Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Japanese ARMY Aircraft Carriers

Oh, how I love the weird things that pop up in military history.  I could start a blog just to cover all the odd stuff I come across.

Here's one for you, did you know that in World War II the Imperial Japanese Army built and used aircraft carriers?  The ARMY not the NAVY.  Of course if you know anything about the Japanese during this war, it makes sense as the army and navy had a real bad habit of not cooperating.

Anyway, here are some links to Wikipedia covering the aircraft carriers.

Japanese aircraft carrier Akitsu Maru

Kumano Maru

 Yamashio Maru-class escort carrier

Monday, July 8, 2013

British Airlanding Company versus German Festungkompanie 

Operation Unicorn

Seize and Hold mission for Flames of War

(I stole this from my friend Mike's blog at But it's my British so I wanted to add it to my blog.)
I brought my adhoc German force over to Jamie's house for some 4th of July fireworks. Jamie ran his British Air Landing Company complete with 4 gliders assaulting Unicorn bridge. I played the unaware Germans which I built a force using the Festungskompanie out of Earth & Steel modeled after the 716 Infanteriedivision. We used the Seize and Hold scenario.
Here is the setup:
Holding one objective is a platoon of grenadiers and a unit of Luftwaffe 88mm guns. In a strong defensive position between the canals is another grenadier platoon and the company headquarters. On the far side of both canals is a battery if 15.5cm guns and a unit of 3.7cm flak guns.

Just after midnight the gliders landed. 3 out of the 4 gliders reached the area and 1 of those 3 crash landed killing just under half of the platoon. The other 2 gliders landed perfectly. Captain Mott lead his troops out of the gliders and after some fierce hand-to-hand fighting took the positions away from the German defenders.

A unit of Tetrarchs have appeared on the board just on the other side of the town as the Coup-de-Main.

The Germans, trying to organize themselves, load up the 3.7cm flak guns and try to get them over to the action but the trucks are not navigating the woods very well at night. A well, placed observer tries to find the tanks in the night but can only hear them and not see them.
Turn 2
The Paras on the glider which landed off the table arrive behind the Tetrarch platoon. They start heading towards the objective. In their way is an HMG nest which is neutralized without much effort. A small detachment of Paras occupy the building covering the bridge. 
The Germans get a platoon of grenadiers which arrive just down the road from the positions held by the Paras in the trench lines. They try to make it into the woods overlooking the Paras position but are not fast enough to get the entire platoon under cover. The flak guns are still having problems getting the trucks out of the woods.
Turn 3
The small artillery platoon arrives on the board for the Paras, They arrive on the heals of the grenadier platoon which just made it onto the field. They are very impetuous and after firing some of the teams charge the grenadiers. This turned out to be a bit much as the grenadiers beat them back and almost wiped out the entire platoon. The Tetrarchs supported by the infantry platoon come to support their artillery unit.
Just after this combat morning breaks and a unit of 4.7cm anti-tanks guns roll onto the field behind the Tetrarchs which they bail one of the airborne tanks. The spotter can now see the tanks and call in the artillery. The battery is able to bail another Tetrarch. The grenadiers, hungry to eliminate the airborne artillery, charge the remnants of the force but are unsuccessful. A combination of defensive fire and bad hand-to-hand skills (or die rolls) result in most of the grenadier platoon being killed.
Hauptman Lewis gets his troops going out of their trench line and moving to cross the canal. The flak guns are slowed by the ford but are trying to get into the fight.
Turn 4

1 of the Tetrarchs remounts and they use their speed to get to the rear of the anti-tanks guns. After their murderous fire the anti-tank platoon abandons their guns and runs. The Paras in the trenches fire upon the floundering grenadiers killing one more team.
A platoon of Stugs arrive on the fair side of the field between the canals. They double-time up to the bridge. They are hoping to make a difference in this fight. The Hauptman gets the grenadier platoon to get to the bridge and starting to cross. The Trained artillery are still not making a difference as they range in on the Tetrarch platoon but do not score any hits.

Turn 5

The Paras outside the trench lines try to occupy the buildings of the town but are finding entering the buildings is harder than it looks. The Paras in the building covering the bridge open up on the infantry in the open. This was devastating to the Germans as they fail 5 of 6 saves and the platoon runs.

