Monday, 24 January 2022

Operation Cygnet - Campaign Moves Day One

A bit more detail on the campaign, before things kick off in earnest. To start with I tweaked the following from Wesencraft's original, to try and reflect more Autumnal weather. At the start of each Campaign Turn move I would roll 2D6 to see what the weather was and then the following moves would be 1D6, to see if the weather changed or not. Nominally 3 Campaign Turns roughly equates to one day.

2-3     Fog
4        Mist
5-9     Fair Weather
10-11 Light Rain
12      Heavy Rain

German Forces
For the Germans, I thought what might plausibly be in the 'front line' plus a few 'Blinds', then three units were chosen randomly from the following:
Heer Kompanie
1st FJ Kompanie
FJ Assault Engineers Kompanie
Stug III Kompanie
2 x Blinds

With the German markers selected, it placed two on the villages in squares 12 & 19, with another one by the bridge in square 8. Naturally all were placed 'face down' so I, as the 'Attacker' wouldn't know what was in them. Alongside this I would play as if I didn't know something was there, but would send Recce units forward to probe the route of advance and likely areas of resistance.

The British would start arriving via the roads on squares 22, 23 & 24, led by the squadrons from the 43rd Recce Regiment (the Gloucestershire Regiment), followed by the 7th Somerset Light Infantry and the Sherwood Rangers.

The starting positions.

Turn 1 - Weather Fair
The 1st Recce Sqdn moved forward on the left towards the hills and stopped by the sanatorium (17) to observe the village of Wuppertell (12), but saw no enemy activity. The 2nd Recce Sqdn pushed up to the edge of the craggy foothills (13) but encountered no enemy. The 3rd Recce Sqdn on the right moved up to the village of Tremleurr and again there was no sign of the enemy. The 7th SLI then followed up Club Route (the main line of advance towards the objective in 13) with the Sherwood Rangers.

For the Germans, three new 'units' arrived via randomised die rolls and selection, all via the Western or Northern edges. Seeing the British Recce units approaching Tremleurr, the unit inside chose to reveal itself by opening fire and turned out to be the 1st Kompanie of the 3rd Battalion, Fallschirmjager Regiment 6.

The 43rd Recce Regiment lead the advance.

German re-inforcements begin to arrive from the North & West.

As the 3rd Recce Sqdn approach Tremleurr, the defenders open up, causing them to halt and radio back the situation to the 7th SLI Colonel.

Turn 2 - Weather Fair
With the enemy engaging the 3rd Recce Sqdn from Tremleurr, 'C' Coy 7th SLI and its supporting armour move towards the village in preperation for an attack. The reserves began to arrive and a Battery from the 94th Field Regiment Royal artillery deploys to be ready to provide fire support if required.

With the enemy on the right flank, the 2nd Recce Sqdn push carefully forward to the crossroads (13) but spot no signs of the enemy. The 1st Recce Sqdn move towards Wuppertell, but again see no signs of the enemy. 'A' & 'B' Coy's move up to the edge of the rocky ground (13) and wait, so as not to get too far ahead of the possible assault on Tremleurr.

The German re-inforcements move to the bridge (8), towards the road junction (7) and close in on Wuppertell. With the enemy so close, again the German 'unit' in Wuppertell chooses to reveal itself and turns out to be the Assault Engineers from the 3rd Fallschirmjager Battalion.

The end of the Campaign Turn 2.

The 1st Recce Sqdn have failed to spot the enemy in or near Wuppertell. The 2nd recce Sqdn is on 'overwatch' at the crossroads.

The British begin to move units towards Tremleurr in preperation for an assault, as they need to take the village quickly so as not to hold up the advance.

Turn 3 - Weather Mist
The weather takes a turn for the worse as late afternoon approaches, with a mist beginning to form. This will hamper visibility and so prevent any air support arriving and limit what the FAO can see. This does not prevent the build up to the assault on Tremleurr, as the AVRE unit is brought up and 'D' Coy moves forward in case it is needed to aid the assault. 'A' & 'B' Coys move through the craggy hills to support the 2nd Recce Sqdn that are holding fort at the crossroads. As this mist begins to form the 1st Recce Sqdn spots a German unit moving to the outskirts of Wuppertell and it turns out to be the 3rd Kompanie of the 3rd Battalion, Fallschirmjager Regiment 6. Seeing this the 2nd Recce Sqdn withdraws a safe distance from where they will observe the enemy whilst awaiting support.

Two more German 'units' arrive on the Northern table edge, whilst the 'unit' in 17 moves to the road junction there so as to be able to move towards either Wuppertell or the bridge (8) as required. With two Fallschirmjager Komapnies in Wuppertell, this is now a strong position and one that will require some effort to take, or it will remain a thorn in the side of the British advance.

