My blog about my wargaming activities. I collect a lot of 15mm miniatures for the American War of Independence and so collect a lot of rules for this period. I started miniatures with Napoleonics, so I have a number of armies in 6mm and 15mm figures for skirmishing. I have15mm WW II figures that I use for Flames of War, Memoir '44, and someday, Poor Bloody Infantry. Finally there is my on-again, off-again relationship with paper soldiers that I sometimes write about.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Skirmish Campaign, Skirmish Elite, and Flying Lead

I have been collecting 28mm WW II figures, individually based on 1" washers, for some time now. (Note that I have not said that I have been painting any; I have collected all of these through random sales on eBay, at hobby shops, off of forums, etc.) I am now getting around to actually gaming with them. I have played two or three games of Flying Lead with them and enjoyed it enough to keep going with those rules, although there are some things missing from those rules.

I've owned a copy or two of various Skirmish Campaigns and Skirmish Elite books and decided to get more on my last trip to HI (where there is a great hobby shop called The Armchair Adventurer). These books support a number of WW II skirmish rules, but Flying Lead is not one of them (which makes sense considering these books pre-date Flying Lead by a few years). So, I've decided to try my own hand at coming up with conversion factors.

Skirmish Campaigns' System

These books use a system or rating figures in three ways:

  1. Six levels of training.
  2. Six levels of morale.
  3. If a Leader, three levels or leadership.
In addition, they sometimes add "flavor" rules to represent certain historical situations, such as the fanaticism of a unit, the extreme bravery of a particular soldier that won a Congressional Medal of Honor, Victoria Cross, Iron Cross, etc. at that particular action.


The morale rating in Skirmish Campaigns represents "the ability of an individual to stay cool under fire". I see this as equating to Flying Lead's Quality rating, which represents "the overall willingness and ability of the character to do his 'job'. It encompasses training, morale, and reaction speed."

Note that Quality mentions both Morale and Training, the two factors in the books, but I see Quality more as morale than training as it determines the ability to take action and sustain it. Also, the game's morale checks are based on Quality. What training aspects there are in quality I think comes from the confidence obtained by that training, and that is just another way of saying morale (in my mind).

The books classify Morale as follows:

A+Fanatics (Kamikaze, etc.).
ATop quality, highly motivated troops (SS Panzer Grenadiers, Commandos, Rangers, some Japanese).
BVeteran troops, troops defending their homeland.
CAverage motivated troops, motivated partisans, exhausted veterans.
DReluctant or shell-shocked troops.
EExtremely unwilling troops, forced conscripts.

Note that the Morale rating in applied to an individual, not to a unit.

In general, I use a Quality rating of 3 through 5, only using a 2 or 6 in exception circumstances, and prefer to use other attributes as modifiers. Here are the conversions that I am going to try:

MoraleQuality and Attributes
A+3, Fanatic, Eager, Fearless
A3, Elite, Steady Under Fire
B3, Steady Under Fire
D4, Green
E5, Reluctant, Green

Feel free to drop some attributes if you do not feel them necessary or pertinent to the scenario.


Training is  reflected in one of six levels, representing "the amount of training a unit has and the amount of time a unit has trained and/or fought together". How that training attribute is used is up to your game system. Note that this attribute applies to all members of the squad. The values in the books are as follows:

T1+The most elite, extensively trained specialists who have seen combat (Fallschirmjager Engineers or US Rangers).
T1Elite soldiers with extensive combat experience, very well trained and disciplined.
T2Well trained combat veterans of quality armies, elite units of lower quality armies.
T3Well trained regulars with little or no combat experience, regulars of most armies.
T4Untested green troops with poor training (Russians 1941, Norwegians 1940).
T5Very poorly trained troops such as civil militia and prison troops.

Given these descriptions I see the training as associated more with the Combat attribute than with the Quality rating of Flying Lead. Combat is described as representing "the character's skill in combat". The values for Combat tends to run from between 1 and 3 so my conversion for Training to Combat is:

TrainingCombat and Attributes
T1+3, Danger Sense, Fearless*, Light, Specialist, Stealth
T13, Danger Sense, Light
T42, Poor Shot
T51, Cannon Fodder

* Although Fearless affects morale, a very high level of training, as represented by this rating, can overcome the specific effects Fearless cover, so seems appropriate.

Feel free to add or remove attributes as seem appropriate. For example, combat engineers should have Specialist (Demolitions) and snipers should have Marksman, Stealth, and Sniper. These are just general factors.


Leadership is rated as 1 to 3 asterisks with 3 being the highest. Again, it leaves it to the game system to translate the values into something meaningful.

*Leader (or Second in Command if the second leader in a unit)
**Leader (or Second in Command if the second leader in a unit), Fearless
***Leader, Hero, Fearless, Fear

Other common attributes for leaders include:

  • Acrobat: good for leaders that seem to survive deadly firefights relatively unscathed.
  • Chucker: good for those leaders that take out machine gun nests with grenades.
  • Close Quarters Battle Specialists and Dashing: good for those leaders that take out the enemy in hand-to-hand combat.
  • Combat Fiend: good for leaders that always appear in the thick of action.
  • Marksman: good for leaders that make those fantastic shots (Sniper is good for that too).
  • Fear: good for particularly ferocious or scary leaders.
  • Hero: good for those leaders that were historically recognized for extreme bravery and heroism, and survived to tell about it.
I would reproduce some of the scenarios, but that would be a violation of the books' copyright and against the spirit of buying such material. However, as I play out the scenarios and write up the battle report, I will list my conversions for the troops.

Tell me what you think and how you might convert statistics in those books for Flying Lead.


  1. I think you've done a great job here of converting to Flying Lead. I'd love to see some of your battle reports and the results of playtesting!

  2. Thanks. I am working through the books trying to find some scenarios that I can do with the figures I have. I generally have enough infantry, the problem is that I don't have enough heavy weapons (MMGs, HMGs, or infantry guns) required of the scenarios.

  3. Congratulations!
    Is great to find some "real" comparative from the real troops with the Flying Lead troops, with this kind of material the wargame is much more suitable to be played


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Huachuca City, Arizona, United States
I am 50 yrs old now. I bought a house in Huachuca City, AZ (although I have a townhouse in Houston, TX and a small home in Tucson, AZ) working on a contract for "the next two years" that is going on five years now. To while away the hours I like to wargame -- with wooden, lead, and sometimes paper miniatures -- usually solo. Although I am a 'rules junkie', I almost always use rules of my own (I like to build upon others' ideas, but it seems like there is always something "missing" or "wrong").