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Yes we’re all doing well thanks, locked down at minute but not struggling too badly with it all. I’ve been taking a break from planes for nearly a year now. Sculpting my own minis of characters my sons have been inventing to play games with them. But I do check in here every now and then to see what’s going on. I’m feeling the itch to get painting planes again soon. Got a nice batch of storied RAF legends to work up followed by a look at photo recon planes when I finally jump back in.
Hope you won’t have to wait too long for another game con. Family gaming seems to be where it’s at for the time being.
Looks like a decent game. They got one of the big birds down at least. Thought it might be more of a turkey shoot without any fighter escort. Nice planes too. Big and pretty.
Hi folks. Apologies for the long old wait. I’ve been preoccupied with a bunch of other stuff but now, happily I’ve gotten around to writing up our replayed Raid for you all. Just one more to go after this. As ever, hope you enjoy and thanks for reading.
Raid Number Six (again)
Primary Target :Infrastructure
Secondary Target: Airfield
Order of Battle
~~~Now on with the Battle~~~
Alfie’s nerves were shredded.
Some days he slept like the dead, some nights he drank like a sailor and awoke to a nicotine breakfast of two maybe three woodbines and felt no worse for it. There was tea and scrambled egg on the base some mornings even real eggs sometimes but he had no kind of an appetite. Most mornings Alfie just smoked in the rain and watched the clouds. It was only really up here, soaring aloft in the white sunlit heavens above the clouds that he thought about food.
He was hungry now, exhausted but oh so alive.
“Tidy up that formation, Squadron Leader.” The unfamiliar voice on the radio broke Alfie’s reverie. “That’s not how we fly a vic at Duxford, gentlemen.”
Alfie shook off the daze to find he had fallen well out of formation, he tried to focus taking deep breaths in his oxygen mask and blinking his eyes wide. It wasn’t often the Squadron leader got orders on the wing from a visiting senior officer and it wouldn’t do to be the man making the squadron look bad.
“Enemy sighted, Wing Commander. Formation of Ju88’s dead ahead.” the Squadron Leader announced, judiciously avoiding comment on their formation, “Let’s show them some Biggin Hill hospitality, gents. I’ll take the one on the right, you boys go left. That leaves the leader for the Wing Commander.” It was a clever bit of politics and there was little time to argue. The enemy bombers were closing fast.
The Squadron Leader peeled off into a diving intercept with the visiting Wing Commander somewhere behind.
“Roger that Squadron Leader. Follow me in Alfie.”
Alfie took up position behind Flight Lieutenant Tucker as together they drove their Spitfires down upon the enemy. Now Alfie felt suddenly very awake. His blood sang. Tucker lined up the attack but before he had quite closed the distance a big heavy fighter came diving in from above.
Alfie caught a glimpse of some unidentifiable debris from Tucker’s aircraft whistling past before, for a heart-stopping split second a large black cross on the wing of an Me 110 filled his forward view and then was gone beneath.
Tucker was still on target but the attack had him rattled. He mistimed his shot on the bomber before he overshot a second Me 110 lingering in the rear.
Alfie’s luck was little better.
“His fitter won’t like that.” It was the Squadron leader, apparently he’d had some success.
“Made a dashed mess of his greenhouse.” he remarked jovially.
“Contacted Fighter escort,” warned Tucker, “Two heavy fighters.”
“One Tens?” The Squadron leader scoffed, “No fear.”
But before he could scan around for his next target one of the escort fighters was already thumbing his trigger. They exchanged fire as their aircraft closed the distance, jousting like knights in the lists. Both sustained damage but the heavier machine could take it.
The Squadron Leader’s Spitfire however was done for. With a 20mm canon round in the oil cooler a deluge of engine oil was pouring back painting the nose and canopy a glossy black. It levelled off, the Englishman flying blind for a while before the canopy opened and the man emerged. Trusting to his umbrella he baled out.
“He’ll be joining the Caterpillar club.” Tucker confirmed as the parachute opened.
“Scratch one raider.” The Wing Commander called as one of the Me 110’s went up in flames.
“Now let’s have at these bombers.”
He pulled in hard on the nearest target and gave the bomber a squirt. He was rewarded with a plume of oily smoke from one of its engines.
But these were Schnellbombers and the leader, as yet unhampered was making alarming progress.
Alfie caught a flash of tracer fire off to his right. The Wing Commander, now intent on the pursuit of the bombers was himself under attack. The second Me110 obviously wanted to pay him out for flaming his squadron mates.
“Wing Commander, your six!”
“Never mind that, boy.” the man sounded more than a little tense as he jinked away from the less manoeuvrable heavy fighter. “Tis but a scratch,” he joked, “Now after those blasted bombers!”
Alfie set the nearest enemy raider in his sights and throttled up to a high speed pursuit. Racing in just ahead of the Wing Commander both spitfires closed the distance and caught the first trailing bomber in a withering crossfire.
“Steady on there chap,” the Wing Commander warned, “save a few rounds for the next one.”
“Erm, Wing Commander, sir? It’s Flight Lieutenant Tucker, sir.” He sounded rather alarmed.
“Yes Flight Lieutenant.”
“This blighter isn’t giving up, sir. I’ve lost some control in the tail, I can’t out turn him like this.”
“Then just dive off, Flight Lieutenant, and use as much speed as you can to catch those bombers.”
“Roger that, sir. I’m fighting some yaw but I think it’s throwing his aim off.”
“He’s falling behind, Tuck.” Alfie advised falling back into formation behind the Flight Lieutenant. “Just push her as hard as she’ll fly.”
“These Jerries going like the clappers, chaps. It’s through the gate or we’ll never catch them.” The wing Commander put in a burst of speed taking the lead in pursuit of another straggler. He closed the gap but couldn’t deliver the finishing blow.
“I can’t keep it in range, gentlemen,” he reported, “I’m losing power. Flight lieutenant, take your shot.”
“She’s flying apart, Sir.” Tucker’s voice was over-loud wth panic and sounded distorted over the radio.
“I’m coming in.” Alfie pushed in over the wings of the two more senior officers, the enemy raider in his sights. Noting a tell-tail stream of blue smoke coming from its left engine he made a move for the right. Dropping the nose of his spitfire, Alfie ducked in closer around a scattering of defensive machine gun fire and brought his sights to bare before leaning hard on the trigger.
The engine belched a thick plume of black smoke before open flames erupted and burst along the entire wing. The bomber tilted and dropped away slipping into a corkscrew dive.
Not far ahead the lead bomber had made it through.
It leapt for joy as its heavy load was released and turned up away for France.
The Wing commander took point on the return to Biggin Hill with Alfie and Tucker falling into a tidy V.
There wasn’t much chatter over the radio now. Each man was alone with his thoughts recounting every action, every choice and consequence.
Alfie hadn’t been hit but the other two aircraft were looking decidedly homesick. He may have survived another engagement with the enemy, he reminded himself but he was by no means out of the woods yet. Already he could feel the creeping fatigue returning. Gripping the stick harder in his trembling hand he sucked deeply on his oxygen and fought to keep his eyes open. Every second came crawling as Alfie battled his way back to the critical point of final approach, praying to God he’d make it.
Wow, right down to the wire that time with a last ditch effort to bag that last bomber, catching it right before it crossed the line. Nail biting stuff.
So analysis time. How did the raid go? Well this time around the old Me 110’s didn’t do too badly. (They did the better the first time we played it, obviously) They scored hits on three of the four Spits downing one of them and kept them busy enough to allow at least one of the fast bombers a good run at the primary target.
The British infrastructure started the game with only 6 points of damage remaining after raid number 5 (including a bit of help from the Royal Engineers) That lone raider rolling only 5 points might have finished off the last objective had his dice come up just one point higher this time. Good thing he was the only one to get through.
So there we are a suitable cliffhanger to set us up for the seventh and final game which (given the fact we’ve bent the rules well beyond breaking point already) we have decided should just be a full blown free for all with all available aircraft still alive on the rosters. With only one point standing between freedom and the heel end of a high Gestapo jack boot it’s all or nothing going into Raid Number Seven.
Really great start. You clearly have a basic skill to begin practicing. Like a good blade you could sharpen very well.
Maybe you need a broader project goal?
6mm scale isn’t about Individuals but large numbers forming a big army. Because you chose this scale I would assume you intend big volume eventually. I may be wrong.
What’s the project? Is it a sci-fi, historical or fantasy setting? Some details may not be required at this scale where some may be vital and even exaggerated for effect.
ive found sculpting vehicles at this scale to be a tricky business. Often requiring layering and building up. I can’t imagine a 6mm figure has much room for layered detail but you seem to be getting plenty in there.
Thank you kindly all. Especially anyone who has just read through all four pages of the gallery. That’s some amount of reading. Two cups of tea and at least 4 biscuits worth I reckon.
Patrick, both Rufe and Jake are pretty straight forward to assemble. Nothing too fiddly there. The Rufe has those very spindly outriggers though which will bend easily if you’re not careful. You could replace the struts with stiffer wire if they’re set for a lot of table time. But that I will admit would be a fiddly job.
No special paint. It’s an old Citadel Mithril Silver still going strong from the 90s. I just base and ink wash and then tidy up with another coat. It’s pretty forgiving stuff.
Yellows are always a base of white with a yellow ink on top. Really pops that way.
Thanks for looking. Glad you enjoy both the minis and the history. The two go hand in hand for me. There really isn’t one without the other.
Back once again with my latest collection of 1:300 offerings. This time as promised it’s flying boats and floatplanes of the Axis.
I have a few of these in my collection already which you may already have seen.
So let’s get into these. The first of my Japanese seaplanes is the Kawanishi H6K Type 97 (allied codename”Mavis”)
When I first saw a picture of this flying boat I just knew I had to have one and was delighted to find one in the always excellent Scotia Grendel Collectair range.
A great big high wing flying boat in a similar vein to the German Do 24, but scaled up to a four engine design for maximum Pacific patrol range. A crew of 9 could take this baby out on a 24hr patrol covering over 2500 nautical miles of range. They served all throughout the war as front line bombers, transports and reconnaissance patrol planes.
As allied fighters began to get the better of the old Mavis its front line duties were taken over by a newer and more modern design, the Kawanishi H8K known to the allies as “Emily”
Emily was a big girl, another great four engined flying boat, this time more like the Short Sunderland, and as with the Sunderland enemy fighters had a healthy respect for its defensive capabilities. The Emily is often consider the very best of the big maritime patrol planes of the era.
On 4 March 1942, two Emily flying boats each carrying four 250Kg bombs conducted the longest ever two-plane bombing mission ever flown to date. Departing from the Marshal Islands they flew a round trip of over 7000km in an attempt to conduct reconnaissance over Pear Harbour and disrupt ongoing salvage and clean up operations following the infamous raid of Dec 7th.
They were ultimately unsuccessful in their navigation, their bombs falling well off the mark and causing no casualties. They did however highlight the need for increased defences. A second attempt a week later resulted in one Emily being intercepted and shot down by Brewster Buffaloes near Midway Atoll.
Sticking with Imperial Japan but looking to the smaller end of the spectrum I’ve got the Nakajima A6M2-N (Navy Type 2 Interceptor/Fighter-Bomber) Allied codename “Rufe”.
The concept was something of a rarity in that no other nation opted for a dedicated floatplane fighter/interceptor, but it’s hardly surprising given the realities of prosecuting a war in the Pacific.
Based on the Mitsubishi A6M Zero the floatplane version had a large central float with outboard stabilisers under each wing. They were mainly used in a defensive interceptor role protecting remote island bases but also saw action with seaplane carriers in the Indian Ocean acting as fighter-bombers and short reconnaissance support for amphibious landings.
