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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HMGS-PSW 2017 Convention

HMGS-Pacific SouthWest or PSW recently held their regional convention at California State University Fullerton in conjunction with the Orange Con International Plastic Modellers Society (IPMS) convention (Sept 30th-Oct 1st). WR ran two scenario games at the convention, the large Flames of War “Operation Overcast May 1945 Americans vs. Soviet” game using his 20mm collections, and a much smaller Battle of Saalfeld 1806 French vs. Prussians event in 25/28mm. WR is in the process of sorting photos and remembering the event of the day for his two events. Full reports to come shortly. In the meantime, here are some photos of the tabletop games with their event GM’s verbiage from the PEL.

2017 HMGS-PSW PEL

Operation Overcast May 1945 U.S. vs Soviet Union. GM – Michael and Daniel Verity. Rules – Flames of War Ver3.0 MRB using WR’s 20mm miniatures instead of the normal 15mm. Description – Russo-American “technology grasping” scenario. Basic plan or scenario has three “four area zones” of German technological research, each with the latest modeled German late war drawing board stuff, their technical staff running about, and some diehard Nazis teams to mess up the works. Americans and Soviets enter the table from several points of entry, seek out the “technical stuff, or better, the technical staff teams, and quickly exit the board with their loot or captives, then return for more. The Nazis teams of course with aim for their German “traitors” and there will be conflict as to which side grasp what or “desires” what the other side is trying to escape with, and “push the gun barrel” and “loud shooting” which could lead to a shooting misunderstanding. They of course will call in their supports if threatened…

If interested, the Operation Overcast May 1945 preparation for this event scenario is written up on Wargamerabbit.

One end of the tabletop showing the Mittelwerk mountain factory, Camp Dora at left, and the V-1 and V-2 launching sites with model of rockets. The central aerodrome in distant.

The other end of the table showing the Kummersdorf II Panzer proving grounds and distant aerodrome above. Electrical transmission towers a nice touch and different terrain.

The central aerodrome with all the latest in Luftwaffe technology on display for the active American and Soviet researching teams transiting the tarmac.

A SS team opens fire on trucks carrying German scientist and technician “traitors” while American Pershing platoon looks on.

Later in scenario the Americans come under heavy Soviet artillery bombardment while securing the Kummersdorf II buildings.

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Preparation Operation Overcast FOW 1945

Along with the Battle of Saalfeld 1806 napoleonic scenario, WR and Daniel have arranged for a larger post war May 1945 scenario called “Operation Overcast” 1945. This scenario is a different mold for WR’s normal Flames of War (20mm) scenarios; not historical but a hypothetical scenario with possible combative action between former allies the United States and their opposite number the Soviet Red Army, with scenario goals not necessary combative but the seeking of former German military technology itself, and most importantly, their inventive human technicians. Toss in the streams of German refugees, escaped concentration camp population, fanatical “Nazi SS” diehards to cause trouble, models representative of the advanced German technology on the tabletop, and the horrors of post war German still under the deaden atmosphere of the war’s end.

WR intends to use this updating blog post to show some of the steps WR completes to bring a convention level Flames of War (20mm) scenario to life. Each week WR hopes to update this blog article with news of forward progress towards the Operation Overcast scenario, the unit miniatures needed or painted from bare plastic or lead, reference material collected, scenario written up, model and terrain construction, and the long list of small but incremental steps towards a “hoped for” successful scenario game. At the same time, another concurrent running progressive blog article will cover the Saalfeld 1806 scenario planned for October 1st, at the same convention.

Look for the dated updates [xx/xx/17] below as WR adds to article text.

Here is the Operation Overcast scenario notes (.doc) file: Operation Overcast 1945 Scenario notes

Forward then…. the time start line for Operation Overcast scenario is the final German surrender document ending all the active combative operations. Signed at Reims France on May 7, 1945, the Second World War ended on May 8th (or 9th in USSR). Before this date the major power; USA, Britain, and the Soviet Union all had active special operations in progress, with their forward armies, and behind the German lines. These special operations; small fast-moving columns of light vehicles, well armed soldiers, and veteran hand-picked officers regarded for their military and scientific knowledge, comb the open and enclosed German countryside for hidden technological hardware and the scientific brains behind the wonder weapon design.

