Saturday, September 22, 2018

Battle for Malta - Scenario 7 - Sink Rommel's supplies

This is the seventh scenario in a Battle for Malta campaign, it turned out to be one of the quickest games we ever played. The campaign follows the exploits of the Country of Dampshire 369 Squadron Auxiliary Air Force fighting against the Regia Aeronautica squadriglia d'aquila - two fictitious squadrons. We use the Wings of Glory WW2 rules, slightly modified to give faster play. We use the Wings of Glory planes where the right model is available, other manufactures are used to fill in the gaps.

We use our own set of campaign rules "Wings Over Malta". These contain 6 basic missions which will be played with alternate sides as the attacker. They will be played first with "early war" planes and then repeated with "late war planes". This differs from our previous Battle of Britain campaign which was a ladder campaign that followed more exactly the historical battle.

The Background

Malta was situated on the increasingly important sea supply route for the North African campaign. It would be a major help to the Allied war effort if the supplies from Italy to the Axis troops in North Africa could be reduced. Rommel was desperate for more supplies, especially fuel for his panzers. Malta was like an unsinkable aircraft carrier that could be used as the base for many Allied strikes against Italian shipping.

The Action

An Italian supply convoy had been spotted trying to sneak past Malta and 369 squadron was contacted. Flying Officer Cholmondeley Featherstonehaugh and Pilot Officers Sir Price and Emmett Hollingberry were sitting in deck chairs outside the dispersal hut when the telephone call came.

"Those sneaky Italians are trying to sneak past Malta without letting us torpedo them!" said Featherstonehaugh, sound somewhat enraged, "That's just not cricket you know!".

Hollingberry had made a bad landing with his fighter and it was still being repaired. Luckily for Hollingberry a Swordfish torpedo bomber and landed the day before with a wounded pilot. So Hollingberry decided to take up the Swordfish while Featherstonehaugh and Sir Price escorted him in their Gladiators.

They flew in formation towards the expected position of the convoy with Hollingberry's Swordfish in the middle and a Gladiator on each wing.

Two CR.42 fighters were spotted on an intercept course; one was the yellow-nosed plane used by the Italian ace Capitano Vitello Tonnato.

Cholmondeley shouted "Tally Ho" and immediately throttled back his Gladiator. Sir Price on the other hand pushed his Gladiator up to full speed - even though full speed isn't very fast in a Gladiator.

Hollingberry continued on a straight course towards the Italian shipping.

The two CR.42 fighters headed straight for the Swordfish. One opened fire at long range.

Sir Price flew his Gladiator so as to intercept, and exchanged fire with a CR.42. Cholmondeley was still protecting the wrong wing of the Swordfish.

Hollingberry continued on a straight course towards the Italian shipping.

The Italians swept past Sir Price, heading straight for the slow old Swodfish. Both Italians got a good shot at the Stringbag.

Cholmondeley finally decided to turn in towards the Falcons.

Hollingberry continued on a straight course towards the Italian shipping.

Cholmondeley turned and opened fire on a CR.42. Ignoring Cholmondeley, both Italians turned in behind the Swordfish and opened fire at close range.

Sir Price flew straight, he appeared to be having some trouble with his rudder and couldn't return to the fight.

Hollingberry continued on a straight course towards the Italian shipping.

Some good and lucky shooting from the Italians; Hollingberry in his Swordfish was done for. He'd flown straight and level the whole time, making his plane an easy target for the Falcons.

The Italians continued straight, still surprised by that fact that the Swordfish crashed so easily. Cholmondeley turned away and missed his chance at the Italians.

Sir Price flew straight, he appeared to still be having some trouble with his rudder and couldn't return to the fight.

Having saved their ships from the torpedo-armed Swordfish, the Italians turned for home. They saw no need to dogfight with the Gladiators, especially after having taken damage from the Swordfish's rear-gunner.

Sir Price and Cholmondeley gave chase and could just open fire at maximum range on the rearward CR.42.

The rearward CR.42 side-slipped and increased the distance from the pursuing Brits. There was now no way that he could be caught and the fight ended with both sides returning home before their fuel ran out.

Hollingberry and his disgruntled crew were picked up but a British submarine; the sub had run out of torpedoes and was shadowing the convoy and radioing its position.

