Saga – Vikings vs Saxons in the Snow

March 10, 2018

This weekend the local HMGS-South group played a SAGA game. Consistent with the recent weather in Britain, the game was played on snow-covered ground. Each side had one battle board and shared the available activations and actions among the players.

Casualties were high on both sides, but in the end the Saxons had repelled all the Viking attacks and were declared the victors.


1/6000 Naval – Armored and Protected Cruisers

March 6, 2018

Some earlier British, French and German armored and protected cruisers completed between 1892 and 1905, using Figurehead 1/6000 scale models.

Heroes of Normandie – Behind Utah Beach

February 24, 2018

This weekend the local HMGS-South group played a game of Heroes of Normandie.

June 7, 1944 – behind Utah Beach. 

Baker Company of the 8th RCT, 4th Infantry Division is pushing inland to the town of St-Marie-du-Mont. However, the route to the town is blocked by the Germans of the 2nd Company, 919th Infantry Regiment. The Germans have placed a PAK 40 ATG to cover the road and dug in around a cluster of farm buildings. The PAK has already knocked out the leading M4 Sherman of Baker Company’s armor support. The scenario begins with Baker Company deployed for a full assault against the German positions.

This used the Attack/Defense scenario. The American point total was around 500, the German around 250 points.

No photos were taken due to the poor memory of the photographer.

We played 7 turns of the 8 turn scenario in about four hours. The Americans had not reached the objective bridge and had lost their light vehicles and some infantry. The Germans had lost about half their units and the outer defense line was gone.


WW1 Naval – Brindisi 1915

February 10, 2018

This weekend the local HMGS-South group played a fictitious naval battle set in the Adriatic in WW1. On June 15, 1915, a few weeks after the Italian declaration of war on Austria-Hungary, the Austro-Hungarian fleet sails to attack Brindisi and to lure out Italian fleet. The Italians are alerted and hope to avenge Lissa.

Visibility 14,000 yards. Wind WSW at 10 knots. Seastate 2.

Status at the end of the game: Brin IO

Damage output file: Brin output report

Player reports:
Brin Italian reports
Brin A-H reports

Plots of ship movements:
0-20 minutes brin-plot 0-20
20-45 minutes brin-plot 20-45
All brin-plot

Computer code (described here)

After four hours of play we ended the game with the Austro-Hungarians having lost 2 battleships and all their destroyers and the Italians having lost most of their destroyers. Several cruisers on both sides were badly shot up.


Heroes of Normandie Demo

January 27, 2018

This weekend the local HMGS-South group tried a demo game of Heroes of Normandie. Five players divided up 3 US and 3 German platoons, including one tank platoon on each side. It was an informal meeting engagement to try out the rules.

Klingon Frigates

January 24, 2018

These are Amarillo Design Bureau Starline 2500 series ‘Klingon E4 Light Frigates‘ cast in metal several years ago. At 36 mm in length, they are much larger than my old escorts. They will be used for a class intermediate in size between my F5s and D7s. The E4s and F5s will thus be reversed by size, but that avoids re-labeling all the old models.

Decals on new ships are from Mark’s Models and Toys.

Bolt Action – Edson’s Ridge

January 14, 2018

This weekend the local HMGS-South group played a Bolt Action game.  The scenario was based on the second night of the Battle of Edson’s Ridge, which occurred on the night of 13-14 September 1942. The ridge was part of the defenses of Henderson Field, Guadalcanal. This game involved the position of the 1st Marine Raider Battalion, attacked by Kokusho’s and Tamura’s battalions of the Japanese 124th Infantry Regiment.


HeroClix Klingon Battlecruisers

January 7, 2018

These are Star Trek HeroClix I.K.S. Amar models (from the Tactics IV set), after painting and rebasing. Compared to the normal HeroClix Klingon battlecruisers, they have extra bits sticking out from the front of the wings and from the neck, as well as other differences in detail. In most Star Trek lore the Amar is the quintessential K’t’inga class. The card that came with these models mentions the Kelvin Timeline, so that may explain the differences.

