Home Forums General General Sandhurst Game of Op Sealion Video

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  • #163692
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    Not a video from Paddy Griffith’s 1974 Sandhurst game about the abortive and aborted plan ,but a video discussing the game, the idea that inspired it, how it was carried out and the implications for what wargames can tell us about hypothetical alternative ‘realities’! (see recent discussions here).

    Op Sealion Game

    Pictures  from the game including well known wargaming luminaries.

    With real Germans!

    Worth 30 mins of anyone’s time over tea and biscuits

    #163751
    Tony S
    Participant

    Serendipitous!  I just ordered that book from Curry’s History of Wargaming, and even as we speak it is winging its way over the briny deeps.  (More accurately it is almost certainly it is being held in one country or another’s postal sorting depot).

    Not sure whether I should watch the video before or after reading it. Hopefully there are no spoilers!  😉

    #163911
    deephorse
    Participant

    I seem to be mentally incapable of watching any You Tube video that lasts longer than 4 minutes.  Consequently I’ve ordered a copy of the book, hoping that it contains the same, if not more, information.  Thanks for the original post, it reminded me that I’ve played the old SPI game of Sealion several times.  It was always the summer scenario (the other being September IIRC).  Even with the occasional reinforcement landing postponed by rough weather, the Germans always won.  The German units were too strong and too many for the few strong British units to defeat.  Maybe SPI’s order of battle was faulty?  Hopefully the book will reveal all.

    Play is what makes life bearable - Michael Rosen

    #163912
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    Is that the ‘Seelowe: The German Invasion of Britain 1940’ one in a flat box with brown and grey counters and a brown map covered in railway lines? I played that to death in the late seventies – still got it somewhere, but haven’t played it in decades!

    I seem to remember holding the Germans  a few times (but that may be wishful thinking) – lots of British units shuffling around by train I seem to remember ,with steam train counters on top of the stacks trying to get down to Kent.

    I thought there were three scenarios. One in the July on the bounce after the fall of France – completely unrealistic as they had no transports assembled really, and then two September ones; the Navy plan and the Army plan. I can’t remember which one we played the most – the Army one I think.

    Anyway, hope you enjoy the book.

    I’m off to scrabble around in the attic!

    #163920
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

     

     

     

     

    …and the Royal Navy were almost non-existent IIRC, which is why it was damn near impossible to win with the Brits. There may have been a rationale for that in the designer’s notes, but expecting Germany to take out the Home Fleet was a bit of a stretch.

    I’ve got a paperback copy of the book that was a write up of the Sandhurst game. An overwhelming German defeat had always seemed the likeliest outcome to me, it was nice to have it confirmed by experts 🙂

    "I'm not signing that"

    #163922
    deephorse
    Participant

    That’s the one.  I last played it about a month ago, but my memory as to how many scenarios there are is faulty!  I think that the designer’s notes do mention that the Royal Navy has to be ‘eliminated’ from the game, otherwise there’s no game.  Anyway, it’s in the garage, so I’ll try to remember (that darn memory thing again) to take a look at it later today.

    Play is what makes life bearable - Michael Rosen

    #163924
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    That ‘s the one.

    Found it last night, just behind the Ark of the Covenant and next to the Grail. (really must clear out that attic).

    The rules are tiny!  They seemed to be a lot more of them in the Seventies.

    My memory has gone – it was the Navy plan we played mostly – the ‘realistic’ short hop.

    The notes do indeed say ‘the two most striking characteristics of Seelowe are the absence of the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force’.

    To get rid of the RAF it posits a continued bombing of the fighter bases and no Blitz (and they appear to be working off older estimates of the relative losses to suggest this would whittle the RAF down to nothing in no time).

    To get rid of the Navy they pretty much shrug their shoulders and admit they magically ‘disappear’ it to make the game work.

    Wondering if I can be bothered playing it again. I have a feeling its going to be like meeting an old girlfriend from the period; we are both going to be surprised and disappointed in how expectations and the years have treated us.

    #163926
    deephorse
    Participant

    I remembered!

    To quote the designer’s notes “it became necessary to remove the British (he starts off calling it the Royal Navy, but thereafter it becomes the British Navy – what sort of historian was he?) Navy from the game, in order to make a game”.  There is also an assumption that the RAF (British Airforce anyone?), or what’s left of it, has been withdrawn further north, so it’s presence in the game is very limited.

    Looking at the three scenarios, I now see that I played the September OKH Plan in my most recent game.  This had the Germans landing all across the south coast, from west of Weymouth, right round to Ramsgate in the east.  The British held a line from Brighton to Chatham until late in the game, but losses eventually made that line more like a sieve.  The combination of British losses and captured ports ensured a German victory.

