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Op. Narwhal - Cabinet War Rooms - British defence of England

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  • Op. Narwhal - Cabinet War Rooms - British defence of England

    This is the thread for the British team in the Operation Narwhal game. It is 'out of bounds' to players from the other team, but it might be an idea to set up a social group for any detailed planning, just in case...

    British Army Briefing

    The Army has the following units in England:

    18 Infantry Divisions
    3 non-divisional Infantry Brigades
    the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (brigade-strength).
    2 Armoured divisions (1st and 2nd)
    1 Armoured Brigade (21st)
    2 Motor Machine Gun brigades
    6 Corps HQs
    5 Command HQs
    4 Command Royal Artillery formations

    The Infantry Divisions are largely at full strength in terms of men and rifles but there are moderate shortages of mortars, field and machine guns and severe shortages of anti-tank equipment. Most Infantry formations have most of the trucks they need for motorised movement.

    On paper a British Infantry division has as much offensive potential as a German infantry division, and better maneouverability. German divisions have more men, machine-guns and AT guns - but British infantry have better artillery support. However only a few divisions (e.g. Canadian Division, 43rd Division) are at full strength.

    Of the Armoured troops, only the 1st Armoured Division is at full strength, with one full brigade of Matilda tanks, one brigade of Cruiser and Light tanks, and one motorised infantry brigade in support.

    2nd Armoured Division has Cruiser and Light tanks but no Matildas. 21st Armoured Brigade mainly has Light tanks but is re-equipping with new Valentine heavy tanks.

    The "Motor Machine Gun" units were previously designated armoured brigades, but tank shortages made this an unrealistic asipration. They are in effect under-strength motorised infantry brigades.

    Corps HQ units provide supply benefits to adjacent units and also have a two regiments of Field Artillery and one of Medium Artillery attached. The Medium Artillery is capable of long-range bombardment or counterbattery fire.

    Command HQs also provide supply benefits but are mainly engineering formations .Each Command has an attached Royal Artillery reserve comprised of 2 Field, 2 Medium and 1 Heavy Regiment Royal Artillery, givign significant long-range or counter-battery firepower.

    More details of Army deployments and command structure tomorrow.
    My board games blog: The Brass Castle

  • #2
    Further details of the Army deployments.

    The Army is divided into four Commands and a GHQ Reserve. The Army is in a strong defensive deployment against an invasion. Most divisions are deployed broken down into their constituent brigades to cover more ground and protect their own lines of supply, but this gives them a small combat penalty. All divisions so divided are able to recombine when necessary.

    Most units are 'locked' for the first few days or weeks of the battle. The GHQ reserve can be committed on Turn 5 but most Commands will remain locked until about turn 20 or even 30. This represents the need to guard against the continuing threat of subsidiary landings. If the Germans put any of their units next to a locked unit, the relevant Command is activated.

    South Command is responsible for southern England, including East Anglia. It contains:
    in Kent, Sussex and Surrey - 1st, 4th, 45th divisions plus the New Zealand division (brigade strength)and 29th Infantry Brigade
    in SW England - 50th, 3rd, 48th, divisions plus 21st Armoured Brigade
    in East Anglia - 55th, 15th, 18th, 52nd Divisions, 32nd Infantry Brigade.
    along with 3 Corps-level HQs, the Command HQ and the Command Royal Artillery.

    The troops in Kent, Sussex and Surrey are active on turn 1. Other S Command troops are locked and become active around turns 15-20 unless German units make contact with them.

    The following picture illustrates the state of the defences around London, including S. Command and much of the GHQ Reserve:

    Western Command is responsible for Wales and the North West. It contains 2nd (London) Division, 36th Infantry Brigade, 3rd Motor Machine Gun Brigade, plus the Command HQ and artillery. It activates on turn 21.

    Eastern Command is responsible for the East Coast from the Midlands northwards. It contains 1st (London), 2nd, 44th, 54th, 55th divisions along with the 1st Motor Machine Gun Brigade. It activates on turn 30.

    The GHQ reserve is deployed in and around London. It consists of the 1st Canadian Division, 42nd and 43rd Divisions, 1st and 2nd Armoured divisions, and the 2nd Motor Machine Gun Brigade. The Reserve is available for use on Turn 5, giving the opportunity for a prompt counter-attack.

