Sunday, February 10, 2019

Battle of Britain - Scenario 21 - October 29th, 1940 - The last official day of the Battle

A scenario for those of us who love Italian aeroplanes. This is the twenty-first and final scenario in a Battle of Britain campaign that follows the exploits of the fictitious Country of Dampshire 369 Squadron Auxiliary Air Force. We use the Wings of Glory WW2 rules, slightly modified to give faster play, together with our own set of campaign rules. We use the Wings of Glory planes where the right model is available, other manufactures are used to fill in the gaps.

The Background 

The Regia Aeronautica formed the Corpo Aereo Italiano (CAI) to take part in the Battle of Britain operating from Belgium. Somewhat unwanted by the Germans, it was anyway formed in Italy on 10th September and started operation on 24th October.

The CAI consisted of two Groups (Stormo) of Fiat BR 20 M bombers, each containing two Wings (Groppo) of two Squadrons (Squadriglia). It also has a fighter Group each containing two Wings of three Squadrons. The first fighter wing had Fiat Cr 42s and the second Fiat G.50s.

When the Italian task force arrived in Belgium, the exiled Belgium government in London declared war on Italy.

Operations commenced with night bombing raids on the coastal towns Felixstowe, Harwich and Ramsgate

On 29th October, the last official day of the Battle of Britain, there was a change in strategy. A daylight raid was ordered on Ramsgate harbour consisting of 15 bombers and four times as many fighters.

A CR.42 which force-landed in Suffolk can be seen on display in the RAF Museum at Hendon.


The Action

Three Spitfires of No. 369 Squadron had just finished a dogfight with some Me 109s when the call came over the radio; a raid had been spotted on RDF heading a low level towards Ramsgate.

The pilots, Sir Price, Cholmondeley Featherstonehaugh and Emmett Hollingberry, were no longer in formation. They headed independantly towards Ramsgate planning to intercept the raid visually.

The raid consisted of two Fiat BR.20 Cicogna (Stork) bombers escorted by two Fiat Cr.42 Falco (Falcon) fighters from the Corpo Aereo Italiano.


Hollingberry in his Spit was the first to intercept the raid, and charged into the two Fiat Cr.42 Falcons.


The Fiat Cr.42 Falcons executed an Immelmann turn and were quickly on Hollingberrys tail.


Sir Price and Cholmondeley Featherstonehaugh were coming to Hollingberry's aid, but perhaps not as quickly as h would have liked.


The bombers droned on slowly towards the coast, as the fighters got into a dogfight.


But three Spits against two Cr.42s was not very promising odds for the Italians.


The Italians tried to catch Cholmondeley with yet another Immelmann...


but Cholmondeley's eight machine-gun just blew the Cr.42 to bits.


Left alone by the fighters, the Italian bombers could attack the port without problems. The Mayor of Ramsgate was not a happy camper!


The lone Cr.42 was fighting bravely against the 3 Spitfires.


...and a lucky shot did for Hollingberry's Spit.


Sir Price charged at the Italian, determined to avenge his friend. After the first burst, smoke started pouring out of the Cr.42.


...and the next burst finished it off.


Meanwhile Cholmondeley Featherstonehaugh was not going to let the bombers get home safely.


...and soon Sir Price joint in the hunt.


First one bomber went down.


...and soon the second went too.


As the summer came to an end, Pilot Officer Cholmondeley Featherstonehaugh was the best scoring ace in the squadron. His uncle at the Air Ministry visited the squadron, with a bar for Featherstonehaugh's DFC and a promotion to Flying Officer. Featherstonehaugh had been pestering his uncle for a transfer to warmer climes where the water wasn't as cold as in The Channel, preferable an island in the Caribbean. "Good news!", said his uncle, "I have found you and the whole squadron a posting to a warm and friendly island - Malta!".

His uncle then explained "You'll be loosing your CO of course, we need him here in England, but we'll be promoting your Intelligence Officer, Foxy Moron to CO. After all he's got experience in biplanes, all those hours in Camels you know."

"Biplanes!", exclaimed Featherstonehaugh, "You can not be serious!"

Result

British Victory (although very marginal and the Mayor of Ramsgate was rather pissed off)

  • Pilot Officer Sir Price: 2 Kills (One Cr.42 fighter and 2 shared BR 20 M bombers). 
  • Pilot Officer Cholmondeley Featherstonehaugh: 2 Kills (One Cr.42 fighter and 2 shared BR 20 M bombers). 

Notes

There is no Fiat BR 20 M bomber in the Wings of Glory range so the models we used came from AIM (Armaments In Miniature), an American company that has a range of resin models in different scales. Their 9mm (1:200) scale models fit well together with the WW2 models for Wings Of Glory. All the models are very resonably priced, the bombers cost $7 each.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Battle of Somosierra in 6mm

Refighting the Battle of Somosierra 30 November 1808, using Commands & Colors Napoleonic Rules. Figures from Baccus, hex terrain from Kallistra and trees from Timecast.

