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kohlenklau

Operation Hercules: The Invasion of Malta [WIP]

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Hercules%201_zpso9x9vzme.jpg

 

Hercules%202_zpsqanr7bpg.jpg

 

 

I need: new horizons, sky/sea only view for certain sectors!

 

I need: modded Italians for invasion troops.

 

I need: discarded FJ parachutes for dropzones. GOT THEM! (thanks juju)

 

modded PzIII for this timeframe, summer 42. ?

 

Initial testing seems fun! Kriegsmarine "barges" have flak guns, etc. Out farther to sea.  Then closer in we have the landing barges with troops, trucks, tanks. Shallow and deep ford areas we have our foot troops making there way to shore and wading tanks and other vehicles. Some beam in as R groups as best for the initial assault or follow on waves.

 

Ashore, we have Royal Malta Artillery. British troops. :D

 

Kieme has nicely provided some modded buildings to better match Malta style.

borg is helping with maps as an actual Maltese from Malta. We just need the Falcon and we are all set!

Edited by kohlenklau

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Stukas will be making attack runs onto the land targets. British aircraft will be attacking the various barges and landing forces.

 

Then of course there will be other battles that just are inland with FJ dropzones and maybe dropzones for Folgore Italian paratroopers if I can get that uniform mod worked out.

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OK, I have commissioned a sound mod from waclaw. He will work up a suitable ambient sound mod for a seaborne invasion battle.

 

Sounds you hear near the water.

 

seagulls, surf/waves, boat sounds, "Mom! Billy kicked sand at me again!"...

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This looks really great. I just got CMFI and am enjoying the variety of terrain.

Operation Hercules has always been one of my favorite what if? Exercises.

Would love to play test.

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Hi Kohlenklau >:) hi all

Guess who's back from the dead to lead the Axis powers invade the island of honey - the island of Melita

The island of Malta !

It's good to be back. Sorry chaps for being 'off' for a while, planning the invasion entails so much effort.

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Great idea with the barges, Phil.  I forgot, is this a player campaign or one of your multiplayer specials, like Road to Eindhoven? If the former, I'll playtest scenarios if you need help with that, or if the latter, i hope you have an FJ command for me!

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I initially was aiming for a typical campaign against the AI with core unit and all that. I hope still to do that.

But now my heart is getting real attached to the CMPzC concept. Like I said elsewhere, it gives me a good arena to do scenario making, map making, some mods and see PBEM action and AAR's.

All with great folks like you and the others.

So, bottomline, yes, Herr Hauptmann, you will be jumping from a Tante Ju at low attitude over the island of Malta.

Are you my duty FJ expert? What uniforms do we need for FJ for that period? Ramcke Brigade and Italian Folgore.

Folgore? :angry: Si! Well, a folgore to you too! 

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Glad to hear that! I modded some FJ uniforms awhile ago to fit the era a little better (for the defunct Crete campaign).  Need to research the TO&E, but I think the July '43 setting in GL ought to be damn close. Folg you too, but may be able to use a tanker helm for Italian Paras. I need to practice modding camo anyway, and IIRC, you have the info on the technique for that.  Sounds like fun.

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Lately when I get my mojo up to write a scenario/campaign, I tie this virtual string around my finger to remind me to keep the project size contained and not creep larger.

 

Malta Campaign and CMPzC operation:

 

Airborne invasion: objectives a. high ground, b. air field. 

Ramcke Fallschirm Brigade, Folgore Italians ( :angry: )

 

We have juju's discarded chutes and drop canister mod. 

 

Sea Invasion battle (Famagosta Beach, Larnaca Beach) : platoon or 2 of PzIII, company of Italian troops.

 

Italian armor:  Armour support comprised nineteen Semovente 47/32 and eightSemovente 75/18 self-propelled guns plus thirty L3 light tanks (comparable in size and armament to the British Bren Gun Carrier).[7]

 

Any of those in CMFI? I will check tonight.. 

 

This project is NOT on the front burner. A lot of mods are needed...

Edited by kohlenklau

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kohlenkau,

 

What a cool and clever project!  I don't own CMFI, but I have appeared from time to time and helped when I could. Here is some first rate large format color photography of Italian parachutist uniforms. Part of which is primo IWM yet not displayed to the public.

