Saturday, 19 July 2014


Today, me and my number one son had 45 minutes to kill whist the heavens opened with a torrent of rain. So we played a quick game of Star Trek Attack Wing.

Being the senior officer present I chose to run my two USS Enterprise ships against an Cardassian/Romulan fleet.

The original Enterprise had James T Kirk in command, whilst the Enterprise D was under command of Jean Luc Picard.

The Original Enterprise - her first battle

She was under the command of the legendary James T Kirk

USS Enterprise D

Her Captain - was Jean Luc Picard

They faced a powerful alliance of strange bedfellows - a Cardassian Galor class vessel, and a Romulan Warbird.

Romulan warbird

Toreth was her captain

The Cardassian Galor class

Under the command of Gul Danar

The ships started on the opposite side of the table, and it was soon clear my son was going to mass his fire power against a single target - a good move. The Original Enterprise was that target.

It wasn't long before the TOS Enterprise and Galor were exchanging fire. Scotty had drained the shields to give extra power to the phasers but the Galor evaded the shots.

Meanwhile the Romulan Warbird and TNG Enterprise exchanged shots

TOS Enterprise suffered some serious damage to her shields and ran for cover, whilst Picard manoeuvred to put himself between the enemy and damaged TOS Enterprise.

The Romuland bird is a good ship, until you get behind her, then she is a bit of a sitting target, unlike the TNG Enterprise - who can fire in a 360 degree arc - in the background, TOS Enterprise has, with the help of Scotty repaired her shields, turn to join the battle.

The Warbird, shields down and with heavy damage - explodes.

These two exchanged inconsequential fire at each other - before the Cardassians warped from the battle.

A quick hit 45 minute fun battle.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Dreadnoughts Rising -World War One naval wargame (dry run)

In preparation for the final game in our World War One trilogy, I took a set of computer moderated rules called DREADNOUGHT RISING for a spin. Click here for a review

Now I started naval wargaming in the early 1990's after buying a starter set from Skytrex. I got four World War 1 Battlecruisers and a set of basic rules, and eventually me and two friends started wargaming, we got some 15mm WW1 figures and ran a couple of mini campaigns. The only problem was the rules were hideous, and we never got to finish a game.

I recall moving my naval ships in millimetres and rolling dice a bazillion times to score and record a hit.

We loved it, but were held back by the rules. Dreadnoughts Rising solves it do her sister rules for WW2 - Battleships Zenith.

Now all I need are some computer moderated rules for my 1:3000th modern ships.....

I digress, here is a summary of the test battle. The one we will play for the deciding game of the trilogy will be a little larger.

I had two Battleships on each side and they simply had to pound the bajeesus out of each other.

Introducing elements of The Grand Fleet...

HMS Iron Duke

Davco 1:3000th HMS Iron Duke

HMS King George V

Davco 1:3000th HMS King George V

And now for The High Seas Fleet...

SMS Friedrich der Grosse

Davco 1:3000th SMS Friedrich der Grosse

SMS Helgoland

Davco 1:3000th SMS Helgoland

The two divisions of ships started out over 38 thousand yards away from each other, on a rough parallel course which was closing a couple of thousand yards every three minutes or so.

Dreadnoughts Rising allows for three minute turns, and also computes the chances of spotting vessels, and will also advise you on the result of the spotting, along the lines of:

1. Vessel not spotted
2. Vessel spotted - but is unknown
3. Enemy or friendly
4. Type of vessel
5. Class of vessel

It wasn't until the lead ships got to within 15 miles or so did they see each other.

The other thing about the rules is that it will record ammunition expenditure, which is a key part of the rules - no lobbing shells at extreme range for me,,,,,,

The ships opened fire at 13 miles.

The view of Iron Duke and King a George V firing towards the enemy, whilst under fire themselves.

F de Grosse and Helgoland are straddled.

The other thing with the rules is that it is easy to keep the fog of war regarding the damage you are causing the enemy, you can only rely on the information provided by the rules when you view the target ship status - Light damage, light listing - for example.

Iron Duke suffers a hit - the opposing player will see the hit marker, but will not know if it has penetrated, or caused structural damage, nor how serious the damage is for the hit vessel.

In my test run the vessels got to within 5.5 to 6 miles of each other and traded shots with their heavy calibre artillery.

