I just need to make a call…

So you are trying to set the scene for Operational Sea Lion games for Bolt Action.

One of the challenges has been finding British scenery. If you were playing in 20mm then there was a whole model railway scene for an English landscape. However if you went down the 15mm (or the 28mm) road then alas there was very little available.

With the release of the Sea Lion campaign books from Warlord Games for Bolt Action, it’s nice to see that they are also releasing some nice scenery pieces to go with the campaign.

Fill your battlefields with iconic British objects – the Police, Telephone and Pillar boxes. An absolute must have for any British battlefield, providing key communication hubs for your local defence volunteers.

Of course I am probably not alone thinking, hmmm blue Police Box, I wonder who uses that!

So as well as Operation Sea Lion, you could also the scenery for Doctor Who games (pity the nice new Warlord Games Doctor Who miniatures are 32mm and not 28mm).

Also I can see these scenic items proving useful for a Very British Civil War games, as well as many of the Operation Sealion releases from Warlord Games. I do like their LDV volunteers for example.

I wonder if there are any other releases on the horizon?

Somerset Pillbox

Went for a walk along Sand Bay (near to Weston super Mare). I find it interesting that there is a pillbox on the beach, as you wouldn’t have thought that this coastline was under threat of German invasion back in 1940.

Somerset Pillbox

However doing some research about the pillbox, I came to realise that the British in 1940 did believe that invasion may come from the South West.

The Taunton Stop Line was a defensive line in south west England. It was designed “to stop an enemy’s advance from the west and in particular a rapid advance supported by armoured fighting vehicles (up to the size of a German medium tank) which may have broken through the forward defences.

The Taunton Stop Line ran north-south for nearly 50 miles through Somerset, Dorset and Devon, roughly from Axminster to Chard along the River Axe, then along the Great Western Railway to Ilminster, the railway and Chard Canal to Taunton, the Bridgwater and Taunton Canal to Bridgwater, and the River Parrett to the coast near Highbridge.

A beach battery at Portished, was built to protect the entrance to Avonmouth Docks. It was the first such installation to be become operational in the area, the battery containing two 6″ guns. Similarily the Severn Fixed Defences were designed to protect the Bristol Channel with batteries established at Brian Down and on Steep Holm and Flat Holm.

In October 1940 it was announced that the Severn Fixed Defences, a string of gun batteries, designed to protect the mouth of the Severn, would be established at Brean Down, on both Steep and Flat Holm, and on the Glamorgan coast at Lavernock Point.

Just like Brean Down further south along the coast, weapons were tested at Sand Point (next to Sand Bay) during the Second World War. Some were so strange that they were never seen after their initial trials.

Somerset Pillbox

With the release of the Bolt Action Sealion Campaign book it got me thinking about all the possibilities of a German invasion of Somerset… okay probably would have been impossible, but even so….

SS-GB

SS-GB

Adapted from Len Deighton’s 1978 alternate history novel, and starring Sam Riley and Kate Bosworth, SS-GB premieres on BBC One on the 19th February 2017.

Produced by Sid Gentle Films Ltd and written by Bafta Award-winners Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, SS-GB is a complex thriller focusing on British Detective Douglas Archer.

Forced to work under the brutal SS in occupied London, Archer is determined to continue to do his job in the service of his country, but against impossible odds.

We first meet Archer in 1941, with the vast majority of England and Wales are under Nazi occupation after losing the Battle of Britain. Pockets of resistance continue to show their defiance against the occupying German forces, but after a German pilot is murdered by a British Resistance fighter, tensions in London could not be higher.

When investigating what appears to be a simple black market murder, Archer is dragged into a much darker and more treacherous world where the stakes are as high as the ultimate outcome of the war. The elusive American journalist Barbara Barga may hold the key – but can he trust her? And when his lover Sylvia endangers her life by bravely making a stand against the oppressive regime, Archer is forced to confront a deeper dilemma. Can he carry out his duty to defend law and order when he is working for the wrong side? What is he willing to risk in the fight against fascism?

The trailer and the images released so far, show a disturbing image of London under Nazi occupation. What may have happened if the proposed Operation Sealion was successful and Britain had lost the Battle of Britain in 1940.

Though most experts agree that there was little or no chance of Operation Sealion ever succeeding, many people have wondered and extrapolated what could have happened if it had indeed taken place and the Germans were victorious.

The background of SS-GB offers a range of gaming scenarios across different kinds of actions and scales. I may explore these in a later post once I have viewed the first few episodes.

15mm Home Guard MkIV Male Tank

15mm Home Guard MkIV Male Tank

15mm Home Guard MkIV Male Tank

I have had this tank for sometime. Having found the 6pdrs I glued them in. Don’t remember the manufacturer, though it may be Minifigs! When I was planning some Operation Sealion games back in the 1990s I intended that the Home Guard would make use of a museum Mark IV Male tank. I mentioned this also in an article I wrote on a French themed Operation Sealion, Otaire de Vigneur.

