Operation Overcast 1945

WR’s large YR2017 HMGS-PSW regional convention scenario this time was an early version of Operation Overcast, a Flames of War post-war scenario with three not two active sides on the tabletop. The scenario premise has the war just recently ended and distrustful tensions between the allied armies are subdued for the moment by their victory over Nazi Germany. Within days the American Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency (JIOA) and Soviet Intelligence Special Branch (NKVD) teams are racing around unoccupied southern Germany seeking the very scientists, technicians, technical drawings, and actual prototypes of the advanced late war German technology. The winner of this “data collection and personnel roundup effort” will have a tremendous technology lead, placing their nation in the forefront and well positioned as the Cold War hostility reveals itself later.

Operation Overcast May 1945 scenario map showing the four general sectors. (L to R): Kummerdorf II, Filegerhorst Kaufbeuren, Mittelwerk, and Camp Dora zones. Table size is 16’x6′

The scenario notes for the game (.doc file): Operation Overcast 1945 Scenario notes

The scenario 16×6 tabletop viewed from the Mittelwerk end. Camp Dora situated at left.

Scenario tabletop from the Kummerdorf II table end. Filegerhorst Kaufbeuren in upper background. The Kummersdorf annex are the buildings upper left in photo.

The central Filegerhorst Kaufbeuren with the advanced German aircraft and missiles scattered about the aerodrome. The former Lionel radar tower atop the low hill at right.

Mittelwerk zone shows the Mittelwerk mountain V-2 factory tunnel entrance, the V-1 launch ramp and assembly building. Rocket test launch pad off photo at left.

Mittelwerk V-2 test launch pad for the advance testing of V-series rockets.

Camp Dora compound. Camp Dora prisoners are the workforce for Mittelwerk V-2 rocket factory. Two hut buildings, a barracks, and the “cooler” makes up the corner of Camp Dora pictured.

Electrical power substation for the Kummerdorf II technical factories. Rare to see electrical transmission towers on a tabletop wargame. Rarer still an electrical substation.

Another view of Kummerdorf II zone. WR loves his electrical transmission towers on the tabletop.

Well, the tabletop scene has been described and shown. Now to report the Act I of the scenario; the search by the three American JIOA and three Soviet NKVD platoons as they enter the tabletop. Note: WR used only three teams for each side at the convention. The full scenario calls for four JIOA and NKVD teams on each side.

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FOW Barbarossa 1941 Mega game

Back on the 29th of July, WR and Daniel drove over to the scheduled Flames of War Ver3.0 Mega Game 1941 Barbarossa scenario hosted by Bruce and company at Games Empire Pasadena. Being “centralized planned minion Soviet players” to the larger actions surrounding both Daniel and WR at the event, we both charged forward as ordered into the teeth of the German defenses.

Scenario Basics: Per WR’s understanding of the scenario, we the Soviet side are attacking the overly extended German panzer (panzer grenadiers) lines. Once the Soviet assault begins, the German reserves arrive at predetermined locations to repel the Soviet onslaught. Both the German and Soviet teams had one player in charge to design (purchase) their several company sized commands, their local reserves, and the backup of divisional support (artillery and rockets). Their FOW Ver3.0 group rules have counter-battery abilities, “across the Volga” off-board artillery, and several AOP and spotting observers placed within both teams lines (see below). If a complete OOB for both the Soviets and Germans is located, WR will amend this article posting. Additional Russia 1941 scenario infomation from Bruce’s hand can be read here: Mega Battle Starya 1941 Russia notes

WR sits in the middle (cream shirt) as Bruce (black T) looks over Daniels deployments right of WR. Closer view of the “C” shaped table design.

A more panoramic view of all six 6 x 4′ tables. Robert, Beau, and Lance (l to r) stand on the German table side. Daniel taking the photos today.

Basic outline for FOW 1941 Russia Mega Battle scenario map as drawn by Bruce (GM). Soviets have the interior table edge and deployment zones. the Germans are on the outside perimeter.

