Tuesday, 12 March 2019

WMMS 2019 show and SOTCW Vaagso game

We had a fantastic day out at WMMS in Wolverhapton.  Will and I travelled down from Chester to meet Richard P and set up the SOTCW game based on Vaagso, the large scale commando raid on the Norwegian coast in December 1941.  Sadly, Richard C, who was planning on joining us, couldn't get out of his village on the outskirts of Sheffield due to heavy snow, which also closed a lot of the trans-Pennine routes.

We'd been allocated a table fairly central in the room, surrounded by interesting games and a good selection of traders, especially for me, Grubby Tanks, SHQ and Parabellum.

We set up the table on polystyrene blocks covered in a suitably sprayed sheet, with Richard P's purpose built dark blue Norwegian fjord bases.  Beaches, as per the originals, were rocky, using a mixture of grit and chippings strewn along the edge, with some excellent purpose built harbour walls and scratch built buildings designed by Richard P.  Will's polystyrene hills were laid under the sheet at the back edge and covered with trees to indicated the forested hills which confined the Vaagso operation to the village itself.

Richard P's most excellent harbour and buildings.

A mixture of Will's and my jetties, mostly from Blotz, Sgts Mess and, in Wills case what seemed to be the water tanks from a dozen or so Airfix RAF rescue set fire tenders.  All of the wooden buildings are from Will's and my collection, mainly Blotz, with a brick factory from Airfix.  Snow cover is courtesy of will and lots of cotton wool.

Richer P's stunning recreation of the Ulversund Hotel, the key position in Vaagso and the scene of intense historical action as well as some intense game action.

The commandos storm ashore.  British troops are mine, mainly from SHQ, with some Britannia commandos and Kriegsmarine doubling up as an RN landing party.  Will provided the German opponents and these are mainly plastics - I recognised several Caesar packs and there were probably others in the mix too.

And immediately hole up in whatever quay-side buildings they can take cover in.

The German armed trawler heads along the coast to investigate the gunfire, while avoiding drawing any attention from the assorted RN destroyers and cruiser that are looking for targets in the open water.  Armed trawler was scratch built by Will.

The loneliness of the battlefield.

A vicious exchange of gunfire takes place between the garrison of the hotel and the commandos in the village and fish oil factories.  An RN landing section advances to the right along the harbour to occupy more fish oil factories and secure the commandos flank.  Meanwhile, a platoon of Gebirgsjager returning from patrol make for the sound of gunfire from the hills behind the Ulversund.

Recce aircraft capture the first images returned to the UK of commandos stalled in the village while the Ulversund is defended.

The mortar team, firing at beyond maximum elevation due to the short range, makes the difference, whittling the defenders of the Ulversund down until they cannot return fire.  After setting demo charges in the fish oil factory in the foreground, the commandos were poised to advance into the Ulversund and search it, before again setting demo charges.

An altogether historical outcome, reasonably recreating the actual situation on the ground during the main phase of the Vaagso landing, where a lot of commandos had been killed or wounded in attempts to storm the Ulversund, which was only taken after a mortar was set up and chocked to allow it to fire at almost point blank range into the hotel.  The fighting was almost all over once the hotel fell and the defenders surrendered.  With wounded, prisoners, Quislings, Norwegian volunteers and commandos reembarked on the transports, by last light Vaagso was left deserted and strewn with dead, leaving the German relief troops to try and work out what had happened.

Will's show photos and pics of the game can be found here

while Richard P's write up can be found here

As ever, thanks for looking.


  1. Great AAR Andy and some fantastic photos.
    Cheers, Richard P

    1. Thanks Richard. Yours and Will's look great too. I wish I'd spent more time taking shots of the other games as well. Your club's 30 years war game looked good.

      Cheers, Andy

  2. Superb looking table, would have loved to have been there to see it.

    1. Cheers John. We were really pleased with it. Richard P's scratch built harbour and hotel really made the table into something special! We're already thinking about next year's game theme!

      Thanks, Andy