Saturday, 23 March 2019

WW2 Western Desert minefields and visibility

During the week I played a couple of WW2 Western Desert games using my recently completed escarpments (see the previous post on how to make them).

A game in progress
In these games I am using rules from the game Tank on Tank with modifications to reflect the lighter armour and smaller calibre guns. Having recently re-read a chapter on visibility in "Tank Battles in Miniature - A Wargamers' Guide to the Western desert Campaign 1940-1942" by Donald Featherstone. Unit visibility was one area of the rules I want to add some house rules, to somehow reflect in the games the changing levels of visibility at dawn, evening and the mid-day heat haze, and spotting of moving vehicles with their dust clouds. The reason for wanting to add these rules was to create some specific rules which will hopefully give the games a different feel compared to WW2 game set in North West Europe.

British tanks and support on the move
My thinking at the moment is to allow a visibility to be limited to 3 hexes for stationary units and 6 hexes for moving vehicles. These would be reduced by a third when a heat haze is in effect during mid-day and reduced by two-thirds at dawn and with evening. Also, units on hills cannot see over units that are moving due to the dust clouds they create. They can still see over stationary units as per the rules.
Stuffing after it has been dipped in a sandy brown wash
Rather than using counters to show moving vehicles, stuffing from an old cheap pillow was used and dyed with a watered down sandy brown paint.

Coiled wire us used to represent minefields
The other house rule added was for minefields. These require any unit entering a mined hex has to stop movement for that player turn, they may move again in the following turn. When targeted a unit located in a minefield with fire, the attacking units may re-roll any failed hit rolls.


  1. I like the dust clouds. Simple and add to the visual appeal of the table.

    Visibility in the desert is something I've also been mulling over. My preferred WW2 game system is Crossfire by Arty Conliffe. This relies on a lot of terrain to work. Some people think the desert was flat, but from an infantry man's perspective the desert had terrain to provide cover. But this wasn't true for tanks and they could see and be seen for miles. So tweaks are necessary to make the system work

    1. Thank you. Their use was to avoid counters in the game and spoil the look. The motivation to using dust clouds and representing movement was to have stationary units less vulnerable. When stationary units, as you mention, took full advantage of the available terrain features.

  2. Atmospheric terrain and smoke, looks great!

  3. Handsome setup, Peter! I,too, like the dust clouds.

    1. Thank you. This project is not too far off from completion.