Edit: A photo of an unpainted Amar is added.

Course Calculation for Constant Range – 1913

December 22, 2017

In October 1913, Chatfield (Beatty’s flag captain) wrote a memorandum entitled “Fast Division Work from a Gunnery Standpoint” (The Beatty Papers Vol I, Item 49, page 90). This memorandum included the following statements about changes in gunnery range:

“… the attempt to obtain a tactical, or rather a gunnery advantage, usually results in a high and frequently changing rate due to constant change of course. This must affect the gun fire, possibly … to such an extent as to entirely neutralize the value of the position gained.”

“… it is quite easy, with superior speed, to calculate suitable courses which will keep the range constant and the rate nil …”

“The T must never be crossed at too broad an angle as this is unnecessary and causes a big and difficult rate.”

Two examples are given in the memorandum for a fast division speed 5 knots greater than the enemy. Both are apparently wrong and were corrected in notes added by Beatty. Also, specifying only the difference in speed is insufficient. The solution for 10 knots and 15 knots (for example) would be significantly different from the solution for 20 knots and 25 knots.

The following diagram shows the problem in a general form, where:

Ao Angle before the beam of the enemy
De Distance traveled by the enemy unit over the time interval
Df  Distance traveled by your unit over the time interval
R   Range to the enemy unit
A   Angle to steer toward enemy

Although Chatfield says he can calculate ‘perfect gunnery courses’, the range is not precisely constant over the time interval. It is only the same at the start and end points. Line Df would need to be a curve (implying a continuous change of course) to keep the range constant at all times.

A general solution to the problem can be developed by using the Law of Cosines. The area swept by the fire range is divided into two triangles:

To keep the formulas to a manageable size, intermediate terms are calculated:

Tables for various combinations of speeds, ranges and angles can be created:

Seekrieg 5 – Gulf of Finland 1916

December 9, 2017

This weekend the local HMGS-South group played a WWI naval game using the Seekrieg 5 rules.

May 15 1916,  07:30 Western Gulf of Finland
The Russians launch a heavy raid against the German patrols/ blockade of St Petersburg. The Russians sail from St Petersburg just before dusk on the 14th. At dawn both sides are sighted. Clear good weather. Visability starts ar 18,000 yards, increases to 24,000 yards by turn 5 as the morning haze lifts.

BB Petropavlovsk
BB Gangut
CA Bayan (II)
CA Rurik
CL Jemtchug
Speed 14 knots. Course 270.

BB Helgoland
PBB Deutschland
PBB Schlesien
PBB Hannover
CL Berlin
CA Roon
Speed 8 knots. Course 090. Initial direction to the Russians determined randomly.

Victory is based mostly on damage inflected. The Russians need to avoid a lot of damage. They cannot replace their ships, and badly damaged ships will find no safe harbor for repair. The Russians would like to “run” the Blockade to get into the German merchant shipping, but have to be only lightly damaged for that.

Mines: The Gulf of Finland has been mined by the Russians, but the Germans have prevented the Russians from maintaining the minefields. Some mines have broken loose and wandered. The mines have a low chance of contact (<5% / column of ships / turn). Slower ships can better avoid them. Only the lead ship of a column is at risk. The Russians have out of date maps, giving them some knowledge of where the mines are. Mines should influence tactics but not dominate the game. If ships stay in column there is about a 48% chance of one mine explosion in an 8 turn game.


Both sides led with light cruiser to take any mine hits. None occurred. Both sides turned to the north to bring their batteries to bear. With the rear ships out of range, the early turns pitted the two Russian dreadnoughts against the dreadnought Helgoland, while the armored cruiser Roon targeted the light cruiser Jemtchug. After 8 turns the Helgoland was a wreck (8 tiers of damage, two fires and only one remaining damage control team). No other ships had been significantly damaged. We called the game as a Russian victory.