Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Camp Cromwell 28/08/07

WWI Naval - using Camp Cromwell Dreadnought Rules

Coronel 1914

Germans (Byron & SteveJ)
CA Scharnhorst
CA Gneisnau
LC Nurnburg
LC Dresden
LC Leipzig

Brits (MarkO, Dylan & Barrie)
CA Good Hope
CA Monmouth
LC Glasgow
LC Otranto
CA Defence *
* Defence wasn't actually there, but was on the way. We did the what-if scenario where the British commander acted sensibly and waited for reinforcements rather than charging the winners of the Kreigsmarine's shooting trophy in heavy seas that rendered half the guns on his obsolete & outnumbered ships unusable. The predreadnought B Canopus was also coming, but she was so slow the Germans would never have let her at them.

The Germans split their force - the CAs took on the Brit CAs while the LCs tried to go around theri rear. The Brits used more simple tactics, putting a LC in front & another in the rear of a single column. The German made the mistake of closing in so the benefit of their superior gunnery control was lessened. With an extra heavy ship & distinctly better dice the Brits soon started to hurt the Germans CAs. Steve's LCs were too far off to be hurt, but the Brit CAs copped a pounding from the Germans secondaries. The pic shows the Gniesnau & Scharnhorst taking on the whole Brit fleet while Steve's LCs are off on fancy manoeuvres.

The Germans CAs turned away making smoke as did the Brit LCs. Steve's LC went in pursuit of the wounded Brit LCs as the Brit CAs circled between trying to get shots off between all the smoke screens.

Steve managed to sink the Glasgow, but not before the Liepzig was made a mess of. But while the Gnienau, Scharnhorst & Liepzig were all badly damaged, their speed was not affected and they made made their escape.

Both sides claimed victory. The Brits lost a ship. The Germans were severely mangled and a long way from home. A draw is probably a fair assessment.

The rules were made for Battleship actions and haven't been tried for cruiser actions before. The umpire was also a bit rusty - it's been 4 years since we last used them. They worked ok, but could use a bit of fine tuning for this sort of scenario. Probably best to have a sub-set of rules for Cruiser actions, rather than try to make the rules cover everything.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Gandini Papers - part 2

These are documents found at the home of a Signora Gandini in Montepulciano, Italy during the advance of 1944. They provide much valuable information on the Isdonisgrad campaign in Russia September 1942. The papers have been translated from the original Italian by Lt Sneak-Jones, British Intelligence. (The publication of some papers has been delayed for security reasons).

Kournikova, Russia
1 September 1942

Mamma Mia,

I have received a letter from Herr Hitler himself! He gives me his approval for my brilliant plan for the attack on Sharapova! I attach a translation for you to read.

My Panzers (doesn’t that sound good for a boy from Montepulchiano!) are, as I write, rolling over the steppes to earn me glory and more medals. (I have kept a small area on the left breast of my best uniform coat free of gold braid for them).

Who would have thought that 24 years after Papa so bravely lead the retreat from General Rommel, his bambino would be leading a German Army into Russia! But I tell you mamma, I got it easy - these Germans soldiers are a tough bunch – I’m so pleased they’re on our side this time.


1 September 1942

General Gandini,

I have received your dispatches of 31/08/42 regarding your plans for the advance on Sharapova. It is a remarkably good plan for a wog – you may implement it immediately. I wish that fool Mussilini would take note of my genius as you have. I wish you luck - I’d regret having to have you shot.

A. Hitler

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Camp Cromwell 21/08/07

FOW 1500 pts Fighting Withdrawal Mission

Byron's Carri attacking Nick's British Rifles Jim & SteveJ officiating.
Bryron put his 2 M14 Plats on his left, Gustatori in centre, Semos on the left & 105s in rear.
Nick had 3 Infantry sread accross the front, supported by a double 25pdr battery, Matildas, HMGs + 4 6pdrs in ambush.