The May 7, 1945 surrender document signed at Reims France. There was other regional surrenders before and after this date but this document ended the active fighting universally.

General situation May 1945 when peace came. Only the white zones controlled by German army. The red zones occupied by allied forces during the last two weeks of active war.

Post 8/4/17: Some high brow background material. The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) established the first secret recruitment program, called Operation Overcast, and hence the name for this scenario, initially “to assist in shortening the Japanese war and to aid our postwar military research.” The term “Overcast” was the name first given by the German scientists’ family members for the housing camp where they were held in Bavaria. In September 1945, the JCS established the Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency (JIOA) to directly oversee Operation Overcast and later Operation Paperclip. In November 1945, Operation Overcast was renamed Operation Paperclip by Ordnance Corps (United States Army) officers, who would attach a paperclip to the folders of those rocket experts whom they wished to employ in America. President Truman formally approved Operation Paperclip in a secret directive, circulated on September 3, 1946.

The later Operation Paperclip was the secret United States Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency (JIOA) program in which more than 1,600 German scientists, engineers, and technicians (many of whom were formerly registered members of the Nazi Party and some of whom had leadership roles in the Nazi Party) were recruited and brought to the United States for government employment from post-Nazi Germany (after World War II). The primary purpose for Operation Paperclip was for the U.S. to gain a military advantage in the burgeoning Cold War, and later Space Race, between the U.S. and Soviet Union. By comparison, the Soviet Union were even more aggressive in recruiting Germans; during their Operation Osoaviakhim, Soviet military units forcibly (at gunpoint) recruited 2,000+ German specialists to the Soviet Union during one night and sent them east. WR will add more dated scenario background material on future updating posts below.

Final military operations at war end. Soviets have taken Berlin. American armies surging into southern Germany, then Austria. Canadian and British take the North Sea coast line.

Early predetermined occupation zones circa 1944 into early 1945. The final zonal borders shifted with discussions between the allies. Note Austria also had several occupational zones.

The purple zone became Russian controlled after the western allies retired back to their established occupational zones.

This Flames of War (20mm) scenario has a large “build and paint” list of projects, especially compared to the other napoleonic Saalfeld 1806 scenario which has the majority of the terrain on hand (in collections) and miniatures painted. The list and expanded details of completion will be regularly posted to this updating blog article as WR and Daniel finish them: Continue reading

Preparation for Saalfeld 1806

Today is August the 1st. In two months WR is scheduled to GM, with his son Daniel, the 28mm Battle of Saalfeld 1806 napoleonic scenario at the regional HMGS-PSW Fall convention, held in Fullerton CA (CSUF) on Sept 30th-Oct 1st, and in conjunction with the International Plastic Modelers Society (IPMS) convention at the same location. Full convention details found on scanned flyer at end of this updating article. HMGS-PSW

WR intends to use this uupdating blog post to show the many steps WR completes to bring a convention level napoleonic scenario to life. Each week WR hopes to update this blog article with news of forward progress towards the Saalfeld 1806 napoleonic scenario, the unit miniatures needed or painted from bare lead, reference material collected, scenario written up, and the long list of small but incremental steps towards a “hoped for” successful scenario game. At the same time, another concurrent running progressive blog article will cover the other planned Flames of War (20mm) post war May 1945 scenario planned for Sept 30th at the same convention.

Look for the dated updates [xx/xx/17] below as WR adds to article text.

Scenario notes .doc file for Battle of Saalfeld 1806: Saalfeld 1806 Scenario notes

Initial 8/1/17 post: Why Saalfeld 1806? Well, about a decade ago WR acquired small Prussian 1806 28mm collection. At the same time, found on the Ebay world, someone was selling a collection of 1809 era unpainted (raw lead) 25mm Old Glory Saxons, which for a very cheap price, found a new home in the WR miniature ranks. About four years ago, just before moving to the new gaming warren, WR spent several winter and spring months painting up the 25mm Saxon collection for future 1809 campaign battles and also covering the 1806 era organizationally. WR is aware that the Old Glory miniature backpacks are French inspired and not Prussian look for the 1806 Saxons… but for this scenario, their gleaning white ranks will suffice unless Dan M and his “1806 correct uniform” Saxon miniatures make the tabletop. Either way, the Saxon army portion on the tabletop Saalfeld battlefield is miniature covered.

