Call out the Home Guard

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.
In a previous blog post I discussed my new Royal Navy Section which I will be using for Operation Sealion games. I already have on the workbench some Bolt Action partisans, which though designed for the Eastern Front will work just as well for games of Operation Sea Lion. I also have the Dad’s Army boxed set, which means I have some Home Guard already and extra civilians.

I had expressed how I liked the British LDV Section from Warlord Games and was pleased to pick up a box on discount from Firestorm Games on a recent visit.
British LDV Section from Warlord Games

On 14 May 1940, Britain’s Secretary of State for War Anthony Eden made a broadcast calling for men between the ages of 17 and 65 to enrol in a new force, the Local Defence Volunteers (LDV) to defend the country against the expected German invasion of Britain. By July, nearly 1.5 million men had enrolled – far outreaching the 150,000 the Government expected to volunteer.

Beginning life as a rag-tag militia, the LDV initially had to make do without uniforms, wearing a simple armband bearing the organisations initials. The LDV similarly struggled for modern weaponry – shotguns and improvised weapons such as golf clubs, crowbars and industrial tools were not uncommon. The LDV evolved into the Home Guard, becoming a well-equipped and well-drilled force.

Disparagingly referred to as ‘Look, Duck & Vanish’, the LDV were renamed to the more inspiring Home Guard. Although the German invasion of their country didn’t materialise this proud people’s army – the original ‘Dad’s Army’ continued to stand until it was disbanded in late 1945.

The box set contains a ten man section equipped with various improvised weaponry, with additional firearms and Molotov cocktails.
British LDV Section from Warlord Games
This is the rear view of the models.
British LDV Section from Warlord Games
There has been lots of discussion about how effective the LDV would be against elite German Fallschirmjäger or even regular Wehrmacht forces. Trained soldiers generally will easily overcome irregulars in a straight firefight, one question though would British LDVs become the resistance?
These models could also be used as British Auxiliaries which were trained in irregular combat and were expected to fight on after invasion and occupation.

Of course, these models will also be suitable (as will my other Sea Lion British forces) for games set in the realm of the Very British Civil War.
So what units are you mustering to defeat the Germans as launch Operation Sea Lion?

It’s the Navy!

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.

I already have on the workbench some Bolt Action partisans, which though designed for the Eastern Front will work just as well for games of Operation Sea Lion. I also have the Dad’s Army boxed set, which means I have Home Guard and civilians.

I quite like the look of the new LDV from Warlord Games, but one unit that was recently released caught my attention. The Royal Navy section looked really interesting.

Warlord Games Bolt Action Royal Navy section

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.

Warlord Games Bolt Action Royal Navy section

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.

Warlord Games Bolt Action Royal Navy section

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 ream of the 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!

So what units are you mustering to defeat the Germans as launch Operation Sea Lion?

Dad’s Army hits the big screen

Dad's Army on the big screen

So the first trailer for the reboot of Dad’s Army is out.

It hits the big screens in 2016. It has Toby Jones as Captain Mainwaring, Michael Gambon as Prviate Godfrey, Bill Nighy as Sergeant Wilson, Tom Courtenay as Lance-Corporal Jack Jones, Bill Paterson as Private Fraser and Daniel Mays as Private Joe Walker. And Catherine Zeta-Jones will set pulses racing in her role as visiting journalist Rose Winters

Any reboot is always a challenge, however I am quite looking forward to watching this when it comes out. The characters are not quite the same as the long running TV series. Bill Nighy though makes the role of Sergeant Wilson his own.

Dad's Army on the big screen

Though Tom Courtenay makes a cracking Corporal Jones.

Dad's Army on the big screen

Who do you think you are kidding…

Probably my favourite demonstration game at Bristol’s Reveille 2014 was the Dad’s Army 28mm using the Pulp Alley rules.

The players were in charge of Walmington on Sea’s finest as they hunt for a bailed out German aircrew, the problem is there’s also a German uboat crew searching for them as well…

The scenery looked great.

As well as the Home Guard there was also a lovely model of Jones’ Butcher’s Van.

"You know, when I was in the Sudan…"

I’ve always had a bit of an affinity with the Home Guard, though surprising I never really use to watch Dad’s Army very much. I have probably seen more episodes in the last five years than I have in the thirty before then! It is a classic British comedy set during the dark days of World War Two focusing on the (mis)adventures of a Local Defence Volunteer platoon as they prepare for what back then was seemed an inevitable German invasion.

Dad's Army

Of course the LDV became known as the Home Guard, but referred to by many as Dad’s Army, hence the name given to the sit-com. It ran to eighty episodes from 1968 to 1977 and as well as the TV shows, there was a film, radio shows and a stage play.

There have been quite a few unofficial versions of the Dad’s Army platoon including this one for Flames of War that I mentioned back in 2008. I have also been painting some 15mm Home Guard miniatures for Flames of War using some old metal models I bought many years ago.

In some ways it’s nice to see that Warlord Games are going to release a licensed version of the Walmington-on-Sea platoon for Bolt Action.

Warlord Games' Dad’s Army Home Guard Platoon Boxed Set

We’re delighted to be able to show off our officially licenced Dad’s Army Home Guard platoon boxed set. Based on the long-running TV series, these superb miniatures are now available to pre-order!

During the dark days of 1940, Britain was under dire threat of Nazi invasion. A massive citizen army, the Local Defence Volunteers, was raised to defend their families and homes. Although armed with old or ad hoc weapons and equipment the Home Guard, as it became known, was a vital part of the defence of British shores. Based on these proud defenders of the realm, the classic TV series, Dad’s Army produced some of television’s most enduring catchphrases and characters as it followed the adventures of Walmington-on-Sea’s Home Guard platoon.

There are 18 models in the box, consisting of the platoon in both civilian clothes and in battledress. Along with the verger, the vicar and ARP Warden Hodges.

They do look very good and very much have caught the character of the actors who played the parts in the sit-com.

Will I get a box? Well you never know.

Dad's Army

Who do you think you are kidding…

I have been looking at Flames of War for a while now, as back in the late 1990s I bought a lot of 15mm (1/100th) World War Two tanks and miniatures; I even painted some!

On the Flames of War website they have a very nice article on building a Dad’s Army unit for Flames of War.

dadsarmy03

The article not only has pictures of the nicely painted miniatures, it also has pictures of how the different miniatures were modelled.

I have always liked the idea of gaming Operation Sealion and this article is quite inspiring.

Dad’s Army

Dad’s Army defending Lyddle End from the invading German forces, circa 1940…

Many years ago I bought a bundle of Dad’s Army and German forces in 15mm for playing Operation Sealion games. I painted some, but most have spent a lot of time unprimed and unpainted.

Having recently read a few books recently which have rekindled my interest in Operation Sealion. These have included Collaborator by Murray Davies which is set in a nazi occupied Britain and tells the story of a British soldier working for the occupying forces as a translator who then gets involved in the resistance…

Real history books which have also inspired included Berlin The Downfall 1945 by Antony Beevor, the author of Stalingrad. and The Model Occupation: The Channel Islands Under German Rule, 1940-1945.

The Leader by Guy Walters though not an Operation Sealion alternative history, also provided inspiration.

This picture shows one of my Dad’s Army vehicles which I have repainted, It is set with some N Gauge scenery from the Lyddle End Hornby range.

Home Guard Standard Beaverette
Home Guard Standard Beaverette

The N Gauge models are out of scale, 1/148th compared to the 1/100th scale of 15mm World War Two. I also want to use the buildings with Warmaster figures as well.