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Battle of Singling 1944 (AAR)

WR staged a pre-Fourth of July Flames of War 20mm scenario event at his local warren last weekend. Set in the cold winter month of December 1944, near the Franco-German border and the old Maginot line, the scenario Battle of Singling Dec 1944 pits the advancing American 4th Armored Division under Lt. Colonel Abrams against the recently arrived kampfgruppe of the German 11th Panzer Division. Based upon an old WWPD (“What Would Patton Do” site) scenario called “Abram’s Folly”, WR enlarged the scenario forces and tabletop area to allow six to eight players the fun of gaming.

The original scenario from WWPD (What Would Patton Do) blog site was titled “Abrams Folly” and can be read complete with this .pdf file: Abram’s FollyThe Singling 1944 (Expanded) Scenario Forces (.doc) roster outlines the original forces and the WR expanded additional units highlighted in yellow. The enlarged scenario map drawn in typical WR style displays the 8×6 foot table and terrain layout and is followed by a recent Goggle satellite overhead photo and contour relief map.

“SINGLING, LORRAINE, DECEMBER 6, 1944: Lt Colonel Creighton Abrams directed Task Force Abrams, consisting of units of the 37th Tank Battalion and 51st Armored Infantry Battalion, 4th Armored Division. On the 6th December a battered tank company and understrength infantry company came up against superior German forces in the small farming community of Singling. The assembly and staging area of the 37th Tank Battalion that morning was muddy from all of the recent rain. The halftracks were having difficulty maneuvering and the infantry were ordered to ride on the rear deck of the tanks for the attack on Bining. When Company B/37th was ordered to divert to Singling the infantry went with them unaware of the change of plans. The attack was hasty and unplanned. Intended to remove flanking fire from Task Force Abrams’ drive towards the German border, the attack was nearly a disaster for the Americans.”

Basic map for the Singling Dec 1944 scenario. Improved WR map with proper labeling will be posted in near future. North is left side of map.

Terrain notes: All open ground is a muddy condition. Fully tracked tanks have no movement reduction but all other vehicle restricted to 8″ maximum movement unless on roadway (paved or packed dirt). Woods are 6″ visibility while orchards are 8″ visibility. Long stream with bushes marked on stream bank considered concealment for infantry teams only. Hedges and low stone walls block LOS for infantry teams unless adjacent, all vehicles gain concealment if fired across. All streams, low stone walls, and hedges cause bogging vehicle checks if crossed. Low hill rise, buildings, orchards and woods equal in height for LOS determination. Church tall steeple observation point sees all terrain after 8″ dead zone from blocking terrain feature. Bunkers are noted as “nests” in original WWPD scenario write-up and played as such for this AAR, but looking at the actual modern-day photos, should be true concrete bunkers. German deployment zones (A-D) at scenario start are outlined by yellow boxes. American initial platoon forces and all reserve platoons arrive at respective red table edge marking. Overhead the sky is overcast with low clouds so no airpower present during scenario. Americans have first movement in scenario.

Google satellite map of the area around singling France.

Google map terrain contour relief showing the ground elevations matched to satellite map above..

The After Action Report (AAR): Last weekend WR invited a group of Flames of War (FOW) gamers to his warren for pizza, snacks, drink and miniature gaming. Team U.S. formed up with Bruce, Andy, and Daniel. Team German had Gary, Lance, Paul, and WR pushing the miniatures. The scenario scene opens with low cloudy sky, the town of Singling centered on the table, just as the American arrive at the table edge. Ahead the entrenched Germans are ready for the approaching Americans who have twelve turns to capture / control all the Singling buildings (six in number) alongside the paved roadway.

Tabletop terrain layout from the east (German) view. The old church is the foremost building. Before scenario start WR noted a missing hedge and building, quickly emplaced.

Side or southern view of Singling town. Clearly the bunkers can be seen. The bunkers (r to l) matched to the attached photos are #1 (upper right), #2 (in town), #3 and #4 lower left. Number 5 bunker off photo to south near lower left road.

The American view approaching Singling from the west. Tabletop ground is muddy causing reduced vehicle movement except for proper tracked standard tanks. Bunker #3 and #4 seen.

