Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Target for Tonight Mainforce - Nuremberg Raid Plan

After my recent posts looking at my project to update my Target for Tonight collection of models, together with some ideas to create a campaign structure around the core games which culminated in me running the first of eight planned games linked together to recreate the first month of the Battle for Berlin initiated by Bomber Command in late 1943.

The Berlin Campaign major ops showing targets, total aircraft involved and types with losses total percentage and by type (number of aircraft), L-Lancaster, H-Halifax, S-Stirling, W-Wellington
Source - The Bomber Command War Diary, Middlebrook & Everitt

Following the first run through of the basic structure in the first game where players ran a mission with the five bomber groups to attack Berlin, recreating the first attack on August 23rd 1943, I have gone away and made adjustments and altered various aspects including adding in some of the ideas created by other players who share ideas on the Target for Tonight Facebook Group around air-gunner and nightfighter capabilities.

Target for Tonight - Facebook

The first part of the Ops brief shows the target, predicted weather, number of aircraft available by group and their potential bomb lift.

Thus I have put together a plan for the next game using the Cyberboard module I created originally but, based on the game planning involved last time, I decided to short circuit the process by preparing a op plan that would have a lot of the pre-game data already worked through, including crews, weather, nightfighter allocation and target maps, thus allowing the players on the day to simply mark up their aircraft stat cards and decide the appropriate bomb lift and fuel load out for their groups.

Part two of the brief shoes the aircraft crews, now including air gunner stats together with the route plan in tiles to the target and back

The ops planning form allows me to simply take map data from Cyberboard and type in crew stats from my prepared set of sixty randomly prepared crews now with air gunner stats added and with a final brief showing potential nightfighters by area that simply makes it easy for me to select an aircraft during an intercept, and finally the countermeasures briefing already prepared that can be used to update future games in the sequence.

The final part of the Ops plan showing likely nightfighter distribution by type and rating, the target map and predicted wind direction for pre-planning TI drop and the latest countermeasures with a summary of the campaign position since the last op.

The crew stats will change by op to reflect losses sustained in between the major operations we are creating and other likely hazards that caused a continual attrition and change within squadrons and groups.

In addition to working up the basic game structure, I have completed my collection of models with the addition of a Beaufighter IV NF to be used alongside my Mosquito to do RAF nightfighter intercept games and I might add an Me109 Wild Boar fighter just for completeness.

The new Beaufighter IV NF

In addition I have painted up the last few of my micro bombers that I picked up from Magister Militum at Salute earlier this month that completes my Stirling and Wellington squadrons and will allow the Rhur campaign order of battle as a potential future campaign.

Lines of extra Stirlings and Wellingtons complete  the bomber stream collection

Finally, just to add to the visual effect of the bomber stream heading out into the night skies over Germany I decided to kit out some of my models streaming Window in their path and I have an idea to perhaps use these to represent Bomber Support Group squadrons. Either way they look great when positioned at the back of the stream.

The Window foil strips flutters out in the wake of these four Lancasters

All my trays holding the models together with the player stat cards, playing cards, wipe pens and mission route tiles now fit into a 9ltr RUB with a raised lid and together with the playing board for Bomb Runs and Nightfighter Intercepts makes the game easy to transport to club.

So everything is ready for the next meeting of the Devon Wargames Group early next month when we will see if the early good fortune for Bomber Command over Berlin in the first op continues with another deep raid into southern Germany and the attack on Nurmemberg on the 27th August 1943 which, historically, produced negligible results despite good TI's and a Master Bomber overhead, little compensation for the 4.9% loss rate suffered.

Three really informative titles for anyone interested in campaigning the Bomber Command battles of WWII

During my preparation for this series of games I have added recently to my library to include the Bomber Command Diaries - Middlebrrok and Everitt, mentioned above which is an absolute gold mine for those wanting to know the detail of bomber command operations throughout the whole war and is a core source for putting together my series of games.

In addition the Haynes series of books looking at military subjects in great source of detail and is a book I keep dipping into when looking at Bomber Command operations.

Finally for the human dimension and in-depth detail of the Battle of Berlin campaign the Middlebrook title, 'The Berlin Raids', is a must read with excellent maps and analysis of each of the missions between August 1943 to it close in March 1944 together with a useful summary of the other activities that took place in between.

More anon


  1. Martin Middlebrook used to live not far from us and he wanted to interview my dad for his book 'Convoy' (Dad was on corvettes), but he died early bofore it could happen.
    There is a film due to come out soon about bombers. can't track the details as I'm on holiday, but the WW2 Museum at Frieston near Boston have details (and a mock-up cockpit from the film).

  2. Hi Joppy,
    Yes Martin Middlebrook has written some great books and was in the vanguard of those writers who took the time to record the memories of the veterans, many of whom are no longer with us.

    The War Diaries was the book I really wanted to get hold of as it has all the information about each and every operation that I simply couldn't find anywhere else - highly recommended.

    'Lancaster Skies' is the film I think you are referring to and it seems to have got some positive reviews.