Showing posts from December, 2016

Enemy Coast Ahead: Attack on the Ennepe Dam?

On May 17, 1943 a lone bomber codenamed AJ-O piloted by Flt. Sgt. Bill Townsend was circling the dark skies over Germany awaiting orders. In the early morning hours, the aircrew finally received the message they were waiting for. Their target was the Ennepe Dam. In the fog and darkness, the pilot and navigator finally arrived near what they thought was the Ennepe Dam and circled around to pinpoint it on the ground. After making several passes to get the altitude and trajectory right, the custom-made dam-busting bomb codenamed "Upkeep" was finally dropped. With the other men of 617 already having made their bombing runs on the other dams in the Ruhr, Townsend decided to head home to England.

What really happened that night is still not really clear. Years later, eyewitnesses reported that another nearby dam (the Bever Dam) was attacked. Reports from the aircrew of what they had sighted on the ground are consistent with landmarks near the Bever Dam. In the fog and darkness and…

Enemy Coast Ahead: The Dambuster Raids

Enemy Coast Ahead (GMT, 2014) is a solitaire game designed by Jeremy White that simulates the RAF no. 617 Squadron's May 1943 raids on German dams in the Ruhr. This game held a special interest for me because as a kid, I read Paul Brickhill's book and I remember being fascinated by the technical problems of the bomb design, the raid, and marshalling together the right men and training in secret to do something that had never ever been done before.

Reading up on it now from the vantage of age, I was surprised at how ineffectual the whole thing was on the German war effort. The civilian losses and the POW deaths that resulted from the bombings are pretty appalling too. In the end, it seems the main effect of the raids was to boost British morale, which would have been much needed in those dark days. At the time, however, the raid was seen as a chance to strike a serious blow to Germany's war-making capabilities as its industries in the Ruhr industrial heartland would be rend…

Gulf Strike - Scenario 1: America - Heck Yeah!

It's turn 7 of my latest game of Gulf Strike scenario 1 and Iran is doing terribly. It has taken us seven horrible turns of mucking around with supply problems to get down to the capital of Saudi Arabia and do battle with the Saudi forces protecting the capital. Along the east coast, a handful of Iranian units attempt to break the back of the lonesome small group of elite defenders protecting the Al Hufuh airbase from attack. Without supply or reinforcement, it seems they won't last much longer.

On the other hand, the United States is now activated this turn and can start to get some serious units on to the table.

At the beginning of the turn, we roll for a Random Political Event and get nothing at all. So we go ahead to the Global Military Stage and the US units start showing up at the bottom of the Strategic Map.

I put a US SSN in the waters between Madagascar and the African coastline. Meanwhile, the USS Enterprise CVN-65 is placed to the east with a Marine amphibious ship…