The Sands of New Stanhall revisted

Nearly twenty one years ago(!) – at COW1997 – Ian Drury ran a wargame about an amphibious operation in the South Pacific. The game saw a US Marine Division assault the Japanese-defended island of New Stanhall, and it was one of the first times I took part in a figure game that was fought out on a tabletop that was divided up into areas. All movement and combat was area-to-area, and the combat system was very simple but also very effective.

This game came to mind after a recent exchange of emails with David Crook, and after I re-read the rules it struck me that they were capable of use – after a few small changes – for a quick divisional-level wargames set during the Second World War.


Some extracts from the original rules:

Turn sequence
Each day is divided into 3 turns

  • Forenoon
  • Afternoon
  • Night
  1. US player moves
  2. Japanese player moves
  3. Both sides reveal artillery/mortar/machine gun units that will provide support fire for combat
  4. Resolve combat between hostile ground forces in the same area

Example unit: US Marine Division

  • 1 x HQ (1 figure)
  • 3 x Marine regiments, each comprising three battalions, with each battalion having three companies (1 figure = 1 company)
  • 3 x Marine assault engineer platoons (1 figure with a flamethrower = 1 platoon)
  • 1 x Marine tank battalion comprising companies of M4 Sherman tanks (1 model tank = 1 company)
  • 1 x Pioneer battalion comprising three companies (1 figure = 1 company)
  • 1 x Marine weapons battalion comprising one machine gun and one mortar company (1 weapon and 1 figure = 1 company)
  • 1 x Marine artillery regiment comprising one battery of 155 mm howitzers and three batteries of 75 mm howitzers (1 weapon and 1 figure = 1 battery)

Total = 40 figures with 3 flamethrowers, 1 machine gun, 1 mortar, 4 howitzers, and 2 tanks

Example unit: Japanese mobile defenders

  • 1 x HQ (1 figure)
  • 24 x Rifle companies (1 figure = 1 company)
  • 12 x Machine gun companies (1 weapon and 1 figure = 1 company)
  • 3 x Anti-tank gun companies (1 weapon and 1 figure = 1 company)
  • 3 x Battalion gun companies (1 weapon and 1 figure = 1 company)
  • 2 x Pack artillery batteries (1 weapon and 1 figure = 1 battery)

Total = 45 figures with 12 machine guns, 3 anti-tank guns, 3 battalion guns, and 2 pack guns

Movement
US units move 2 areas per daytime move, but 1 area per night time move whereas Japanese units move 1 are per daytime move and 2 areas per night time move. (US units moving at night could be ambushed or get lost.) Units stop as soon as they enter an area already occupied by an enemy unit.

Weapon ranges

  • Infantry weapons: Same area
  • Flamethrowers: Same area
  • Machine guns: Same or adjacent areas
  • Mortars: Up to two areas
  • Anti-tank guns: Same or adjacent areas
  • Battalion guns: Up to two areas
  • Pack guns: Up to two areas
  • US Howitzers: Unlimited range

Combat
Combat occurs between US and Japanese ground forces in the same area. Both sides can receive support from air strikes, naval gunfire or nearby artillery/machine-gun units.

  • Supporting fires roll a D6 per air strike, shore bombardment or artillery unit supporting the ground forces. Each score of 6 removes one enemy ground unit. Japanese support fire (artillery) fires first;
  • First round of ground combat roll a D6 for each ground unit in action, removing one enemy unit for each 6 scored. If one side was in sole occupancy of the area at the beginning of the turn, it rolls first and the other side’s losses are removed before firing.
  • Second and third round of ground combat. As for 2 but both sides fire simultaneously.
  • If the US forces lose more units than the Japanese they must retreat one area.
  • If the Japanese lost more than the US and advanced into the area this turn they must retreat one area. Otherwise the survivors fight on.

The above is not a complete set of rules, but they do give a flavour of how they work.

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Comparing ROCO and Zvezda models of the T-34/76 tank

I decided to construct one of the Zvezda models of a T-34/76 tank to see how it compared in size with a ROCO model that I had. The results were interesting.

The Zvezda model is 1:100th-scale and the ROCO model is 1:87th-scale, and the latter should be 15% larger. In fact the main dimensions of the two models are as follows:

  • ROCO: 68mm x 34mm
  • Zvezda: 61mm x 30mm

When compared, the ROCO model is 7mm (and therefore 11.5%) longer and 4mm (and therefore 13.3%) wider than the Zvezda model.

The most noticeable difference is the height of the two models. The ROCO is 30mm high and the Zvezda model is 24mm high … which I estimate means that the ROCO model is about 2.5mm too tall.

It is reasonably well known that the ROCO model is not one of their most accurate models, but I do have a lot of them. I also have quite a few Corgi ready-painted diecast models of the T-34 from their ‘Fighting Machines’ range, which are variously described as being 1:80th or 1:72nd-scale. When these are placed alongside the Zvezda model, the difference in size is far more noticeable.


A great Saturday … but an awful Sunday

Sue and I enjoyed our trip to Bristol. The hotel we stayed in on Friday night was excellent value, their restaurant produced some very good food, and we both slept well. On Saturday I went to the Masonic meeting – which I thoroughly enjoyed – and the after-meeting meal was one of the best I have ever eaten after a Masonic function.