Byron pushed forward on his right & centre. The 6pdrs popped out in the scrub near the Brit LHS objective. They got 2 bails but just one M14 kill, then got hammered by the artillery. The Guastatori surprised the Brits by Avanting into assault range to further mangle the 6pdrs & push back their supporting infantry. Nick's artillery finished off the 1st M14 platoon, but the 2nd one finished off the last 6pdr & their infantry support. Nick then counterattacked the Guastatori with the infantry from the centre. There was a vicious fight in the scrub between two lots of confident vets. The Itie's commander became a unknown hero and lead his men to a bloody victory. Even British Bulldog failed and the surviving Guastatori consolidated onto the objective & passed morale. It was then the Itie's turn 4 & they had an undisputed objective and victory.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Gandini Papers - part 1

These are documents found at the home of a Signora Gandini in Montepulciano, Italy during the advance of 1944. They provide much valuable information on the Isdonisgrad campaign in Russia September 1942. The papers have been translated from the original Italian by Lt Sneak-Jones, British Intelligence.

Document 1:

Petrova, Russia
31 August 1942

Mamma Mia,

Mamma! I am so pleased to be able to tell you that your bambino has been made a General! He is in command of the whole Axis Army on the Isdonisgrad front & his command includes not only the brave Italian boys in his old Company, but 6 Companies of Germans as well! I know you will be proud! As I am! I have had several kilos of extra gold braid sown on my uniform. Unfortunately, there was no room on my hat for more.

So how did your bambino get to such a prestigious position? Because I remember what my Papa told me about what he did in the Great War. I always make sure my men know where I am – in a nice safe place well behind the lines. Then my lines of communication are never interfered with by the enemy, so my plans, they go well all the time. And these Germans - they think they are so brave! But they are fools – they get themselves killed all the time! All the senior German officers got killed in the last offensive, so they just had to make me their leader. The young German officers don’t like it much (they are surly bunch), but their Fuhrer has spoken, and they must follow orders without question - useful concept that.

Tomorrow, the Panzers will roll forward in my great offensive. My brave Italian boys will be at the place of honour - covering the rear of the advance. I must go now, Gaetano has my dinner ready & I must get a good night’s sleep.


PS: Thanks so much for the crate of Chianti – it’s so hard to find good wine here! Can you believe it? The locals drink rotted potato juice!

PPS: Yes, I have been keeping warm and well fed. Since Sgt Corleone joined my staff, the food has improved greatly. He’s from Sicily and a peasant, but for some reason nobody refuses him anything.

Russian Front Campaign 2007

Isdonisgrad Campaign
Axis: Jim, SteveJ, Barrie, Byron.
Allies: Nick, SteveP, Richard, MarkO.

General Flic’s Corps in the last month of hard fighting has routed General Smirnoff’s Army and is regrouping and resupplying before renewing the advance. Unique in the Axis forces, the Axis advance guard is lead by an Italian. General Gandini’s skill at placing himself a safe distance from the front has left him the most senior commander in the sector. His Division has orders to clear the Isdonisgrad gap while Flic’s Corps is preparing for a continuation of its advance on Stalingrad.

General Smirnoff’s Army has fallen back along the north bank of the Deepr River before Flic’s advance. Smirnoff has been shot and replaced by General Absolut. General Nicholi Bowlerski’s fresh Corps has been ordered to hold the line about Isdonisgrad between the Deepr River & the Isdonis Mountains while Absolut’s Army is reinforced and readied for a massive counterattack.

The theatre of war is on the north bank of the Deepr River, between the River and the Isdonis Mountains. There are 5 towns, Kournikova, Petrova, Isdonisgrad, Myskina & Sharapova, each about 60cm square. The River Isdonis winds down from the mountains to the Deepr and is crossable only at bridges and fords. As well as bridges at the marked road crossings, there are local bridges or fords at about 60cm intervals.

There are 4 types of terrain hexes:

Clear = Plain = FOW Eastern Europe.
Green = Agricultural = FOW Western Europe.
Brown dots = Rough (foothills) = FOW Mediteranean.
Brown = Mountains.

The Deepr River and the mountains are uncrossable.

The Russians may deploy in grids 5 to 9. Their HQ & supply base is in Sharapova.The Axis start in grids 1 to 4. Their HQ & supply base is in Kournikova. Because of the fluid strategic situation there are no prepared positions at the start, though engineer units can build them as the campaign proceeds.

