Monday, 10 May 2010

Axis and Allies: War at Sea Additions

Flower class Corvettes with Martlet fighters from the Fleet Air Arm providing air cover.

HMS Repulse and Renown with an escort of S class destroyers (not strictly accurate as Repulse was sunk in 1941 and the S class did not appear until 1943).

HMS Queen Elizabeth and Valiant with the Town class cruisers Southampton and Gloucester and the inevitable destroyer escort.

As promised here are the pictures of the latest additions to my collection of Axis and Allies: War at Sea models. My collection consists of British, German and Italian navies of WW2; together with all the supporting aircraft and the selection is driven by the model availability from the game in question. As previously mentioned, the ships are scaled at 1/1800th with the aircraft at 1/900th which means that the collection has to be self contained as to my knowledge nobody else makes 1/1800th scale warship models. The available choice has increased with the release of a number of expansions to the basic set – Task Force, Flank Speed and the soon to be released Condition Zebra – so the fleets are gradually becoming more representational in respect of their historical counterparts. I have had to resort to using certain models for other ships in the notional class which is usually OK. Where it is problematic is where sister ships differed in appearance as the result of refits and modifications. The Queen Elizabeth class Battle Ship is a good case in point as the model is of HMS Warspite which looked slightly different to Valiant and the QE herself. The Zara class Italian Heavy Cruiser model is based on the sole member of the class with her main funnel merged with the forward superstructure so in order to represent the class all the models have to have this feature. This will undoubtedly offend both the purist and the detailed scale modeller but in the absence of the correct models one is forced to either accept this or convert the models into something more representative. Personally I will use them as they are although I have repainted some Tribal class destroyers – these will need a further repaint as well as I have found a grey that is closer to the overall RN shade most of the models have. I have seen pictures of War at Sea players that have super detailed their models and they do look really nice but I shall refrain from tackling that kind of project!

The Royal Navy received as its latest batch of reinforcements the Battle Cruisers HMS Repulse and Renown, two more of the Queen Elizabeth class Battle Ships: HMS Valiant and Queen Elizabeth herself, two Town class Light Cruisers: HMS Southampton and Gloucester, six late war S Class Destroyers and four Flower class Corvettes. The Fleet Air Arm also received four bases of Martlet fighters – this being the RN version of the American Wildcat.

The Kriegsmarine gained the two pre-dreadnought Battle Ships Schlesien and Schleswig-Holstein, six of the T class torpedo boats (actually small destroyers) and best of all, four bases of Ju 88 bombers for the Luftwaffe. This means that Fliegerkorps 10 in the Mediterranean has now really got some weight attached to it – used in conjunction with the Italian Regia Aeronautica the Royal Navy will now potentially have some serious aerial problems to contend with.
Finally the Italians gained a further Zara class Heavy Cruiser; the Gorizia (more of which later), a pair of Giuseppe Garibaldi class Light Cruisers, four Orsa class Destroyer/torpedo boats and four bases of Re. 2001 ‘Falco’ fighters.

The pre dreadnought battleships Schlesien and Schleswig-Holstein sortie somewhere in the Baltic, escorted by T class torpedo boats and overflown by Ju 88 bombers.

The Italian Heavy Cruiser Gorizia with an escort of Light Cruisers and torpedo boats and with fighters in attendance.

The Heavy Cruiser Gorizia was the sole survivor of the Zara class of four ships with the other three being sunk at Matapan. She was taken over by the Germans but was sunk by Italian frogmen in harbour before she could be used. I will find out some further details around this but it has raised the germ of an idea for the Mediterranean . The Germans made use of a number of vessels captured/requisitioned from the territories they had control of. Although for the most part these tended to be destroyer sized or smaller there was a considerable number of these that although not suitable for fleet work were invaluable in coastal convoys, raids, dropping supplies or agents, shore bombardments etc. In the book ‘Struggle for the Middle Sea ’ there is a full list of vessels used in such a way by the Germans in the Mediterranean from 1943 to 1945. Much of this was used in the Aegean amongst the myriad of islands found there.

A low level game set in this theatre would have much to commend it as the Axis forces would be weak in terms of ships compared to the Allies but will have the threat of land and island based air attack. The difficulty would be the models at this scale as there would be the need for lots of small ships and merchantmen, fishing boats and other assorted floating miscellany. War at Sea is relatively poorly served as this end of the naval combat scale so my plan would be to look at other scales to see if I could get the appropriate models or close versions thereof. A number of existing War of Sea models can be used in any event and so I will use them where I can. Certainly allowing the Germans to have access to the Gorizia, perhaps, for example, as a raider would make for a great mini campaign as the Allies would make it a priority to find and sink her. Having a large cruiser operating near the Suez Canal or loose in the Mediterranean would certainly make for a short but interesting game.

For the record this does not count as anything other than as a cerebral exercise as I do not need to paint anything – other than perhaps some model bases for the Mediterranean branch of the Kriegsmarine.

Much to ponder here methinks!


El Grego said...

Looks good so far!

As for the pics, what I do is: type away; insert pic; switch to HTML mode (from Compose mode); cut & paste the code for the pic; switch back to Compose mode; keep typing. Repeat as needed for more pics - they will always show up at the very top of the post.

Must be an easier way but it works for me...

SteelonSand said...

Some nice looking ships there, Ogre, and some meaty fleets to do battle with! I particularly like the aircraft bases, that's a neat idea of theirs to have the 'flights' modelled together.

Never understood the Italian aircraft recognition markings though....yes friendly fire is a problem, but talk about advertising your presence...I think your Swordfish might be busy!

David Crook said...

Hi SoS,

Its a reslly clever idea how they produced the aircraft bases and they look pretty good on the tabletop. The 3 fleets I have are getting huge now and I am in the position of being able to run a number of historical actions quite easily - my gaming pal Mr.Fox has the two Pacific fleets as well so we have no shortage of variety for WW2. I would love it if Wizards decided on a range of WW1 or even pre dreadnought era ships - now that would be something!

All the best,


David Crook said...

Thanks EG - I will give that a try and see what happens.

All the best,


Paul O'G said...

Lovely additions to your fleets mate- they look great!

I'd love Wizards to release a pe-Dread range too :-)

David Crook said...

Hi Tas,

We can but hope and dream!


David Crook said...

Hi Greece traveller,

I am a great fan of the Greek Islands and Santorini is one of my list to visit at some point! Many thanks for your kind comments and I shall certainly drop by your blog.

All the best,


El repartidor. said...


I am working in German, British, Japanese, USA and Italian fleets, and your pics and models are very nice, and give me some ideas for my fleets.

David Crook said...

Hi El Repartidor,

Welcome to my blog! Sadly the War at Sea collection is no more as I disposed of it in order to fund a couple of other projects. The models are really nice looking though and I had a lot of fun with them.

Good luck with your own collections(s) and I hope you get as much out of them as I did!

All the best,