 

http://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/forums/showthread.php?t=251718&page=4

 

The above references an Italian film made in 1954 about Folgore. In it, the men are wearing authentic combat uniforms, except for a so-call  samurai or samurai gilet aka magazine carrier shown in the film but not used until after the war. The quality of the print used to make the vid is astounding. Consequently, the stills taken from the film in the article are utter dreck by comparison. You should be able to learn a great deal as a result. Useful uniform stuff starts an hour in, and there are some phenomenal closeups in the last ten minutes, maybe less, of the film. Eye watering closeups!  Below the vid is a site in which you can see what the paratroopers should've been wearing. Lots of AFVs in this (hostile) and a true miracle, the Italian field radio with the prominent ring antenna. First one of those I've ever seen anywhere.

 

 

And a resource you may not have thought of lies in those who collect, modify and build nit pickingly accurate 1:6 and other scale soldier figures. They're even more grog anal than we are, as you'll see here. A bunch of Folgore uniforms are depicted, including those worn after Italy went over to the Allies. Fun starts on page 2 and continues in page 3.

http://www.massimomoscarelli.it/leadaddicted/?cat=12&paged=2

 

A look at actual period Italian camouflage fabric and full detail (gnat's rear level) from all around of everything a Folgore sergeant wore in the period of the diorama being built.

 

http://www.militarymodelling.com/forums/postings.asp?th=92678&p=1

 

How about an equally anal Folgore historical re-enactor unit?

http://www.ww2italianreenactment.com/para.html

 

Correct uniform for Tunisia

 

http://home.earthlink.net/~frenchgreg/id3.html

 

10 minutes or so into this Italian newsreel shot before WW II, you can see what a drop looks like as the men shuck their drop smocks (cammies beneath), grab weapons and packs and go double timing away single file.

 


 

Am stopping now while both of us a relatively sane!

 

Keep up the fantastic work!

 

Regards,

 

John Kettler

Edited by John Kettler

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kohlenkau,

 

You're most welcome. Given some of my prior experience with people when I went into research mode, I figured you'd be: thrilled, information overwhelmed or maybe bent of of shape, because it was too much. As you may've seen over at CMBS, not everyone shares my enthusiasm when I'm excited and start to share what I find. But here, you asked for help!

 

As you may or may not know, I got intrigued by how cool CMFI looked when I read and watched first Bil's then Ribera's AARs. Somewhere around then, I started hearing rumblings about CMRT. Since I've long had an interest in Russian armor, that intrigued me, though I wish the game was more circa Kursk, since German armor options are much more interesting, but then, the Russians have only up through late T-34s and SU through Zveroboy. But in CMRT German forces are largely infantry centric, as the expression goes. I understand why, but as a gamer, it cramps my style. Mind, the notion of playing with Stalins and ISUs definitely appeals, but there are no clashes doable like in the Balaton offensive where King Tigers attacked through the fog with what the Russians thought were Panthers (until the tech eval teams got there afterward), while defending with Stalins and ISUs.

 

My CMx2 path has been a rocky one, as seen in not getting CMBN until after CMFI rolled out, having a vertical learning curve and lots of health issues which kept forcing me back practically to the start line in terms of skills. But when I did get it, I got the bundle with CW and subsequently MG. Haven't played the game much at all, since I generally haven't been in the right brain space to do so. CMFI seemed to have a very short time in the spotlight, after which along came CMRT; both games interested me. And while I was agonizing over them, CMRT was swiftly pushed from the stage by oncoming CMBS. Aaaiiieee! Three things I wanted, but with budget for one. Maybe. Part of it was cost, for I not only saved money on CMBS by pre-ordering, but also got the all-important physical manual (way easier to read and see the GUI stuff than the DLonly) the disk. I thought the metal case was a let down, but it was chrome anyway relative to what I've already listed. But I think what did it for me were the subject matter, the timeliness and the fact I used to be a professional military analyst. In watching some of ChrisND's online doings showing off the game, I was terrified my brain wouldn't be able to handle the combat tempo, yet after months of being utterly unable to play CMBN, within very short order, I set up and played a Training level QB start to finish and utterly smashed the Russians, who had at least some Veteran troops, taking no casualties of any sort, either man or mechanical beast. I think, too, I just like the sense of freedom I get there, as opposed to the claustrophobic feeling I get in the bocage. I like MG for the same reason, though it's a bit thin on cover. I first noticed this feeling of bocage relief when I looked at Ribera's AAR. Bil's was fine, but the terrain didn't allow proper appreciation of what was possible. If we can transfer the contents of my brain to a properly and consistently reliable one, then all kinds of wonderful things become possible. Life. An economy. And hunting for a GF who wargames or is at least supportive!

