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Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Nugget 313

The editor of THE NUGGET sent the latest issue to me on Sunday evening and I will be taking it to the printer later this morning. With luck it should be ready for me to collect by Thursday or Friday so that I can post it out to members by the weekend.

IMPORTANT: Please note that this is the fifth issue of THE NUGGET to be published for the 2018-2019 subscription year. If you have not yet re-subscribed, a reminder was sent to you when the last issue of THE NUGGET for 2017-2018 was posted out. If you wish to re-subscribe using the PayPal option on the relevant page of the website, you can use the existing buttons as the subscription cost has not changed.

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Happy Birthday ... Wikipedia!

On 15th January 2001, Wikipedia came on line for the first time!

If Wikipedia was a person in the UK, they would be an adult, would be able to vote, and could buy an alcoholic drink in a public house.

Wikipedia was launched by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger, and its name is a portmanteau word that combines the words wiki (which is derived from the Hawaiian word for quick) and encyclopaedia. Wales and Sanger had previously been involved in the development of Nupedia, an earlier online encyclopaedia that operated from October 1999 until 26th September 2003.

Monday, 14 January 2019

The Portable Napoleonic Wargame is now available to buy from Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Far sooner than I expected, Amazon and Barnes & Noble have the hardback and softback editions of THE PORTABLE NAPOLEONIC WARGAME on sale.

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Other people's Portable Wargame battle reports: Another Napoleonic battle

Almost as soon as I had made reference to the two earlier battle reports that appeared on the Heretical Wargaming blog, a third was published.

This was a re-fight of THE BATTLE OF HELMSTEDT ...




... the battle used in THE PORTABLE NAPOLEONIC WARGAME book to show how the division-level rules worked.

This battle report featured the elegant gridded tabletop that has been created by JWH and 6mm-scale figures from his collection. Yet again, this blog entry ends with what I consider to be a very fair and balanced commentary on the rules.

Please note that the photographs featured above are © Heretical Wargaming.

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Progress, progress, progress ...

It's not quite the middle of the month, and I am already working my way towards finishing work on my next (non-wargaming) book. It is entitled MASTERS AT WAR VOLUME 2: 1920 to 1970, and will relate the life histories of some of the members of the Hertfordshire Masters' Lodge No.4090, particularly their military careers.

The research was pretty well complete last year, although new information is constantly turning up. So far I have written about six of the people whose stories I am going to cover, including one who commanded Birmingham's 50,000-strong Home Guard when it was set up, another who was Chief Instructor at the War Dog Training School, and a third whose service in the Middle East and Greece was described in the London Gazette as ‘gallant and distinguished’, for which he received a Mention in Despatches.

I have found that writing can be quite tiring if you spend too much time doing it without a break, so when I do have a bit of spare time, I've also been doing some preparatory work for the re-basing some of my 20mm-scale World War II figures. At this stage this mainly involves taking the figures off their existing bases and cleaning them up. When that has been done, I will repair any damage to their paintwork, varnish them, and then re-base them.

This is quite a mindless activity, and is a great way to have a productive break from writing.

Friday, 11 January 2019

Other people's Portable Wargame battle reports: Napoleonic battles

Although my PORTABLE NAPOLEONIC WARGAME book has only been available for less than a week, the Heretical Wargaming blog has featured re-stagings of two of the scenarios featured in the book.

The first was THE BATTLE OF TWEE HEUVELS ...




... and the second was THE BATTLE OF PORTER'S RIDGE.




Both battle reports featured a very simple but elegant gridded tabletop and 6mm-scale figures as well as some very fair and balanced comments about the rules.

Please note that the photographs featured above are © Heretical Wargaming.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

HMS Undaunted

HMS Undaunted – whose wrought iron mast now stands at the road entrance to the Historic Dockyard, Chatham – was the fourth Bristol-class wooden screw frigate built for the Royal Navy. Her sister ships were HMS Bristol, HMS Glasgow, and HMS Newcastle. The class were built with composite wooden hulls and fitted with telescopic funnels and hoisting screws* as well as a full set of sails and rigging. As an experiment, HMS Undaunted was fitted with a wrought iron mast.