    Northern Command is responsible for northern England and Scotland. It is currently off-map but will appear during the game (after some weeks have elapsed).

    GHQ also has the option of recalling the Army from Northern Ireland on Turn 40 (or thereafter) This would mean 53rd and 61st Divisions plus 148th Infantry Brigade arrive in the North-West. A British withdrawal from Northern Ireland would carry with it grave political consequences and might lead to the loss of the province. Thus, this would give you a penalty of 75 Victory Points which could be decisive if the game runs to a 'points victory'.

    Here is a map of the whole of the English part of the game map (well, apart from the top of Cornwall) showing the deployment of Army, Home Guard, RAF and Royal Navy:

    My board games blog: The Brass Castle


    • #3
      RAF and RN briefings to follow. I've done the German briefings first, as the Germans have much more detailed planning to do pre-invasion...
      My board games blog: The Brass Castle


      • #4
        First a note about the Home Guard. There are Home Guard units all along the coast in just about ever location that might face a landing, and in many major towns and cities. Each Home Guard unit has the rifle strength of a weak battalion but is almost entirely lacking in heavy equipment, apart from a handful of machine guns. They also move very slowly.

        They might slow the Germans down under favourable circumstances, but are very unlikely to stop them.
        My board games blog: The Brass Castle


        • #5
          Just checking in gentlemen - and partly to gauge our preferences for commands.

          For my part, I'm keen to try my hand at air command unless someone else wants to get their hands on the RAF?
          Captain Khryses, Silver Star Omnilift Wing


          • #6
            RAF Briefing

            Fighter Command

            In the last month RAF Fighter Command has been engaged to the utmost in the battle for the skies over the Home Counties. In spite of every effort by the whole Command, sustained German bombardment of airfields an installations has made South East England untenable and starting two days ago 11 Group execute a withdrawal from its sector airfields to alternative bases North of the Thames or west of London.

            Fighter Command has suffered heavy casualties. Most operational squadrons are at 50% strength or less and the enemy has superiority in terms of Me109s. Morale is also low, particularly in 11 Group. Nevertheless Fighter Command still has strength to contest the skies over the likely invasion.

            Operational strength today is:
            Spitfire.... 104
            Hurricane ... 184
            Defiant... 32
            Gladiator... 24
            Most Wings (units in game turns) are composed of 1 Spitfire and 2 Hurricane squadrons, except in 10 Group where the numbers of Spitfires and Hurricanes are equal. There is one wing each of Defiants and Gladiators.

            10 Group consists of 3 wings of Spitfire/Hurricane and one of Gladiators, deployed in SW England between Newbury and Plymouth.

            11 Group consists of 6 wings of Spitfire/Hurricane, mainly deployed in the Midlands around Northampton. These squadrons are still reorganising following the retreat from Kent and Surrey and cannot be committed until turn 2.

            12 Group consists of 4 wings of Spitfire/Hurricane and one of Defiants, deployed in East Anglia.

            13 Group is responsible for Northern England and Scotland, including the Royal Navy bases in Scotland. It is off-map, as is the Fighter Command training establishment; drafts of planes and pilots from 13 Group are assumed in the fighter reinforcements the RAF receives.

            There are about 500 Me109s and 100 Me110s plus roughly 700 Luftwaffe bombers, so the task ahead is grim. The only glimmer of hope from Fighter Command's point of view is that replacement fighters are received at a rapid rate (over 40 each of Spitfire and Hurricane per week). Fighter production remains the top priority for the entire war economy. It may be that some of the steel an aluminium used on fighters would have been better spent on anti-tank guns, but we shall see....

            Bomber Command

            As of today, Bomber Command consists of:
            1 Group: 9 Sqns Fairey Battle (108 aircraft)
            2 Group: 6 Sqns Blenheim (72)
            3 Group: 6 Sqns Wellington (72)
            4 Group: 6 Sqns Whitley (72)
            5 Group: 6 Sqn Hampden (72)

            None of these aircraft types has a distinguished history to date. In one incident in the French campaign, a raid of 71 Battles attacked the German pontoon bridges at Sedan, suffering some 40 losses. This illustrates the extreme vulnerability of Bomber Command - particularly the Battles, Whitleys and Hampdens. Blenheims and Wellingtons are somewhat more durable but can still expect heavy loses attacking in the face of enemy fighter superiority.