 

So many games, so few resources, plenty of time, but not enough brain. I can and do all sorts of stuff, but the part that lets me wargame and is all about spatio-temporal relationships is online altogether too seldom. Though I can't play the pre OS X Mac games because they were Motorola based, and the Macs are all Intel now, I really do miss the ease of setup and play. I also miss the days when we were all one, but are now ever more splintered as the games so necessary to keep BFC going and growing keep being released.

 

Let's face it. In terms of what we could do then vs now, we're talking about a toolbox vs a tool store. I'm awfully glad, though, that BFC keeps the game engine and other features current on the earlier games.  Before, it was being able to do all this cool stuff in CMx1 CMBO, except what we couldn't. What we couldn't do became quite apparent when CMBB came out and I got to go play in the Beta Demo and punch a German Panzer diamond right through the Russian defenses, with each tank covering its own quadrant and change while advancing! Major envy there, particularly over Cover Armor, after which came CMAK (North Africa, Sicily, Italy, etc.), which frustrated the CMBO and the CMBB players because it had dust. Gah! I know I've left a bunch of stuff out. But with BFC, though our tools are few, we've been able to go from a bow drill to a hand drill to a crude power drill and a nice high tech one, at that. I believe we're presently headed toward a laser drill in terms of what's possible.

 

I have to say that I find a few tanks and some infantry a handful in CMx2, the notion of a battalion of anything other than tanks or similar quite daunting (way beyond me), and that of running a regiment well past both incomprehensible and terrifying.  The biggest CMx2 force I've ever commanded was the Americans in "Cats Chasing Dogs," and that was mostly armor. To my mind, ease, scale and scope of play have plummeted since we left CMx1, but we've gone from wargame to sim, obtaining immense weapon and weapon performance fidelity, terrain options and appearance worthy of travel brochures, as well as being forced to operate closer to WW II procedures and time phasing.  Also giving up, variously to date, force options, weapon options, seasons, plus many useful things from earlier, such as flamethrowers, daisy chain mines, tacair, flak, the ability to tow in weapons smaller than an 88, drop trail, then pick them up later. With the huge maps we have now, the inability to do this smarts. You really need to have your act together with towed weapons now. One and done. Whie we're on guns, I hate the difficulties imposed in siting guns in CMx2. Migrating guns which stick themselves into houses, move behind the corner blocking the carefully contrived line of fire, put themselves at the bottom of the gully when I have the muzzle practically flush over the lip or stick themselves into a wall drive me nuts. Fortunately, I've not had had to deal with them lately. Maybe things have improved since Perdition in the CMBN Demo? While I'm on about things, I thoroughly detest the clearly visible to the foe sangar style  foxholes and yawning chasm (closer to AT ditches) half depth trenches we're forced to have in CMx2. How I yearn for proper two man fighting positions and slit trenches! Obviously, there's no comparison whatsoever on visuals, be they maps, terrain, foliage, never mind what the modders have been able to do. Let's just say the end product on the AFV end is better than most armor models I've ever seen. Anywhere.

 

Regards,

 

John Kettler 

Edited by John Kettler

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I shot you a PM John! A new research assignment to attack if you have time...please check your PM inbox. Maybe it is up your alley or maybe not. Let me know. :D

 

Note: I have some scenarios that are fairly small. If and when you get CMFI, you can try them out.

Edited by kohlenklau

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Drinking coffee and planning an invasion.

 

Battle 1: Coin toss or Die roll for the level of participation of the Regia Marina.

Battle 2a: Invasion Convoy Battle enroute Malta with moderate to heavy participation. Core unit losses hurt you!

Battle 2b: Invasion Convoy Battle enroute Malta with light to moderate participation. Core unit losses hurt you!

Battle 3a: Assault Landing based on results of 2a.

Battle 3b: Assault Landing based on results of 2b.

Battle 4: Player decision on 2 options for jump altitude from planes. 

Battle 5a: Parachute Plane Formations final approach enroute to the dropzone. Core unit losses hurt you!

Battle 5b: Parachute Plane Formations final approach enroute to the dropzone. Core unit losses hurt you!

Battle 6a: Parachute landings and battle to seize airfield and high ground based on 5a.