As allied fighter cover increased throughout the Pacific campaign the Rufe, encumbered with the extra drag of its floats just couldn’t stand the pace and those that weren’t destroyed outright fell back to the defence of the home islands.
This is the Aichi E13A, code named “Jake” the most numerous of Japan’s long-range reconnaissance seaplanes.
The Jake was the Imperial Japanese Navy’s multi purpose workhorse used for all kinds of transport, sea rescue, scouting ahead of the fleet, general spotting and occasional combat duties.
They operated off seaplane tenders and battleships as well as island bases. They weren’t particularly well armed with only a single defensive machine gun however some carried air-to-surface radar and had a downward pointing 20mm cannon to attack American PT boats. They could also carry bombs or depth charges and so were quite capable of ruining your day of encountered at sea.
Another small Japanese floatplane next. This is the Yokosuka E14Y (allied codename “Glen”).
The Glen was designed to be carried aboard an I-15 series submarine. Once within range of they were assembled and catapult launched to be flown over enemy territory on photo reconnaissance. With the photos in the can the little float plane would come down beside the submarine, be winched aboard and stowed away or simply abandoned and sunk with the crew and valuable photos safely on board the submarine.
This “Glen” was flown by Nobuo Fujita who was the only enemy airman to bomb the US mainland. On September 9, 1942 Fujita dropped incendiary bombs over southern Oregon in an attempt to start forest fires. It wasn’t a very effective attempt and the local fire brigade dealt with it quickly.
Later in life Fujita was invited to return to the little town of Brookings Oregon where he received a warm welcome. He planted a tree at the site where he had bombed and raised money for a library that now displays his family’s 400 year old katana. He was made an honorary citizen of Brookings shortly before his death in 1998.
And the last of my Japanese floatplanes is the Aichi M6A Seiran attack floatplane.
This was an upscaled and altogether more lethal submarine launched concept along the same lines as the Glen, but intended to operate from the much larger I-400 class submarines. Their original mission was to conduct aerial attacks against the United States.
The story of the design and operation of the Seiran tracks the course of the war for the Japanese quite well. Initially designed with a fixed float undercarriage these attack planes would be able to land beside their submarine carriers once their mission was complete to be re-stowed aboard. However as defences mounted around their intended targets it was deemed prudent that the pilots should have the option to jettison the floats if they encountered enemy fighters, their unhampered performance helping their chances of reaching and bombing their target.
In fact, they soon concluded, why launch with floats at all if they would only be a hinderance? They would of course have to ditch in the sea on their return to the submarine but the pilots could be recovered. The aircraft would be sacrificed for the sake of the mission.
Soon however the situation became desperate and the pilots noted the modifications now taking place on their machines. Now, not only were the floats detached but the bombs were to be permanently fixed in place. Evidently the top brass estimated their best chance of achieving mission success was by sacrificing both man and machine. In the end however their training was for naught as the Japanese surrender came before the submarine launched aerial attack could go ahead. The Seirans were decommissioned, launched into the sea unassembled, before the three huge I-400 submarines were surrendered to the US Navy.
Next up its a classic of German seaplane design the tri-motor Blohm & Voss Bv 138 Seedrache.
Not content with a cool name like SeaDragon the Germans always known for their comedy wit named it “die fliegende Holzschuh”
(The Flying Cog) because of the shape of the hull.
The Seedrache was Germany’s primary maritime reconnaissance and patrol seaplane with 297 built. It was an unconventional design to say the least but as it turned out a very versatile one. It was big enough to carry up to ten passengers, very handy for sea rescue, but that weight capacity could also be used for bombs, depth charges or for anti-shipping patrols. Or for radar equipment to hunt in conjunction with submarine groups. Some were also fitted with degaussing rings for mine sweeping. (Like this one- that’s what the big loop is.)
The man behind the design was evidently quite the unconventional thinker. But of course not everyone appreciated his particular taste in aeronautical design. A British journal by the name of Aeroplane printed this piece of poetic criticism beside a picture of a Bv 138.
Richard Vogt, that original man,
Turns out aeroplanes uglier than
Most any other designer can.
Here is shown on Baltic Sea
A typical Vogt monstrosity—
The One-Three-Eight by B. & V.
And a final entry bring up the rear it’s a big French boat in Vichy striped pyjamas.
The Bréguet 521 Bizerte was a big Tri-motor flying boat developed for the French Navy and initially deployed with five squadrons for all manner of long range maritime reconnaissance and submarine hunting. They sported five defensive machine guns including one in a tail gunner’s position and could carry a bomb load of up to 300kg.
It continued in service under Vichy control with a dozen serving in the Mediterranean. They were useful and well designed machines and Luftwaffe also used some to supply Seenotdienst sea rescue units off the French Atlantic coast.
This miniature it has to be said was a bit of a nightmare to build. Its mostly made of wire and glue and in honesty the whole front end was a bit off and took some green stuff modification to bring it into shape. Not that I’m criticising the excellent sculpting and quality of the product, I’m honestly very impressed with the skill and workmanship and the huge range on offer. Some minis just take a bit more work than others and this was certainly one of those.
So that’s it for the Axis floaty boaty planes. Here’s a big shot of the whole lot all together.
It’s been lots of fun taking to the maritime skies with both sides. There have been some excellent planes available at this scale to allow me to explore the subject quite expansively.
I’m going to take a break from 1:300 planes for a while. Got lots more still to do but I’ll wait for the enthusiasm to resurface after a bit of something else for a while. Do let me know what you think as always, and thanks for visiting the gallery.
Very nice stuff. I could be easily tempted to go 20mm lookig at these.
I might assume everyone’s heard about this…
But theres the link in case you hadn’t.
Stop the Pigeon!
Raid Number Six
Primary Target :Infrastructure
Secondary Target: Factories
German – storms (bit useless at this stage)
British – ARP
~~~Now on with the Battle~~~
Well actually no, wait a minute. I’ve got sad news. It’s all over. I actually rolled two already eliminated British units. So this raid should be an automatic win for the Germans. But then the boy still wanted to play so I gave him his Spitfires. But then (this is what I get for cheating) the Germans go and win this one anyway, and thus the game is over and the Germans won and history is rewritten. Poo!
I’ll give you the whole run down of the game just to show you how it fell out but I’m not going all historical fiction on it because don’t worry there’ll be more to come after this as I couldn’t let the boy’s first foray into air combat gaming be a sad let down so we replayed it and I’ll write that one up in full story style. But Officially it’s over and goes down as a German victory so we’ll talk about that later and I’ll give you the brief AAR of that now.
~~~On with the Battle~~~
The German formation was coming in faster than usual with the new Ju88s moving that extra hex per turn
so the spits wasted no time in closing in for a full frontal attack. But they were pretty strung out by some inconsistency in their dice rolls
and although the first two fell upon the lead bomber unopposed they didn’t knock him out.
All they managed was a bit of damage to the leader and to scatter the formation but not before he got a bit of payback with some smart defensive gunnery.
And then the waiting Me 110s pounced and…
Bam, in quick succession the RAF were in serious trouble.
The last spitfire undaunted made to hit back but was caught by a last desperate defensive shot by the Me 110’s rear gunner
and that was all she wrote.
Three Spits downed for a single Me 110 leaving all 3 Ju 88s alive to go on and finish the job. And seeing as how the target has only 6 points left even if all 3 bombers rolled snake eyes it’d still be enough to win the game. So that was it, game over for the Brits.
Well the boy was bummed out. So was I to be honest. Not the way you want to win in the final game but it happens I guess.
Looking forward to doing a proper AAR for that one soon.
The Defiants it turns out tend to get many more opportunities to shoot, especially when circling an enemy aircraft. So the liklihood of rolling a 6 is somewhat increased by sheer volume. That said they got some seriously jammy 6’s when they really needed them which made all the difference. I suspect the oft lamented Defiant may have been a valuable enough asset when used as intended.
Raid Number Five
Primary Target- Infrastructure (Bridge)
Secondary Target – Airfield
German -Diversionary raid -British to re-roll fighter defence.
British – Aux Fire Brigade +1 to Factory.
BF4 (already eliminated)
BF6 x3 Spitfire
So not liking the idea of fending off a full squadron of Spits I used my “Diversionary Raid” card and made the boy re-roll that. The result came up.
BF3 X1 Hurricane (Ace Flight Lft”Tommy” Tomlin, again!)
BF4 also again! (And still already eliminated)
Leaving just Ace Hurricane pilot Tommy to stand in the way of ultimate German victory! (I rub my hands in diabolical movie villain glee.)
Rules for Defiants.
May attack any adjacent hex in any direction requiring a 6 to hit.
Now on with the battle
~~~~ A Desperate Defence~~~~
“You’re sending what?” Tommy wasn’t at all sure he’d heard the lady at fighter command correctly. Did she just say…”Defiants?” He repeated “Bolton Paul Defiants?”
“That’s correct Flight Leader,” She confirmed, “three Defiants from 264 Squadron.”
“They told me you were scrambling Spitfires!” Tommy was at a loss, “What happened to Biggin Hill?”
“They had to be diverted west. There’s another raid heading for the Isle of Wight.”
Tommy didn’t complain. He knew things were tight all over , but taking on a bunch of Luftwaffe raiders singlehanded while babysitting a squadron of Daffys wasn’t his idea of a fair fight. It was a bit of a sticky wicket.
“RAF Manston reports they scrambled six minutes ago. They should be with you soon.”
“Roger that Fighter Command. I’ll keep an eye out.”
Tommy kept on climbing steadily on his intercept heading south east. A long lonely patrol, all the while watching for enemies ahead and his support coming in from the north.
Soon enough he made visual contact. A mixed flight of German bombers accompanied by a couple of escorts already over the channel and heading inland.
A flicker of movement caught his eye down to the right. It was 264 Squadron, already on an attack course and closing on target for the bombers. And judging by the movement of the German escort fighters Tommy wasn’t the only one who’d spotted them.
“Gordon Bennett, here we go.” Tommy throttled up and angled his attack to approach from the sun trusting to his luck that the German would keep looking the other way.
His luck held. Speeding over the top of the enemy fighter he placed a solid burst of machine gun fire along its full length nose to tail before turning immediately upon the bombers.
“Sorry to drop in unannounced, fellas.” he radioed over to the Defiant squadron. They were already closing upon a Heinkel out on the edge of the formation.
But it wasn’t alone. A waiting Me 110 was poised to strike and it dived on the rearmost of the Defiant squadron.
He delivered a solid punch with the 20mm cannon before the Defiant’s gunner scared him off.
The turret fighters circled their chosen prey but they had only seconds in range at such closing speeds and soon the enemy Heinkel had passed them by unhindered and still on target for the drop.
“This is Flight Lieutenant Don’t worry about us.” Came a terse response, “We’re coming around for another go.”
“They’ve had it, gents.” The Defiants’ flight leader cut in “You pair get on after those bombers.” He ordered, “We’ll deal with that one.”
“Defiants, look out.” Tommy called in, “you’ve got one coming in behind.”
The German fighter fell in on the rear of the British plane mistaking it for another Hurricane. Even as his nose cannon found its mark he was caught by a surprising barrage of return fire from the forewarned Defiant. Both aircraft suffering all they could withstand fell to the earth in ruin.
Neither had Tommy time to mourn the loss of two more RAF airmen,
he was busy dodging defensive fire from the nearest bomber.
He rolled up over the top of it and gave it what for before moving onto the next one.
Far above out of reach the lead bomber continued on apace.
“Roger that, Hurricane.” The Defiant pilot responded, “We’re going after that big Heinkel again.”
The pair of British defenders beat a desperate pursuit of the last remaining bombers. The Defiant had the advantage though, trading some altitude for speed they dived in on the tail of the target bomber, utterly contemptuous of the defensive gunners. Dropping underneath the belly of the bomber their quartet of Brownings made a most persuasive argument in their favour compelling the raider to break off its attack and return to Earth with immediate effect.