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Troina 1943 FOW AAR

Last Memorial Day weekend Daniel and WR staged their Battle of Troina Flames of War (FOW) 20mm scenario at the Los Angeles regional GAMEX convention. With two player teams of three players each, the scenario opens with the Germans assaulting the Monte Basilio ridge held by a U.S. 26th Regiment battalion. Later in the scenario, about midpoint, the American 39th Regiment arrives to assault the German held flank south of the dry Troina riverbed. So, on the same FOW table, each side has attack and each has defend missions to content with.

Historical background material for Troina 1943 previously posted to WR link: Troina 1943

Complete Troina 1943 scenario notes (.doc) file: Troina 1943 Scenario notes

The full Troina table display. German assault left foreground and their defensive zone upper left. Americans defend Monte Basilio right foreground and attack later from upper right entrance.

Opening Set up: German assaulting command is placed, using alternating platoon placement method, in conjunction with the American Monte Basilio defenders. The German team players kept all the Italian platoons off-board at start, thus only placed the three panzergrenadier platoons (two on left, one on right), their MG platoon, the 5cm Pak38 A/T cannon, and Senior HQ team, along the opposite hill ridge. The Troina dry riverbed separated the two forces. For the American team, they elected to retain some support platoons off-board and avoid the German preliminary bombardment effects. Starting on the scenario tabletop was, front to rear, a rifle platoon manning the downslope front positions, then their A&P platoon in line near the central building. Between them they placed the A/T 57mm platoon, not realizing the “No HE” rule was in effect. Finally another rifle platoon was positioned around the hilltop woods. Held in reserve was one rifle platoon, a weapons platoon, and the machine gun platoon. German objectives, one placed by team America, dot the Monte Basilio position. One in lower corner of the hillside, the other placed high on the hill near the woods. Overhead the off-board “on call” 155mm Long Tom battery has their AOP L-4 Grasshopper plane buzzing overhead.

Americans atop Monte Basilio ridge across the dry Troina river bed. The hillside has been bombarded in recent days. German will assault from near foreground positions, Italians off-board.

The German southern Troina river position is placed on the tabletop. As seen in the photo below, the StuG III F/8 are placed in their special “StuG” pits covering the open ground. One panzergrenadier platoon on the hill at left and their second platoon stung from the StuG III position back towards the nebelwerfer RL battery concealed in the woods. Minefield and three barbwire sections emplaced in steep hill woods or flat open terrain. Both American objectives (one placed by the German players) on the tabletop, one near the front lines or “StuG” pits, the other behind the left rear hill. The Ponte di Failla bridge is the fifth objective (marker underneath). Off board is the German 10.5cm field battery with entire tabletop observers. Later in the scenario, the other half of the American forces (39th Regiment) will appear in front of the southern Troina river German defensive position.

German defensive positions on south bank of Troina riverbed. StuG III F/8 assault guns in their modified tank pits while nebelwerfer battery, a bit dense in placement, lines the near woods.

American 26th battalion sits in their foxholes before the preliminary bombardment and German first movements. Front line rifle platoon, then 57mm A/T, then A&P platoon. then another rifle platoon in woods at left.

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Calore River 1943 revisited

Last time WR’s Calore River crossing 1943 scenario was played the Germans eked out a narrow victory. For the Orccon 2017 convention, Daniel (WR’s son) wanted to run the same scenario since he missed the first game. Joined by FOW veteran Bruce, teamed with young Jesse, the scenario replay was hard-fought for ten turns. In the end, a new victor, American or German was determined, but the reader will have to read the AAR… or just scroll down to the final scene.

Scenario starts with the deployment of both sides (FOW meeting engagement mission basically, alternating platoon placement) and the Americans have first move. This is important for the German player to notice and plan his deployment carefully, knowing his exposed platoons will receive immediate American firepower after the American movement step is completed.

Full table with both sides deployment. Germans on left, Americans on right with first movement. Table is 6′ x 8′

A quick recap of the American and German platoons involved in the scenario before the AAR narrative. All the American platoons start on the tabletop, two of the vehicle German platoons are reserves and will arrive on turn two. Specific deployment zone bands are described in the scenario notes file. For a complete scenario background and scenario notes, click on this link: Calore River crossing 1943.  Continue reading

Calore River crossing AAR

Having written up the recent Salerno invasion “Crossing Calore River 1943” sscenario, it is time to play test the scenario with an actual Flames of War 20mm tabletop game. The scenario is based upon the efforts of 2nd Battalion, 179th RCT to advance across the shallow Calore river, march to block German access to Highway 19 near Serre, and link up with the rest of their 179th RCT taking a different route towards Ponte-Sele and Serre villages.

