Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Canadian Campaign in Northwest Europe

I’ve been having a lot of fun with the East Front skirmish Campaign I am currently running. But I have to admit I’ve been getting pretty excited about doing a Canadian Campaign for World War Two.

I’ve kind of settled on doing a campaign set in Northwest Europe, beginning with D-Day. I guess I could have done one starting with Operation Husky (the invasion of Sicily), which the 1st Canaidan Division participated in. I’m not ruling out doing a Sicilian/Italian campaign, in fact I’m pretty sure I’ll do a Sicilian/Italian campaign as some point. I’m far more familiar with that campaign.

The fact is, however, the Canadians I’ve been working on lately are more suitable for Northwest Europe.

The idea of a Canadian campaign has almost distracted me from the current East Front Campaign. Fortunately, having given the Canadian campaign some further thought I’ve realized I have a lot to do before I’ll be able to get that off the ground.

I imagine the campaign will follow a platoon of The Regina Rifles from D-Day to VE-Day. Ideally I’d like to find a good history of the Regina Rifles – preferably some personal memoirs – to use as a scenario generator. The Saskatchewan Information and Library Services shows three books on the Regina Rilfes (Look To Your Front, Up the Johns, and The Regina Rifles) I’m sure I’ve had one of those out and it was pretty good. I’ll have to check out the others as well.

I also found a really good website with a fair bit of handy info:

Regina Rifles

If anyone else knows of good sources of info – in particular any good, readable memoirs – please post a comment!!

I’ve been reading through the Osprey book on Juno Beach (well… Gold AND Juno Beach) and just from that it seem to me the first two (or three) obvious scenarios would be:

#1 The Beach – landing on the beach and getting off it taking out beach defences along the way, and

#2 Clearing Courseulles – street fighting – this could end up being a series of scenarios in itself…

And this brings me to my first big sticking points: Terrain and Tanks! I have some landing craft I had built for another scenario that could be pressed into service as assault craft. I also have LOADS of Barbed Wire from the Vimy Project… but I’ll definitely need some bunkers; casements, tobruk emplacements, etc. I’ll probably need something to represent a sea wall and some of the beach obstacles might be fun – if only just for show. For the second scenario I’m going to need to build some French looking buildings (definitely be referring to Kevin’s Blog for some inspiration there…

Then there are the supporting tanks of 1st Hussars… Of course if all the players are in one platoon, or even one section to start with, I’d really only need one Sherman, maybe two… but that’s one or two more than I currently have and I’ve pretty much expended my gaming budget for the year… so… (if anybody’s wondering what to get me for my birthday… or has one and wants to trade for a pile of 15mm ACW stuff…?).

That’s just the Canadian tanks… Very shortly after D-Day I’m quite certain I’ll be needing some tanks for the 21st Panzer Division and/or the 12th SS… I do have a Panzer IV, but I’ll probably need some of the big cats as well (Pumas and Panthers and Tigers, OH MY!). And maybe some early war French tanks – that 21 Panzer Division was supposedly equipped with. Of course that would probably just be an excuse to start an Early War French force….

After the French village terrain, I’ll be needing some French countryside terrain…

In terms of other miniatures I think I’m pretty much set. Well, mostly…

I have almost enough Canadians for two full strength platoons (once I get them all painted) – I may be shy a bren gunner or two and a couple riflemen… but when were any sections at full strength anyway!? Other than the tanks I also have some 3” mortars for support – not that they would even really need to be on the table…!? I should probably pick up a six pound AT gun (support from the battalion AT platoon) and maybe a 17 pound AT gun – from Divisional AT Artillery battery. Other artillery would all be off table.

For the Germans I’ll have enough regular Heer for two full platoons as well, plus a great deal of odd extra support things – engineers, AT guns, etc. They will all do for the 716th Division soldiers and could be pressed into action as panzer grenadiers from the 21st Panzer Division. I also have enough SS to make up a full panzer grenadier platoon for when they bump into the 12th SS. I’m not sure if I really need half tracks…?

I still need to paint a few of those, but I’ve got time…


  1. Christian KnudsenJuly 13, 2010 at 3:21 PM

    Funny enough, as a former RRR, I have "Look to your Front, Regina Rifles". I'll bring it next time I'm over.

  2. Christian KnudsenJuly 13, 2010 at 3:27 PM

    Keep in mind that the Germans didn't use the SPWs like we use APCs, ie for delivering infantry onto the objective. They were not survivable in an anti-tank environment, and so they were used mainly for fire support from long range (and then only the support versions), and as rear area taxis that could handle arty. They were definitely not meant to be exposed to enemy direct fire.

    I must admit that while this looks fun, it also looks like rather a lot of work, not only in terms of figs and terrain, but also in terms of campaign and scenario design.

  3. In case you're interested, I've got some photos from our trip to Juno last year posted here:



    Paul K.

  4. I totally forgot you were living in Regina for a while (and thus would have transfered...) - I thought you were always a member of the Non Serviceable Regiment... Sweet, that'd be awesome!

  5. Thanks Paul!

    Nice shot of the Tobruk Emplacement... I was actually just searching for pictures of one last night!

  6. One interesting thing: look at how much more sand has built up on the beach over the last 60 years comparing the photo (of the photo) to the current shot of the beach...

  7. Christian KnudsenJuly 13, 2010 at 6:20 PM

    Of course I was a Farmer John! Best 2 yrs ever! I got in more fights in those two years than I have in most of the other 34 combined. I asked one guy if they had any quirky Remembrance Day traditions, and he replied "No, not really. Well, we do go and kick the crap out of the Communications guys, does that count?" And so we did. Great guys.

    Why do you think I was so hot-to-trot to have you paint those guys as RRR?

  8. Matakishis Teahouse website has a great series of articles on 'building Carentan' - well worth a look imho!

  9. Thanks Jules!

    I'd quite forgotten about those! They are awesome!

    Here's a link for anyone else that wants to have a look:

    Carentan at Matakishi's Tea House