Tommy had no such luck. He had already lost too much altitude chasing his last bomber down and now had a hill to climb to reach the final raider.
Even pushing his engine as hard as he could he closed with the old Dornier at a glacial pace.
“Come on! Come on!” He begged. Tommy would’ve reached out of the cockpit and whipped it with a riding crop if he thought it would help. But suddenly to his horror the bomb bay opened. He fired off a desperate burst of 303’s but he was too far out of range and his ammunition was finally spent. All he could do was watch as the bombs fell and the Dornier turned for home.
So there you have it. Another blow for the Brits this round as another bomber gets through. Though crucially only one bomber.
He rolls the standard two D6 for a twin engine bomber and scores a respectable 7. But the Royal Engineers respond quickly and manage to defuse a time delay bomb reducing the damage down to 6.
The raiders limp home, one victorious Do 17 and a homesick Me110. Keeping a couple of squadrons live on the German rosters.
And the celebrated Ace, let’s give him a promotion and maybe a VC after all. Wing Commander Gerald “Tommy” Tomlin adds another pair of victories to his tally bringing him up to 8.
And then we have one surviving Defiant who rolled spectacularly well in the final turns not only damaging the Me110 and thus hampering its pursuit but then chasing down and destroying a bomber. What a team those guys are!
So with that the UK is against the ropes now with only 6 points of damage on one target standing between survival and starvation, or eventual capitulation to the Third Reich.
Great fight Jack. I am indeed entertained. Particularly with the retreating Japanese airmen getting their story straight and with the proud victory formation of heroes returning to the carrier. (Always one of my favourite parts of these kinds of AARs.)
Some exciting writing too. You’re really doing the history a great service.
Thanks guys. Having a great time playing and writing them up. It’s been nice to actually use some of my collection for once. Glad you’re enjoying it too.
Raid Number Four
Primary Target- Infrastructure (Bridge)
Secondary Target – Population (block of balsa)
Bonus- Lost Patrol Card x1 Me 109 (entering from the right side)
The boy picks his card for this round. (Yes he’s dressed as a bat skeleton)
German- Lost patrol +1 Me 109
British – A Desperate Defence – a squadron of Bolton Paul Defiants.
With only two bombers and two fighters to contend with today the RAF opted not to use this last desperate reserve this time.
~~~~Now on with the battle~~~~
Helmut clapped his hands trying to beat a little heat out of his frozen blood. The channel crossing had been cloudy and dank. Condensation rolled down the cold sides of the bombs standing to attention in their racks. Another day another drop. England this time, again.
As the cloud broke up Helmut looked out of the machine gun point on the side of the bomber expecting to see the now familiar sight; a flurry of bombers, near as stepping stones in a stream. Not today. He stepped over to the other side. He saw one. Only one other bomber, and a single Me 109 zigzagging away above trying to keep pace.
“Gunther!” He called to the navigator, “Where is the rest of the Staffel?”
There was no response.
“Be quiet, he’s navigating.” Dieter, the pilot was trying to keep his voice calm, “We followed the lead bomber, the rest will be here soon.”
Helmut looked over at the other bomber on their right, it wasn’t leading, if anything they were the leaders. “There are no markings on his wings.” He reported, “you followed the wrong guy.”
“Just man the guns, Helmut.” Gunther snapped, “Keep an eye out for enemy fighters.
Helmut climbed into the dorsal machine gun position and scanned around in all directions. Sure enough a little silhouette was closing in from the north east.
Helmut relinquished his white knuckle grip on the SM15 and let his shoulders drop. But all too soon.
Helmut scanned ahead. He couldn’t see them from up top but the fighter escort had seen something. They began diving in ahead on an intercept course, two knights charging into battle upon winged steeds.
“Yes,” Helmut cheered, “Englishers beware!”
But the smile died on his lips as the first machines clashed in a deadly joust; the Englishman the victor.
The vanquished Me 109 spun out of control falling into a steep dive beneath his field of vision.
Another pair of Hurricanes came on fast threatening the bombers with a frontal assault but the other German fighter made his move. Diving in front he set his sights on an intercept course with the lead Hurricane.
They drove against each other guns ablaze, each man steely eyed and determined to make the other man blink first and break off his attack. It was a deadly game that neither man won.
“Gott in Himmel!” Helmut gasped as they collided in a terrible explosion of flame and twisted metal. But there was no time to pray.
“Here they come!” Dieter yelled as he slew the He 111 to the right to avoid a full frontal attack almost crossing into he path of the other bomber.
A rattle of staccato bullet strikes sounded all along the side of their plane as the Hurricane came on. Helmut his fingers already on the trigger began firing off rounds from his MG15 even as the RAF Hurricane passed right overhead. It was so close he could hardly have missed.
It whipped out over the top of both bombers in turn, a trace of blue smoke trailing in its wake.
“I hit him!” Helmut yelled down to Rolf in the ventral position. The man was busy with his own gunnery firing bursts at any target of opportunity.
But it was a hopeless. Without their fighter escort the Encounter was becoming a turkey shoot as the Hurricanes, unopposed fell upon the other bomber like a murder of crows.
They picked it apart and it fell in flames.
“Menschenskinder!” Helmut wailed, “Dieter, get us out of here!”
“Dieter’s been hit,” It was Gunther, sounding pretty shaken himself, “He’s ok, I think.”
They began to jink and tilt more furiously now as Dieter threw them around the sky like a large drunken goose. One of the fighters made his attack but the Englishman struggled to keep them in his sights as he was hampered by a determined stream of fire from both rearward guns.
None the less on he came. Risking a closer shot the Hurricane dropped under Helmut’s field of vision but suddenly appeared again all guns firing, targeting their left engine.
Helmut immediately fought him off but not before the damage was done.
“Aaach!” Gunther cursed, catching a 303 bullet in the foot. “This is no good.”
Helmut heard the damaged engine sputter and give out. They were ducks for the shooting now for sure.
“Go on, evacuate,” Dieter coughed sounding decidedly worse for wear.
Rolf had abandoned the rearward ventral gun and had just released the lower hatch when he was racked with bullets through the right side of the plane.
Gunther wheeled his sights across but couldn’t bring his gun to bear on the culprit before the right engine exploded into flames.
The aircraft jerked hard and began to lose altitude fast. Helmut slid down into the smoky fuselage and fumbled for the exit. Dropping out of the opened hatch with a feeling of mixed terror and relief he grabbed for his parachute cord and tugged it hard. The sudden jerk of the opening parachute brought a sharp pain to his shoulder. To his surprise it was all wet with blood already soaking through his jacket. He must have caught a stray bullet up there.
As he fell to earth he scanned around for the crash site of his Heinkel or for any more parachutes. He saw only rooftops and trees and green fields approaching at an alarming rate. Helmut did not know what to expect. Would he put up a fight or simply be captured and taken prisoner immediately? Would he even land safely? Whatever happened one thing was certain. For Helmut, his war was over.
So there you have it. A total wipe out for the Germans this round even with the help of an extra bonus Me 109 they had a bad time of it. The initial contact of the fighters saw some terrible rolls for the Germans with both escort fighters eliminated immediately. The 3 remaining Hurricanes then had all the time in the world to chase the pair of bombers down and knock them out.
Tommy the fighter Ace Hurricane hero leads the lads home for a well earned cuppa.
Despite being tagged early on in the fight he hung in there to bag that last bomber adding another one to his tally of victories.
Fate continues to turn her wheel it would seem with the Brits coming out on top today. But how they will fair tomorrow is anyone’s guess.
Thanks T. I sure did. Two pins each side.
Well John, thanks for your insight, I certainly do struggle to keep my radio chat strictly on period. The English speaking lads are hard enough to voice never mind the Germans.
Navy Yard/Dockyard potato potato. It’s blown up now anyway. I’ll maybe rebuild it as a dockyard.
My inclusion of American Red Cross volunteers is based on the fact that they set up service clubs in England long before the US declared war. It was the success and expansion of this early project that would lead to clubmobiles in Europe later on. I did a big Red Cross in 6mm project that you can see over on the WW2 forum page.
Sailor Malan in stripes. An indefensible blunder from my early days of painting planes. Not sure how I managed to do that and had never though to question it til now. So thanks for that. I can feel a repaint coming on.
Yeah, there was some terrible rolling for movement from the spits in the last chase and they took too long to take the bombers down when they’d caught up. Poor show from the spits all round actually. If you’ve only got ten turns as the bombers go 3 squares forward over a 30 hex board you don’t have time to fly up the flank and tangle with the fighter escort first. Bad tactics on the part of the wing commander.
Raid Number Three
Primary Target- Naval Yard (Orange paper)
Secondary Target – Radar Towers
German- Corpo Aero Italiano – re-roll bombers or fighters.
I had originally rolled a 1 for the bombers. Being the Stukas who were destroyed on day one. The re-roll granted by this card turned up GB2 and since I have only one Do24 in my collection I decided to have it lead a pair of Italian SM79s. (They don’t get an extra dice roll on target damage for having an extra engine)
British – ARP- +1 to the civilian population target which isn’t on the board for this raid.
Now on with the battle.
~~~~Race to the finish~~~~
“Spitfire patrol, stand down. We’ll take it from here.”
“Glad you could make it, Wing Commander.” Harry felt his shoulders release a good deal of tension. “Nothing like a bit of company on these dreary old patrols.”
“How is your fuel, Harrington?” The wing commander cut in. He wasn’t the chatty type.
“I’m not heading for home yet, Sir. I’m good for another innings.”
“Understood Flight Lieutenant, fall in. We’re going in on my lead.”
“Right Ho.” Harry eyeballed the motion of the trio of newcomers and paced his dive to fall in on their rear.
“Eyes on target.” The Wing Commander confirmed, “Two escorts, Me 110’s. We’ll give them what for on the first pass, then we’ll be free to deal with those bombers.
Harry didn’t like the sound of that but he followed in the tail of the formation as they accelerated toward the enemy. It was rather Harry’s preference to try and break up the bombers first; Fall on them hard in a full frontal assault, unnerving their pilots and scattering the formation. It was the bombers they here to stop. He watched as all three spitfires one after another fell upon a hapless Me 110.
All the while the bombers continued to drone on by.
“This is ruddy useless.” Harry cursed. He pulled out of his attack run and swung in toward the bombers. “We can’t all go chasing the sodding escort fighters!”
A formation of big ugly Heinkels grew in his sights and Harry closed in on the rear of the lead bomber.
“I punched that Kraut’s ticket.” The Wing Commander gloated as a big fighter bomber went spiralling down.
Harry ignored the radio chatter and slowed to the pace of the larger planes, dodging defensive fire and giving their gunners as good as he got. The lead bomber’s rearward gun fell silent but the aircraft pressed doggedly on. Harry closed for the kill.
“Watch out, gents” the Wing Commander warned, “this looks rather like trouble.”
Before Harry could say ‘Hun in the Sun’ his world was exploding in bullets and sparks and shards of broken perspex. Harry’s cockpit immediately began to fill up with smoke.
He fumbled for the canopy release but the frame was jammed. Choking and desperate he finally managed to force the thing back on its grinding runners. The rush of cold air almost took his head off as he gasped for a breath and then tumbled blindly over the side.
Hauptmann Fuchs and his Wingman Leutnant Werner Maier were up high overseeing a wide formation of twin-engine medium bombers. A mix of types, word even had it there were Italians amongst them. So high above they all looked little more than occasionally sparkling shadows.
“I see them, Leutnant.” The cunning Fuchs was reading the situation, “Let them come. Let the quality of Göring’s pet wonder-birds now show itself.”
Werner let a wry smile play across his face. He too had once taken the opportunity to fly an Me 110 and knew well the source of the Hauptmann’s sarcasm. It was an aircraft only a commander-in-chief could love, of truly superior design on paper.
