Sunday 31 July 2022

INWarD 2022 Scenario

With International Naval Wargaming Day rapidly approaching, I've started to work up a mid-Victorian scenario for a fleet action using Broadside and Ram, based on the Battle of Camperdown in 1797. 

This will involve two divisions of the Royal Navy Channel Squadron, under the command of Vice Admiral Sir George Wellesley (+1) with his flagship HMS Minotaur, intercepting a French force of three divisions of the Northern Squadron, under command of Admiral Charles Rigault de Genouilly (+0) in his flagship the Couronne, as it steams along the coast off Dunkerque. 

It's all a bit foggy at the moment and there are some big gaps to fill in but I have sketched out a basic battle plan and worked out which ships will be assigned to the various divisions. I'll write it all up tomorrow including the setup, objectives plus any special scenario rules that apply. 

The Royal Navy will be given the task of destroying as much of the French fleet as possible while the French must attempt to do the same while escaping off the NE corner of the map, so nothing too complicated and probably decided by a simple points based tot up at the end of a time limit.

Saturday 30 July 2022

Destroyer Action off Tartous, June 1938

 


Inspired by an article in Los! magazine on the Battle of Sidon in June 1941, here's my scenario for Find, Fix and Strike, set in June 1938 in an alternate, fictitious Franco-Italian conflict. The Italians have landed troops in Lebanon and they are advancing north against the French defending forces in Syria. A flotilla of Soldati class destroyers has been tasked with the interception of a southwards sweep made by two Le Fantasque class destroyers from Tartous, which has been blockaded by Italian submarines. 

The two French destroyers - Le Terrible and Le Malin - are under a brilliant commander and have veteran crews, the best gunnery crews in the Marine Nationale (+1 Attack Modifier). However, they are suffering from a shortage of ammunition and can only sustain fire for five turns, after which they must disengage and evade via the north of the map. Their objective is to cripple, silence or sink at least one of the Italian destroyers before this happens.

The Italian commander is experienced but average, while the crews of the four destroyers - Ascari, Alpino, Lanciera and Aviera - are also average. Their task is simple, to prevent the two French destroyers from escaping and, if possible, heavily damage both, or cripple, silence or sink at least one of the pair. The Italian destroyer captains must not allow the French destroyers to get away, as they are a thorn in the side of the land forces and have been engaged in shore bombardment.

The sea state is moderate, visibility is excellent (30''), the wind direction is westerly and the wind strength is fresh. The French destroyers start on table at the eastern centre point heading on a SW course with le Terrible (F) at the front followed by Le Malin in line astern. The Italian destroyers deploy in the SW corner heading on a reciprocal course to the French, spaced in a staggered line astern pattern, with Ascari (F), Aviera and Alpino grouped together and Lancieri trailing 6'' to the SE of the group.

In the actual engagement, the Italians (British) were hammered by accurate long range fire and lost one of their destroyers - HMS Janus - to several hits which caused her to stop dead in the water. The other British destroyers harried the retreating French, with both sides laying smoke screens to impede gunnery and screen their forces. The British did hit one of the French destroyers - Le Guepard - but failed to cause any significant damage before both of the Vichy warships managed to escape.

1/2400th Chilean Pre-dreadnought Cruisers

I was looking for a model of the French broadside ironclad Couronne on the Tumbling Dice website to use as the Spanish ironclad Numancia for the Chincha Island War, when I stumbled across two new models in the Age of Battleships range. 

These are the Chilean protected cruiser Ministro Zenteno and the armoured cruiser O'Higgins, both of which were built in Great Britain in the late 1890's as a result of the Chilean arms race with Argentina. I added these to my order with no hesitation!


I'm hoping that Paul will add more ships to this range, as well as some for the Argentinian opposition, which seems likely as they are in a Minor Navies annex to the main lists. The obvious would be the battleship Capitan Prat, the protected cruisers Presidente Errazuriz, President Pinto and Blanco Encalada. A few torpedo boat destroyers would finish this off nicely

For the protected cruiser Esmeralda, I can use the Idzuni from the Japanese range, which I already have in the lead pile. With three cruisers to start with, this range would give the chance to have Chilean fleets for the War of the Pacific, the Chincha Island Wars, the 1890's and the 2000's, at least two of which I  have already completed. Excellente!

Friday 29 July 2022

Magasin de Presse





A habitual trip to the newsagent here and a couple of cracking magazines to read over the weekend. The Vae Victis game looks excellent and has the added bonus of being a fascinating subject that I've wanted to game with 10mm miniatures for ages. sing Fivecore Company Command. The rules are also available in English from the website, so what's not to like? 