Just after 4.00pm we left Bristol to return home, and the journey was only marred by the fact that I seemed to be developing a rather sore throat, my eyes were beginning to itch, and I kept feeling very hot or shivering. In fact by the time we arrived home just after 7.15pm, it was obvious that I was coming down with a heavy cold, and by 10.pm I was asleep.

I was supposed to be going to the CAVALIER wargames show in Tonbridge on Sunday, but when I awoke on Sunday morning, I felt awful. The cold had developed overnight, and all I wanted to do was to stay still, keep warm, and not to venture outside into the freezing cold. Unfortunately we had to go shopping on Sunday morning for some food, and driving to the local shops and back confirmed my decision that going to Tonbridge was not a good idea.

Feeling unwell did give me the excuse to sit in from of the TV all afternoon and into the early evening watching THE BRIDGE AT REMAGEN, A BRIDGE TOO FAR, and WHERE EAGLES DARE. It was almost as if the TV channel knew I was going to be ill and would need something to keep my fevered brain semi-active!

I did everything that one is supposed to do when one has a cold. I took aspirin to deal with the headache and to reduce the fever (I cannot take paracetamol as I am allergic to the substance they add to make you vomit if you take too many!), and I drank lots of fluids. It certainly relieved the worst of the symptoms, and by this morning I was feeling somewhat better. As I write – however – it is snowing outside, and before I can take it easy today I have to get the salt and shovel out of the garden store … just in case I need to use it as the week progresses.


The current state of play

As far as sorting out the storage in my toy/wargames room is concerned, that part of the operation is now complete, and the room now looks like this:

(These photographs were taken starting at the door and going around the room in a clockwise direction.)

The next stage of the sort out will involve:

  • Going through each of the white-fronted draw units and sorting out what needs to be retained and what need to be disposed of;
  • Going through each of the stacked Really Useful Boxes and sorting out what needs to be retained and what need to be disposed of;
  • Re-arranging the contents of the white-fronted draw units and Really Useful Boxes so that it will be easier to find and access.

I am not sure how long this will take. For example, my Napoleonic collection is stored in quite a few of the Really Useful Boxes, and in their case all that is required is for them to be stacked so that each nationality is together. On the other hand, my World War II collection is spread between both types of storage and is rather jumbled up, and sorting that out is likely to be a long task.

I intend to take a few days break before I tackle this next stage as I know that the next issue of THE NUGGET will be due for publication very soon, and I need to make sure that I have the time to check it before taking it to the printer and sending it out to subscribers.


The end is in sight … I think!

After several days of frustrating work (frustrating because I keep finding things and thinking ‘I could use that for …‘), the end of this stage of the big sort out is finally in sight … I hope!

With luck I should begin getting stuff back into place this morning, and by this afternoon I hope to be able to feel that I cannot do much more for the moment. I have identified stuff that I want to get rid of, and some of it already has a new home to go to. As to the rest … well some might go to eBay and some might not. I hope to be able to make a list of the latter that I can share with my regular blog readers, and I would be willing to part with items for a reasonable price plus postage. Any proceeds will be used to fund present and future projects.


Getting there … slowly

The big sort out continues.

What I had hoped would take a couple of days, looks like taking quite a bit longer, but the end result will be worth the effort. I should end up with a number of slimmed down collections that I will be able to access when I want to use them, and more space in my toy/wargames room. I have already identified stuff that I am going to dispose of by sale (probably via eBay) or donation to various needy wargamers, and this process will begin once the sort out is concluded.

The process of deciding what to keep and what to get rid of has given me a lot of time to think about the future direction of my wargaming … and plans are beginning to come together in my head. These plans include:

  • Completing the renovation of my collection of pre-painted Del Prado 25/28mm-scale Napoleonic figures … and writing a suitable set of PORTABLE WARGAME rules so that I can use them to fight campaigns and battles;
  • Rationalising my Colonial and nineteenth century figure collections so that they are compatible with one another (i.e. they use the same basing system and are the same scale);
  • Organising (and adding to) my rather eclectic World War II collection so that I can finally begin my long-planned for Eastern Front/Great Patriotic War project.

Because of the sheer scale of the latter project, I am giving serious thought to following the example of Zvezda and going for a hybrid collection where 1:100th and 1:87th-scale vehicles will be used alongside 20mm-scale figures and 1:144th-scale aircraft. This will no doubt upset some wargamers (i.e. those who pride themselves on the ‘accuracy’ of their wargames), but I see this project as being more of a higher-level, three dimensional board/map game than a traditional figure wargame, with the playing pieces representing battalions/regiments.


The sort out continues

Because the space in my toy/wargames room is limited, trying to sort stuff out is rather like playing a three dimensional game of chess. You have to be thinking several moves ahead all the time otherwise you find that you have just stacked a load of stuff exactly when you need to go next.

At present I have three cardboard boxes of wargaming bits and pieces that are already allocated to be given to an old wargaming friend who has a use for their contents plus a black plastic sack full of rubbish that is going to be taken to the tip. I have also moved the jewellery cabinet to its new home, and have begun to transfer 15mm-scale figures from their current storage boxes into its draws. This has freed up some storage space for stuff that was difficult to get to, and has allowed me to identify several items that I no longer need and that will probably end up being sold on eBay.

Like so many things in life, this sort out is taking far longer than I expected … but I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it should be finished by the end of the week.