To add a bit of diversity to my games, I also have one of Minifigs’ World War One British tanks, for use by a Home Guard unit (stolen from a local museum no doubt).

Now  when I wrote that article and bought the miniature it was only an assumption and what I thought would be a nice idea, and probably had no basis in truth….

How wrong I was….

Operation Sealion – Airfix Magazine

The Vintage Wargaming blog has a nice series of posts with scans of the 1975 Airfix magazine that explored Operation Sealion, the possibility, the weapons and wargaming the invasion. Some really nice pictures of old 20mm wargames complete with Airfix railway scenery (the kits now available from Dapol) as well as Airfix military vehicles. Well worth a look.

15mm Home Guard MkIV Male Tank

I have had this tank for sometime. Don’t remember the manufacturer, though it may be Minifigs! When I was planning some Operation Sealion games back in the 1990s I intended that the Home Guard would make use of a museum Mark IV Male tank. I mentioned this also in an article I wrote on a French themed Operation Sealion, Otaire de Vigneur.

To add a bit of diversity to my games, I also have one of Minifigs’ World War One British tanks, for use by a Home Guard unit (stolen from a local museum no doubt).

Now  when I wrote that article and bought the miniature it was only an assumption and what I thought would be a nice idea, and probably had no basis in truth….

Well just shows a little historical research never hurt anyone, as the Bovington Tank Museum has on display a Mark IV Male tank that was used just in this way. It was used in World War One and then presented to the Navy. When war broke out in September 1939, the  Tank Mark IV (Male) number 2324 was refurbished for Home Guard duties; according to the Bovington Tank Museum website.

Our exhibit, a male tank, was presented to the Royal Navy’s Gunnery School, HMS Excellent after the war to commemorate their help training Tank Corps gunners and it was temporarily refurbished for Home Guard duties in 1940. (Believed to have been achieved by removed parts from another tank possibly on Southsea Common.)

This photograph is from HMS Excellent in 1940.

Another view of the Mark IV at speed.

So though I thought my idea was probably if Operation Sealion had happened, I didn’t think and didn’t realise that it had in fatc happened despite the fact that the Germans hadn’t invaded.

So if you are playing Flames of War Operation Sealion games using the Blitzkreig sourcebook than you can use a Mark IV Male tank as part of your Home Guard forces.Not sure how long though it would last against German Panzers though…

Now who has the stats for a Mark IV tank for Flames of War?

Operation Sealion Invasion Plans

1000px-OperationSealion.svgNewly released files from MI5 explain how the Germans would have taken Dover and invaded England during World War Two if they had won the air from the RAF during the Battle of Britain.

Dover was to be the focal point of the invasion, but troops would have landed elsewhere along the south coast, as well as in Scotland and the south of Ireland.

After the shock troops had captured the docks at Dover, the plan was for the main contingent of German troops to be brought over in barges and disembark at the docks.

Subterfuge would have been a key part of the German plans for Operation Sealion.

German shock troops would have landed at Dover, dressed in British uniforms, if the Luftwaffe had won the Battle of Britain, newly-released files suggest.

Read more.

Blitzkrieg

Flames of War go all early war with their new supplement Blitzkrieg.

fowblitzkrieg

I do quite like the idea of gaming the Early War, playing the French. Well the Char B1 is a classic tank, slightly World War One and quite powerful for that period of the war.

Another thing to think about with Flames of War Early

Many years ago I looked into playing some Operation Sealion games using 15mm miniatures. Didn’t get too far, but did paint a few miniatures.

A Standard Beaverette of the Home Guard on patrol by a farm. This is a 15mm scale model with farm buildings from Hornby’s N gauge Lyddle End range.

Now that Flames of War are starting an Early War range there is the potential to restart my Operation Sealion idea.

Standard Beaverette

 A Standard Beaverette of the Home Guard on patrol by a farm.

Standard Beaverette

This is a 15mm scale model with farm buildings from Hornby’s N gauge Lyddle End range.

The first version of the vehicle was built in 1940 by Standard Motor Company at the instigation of Lord Beaverbrook, then Minister of Aircraft Production (hence the name Beaverette). It was based on commercial car chassis, on which a simple riveted armoured hull was mounted. The 11mm of steel was backed by 3 inch thick oak planks. The hull was open at the top and at the rear. The armament consisted of Bren machine gun which could be fired through a slot in the glacis armour. Subsequent versions received all-around protection and a machine gun turret – an enclosed one with Bren MG or an open-topped one with twin Vickers machine guns. Some vehicles also carried Boys anti-tank rifles. Some had No. 11 or No. 19 radio set. The production was stopped in 1942. About 2,800 units were delivered.

I have always liked the idea of gaming Operation Sealion and one day I may get some more of my collection painted and out on the gaming table.