There's also a good review of Mark's Strength and Honour small-scale ancients rules, with some very positive comments. Well done Mr Backhouse! 

The latest edition of Los! also has a great article on Vichy French actions against the Royal Navy off Syria and Lebanon, which is another theme that I've thought about for 1/3000th scale wargaming, although I'd need to paint up the required destroyers, submarines and cruisers to add to my existing fleet. 

A really good haul!

Battle of the Bonifacio Strait, July 1938

 

The Find, Fix and Strike scenario for my Italian and French heavy cruiser action is now ready to go, based on the Battle of the Denmark Strait but relocated to the straits between Corsica and Sardinia. 

In this scenario, set in July 1938 at the start of a counterfactual Franco-Italian conflict, the heavy cruisers Bolzano and Pola have broken out of Naples at night and are attempting to slip through the Strait of Bonifacio at dawn, only to be intercepted by the French heavy cruisers Duquesne and Algerie.

The Italians have an average command and green crew, while the French have an inept command but average crew, so a fairly even match. As I don't have any spotter aircraft for the French, I've decided that their Loire 130 seaplanes are U/S due to fuel contamination, so only the Italians will be able to launch their Ro34 reconnaissance planes.

The Italians must attempt to escape while inflicting crippling damage on at least one of the French cruisers to prevent a further pursuit. The French must inflict at least heavy damage on both Italian cruisers to force them back to Naples, into the waiting French blockading forces and patrolling screen of submarines. 

Thursday 28 July 2022

Italian Fleet Part Two

 

I've been going through the 1/3000th Davco Italian ships left over from my weekend of painting. These are all later warships or ones that were not operational in 1940 for whatever reason, with the exception of eight Navigatori class destroyers. The two Littorio class battleships, the Caio Duilio class modernised battleships and the six later Condotierri class light cruisers will all get a coat of paint when I get back home. I also have quite a lot of 1/600th scale aircraft that I can add to the Italian war effort, so I'm going to be quite busy! 

Cruiser Action!

 

I'm going to have a go at a Find, Fix and Strike game tomorrow, using an Italian raiding force of a light and a heavy cruiser against a pair of French heavy cruisers very, very loosely based on the Battle of the Denmark Straits. 

I've actually played this scenario before using the Bismarck, Prinz Eugen, Hood and Prince of Wales, but this time I'll substitute the French and Italian cruisers for the proper warships.

The idea is to get a grip on the rules mechanisms again whole having a go at movement, gunnery, damage control and so on. This time, however, the action will be located in the much warmer Seas off North Africa c1936. 

Wednesday 27 July 2022

1/3000th US Navy 1940 Battlepack

I really enjoyed painting the Italian fleet over the last weekend, so have splashed out on yet more 1/3000th scale warships from the old Davco range. I normally order from Navwar but as I'm away, it's easier to order online from Navy Models and Books.

I already have a bulging lead pile of German, British, Japanese and Soviet early war shipping, so this time I opted for the USN. The discounted Battle Pack includes the following, to which I've added a couple of New York class battleships and USS Ranger.

Ships in this pack:  Battleships: 2 x South Dakota, 2 x Washington,  2 x New Mexico.    Cruisers: 1 x Wichita, 2 x Astoria, 2 x Augusta, 2 x Pensacola. Destroyers: 6 x Livermore Class, 4 x Sims Class & 4 x Craven Class.

Missiles at Sea 2030


This is a new set of free to download ultra modern naval rules by a chap called Scott Elaurant, available via the Naval Wargaming (Historical) FB group. I've used Naval Command for my Cold War and Modern naval games in the past but have been frustrated by all the glitches and tweaks I've had to do to make them workable. These rules look a lot more solid and have been play tested properly, so I'm hoping they will tick all the boxes. 


There are lists for NATO and AUUKUS warships as well as Chinese, Japanese and Taiwanese navies, so plenty to draw on for most scenarios. I'll be using them for my modern Chilean and Chinese forces, with a view to bringing on some modern French and British kit later, if the rules pan out. Good stuff! 

Monday 25 July 2022

Holiday Reading

 

A proper hard back copy to read over the next week or so, rather than my habitual digital books on the Kindle. Its one of handful of books I'm hoping to enjoy reading while on holiday, taking time to actually spend a few hours doing just that, without all the usual distractions. All good stuff and very useful as context for my 1/3000th scale counterfactual, 'what if?' late 30's French and Italian naval wargaming. 

Sunday 24 July 2022

Italian Fleet in a Weekend

 

Here's the 1939-40 1/3000th scale Italian fleet completed, apart from the bow waves and wakes that I ran out of time to do. I'm calling this weekend project completed, give or take a few minor tweaks, so it's now ready to pack up and take on holiday, although some magnet basing might come in handy if I have the time tomorrow! 

