Going Commando

As part of the Talk Like a Pirate Week events at the NWA, Michael Stringer put on a Crossfire scenario of the Vaagso Raid – Commandos being portrayed as pirates by German propaganda. The Vaagso Raid (Operation Archery), on 27 December 1941, was a large scale attack on a town on the coast of Norway, about half way between Trondheim and Bergen.

Michael put together a nice table layout using Paper Terrain buildings and a nice Christmassy collection of snow covered trees on a foam hills.

Michael's atmospheric table layout

Matt and I took charge of the British, while Michael and a friend of Matt’s (did I mention I was terrible with names?) played the Germans.

A German bunker was the first challenge, but we managed to clear that pretty quickly. In the town a machine gun nest in one of the buildings fought very bravely and really got in the way, preventing my sappers from moving on to some choice targets at the other end of town. Eventually they succumbed to some stellar shooting by one of Matt’s units.

The British begin moving through the town. The MG nest was in the building on the bottom left of the picture.

Resistance from the other Germans was patchy, with the Gebirgsjager platoon that was in Vaagso on Christmas leave from the Eastern Front (true story!) holding out well, while the another platoon folded fairly quickly. Real time ran out at that point, but we already had a marginal victory. My sappers had already destroyed the buildings at the end of the town that we held. The remaining German platoon had taken refuge in the strip of houses next to the sea, and our naval gunfire support had come online, so they wouldn’t have held out for long. There was a fair bit of game time left, so we would probably have achieved all of our objectives if we’d played on.

The game played out pretty much as history did. In real life the Commandos eliminated the German garrison, destroyed the key buildings, and left with a number of German and Quisling prisoners, as well as a copy of the German naval code. Hitler withdrew 30,000 troops from the Eastern front to bolster the Norwegian defences against a full scale invasion that never came.

The Germans don’t get to do much in this scenario except try to stop the British from winning. Michael is going to make that a little bit tougher for the British, if he runs this scenario again, by making time run faster.

The Paper Terrain buildings looked good. I might do something to the windows if I get some, perhaps using acetate like the Superquick people do, as the blue windows are the most obvious papery thing about the buildings.


7 responses to “Going Commando

  1. I was generally floating around that night, so didn’t play in any of trhe games (too bloody disorganised) – but I can say that the Vaagso game looked very good. And yeah, I’m also rubbish with names.

  2. Always great to see Crossfire game reports – great historical action to base it on too – ideal! Excellent. I’ll pop a link up in my Crossfire section at my blog Wargaming.info next couple of days…

    BTW – are the winter hills just straight polystyrene-foam or has it been paitned or coated in some way?


    • Hi John,

      From memory they were just cut out polystyrene with a few areas of brown paint here and there. Not a bad colour scheme – HMS Penelope wore just such a scheme while she was hiding in the Lofoten islands.

      • Hi Stephen – right – yes a moist workable scheme – I was mainly curious if Michael had done anything special to coat or seal them (like spray them with a white matt paint or such) to tone down the obvious surface pattern the polystyrene has (especially the cheaper coarse packaging material variants which is what most people usually use for these applications – i.e. recycled from a previous career in an appliance box or such). The photos above hint at it being in raw form (most noticeable along the water’s edge bits) but I’d have thought that’d have been annoying as it would have flaked ‘balls’ constantly once it had been cut…

  3. Pingback: The Vaagso Raid: A Crossfire Game | Wargaming.info·

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