Hollingberry's observer and rear-gunner both explained to him that had "the skipper" been flying the Swordfish he would have dodged and evaded the fighters, flying straight and level when there are enemy fighters around is never a good idea, and next time they will wait for "the skipper" to recover from his wound rather than fly with an RAF pilot that didn't know how to fly a Stringbag!


Italian Victory

  • Capitano Vitello Tonnato: ½ Kill
  • Tenente Luigi Macaroni: ½ Kill


ARES has no Fairey Swordfish models so we used metal kits from the Skytrex Action 200 1:200 Scale WW2 range. When I added a peg to the underside of the plane to fit into a Wings of Glory stand, there was no room to add the torpedo which came with the kit; luckily I could use these spare torpedoes as dropped torpedo markers.

The ships were 1:1200 Hallmark models sold by Magister Militum.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Caesar's Invasion of Britain (55 BC)

Previously we have been playing Commands & Colors Ancients with Baccus 6mm models. However we didn't have enough Ancient British models so we played this scenario with paper cut-out flats by Peter Dennis and Helion Publishing.

This is planned to be the first scenario of three games played in Caesar's campaign in Britain. We will be testing our house rules and our campaign ideas.

Historical Background

With most of Gaul under his control, Julius Caesar saw a need to pacify the nearby British coast, lest this island serve as a sanctuary and base for anti-Roman Gauls. Caesar sailed to Britain late in the campaign season with only two legions. The intended landing sight, above the cliffs of Dover, was lined with warriors, which forced Caesar to sail further north. The British cavalry and chariots kept pace with the fleet, however, and when the ships landed between Walmer and Deal, the Britons were waiting. The heavily laden Roman troops could only land by jumping into the sea and wading ashore. Wild melees ensued all along the beach and only after a number of cohorts gained dry land, following the lead of the Tenth Legion, did they form up and charge. This attack finally drove the Britons from the beach. Without cavalry, because his cavalry transports never arrived, Caesar was not able to turn the retreat into a rout. News spread of the Roman victory and tribal chiefs appeared before Caesar to offer submission. Unfortunately, a violent storm shattered the unprotected Roman fleet, and Caesar was forced to return to Gaul before he could exploit the fruits of this first invasion.

The Setup

The Roman left flank

The Roman right flank

The Romans have just landed and are struggling ashore. They are led by the elite 10th Legion and Julius Caesar is in command.

The prima cohors of Legio X Equestris leading the invasion forces.

The British have been watching the landing and now attack. They move first in this scenario.

The Action

The British decided it was best to attack before the Roman's while they had nowhere to retreat to. The alternative of withdrawing to the hills and forming a defensive line did not seem attractive. So their leader ordered all units within range to charge the leading Roman unit: the prima cohors of Legio X Equestris.

The prima cohors of Legio X Equestris was wiped out, but the British took heavy casualties and all their remaining units retreated except for the light cavalry. It was a young British rider that stabbed the aquilifer carrying the legion's standard and then rode back to the safety waving the eagle above his head.

Caesar was intent on revenging the 10th and charged forward with the supporting legionaries from the Legio VII.

Caesar's other units moved up from the shore onto firm land.

Caesar wiped out the offending infantry and killed its leader. Realizing he was too far in advanced of the rest of his army, Caesar refrained from following up his victory. While this was happening, the legionaries in the rear attacked the audacious British cavalry, a small portion of which managed to flee.

The chariots and light cavalry protecting the British left wing now charged the Roman light infantry which was still struggling to get onto dry land.

The tenacious Roman light infantry lost half their strength but successfully protected the army's right flank, causing the British chariots to retreat and inflicting losses on the supporting light cavalry.

In the centre, Caesar advanced with two units of legionaries, planning to mop up the lone British infantry.

On the Roman right flank, the legionaries advanced to protect the retiring light infantry.

Caesar wiped out the opposing infantry. The British cavalry on the flank evaded the legionaries and retreated back onto the supporting chariots but lost half its strength in doing so.

The British leader brought forward his chariots on his right wing and the Roman left wing advanced to meet them.

However the British chariots swept past the first legionaries in order to attacked a legionary unit still struggling to reach dry land.

The attacking chariots caused some losses to the legionaries but took many more casualties themselves.

The British formed a new defensive line on the ridge, and Caesar then advanced to attack.

