Firestorm: Norway

Firestorm: Norway Firestorm: Norway
9 April - 10 June 1940
with Gísli Jökull Gíslason, Dane Tkacs, Eirik Ulsund and Maurice V. Holmes Jr.

Why Norway? At first glance it may sound obscure, but it isn’t. It was the first battlefield where British, French and German soldiers would battle on land in World War II. It would last longer than the Battle of France. It was the first modern combined arms operation with navy, air and land forces. One which the Wehrmacht performed to their German perfection.
It was a gross violation of neutral states and Operation Weserübung would conclude in the occupation of Norway and Denmark for the reminder of the war in Europe.
Firestorm: Norway
Most would hate the invaders, while thousands of their countrymen joined the ranks of the SS Wiking and SS Nordland to fight the Soviet Union and the Norwegian collaborator Vidkun Quisling would give his name to traitors and collaborators. The Royal Navy learned the hard way that the age of great battleships was at an end. Naval warfare would be determined by air superiority. This was also be the only time, the few but effective surface ships of the Kriegsmarine, would do battle as a navy on the high seas. The Battle of Norway would also have far reaching consequences. It would lead to Churchill becoming the Prime Minister of Great Britain and for the Germans, their brilliant campaign would lead to a heavy burden on resources and manpower, one they could ill afford as the war went on.
Firestorm: Norway
I really like Firestorms. After designing Firestorms for Greece, Lorraine and Caen I was approached separately by both Eirik Ulsund and Dane Tkacs to see if I was interested in doing one for Norway. Being Icelandic I was interested in looking closely at the Battle for Norway, as we share a kindred spirit among the Nordic countries. I had however never really studied the Campaign so it was a lot of work. Actually Firestorm Norway could be called Firestorm Weserübung since it does cover Denmark in an abstract way. I went for Firestorm Norway for reasons of familiarity with most people. In all my Firestorms I have tried to capture the essence of each Campaign and soon I realised that it was impossible to separate the Naval Actions from the land Campaign and this added a whole new dimension. Another thing about the Battle of Norway is that Norway is very long and making a map that covered the entire country made it very hard to focus on the areas of main fighting. So I decided to break up the Campaign to three maps. They are the Strategic Map for Naval and Air actions, South Central Norway from Oslo to Trondheim and then finally the Narvik Map. Think of it in terms of the Flames Of War sliding scale, the closer you focus on the action the smaller the scale becomes. In that way Firestorm Norway is different from previous Firestorms.
Firestorm: Norway
The idea of a Firestorm is to put your Flames Of War games into a larger context. So I went ahead and tried my hand at designing a simple yet effective Naval/Air game. This turned out to be a lot of work. Initially I had tables but the Holy Grail of game design is KISS, Keep It Simple Stupid. It was quite clear by reading the books and articles that I could find that battle at sea could be very deadly but in a number of engagements very little damage occurred. Battleships were particularly resilient to damage which is not surprising as they are over 30.000 tonnes. I also discovered that a lot of ships were seriously damaged rather than destroyed. High level bombing was very inaccurate but Stukas performed very well. German submarines were numerous but as with the US submarines, at the start of World War 2 their torpedoes were defective. So rather than to have complex tables and even more complex damage rules you simply get a Combat Value for each unit that translates into number of dice and as in a Flames Of War game you must decide before you roll what is your intended target. Also just as in a Flames Of War game being destroyed doesn’t always mean that everyone is killed, only a unit is rendered combat ineffective. After a series of playtest I found that this system is brilliantly simple and works well to my satisfaction. It also opens the possibility of being used for future campaigns, especially the Pacific whenever Battlefront comes to that theatre. I hope you like it as well.
Firestorm: Norway
Designing Firestorm Norway was hard. As a Campaign it is rather one sided. The Germans managed to start the Campaign with a Strategic surprise and once they were secure in Norway the Royal Navy learned the hard way that Air Superiority would dominate World War II naval warfare. It was the persistence of Eirik Ulsund and Dane Tkacs that made me go for such a difficult campaign to design. For me the experience was a rewarding one. I feel I now have a good understanding of Operation Weserübung and I hope that players will appreciate the workings of this exciting and important part of World War II.
Downloading Firestorm: Norway (right click on each image below and save as...)
The Rules The Campaign Tokens
The Campaign Maps (2x Maps; A3 size)
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Maurice V. Holmes Jr. deserves a mention in the dispatches. He made a very thorough read through the rules and suggested changes that I believe made the end version much better. Also my thanks to Robin Häggblom for his contribution to Sekondløytnant Thor Olaf Hannevig and the others that offered comments and suggestions on Flames Of War on Facebook and the Forums.

~ Jökull.
Firestorm: Norway

Last Updated On Thursday, April 17, 2014 by Blake at Battlefront