Friday, September 16, 2016

Project Sicily: Grammichele, Sicily July 15th, 1943.

    As I mentioned in another posting, I have chosen to create a project for next year's Historicon 2017. Sure, it is a little early, but I can say that I can reign in some new models, paint styles, and create new terrain. I do not expect to learn too many new things, but then again, I look back to two years earlier. I have made some serious terrain improvements. And part of this post is to show case a commission piece that will be very similar to what this project will be like and what the project will officially be.
    So I will cover the second part first. Out of researching various battles during Operation Husky, I was surprised on how little was covered in actual day to day fighting. Some actions I had found were nearly side notes. The same went with the different force campaigns in Sicily. That was one of the original reasons I had for tackling this subject for a convention game. In a simple way to put it, the research for good material was some work. At I still have some more research to go. But if you are going to search this far, pick some unfamiliar ground. This brought me to the 1st Canadian Division! Now, I have modelled Canadians before with Flames of War. Kalissa's armored squadron are based on the 4th Canadians. What struck me was that this was their first combat campaign. They took the high road through mountain towns in the Sicily campaign on the left flank of the British, but between the American forces. Their first actually engagement was the hill town of Grammichele against the Hermann Göring Division.
       The 1st Infantry and the Three River Regiment were engaged in combat after taking fire from some 88 Flak 36 guns from an ambush while travelling up a road in column. They lost a Sherman tank a few universal carriers, and some other vehicles. Then, they took action. The whole affair had the Canadians attack the town into three group with self-propelled guns firing in support. Universal carriers fired tracers to locate the Germans while the Shermans knock them out. The whole affair started at 9:00 a.m. and ended at noon. The Canadians had 25 casualties while the Germans were not listed, though the 88's were taken out and some tanks.
   Over all, a three hour battle could be a great historical game to model. If I run the same four games like my Normandy one, that could cover the first two hours of the battle and get somewhat balanced results. The research I need to know are what kind of tanks where there in Grammichele during the battle. How many 88 Flak 36 guns where there present and part of the ambush? If I get the numbers of tanks, I could probably get a good guess about the infantry or lack there of. The Germans were preforming a fighting withdraw during this battle.
    Now, the good thing about this battle is that there is some interesting terrain for it. Below and above are some pictures of the Sicilian terrain I will most likely be modelling. I was saying before that there are few things that I will probably have the learn. In some sense, that is true, but there is a railroad for this scenario. I have not had a railroad on a board before, so it will be an unique challenge. In addition, I will have to make the main road of Highway 124 a paved one. There are simple ways to accomplish this, but the challenge is to make this work as a nature flowing board, rather than a modular type of terrain you see at wargaming conventions using hills. The good news out of research, I came across a scenario based on this battle by change titled, "Ambush at Grammichele" by a guy named Bill Slavin. He has a grid map drawing of the whole battle area for 15mm. This is helpful, since Google Maps shows me how built up this area has become. And since there are no known photos I can find of the engagement, this is very helpful. I think it will be an awesome project when it is done.
   Here are the shots of the similar terrain color scheme I will be using.

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