Battle 6b: Parachute landings and battle to seize airfield and high ground based on 5b.

Battle 7: Final link-up battle between the 2 groups and assault onward to a key urban area.

Edited by kohlenklau

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Farting around with some Italian soldier uniform mods. Landing force. I want them in something that looks like their Africa service uniform.

Tans and such. I think I can really do it! I did the old Soviet Union reverse engineering on a psd file that benpark sent me. Matter of fact I Soviet Union reverse engineered a Soviet sapper psd file! It showed me some subtle ways to use layer blend modes to make certain things happen. Like the slight shadows where the leather belt meets the cloth and where collars and pockets fold. Yes Colonel Sanders, I will figure out your secret blend of herbs and spices!

smod_italian_helmet-soldier%202_zpsg0y8q

Edited by kohlenklau

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Maybe it is like that episode where McCoy beams back to the Enterprise and accidentally leaves his freakin' tricorder behind on some alien planet! The local people will eventually copy it and want a "piece of the action"!

Thanks for the psd file. I am still learning about those layer blending changes...

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kohlenkau,

 

I got your message, but am doubtful I could undertake all that, though I'll gladly help, as I did/am doing here. I have one thing in mind already. If you haven't already done so, please start a thread where I can put my discoveries.

 

This is a most useful article on Op Hercules, though it reads like a translation that's a bit creaky. And Commando Supremo has this, including the fascinating fact there was to be a tank unit of unknown type ex-Russian tanks. That fact is as nothing, though, when compared to this astounding set of historic revelations.

 

 "England was a protectorate of Malta, and with its great Grand Harbour, was able to provide a port to Allied warships as well as launch air strikes to Axis convoys headed for Africa."

 

Talk about getting not just the fundamentals confused, then compounding it by botching the antecedents! 

 

I tried several times to get this link to a study comparing the Invasion of Crete with the Invasion of Malta, but so far, keep getting a "Error-Request Denied, try again" message. As an appetite whetter, I give you the abstract from this Master's Thesis. As for armor being brought to the party, how's this grab you? Info is from the Op Herkules Wiki.

 

"The main assault convoy was scheduled to begin landing on Malta just before midnight on the first day of the invasion, after the airborne forces had already landed during the afternoon hours and secured the heights above the selected beaches. The bulk of the first-wave assault troops would come from the Friuli Infantry Division (10,000 men) and Livorno Infantry Division (9,850) of the Italian XXX Corps. Also included were 1,200 men from the 1st Assault Battalion and Loreto Battalion (both drawn from the Regia Aeronautica); two battalions of San MarcoMarines (2,000); three battalions of Blackshirts (1,900) and 300 Nuotatori (a commando unit of San Marco marines specially trained in ocean swimming and beach assault). Armour support comprised nineteen Semovente 47/32 and eight Semovente 75/18 self-propelled guns plus thirty L3 light tanks (comparable in size and armament to the British Bren Gun Carrier).[7]

The follow-up convoy would be mainly made up of troops from the Italian XVI Corps: the Assieta Infantry Division (9,000) and the Napoli Infantry Division (8,900) along with attached artillery assets (3,200). It would also include the remainder of the 10th Armour Regiment (3,800). The Superga Infantry Division (9,200) plus a battalion of Blackshirts and a small detachment of San Marco Marines (1,000) were to be in position to land on the smaller island of Gozo in the early morning hours of the second day.[7]

Additional armour intended for Herkules included 2.Kompanie/Panzerabteilung z.b.V.66, a German unit partly equipped with captured Russian tanks. A mix of ten KV-1 (46-ton) and KV-2(53-ton) heavy tanks were made available for the invasion and at least ten Italian motozattere (landing craft) were modified with reinforced flooring and internal ramps to carry and off-load these vehicles. Other tanks in the unit included captured Russian T-34 medium tanks, up-armoured German light tanks (five VK 1601s and five VK 1801s) plus twelve German Panzer IVGs armed with 75mm guns.Ref[8] An additional twenty German Panzer III medium tanks were offered for use in the invasion but it is not known what unit these were to be drawn from.[6]

Regards,

John Kettler

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I studied a lot the german tank unit that was due to Malta (I was looking after it few years ago for a model project). It indeed had russian captured (and modified) tanks as a backbone. Among them there was a certain number of T-34/76 and KV-2 tanks for bunker busting.

The name was Panzerkompanie (z.b.v.) 66.

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