Background

After success in the north, Napoleon marched on the Spanish capital of Madrid, but had to first push through Somosierra Pass in the Sierra de Guadarrama mountain range. The pass was defended by Don Benito San Juan’s Spanish troops, who had been sent forward from Madrid. Both the terrain and troops constituted a formidable barrier to the French advance.

About 8A.M. on the 30th, Napoleon ordered forward the infantry of Ruffin’s division, but their advance against a hail of cannon and musket fire, though steady, was too slow to suit Napoleon. He first ordered his 80-man personal cavalry escort to charge the guns, but most were killed or wounded, and the survivors retreated. Napoleon now ordered the Polish light guard cavalry to take the guns. The cavalry charge was made against the first enemy gun position and after a struggle, the guardsmen captured the battery. The Spanish musketry and cannon fire from the second battery could not stop the Poles and soon the second battery was also silenced. The surviving Poles then moved against the third battery, joined by the rest of the French cavalry, and together the last battery was taken.

It is not clear if Napoleon wanted the Poles to take just the first battery, or all the batteries, but the gallant charge can hardly be paralleled in the annals of military history. Immediately after the charge, Napoleon promoted the Polish light guard cavalry from the Young Guard to the Old Guard.

The Setup



The terrain used for C&C is a very abstract representation of the real battlefield. The battlefield sloped upwards from the French lines to the Spanish lines and the mountains closed in from both right and left. There was a road going up the pass, and on the road the Spanish guns were placed.


One challenge with the scenario setup is that the Spanish generals start on their own, and not attached to any troops.

The Battle

Napoleon started the battle by sending forward three columns of line infantry to storm the entrenched Spanish artillery.


The fight was vicious, but the Spanish artillery were stubborn. They tenaciously held on to their redoubt.


The fight for the redoubt continued, with the French finally eliminating the Spanish defenders but having taken losses themselves.


After which the French advanced to consolidate their position and brought up the Guard artillery.


While this was happening, the French right advanced some Light and Line infantry. These caused slight losses to the Spanish before they themselves retired having taken casualties.


The Spanish took the chance offered by the French, and moved forward infantry reinforcements to protect their artillery. The infantry was placed on lower ground so that the artillery could fire overhead at the enemy.


Four French cavalry units charged. These were the Chasseurs à cheval de la Garde impériale and the Chevau-légers polonais de la Garde impériale as well as two other units of light cavalry.


The Spanish infantry formed square and resisted the French charge, both sides taking losses. With the exception of the Regimiento Córdoba which stood firm and opened fire on the charging chevau-légers polonais. The Poles took heavy casualties but the then rode down and slaughtered the Spanish infantry. They continued charging uphill and attacked the Spanish artillery, but the gunners were stubborn and stood firm.


The Spanish infantry and artillery opened fire on the Poles, who took more losses and retreated.

The Chasseurs à cheval de la Garde impériale continued to attack the Spanish square of the Regimiento de Reales Guardias Walonas. A unit of light cavalry charged through a gap in the Spanish lines towards the artillery position on the hill. The remaining cavalry unit, supported by the Guard artillery charged the Spanish square on the hill.


The Chasseurs à cheval de la Garde impériale broke through the Spanish square of the Regimiento de Reales Guardias Walonas. They the continued to attack the artillery positioned on the hill.


The Spanish artillery, probably the best troops in their army, then destroyed the charging Chasseurs à cheval de la Garde impériale. They were then attacked by the second unit of French cavalry and losses were taken on both sides. The remaining cavalry attacked the grenadier square on the hill causing casualties.


The Spanish rallied the grenadier square on the hill and brought up a cavalry unit from the reserve.



The French hesitated and the Spanish cavalry charged the French cavalry threatening the artillery. They destroyed the cavalry and then charged onward into the flank of the cavalry behind. Even this unit was destroyed.


The French then lost heart and retired from the battlefield. They would not be able to use the Somosierra Pass to push through the Sierra de Guadarrama mountain range towards Madrid.

General Don Benito San Juan had been lucky, his Spanish infantry didn't often manage to resist French cavalry charges, but on this day they did

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Battle of Britain - Scenario 20 - September 15th, 1940 – Battle of Britain Day

This is the twentieth scenario in a Battle of Britain campaign that follows the exploits of the fictitious Country of Dampshire 369 Squadron Auxiliary Air Force. We use the Wings of Glory WW2 rules, slightly modified to give faster play, together with our own set of campaign rules. We use the Wings of Glory planes where the right model is available, other manufactures are used to fill in the gaps.

