As I start to reflect on possible forces for Operation Sea Lion games I have been looking around to see what is available, there have been some useful articles in the mainstream wargaming press on this subject too.
Armed primarily with the reliable Lee Enfield rifle and often supported by a Lewis machine gun, sections of highly disciplined and well-equipped naval ratings with considerable experience of close combat fighting are a fearsome opponent.
Clad in their dark blue uniforms and 1908 pattern webbing these Jack Tars will provide a dash of colour to an otherwise khaki British force.
As the war progressed, it was Royal Navy Commandos or Royal Marines who would lead shore parties rather than Navy sailors. However in the realms of Operation Sea Lion you can easily imagine German Fallschirmjäger attacking a British Navy base to secure it to defuse any opposition. The only thing they weren’t expecting was some sailors to fight back.
Another idea would be, following a German invasion and the establishment of a successful beachhead with troops moving inland, the British command send in a Royal Navy shore party secretly to rescue a key scientist who has been left behind the lines in a seaside resort. The shore party need to find the scientist, whilst avoiding Wehrmacht patrols. They may have the support of local defence volunteers, potentially even members of an Auxiliary Unit.
Of course these Naval forces will also be suitable (as will my other Sea Lion British forces) for games set in the realm of A Very British Civil War.
You can see how in the turmoil of a British internal conflict, local militia attempting to secure weapons from a naval base, find that it wasn’t going to be as easy as they thought. They did bring a hastily improvised armoured civilian truck, however then the Molotov cocktails started to rain down on them.
The rules for the Royal Navy section can be found in the Bolt Action Campaign Sea Lion expansion. When I first read this campaign book, I didn’t expect that Warlord Games would release “obscure” units such as this for the game, however I have been pleasantly surprised by the variety and number of releases for the expansion. I am probably thinking in the past of rule publications that “talk the talk” but due to a range of issues didn’t “walk the walk”. Part of this was probably down to the fact that there were companies who made miniatures and then there were companies who published rules. There were a few who did both, but not many. Warlord Games are one of those companies who do both, and do both well; you can tell their Games Workshop heritage in their business practices.
The boxed set contains ten models. A petty officer leading the squad armed with SMG. There is a two man Lewis Gun LMG team, which will provide much needed fire support against an Fallschirmjäger attack.
There are seven unique sailors all with rifles and three have Molotov cocktails. Well that Lee Enfield isn’t going to be much use against those Jerry Panzers!
The first stage is to clean the miniatures, and base them.