Maintaining their hight and position they both watched as the spitfires fell upon the heavier machines like wolves upon deer.
So long as they were kept busy and away from the bombers so much the better.
“See there, Leutnant, the last man.” Hauptmann Fuchs had spotted Harry’s dive toward the bomber squadron and was already gauging his angle of attack.
Werner opened up the throttle and followed him in.
A bright explosion caught his eye as one of the Zerstörers went up in flames. A smoking Spitfire emerging from behind now turned in their direction. As an immediate threat to the Hauptmann he was Werner’s mark and the junior officer moved to engage.
Wing Commander Barbary left the first Me 110 intact in his rear cursing his luck. They were a bit of a conundrum those heavy fighters. Too big and cumbersome to really pose any great threat to the Spitfires and presumably too small and light to carry much in the way of ordinance. Still they were best not dismissed out of hand. He lined up the second heavy fighter for the attack but it made a sudden jink before pulling back up into his range with more speed than he’d anticipated.
His machine battled through a brief moment of intense fire and noise and confusion emerging from a world of flame into a shaky banking turn through open sky.
Barbary steadied the flight, regaining control of his machine and his wits.
“I punched that Kraut’s ticket.” he laughed sounding braver than he felt. The enemy was a flaming comet riding down a plume of dense black smoke but his own aircraft had not escaped completely unscathed.
Suddenly a pair of enemy fighters were diving in. Real ones, 109s.
“Watch out, gents” he called “this looks rather like trouble.”
But his radio only crackled in response. His engine whined and begrudged his request for more power. Inside the cockpit smelled of fuel. Helpless he watched as the lead 109 fell in behind a Spitfire who was already harrying the bombers. But there was nothing he could do. Already the second Messerschmitt had clocked him as a threat and was coming in on the attack, guns blazing from well outside of his range.
Barbary accepted the challenge from the impudent pup with a calm level head. He tipped his machine up on its wing bating the enemy and throwing off the boy’s fire before letting fly his bullets as it closed into range.
A brief clatter and buzz and the attacker, for all his bluster passed on overhead and away. Barbary quickly allowed his plane to dive in an attempt to coerce a little more speed from his ailing Spitfire. He wasn’t out of the fight yet.
His radio crackled. It sounded like Rufus. The other two lads of his squadron swooped into the fray and the lead bandit now had his hands full.
He broke away from the Spitfires in fear for his life but before he could bunt and dive away his rudder and tail fin was shredded and he lost control. Rufus followed him down a little to hammer the message home but the 109 leader was done for.
With no one now between them and their prey the Spitfire pilots trusted to their greater speed to reach the bombers in time. The chase was on.
Werner had been sold a dummy. Even as he turned into the spitfire’s attack he knew he had been played for a fool. The rattle of a hundred 303 bullets all along his underside confirmed as much. He made an angry turn to come back around on the rear of the other two spitfires but instead he began to slip into a nosedive. Struggling to regain control he lost some altitude and a lot of time. Once more straight and level he found that his engine made a disconcerting noise if pushed beyond a certain point. He risked a climb back into the fight but it smoked profusely and threatened total failure.
He could only watch and scream in impotent rage as Hauptmann Fuchs was hounded in a ruthless pursuit down to the death.
Werner none the less set his fighter, on a hopeless pursuit course following the action as the drama unfolded beyond is reach.
While the fighters had tangled the bombers had broken free and were by now some way off. The spitfires raced to engage them one RAF fighter trailing smoke and struggling to keep up.
Werner pressed his damaged V12 as hard as it would allow but it was useless. The first bomber fell out of formation trailing a long black plume from a flaming engine.
The flames quickly spread engulfing the entire wing as desperate men evacuated one by one to take their chances by parachute.
But though one bomber had fallen there were many more. Many more than a handful of spitfires could tackle alone.
A stray Me 110 close by caught his eye.
It was droning aimlessly along for all the world oblivious to the danger of flying straight and slow in enemy airspace.
“Zerstörer, S 9 A M…” He called, reading the lettering along its fuselage. No response came over the radio.
“Eins Zehn, can you hear me?”
Werner eyed the distant pursuit ruefully, there was little help he could be there. He turned into a slow climb closing on the wing of the other German plane in a bid to communicate. Whatever they were going to do from here their best hope for survival was staying together.
The heavy fighter had been badly shot up. The cockpit was riddled with bullet holes and Werner could see that the radio man in the rear was most likely dead. The pilot’s face was ashen grey, his eyes wide staring back at Werner.
Far away beyond his reach another bomber went up in smoke but the rest had gotten through and the bombs were already falling. They’d done all they could. They had kept the fighters busy long enough and now all that remained was for every man to make it home as he may.
Werner took position ahead of the other plane and waggled his wings. The man was in shock but he managed a response and so followed Werner’s lead as they set course back to France. Their work here was done.
Wing Commander Barbary cursed his damaged Spitfire with the kind of language traditionally reserved for sailors. The Naval yards all along the Kentish coast had been taking a hammering of late so Barbary expected the good lads and ladies down there would likely excuse his colourful language so long as he stopped those bombers.
“Rufus!” He called the overzealous young pilot over the radio. “The blighter’s on fire already, get on after those bombers!”
The broken radio only garbled back a lot of noise but he could see that Rufus was once again climbing back into the hunt.
Pilot officer White was on the tail of a bomber in the rear of the formation hosing it down with a blast of machine gun fire.
“For the love of merry England, White!” The wing commander vented his frustrations, “You’re not here to wash their ruddy Windows! Get in close and give ’em what for! Aim for the engines!”
But time was running out. Looking altogether far too close now in the near distance a row of tall steel radar tower pylons was growing nearer and nearer. Barbary’s engine coughed and threatened to sputter out but he saved it in time. He wasn’t getting nearly enough speed out of it though. It was all down to the younger lads. A window cleaner from Watford and a, well he wasn’t altogether sure about Rufus. He had a suspicion the boy was a singer or an actor of some sort, he was a much better pilot by all accounts.
As they approached the target the lead bombers were already dropping their payloads.
Rufus made a last desperate stab at another bomber which caught fire and began to drop out of formation but it was too little too late.
A power generator station went up in flames as all across the headland bombs fell among the radar towers and their adjoining structures. The bombers scattered and turned back out to sea.
“Steady now, boys.” Wing Commander Barbary reigned in his red-faced charges. “Orders are orders. No chasing ’em away off over the Channel.” The pair of wayward Spitfires broke off their vengeful pursuit and reluctantly formed up on their Wing Commander’s wings.
Barbary coaxed his wounded warbird into a Northwestward heading leading his squadron back to Biggin Hill.
So there you have it. Raid number three. I hope my telling of the story with so much cross over in perspectives wasn’t too confusing to follow.
The RAF lost the last Spitfire of BF5 (Poor Harry, we hardly knew ye.) for the loss of one Me 109 and one Me 110 and only two He 111s. But more significantly, while the Spits were busy messing around with the fighters the Bombers made good on their threat and in end with four crossing the table edge it was bad news, disastrous news in fact for the already beleaguered Naval yard.
Losing its last remaining 6 damage points to the first bomber across the line.
And it was all too much for the Radar Towers too as even with one of the Heinkels rolling snake eyes (AGAIN!!!) the last two bombers over the line finished the job.
So both targets totally eliminated leaving only the Infrastructure target to keep the Royal Naval supply situation feasible. Bit of a disaster for Britain this round as the desperate struggle continues on into day four.
What a great old airframe the Skua is. The blind spots trying to see out of that cockpit look about as bad as my Suzuki SX4.
I must get me some more FAA planes for my collection.
Nice tidy paint job. Was out at an airshow last month and the Ulster Aviation Society were out with a tent raising cash and awareness. They had a stall selling some nice kits folks had built and painted up and donated to them to sell on. Beats blowing ’em up I suppose.
I took some WIP shots of the process of making the Seaduck because it was a bit of a faff and involved a bit more cutting and filing and greenstuffing than I had originally imagined. Not complaining, I love it really.
So I started out with a Fairchild C-119 Packet from Scotia Grendel. I got 2 of them so I could use one for the Seaduck and add the other one to my WW2 planes collection. But then there was a problem. The C-119 isn’t a Packet at all (that’s a C-82) but a post-war era Flying Boxcar! The C-119 also saw some success in Vietnam as a ground support gunship. But obviously I couldn’t have that (I could, let’s be real here it would’ve been fine and I know, I can have a fictional Disney Seaduck in my WW2 planes but not a 1947 version of a late war obscurity?) but I wanted the proper 1945 WW2 era Fairchild C-82 Packet. So I got to work retrofitting the Flying Boxcar back to the earlier model.
The C-82 had the cockpit up high and further back. So that meant a lot of filing and a good bit of greenstuff remodelling on the front end. The nose is a bit on the long side I think but it’s close enough.
Until here we have it at last. A proper crap-like-it-used-to-be Fairchild C-82 Packet.
The Fairchild C-82 Packet was a late war cargo and troop transport rushed into production in 1945 in anticipation of the airlift requirements for the invasion of Japan. In the end only a handful were built and in service when the surrender of Japan was achieved making them a little surplus to requirements. They were also used for paratroop training and as glider tugs and had various civilian cargo and transport operators.
But as expected with a big airframe rushed into production in wartime conditions the old Packet had plenty of problems including poor forward visibility from the cockpit, underpowered engines which when fully loaded could not maintain a level flight if one engine failed, as well as numerable deficiencies in the air frame all of which was addressed in the C-119 redesign which ultimately produced a much more effective aircraft.
So confusion from SG aside the C-119 was none the less a perfectly suitable airframe to form the basis for my Seaduck.
So first off I got the saw out and chopped the wings off the engine nacelles and mounted them a little lower down.
I also began a seemingly endless task of filing the front of the fuselage down to something resembling the right shape and size.
Once the wings were back on and the whole lots secured and smoothed out with plenty of greenstuff I got to work on the underside. That required a full flying boat hull modification and more greenstuff on wire armatures for floats under the wings.
Then finally it was a greenstuff job on the top side, all around the cockpit and the wide flat nose with big headlights (really Disney?) and a rope point too.
Then the tail got the same treatment as the C-82 though really it should’ve had a more rounded tail fin but I was losing the plot by now and just decided enough was enough. It was time to slap a big yellow paint job on it.
So there it is. Pretty happy with the end result on both of these although the Seaduck is maybe a bit bigger than a 1:300 scale Seaduck should be. Doesn’t matter though it’s not like I’m about to start modelling a little Don Karnage and the Sky Pirates to match… Unless…
Awesome stuff. I really like your nice clean blue surface and great little acrylic explosion counters and motion marking pipecleaners. It all contributes to a very visually appealing game.
Great work on the history too. Really bringing the Pacific theatre to life in a tiny way.11/09/2019 at 08:32 in reply to: Pierre Le Gloan: The Frenchman who was a double Ace! #121856
Not really Zip. Those are from last year’s French round-up.10/09/2019 at 21:33 in reply to: Pierre Le Gloan: The Frenchman who was a double Ace! #121841
Hi folks, thanks for visiting the gallery again. This time around I’ve been looking at anything that floats. That’s right folks Float Planes and Flying Boats are the order of the day. And since I’ve gathered up quite a collection I’m breaking them up starting with all the Allies this time. And the Axis ones will follow next time. So on with the show.
Short Sunderland DD867 2-G, of No. 423 Squadron RCAF.
Always important to cheer on the home team, and what could be better than this Northern Irish local legend. Built in Belfast and based at Castle Archdale, County Fermanagh. The Short Sunderland had to be the one to kick things off this time around.