Saturday 23 July 2022

Pre-War Italian Fleet Painted

 

Right then, that's the 1/3000th scale Italian late 30's fleet painted and ready to base, which I'm hoping I'll get time to do tomorrow. I had to scrap one of the Freccia class destroyers, as it bent in half when I tried to remove it from the lolly stick, but otherwise it all went quite smoothly, give or take a few shortcuts and fudges. 

Friday 22 July 2022

Eyes in the Sky

 

If I can squeeze them in I have six Tumbling Dice Imam Ro43 floatplanes in 1/600th scale to use as reconnaissance and spotter aircraft for my Italian fleet, catapulting off the heavy cruisers. They need to be assembled but they have a very simple all-over light grey paint scheme, so should be a quick job to get sorted. I also have a couple of dozen aircraft for the French aircraft carrier Bearn, but they will have to wait, although what I really need are some Loire 130 amphibians in 1/600th scale but they are not available from Tumbling Dice yet. 

Italian Fleet Underway

 

I've made a really good start to the 1/3000 scale pre-war Italian warships, with the basic blocking in complete and only some tidyng up to do, before I can start on the pin washing. It's been difficult to find top down images of the deck surfaces of the cruisers, as they nearly always have the red and white air recognition patterns which weren't applied until mid-1940. I've just gone with what looks right, although I'm not sure the decking forward is accurate?

War of the Pacific Extras Finished

Chilean Paddle Aviso Tolten

Peruvian Monitor Victoria

Peruvian Casemate Ironclad Loa


Thursday 21 July 2022

1/3000 Italian Pre-War Weekend

And now for something completely out of the blue, a speed painting challenge for the weekend which, if I can get it done, will give me a chance to take Find, Fix and Strike for a proper run through.

I prepared these 1/3000 scale Skytrex Italian warships last year, but didn't get them painted, despite having a whole fleet of French stuff to throw them up against. This time, I'm going to speed paint them to a wargames standard, then get them based and labelled up, hopefully by the end of the weekend.

If I don't manage to shift them, it's not a problem but I do want to give it a try, if only to see if I can pull it off in time. If not, I'll just have to finish them after the holidays. 

War of the Pacific Ironclads Painting

 

I've been a bit ill the last day or so, mainly due to the heat, but I have finished painting the Peruvian ironclads I scratch built together with the Chilean paddle aviso Tolten, which I added at the last minute. I'll add base labels once the varnish has dried, then add magnetised strips to the bases. I'm still looking for a suitable model for the Chilean corvette Esmeralda but otherwise the fleets are looking pretty much complete. I may even be able to run the whole campaign, assuming that the ships I don't have remain in port and that the transports are represented by counters or similar?

Tuesday 19 July 2022

The Chincha Islands War

 

I was thinking that now I have a decent selection of Peruvian and Chilean warships for the War of the Pacific, it would be worthwhile extending the project back in time to the preceding Chincha Islands War, making use of some of the same models but adding the Spanish fleet. To find out more about the warships involved, I've ordered a copy of this book from Amazon, which should give me a good idea if this is a workable plan. If so, I'll use the Tumbling Dice transitional steam range for the bulk of the Spanish fleet, with the French ironclad Couronne doubling up as the very similar flagship Numancia. 

The Chinchas War – Inside the Little-Known Conflict Between Peru and Spain Over Animal Turds - MilitaryHistoryNow.com

Monday 18 July 2022

1/2400th Italian Frigate Garibaldi

 


This Tumbling Dice small frigate model (ASV8) actually started out as the Danish frigate Tordenskjold for my Battle of Jasmund scenario but its been redundant for ages, so I've now repurposed it as the Italian frigate Garibaldi for the War of the Pacific project. A number of nations sent warships to observe the war including the Italians, with the Garibaldi present at Arica, for instance, so I'm sure it will be a useful addition. It's even given me some ideas for a scenario. 

Peruvian Casemate Ironclad Loa

 



Here we have the other scratch build, the Peruvian casemate ironclad Loa. Again, this uses a convenient Tumbling Dice base with a plasticcard hull and casemate, a little more complicated than a monitor but not too difficult. I'll paint both models up this afternoon, if I can get the time in between the loft and garage clear out that I've been tasked with by the other half. 

Sunday 17 July 2022

Peruvian Monitor Victoria

                                        


Here we have a scratch built 1/2400th scale model of the Peruvian turret monitor Victoria, utilising a spare Tumbling Dice base so that she squares up against the other models in my Peruvian fleet. I put the stack a bit too far astern but otherwise it's not too bad. The Victoria didn't see action in the War of the Pacific, having had her armour removed as a training vessel, but can be deployed in the Dahlgren and Columbiad campaign as a 'What If?' option. I'll tackle the more complicated job of making the casemate ironclad Loa tomorrow. 

