Sunday, 6 November 2011

Coastal Warfare Ideas

You may remember the trials and tribulations I've had in the past with the my local club participation game. These are now dead and buried but I'm still wary of sticking my neck out on projects that end up being more of a headache than I initially anticipate. However, I still want to be involved and enjoy thinking up ideas for potential games or scenarios. 

The current club game, a 28mm ACW assasinate President Lincoln  skirmish, has it's final outing at Warfare  2011 in a couple of weeks time. I haven't been involved with it much, due to lack of time and workload, but I did help out with the running of the game at Attack! earlier in the year. It's a great little game and well worth a go if you're going to Warfare this year.

However, it's now time to think about the next game in the long running saga of Wessex Wargamers Winchester show games. I had thought about a 633 Squadron aerial game in 1/600th or 1/144th scale but the effort required to set this up would be massive, especially if the terrain construction and model making ended up entirely on my plate.

I'm now thinking about alternative options and have been exploring the potential for a coastal forces 'narrow seas' set up. These are usually 1/600 scale affairs but I'm thinking of scaling up for visual impact and for the sake of  something a bit out of the ordinary. At the moment, this means either a 1/350th scale WW2 or a 1/200th scale WW1 / RCW approach.

The first option would use White Ensign Miniatures MTB / MGB resin kits converted to waterline configuration, alongside Bronco Models injection moulded S-100 schnellboot. These look like lovely models with plenty of detail but, at the same time, relatively cheap and easy to build. WEM also produce a Flaklighter that might be usable.

The set up would use the club hex terrain and be based on three or four vessels per side, keeping numbers to a minimum. I'm thinking of E-boat interception patrols off Holland or minelaying off the East coast convoy routes as the basis for the game scenario, so there would be little need to have hefty merchant ships involved.

The rules would be based on the Full Thrust system and have a big roleplaying element, even down to having players filling the roles of commander, torps / guns and engine room chief on individual boats. I've always wanted to do this, as it's the essence of coastal warfare actions unlike higher level naval engagements. The hex terrain would be used to simplify movement and firing, whilst the emphasis would be put on decision making, random events and damage management.

The second option would be to go for 1/200th scale and use Rod Langton's superb coastal forces models, of which I have a small selection already. The events prior to the raid on Kronstadt in 1919 would be a great basis for a 'skirmish' level game, involving night time penetration of the outer defences to drop off secret agents and torpedo a Soviet TB destoyer or light cruiser, for which I have a cheap 1/180th scale Chinese plastic kit. 

The rules and approach would be similar to the WW2 game but with the added requirement for harbour defences, searchlights and underwater obstacles. The defences of Petrograd included a submerged breakwater that would tear out the hull of a CMB unless at full speed or high tide, making for an interesting game especially when stern launched torpedoes are involved.

I haven't discussed these ideas with anyone at the club yet but hope to get the chance to have a chat at some point soon. There's a very keen naval gamer in residence who I'm sure would help out with rules and scenarios but I'm not so sure about the other regulars, whose preference is for 28mm skirmish style games.

It's worth a try anyway?


  1. Certainly worth a try. Didn't navwar do some 1/300 coastal forces models a few years back?

  2. Yes, I thought of those. I think they're now sold by Heroics and Ros.

    I don't know what they're like in terms of quality but they'd go well with the Scotia Ship to Shore range.

    The other option would be to use the Heller / Airfix 1/400th scale Kriegsmarine set, which includes six S-Boats, a minesweeper and a TB destroyer. The only problem would be finding the opposition.

    It's alsp quite difficult to get hold of a set as it's OOP.


  3. ah64stella@aol.com17 December 2011 at 20:36

    Jim, My buddy Paul and I picked up a set of the rules "Action Stations" as an 'impulse buy' at Historicon some years back for some 1/1200 scale Coastal minis we liked. We've had a blast playing the rules and have even run a Channel Dash game in the same scale with minor modifications. I believe they were originally intended for 1/600 scale use so you might consider them. Heck, another buddy and I played it while we were deployed to Iraq in 2005. Whatever rules you pick up, I wish you luck and happy gaming. Vince

  4. The H&R 1/300th vessels are quite nice.

    Just wish there were more of them.

    Detailing is about the same as those of the 1/600th scale boats, but very impressive sizewise. Good for permitting some nice customizing, if you have the inclination.

    I always wanted some crew figures, but haven't been able to convince anyone to make up specific ones, or even generics to do so.

    They're much more reasonably priced, and more robust than the 1/350th scale vessels.



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