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"How Do You Represent Paratroop Drops?" Topic

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Cuchulainn28 May 2015 5:49 a.m. PST

I'm steadily building up my forces for French Indochina in 20mm. I've managed to pick up three JU52 Toucans for a good price and look forward to getting them on – or rather over – a table of jungle in the not-to-distant-future.

I'm just wondering how you simulate paratooper landings? I've seen little pieces of paper being dropped, each one representing an individual figure. It seemed to work quite well, although I wasn't involved in that particular game so don't know for certain.

So how do you do this?

Even though it's the French-Indochina War I'm working on, as I suspect a para drop is pretty much the same in all periods, I'm gonna post this in the WW2 section too.

Rich Bliss28 May 2015 6:11 a.m. PST

I drop square pieces of paper from a ruler. each piece represents a platoon. Hold the ruler a foot off the table for low drop, 3 feet for high. If the paper lands face up, the platoon starts in good order, face down, pinned.

skinkmasterreturns28 May 2015 6:12 a.m. PST

We've used the paper drop.Lots of fun,and I cant think of a better way to represent the scattering effect.

Martin Rapier28 May 2015 6:15 a.m. PST

Dropping bits of paper works very well, I first came across it in WRG 1925-50 (the elements are fire/weapons teams), but I've seen it used in operational games, although at that level you often just place the battalions and roll for dispersion/losses.

Otherwise various mechanisms involving throwing dice are available.

Some sort of landing survival roll is generally de rigeur, again see WRG for reasonable values.

PDF link

Airlandings are on page 30.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP28 May 2015 6:39 a.m. PST

As above, dropping paper.

Dentwist Supporting Member of TMP28 May 2015 6:52 a.m. PST

Dropping paper, but I got a black powder rifle patch cutter, to make circles, which I think look a bit better when dropped.

Old Slow Trot28 May 2015 6:53 a.m. PST

I heard about that way too.

uglyfatbloke28 May 2015 7:06 a.m. PST

Those little tictac mints…as many as figures or elements depending on your rules..stand about 6 foot away from the table and lob the handful underarm; that'll give a bit of direction to your drop and if you lob too hard (or not hard enough) you've just had a bad drop.

Chris Palmer28 May 2015 7:08 a.m. PST

Have the player set out the units in the lines they want them ideally dropped on, then roll two scatter dice (d20s work well) for each figure; the first for direction and the second for distance (or multiples of dice if you want lots of distance scatter, like five or six d6).

smolders28 May 2015 7:30 a.m. PST

I've used a set of scatter dice and a round template from GW to place dropped paras. First pick a designated drop zone then for each group roll the dice and place on the table.

Sundance28 May 2015 7:34 a.m. PST

Determine your line of flight over the table, then drop a piece of paper every couple of inches from a height of 3 to 5 feet.

OSchmidt28 May 2015 7:40 a.m. PST

My game is an "Army" level game in that both sides are "armies" and the table top is like you see in those book illustrations with --XXXX-- between them. The game runs on a hexagonal basis (each hexagon is 8" across on parallel sides. You nominate the hex you want to drop on and two die are rolled for each air-drop unit. 7 to 12 and they hit the drop zone, 1 through six, and they get dropped in one of the surrounding hexes. If that hex has an enemy troop formation-- oh well== That'll tell you to put your drop zones a little further away.


Col Durnford Supporting Member of TMP28 May 2015 8:05 a.m. PST

I've heard of the same paper drop using a yard stick to get a longer drop zone.

Murvihill28 May 2015 9:29 a.m. PST

I did a sci-fi game once and used the paper drop technique but with a twist: I made a Buck Rogers-style ship out of a 2-liter bottle, put a dowel in the back, attached it to a pole that was clamped to the side of the table and let the player place the ship over the table and rotate it until the paper fell off. Effectively the commandos climbed out onto the ship's fin and jumped off when told to. It could be done with a WW2 plane too.

andysyk28 May 2015 9:37 a.m. PST

I remember an article in Practical Wargamer, where there were tables for everything from take off to the drop, great fun, planes breaking down on the runway, ditching in the oggin and being shot down. If any of youre airborne reached the table all organisation was gone. Chaos and like I said fun but probably only for those with a sense of humour.

coryfromMissoula28 May 2015 11:06 a.m. PST

I have had the players blow cotton balls out of a cardboard tube left from wrapping paper.

Who asked this joker28 May 2015 11:50 a.m. PST

The paper drop was the first thing that came to mind. A classic game mechanic from the 60s. I am surprised how many folks have suggested it as THE thing to do!

(Leftee)28 May 2015 12:09 p.m. PST

Snother method would be the 'Squad Leader' method in, I believe, 'Cross of Iron'. Remember though, that the US parachute (probably the British too?) can be fairly well controlled – so drift less. Less so at night cos you have to see what you need to avoid to avoid it! That, and wind direction, not taken well into account for the random paper drop hence like the SL method.

Mill194028 May 2015 1:53 p.m. PST

Rapid Fire uses the a 9 field board.
i use scatter dice.
Or just pick the esemblypoints, throw a dice on how many arrive at this point and start the game from there

Mako1128 May 2015 2:17 p.m. PST

Walk at a steady speed, and drop hole-punched, paper circles from at least 3' above the board, a few at a time.

For windy conditions, set up a fan nearby the drop zone, and let nature take its course.

Troops ending up in the water, in forests, or on top of buildings are casualties, and so cannot participate in the fight.

dantheman28 May 2015 7:24 p.m. PST

Memoir 44 has you drop the plastic figures on the board. They land where they drop. Wouldn't do it with nicely painted lead, but for cheap soft figures it works. Fun.

capncarp28 May 2015 9:37 p.m. PST

An issue of Wargamers' Digest from the 70s had an article on gaming an airborne drop, including AA fire, gliders, scatter, etc.

VonBlucher29 May 2015 4:55 a.m. PST

We use a 12" X 12" template, made with wood and rigging thread. You roll 3 12D and usually we go for a 3' X 4' area. Roll the 3 die, of course 3 different colored die, and place the figures.

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP29 May 2015 6:01 a.m. PST

Rapid Fire 2 uses paper markers for smaller actions (1 or 2 battalions) or the same 3 X 3 grid mentioned above (with a "0" resulting is possible losses, landing on an obstacle does as well) for larger actions.

For the individual markers you "drop" from 24 inches but if inexperienced air crews then "drop" from 36 inches.

My favorite rule though is for the individual markers where you have separate weapons containers and each individual figure must contact it before being able to conduct small arms fire. Terrific for actions like Crete!

capt jimmi29 May 2015 9:28 p.m. PST

Cool ideas ! … funny to see how popular the 'dropping paper' approach is (and permutations of),
"…If it aint broke…"

number429 May 2015 11:22 p.m. PST

Paper drop! This can be improved visual by using the paper baking cases for either cup cakes or candies depending on your chosen scale :) They're even available in green and you can use red ones to designate ammunition or weapons drops.

Each one rolls a d6 when it lands to see how long it takes for the trooper to untangle his chute – a 6 is bad news as he's badly injured and out of the fight. Those guys that are stuck for a couple of turns get one of the figures handling his chute that you get in the plastic sets as a marker; he counts as a pinned figure until he can get free and is replaced with a regular model.

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