Helgoland began to take some serious punishment from KG V

The F De Grosse also began to take punishment.

This hit did not penetrate the armour - but the German player would not know this....

The game ended after the Helgoland capsized due to the flooding she suffered by the havy punishment from the KG V. It was clear that she was listing heavily and suffered moderate damage including the loss of two forward turrets.

I am looking forward to the naval game in the next week or so - there will be other options on the table.

A bit of info:

HMS Iron Duke was a dreadnought battleship of the Royal Navy, the lead ship of her class, named in honour of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington. She was built by Portsmouth Dockyard, and her keel laid in January 1912. Launched ten months later, she was commissioned into the Home Fleet in March 1914 as the fleet flagship. She was armed with a main battery of ten 13.5-inch (340 mm) guns and was capable of a top speed of 21.25 knots (39.36 km/h; 24.45 mph)

The first HMS King George V was a King George V class of 1911 dreadnought, with a displacement of 23,400 tonnes and an armament of ten 13.5 inch guns in twin gun turrets and a secondary armament of sixteen 4 inch guns and had a crew complement of 870, though this increased substantially by 1916 to 1,110, and had a length of 597 feet.

SMS Friedrich der Grosse was the second vessel of the Kaiser class of battleships of the German Imperial Navy. Friedrich der Grosse's[b] keel was laid on 26 January 1910 at the AG Vulcan dockyard in Hamburg, her hull was launched on 10 June 1911, and she was commissioned into the fleet on 15 October 1912. The ship was equipped with ten 30.5-centimeter (12.0 in) guns in five twin turrets, and had a top speed of 23.4 knots (43.3 km/h; 26.9 mph). Friedrich der Grosse was assigned to the III Squadron of the High Seas Fleet for the majority of World War I, and served as fleet flagship from her commissioning until 1917.

SMS Helgoland - the lead ship of her class, was a dreadnought battleship of the German Imperial Navy. Helgoland's design represented an incremental improvement over the preceding Nassau class, including an increase in the bore diameter of the main guns, from 28 cm (11 in) to 30.5 cm (12 in). Her keel was laid down on 11 November 1908 at the Howaldtswerke shipyards in Kiel. Helgoland was launched on 25 September 1909 and was commissioned on 23 August 1911.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

11 days a pilot

The image of the First World War pilot was often romanticised and unrealistic. In reality, the average life-expectancy of a pilot was just 11 days.

Tonight we played the second of our trilogy in acknowledgement of the centenary of the beginning of World War One.

Tonight was Wings of War (Wings of Glory).

My planes are on route to scout some allied positions.

This photograph could be crucial for the next big push on the western front. The photo is a little blurred - but see if you would do better leaning out of a plane, jerking to avoid the machine gun bullets of a trailing enemy fighter!

This fighter was being flown by non other than a much younger and slimmer version of a chap called Goering.

One of SWF's combat aircraft.

He is soon joined by a second plane conducting a dawn patrol over crucial defensive positions.

I needed to evade the allied patrol, fly directly over the target to take a recon photo and escape in the direction from whence I came. Goering was escorting the two seater camera equipped aircraft.

SWF had to stop me with his two fighters, flown by Lt Coward and Lt Faversham - two boyhood friends who grew up in a small hamlet not far from Swanpool, Cornwall. Their love of flying grew out of playing cricket, rabbiting with their Yorkshire Terriers in nearby fields, and building bonfires near the sea - they loved adventure - but that is a story for another day.....(just trying to build up the characters so you care about what happens to them in my after action report)

My plan was simple - the two seater (which helpfully had a rear facing machine gun) would proceed at best speed to and from the target. Goering would drop behind and attempt to pick off any trailing enemy fighters and catch them in a machine gun sandwich - Goering liked this analogy, mainly because he liked sandwiches......

SWF decided to move at top speed toward me and swing around behind. This was a good plan, and hopefully the detailed planning by Coward and Faversham would pay off.

The rear gunner nervously scans the skies for trouble......

Goering sees two small dots approach directly from the front of his plane, they quickly grow into enemy on.

One of the fighters, flown by Faversham passes the starboard side of the German two seater and then turns toward the plane, clearly lining up a Faversham's surprise, Coward turns the same way, but passing down the port side, turns away from the enemy...."what the devil!"

Coward would later confess in the a Officers mess to having forgotten his left from his right, but he never got rid of the whispers behind his back, and questions about his pluck continued for some months....