            On a positive note, Battles do have the size and flexibility to be an effective close-support aircraft, and Wellingtons, Hampdens and even more so Whitelys have a heavy bomb load which potentially can inflict serious damage.

            Coastal Command

            RAF Coastal Command can contribute 2 squadrons, Nos. 22 and 42. Each is equipped with a mixture of Beaufort torpedo bombers and Blenheim or Beaufighter long-range fighters. These are specialist anti-ship squadrons and will be released on the day after an invasion.

            Operation Banquet

            Staff have developed a plan called "Operation Banquet" for the event of an invasion alert. This plan calls for the immediate commitment of all available Fighter Command and Bomber Command aircraft against invasion forces in the Channel and against beachheads.

            Given the losses Fighter Command have already suffered, this could prove to be a very costly undertaking, and would be unlikely to guarantee the repulsion of a German invasion. Bomber losses can only slowly be replaced. Do RAF Command want to authorise Operation Banquet, or should Bomber Command be kept intact so it can be use later in the campaign in more favourable circumstances.

            RAF Command should also consider what support can be given to RN vessels operating in the Channel in the event of an invasion. Unless a substantial fighter commitment is made, RN ships might not have a very long life expectancy in the face of enemy bombers. Liaison with the Royal Navy is recommended to develop a joint strategy.
            My board games blog: The Brass Castle


            • #7
              "Per week", "the day after", "turn 2".

              Can I just confirm how long each turn is? A day, a week or...?
              Captain Khryses, Silver Star Omnilift Wing


              • #8
                Do we know who is running what? I signed on for Britain but not a specific command.
                Iíll take whatever is left after the rest have been taken. Just wondering which one I have.
                Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedy. -- Ernest Benn


                • #9
                  Royal Navy Briefing

                  The enemy will face severe difficulties of transportation and supply in the event he attempts an invasion and it is the Royal Navy's job to make his life as difficult as possible.

                  Enemy troops will cross the channel mainly on improvised transport, i.e. converted barges pulled by tugs and trawlers. This should pose a large and vulnerable target to the RN.

                  The enemy also relies on sea control to be able to supply his units once they are ashore. In game terms, he must station one or more naval units in one or more sea hexes adjacent to the English coast for his troops in England to receive any supply.

                  Maps of the relevant parts of the British coast follow. A land hex with a blue blob with an anchor in is an "anchorage" hex, i.e. a possible invasion destination. A blue/white roundel indicates a prospective German supply point.

                  The white-on-blue ship counters represent the initial position of the RN's light forces, more on which later:

                  Map 1: East Anglia, the Thames Estuary, and Kent - showing Harwich and The Nore Commands RN

                  Map 2: The South Coast - showing Portsmouth and Plymouth Commands RN

                  The forces currently in the Channel area total 40 destroyers and 10 light cruisers. These ships are arranged in 10 flotillas, of which...
                  Harwich Command: 2
                  Nore Command: 3
                  Portsmouth Command: 3
                  Plymouth Command: 2

                  The naval base at Dover has been evacuated as it is too vulnerable from enemy bombers.

                  When an invasion alert is received, a heavy force will set sail from Scapa Flow. This consists of the battleships Nelson and Rodney and battlecruiser Hood together with a number of destroyers and cruisers. This force arrives at the N end of the map on Turn 2 and can steam into the Channel if ordered to do so.

                  Over the next months, ad-hoc squadrons of cruisers and destroyers will be assembled at Scapa Flow as soon as ships become available.

                  Further reinforcements are contingent on events.

                  1) Currently a total of 4 battleships and many smaller craft are engaged on convoy escort duties. Warspite and Revenge have recently arrived in Liverpool from their convoy duties. In the event that the German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau are committed in the Channel, both of those battleships, together with a number of destroyers, will be made available for home defence. If the German battlecruisers make a break for the Atlantic we will have to keep our convoys strongly protected until such time as the battlecruisers are sunk. (In game terms this is all off-map; I will roll a dice each game week to see if there have been any KM or RN losses).

