Falkirk Carronade 2023
This was a participation game inspired by a planned attempt to seize an allied bridgehead on the Adriatic Coast in 1943. This was part of Churchill’s strategy of attacking Germany through the Balkans, the ‘soft underbelly’ as he described it. This is one of many plans, deception and actual operations described by our Secretary, Dave Watson, in his book, Chasing the Soft Underbelly: Turkey and the Second World War (on sale at the Helion Books stall).
The Adriatic route to the ‘soft underbelly.’
A British Joint Planning Staff paper in May 1943 suggested landing four assault brigades and two infantry divisions at Durazzo (Durres in modern Albania), supported by air cover from the Italian mainland, a twentieth-century version of the eleventh-century Norman invasion of the Balkans.
Churchill pursued the idea, arguing it would flare up the Balkans and force a German withdrawal to the Danube. However, the Americans opposed any distraction from Overlord, and Stalin didn’t want Allied troops in the Balkans.
However, the British did occupy the Adriatic island of Vis as a base for attacking the Dalmatian coast with Tito’s Partisans. On the island, the army based commando units and the 2nd Battalion Highland Light Infantry (GDWS’s adopted regiment, 'The Glesga Keelies'). There was a small unit of US Rangers and several partisan units. The Royal Navy based MTBs and landing craft there, and the RAF operated an airstrip with a squadron of Spitfires.
You command a special forces group tasked with seizing the port to allow an infantry division and naval units to land there. They will then expand the bridgehead to the high ground above the town. A squad of US Rangers will land on rubber boats under the coastal gun battery, tasked with holding the sea entrance to the port. Two commando squads will land on the other side of the port by landing craft and boats. They are ordered to advance along the waterfront and capture the port buildings. A Partisan unit has agreed to infiltrate the town and attack the port building from the landward side. There will be no air support or naval bombardment to maintain surprise and avoid damage to the docks.
Intelligence reports indicate that the German garrison includes several regular infantry squads and an armoured car. They mainly use the waterfront buildings as barracks. The attack will be at dawn when only sentries are on duty.
The rules are a simplified version of the popular WW2 rules, Bolt Action. The 28mm figures are from various ranges, and the Harbour model was featured in the April 2023 Wargames Illustrated.