Each side selects their force as any number of valid Ostfront Coys.

The total points must not exceed 10,000 pts (including Air Support).
At least half the Coys must be Infantry Coys (of any kind).No more than 2 Coys can be Armour.
No more than 1 Coy each of special Coy types (Guard, Engineer, Recon, FJ, etc).
The Axis force includes General Gandini’s own Fucilieri Coy.
Both sides may have one lot of Air Support. (Not attached to any specific Coy but the points are included in the limit).
Recon Platoons must be initially included in Coys in working out the OOB but may be detached at deployment.
If Coys with modified points totals are used - modify the points as in the following example: Guardeyskiy Strelkovy Points = Normal Points x 1500/1165.

Victory Conditions:
The Germans win by taking Sharapova . The Russians win by taking Kournikova. If the campaign peters out with neither side achieving their Victory Condition, the side holding the most cities gains a Minor Victory.
Campaign rules:
Camp Cromwell WWII Campaign Rules.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Camp Cromwell 14/08/07

1500 pts Fighting Withdrawal

Nick's Tankovy
Jim & Barrie's Grenadiers

SteveJ umpiring.

The Germans had 3 Grenadiers spread across the front supported by 105s in the centre, Pak 38s right of centre, Neblewerfers behind & 3 Stugs in ambush.

Nick had 10 light tanks on his right with 3 recon in front & rockets behind. He lined up his 10 T34s in the centre.

The T34s & rockets opened up on the 105s while the light tanks advanced. While the 105s were whittled away, the Germans countered with the Stugs against the light tanks, and with rockets, 105s & Paks v. the T34s. The Stugs were picking off the light tanks steadily so they dodged to their left behind a wood. This exposed them to the Paks & a surviving 105 who killed enough to force a morale test which they failed. Meanwhile the T34's were steadily wasting under the German barrage. With 9 tanks under a template you don't need a high probabilty & the Neblewerfers kept hitting, while the Paks chipped in with a few more hits. The Stugs began to advance, but before they could join in, the Neblewerfers knocked out both the T34 commander & the Coy commander in the one turn. The T34s passed morale, but the Russians were left with no force capable of advancing & taking an objective after turn 4 - a crushing German victory. The terrain did not favour the Russians (a balka formed a barrier to near half the German line) & Nick had some rotten luck with morale & commander casualties.

This FW Mission was fought in preparation for the iminent Russian campaign to see whether we needed to modify the Mission Rules to suit our campaign system. The battle was too one sided to teach us much campaign-wise, but at least we got some experience in the FW Mission that we have usually avoided.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Report to the Air Ministry of an action over Villiers, France 8th August 1917

“I am Sir, as ever, your humble servant, James Bigglesworth, Captain, RAF. The following is a true and honest account of a recent action that I feel obliged to submit in order to clear up certain inaccuracies raised by the scurrilous gentlemen of the press. Oh wicked, perfidious Albion.

At approximately …. No, there is nothing approximate about it. It must have been 1000 hours sharp as we, of the 6th Air Squadron, are loathe to machine gun Huns before a hearty English breakfast.

Flying in formation over No Man’s Land near Villiers were myself, Captain Biggles, Algy, Ginger and a new chap, Algernon. The air was clear and sharp, visibility being particularly good. A little higher and I would have seen the white cliffs of Dover.

As it was all we saw were Fokkers. Flocks of f…g Fokkers. While we all are prepared to die for God and country and would, if asked, kiss the Queen’s pinky, we do not appreciate having to fly second rate aircraft. Camels and Spads are fine and dandy but why can’t the British Air Manufacturing Industry make Fokkers instead?

Damn it man, their name even sounds like an aeroplane instead of something that spits out fur balls in the middle of a bloody desert.

I spotted three Fokkers. Signalling to the others to engage I immediately powered my Spad up into the high ground and captured it for Britain. Hail Britannia!

Looking down I observed a thrashing maelstrom of aircraft twisting and turning like an orgy of snakes on heat. Algernon, poor chap, went down in flames fairly quickly and Ginger jammed his guns good and proper and had to depart forthwith. All in all it was a jolly bad run of events. Only Algy, riddled with holes, fought on.

