Sunday, 18 November 2012

Norway 1940 - a mini campaign

I am playing a mini campaign, designed to test out some miniatures rules, and help identify the best way to use the free campaign management software called Berthier for a future WW2 campaign.

So me and a secret wargaming friend are doing battle in Norway.

The turns are hourly, and hidden map movement is managed by the software. I am tweaking the sighting rules and figuring best how to deal with aircraft. I have not considered supply, that will be for another day.

All military elements are represented, troops, aircraft, ships and subs.

The purpose of the game is to test out how best to use the campaign management system.

In essence, the Allied player has a number of army formations (French and Polish troops) ashore near Narvik. A German unit (Mountain troops) has been forced out of the town into nearby hills.

There are also Norwegian troops in the vicinity.

The Allied player (me) has to land another Battalion at Narvik in an effort to decisively defeat the Axis mountain troops. The allies need to send a convoy from Scapa Flow to Narvik. The Royal Navy is superior to the Kriegsmarine in numbers and fire power, but the Luftwaffe are in Norway in some strength.

The Axis player has powerful naval units, but they cannot be risked, and must be used wisely. He has formidable air assets, and a division of troops to deploy from Trondheim. The axis player simply needs to stop the convoy arriving at Narvik, or at least cause losses. The game certainly has a cat and mouse feel about it. Hopefully I am not the mouse.....

A blurred picture of a U-boat on the surface, somewhere north of Scapa Flow. This was taken by a Sunderland flying boat, a few days before the British battleship HMS Warspite was attacked.

The allies have several naval formations available to them. One of which is centred on the battleship HMS Warspite.

She sailed early hours of the first morning in the campaign from Scapa Flow, and within a few hours found herself struck by at least one torpedo from a lurking U-boat.

The torpedo strikes the Warspite

Now, I have broken a cardinal rule, I have used unpainted, and unfinished models on the table top for this mini-campaign. Yes I know, you don't need to say anything, but needs must and all that.......

The Warspite had a particular task to fulfil and shrugged of the damage from the torpedo attack and ploughed on, but her position was now sent to the Axis Hq. The Luftwaffe readied their planes.....

A British AA cruiser follows astern of her flagship

A squadron of unpainted Bf109's escort the squadron of Do17's toward their target. Each model represented 3 planes. The Warspite and escorts were in for a rough time

The attackers closed on their primary target, losing just one of their number, and two bombs struck the Warspite.

I cannot inform you about the damage - my opponent may be reading this. The cotton wool says it all

The planes made off toward their bases. There was still enough time to launch another strike. The Royal Navy gunners grabbed a quick meal and many eyes scanned the sky.

Sure enough, the lookouts noticed small dots to the east, which grew in size and number by each passing moment. 24 of the dreaded Stuka Dive-bombers converged in a simultaneous attack from different directions. 3 of their number where shot down.

Bombs fall all around the Warspite. Several seem to strike home. A gunner in one JU87 reports that the old battleship was listing to starboard.

The following morning more attacks by the Do17's, two of which are shot down. More hits reported, and the starboard list confirmed.

I had a big decision to make, press on with the mission, in face of heavy air attacks, or retire out of range of the Luftwaffe. I had no choice, even though the Warspite bristled with AA guns, and was escorted by an AA cruiser, she had sustained some heavy damage. HMS Warspite reversed course, and disappeared into the night and its relative safety.

I began to have doubts that the convoy would make it through, and I still had not located any German capital ships. Meanwhile, far to the southwest, a British aircraft carrier raced to intervene in events..........

To be continued.