The good Canadian lads of No. 423 would fly these big four engined patrol boats out of Lough Erne on long-range patrol/reconnaissance and submarine hunting missions over the Atlantic. For such a task it could be equipped equipped with bombs, aerial mines or depth charges and toted up to sixteen defensive machine guns, which earned it the nickname Das Fliegendes Stachelschwein (“The Flying Porcupine”). Very catchy.
Sunderlands flew with many other allied air forces across the world and played an important part in the Mediterranean theatre in the evacuation of Crete and the reconnaissance of the Italian fleet at Taranto.
And of course the Canadians provided more than manpower to the air war.
The Noorduyn Norseman was a Canadian-built bush plane. Designed to be fitted with floats, skis or wheels it was a versatile little utility craft.
The RCAF used them for radio and navigational training as part of the Commonwealth Air Training Programme as well as for general utility and patrol in the remote and arctic conditions the Norseman was designed for. Orders were also furnished for the RAF and the USAAF and the Norseman saw service anywhere that a rugged and dependable bush plane was needed from Alaska to the UK.
It was aboard one such UK based Norseman (though not one equipped with floats) that Major Glenn Miller, director of the famous United States Army Air Forces Band disappeared crossing the English Channel. He was on his way to Paris to prepare for a big Christmas show. It is suspected that an iced up carburettor may have caused the crash. TIGHAR (The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery) have taken an interest in the incident and have been investigating the case since January 2019.
And here’s both along with the RAF Walrus being the only other commonwealth flying boat in my collection. Nice bit of variety there.
On to the Americans then.
Vought OS2U Kingfisher
The US Navy’s own modest little observation floatplane the Kingfisher could be catapult launched from a battleship or cruiser and used to spot for naval gunnery or to rescue men in the water. It wasn’t fast and it wasn’t well armed making it easy prey for any opportunistic Japanese fighter that happened upon one. Nevertheless Kingfisher pilots and radio men put it all on the line to get the job done.
One such pilot was Lt. John Burns of the Observation Squadron (VO) 6 from the battleship North Carolina (BB 55) who together with his Radioman Aubrey J. Gill was flying in support of an American air raid on the Japanese port on the Island of Truk, 1st May 1944. Reports of downed airmen in the bay saw them dare a rescue under fire while the attack continued overhead.
As more American airmen splashed down the little Kingfisher taxied around the bay from life raft to life raft eventually collecting up seven stranded men. With the aircraft heavily overloaded and the men carefully balanced along the wings they were struggling to remain afloat never mind any hope of getting airborne.
None the less Burns resolved to taxi the craft out of the bay and into deeper waters where after a pretty hairy five hour wait with the waves beating the little plane apart all nine men were picked up by the American Submarine Tang . With the rescued Zoomies safely below deck the Tang’s gunners sank the Kingfisher (they couldn’t leave it for the enemy to recover) before the Tang continued her patrol.
Grumman J2F Duck
One of the unsung heroes of the American war effort. Maybe not as modern, fast or glamorous as some of the other planes in the US Armed forces inventory but Grumman’s old single engine amphibious bi-plane was the definitive utility plane.
It first flew in the early 30s but by the time The War was on it was a mainstay workhorse of the US Navy, Marine Corps and Coast guard, with dedicated versions produced for each. It could do mapping and Photo reconnaissance, scouting and observation, anti-submarine patrol and Air Sea Rescue. Ducks transported the wounded and the VIPs alike, towed targets and dropped bombs and depth charges.
As Grumman switched production to other more important projects the old Ducks muddled through in service all throughout the war and beyond all over the world and in as many different roles as could be found. Some remained airborne as late as the mid 50s.
Martin PBM Mariner
An often overlooked hero of the Pacific this big bruiser of a Patrol Bomber became one of the most commonly used flying boats of the US Navy. The Mariner had a much bigger capacity and a longer operational range than the (more glamorous and more celebrated) PBY Catalina which it replaced squadron by squadron as soon as numbers could be built.
Trouble was, and it seems obvious looking at this thing, that it was a four-engine sized airframe with only two engines albeit two massive Wright R-2600 radials. Successive versions were upgraded and up-powered time and again but often additional radar and landing gear would offset the improvements leaving them woefully underpowered and accident prone.
Fully laden and fully fuelled for a 2,000 mile maritime patrol these ungainly whales required a huge length of water to get their hulls into the air. So much so that later versions would require rocket or jet assisted take off.
Conwing L-16 Seaduck
The once iconic Conwing L-16 was, by 1938 a bit long in the tooth but some veteran pilots still swore by them and maintained these highly versatile cargo and transport seaplanes despite the appearance of faster and more specialised aircraft on the market.
The Seaduck was owned by a commercial freight company called “Higher for Hire” operating out of Cape Suzette on the coast of Usland. Her veteran pilot Baloo the Bear (call-sign Papa Bear) and navigator, a young former pirate called Kit Cloudkicker operated a particularly hazardous route often at risk of air pirates and raiders. But the trusty old Seaduck was a rugged and capable machine that never let them down.
Never quite sure where to put a French aircraft when it’s an Allies/Axis split so seeing as I’ve got two floating Frenchies I’m throwing one in here and the other in with the Axis later.
The Latécoère 298 was designed for the French Navy for maritime patrol and torpedoing German Submarines. In the early months of the war, the Phoney War they did plenty of patrolling but didn’t manage to sink anything.
It wasn’t until May 1940 when equipped for dive bombing against the invading armoured columns that the Navy’s Laté 298’s had much more success. In fact their losses on such missions were fewer than those of French squadrons equipped with other types.
The Laté 298 was one of France’s more successful designs. Weather captured by the Luftwaffe, flying under Vichy colours or defecting to the Allies in North Africa thy were a welcome addition to any squadron they equipped.
So that’s the Allies new additions. Adding to my old Supermarine Walruss and Consolidated PBY Catalina (still a firm favourite) it’s a fairly wide overview of some of the water-based machines in use by the Allies throughout the war.
And of course the Seaduck is really from the Disney Saturday morning cartoon Talespin! But you all knew that, right?
Well DSG I’ve been crunching the numbers on the hex grid conversion and with the rules I’m playing you’d be surprised how little it changes the game dynamics.
This will allow a plane a turning circle as shown assuming they have the movement points to spend.
You might note that as I allow a plane to turn as a first point and potentially as a last movement point it will in theory be possible for a plane to end its turn with a last movement of a turn inside a hex to change the facing and then in the subsequent turn it may also begin with another turn effectively getting two changes of facing in the one hex. It happens, I don’t care to try to prevent it or keep track with any additional rules. It’s fine. The enemy will always have a turn in between and they’ll be subject to the same rules.
Otherwise the movement rules are much the same. Planes must move their full movement rolled. They may attack ahead even if they have not the movement to enter the hex of their target. If destroyed the target is removed and they remain in the hex they fired from.
I have also restricted movement for damaged aircraft with a -1 modifier. Any aircraft movement reduced to below 1 is still a 1. (Eg a damaged Me 110 rolling a 1 still gets 1 movement)
I have also removed the requirement to move before firing. Any aircraft beginning its turn with an enemy immediately in front of it is allowed to fire. In fact any time an aircraft enters any hex where an enemy can fire upon it I will allow the attack to go ahead. So if a fighter passes obliquely in front of an enemy aircraft even though the fighter has not fired upon the enemy yet (like if enemy was not in front) the enemy is given the opportunity to fire upon them by their poor choice of movement directly into his sights.
This applies to all bomber front and rear arcs also. All this business about stopping to fire, forget it. We’re all flying at speeds in excess of 300mph. Nobody is stopping up there unless they’re falling out of the sky.
So now let’s look at the original rules considering the turning circles of two fighters in combat on a squared grid. Assuming they have D6+2. So a maximum movement of 8 if they roll a 6.
Here the Me 109 has ended its turn on the tail of the Spitfire and has failed to destroy it. The spitfire rolls a 6 and so has maximum opportunity to turn the tables on that pesky Hun.
But look, even with a full movement of 8 turning as tightly as he can he can’t do a full turn to bring his sights to bear.
And now see on a hex grid
Same again. So regardless which you use they operate much the same way.
Thought there are some specific examples I want to show of movement in each type of grid that are different.
Firstly in the full circle turn above you’ll note that there is a hex in the centre of the turn. Were the 109 attacking from this hex it would be a deflection shot that has just missed allowing the spitfire to try to turn on him. But if the enemy is inside his turn the spitfire cannot get him. On a square grid an enemy in a rear diagonal or adjacent square following a failed deflection shot could be reached if you rolled enough movement. The risks presented by failing that shot on either grid are different.
Then look at this example on a square grid.
So the Yak3 wants to attack the Finnish 109 but he’s offset by one row. So it’s not a straight run to the target he can get right up to it but he doesn’t have that one extra movement point for the 2 point diagonal attack. All he can do is use his last point to pass the target. Or if he turns in front he uses too many points and ends his turn short of the target. Frustrating!
But then with a hex grid or more specifically the way I’m using movement points.
You can go the full distance and spend that last point turning your facing to attack. You could alter your rules on a square grid to allow an aircraft to turn on a square to the diagonal for a point or 90 degrees for 2 for the same effect. Then you can spend movement points more freely on forward moves or turns rather than in a 1, 2 or 3 system where if I don’t have the points I can’t enter or even turn toward the square I want.
Then there’s this issue.
It’s just too confusing trying not to make a mistake which square is a 45 degree turn for 2 or a 90 degree turn for 3 when the shape changes as you change directions. On a hex grid it’s all the same, you’re always facing a flat side and never a corner.
Then finally there’s something to be said for the fact that an airplane has to move forward to stay up. That only the three hexes in front can be moved into speaks to my understanding of how an aircraft moves. I don’t like the direct perpendicular move. The three-three tight turn of the square system feels too tight a turn, though maybe it’s just a scale thing. At 1:300 it looks like they shouldn’t be able to turn so tight as a 3-3, but at the tiny scales most of you guys use it’s maybe not a problem. But I like the idea that it is possible to be inside a fighters turning circle.
So there you have it. Most of that is based on a full movement so the lower you roll the less it matters.
Sorry I’ve waffled on so long. But hopefully that’s given you a clearer idea of how the hex grid changes things, or doesn’t really.
I’ll get back to the campaign soon I hope.
The 109 just shot down two hurricanes on the hop in one turn. So I wrote it up using a little creative licence. Same with the last Ju87 and Me 110 knocked out of the sky by Tommy last game. Just trying to tell the story of the game in a believable way.
We’re up to game 6 and the boy hasn’t given up on me yet.
Raid Number Two
Primary Target- Naval Yard (Orange paper)
Secondary Target – Factory
Order of Battle
GB1 (already eliminated)
GB5 x3 He 111
GF5 x2 Me 109
GF6 x2 Me 109
BF 1 x3 Hurricane (miniatures are actually a Gloster Gladiator leading a pair of P-40s, the boy picked them. But you know, I’m glad he did because thing to keep track of 6 almost identical Hurricanes post battle would have been a nightmare)
BF4 x3 Hurricane (A Russian Hurricane leading some proper RAF Hurricanes)
German- Scattered Cloud- six “clouds” are placed on the board by the raider. (Try to be reasonable and scatter them about) each cloud is an irregular shape made up of seven hexes. Each turn the cloud moves one hex in a random direction. I roll a scatter dice to determine the direction of each cloud in turn.) An aircraft in a cloud cannot be fired upon or see to fire upon another aircraft.
British – WRNS +1 to Naval Yard
Now on with the battle.
~~~~Aller Anfang ist schwer~~~~
It was Leutnant Werner Maier’s first operational mission with Jagdgeschwader 53, in a forward combat zone. He had been assigned to 3 Gruppe positioned on the tail of Hauptmann Fuchs. His job to guard the Hauptmann as he hunted.