With the high ground secured and Algy in dire straits I took it upon myself to do what any red blooded Englishman would do in such desperate circumstances. Diving out of the sun I locked onto the tail of the nearest Fokker and filled him full of lead. As luck would have it the pilot took two in the buttocks.

So there I was, tailing a wounded Hun who clearly had no sense of decency. A true sportsman would have nose-dived into the ground at the earliest opportunity. But no, this wayward Hun just continued to stagger through the air leaking filthy foreign blood out of his rear-end all over the Western Front.

What a boob. Clearly Huns aren’t acquainted with the concept of Chivalry and “doing the proper thing”.

So I did it for him. Shot him to shreds. Splattered him good and proper.

A second Hun, probably rattled and frightened by this show of British fortitude, took flight and scurried out of sight.

This only left the third and last Hun for Algy and myself to deal with. I’m embarrassed to report that he got a couple of lucky shots in on my good self but only through a disturbing disregard for aeronautical rules.

Lucky shots nevertheless, Algy and I, working as a team, soon hounded him into a death dive and the Gods of War took care of the rest. Huns always roll one on their dice in emergencies. A known fact and further proof, if any were needed, of the superiority of the English way of life.

In summary I would like to say a word of gratitude to our ex-new chum, Algernon, who, while only with us for a short time, flew straight and true. Ginger is to be praised for getting back to the airfield early and organising G&T’s prior to our return. Algy is to be promoted and I recommend myself for a decoration for outstanding gallantry and bravery in the air. I will leave it to your lordships to find some appropriate bauble to pin on my chest.

I am, as ever, your humble servant, Captain James Bigglesworth, RAF.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Camp Cromwell 07/08/07

Modder Fokkers

After a long break we broke out the WWI planes again.

2 Camels (James & MarkO) + 2 Spads (Russ & Cameron)
2 Fokker VII (SteveJ & Nick) + 1 Fokker VIII (Jim)

After some snide remarks about certain player's Flashman tactics, Cameron proceded to do just that - hanging about up high taking photos while his comrades did the fighting. Mark managed to permanently jamb his guns and slipped away. The FVIII doggedly stalked Russ's Spad and eventualy shot it down. This left the Brits with just 2 planes to 3, but the FVIII ran out of ammo and went home evening up the odds. Cameron finally decended for the clouds, got lucky and shot Nick down. This left Steve's FVII on it's own v. a Spad & a Camel. He fought bravely, but his shooting let him down. He had the Spad in a mess, but couldn't quite nail it while the two Brits gradually shot him up. He dived for home, but when he pulled up near the deck his wings came off. James & Cameron claimed half a kill each because they were harrying him when he crashed.

It was good to take to the air again after a long break. We soon started to remember the rules again & everyone had a good time, even the victims.

Pic 1 = Russ & Mark ponder their options as the two flights close.

Pic 2 = James' Camel climbs over a flock of Fokkers while Cameron maintains a safe distance.

Pic 3 = Steve's Fokker (middle plane) slugs it out against the odds.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Camp Cromwell 31/07/07

Kursk Big Push Week 2

Richard couldn't make it this week but Nick took his place. Leigh also put in a rare appearance.
The Germans pushed forward but the Russians disputed every inch of ground (pic 1).
On the right SteveJ's Panzer Grenadiers attacked supported by Panthers. (pic 2). A Russian counterattack pushed the Grenadiers back with high casualties & they failed morale. The HQ Panther tried to rally them & failed. SteveJ was left with just 3 Panthers & an Armoured Car in the front line on the right - not nearly enough. Meanwhile Barrie's attack on the left slowed down to a crawl on the rough ridge (pic 3).
By turn 12 the Germans were not even disputing an objective. The Russians were declared the winners.

It was decided that although it gave us a good battle scenario in this instance, the FOW Axis of Attack Campaign System is pretty dumb & not worth proceeding with. I have been working on improving the Campaign system we used in last year's Tunisia Campaign. I hope to be calling for volunteers to sign up for a new FOW campaign soon.