The end of Campaign Turn 3.

Wuppertell appears to be strongly held. do the British try to take it or mask it as they continue their advance?

The British are ready to assault Tremleurr.

Next Moves
Well the next thing to do is to transfer the assault on Tremleurr to the table top. With the mist coming down and no air support and limited artillery support, plus dusk approaching, this might be a rather tough ask. Do the British wait until Dawn and attack then, hoping for better weather, or try and risk an assault from the line-of-march? Given their timetable to get to the bridge as quickly as possible, the latter option seems the best fit in campaign terms.

Thoughts So Far
It's early days I know, but so far things are working out as planned in terms of the broad campaign mechanics, which is all one can hope for really. The map and terrain information help drive the logical movements etc by both sides, which in turn helps drive the narrative. The 'Blinds' are working well along with the Recce spotting rules from Battlegroup Panzer Grenadier, although the British units have rolled very low, hence them not seeing a thing by and large! Still it all adds to the story.

The other good thing is it has motivated me to get back to the painting table and to try and finish off all those little additional units that have been in the queue for far too long! The actual game itself may be some days away due to real life, but I'm hoping to get it played out later on this week, all being well.

Until then stay safe and keep healthy!


  1. You create an interesting situation in whether to attack or wait. Anything that promotes a return to the painting desk is good thing. I sure like those Warplan operational maps.

    1. Those Warplan maps are great and with the terrain info, perfect for a whole raft of periods really. The decision to attack or wait is interesting. Wait too long and the German 'crust' will reform; go too early on the attack and attrition might mean you lose offensive power. Great to have these choices to mkae!

  2. A very enjoyable read, with excitement building already.

    For the German side, am I right that the reinforcements are drawn blindly from a pool and placed face down on their entry points, but that you then decide which direction they should move to?

    1. Thanks Norm! The reinforcements are drawn from a pool, with some of the bigger toys not yet available as it were. I'm trying to replicate the haphazard nature of the German troops arriving as per Operation Market Garden.

      They are drawn blind and kept face down and then moved to what I think would be reasonable positions on the map, such as the unit moving to the road junction on square 7 so it can move to the bridge or Wuppertell as the situation demands.

  3. A fascinating build up to the game, and good to see the weather playing a part in the decision making. The maps are very nice too.

    1. thanks Peter and I'm rather happy that I finally got to give the weatherboard a go, as it does bring a nice bit of uncertainty to the game. The maps are nice but probably a bit too subtle compared to today's graphics, but I like their watercolour feel.

  4. This is really good Steve and sets up for some fascinating encounters and some interesting command decisions? Looking forward to the next instalment.

    1. Thanks Stu and it's already shaping up rather nicely. The command decisions that this sort of map based campaign brings to the table are good and it adds another level of fun, especially for the solo gamer.

  5. A very interesting read, I like the Idee very much. Where did you get the maps from?

    1. Thanks Michael and glad you like the idea. The maps were kindly given to me by another Blogger. They are called Warplan 5/5 and were made in the 1970's I believe. Occasionally they come up for sale but I haven't seen any for quite some time. Shame really as they are brilliant.

  6. Things are unfolding well Steve. Now it’s time for decisions.
    Decisions, decisions, decisions… That’s what it’s all about. Good luck with whatever choice you make.

    1. Thanks Geoff. I'm hoping the British decision to attack in the late afternoon doesn't go all 'Pete Tong'! Also the weather needs to clear for the next day to allow some Allied air power support to arrive.

  7. A great way to build up to an on table confrontation Steve - the recce units probing forward (but not finding much) and the blinds for the Germans are great mechanisms - weather is important - look at the Battle of the Bulge and the first few days when there was no Allied air support...

    1. The blinds and recce do make for a much more entertaining solo campaign for sure. Even in BKC/CWC there are rules for blinds that need to be spotted, which is neat, as some of them may be blanks as it were. Also in Battle Group Panzer Grenadier, when you spot a tank, you put a model down but then still need to see what marque it is, which is a neat way to replicate Tiger fear.

      Weather is a component of a game that is often simply ignored and I am guilty of this as much as anyone else. Certainly with off table assets in more modern warfare, it is something that we should try to use more than we do. My plan is to use the weatherboard for all periods moving forward.

  8. Well, this is just brilliant: I must steal it (er, I find it inspirational). I've seen references and a few snaps of the warplan 5/5 system. Is it available anywhere (in any form) nowadays?

    1. Thanks Ed! I'm told it sometimes pops up on ebay from time to time, so worth keeping an eye out for it. It really is the sort of thing that needs to be republished IMHO.

    2. have the entire system scanned in; the copyright holder has been unfound for decades now. It was published over 50 years ago.

    3. I didn't realise they were that old, but by Jove are they good!