Thursday, 22 October 2009

Wargames support software

Just for a matter of interest I have used the following software for managing campaigns, or for computer moderated battles:

Berthier Campaign Manager - for managing campaigns (title gives it away)
The Great Captains - AWI/ECW
Battleships Zenith - WW2 naval
Dreadnoughts Rising - WW1 naval
Close For Action - Age of Sail (no longer available)

I would also like to assure readers that I do actually wargame with miniatures, the previous posts are just to tide me over until the next wargame.

There is a Christmas mini World War 2 Pacific campaign on the drawing board.......

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

A modern mini campaign

videoClick to play Campaign News Bulletin

Due to the lack of table top action recently, I have commenced a mini campaign using two computer games to resolve the battles - Sonalysts Fleet Command and Combat Mission Shock Force (click on the names and a link will take you to details).

The campaign revolves around a fictional country of Utopia, which is sandwiched between Somalia and Kenya on the East African coast.

The premise being that Utopia was subject to civil war in the early 1980's and as a result split into the communist North, and the democratic South. The United Kingdom has had long standing ties with the country, and in the late 1960's signed a defence pact with the Utopian Government.

The pact was updated in 1985 when the country split, and the United Kingdom has committed itself to the protection of South Utopia. In the meantime, North Utopia has forged links with North Korea and China (amongst others) and in a recent change of leadership has committed itself to the long term aim of reunification with the south. By whatever means necessary........................

In recent months an insurgency has grown in South Utopia and has stretched the government forces to breaking point.

Britain has committed to sending troops to assist the South Utopian government restore control.

Operation Gibraltar Disposition

The initial part of this deployment centres on Task Force 317.

Task Force 317 is comprised of:

HMS Illustrious
HMS Gloucester
HMS Monmouth
HMS Bulwark
RFA Fort George

HMS Bulwark embarked:
4 Assault Squadron, Royal Marines
C Troop Blues and Royals

HMS Illustrious - photo from Sea King

Planned course of approach

Task Force 317 was split into two elements for the initial landing phase:
HMS Illustrious
HMS Gloucester
RFA Fort George

HMS Bulwark
HMS Monmouth

The initial intelligence was sketchy to say the least. It is strongly suspected that the insurgency is receiving some form of (outside) government assistance with training and equipment, but this has yet to be confirmed. The first task was to get the Airborne Early Warning up and running, hence the launch of a Sea King AEW and two escorting Air to air armed Harriers - the air threat assessment was low, but I was not taking any chances!

Sea King AEW

As soon as the three aircraft were up, EW signatures were picked up. I sent one Harrier off toward the closest signatures on the northern island........................

The view from HMS Illustrious ops room

Royal Navy Sea Harrier flying over TF317

On route to recce the land EW contacts, the Sea Harrier is engaged and shot down (by an unidentified source), but not before the pilot indicates a contact report - several improvised attack boats directly in the approach course of TF 317.1, and further details of the land based assets. It is suspected that these attack boats were responsible for the loss of the aircraft.

videoClick to play relevant news bulletin

HMS Illustrious launched two SEAD Harriers to target the portable radar and identified SAM site (an elderly version, but insurgents must be getting them from somewhere, the same holds for the surface radar and surface missile site), and a further 4 Harrier GR7 to target the installations and naval element.

EW listening post

Further recon identified an enemy EW monitoring site - this was quickly added to the target list. In quick succession, and without further loss, the aircraft sank 5 attack craft, destroyed a barracks on the north island along with the SAM site, SSM site and portable surface radar equipment.

On a small island to the south, the EW listening centre was also dispatched. Meanwhile, TF 317.1 continues on it's journey to the designated landing area. Several more EW signatures have been identified to the west of the landing area.

To be continued..........................................

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

And the bit about model soldiers....................

I was due to link up with a mate this evening to wargame a desert 1941 scenario, but he had to call it off at the last moment, to our disappointment - although I do feel he was just trying to avoid another inevitable defeat!

I was going to link in a quick Wings of War, World War 2 battle to help decide who (if any) would have air superiority, and subsequently air support, over the table.....