After she was launched at Chatham Dockyard in 1861, HMS Undaunted, went to Sheerness Dockyards for completion, and then straight into Reserve. She was later commissioned in March 1875 under the command of Captain Hugh Campbell, and set sail for the East Indies, where she acted as the flagship of Rear Admiral Reginald Macdonald. She returned to Chatham in 1879, where she was decommissioned in 1880 prior to being sold for scrapping in November 1882.

HMS Undaunted's characteristics:
  • Displacement: 4,094 tons
  • Dimensions:
    • Length: 250 ft (76.2m)
    • Beam: 52 ft 1 in (15.9m)
    • Draught: 22 ft 9 in (6.9m)
  • Propulsion: 1 x horizontal, two-cylinder, single-expansion steam engine (2,503 ihp) driving 1 hoisting screw propeller*
  • Speed: 12 knots
  • Complement: 550 to 600
  • Armament: 30 x 8-inch (203 mm) muzzle-loading smoothbore guns; 20 x 32-pounder muzzle-loading smoothbore guns; 1 x 68-pounder muzzle-loading smoothbore gun

* The telescopic funnel and hoisting screw allowed the Bristol-class to operate as purely sail-powered vessels when necessary. This increased their ability to stay at sea for long periods without having to stop at a coaling station to refill their bunkers.

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

A visit to Chatham

On Monday Sue and I went to the Dockside Outlet Centre, which is located next to the Historic Dockyard, Chatham, and whilst I was there, I paid a visit to Regal Models. Although not part of the complex of buildings that make up the Centre, Regal Models occupies a nearby building.


The shop – which also serves as the office of a van hire company – stocks a range of diecast vehicle models, model railway rolling stock and accessories, plastic model kits, balsa wood, modelling tools, and paint. It is open every day of the week, but closes at midday on Saturday and Sunday.

On my way back to the Outlet Centre, I walked past the Bell Mast that stands near to the road entrance to the Historic Dockyard.


This was originally fitted to HMS Undaunted, and when the ship was scrapped, the mast was erected at Chatham Dockyard. From 1903 until the Dockyard closed in 1984, the bell was used to signal the end of each day's shift.

Monday, 7 January 2019

'Not one step back!'

Over the weekend I was watching a DVD of the film ENEMY AT THE GATES, and it struck me that if and when I get around to getting my Eastern Front/Great Patriotic War project officer the ground, I need to incorporate 'Not one step back!' into my rules.

Joseph Stalin issued Order No. 227 on 28th July 1942. It was intended to help stiffen resistance and included the command 'Not one step back!' (Ни шагу назад!/Ni shagu nazad!), an order that was ferociously enforced by blocking detachments of the NKVD. Soldiers (including officers) who retreated without written permission were liable to be shot on the spot or sent to a penal battalion (штрафной батальон/shtrafnoy batalyon).


Having looked at my PORTABLE WARGAME rules, the simplest way to incorporate 'Not one step back!' would be to remove the retreat option for Russian units from the RESOLVING HITS ON UNITS table. If I do this, any Russian unit that is hit would automatically lose 1 SP but will not retreat.

I'd like to see if this simple change works ... so a short play-test battle would seem to be in order.

Sunday, 6 January 2019

My latest book sales figures

Because I was on a cruise when Lulu.com sent me last month's sales figures, I had not looked at how well (or badly) my books were selling since the beginning of November. At that point my sales figures looked like this:


The current sale figures (which were downloaded before THE PORTABLE NAPOLEONIC WARGAME went on sale) look like this:


The 'core' PORTABLE WARGAME books continue to sell well, but I was gratified to see that HEXBLITZ has developed a following, even though it was only published so that I could show other people how to go about writing and publishing their own books.

It will be interesting to see if THE PORTABLE NAPOLEONIC WARGAME book sells as well as the other books in the series. If it does, it will certainly encourage me to publish THE PORTABLE COLONIAL WARGAME book that I have been planning to write.