Required Saxon units for Saalfeld 1806 are: Saxon Hussars, KurPrinz Regt, Pz. Clemens Regt, the Xavier Regt, and a Saxon foot battery. All are found in the Saxony box below.

Saxons ready to go. The line cavalry is stored in another box but only the hussar regiment was at Saalfeld.

For the Prussians a lot more work is required by WR. Thankfully at Saalfeld 1806 the Prussian contingent is small and includes the following units: Schimmelpfenning Hussars, von Ruhle, von Pelet, and von Rabenau Fusilier btns, several Jager company sized detachments, the von Muffling Regt, and two Prussian artillery batteries. From the various Prussian miniatures groups pictured below, the Prussian contingent will take form during August.

Lots of basing and unit touch-up work required in the three early 1806 Prussian boxes.

Mixture of 1813-15 Prussian Landwehr and early 1806 Prussians (hussars, uhlans, and grenadier btns.). At least the majority are based into units.

Four Prussian musketeer regiments, three jager battalions, and three small fusilier battalions. The Prussian artillery is found in the common Prussian artillery box not pictured.

For the French 5th Corps (Lannes), WR has a large collection of bicorne republican and early imperial era French infantry and artillery to select from, including the actual numbered French ligne regiments. The painted French cavalry collection is more 1809-1812 era regiments but for the early Imperial campaign battles is little changed from an elevated eye viewing distance. WR will have to paint up the two French hussars regiments (9th and 10th) as they have distinct uniforms.

Massed early Imperial French regiments are needing their standards and some rapidographic black line work.

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WR visits Gamex

This past weekend WR traveled to Gamex 2017 at the Los Angeles Hilton near LAX with Daniel. Daniel had his own Flames of War 20mm scenario to GM with WR’s assistance, then on sunday WR and Daniel had a go with WR’s new 25/28mm napoleonic scenario for the Battle of Gospic (or Bilaj) 1809. More on these two scenario games in future WR posts. While at the convention, WR took quiet moments to walk, with his old camera in hand, visiting the nearby hall and tables covered with other miniature events. So… a quick report.

The main miniature gaming room with view of the general layout and tables. LAX Hilton hotel. The Battle for Troina 1943 table at far right, car wars next, then the Bolt Action group.

Another view of the miniatures hall and at left the start of the board games. White Oak swamp tables in view.

As mentioned, Daniel staged his Battle of Troina 1843 FOW 20mm scenario. WR will future post the Troina AAR and photos but for now here are three camera clicks of the table. Should note that all Italicized text below is from the GM’s game description in GAMEX convention PEL since WR isn’t always sure what the scenario storyline is about.

Battle for Troina Sicily 1943 Flames of War (20mm scale) GM: Daniel and Michael Verity. Battle of Troina (31 July to 6 August 1943), during the Sicilian invasion campaign. Forces of the U.S. II Corps, 1st Big Red Division, 26th Infantry Regt, engaged in fierce fighting around the town of Troina against the German 15th PzGren Division, 115th PzGren Regiment’s defense. Scenario focused upon the engagements on Monte Basilio northeast of Torina.

The entire Troina 1943 20mm FOW scenario board at start. German at left across the dry river bed while the American await the preliminary bombardment rolls.

Mid game, the German panzergrenadier teams are advance under fire across the dry riverbed.

American had off-board 155mm Long Tom battery with AOP flying overhead. Here the Nebelwerfer RL are targeted with bombardment.

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Strategicon – OrcCon 2017

Catching up with the recent gaming activities for WR. First is a quick report on the  Strategicon – OrcCon convention held every President’s Day weekend near LAX (Los Angeles airport). WR and his son Daniel GM’d two scenario games during the OrcCon convention. A Flames of War 20mm Salerno 1943 game and a small French Republican scenario called the Battle of Gaza 1799. Historically, the Gaza battle was a minor action but General Bonaparte made a bulletin mention of his “victory” so WR made his unusual scenario.

