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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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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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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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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Battle of Gospic 1809 AAR

To continue the Gospic 1809 story line, WR and his son Daniel played out the 25/28mm napoleonic scenario at GAMEX this past Memorial Day week. Standard 8×6′ table, some unusual terrain features, a cast of Austrian battalion units uncommon for any tabletop battlefield and, like the Klagenfurt 1809 scenario, a use for the WR’s French train column miniatures.

The historical campaign background material for the Battle of Gospic 1809 can be read here: Battle of Gospic 1809

WR’s scenario notes (.doc) file for Gospic (Bilaj) 1809 scenario: Gospic 1809 Scenario Notes

Opening situation has GD Clauzel’s division entering lower right in columns. Ahead of them is the small voltiguer / sapper detachment heading for the Barlete bridge. At left, the leading units of Oberst Rebrovic’s command crossing the Licca river bridge. Village of Bilag center left in photo.

Closer view of GD Clauzel’s division. 8th Legere, 23rd Ligne, 11th Ligne, and attached 81st Ligne regiments with foot battery. Voltiguer detachments A & B at left with chasseurs and up ahead.

Oberst Rebrovic’s battalion columns crossing the Licca river bridge at Novoselo, heading towards Bilaj village and French off photo upper right corner. The first rocky outcrop is seen.

Alone and wondering what the day will bring, the local “militia or townsfolk” are joined by Hauptmann Hraovsky and the Hohenzollern Chevauleger detachment near Barlete bridge.

The scenario map to understand the tabletop details and distances. Scenario map is scaled like all the other WR scenario maps; one map square is 12 inches or 600 tabletop yards (50 yds to inch ground scale). The following map photo shows the scenario starting positions, or map squares, for each command or small detachment. The Battle of Gospic is not a large napoleonic battle in the scale of the times, but for the combatants, the fighting was just as sustained and bloody.

Scenario map without the positions of the commands. Clearly shows the Barlete bridge / ford Jadova river crossing, the Novoselo Licca river crossing, and the three rocky outcrops near Bilaj.

Commands and their map square scenario starting positions laid out. French have arriving reinforcements at G2 map edge. the Austrian detachments are possible reinforcements.

Sequence of Play clip

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