Scenario background and write-up article link: Crossing Calore River 1943 and scenario notes file (.doc) Calore River crossing 179th RCT scenario notes

To the scenario commentary. Start off with a quick view of the scenic scenario tabletop and suggestive platoon deployment. The scenario notes (.doc) file describes the platoon initial placement in map row assignment or specific map square, so the actual placement is freely determined by the players…. within the assigned map rows or actual map square location. Generally, the terrain is mostly open rolling ground dotted with low hedges, crop fields providing infantry concealment, a few farm buildings, and river or hill slope bushy zones. Woods are near the table edges except for one near the destroyed bridge – ford. The river is crossable for foot or vehicle, being low water flow during late summer, but does reduce vehicle movement.

For the players…. Paul, a seasoned German player, Luis a new-bee with the FOW system, backed by WR to coach him in the finer points of dice rolling. Daniel called to work at last minute.

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The Calore River crossing scenario on 8×6′ table. Both sides have deployed their starting units or platoons per scenario notes. Placement has some latitude and only suggestive in this photograph.

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Scenario map drawing with 12′ marked squares. Total table size is 8×6′. Map legend at right and scenario notes file have terrain description and effect.

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Paestum Landing – Salerno 1943 AAR

Recently at the regional HMGS-PSW convention held back on October 8-9th, WR arranged to play his new 20mm Flames of War Salerno invasion scenario “Paestum Landing – Salerno 1943” with six gamers. The American zone Paestum landing at Salerno involved four designated beach zones…. Red, Green, Yellow, and Blue. The 142nd RCT from the 36th Texan Division landed on Red and Green beaches. At Yellow and Blue sectors, the trained but untested 141st RCT, again from the 36th Division, landed against the 16th Panzer Division defending the dunes along the beach. For his Paestum scenario, WR narrowed the scope of the landing to represent only Yellow and Blue beach sectors, and the 141st RCT. WR intends to add future Salerno scenarios, several which will involve the 142nd RCT, in the foothills surrounding the Paestum landing, to the series listed at end of article.

Pregame historical material and Paestum Landing scenario design notes: Original Paestum Landing Salerno 141st RCT scenario notes. Since original play test and this AAR, WR has revised the forces , landing craft 1st wave rules, and reinforcement schedule for a Paestum Landing – Salerno 141st RCT Scenario notes revised  file.

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General view of the Paestum area. The old Greek-Roman town ruins at right with Via Magna Grecia (Highway 18). Plane models ready to deploy once daylight starts on turn five.

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The American view of the Italian coast. The Torre di Paestum, an old medieval watchtower converted into a HMG nest, formed the  linchpin of the German beach front defense.

Team America (141st RCT) played by Paul and Jordan with WR in the background. Basic pre-invasion planning: Land on the beach, use the dunes as cover to gather sufficient forces, then assault the tower and panzergrenadier defensive position, then break out to reach the distant inland objectives. Team German played by Daniel and Theron, with Paul, and Eric joining in as their adjacent game had action pauses. Germans decided to hold in place till the reinforcements arrive, hopefully the reinforcement can block the inland egress movement of the Americans before they reach the objectives. Dice gathered, charts ready… time to commence the scenario.

Quick notes on the initial German deployment. The Torre di Paestum nest contained two HMG and one sniper team. Located in the beach dunes of Blue beach was two 2cm AA guns, one a quad mount, protected by barbed wire, Two minefields covered the two open ground exit passages. Behind the beach dunes was a very strung out panzergrenadier platoon in foxholes. Behind them and some low hedges, the reduced 8cm mortar platoon entrenched. Way back in the orchard was Company headquarters with two attached 8cm mortars. Off-board artillery observers behind the old roman town wall (at table edge) and in the left beach front building. Hidden assets included the StuG III G platoon, a reduced PzGren. MG platoon, and two additional sniper teams.

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The American LCVP approach the Italian shoreline at night (3:30am). Hearing the German loudspeakers, the GI’s know the Germans are ready.

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