Falklands Air War Harrier GR.3's



The latest batch of aircraft for the Falklands Air War project have now been painted and I'm just waiting for the decals to arrive so that they can be finished off. I have the decals I need for the Harrier GR.3's, so they are now ready to deploy. Job done! I'm taking a short break from the project now to focus on some ironclad scratch building and scenario writing foe the Battle of Iquique.

Saturday 16 July 2022

Falklands Flight Deck Decals

 

Thanks to a timely tip-off (Cheers Rog) I have now ordered some wing anchor insignia and some RAF low vis roundels from the ever brilliant Flight Deck Decals range. These won't arrive for a week or more, by which time I'll be away for a bit, so I'll finish off the aircraft to the decal application stage then wait for them to arrive in the post. This also means that my summer wargaming will only involve the aircraft I've already painted plus the GR1 Jaguars, but that's not a problem as I can also bring along some Peruvian, Ecuadorian, Taiwanese and Chinese aircraft to run scenarios with Air War C21. Incidentally, if you are wondering why there are some Central and Northern African roundels in the order, they are for Nick Jones' Merry Xmas Mr Sankara campaign, which I'd like to try out later in the year.

Falklands Air War Uppdate

 




Some more progress on the latest batch of aircraft for the Falklands Air Wat project, now on the fiddly tail painting bit then canopies and decals. The Argentinian naval aircraft won't have any anchor insignia on the wings, as I haven't got any and no one makes them, but I will try to add the ARMADA labelling to the fuselage if I can fit it into the tiny space on the A4-Q Skyhawks? The Sea Harriers will also have to have full colour roundels, as I can't afford to get a sheet of low vis ones from Flight Deck Decals if I'm only use eight of them from a sheet. Hoping to get these finished over the weekend, then it's back to the FAA Mirage IIIE's and the Canberras.

Friday 15 July 2022

Frying Pans and Free Books

 

It's the first day of the holidays and a trip into town to buy a frying pan ended up with a diversion to the free bookshop, where I found these two hardbacks in excellent condition. These would have gone to land fill but were donated to the free bookshop where they are given away...for free (no surprise there). It's a brilliant scheme and entirely run by volunteers, so well done to them for coming up with such an amazing, eco-friendly and educational project. I also got the wrong frying pan, apparently...

Thursday 14 July 2022

Para-Commandos

 

To round off my Indonesian Confrontation 28mm skirmish project, I've ordered a small selection of the Indonesian para-commando figures from Warbases. I have bundled together a two man command group, two small arms groups of four figures each and a couple of BAR gunners, so enough for a decent sized squad. I'm sure they will be fun to paint as they have very distinctive USMC style camouflage one piece fatigues, which will look great if I can get the shades right. There's no rush with these yet, however, so I'll stash them away for a rainy weekend later in the year.

Wednesday 13 July 2022

The Gurkha Museum

 

The official museum of the Gurkha Regiment is only a fifteen minute walk from my front door but I haven't visited it for years, the last time being when I went there for a work experience visit when a Nepali student at school had a placement. I don't know why I haven't been back since but I'm going to rectify that oversight by a trip at the weekend, with a focus on the exhibits relating to the Indonesian Confrontation, which are a highlight of the displays. These include this reconstruction of a jungle 'basha', which is a great inspiration for some modelling. I'll report back after the trip!

The Brunei Revolt and The Borneo Confrontation - The Gurkha Museum - Winchester

Commando Miniatures Gurkha Patrol

 

I ordered some Commando Miniatures Gurkhas from Warbases the other day, as I liked the other figures that I bought for Aden and thought the Gurkhas looked even better. This is two packs worth from the range, one a patrol of four men and the other a command group of an officer, a radio op, a Bren gunner and an Iban scout, which is a really great figure. I'll add one of the dog handlers I got the other day and possibly some more Armalite armed squaddies, then have a think about the Indonesian para-commando opposition.

Tuesday 12 July 2022

Peruvian Ironclad Scratchbuild

 



I'm going to have a crack at scratch building two Peruvian ironclads, one the casemate ironclad Victoria and the other the single turret monitor Loa. Neither of these were active in the War of the Pacific but could have been, so are included as extras in the campaign. It shouldn't be a difficult job to build either of them using plastic card and spare bases from Tumbling Dice, so I'll get cracking at the weekend. I'm not sure they'll be of much use to the Peruvian Navy but at least they'll look the part. 

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