Calore River Crossing – Salerno 1943 Flames of War 20mm scenario run by Daniel (son of WR). Some teasing photos pending the full WR write-up on this hard-fought battle.

Calore River crossing – Salerno 1943 HMGS-PSW — Sat 11 am — Flames of War 20mm GM: Daniel Verity. Salerno – Calore River crossing 1943 Flames of War 20mm scenario based upon the efforts of 2nd Battalion, 179th RCT to advance across Calore river, block German access to Highway 19 near Serre, and link up with rest of their 179th RCT taking a different route towards Ponte-Sele and Serre. All gamers welcome. [Copied from the Orccon program book]

Calore River crossing 1943 scenario at start. A hard-fought tabletop action had four players enjoying the afternoon. Americans at right with first move, their German opponents at left.

Mid game with the arrival of the German StuG III armor. The red markers dotting the tabletop denote casualties on both sides.

Battle of Gaza 1799 run by WR. Having played this scenario years ago, the French and Levant Ottomans are facing off again. Will the Levant Ottomans win this time and repulse the French coastal advance towards Arce? This scenario went the distance with both sides having success and failures. Full WR report with photos to follow soon.

Battle of Gaza 1799 French vs. Ottomans – HMGS-PSW — Sun 11 am — Napoleonics 28mm GM: Michael Verity. Fun scenario with the French Armee d’Orient, under General Bonaparte, marching towards Gaza (Acre) and encountering portions of the Ottoman army of Damascus, under Jezzar Pasha, defending the sandy coastal hills. All gamers welcome, experienced or inexperienced.

A turn or two completed, the French arrival triggers some Levant Ottoman cavalry to advance and slow the French infantry columns and screening cavalry.

Battle in full swing about mid game, the Mameluke cavalry lines up to charge home. Sharp swords gleam in the sunlight. French heads to lop off…..

During the convention live gaming hours, WR made quick walk around trips to see the nearby miniature tables. Photos taken and brief game photo description of the action posted below. Continue reading

Battle of Castel Bolognese 1797 AAR

The Battle of Castel Bolognese on 3 February 1797 saw a 7,000 man force from the Papal States commanded by Michelangelo Alessandro FML Colli-Marchi face a 8,600-9,000 strong French corps under General Claude Victor-Perrin. General of Division Victor-Perrin’s march along the Via Emilla from Modena to Imola brought Colli-Marchi’s troops to battle across the Senio River, just east of Castel Bolognese towards Faenza.

WR discussed the short 1997 Papal States campaign in a previous blog article. To understand the brief campaign, the battle and forces involved, scenario design notes, and some Papal States background, click on my link:    Battle of Castel Bolognese 1797.

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Just before noon on the cold wintery Italian February day, the French Advance guard cavalry brigade, three small regiments of cavalry, under GB Junot [engage order] halts before the Senio River bridge crossing on road to Faenza. Across the shallow slow-moving waterway, the Papal States army has deployed behind hasty dug entrenchments blocking the forward advance of the recently victorious French army under General Bonaparte. Soon joined by the two converged elite battalions under GB Jean Lannes [also engage order], GB Junot’s attached horse battery unlimbered to send a message. The sharp crack of the 4 pounder horse battery echoes against the cloudy sky…. the Battle of Castel Bolognese or Faenza is soon to begin. Small tabletop game for the WR…. the scenario poker table battlefield is only 4′ x 4′ with Dan playing the recently victorious French and Daniel (WR son) trying to figure out who the Papal States were historically, discussion of which excluded in  educational curriculums.

Seeing the French artillery unlimbered across the river, the Papal States army formed up to meet the French aggression behind their earthworks. Formed into two equal commands, labelled generically for the scenario as the Left or Right flank commands, each command or wing had five battalions of infantry and two small cavalry detachments following their defend order. Central to the Papal defense was two positional artillery batteries, of six cannon each, positioned to cover the bridge over the Senio River. Small Papal cavalry detachments positioned themselves to guard the open flanks where the earthworks ended.

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Opening deployments. GB Junot’s three small cavalry “regiments”, really squadrons, are alongside the two battalions of GB Lannes. Across the river the Papal States are behind their entrenchments.

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