    The British have the four strongest units in the game, but the rest are weak in comparison to the bulk of the German forces.  The Germans then attack these weaker units, retreating or eliminating them, and thereby surround and isolate the few stronger ones.  This is an early(ish) SPI game – 1974 – and so there are no step losses for units.  Consequently the impressive British 1st Infantry Division (a 13-8 counter) can be destroyed in one combat.  Has any company made Seelöwe in more recent years, using more modern design techniques?

    Edit – Guy posted whilst I was constructing this ramble.  I’m not too sure that it does bear much replaying other than for nostalgia.

    Play is what makes life bearable - Michael Rosen

    #163938
    willz
    Participant

    A very interesting post, yes to play Sealion land, sea and air has to be taken into account.  I have played Sealion several times but as land assault day one and beachhead expansion day 2+.  Trying to play land, sea and air together is very complicated and time consuming, plus I do not have an aircraft hangar to play in.  That is not say I would not give it ago, if someone provided the venue.  The games I played had naval and air as assets that were limited and the premise of the landing was that both naval and air had been defeated in detail.  Otherwise we could not have gamed the land battle.

    Here are a couple of photo’s from the games I played.

    This game played 2000 Sealion day 1 trying to land.

     

    This game 2010/11 ? Sealion day 1 trying to form a beachhead.  Trying to cross the Royal Military canal.

     

    Played 2014,this one is Sealion day 2, the Germans have landed and are trying to expand the bridgehead.  Once again trying to cross the Royal Military canal.

    Playing a Sealion game as a pure land battle with some limited air interdiction is playable over several hours, having played Sealion with landing barges makes the game harder to play certainly for players who can’t get the concept of time and tides.  As a pure logistics game Sealion is fascinating, have ago yourselves with pen and paper and try not to go do mad whilst doing it.

    #163939
    Steve Johnson
    Participant

    Some cracking games the Willz!

    #163951
    deephorse
    Participant

    Nice photos Willz.

    Play is what makes life bearable - Michael Rosen

    #163958
    Tony S
    Participant

    Has any company made Seelöwe in more recent years, using more modern design techniques?

    Well, GMT made “Britain Stands Alone” in the 1990s I’ll say?  Own it, never played it.  It had a rather clever air and naval area movement system, with a quick little tactical resolution game.

    As for the problem of the Royal Navy, the Germans are helped by the (historical) reluctance of the Admiralty to send the big ships anywhere near the Channel.  So the Germans shouldn’t have much trouble in initially landing.  However, after an invasion, Churchill can quickly get the big ships to interrupt reinforcements, or resupply, or both.  If the Germans did rather well against the RAF, then they might be able to protect enough of their barges to win.   The German must balance sending more troops, or keeping the existing panzers’ tanks full, again with dwindling shipping.  A few playtests saw some well supplied German armoured spearheads get cut off by British counterattacks when the German player decided gas was more important than jackboots on the ground, and didn’t have enough troops to protect their flanks.

    Looked like a really good game, but never got to try it.

    #163959
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    I have never seen this in the flesh:

    Sealion

    YouTube review (caveat – 20 mins!) Sealion

    Written review with pics at: Boardgamegeek

    This has more complicated air and naval phases by the look of it. It was published in World at War Magazine – S&T style format.

    World at War #52 – February-March 2017 issue

    OOP

    #163976
    willz
    Participant

    Look Guy for sale in USA, sadly no game.

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/183557775958

    #163978
    willz
    Participant
    #164001
    deephorse
    Participant

    Found one for sale https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/363597299827?mkevt=1&mkcid=1&mkrid=710-53481-19255-0&campid=5338722076&toolid=10001

    Thanks Willz.

    Reading the BGG entry that Guy posted made me sad that I’d missed this game.  The map looks to be well detailed, and a cut above the dull offering that SPI gave us.  All the small towns in SE England maybe didn’t matter to American buyers of the game in 1974.  But as a Brit, I’d like to know which towns have fallen to the invaders, or where the Home Guard were putting up a plucky defence.  The counter sheet shows that some units have a reverse side, and therefore step losses can be inflicted.  They are colourful too, and seem to show plenty of unit information.  Some reviews mention difficulties with the rules.  I’ve been playing this kind of game for 50 years or so, so I think I could work my way through any issues.

    The seller is Noble Knight games, and they describe it as near mint and unpunched.  I couldn’t resist.

    Play is what makes life bearable - Michael Rosen

    #164002
    willz
    Participant

    Well done on buying it, please post some photos of the game.  If you want to play it I am up for it.

     

     

     

     

    #164004
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    Good find Willz, and well done deephorse!

    I was still havering. Having cleared out  a load of boardgames some years ago I’m trying to resist refilling the shelf space.

    Pleased you removed the temptation!

    Let us know what it plays like.