A shot of Lt Cowards 'kite' - isolated and clearly travelling in 'an unexpected direction' - as described in Lt Faversham's flight report.

A wide view of the table. Both the German pilots were a little surprised by the ease in which the cut through the 'Dawn Patrol'.......

The chase was on. Lt Coward turned in an effort to catch the double seater. Lt Faversham was also trying to re-enter the fray. This was the first Wings of War game we played that wasn't simply a free for all - I had a mission, and the Allied fighters were finding it tough stopping me from getting to the objective.

"the bomber will always get through".......

Flying at top speed to catch up, and firing at long range too..

The Germans returned fire, both planes suffering some damage, the Allied plane more-so, but the rear gun on my recon plane jammed.

We played with hidden damage - which also added a little bit of spice to the game. To be frank, I had forgotten how much fun the game was....

Soon the valuable photographs had been taken...with minimal Allied interference.

"Click click click' goes the camera - 'dakka, dakka, dakka' went the Allied machine gun....causing what, on another day, may have been fatal damage to the rudder, preventing me turning left. Luckily - I needed to turn right.....phew

The culprit, he was only a few inches from achieving victory...

The chase was on, but I was now confident we would make it home.

And we did......

As I said earlier, I had forgotten how much fun this game is, and it just feels right in capturing the feel of WW1 flyinging (bearing in mind that (a) I am not a pilot and, (b) I am not, or ever have been a WW1 pilot). Easy to set up, and easy to play. A Central Powers victory - 1 - 1 in the trilogy.

The naval game will be the decider......

Saturday, 5 July 2014

USS Enterprise - Star Trek Attack Wing

I have added another vessel to my collection. The USS Enterprise from The Original Series.

I have read about the model being small, and poorly cast and painted.

To be fair, it is all the above, but there is something I like about it, and you get the vast majority of the original cast as the crew players. Looking forward to getting her on the table.

I am not sure why, but this game has really got under my skin.......

The Great War

My Secret Wargaming Friend and I have agreed that we will fight three WW1 battles in recognition of the centenary of World War 1.

There will be a land battle, air warfare and a naval engagement.

The battles will not be based on actual historical engagements.

The first of these was fought on Thursday evening.

Part of the wargames table. I was attacking these Entrenchments, and was the Central Powers commander.

I am stood on the left, my opponent on the right. Sorry for the fuzzy picture - " there is a war on you know.."

The game was set in late August 1914 and my army was advancing on Paris. The British were fighting delaying actions and this battle was to be fought around some 'fortifications' outside a village called St Quentin.

The table

The British would be digging in using these fortifications (SWF made this trench system and we were using them to represent a fortified strong point).

Unsurprisingly, my opponent chose to fully utilise the fortifications as cover

There was barbed wire to slow and tangle my assault.

The barbed wire extended across most, but not all of the front of the entrenchment. I formed a plan. It was a bit risky, but I wanted to use the 'Russian' WW2 tactic of overwhelming force on a section of the front.

I noted that he had some fearsome highlanders fighting for Great Britain - this may be a thing of the past if Alex Salmon gets his way....very sad.

"Oh good, the've got an artillery piece"

I was trying a mini Schlieffen Plan. Major flank attack against the British right flank, which was also the weakest point in the defences. I would use my artillery on his left flank, along with a couple of machine guns to cause mayhem in the British positions.

One part of the plan was better executed than the other.

My massed infantry approached the British defences. It caught SWF a little by surprise.

Meanwhile, under the disguise of 'blinds' my support pieces seemed to move over the table as if on a walk to a Sunday picnic....

The forward units began to take some serious casualties - this was not unexpected.

I used the units at the rear to provide covering fire. This worked extremely well, and soon began to thin the defenders. Some excellent sharpshooting by the Jaegers was instrumental.

The gun crew worked hard to stop the advance, but they two suffered.

Uninhibited by the slow moving Central Powers support weapons, SWF brought additional machine guns to bear on the troops closest to breaching his defences.

By this time, 18 German figures had been taken off the table, to 19 British.

The deadline passed, and I was agonisingly close to the trenches, but could just not force my way in. A tactical British victory, but they would have to withdraw due to their losses.

As Brucie would say " a good game, good game"

In the background, some Austria Hungarians were assigned to the German formation.....