The Ost Platoon for the Germans arrive next to the battered grenadier platoon just outside the Paras trench line. This is the last chance for the Wermacht. All of the firepower (flak guns, Stugs and artillery) are ineffective. As the Germans last hurrah, the Ost Platoon tries to assault the Paras trench line and contest the objective. In the Paras defensive fire they obliterate the platoon and the rest run away.

Wrap up

This was a 6-1 victory for Jamie! Great job mate!

The Paras did not lose a single platoon but some were badly damaged. On the other hand the Germans lost 3 grenadier platoons, 1 Ost platoon, 1 88 platoon and 1 anti-tank platoon.

This was a very fun game and a great scenario!! I took a different force than I told Jamie earlier and this proved to not phase him. Thanks mate for the great game and looking forward to the next one!!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Crete Campaign for Flames of War

A few years ago, I had started trying to put together a Crete Campaign for Flames of War.  I had finished the campaign map and had started some of the basic rules and listed the firestorm platoons.  Then, after trying to drum up some interest in the campaign, I realized that not enough people would be interested in playing, because it would mostly be an infantry campaign.  Seem most of the gamers prefer playing with tanks.  So my plans were torpedoed.

I came across the map today on my computer and thought maybe someone out there could find use for it which I will link to below.  I couldn't find the other stuff I had written up, so I'll try to list it off the top of my head.

First off, I was designing it after the Flames of War Firestorm campaign "Operation Market Garden" and you should refer to that for the rules.  Just remember to flip the sides around in that the Germans are the attacker and Allies as the defender.

2nd, there was very little armor in the campaign.  So little in fact, that I wasn't going to allow anyone to buy armor and instead regulate armor to the Firestorm platoons.  The Allies would have the following as firestorm platoons: 3 Matilda II platoons of 3 tanks each, 4 Light Mk VIB platoons of 4 tanks each, and 4 universal carrier platoons of 3 carriers each.  If you wanted to, you could add a few platoons of trucks and a few infantry platoons to your firestorm list.  Also, all tank (but not the UC) will be unreliable.  The allies shouldn't have any aircraft.

The only armor that the Germans had was 2 panzer II that that landed about half way thru the battle.  So add a small platoon of panzer II to their firestorm list.  However, before they are allowed to deploy them, the Germans must capture the city of Maleme in the Northwest of the island.  The Germans should get 7 x priority air support for their side.  Some other firestorm troops you can add are Fallschirmjager infantry platoons and Mountain infantry platoons.  If you wanted to be really historical, only allow platoons and equipment that can be transported via airplane (with the exception of the panzer II.)  I wasn't going to do that, but its up to you.

3rd, how to design terrain of the table.  I'm no expert on Crete's geography, but from what I could find on the internet there should be only a few trees and a whole lot of hills.  The map is divided into three colors the describe the terrain.  Light green should be some what hilly, light brown should be really hilly, and dark brown should be extreme.  And now that I think about it, I was going to make dark brown impassable.  And, of course, the gray hexes are cities and towns.

The map has several parachute symbols in various hexes.  This is where the Germans start.  I debated on weather to assume that the Germans had already captured the hex or make them do an air assault to capture it.  Or maybe half are already captured and the other half you have to assault.  I'll leave that up to you.

For the Germans to win they need to capture hexes that have a point value and the British need to keep them from doing it.  I used 5 turns because that's what "Market Garden" uses.

I think that was about as far as I had gotten in designing this campaign.  I don't plan on doing anything else with it so please feel free to use what I have or add (or subtract) to it.  All I ask is to not use it for profit.  If you do take up the challenge of finishing it, please let me know what you came up with.  I would be very interested to see how it was received.  You can take the map to Kinkos and print it off.  If I remember correctly, it was going to cost around $35.

When you open the link below, make sure to download the file to your computer.  For some reason google docs isn't displaying it properly.
Crete Campaign Map Updated.pdf

Monday, August 13, 2012

Flames of War German Static Rockets

I finally got around to buying some static rockets for my Fallschirmjagers.  Each base equals a four gun battery and it only cost 160 points to buy four of them.  They also get the 'stuka zu fuss' rule which, combined with a 1+ firepower, make these very dangerous.  Of course with all the great thing there are negatives, but for the cost, I think they are well worth it.  Here is a link to the Flames of War pdf file for the rules.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Scooters of War! Vespas lead the charge!