    #164014
    John D Salt
    Participant

    [Snips]
    As for the problem of the Royal Navy, the Germans are helped by the (historical) reluctance of the Admiralty to send the big ships anywhere near the Channel. So the Germans shouldn’t have much trouble in initially landing.

    …apart from the small problem of the Harwich flotilla, which, as one commentator pointed out I-can’t-remember-when, could have annihilated the invasion fleet just by steaming through it at high speed, never mind expending any actual ammunition.

    Consider what happened to the German seaborne tail in the invasion of Crete. That’s pretty much what’s going to happen to the German invasion fleet, big ships or no.

    All the best,

    John.

    #164015
    Jim Webster
    Participant

    When we fought a version of Sealion we just covered a small part of the landing. The German players weren’t exactly sure where they’d landed and had to work out relative positions by listening for gunfire etc 🙂
    But I assumed they’d manage to ‘smuggle’ stuff across the channel to hold landing grounds for the main invasion. They fought for two days before they heard a lot of noise out to sea and started noticing wreckage washing up on the beaches. It struck them then that they weren’t going to be reinforced 🙂

    But we had several good games between small German forces and ‘second string’ defenders

    https://jimssfnovelsandwargamerules.wordpress.com/

    #164019
    deephorse
    Participant

    Over on Facebook, if you can bear to go there, though I notice that one or two from here do, Ken Hanning has set up a large German invasion of Warmington-on-Sea, which he intends to play remotely this coming week.  He has a nice collection of German transports, and the terrain/town is terrific.  It’s all in 20mm.  He has posted this in several groups, but if you’re interested in looking just search for him by name.

    Play is what makes life bearable - Michael Rosen

    #164021
    willz
    Participant
    #164023
    Jim Webster
    Participant

    Over on Facebook, if you can bear to go there, though I notice that one or two from here do, Ken Hanning has set up a large German invasion of Warmington-on-Sea, which he intends to play remotely this coming week. He has a nice collection of German transports, and the terrain/town is terrific. It’s all in 20mm. He has posted this in several groups, but if you’re interested in looking just search for him by name.

     

    It is an amazing set up and well worth going to see 🙂

    https://jimssfnovelsandwargamerules.wordpress.com/

    #164024
    Tony S
    Participant

    …apart from the small problem of the Harwich flotilla, which, as one commentator pointed out I-can’t-remember-when, could have annihilated the invasion fleet just by steaming through it at high speed, never mind expending any actual ammunition

    Ha!  That brings the actual plausibility of the invasion home, doesn’t it?

    Just for the record, I was referring to the ease of an initial German landing in terms of the game, not arguing in real life that historically Sealion would have worked.

    That Benson game also seemed quite good.  I rather liked the comment that any arguments about lines of sight could be settled by leaving the house and having an actual look-see!

     

    #164025
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    A Steel Panthers Sealion scenario, featuring the plucky lads of the Warmington-on-Sea Home Guard facing the might of the German army.
    🙂

    "I'm not signing that"

    #164055
    deephorse
    Participant

    The Benson game did sound good.  I felt compelled to look at the biggest field in the UK on Google Earth!  I wasn’t quite so certain of the effectiveness of the Boys though.  I’ve read first hand accounts from the BEF of Boys rounds bouncing off German armour.

    Play is what makes life bearable - Michael Rosen

    #164057
    Simon Butler
    Participant

    The map and rules for the old SPI Seelowe game are available here:

    https://www.spigames.net/rules_downloads.htm#S

    I think the counters can also be found on another website, but don’t have an address for that one.

     

    #164061
    jeffers
    Participant

    I had the Seelowe game back in the day. I went through a board game phase in my teens starting off with AH’s France 1940 (which was ‘borrowed’ by a bloke called Graham and never returned…) which obviously led to Seelowe being a must have. After a game or two it bored me and I tried to turn it into a figure game. I produced a fabulously detailed map of the south east and that was as far as I got!

    I was in a mixed RN/RAF department when Derek Robinson’s Invasion 1940 came out, so engaged in some ‘interesting in-depth discussions’ about Sealion, especially as Robinson had already supposedly trashed the RAF in Piece of Cake. 😆. Bottom line is, any invasion game needs to remove the RN in some way, else it’s one big swimming lesson for Jerry.

    More nonsense on my blog: http://battle77.blogspot.com/

    #164096
    Jim Webster
    Participant

     Bottom line is, any invasion game needs to remove the RN in some way, else it’s one big swimming lesson for Jerry.

     

    I think you’ve summed it up nicely

    https://jimssfnovelsandwargamerules.wordpress.com/

    #164098
    willz
    Participant

    Simply put

    1. Have enough invasions transports, equipment, stores, tactical plan of attack.
    2. defeat or neutralise the Royal Navy.
    3. Gain air superiority over the RAF, defeat or neutralise.
    4.  Attack either on a narrow front or a broad front, all dependent on the fist 2 points both mutely inclusive.
    5. Have good weather with low sea state.
    6. Attack.

