, one level above or one below.  Roll 1D6 and subtract from the gunner’s ability.  Remainder is hits.  Target takes two damage cards for each hit.


When the aircraft is lined up on the target and one move away from overflying it, bombing will take place.  The bomb-aimer rolls 1D6<ability to move the aircraft one hexagon in any direction.  The launch point is the new position of the aircraft, moved back one hexagon for each height level, and forwards for each speed level.

The player now shoots seven tiddlywinks from the launch position. (Each represents two 1000lb bombs).  The umpire adjudicates the fall of bombs, scores the bombing and places fire and smoke markers.  The aircraft is now returned to control of the pilot who must fly straight and level on the next move (for the photographs to be taken).


Landing a Lancaster is achieved by reducing the altitude to 0 and the speed to 100mph (speed 4) at the point at which the aircraft reaches the runway.  Depending on damage sustained this may be easy or very difficult.

A note about the cards.

Anyone who has played Monopoly will be familiar with the concept of Chance cards.  In my game the umpire draws a card at the start of each game turn.  A few of the Gremlin cards may be beneficial, but most will infove a frustration factor.  maybe the predicted weather has changed.  Maybe a vital piece of equipment has failed.  Most of the cards require one specific aircraft to draw a damage card and if that card refers to a system (as opposed to generalised structural damage) the effects are applied.

The Damage cards are drawn either as a result of a Gremiln card or from Flak or anemy shooting.  These range from crew casualties to structural or systems damage.  After damage the aircraft will be harder to fly and perform bombing, shooting, navigation, etc.  These effects are generally indicated by reducing one or more crew abilities, requiring a lower die roll to succeed in any task.