RAF and Luftwaffe models

Never mind, there is always next week.
I have another mate who is big on world war one naval, and invested in the Navwar Jutland Pack - and he has finished painting them all, perhaps we could look at getting some of those models (dusted off) and on the table? I will keep you posted on that one

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Empire Total War

This is another of my ongoing exploits. I am playing the British, and I have not had the game very long, but I do recommend it. I have an interest in the Seven Years War, so perhaps I am a little biased.

Anyway, it is now 1715 and I feel that I am making many errors, in particular I am beginning to feel that I should start to formulate long term strategy and policy, I feel a little haphazard - trade or arms for example, investment then expansion? Army or navy - oh, the agony of choice.....

I have a foothold in North Africa, and in America, I have not reached India, yet. To be honest my conflicts with the locals in North America and North Africa, as well as the issues with piracy have made me take the eye of the ball. The French, Spanish and others seem distant..... then the French and Swedes launch what appears to be a co-ordinated attack on my navy, across the globe!

Two separate squadrons with famous and successful Admirals (albeit only against pirates and the Barbary States) are attacked and destroyed by vastly superior (in numbers) enemy formations, the Admirals going down with their ships.
This major naval offensive by the French and Swedes has focused my mind. Afterall, we are an island nation, therefore, we will prioritise the Royal Navy...............................

A French Squadron approaches
A French Brig explodes after broadside

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Silent Hunter IV Campaign

8th to 10th December 1941

The chart table

A couple of nights ago I started my first Silent Hunter IV campaign. My boat is S18 and is based in the naval dockyard near Manila. My orders, which arrived on the 8 December 1941 ordered me to a patrol area to the north of Luzon.

The transit north was uneventful apart from 3 air attacks by unidentified aircraft. S18 suffered no damage, or causalities. In the following 24hrs S18 received several sighting reports of convoys, all too far away. Then came the convoy to the north of Luzon, and only 90 miles away.

Full speed ahead...........

Navigator plotting a course to intercept

A surface dash was made during the hours of darkness and S18 closed in on the last position of the convoy. Then the lookouts on the bridge shout " warship, long range, bearing 358 " followed by another and another...........

"Release the dogs of war " as a good friend says at the war games table (usually followed by two snake eyes)(Yes I know it was never said in the movie - my mate thinks it was)

S18 continued on the surface, confident that she would not be spotted......too confident as it turned out, three destroyers from the screen turned at full speed towards the sub......... "Crash Dive"

Crew at work (the sailor in the centre looks uncannily like a good friend of mine)

Slowly, all too slowly the sub submerged, and the destroyers closed......S18 quickly fired two torpedoes at the closest destroyer, and went to 160ft.

S18 in her element - quiet and deadly

"Tick tick tick went the chronometer"

BANG - " Torpedo impact, Sir "....................

The damaged destroyer down at the stern

The other two destroyers dropped depth charges, but did not seem to know the location of S18. The sub went into silent routine and went deep. The engines were stopped and she was as silent as a tomb.

S18 stayed that way for three hours until the destroyers lost interest and moved off.
Slowly S18 moved towards the stationary convoy. It was unloading troops and supplies for the invasion of the Philippines. Dawn was breaking as S18 closed to torpedo range....
The view from the attack periscope

A wide shot of a section of the invasion fleet

S18 closed, and was detected once again by the destroyer screen, this time five destroyers. A quick salvo of four torpedo's was released and S18 dove to her maximum depth

" Dud "
" Dud "
" Dud "
" Torpedo Impact, Sir"

The result of the salvo - a light cruiser

Battery down to 51% - daylight, and shallow waters and we still had to press home the attack............................

Despite being dogged by the five escort destroyers, S18 pressed home another attack, this time two torpedoes at a slow fat merchant.........
It was quiet apparent that there was something bloody wrong with our torpedoes today!
Slowly S18 withdrew - a damaged destroyer and a damaged light cruiser was all that could be shown for her efforts.
S18 got home on 10th December after being attacked once by a Japanese plane - another miss. the news from the front was not good, Singapore was under threat, two British Battleships had been sunk, and the Japanese were advancing in the Philippines........................................

What will the second patrol bring - functioning torpedoes would be an improvement!