Caesar first attacked the British in the valley and having destroyed them, proceeded to attack the troops on the ridge. These he decimated; only a few survivors managed to retreat off the ridge. The supporting legionaries then attacked the other end of the ridge, wiping out half the British there.

The battle was now won and the remaining British troops retreated from the coast and took up positions behind the River Stour.

The Aftermath

Caesar was so pleased with his leading legionary unit, that he awarded them a laurel wreath to carry on their standard. They will now count as heroic for the next battle in the campaign.

Julius Caesar awarding a laurel wreath to the aquilifer to be carried on the eagle of the prima cohors of Legio VII.

Although the British had lost heavily and retreated from the field of battle, there was great celebration that night when the young British cavalryman presented the captured eagle standard to the tribal leaders and their druid. The light cavalry that captured the eagle will now count as heroic for the next battle in the campaign.


Roman major victory (Rome: 7 victory banners - British: 3 victory banners)

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Battle of Britain - Scenario 16 - August 26th 1940 – Replacement Pilots

This is the sixteenth 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 RAF was being hit by pilot-drain. New replacement pilots were arriving at front-line squadrons with only a few hours training at OTUs. Experienced pilots were being rotated out of front-line service due to tiredness and strain.

The Action

The wounded Cholmondeley Featherstonehaugh was seen being driven off in the back of a Rolls Royce sitting close to the daughter of an Earl - or maybe the wife of an Earl, nobody was quite sure.

Sir Price and the fitter Walker we seen driving away in the squadron's shooting-brake, equipped with shovels and spades.

Half Pint and Foxy Moron were seen sneaking off before breakfast, which was very unlike them.

Sitting in the dispersal hut were the squadron's newly arrived replacement pilots, being watched over by Foxy’s troublesome dog. When the scramble came the two novice pilots looked about somewhat unsure, and then ran to their planes and took off.

The sky way partly cloudy, but they soon spotted an enemy fighter and turned towards it.

The Spitfires headed into a cloud and were followed into it by the Me 109.

As they came out from the cloud, the Me 109 managed to get a burst of cannon fire into one of the Spitfires.

The dogfight continued.

Pilot Office Wayne, more by luck than skill, managed to get onto the tail of the Me 109, but his burst of machine-gun bullets seemed to do no damage.

Unsure what was happening, Wayne stalled his Spitfire, allowing the Me 109 to open the range.

Dasshausen in the Me109, then performed an Immelmann which caused Wayne to overshoot and surprised Sinclair who came charging in. Sinclair had never seen an Immelmann being done before.

Dasshausen turned away from the fight...

...and the performed another Immelmann hoping to surprise the Spitfires yet again.

Dasshausen's deflection shooting was much better than the novice Bruce Wayne's.

Bruce Wayne's Spitfire plummeted down towards the fields of Kent.

Both Dasshausen and Sinclair at this point decided that their planes were too battered to continue the fight and turned towards their home fields.

Pilot Officer Bruce Wayne baled out and landed in a back garden in the village of Bramley End.


German Victory

  • Leutnant Otto von Dasshausen: 1 Kill. 

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Commands & Colors Quatre Bras in 6mm

The Battle of Quatre Bras, 16 June 1815, using Command & Colors Napoleonic Rules (CCN). Figures from Baccus 6mm range, hex terrain from Kallistra, houses from TBM, trees by Timecast.

The Scenario

We didn't use the standard CCN scenario, but an alternate scenario I wrote. This scenario was inspired by William Barnes Wollen's painting of the battle: Black Watch at Bay.

Wollen's Black Watch at Bay

To this end the French lancers have been added and one of Picton's units upgraded to GR to represent the highlanders. Kellermann's Cuirassiers and Cooke's Foot Guards are no longer available at the start of the battle.

The Setup

Quatre Bras is an objective hex for the French player. If a French unit occupies it at the start of the French player's turn, then the French gain 2 Victory Banners. This applies as long as the unit remains on the objective hex. If it moves off or is eliminated, it no longer counts. The French cannot win unless they occupy Quatre Bras. If the British get 9 Victory Banners after the French have already done so but without holding Quatre Bras then the game is a draw.

The battlefield from the east.
All reinforcements arrive immediately for both sides when a French unit comes within 5 hexes of the British edge or a British unit (including allies) comes within 3 hexes of the French edge.
  • The British place 2 x GG and 1 x FA in any hex with an orange border. 
  • The French place 2 x CU and General Kellermann in any hex with an green border. 