Well, Werner reminded himself they were meant to be escorting the bombers; a gaggle of lumbering geese droning away among the low clouds over the English Channel below, but his more senior officers as ever had ideas of their own. They were hunting Spitfires.
“Today is my day, Fuchs. A great day, I can feel it in my bones.” The high nasal voice of Major Herman Hofmann lost none of its edge over the radio.
“You praise the day too soon, Major.” Laughed Hauptmann Fuchs “I praise it only when you buy the beers at sunset.”
Werner laughed, allowing the light camaraderie of the more experienced men to stave off a little of his terror. He was determined to make a good first impression on the Hauptmann. He would remember his training, he would stay on the Hauptmann’s wing and they would not be bested.
“Enemy fighters closing ahead.”
It was The Major’s wingman, Oberleutnant Max Fogel. The eagle-eyed junior was at least half of the equation that made up the Major’s victory count.
Werner panicked, already out of formation and alone among the clouds he scanned frantically below.
A flash of red, and a bomber emerged from the clouds already aflame. A pair of RAF Hurricanes in tight formation came roaring over the top of their vanquished foe. Werner, relieved to have a target in sight fell upon the rearmost fighter with cannon and machine guns blazing.
“Zwei!” he yelled in astonishment as much as in victory, “I got two of them!”
“Where are you boy!?” The Hauptmann was evidently a hard man to impress, “You are wanted on my wing. Am I hunting alone?”
Indeed he was. Werner glimpsed through a break in the clouds a Bf 109 with the Hauptmann’s distinctive white wing tips.
It harried and harassed another RAF fighter which twisted and dodged as best it could. It had taken some punishment already but the Hurricane’s rugged airframe was still holding its own.
As Werner tilted his wing over to rejoin his wingman a flurry of tracer fire arced around his aircraft. An enemy fighter on his tail. He watched helpless as the Hauptmann crossed his path heading in the opposite direction still pursuing his prey. Werner groaned, if he was to rejoin the Hauptmann’s wing he would first have to lose his new friend.
Major Hoffman and his wingman had also become separated.
Fogel, coming to blows with one of the Hurricane squadron leaders had been forced to dive away a little worse off for the encounter but his adversary had been left far behind the escaping bombers.
Emerging into the open sky now a big Heinkel made a tempting target for one of the embattled Hurricanes. It banked in hard behind the bomber with Fuchs in hot pursuit. Fogel too had seen it and was also moving to intercept but his exhausts were belching a thick black fume and though he dived in perfect position to strike he was underpowered and the Hauptmann swooped in front.
The beleaguered Hurricane managed a determined burst of fire into the Heinkel’s right engine before the hunting Mescherschmitt closed in and finished him off.
“Trying to steal my kill, Oberleutnant?” He scolded, “had you kept your machine in better shape you might have succeeded.”
Fogel did not respond. Instead, stealing a glance around behind he caught a glimpse of the offending Hurricane, eight o’clock high trying to sneak across their flank in the clouds. The Major was in good company with the Hauptmann at his tail and Fogel wounded, but still in the fight, wanted revenge. He climbed into the clouds hoping to catch the Englisher at his own game.
But the man in the clouds was a veteran Pole and he had the German well scouted. As the fickle clouds broke the jig was up and Fogel’s Bf 109 was engulfed in a torrent of machine gun fire. He fell in ruin.
The stricken bomber laboured on trailing occasional gouts of oily smoke. Werner had succeeded in shaking his adversary, or rather the Englishman had chased him away from the fight. Suddenly the Hurricane rolled and turned toward the now straggling bomber. But Major Hoffman now was positioned to strike.
Seeing his danger the Englishman turned into the fight and came full at the Major face to face.
In a flash of gunfire and debris they clashed neither plane coming away unscathed. Even as Werner returning to the fray closed the distance on them Hauptmann Fuchs came thundering in from above.
His eager attack however was mistimed and Werner had the better shot.
He took it. His 20mm cannon made short work of the Hurricanes tail which was shredded to splinters and tatters and flame.
But suddenly the Polish man fell upon them. Singling out the Staffelkapitän in the yellow-nosed machine.
He drove the Bf 109 on to the death
before turning in pursuit of the straggling bomber.
“He’s going for the bombers!” Hauptmann Fuchs was turning hard but he was in a poor position to give chase, “after him Werner! Take the lead!”
The race was on. The last hurricane beat a breakneck pursuit pushing his machine to its limits following the smoking trail through the clouds. Werner was off. He opened up the throttle and his V12 engine roared.
He checked his instruments, oil temperature was good, fuel was sufficient, ammo count was high he was closing into range on the tail of a slower, heavier and frankly inferior enemy aircraft which was growing steadily in his sights. Everything was lining up perfectly.
Werner hit the trigger but closing at such speed he had a fraction of a second in optimal range. His machines guns found their mark but the slower firing rate of the 20mm canon, the real punch of his attack meant that maybe only a single round had been placed on target. He overshot the Hurricane wildly leaving it rattled but still airborne.
Even in the cold air of the cockpit Werner could feel his face flush red. “I’m sorry Hauptmann. I used too much speed.”
“You did well Leutnant,” the Hauptmann encouraged, “and tomorrow you will do better.”
“Better than three? And two flies with one swat. I doubt it very much. That is already much better than I expected for a first day.”
“You had a pig. Nothing more. Every beginning is hard. Remember that Leutnant.”
“Come, Werner,” the Hauptmann took the lead again climbing high above the bombers. “We can’t help them now. Now we get above the flack and watch for their returning.”
So that was raid number two. A bit of a disaster for the RAF as they lost two full hurricane squadrons and only managed to down a single bomber. Just as well there were only three bombers to begin with. The remaining two Heinkels scored poorly on the bombing run and as a result the Naval Yard remains at about half strength.
Thanks in part to the ladies of the WRNS who presumably laugh in the face of German bombers rolling snake eyes to damage. So not a great strategic victory for the Germans.
Though they preserved their bombers well enough they did so at the cost of one of their 109 squadrons who won’t now be around for escorting duties in the future.
Perhaps more effective in protecting the bombers was the scattered cloud cover. With two bombers in the clouds at the point of first contact, the closing Hurricanes had to focus on the one exposed bomber which they downed but being bunched up they were the more vulnerable to attack and paid the price when Werner bounced them. Later on in the game the last bomber had a cloud to hide in which might have made all the difference had the chasing Hurricane been able to close the distance.
The card may have been a bonus for the German bombers but ze Germans didn’t have it all their own way. We also had a moment of particular cloudy trickery when two fighters were hiding in the same cloud. The cloud then scattered one hex to the left and exposed both fighters to the Hurricane’s benefit and the 109’s demise.
Many thanks to Warwell for the inspiration of using clouds in games. You may not have been the first but I saw you do it first.
So that was raid number two. What a raging hairball of dogfight! Really tricky to pin down the series of events in order. In the end though it raised the profiles of a couple of German fighters to look out for in future raids.
No doubt we’ll see Hauptmann Fuchs and Leutnant Werner Maier in future missions.
Thanks everyone. Glad my mad notions aren’t just a lot of nonsense. I’ve been pretty excited about this little project myself so it’s good to have some shared enthusiasm.
I’m playing these games with my 8 year old son. He’s happy to accept that his brave lads might get their Spitfires and Hurricanes shot out from under them on occasion and he seems to roll pretty well on survival. Which is all to say I haven’t had to fudge the results in his favour.
We were out at the Portrush Airwaves Air show at the weekend there and he got to sit in a Spitfire (I got a picture of him in a leather flying hat doing his little salute, very cute) It was great to help give him a sense of the real thing and I’m chuffed that he’s excited to keep on playing.
We’ve played 3 games already and I’m writing up the second one hoping to get the report posted soon. It’s going to be an altogether different affair this next time around.
Raid Number One.
Primary Target- Infrastructure (Bridge)
Secondary Target – Population (Uncarved block of balsa)
Now on with the Battle
~~~~Battle Before Breakfast~~~~
“I see them, lads. Keep in close we’re nearly on them.”
Acting Flight Lieutenant Gerald Tomlin pushed his Hurricane as hard as she’d fly, climbing for a smattering of black specs in the sky ahead.
“I’m with you, Tommy.”
“Copy flight leader, I see them.”
Tommy looked back over his shoulder. His wingmen were badly out of formation and lagging behind. He could see Arthur’s plane quite far down below some way off just hanging on its propellor.
“Bring it in lads, keep it tight!” He ordered, easing off the throttle a little. He’d not been too keen on formation flying back in France but now that Tommy was the flight leader he felt he ought to maybe act the part, or read the lines at the very least.
“Come on gents, tally Ho!”
“So you gents can just follow my lead.”
Tommy scoffed and rolled his eyes, watching the lead spitfire break off from the flight and dive toward the fast approaching bomber formation. Typical Spitfire jock.
“On my lead, lads.” Tommy prepared for his attack run. “We’ll hit that left bomber right in the greenhouse.”
“Copy that Flight leader.”
Tommy raced as the familiar silhouette of a Heinkel 111 grew in his targeting reticle. Suddenly the diving Spitfire was upon them, taring past the lead bomber at an oblique angle, a reckless deflection shot scoring a few messy hits on but the leader carried on straight and level.
The Spitfire banked hard and pulled around behind the formation now. He was a decent pilot, if a lousy shot.
He made a determined effort at the rearmost bomber on the left coming in from behind and whipped back out over the top just as Tommy closed in for the kill.
In a split second it was over. Tommy saw a pale German face, a muzzle flash and a few broken windows but by the time he’d passed all was smoke and the Heinkel was dropping out of formation. It wasn’t at all clear who’d made the kill.
His wingman Michael Addington, a young lad, a local boy had followed him through.
“Nice shooting, Tommy.”
“Never mind that, lad just bring it back around.”
The pair of Hurricanes banked around hard trying to come back on the tail of remaining two bombers. Tommy’s Hurricane was rattling with the effort. He gritted his teeth. He’d not be outflown by any Spitfire. Suddenly he caught a flash of something, two enemy aircraft diving in. He’d taken them for more bombers, twin engine, Dornier’s maybe but no.
“Mike, look out!”
A pair of big Mescherschmitt 110 fighter bombers had been waiting to pounce. Tommy jinked and avoided the worst of it but Michael was focused on the Heinkel up ahead. His hurricane exploded in a ball of fire before he even knew his danger.
In that moment Arthur the lagging Hurricane, came roaring in on his own attack run. He came rolling up over the top of one of the Heinkels and right into the sights of the same fighter bomber that had just hit Mike. A moment of fire and furry and both planes were all smoke and oil. Arthur’s hurricane dropped out of sight and Tommy gunned his engine hot on the tail of another bomber with an Me 110 close behind, and those damned hot-shot Spitfires where nowhere to be seen.
“A little help chaps if you can spare a man.”
The Spitfire leader was breaking away off to his left. Tommy’s eyes followed his heading to find a tangle of smoke trails in a veritable hornets nest of activity over there. One fighter had already fallen in flames, he couldn’t tell which.
And a pair of the German bombers, both Stukas were labouring on clearly damaged. One of the Spitfires was on the tail of the lead dive bomber headless of the gunner’s defensive fire but a pair of Me 109’s scared him off.
“Get out of there Charley, bring him around and I’ll see him off.”
The Me 110 in Tommy’s rear view was still giving chase and the one that Arthur had damaged was struggling to keep up, the right engine dead and propellor feathering in the wind.
Approaching the last Heinkel a little too quick for comfort Tommy snapped off a short burst all along the left side before he overshot his target.
Pulling back around in a climbing arc he stole a glance over his shoulder. The bomber wasn’t showing any obvious signs of fire or smoke but it was slipping into a shallow dive. He didn’t have time to follow it down, instead, the last Hurricane on patrol followed the Spirfire leader up into the fray above.
