Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Happy Find

As this will be my last blog post for 2013 I wanted to go out on a high note. As I am waiting on my order from Figurehead for my Soviet and American Navies I have been rebasing my existing ships and cleaning things up. I knew there were a few extra ships not used for my Falkland forces and a pack of US Command Ships from the 1960s and 70s (think WWII Heavy Cruisers and Light Carriers with a lot of antennas) but to my surprise I found a pack of OH Perry class frigates to add to the US Navy.

So they were based primed and the painting has begun along side four Essex carriers (was looking to use them as Commando Carriers) and the four command ships. I found the antennas to be as fiddly as I thought. Only had minor issue with the glue.

So the Perry’s will be useful in the New Year but what of the command ships. I can see USS Wright CC-2or USS Northamton CC–1 being a target of a Soviet submarine.  We will have to wait and see.

USS Northamton CC-1

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The New Year is Coming

With the start of the New Year I hope to get a little more organized. That includes my blogging. Right now I have three a active blogs covering my life in writing.

GFB1914 will be the blog dealing with The Great War, my research and travel. Articles will have images from my miniatures and games but the articles will also include sources.

Basement Games was Lebanon 1982. This will cover all of my TOOFATLardies products as well as my naval miniatures and board games.

My Jewish Journey covers the path I started to take earlier this year going through the process of conversion. It is the weakest of my blogs as it is the hardest to write. By putting it on my list here I know I have to be more active.

I hope to blog on each at least weekly, as long as I have something to say.

Hope you enjoy what I am putting out there.

Basement Games
My Jewish Journey


These are boats are little seen on the gaming table, and that is a shame. The Greater Underwater Propulsion Power Program (GUPPY) and their Fleet Snorkel were the US Navy’s response to the surprise found in the German Type XXI U-boats.

When the war ended in 1945 the US Navy and Royal Navy both had large battle tested fleets. Unfortunately the American vessels had experienced four years of war while the British ships were battered by an additional two years of war. The designs were tested but old.

The US started the GUPPY program in 1947 and the British followed a similar upgrade with their T and A class boats. The reason for the conversions was that the submarine hulls existed and were needed. The down side was the cost. Congress was not willing to spend to bring all of the existing submarines to the higher standards.

While there is an alphabet soup of conversions (GUPPY I, GUPPY II, GUPPY IA, Fleet Snorkel, GUPPY IIA, GUPPY IB, and GUPPY III) they all involved improvements in hull and battery life.  The GUPPY II had the snorkel and improved radar. Only nine of the GUPPY IIs were converted to the GUPPY III with the improved BQG-4 PUFFS passive ranging sonar. Once again it was a budget issue.

This link will be helpful to anyone interested in the GUPPYs. Also I suggest looking at U.S. Submarines Since 1945, it is a great reference that I use often.

Do not worry about the stats when designing a scenario, as there are few out there that know of all of the differences between the seven groupings or even the quirks within them. Now gamers, why do you need this ancient submarine? These were the front line boats in the 1950s into the 1990s with our allied navies. One was even active in the Falkland War, but that is another blog post.

Miniature is 1/6000 scale from Figurehead.

Friday, December 27, 2013

USS Coral Sea doing an Unrep

Here is the USS Coral Sea along with the USS Wainwright doing an underway replenishment.  The Coral Sea was the third of the post war USS Midway Class. A class of carriers that was greatly influenced by British carrier designs that included thicker belt and deck armor. Both the Midway and Coral Sea served for the entire length of the Cold War, and even a little after, as the Midway was part of Operation Desert Storm.

I knew her from her time in the Mediterranean as part of the Sixth Fleet. There she took part in freedom of navigation operations involving the usual suspects (Libya and Iran with Lebanon and Syria thrown in for good measure).

Currently I only have two carriers in my US fleet. Than again I do not think the Red Team will ever get real close to them.

The miniatures are 1/6000 scale from Figurehead.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Give the Sturgeon a Chance

The Sturgeon Class (SSN 663) was conceived as a quiet under-ice boat that could take ASW operations to the Soviet bastions within the pack ice. For the sailors they were so much more.

While designed in the 1960s they were found as a complement to the more modern 688 class. The 688 class boats were often assigned to the carrier and Surface Action Battlegroups as escorts. The best ASW weapon was found to be another submarine and not the more commonly thought destroyers. This allowed the 637 class to be given other tasks. Much more interesting for their crews (and todays gamers).

For naval games set in the 1980s the Sturgeon Class will be operating under ice, on spook ops, or waiting at choke points for passing Soviet shipping. With a sonar suite or par with their more modern kin and a weapons suite better than most these boats have a place on any gamers collection.They have at their disposal in the 1980s Mk48 torpedoes, Harpoon cruise missiles and Subroc. A very powerful mix.