The Background

September 15th is the day that became known as Battle of Britain day. The Luftwaffe made an all-out effort to break the “last” resistance of the RAF, and the RAF responded by meeting them with larger fighter formations than they’d ever seen before. The Luftwaffe needed air superiority over southern England in order for the invasion to go ahead and they had failed to gain this. After the 15th, the weather went bad, Hitler cancelled the invasion preparations and the Luftwaffe went over to night bombing. Britain was safe from Invasion.


The Action

No. 369 Squadron had 4 pilots on standby, relaxing in the shade of their Spitfire's wings, when the scramble came to intercept two separate incoming bomber raids. Pilot Officers Emmett Hollingberry and Sir Price scrambled together to intercept the first raid. Pilot Officers Cholmondeley Featherstonehaugh and Percy Prune followed seconds after, heading for the second raid.

The Germans lauched a mission with two He 111 bombers led by Oberleutnant Hans von und zu Missendorff. The fighter escort was provided by Oberleutnant Freiherr C.G.Sommarlath and Leutnant Adolf Halland flying Me 109s. There was no second mission for 369 Squadron to intercept, it must have been a false echo on the RDF.

Hollingberry and Sir Price were quickly vectored onto the first raid. Featherstonehaugh and Prune could not make contact with the second; they suggested that maybe it had turned back or was hidden by clouds.

Sir Price in the lead, spotted the Germans in a tight formation with the bombers protected by the 109s.


As Sir Price and Hollingberry closed the enemy, they were spotted by the escorting fighters who headed out to meet them with Halland in the lead.


Sir Price and Halland were in contact first, exchanging head-on fire. Smoke started pouring out from Halland's engine.


The bombers droned on and Hollingberry turned in to attack. He was caught in a crossfire from the bombers rear gunners and Sommarlath's 109. Even Hollingberry's engine started smoking.


Seeing his friend Hollingberry in trouble, Sir Price jumped onto the tail of Sommarlath's 109 and opened fire. Hollingberry was too focused on the Heinkels to notice.


Sommarlath's 109 didn't stand a chance as Sir Price's cannon armed Spitfire opened fire from close on his tail.


Hollingberry continued to attack the bombers, but was caught in a crossfire from their machine-guns and his Spitfire didn't stand a chance.


The somewhat damaged bombers headed into the clouds for protection and Halland in the remaining 109 was running short of fuel so he headed for home.

The two Heinkel He 111's droned on and came out of the clouds over the south coast of England.

Cholmondeley Featherstonehaugh and Percy Prume had not located the second raid, so they were vectored onto the first raid by their controller. Luckily for them, Hollingberry and Sir Price had already seen off the defending 109s. They split up and attacked the bombers in a pincer movement, something not to be found in the RAF's fighting instructions.


Prune got in close and dirty with the port Heinkel while Featherstonehaugh attacked his from a more normal distance.


The bombers droned on with all their defensive guns firing. Prune was almost flying in formation, trying his best to shoot up his bomber's port engine.


A lucky deflection shot by Featherstonehaugh did for the starboard Heinkel.


The remaining Heinkel was now set upon by both Spitfires.


The lone Heinkel had no chance, and was soon diving out of control towards the farmlands of Southern England.


Oberleutnant Hans von und zu Missendorff and his four crewmen bailed out from his Heinkel He 111. They parachuted into a farmer's field where they were arrested by a passing police constable on his bicycle. They were first going to make a fight of it, but decided not to bother. Being captured wasn't a problem, they would be freed when the invasion started in a week or two.

Result

British Victory - No bombers reached their targets


  • Pilot Officer Sir Price: 1 Kill. 
  • Pilot Officer Cholmondeley Featherstonehaugh: 1 1/2 Kills. 
  • Pilot Officer Percy Prune: 1/2 Kill. 

  • Oberleutnant Hans von und zu Missendorff: 1 Kill. POW 


Sunday, January 13, 2019

The Maximillian Adventure

I was at the club this week playing a scenario from "The Maximillian Adventure" aka The Second French Intervention in Mexico using the soon-to-be released Osprey Rebels and Patriots rules together with the author Dalauppror.

We, the Mexican Republicans, were defending a port against an invading force consisting of French, British and Imperialist Mexicans.

The Town

The Invaders
I commanded three units forming the right flank of the defenders: one of skirmishers, one of poor quality line infantry and one artillery.

The skirmishers shooting at some Mexican Imperialists.
The Line Infantry together with their "first fire" marker.

The Artillery

Great fun was had by all six players.

We, the Mexican Republicans, claimed a victory because we held two of the three critical objectives in the port. However the press in Imperial France claimed a victory for the heroic French troops.