“Sorry to crash the Stuka party gents but we’re all out of Heinkels down there.” Tommy expected a little back-chat from the Spitfire boys but they were having a bad time of it with the German fighter escort. The Lead Spitfire only managed a deflection hit against the last undamaged Stuka before a yellow nosed 109 chased him off.
“Spitfire, you’ve company!” was all Tommy could manage to say in time but the spitfire pilot again demonstrated his skill behind a stick and made a snap turn away.
Suddenly in a split second of motion and noise two fighters went head-to-head guns blazing over on Tommy’s right. There was a brief cloud of debris and oil smoke where the two had clashed.
One of the fighters came out just ahead of Tommy’s climbing Hurricane. He caught a glimpse of the squared wing tip of a 109 and instinct took over. The man must have been watching below for the Spitfire he’d just clashed with, Tommy didn’t waste time to look as he dropped in on the raider’s six and let the 303’s do the rest.
A big blue cloud of diesel smoke signalled another victory and he let the Mescherschmitt fall.
“Leave some for the rest of us, eh?” It was the voice of that cocky Spitfire pilot again. “Looks like it’s just you and me, old boy. I’ll keep this one busy, you have a pop at those dive bombers.”
Tommy scanned around quickly. The man was right. He counted three smoking Stukas and the 109 that was keeping the spitfire busy. He knew those 110s were still up here somewhere too. Not waiting around to find out where he dived on one of the ailing Stukas.
A quick blast into the canopy and the thing bucked and tumbled. He pulled back up into a climbing loop and surveyed the sky.
The Spitfire had shaken his tail and had another go at one of the two Stukas. Both were trailing blue smoke.
“It hasn’t been my day, old boy.” The Spitfire pilot was a posh lad but he seemed to know his way around a fight. “But I’m going for the leader.”
“Copy that, Spitfire. I’ll try to keep up.” Tommy loaded the reply with plenty of sarcasm hoping the radio static wouldn’t drown it out completely. He let his Hurricane turn lazily hanging back to allow the other hapless dive bomber to drop into position.
“That’s got him!” Came the Spitfire jocks excited report, “my luck’s changing after all.”
Tommy didn’t reply, he was crawling dangerously slowly willing the last German bomber forward just a little quicker.
“Eyes behind Hurricane leader, that yellow nosed bastard is gunning or you.”
“Well see’im off, lad!”
Tommy kept on target for the last Stuka, expecting a trickle of defensive fire that never came.
“He’s off, old boy.” The other man reported, “Take your time and get in close.”
“Much obliged.” Tommy replied in mock upper-class tones. He did get in close, right up close. Nothing from the smoking Stuka, not even an evasive jink or a turn. The men inside were likely either dead or barely clinging on. It was the easiest shot of his life, or would have been had his ammunition not run out after the briefest flurry of rounds. Still it seemed it was enough. The enemy plane dipped and rolled belly up as he passed overhead.
“That’s the last…”
Tommy’s report was cut short at the sudden reappearance of the Me 110 diving right across his path. The thing was surprisingly big up so close and there seemed nowhere to go. He slammed the stick forward in an effort to make a last ditch evasion. There was a loud bang but he emerged from the shadow of the raider intact.
The same could not be said of the fighter-bomber.
A rear stabiliser fin had been shorn away by the impact and the left side of the aircraft’s tail hung in tatters as the pilot lost control. A man emerged from the rear of the cockpit and dropped over the side, followed by another from the front. Two parachutes opened as the aircraft spun down and down.
“By ‘eck that were close.” Tommy sighed.
“They’ve had it,” the Spitfire pilot reported, “The blighter’s turned tail and dived off.”
“I say, good show old boy.”
“Aye.” Tommy was exhausted. “You can’t do that in a Spitfire.” The Hurricane had a rugged and heavy airframe.
“I make that two for me and five for you!”
“Not that there’s a Gerry alive that’ll admit it were an Hurricane what did for him.”
“I’ll go on the record. Flight Lieutenant Harrington “Harry” if you like.”
“Pleased to meet you. Names Gerald Tomlin. 366 Squadron out of Kenley. Call me Tommy.”
“No, me Mam won’t ‘ave it.”
“Ace in a day, Tommy. I’m sending the Press down to Kenley.”
Ace in a day… He could hardly believe it himself. “Oh, no. No thanks. I’ll settle for a pint, I reckon.”
Tommy let out a breath he’d not known he was holding. He checked his instruments and pointed the nose on his own homeward vector. It was definitely time for breakfast.
And that’s it for the first mission. Heavy losses on both sides. A squadron of He 111 and another of Stukas both completely destroyed. And both fighter squadrons reduced to one aircraft each. The last 109 escorting a limping 110 back to France.
The Brits paid the price for their victory though with two Spitfires lost, one apiece to the Me 109 pilots, and two Hurricanes lost, again one apiece to the Me 110s. Only one of the British pilots didn’t make his survival role. Mike’s Hurricane exploding into flames in the air. I do survival roles on occasion mostly for the story. It doesn’t affect the squadrons, a plane lost is lost regardless of the pilot’s survival. (Unless I decide to make changes as I go along)
I was surprised how text-book it went. The spitfires for the most part took on the fighters and left the Hurricanes to go after the bombers. The German fighters didn’t leave the bombers to chase after their own prey and did a reasonable job of defending them for a while. In the end it was a battle of attrition and the bombers just couldn’t hang on.
Defensive fire from the bombers didn’t make much of an impact this round. And of course no bombers made it to the target so old Blighty is safe for now.
And lastly of course we have an ace on our hands already!
Gerald “Tommy” Tomlin receives his Distinguished Flying Cross and now re-rolls his attack dice and gets a plus one modifier when someone shoots at him. (6 is always a hit though)
And “What Ho, jolly good. We’ll give this man a pat on the back too.
Flight Lieutenant “Harry” Harrington might have claimed a full kill for his clearly shared bomber victory early on but given that he was sharing it with a man who had a full five more to spare I figured I’d give it to him. He had rotten luck on his rolls to hit but consistently rolled high on movement. A nifty pilot but not so hot on the trigger. I look forward to following the careers of both, now lone pilots as we go along through the missions.
Their surviving German counterparts each claimed a victory to their scores. Their names in my notes are Helmut in the 110 and Franz in the 109. They’ll no doubt be back to avenge their fallen squadron mates soon.
We drew some Strategy Cards at the opening of the game. The British had the Royal Engineers bomb disposal squad standing by but they weren’t needed in the end. The card is retained for the future.
On the other side of things the Germans got a “Loose Lips sink Ships” card. So thanks to some blabber-mouth German U-boats stopped a major convoy in the Atlantic and the Royal Navy are feeling the first effects of the week’s action. 1 point off the starting line to victory by crippling the country’s Naval Supply.
Very cool. Nice to see those big planes get some table time. Looks good for a con game too. Maybe a little long of a game though.
Thanks for showing us the game. Looks like it was a great night.
Thanks everyone. Good to get so much enthusiastic support.
I’m quickly going to talk about my Targets and Strategies system.
It’s a bit complicated, hopefully not overly complicated.
I might need to draw it up as a table. So I’ll give each target a code just so the text lines up.
NY – Naval Yard
CP- Civilian Population
RT- Radar Towers
Fc – Factory
In – Infrastructure
There are three Strategies by which the Germans can win.
A- Destroy the Air Defence and gain Air Superiority
N- Focus efforts on hampering the Naval supply to Britain
M- erode National Morale by bombing the populace into submission.
The table looks like this.
…..A N M
AF- 3 0 0
NY- 0 3 0
CP- 0 0 3
RT- 2 1 0
In – 0 2 1
Fc – 1 0 2
These are the values I have assigned to each target. So say you want to reduce the Air defence to 0 you’d have to destroy Air Fields, Radar Towers and Factories. (And hope the British strategy cards don’t bring them back from the brink.) there is a chance for German strategy cards to reduce the overall scores by one though so they may not need to knock out that last target after all.
Hopefully you can read those ok. It should give you and idea of some of the elements I’m pulling into the story. Auxiliary and voluntary services giving a boost to the various targets’ by restoring a point of damage, or in game bonuses like weather conditions or an extra plane or two.
I’m looking forward to seeing if these strategies and targets and points and cards add up to a balanced system or not.
Exactly right Thomaston.
Warwell, sorry to Hijack the thread. I’ll get a bit of prep-work done on my plans and start my own thread when it’s ready.
One thing though, I’m doing this 1:300 scale (shock horror!) I’m sorry, I’ll not be joining the tiny planes club. I’m just using what I’ve got. I can see the benefit of down-scaling though, it’s a big table.
Movement is 1 point to the hex directly in front. One point to change your facing (toward the front left or front right hex only) this allows for a plane to spend points in either a move forward or turn allowing a chance to get onto the tail of an enemy and line up the shot.
The only issue with changing to a hex map is that straight lines go in three directions so you have to line up the bombing run in the deployment to be a direct line edge to edge
everything else seems to translate fairly sensibly. My only concern is how many hexes end to end should the board be? I might have given my bombers too long of a run on my first play test.
Hi Warwell, hi Just Jack
been reading through these bat reps and it’s very interesting stuff. So thanks for all the time and effort you’ve put into outing them together. I had a go at a game myself, using those same Battle of Britain rules, I too added a damage roll, and I also had to adapt the rules for a hex map but overall it was a great little game and it got me thinking. I’m planning to add my own expansion version. While JJ does big raids and WW does small ones I wanted to try and apply some of the wider strategic elements.
My plan is to double the number of targets and divide the damage points on each by two. The Germans can win either by destroying the Air defence, bombing the populace into submission or starving them by hampering the Naval supply effort.
I’m planning on making a small deck of strategy cards for each side to draw a card before each raid representing a bonus based on some of the historical strategies that were in play. In the end I’m hoping that the overall game narrative will be enriched and will tell a bit more of the wider effort on the ground rather than just the air war you’re playing.
that’s a really nice painting. I love how it catches the landing gear almost up as they’re scrambling.
Here’s my Battle Of Britain image.
I’d also note there’s a great podcast series on the Battle of Britain from Binge Thinking History Podcast- it has a daily bulletin for each day durring the summer of 1940. It really brought the whole history of it home to me in a big way. Highly recommend giving that series a listen. It begins with exactly that quote from Churchill.
Many thanks gents. Glad to have made you all smile. the tiny 6mm HRH is one of my favourites too.
Not sure if I’ll ever use any of these in a game. As mission objectives or bonus counters or something. Lots of scope there to get creative with scenarios I suppose.
most likely in aircraft ground attack games though as I don’t own a single 6mm tank, only about a hundred planes to choose from.
Many thanks, you’re all Very kind. Really glad you’re enjoying my work and I’m not just a crazy guy producing useless gaming pieces.
Anyway… So that was the Red Cross. But what about the regular Army Medical corps? What about all the other combat support arms, engineers, signals, transport? What about the myriad auxiliary forces and volunteer organisations that made up a vast part of the mobilised population? Well I’m glad you asked because here we go again.
Persons marked with the Red Cross, just like vehicles were not permitted to carry weapons or actively engage the enemy. Army combat medics were in the thick of the fitting alongside their fellow infantrymen but they faced the indiscriminate shells and machine gun fire unarmed. There was a convention against targeting them but it wasn’t always adhered to.
Assuming they survived, their task was to tend to the wounded and try to stabilise anyone who had a chance of survival before stretcher teams would carry them off the battlefield, either to a triage area or to an ambulance that would get them to a hospital for proper treatment.
But it wasn’t all combat medics, stretcher teams and ambulance drivers. As well as the Medical Corps there was also the Dental Corps, Veterinary Corps, Sanitary Corps, Pharmacy Corps, Medical Administrative Corps, and Army Nurse Corps. Plenty of scope for the conscientious objector to roll up his sleeves and get stuck into.
