Tuesday, October 14, 2014

WW2 Naval Game With Air Support

This week I ran a WW2 Naval Game based on a Mediterranean convoy action.  I based it on the Vigorous & Halbard convoys of June 1942,when the Royal Navy's resources were stretched go their thinnest. The actual convoys are described in Vincent P O'Hara's book In Passage Perilous which I highly reccommend.  In June '42, the Italians with some Luftwaffe help stopped both convoys and won a surface action with the Western convoy's escorts.

I beefed up both sides, especially the Brits and included the air support - in the Battle of Panteleria there were air attacks simultaneously with the surface action!  The rules were General Quarters 3.

Forces are shown below.  Curt and Sean took the Italians and Sylvain and Conn the Brits.


In addition there were the following air assets ( all on call and arriving randomly except for the CAP flights).

  • 2 flights of RAF Hurricanes from Malta providing Combat Air Patrols (CAP)
  • 3 flights of Blenheim torpedo bombers from Malta
  • 3 flights of Swordfish with fighter support of 2 flights of Fulmars from HMS Eagle
  • A group of two blights each of JU87 dive bombers, JU88 bombers and MC200 fighters operating from Sicily
  • 3 flights of SM79 torpedo bombers also from Sicily

The surface action wasn't my best effort.  I had the two sides make contact within gun range and on opposite courses, so it turned into a Space Invaders or Micro Armour type shooting gallery with limited tactical maneuvers.  Next time around I'll remember to go with the raiders overhauling the convoy in a stern or quarter chase.

A large part of the exercise was to try the air rules and give me a reason to learn them!  Highlights included:

  • The Blenheims came on first.  The Italian destroyer screen shot down 1 flight and chased another off damaged.  However, the third flight torpedoed and sank Bolzano.
  • The mixed JU87/JU88/MC200 group came on next, with Sylvain attempting to intercept with the CAP. One flight of Hurricanes took a short cut over the convoy and was shot down by friendly fire from the escorts.  Seriously dude, what part of "Anti-Aircraft Cruiser" don't you get?
  • The MCs ganged up and shot down the other Hurricane flight.
  • Meanwhile the Luftwaffe went in on the Convoy.  The escort's AA fire was ineffective and one freight went down from a direct hit from a Stuka.  The other Stuka and a JU88 missed a second transport.

At this point we'd hit midnight and I was about to turn into a pumpkin so we called it a night.

Sean took many photos and sent me a link.  I'll post the best in a day or do.


  1. It was a fun game Peter, thanks for putting it on. I quite like the air rules. Suitably abstract but still with enough seasoning for fun (and I love the 1/600 minis you use for the squadrons). We have to try Narvik sometime soon...

  2. Curt
    I thought the air rules worked well too, although I'll have to go back and see where I misread the rules! The mental hamster is running on his wheel for Narvik.