British reinforcements -  off table
French reinforcements - off table

The Battle

The battle started when Marshal Ney ordered an artillery bombardment by the French which caused two Dutch-Belgian units light casualties, however they quickly retreated from their hill positions and took cover in the protected ground behind.

Deciding that the position on the hill was too precarious, the Prince of Orange pulled back his remaining Dutch-Belgian and Brunswick units to safety.

Encouraged by the sight of the retreating allies, Ney ordered his infantry to advance through the shallow brook.

The Brunswick artillery opened fire on the French infantry causing casualties.

Upset by the effectiveness of the Brunswick artillery, Ney ordered his light cavalry to lead an attack on the battery.

The Brunswick artillery took serves losses but the French light cavalry was repulsed and retreated back into the brook.

Not one to give up easily, Ney ordered the light cavalry to charge the remains of the Brunswick battery, this time he supported his cavalry with artillery fire. Kellermann was ordered forward in support with his cuirassiers.

The remains of the battery was overrun and the cavalry then charged towards the remains of a Dutch-Belgian infantry unit behind it. The Dutch-Belgian took casualties but managed to form square just in time.

The Brunswick light cavalry, led by their Uhlan squadron, charged over the hill into the flank of the French cavalry. The French retired back to the brook and the Brunswickers decided not to follow.

The French artillery opened fire on the Brunswick light cavalry which retired again behind the hill.

Wellington had now arrived. He ordered the Brunswick infantry into Quatre Bras and their cavalry to move in support. This would leave room to deploy Cooke's Foot Guards.

Seeing the Foot Guards marching in the distance, Ney ordered his infantry to perform a bayonet charge up the ridge. Both the Dutch-Belgian infantry and the Brunswick light cavalry took losses and retreated before the advancing French who now had Quatre Bras in their sights.

Wellington positioned the Foot Guards in the gap between Quatre Bras and Bossu Wood.

The Prince of Orange ordered a Dutch-Belgian infantry unit to attack uphill and take the French on the ridge in the flank. The attack was supported by long range artillery fire from a Royal Artillery battery which had be stationed in reserve.

The French took severe losses but still managed to push back the attacking Dutch-Belgian infantry who had only received light casualties.

The French on the ridge exchanged fire with the Allied. The French loosing that exchange.

Kellermann's cuirassiers moved up across the brook to support their infantry.

The Prince of Orange ordered his Dutch-Belgian infantry up for a second attack against the French on the ridge.

The Foot Guards and the Brunswick infantry in Quatre Bras exchange fire with the French infantry on the ridge, greatly reducing their strength.

Kellermann's cuirassiers charge over the ridge and into Cooke's Foot Guards in the gap between Quatre Bras and Bossu Wood.

The cuirassiers were received by a first volley from the Foot Guards which decimated the cuirassiers. However to do so, the Foot Guards didn't form square which meant they took casualties from the cuirassiers.

The Foot Guards were rallied by Wellington and fired upon the cuirassiers at close range. Half of the remaining cuirassiers fell as casualties and Kellermann retreated with few survivors to the protection of his artillery.

The French moved their infantry to their right in order to attack the lone Dutch-Belgian infantry unit that the Prince of Orange had left unsupported.

While this was happening, Wellington ordered the Foot Guards to advance.

The French continued their attack on the lone Dutch-Belgian infantry unit, this time supported by artillery fire from across the brook.

The French attack was successful and the Dutch-Belgian infantry fled from the battlefield.

The rifles advanced on the Allies' left flank and took up position at the edge of the woods in order to start annoying the French.

The British Foot opened fire on the advancing French after the Dutch-Belgians had fled. The French took casualties but still held the ridge!

Wellington didn't like the threat still posed by the cuirassiers so he ordered his infantry to open fire on them.

The French infantry were rallied by their general and then they charged the waiting British.

The British Foot pushed back the French infantry and then advanced attacking again.

But the French infantry unit was now alone and surrounded by enemy troops. Fire from the surrounding muskets and cannon destroyed the unit and their General fled to safety.

The momentum now left the French attack. They didn't have enough fresh troops to be able to take Quatre Bras. However they had caused the Allies serious casualties too.


Minor Allied Victory.