The GMC 6×6 was a highly versatile truck adapted for all kinds of uses by mobilised specialist corps. This GMC is based on an army medical optical repair truck. Many such box conversions served all over as mobile medical surgeries for optical repair, dentistry, blood units and even mobile X-Ray units.
These rolling specialist medical services travelled in the rear echelon of the advancing armies saving lives and easing suffering wherever they were needed.
This airborne division jeep ambulance is carrying wounded men to safety but although there were Army Medical combat medics attached to the Airborne division the fella riding shotgun isn’t a medic. There was another kind of support amongst them who I wanted to shine a light on. I tried to give his (pin head small) helmet a white cross to mark him out as a chaplain, sometimes called a padre.
These guys took their ministry on tour with the troops. Often tending to the wounded, conducting funerals and other religious meetings and generally keeping up morale. But it wasn’t all “more tea vicar” while the lads were out in the muck. Regimental Padres jumped in with the airborne troops and saw their boys through hell and back. They were a beacon of faith and hope in a time when it must have seemed like the whole world was lost in madness.
Infrastructure demolished by years of warfare? Need to get 25 troopers, an artillery piece or 5,000 pounds of general cargo over the Rhine without a bridge? No problem, just use any one of about 20,000 DUKW amphibious transports!
It’s actually another GMC 6×6 in disguise (like the clubmobile and the optical repair truck, only I didn’t build this DUKW conversion with greenstuff. Credit for this great little vehicle goes to H&R)
DUKWs were used by the infantry, engineers, rangers, artillery, and service support units, ferrying weapons and ammunition, troops and supplies to the beach landings or across rivers.
I’ve painted my DUKW with Red Cross banners. It is acting as an ambulance ferrying the wounded safely over the water back to the Allied held territory.
Of course not everything can be transported over the water like this, if you’re looking to cross with an armoured brigade or two the best solution is to call on the engineers.
Often at the forefront of the advance Combat engineers were tasked with a variety of jobs such as breaching obstacles, destroying enemy strongpoints, clearing minefields and unexploded ordinance, bulldozing roads and constructing bridges, all potentially under fire in active combat zones. These highly skilled and resourceful units were on hand with the tools required to do whatever it took to keep the advancing armies moving forward.
This little piece is the ubiquitous Dodge WC 51, the American engineer’s utility vehicle of choice. (Also, check out the huge mold line I left on this thing! Criminal negligence right there.)
Royal Corps of Signals.
In a time when “loose lips sank ships” and fifth columnists lurked in every switchboard you couldn’t just pick up the phone and ask to be connected to Whitehall. So how did the top secret messages get around? By dispatch rider.
These riders braved rain hail and air raid to deliver their messages by hand, and German bombardiers didn’t much care for the old adage “don’t shoot the messenger.”
The Royal Corps of Signals was tasked with all kinds of communications support for British forces both home and abroad. This kind of combat support role was critical and often they were the guys bailing wires under sniper fire and getting it in the neck when the radios didn’t work.
Incidentally, these are the guys who until recently had a squad of stunt riders who mounted human pyramids on motorcycles at festivals and shows. Now THAT might have been a fun piece to make in 6mm scale!
Another role of the signals and communications units was cryptology. In December of 1944 a couple of American SIGABA operators at the Signal company message centre in Wiltz Luxembourg Harry Stuts and Richard Brookins decided to get out of the office and took the lead on an initiative that would have a lasting impact on the people of Wiltz for generations to come.
On the eve of St Nicolas day they arranged a big event for the local children. Brookins, dressed up in borrowed priests robes and mitre, beard and staff as jolly St Nick was driven about in an army jeep visiting schools and handing out treats for the kids. The GI’s put on a show in the castle square. They sang songs and played games. The nuns made hot chocolate and it was even captured on film by a couple of combat cameramen who happened to be passing through.
In 1977 Brookins learned that the people of Wiltz had continued to commemorate the event every year since and he was invited to return to play the role of the American St Nick again which he was delighted to do. In 2016 he was awarded the Military Medal of Luxembourg, their highest military honour. Brookins died at the grand old age of 96 in October 2018 and will be fondly remembered in Luxembourg for his simple act of kindness in a time of horrible oppression that left a lasting legacy of goodwill.
So that was the military support units. Keeping the fellas with guns healthy, supplied with food and ammo, on the road and heading the right direction. But who supported the support? The Auxiliary and voluntary services of course.
The war effort required as many men as possible to train and ship out and fight. And so there were formed Women’s auxiliary services for the Army, Navy and Airforce to staff non-combat roles allowing more men to be released to fight. All unmarried women between the ages of 19 and 42 (50 for WW1 veterans) were required to either work in the factories producing war materiel or join one of the Auxiliary services.
Auxiliary Territorial Service -ATS
Princess Elizabeth Windsor Austin 4×2 light utility vehicle (Tilly) and an Austin k2 (Katy) ambulance.
The King’s eldest daughter and the Heir to the Throne Princess Elizabeth Windsor saw it as her duty to do her part for the war effort. She joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service (the ATS) and trained as a mechanic and driver for the British Army.
The ATS also trained women in a variety of other roles such as radar operators, anti-aircraft gun crews and spotters, military police, communications personnel, munitions inspectors as well as cooks, clerks, storekeepers and many more no less vital roles.
Another of these roles was operating searchlights during air raids. The crews would be out all night in often very remote locations scanning the skies for enemy aircraft.
Women’s Auxiliary Air Force- WAAF
The RAF too had the Womens Auxiliary Air Force. Many women served in roles back home allowing men to be released to the fighting front. The WAAF’s served in various administrative, intelligence and communication roles including the iconic control room plotters. Not all WAAFs however spent their wartime service entirely at home.
Immediately following the invasion of Normandy the first RAF transports, C-47 Dakotas carrying supplies and ammunition to the embattled expeditionary forces also carried WAAF nursing orderlies. They flew into the battle zone tasked with tending to the wounded who were being flown back to England.
Dubbed the Flying Nightingales by the press these women bravely volunteered to go (without the protection of Red Cross markings as the planes carried weapons and ammo on their outbound flight) into harms way accepting the challenge of whatever they might face crossing the channel into occupied France.
Women’s Royal Naval Service – WRNS
Like in the ATS and WAAF the women of the WRNS served in all kinds of administrative, intelligence, support and engineering roles from medical assessments to code breaking, signalling and operational planning, including the D-day landings. They served in Naval bases on the Homefront as well as overseas. After the war the WRNS became a permanent service and in 1993 were fully assimilated into the main body of the Royal Navy.
So that’s the armed forces support groups. (ie any non-civilian in uniform that did something other than carry a gun and shoot at the enemy.) But that’s not the end of it. There are many many Government run civilian organisations that were equally vital to the defence and protection of the nation. You might note that I’m mostly talking about Great Britain here. In Germany they had organisations like the Reichsluftschutzbund (RLB) (National Air Raid Protection League) and the People’s Welfare but they were operated very differently and I’m not really getting into that whole history. I’m sure the US and France and Italy many others had their own similar organisations. But anyway, on with the jolly old British civvies.
Civil Defence and ARP
Air Raid Precautions (ARP) was set up by the Home Office early in the war to establish air raid shelters and train wardens and the civilian population in the best practices to keep safe during air raids.
It grew to become the Civil Defence Service which encompassed many more emergency response roles such as Auxiliary Fire Service, first aid posts and rescue and stretcher teams.
Another feature of my ARP warden piece is Rip the dog. Rip was found by an air raid warden in Poplar London in 1940 and became the ARP’s first search and rescue dog. Rip received the Dickin Medal for bravery in 1945 in recognition of his service in rescuing over 100 people during the bombing of London. The colour stripes on the edging of the base are the colours of the Dickin Medal service ribbon.
Royal Observer Corp
Another massive effort of civilian organisation in Britain was the Observer Corps. Keeping a watch on Britain’s skies for incoming enemy aircraft these eagle eyed observers covered the coast and countryside for miles in all directions with binoculars, post plotting Instruments and aircraft identification charts, 24-7, standing by to phone in the number, position and type of any aircraft that moved inland past the coastal radar stations.
Once enemy raiders were over British soil the Royal Observer Corps became the cornerstone of the British air defence. As their moto “Forewarned is Forearmed” suggests their ability to spot incoming enemy planes and send word back in good time to activate air raid warning systems and alert RAF control to scramble a fighter defence made all the difference. From the Battle of Britain on through the D-day invasion and the fight against Hitler’s V-1 buzzbombs the men and women of the ROC made an invaluable contribution to the safety and defence of the nation.
The Air Transport Auxiliary was a civilian organisation set up to ferry aircraft and personnel around Britain as required. They took civilian pilots unfit or unsuited for military service. Injured veterans sometimes joked the ATA stood for Ancient and Tattered Airmen, while their women pilots were sometimes referred to as Attagirls.
They flew almost anything the RAF used delivering everything from Hurricanes to Lancasters to wherever they were required. Initially in accordance with Geneva conventions these civilian pilots flew unarmed but after encounters with enemy aircraft they delivered their aircraft fully loaded, prepared to fight if necessary.
Women’s Land Army
With much of Europe under Nazi control and U-boats prowling the Atlantic task of feeding the UK without regular and reliable food imports was going to be a tall order. The best help would be to cultivate more land for crops and produce more food at home. But labourers were needed and with so many men training for war the call went out for volunteers for the Women’s Land Army.
City girls from 17 and up were drafted as farm labourers, clearing land for agriculture, harvesting crops and tending livestock. Another branch of the WLA was the Women’s Timber Corps who worked in the forestry industry. Its members were colloquially known as “Lumber Jills”. Numbers in excess of 80,000 women and girls worked for the WLA not only during the war but for many years after hostilities ceased while rationing and food shortages continued.
Berlin Rubble Women
When the dust settled on occupied Berlin its residents were left with a ruinous hellscape of rubble, twisted metal, bodies and unexploded bombs. The women of the city who had lived through it all, whose men had not returned, whose lives had to go on did what had to be done. They did it for extra rations, to feed their families, to clear the streets to begin to set their lives in order.
I hope you’ve enjoyed something a bit different that you maybe don’t see everyday on the gaming table. I’ve certainly enjoyed looking into the history and celebrating the hard work dedication and everyday heroics of all of these folks. Do let me know what you think. I’m sure there’s so much more worthy of note and discussion on the subject.
I’m still working away on my follow up set for this little project (lots more things to look at- not just Red Cross this time) but while I’m busy a those here’s some WIP shots of the green stuffed ones to give you an idea of how they were done.
First up its the clubmobile.
A serious amount of green stuff went on top of a standard GMC 6×6 took a good few sittings to build it up to this and gave me a newfound respect for the frankly incredible sculpting skills of anyone who produces 6mm scale vehicles like these. Hat is off.
Another sculptorama of green stuff was the mobile blood unit. Which as you can see is mostly made of green.
It’s actually built around a fairly poor casting of an ambulance that I used as a base for it. And as you can see it’s a bit blobby and crude. Not a particularly sharp sculpting job but I’m happy enough with the end result.
A good few of my ambulances needed a bit of a sculpt up.
And the American WC 54
This was a standard Dodge Weapons Carrier fitted out for an ambulance. My British K2 Ambulance is a similarly bulked out Austin Tilly which is why it’s maybe not as big as it should be next to the Tilly on the same base.
Then lastly there was Louis Haefliger’s Citroen.
I wasn’t sure what kind it should be but I took a Scotia Belgian staff car and fixed it up to look like a Citroen Olympus. Very happy with the end result on this one.
You can also see the rubble on the base in some of these before it got painted up. Mostly just sand and bits of chopped up rubber and paper.
Hope to be back soon with more miniature ground based oddities to show. Thanks for looking.