                  2) Force H, based at Gibraltar, has been operating in support of Free French activity in Western Africa. It is also needed against the Italian fleet in the Mediterranean. However, if the need is great, it can be recalled for Home Defence. Because of the serious impact this has on the strategic situation in the Med, this incurs a victory point penalty of 75 VPs. Force H arrives 10 turns after it is recalled an consists of Barham, Resolution, Renown, plus cruisers and destroyers.

                  The Kriegsmarine's strength consists of the two battlecruisers, two Admiral Hipper - class heavy cruisers, about 15 destroyers, and a number of miscellaneous small craft.

                  Luftwaffe strength consists of some 5-600 bombers with anti-ship capabilities, including over 100 Ju-87 Stuka dive-bombers with proven effectiveness attacking ships. It is fair to say that the Luftwaffe is a much greater threat in the Channel than the Kriegsmarine. If we attempt to operate in the face of enemy air superiority we will suffer heavy losses. So some questions to ponder:

                  - are the light forces in the Channel committed immediately in the event of an invasion, or are they withdrawn and used subsequently? If they attack right away do they attempt to sink enemy invasion forces or enemy warships? Can the RAF provide air cover?
                  - Should the Scapa Force attempt to enter the Channel or should it remain a "fleet in being" at Rosyth?
                  - Under what circumstances do you withdraw Force H from the Mediterranean?
                  My board games blog: The Brass Castle


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Khryses View Post
                    "Per week", "the day after", "turn 2".

                    Can I just confirm how long each turn is? A day, a week or...?
                    Sorry, yes.

                    One-day turns. In each turn, both sides move (Germany first). Air units on Air Support, Combat Support, or Interdiction orders will attempt to carry out their orders in the enemy's turn as well as your own.
                    My board games blog: The Brass Castle


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by tsar View Post
                      Do we know who is running what? I signed on for Britain but not a specific command.
                      Iíll take whatever is left after the rest have been taken. Just wondering which one I have.
                      The bids we already have are:

                      Khryses - RAF
                      Arthwys - GHQ
                      RichardS- Admiralty (or part of it)

                      That leaves No. 10 Downing Street for you if you want it!

                      ComradeOgilvy has also expressed an interest in playing; since 5 people have expressed interest in the German team, perhaps we could invite him to be a staff officer/substitute/minister-without-portfolio over here...
                      My board games blog: The Brass Castle


                      • #12
                        Given that RichardS isn't keen on commanding all of the RN, I propose we appoint him Commanding Officer English Channel (COEC) with responsibility for the flotillas there.

                        With Comrade Ogilvy's naval expertise, if he takes on Admiralty House (Scapa Flow fleet, strategic direction for COEC) that leaves tsar to exercise his strategic prowess (as shown in Purist's sim) to command the whole schmeer from 10 Downing Street - or Edinburgh Castle as the case may be!
                        Captain Khryses, Silver Star Omnilift Wing


                        • #13
                          All I want is HM Submarines. Seriously. Really.
                          Eagles may fly; but weasels aren't sucked into jet engines!

                          "I'm not expendable; I'm not stupid and I'm not going." - Kerr Avon, Blake's 7

                          What didn't kill us; didn't make us smarter.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by RichardS View Post
                            All I want is HM Submarines. Seriously. Really.
                            I'm afraid TOAW3 doesn't have a very rich naval model, and it doesn't stretch to submarines... so they aren't in the scenario.

                            (Neither, for what it's worth, are aircraft carriers, naval mines, or radar.)
                            My board games blog: The Brass Castle


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by The Land View Post
                              I'm afraid TOAW3 doesn't have a very rich naval model, and it doesn't stretch to submarines... so they aren't in the scenario.

                              (Neither, for what it's worth, are aircraft carriers, naval mines, or radar.)
                              Oh well; that was ALL I wanted. (When I said minor I meant minor role.) so I guess I'll withdraw and just watch.
                              Eagles may fly; but weasels aren't sucked into jet engines!

                              "I'm not expendable; I'm not stupid and I'm not going." - Kerr Avon, Blake's 7

                              What didn't kill us; didn't make us smarter.


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