I came across this today when I was doing some research on recoilless rifles for my Flames of War Fallschirmjager company.  After the war the French bought a lot of old war surplus recoilless rifles for their paratrooper and decided to transport them using Vespas.

Here is a link for more info:

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Shako II Napoleonic Game

Got to play some Napoleonics today down at the shop.  After playing several rules systems over the years, I believe I've found the one I like the most, Shako II.  Each unit is a battalion or battery and each side can easily run a corp.  I find the command and control system works well without bogging down game play.  Yes, it has it's problems, but all and all it runs pretty smoothly and concludes in a realistic manner.  The best part is we can get a corp level game finish in a few hours.  Another thing I like about it is that there is a scenario book that you can buy for the system, and from what I understand, more are in the works. 
Austrians (left side) defending the river against the French (right side.)

A view from behind the Austrian lines.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Random Terrain Generator for Wargaming

(The link for the pdf of this generator is at the bottom of this post)

I've played a lot of Flames of War over the last few years and have major reservations on how people create the game table with terrain.  Too often, I've seen some rather crazy stuff thrown on the table.  This all came to a head a few months ago when I faced a Russian army on a table covered in trees.  Now I know the Russians in WWII did fight in forested areas, but not all the time.  Most of us who study history have a picture in our heads of great tank battles being fought on the grasslands of the Ukraine, you could see the horizon in all directions, and a tree would be an anomaly.  If you ever driven thru western Kansas you know what I mean.

I've noticed since then that most people design there tables in a very predictable manner.  A terrain feature in the center of each quadrant and then another feature or two in the center of the table.  Most people would consider a terrain feature to be a hill, forest, pond, building, plowed field, etc, etc.  We could spend all day naming off various features that we might put on a table.  But, inevitably, no one will think of one of the most common features.  Can you guess it?  I eluded to it in my picture of Russia.  It would be the open field.  The open field has been in more battles in history than anything else.  Yet, it's treated as a pariah by Flames of War players.

There are two reasons for this. One, people have poor tactics.  They depend on the terrain to cover their bad play.  I ran into this when I place one Jagpanther on the table and my opponent immediately cried cheese and wanted to put more trees down because of it.  When I asked why, he said that it's range could reach across the table!  "OK" I said, "but you have seven tanks to my one.  Yeah, I might get most of them, but you stand a good chance of beating me in the end."  I don't think he heard me.  He was sure I was being cheesy.  Needless to say, I was annoyed.

The second reason, and this one applies to me, confusion about the scale.  Before Flames of War, I was an American Civil War and a Napoleonic period wargamer.  I was use to playing games at the division an corp level.  At that scale, 12 inches between forests could equal anywhere between half a mile to two miles or even more.  In Flames of War that same 12 inches is more around 100 to 200 yards.  For me, I've never played at the company level before and it was hard to visualize what a battlefield should look like in that scale.

Anyway, that brings me to the point of this post.  I've spent some time trying to find a random terrain generator on the web that I could use.  I did find a few, but none fit my needs.  So, when I had some free time at work over the last few months, I designed my own generator.  It's in a pdf file which I will post here.  I think it's pretty straight forward.  There are 6 pages with different open field densities to help create a more realistic table (at least realistic to me.)  Then each page will have boxes numbered between 1 and 97.  So all you do is roll 1d6 to pick which page to use then roll 2d10 to determine which box to use.  Whatever box you roll will be the top left of the field.  If you roll of 98, 99, or 100 then check the description on the right of the page for your terrain.  It's designed for a 6x4 foot table but with a little thought, it should work for any size table.  I hope you can find it useful.

Here is the link:

Just click on file and then click download.

Friday, May 25, 2012

My absence & Swedish Tank Drifting

Sorry I haven't posted in a while, I haven't had a lot of time the last few weeks to do any painting and shouldn't have time for the next few weeks.  Till then, I will just post articles that I find interesting.  Here is one now.  The Swedes drifting a tank.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Panthers for FOW Tank Aces

I have finish my panthers for the the Flames of War Tank Aces league.  I still need to add some decals which are on back order but other than that I'm done.  They didn't turn out as good as I had hoped but I've never have been able to paint German tanks very well.