    Anyone fancy doing operation Sealion game in the near future.

    #164099
    MartinR
    Participant

    I’ve played both Jim Wallman and Bob Cordery Sealion games. In both the Germans got ashore but became bogged down due to supply difficulties, and ultimately the RN severed the German supply lines. Much as in Paddy’s game.

    Sealion is an interesting premise, but given the historical balance of forces, virtually unwinnable for the Germans. The only real solution to make a game of it is to posit alternate scenarios, much as AHGC did with France 1940.

    Ive never pulled off an invasion of Britain in Third Reich either, despite capturing Gibraltar and moving the Italian Navy into the Channel. One of my regular IIIR opponents did get ashore quite seriously once, but that 2nd edition which allowed unlimited stacking of air power.

    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    #164100
    Jim Webster
    Participant

    Simply put

    1. Have enough invasions transports, equipment, stores, tactical plan of attack.
    2. defeat or neutralise the Royal Navy.
    3. Gain air superiority over the RAF, defeat or neutralise.
    4. Attack either on a narrow front or a broad front, all dependent on the fist 2 points both mutely inclusive.
    5. Have good weather with low sea state.
    6. Attack.

    Anyone fancy doing operation Sealion game in the near future.

    I think you’d have to add that there would be no chance of surprise because you cannot hide that number of transports, and the people you are invading know the sea and the weather better than you do. If you surprise the defenders it’s because you’re attacking in weather conditions that are about to degenerate faster that you realise
    Indeed the ‘metrological war’ is something we rarely wargame 🙂

     

    https://jimssfnovelsandwargamerules.wordpress.com/

    #164114
    willz
    Participant

    Indeed the ‘metrological war’ is something we rarely wargame 🙂

    You are correct Jim we rarely wargame metrological or for that point oceanographic material in our games, I suppose its time consuming and ultimately all we want to do is push our toys across the table.

    #164115
    Jim Webster
    Participant

    Indeed the ‘metrological war’ is something we rarely wargame<noscript>🙂</noscript>🙂

    You are correct Jim we rarely wargame metrological or for that point oceanographic material in our games, I suppose its time consuming and ultimately all we want to do is push our toys across the table.

    It is the sort of thing that might be factored in to a strategic boardgame, (even then in an abstracted manner)
    By the time we have the toys on the table, all that sort of stuff has been dealt with.

    Somewhere I’ve got a book which does give a toys on the table possibility for it, I’ll have to dig it out 🙂

     

    https://jimssfnovelsandwargamerules.wordpress.com/

    #164307
    deephorse
    Participant

    Hats off to Noble Knight games!  Sealion arrived from The States this morning, with no fees or duties to pay.  It’ll be a while before it gets played though, I have this lot to attack first.

    Play is what makes life bearable - Michael Rosen

    #164310
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    Should keep you going for a couple of weeks.

    #164323
    willz
    Participant

    You don’t have a megalomania problem do you .

    #164325
    Jim Webster
    Participant

    You don’t have a megalomania problem do you<noscript></noscript>.

     

    We’re wargamers. It’s a feature, not a bug! 

    https://jimssfnovelsandwargamerules.wordpress.com/

    #164336
    deephorse
    Participant

    You don’t have a megalomania problem do you<noscript></noscript>.

     

    Absolutely not.  They are just my recent and unplayed purchases.  Some are second hand, but new to me.  Hoarding comes to mind!  I get a kind of pleasure from just owning things, and I suspect that a number of wargamers share that with me.  Books you’ll never live long enough to read.  Figures that you’ll never get round to painting, basing, and using.  Hex and counter games that you’ll never ‘punch’ and play.

    I also think that there’s a big element of ‘buy it now, or forever regret it’ at play here.  The books and boardgames (not so much miniatures – they seem to stick around for decades) that appeal to me are usually small production run items.  So if I don’t buy it when it’s new(ish), and at its original price, then I face buying it at an inflated price some years down the line when I discover its existence – as with this Sealion game.

    Play is what makes life bearable - Michael Rosen

    #164337
    deephorse
    Participant

    And whilst I’m mentioning the game …….  I wrote above that the strongest unit in the SPI game is the 13-8 British 1st Infantry Division.  The ‘World at War’ game has the same division rated as 3-4-4, and has 9 other British infantry divisions at the same strength.  The strongest British infantry division in the new game is the 42nd, which might be a little surprising given its losses in France.  So is the WoW game benefiting from more recent research on the British Army, or are game designers just ‘making stuff up’ to inject balance into a game that otherwise might be too one-sided?

    Play is what makes life bearable - Michael Rosen

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