While this blog deals mostly with the land and air war during the Lebanese Civil War and the 1982 operations, this boat was part of the American response to the conflict.

The miniature is 1/6000 scale from Figurehead.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year

The tree is up, gifts purchased and the last of the baked goods are on the rack cooling. A good time to reflect over the year gone by. As this is a blog dealing with my hobby of wargaming I will reflect on that.

I am also ending 2013 basing up my modern 1/6000 scale naval miniatures bought years ago.  These have been mostly forgotten and regulated to the back of the worktable. These Cold War miniatures are mostly from the 1960s and 1970s, a period when the gun was as important as the missile.  It is also a period that I am interested in due to my friends out in York.

This year was spent mostly getting ready for next and the Centenary of The Great War. My Ottomans and British are ready to fight in the desert. My Knights of the Air are ready as well, just waiting for TOOFATLardies Algy rules.

Next up on the painting bench are the British and German cavalry for Nery.  An engagement I want to run in the New Year. So while I have not gotten done as much as I intended I am happy with the results.

For 2014 I will continue my Great War project, Cold War naval, and maybe one new project (stay tuned for that). I also look forward to playing IABSM, CoC and DUX  by the Lardies.

All the best and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.

One of the model kits from my youth and one of my favorite Soviet ships.

Monday, December 16, 2013

A-1 Skyraider

The recent release of the A-1 Skyraider by Flames of War will be useful and necessary for the American and South Vietnamese forces. But I want to bring up another theater for their use, equatorial Africa.

Introduced by the French, these aircraft are a useful asset to use in COIN actions in and around Djibouti, Madagascar, Gabon, Chad, Cambodia and the Central African Republic.

From http://en.wikipedia.org.

"The Skyraiders had only a short career in Algeria. But they nonetheless proved to be the most successful of all the ad hoc COIN aircraft deployed by the French. The Skyraider remained in limited French service until the 1970s. They were heavily involved in the civil war in Chad, at first with the Armée de l'Air, and later with a nominally independent local air force staffed by French mercenaries. The aircraft also operated under the French flag in Djibouti and on the island of Madagascar. When France at last relinquished the Skyraiders it passed the survivors on to client states, including Gabon, Chad, Cambodia and the Central African Republic. (several aircraft from Gabon and Chad have been recovered recently by French warbird enthusiasts and entered on the French civil register).

The French frequently used the aft station to carry maintenance personnel, spare parts and supplies to forward bases. In Chad they even used the aft station for a "bombardier" and his "special stores" – empty beer bottles – as these were considered as non-lethal weapons, thus not breaking the government-imposed rules of engagement, during operations against Libyan-supported rebels in the late 1960s and early 1970s."

These have a great deal of potential for TOOFATLadries' B'Maso! I am sure they will be added to Daddy’s Little Men’s forces. What do you think Mark?

Monday, December 9, 2013

To All the Ships at Sea

It appears that in our gaming circles we are seeing more interest in naval games. From the pre-dreadnought era to the near future several gamers are painting up their fleets and getting them ready for battle.

It has me thinking of the balance within designed naval campaigns. Since the pre-dreadnought there have been a limited to the number of naval super powers. And the limited number is just two.

To be a naval super power the nation needs three things.
  • A battle fleet with the ability to project power outside of their home waters.
  • Logistics to support the battle fleets.
  • National Policy willing to project this power.
Often a nation meets two of the points but not the third.

Prior to The Great War the Royal Navy was the only fleet able to meet these criteria. This ended with the alliance with Japan and the recall of the fleet to home waters. No other navy will meet these criteria until the post war period when the two English speaking almost came to blows.

Germany in the First World War was only a regional power and not a real super power. Their surface raiders operated worldwide but were little more than a nuisance.  The submarines attempted to blockade the British Isles with little strategic success to show for the losses.

Not until after the war was there a period of two naval super powers when the Royal Navy and the US Navy fleets projected power throughout the world. This period ended with the parity offered by the Washington Naval Treaty to Britain, the United States and Japan.

Not until the middle of World War II did the United States become the world sea power that we have lived with to the present time. The Chinese today can project power only into the western Pacific, and possibly the Indian Ocean. The Soviet Navy of the Cold War was only able to project power through the Black, Baltic Seas and the Arctic Ocean even with their limited carriers and allied ports in the Third World.

So what does this mean for gamers? Not a whole lot. Just remember that any Cold War engagement with the US Navy will normally have a carrier nearby to intercede.  And woe to the gamer without air assets to protect his ships. It also makes regional fights more interesting.

As for me I will continue to take my submarines out to sea and engage the enemy closely. As a gamer you are not really heavily invested if you do not come back to port.

Pleasant sailing.