Friday, 23 March 2018

Falconwood Transport & Military Bookshop

Yesterday I paid a visit to Falconwood Transport & Military Bookshop, and whilst I was there the proprietor – Andy Doran – informed me that the shop would be closed from 7th May to 1st June, and that after it re-opens on 2nd June, it will only open on Saturdays.

If you are ever in South East London when it is open, I recommend that you pay it a visit.

The contact details are:
Falconwood Transport & Military Bookshop
5 Falconwood Parade, The Green, Welling, Kent DA16 2PL
Tel: 020 8303 8291

The following map shows its location.

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Eastern Front/Great Patriotic War project ... is going onto the back burner for awhile

Having played around with some of the models and terrain from Zvezda's ‘Art of Tactic’ OPERATION BARBAROSSA game (and had a few problems building some of the kits as a result of my general clumsiness and banana-like fingers!), I have decided to put this project on the back burner for a while.

It has become very apparent that I need to sort out the rules I am going to use before I embark on more work on this project, and the recent spate of articles from old issues of THE NUGGET that I have been uploading to my blog has given me pause for thought.

Currently I am thinking along the lines of melding my HEXBLITZ rules with some of the ideas from Ian Drury's SANDS OF NEW STANHALL and Martin Rapier's OPERATION URANUS and BATTLE OF CAMBRAI rules. In theory this should be quite a simple exercise, but experience tells me that what I first need to do is to take a break and come back to this project with a clear head and a fresh pair of eyes. This might sound a little odd, but over the years I have learned that when I do this, I seem to find it much easier (and faster) to achieve my goal than if I keep plugging away at something that I have been thinking about for some time.

Taking this action will also allow me to look at some of the other projects I want to do some work on, and may well lead to some progress towards my next PORTABLE WARGAME book!

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Useful storage boxes

Sue and I often visit the shops in nearby Welling, which is to the east of Shooters Hill. It is not a major retail area although it does have several supermarkets and an inordinate number of fast food outlets, nail and tanning salons, and Turkish barbers! It also has several small, specialist shops, one if which – Bargain Kingdom – sells all sorts of hardware and seasonal goods.

We paid a visit to the shop yesterday, and I saw and bought a couple if small storage boxes that I thought might be useful for storing armies for use with my PORTABLE WARGAME.

Today I experiment with the boxes to see what I could store in them ... and the results were encouraging.

These boxes come in two heights in several different colours as well as in smaller and larger sizes. They are designed to stack on top of each other (there are locating tabs on the bottom and indentations on the lids) and they fit very nicely into the pigeon holes in my bookcases.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

The start of The Hundred Days

It wasn't until I began watching Sergei Bondarchuk and Dino De Laurentiis' film WATERLOO on TV last Saturday that I realised that 20th March 1815 was the day that Napoleon returned to Paris after his exile on Elba, thus marking the beginning of the so-called 'Hundred days'.

The film included some wonderful battle scenes, not all of which were particularly accurate but which certainly gave an impression of what a horse-and-musket era battle involving thousands of combatants looked like.

Monday, 19 March 2018

Replacing my old notebook computer

Some years ago we bought a small, cheap notebook computer that we could take on holiday. It has served me well, but it is now beginning to show its age (like me it is getting slow and cannot do as much as it used to!) and we have been looking around for a new notebook computer to replace it. On Sunday morning Sue was looking through the online offers from Lidl and spotted what she thought might be a suitable replacement. It is a Trekstor Surftab® Twin 10.1 2-in-1 Convertible Notebook that was priced at £169.00, and after looking at the specification, we went and bought one.

I know that there will quite a few people out there who will tell me that I should have bought this or that notebook because it is better than the one I have purchased, but for the price and convenience this seems to suit my purposes.

Its specification includes:
  • Processor: Intel® Atom™ x5-Z8350
  • Operating System: Windows® 10 Home
  • RAM: 2GB
  • Storage: 64GB internal memory (expandable with an additional 128GB MicroSD memory card)
  • Graphics: Intel® HD Graphics 400
  • Screen: 10.1" 10-point multi-touch with Full HD IPS display
  • Facilities: USB 2.0 port, mini-HDMI, mic, audio jack, WiFi, Bluetooth
  • Cameras: front and rear 2MP
The only thing that it lacks is a port for normal SD cards (each day we are on holiday I back-up the photos we take have taken onto our computer), but as these can be purchased for only a few pounds from a number of retail outlets.

I am now looking forward to setting up our new notebook computer. Experience tells me to leave plenty of time to do so, and to expect things not to go as smoothly as I would like ... but once done, I hope that it will gives us as many years of useful life as its predecessor.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

The Battle of Cambrai: PDF of the rules is now available

I have converted the text of Martin Rapier's rules and his battle report into PDF format, and they are now available to read and download here.

Infantry from the 16th Infantry Division move forward.

Saturday, 17 March 2018

The Battle of Cambrai: An Army Level Game for One (or more Players) by Martin Rapier

An Army Level Game for One (or more Players) by Martin Rapier

1. Introduction
Many, many years ago, in an issue of Airfix magazine (or possibly the Airfix annual) I saw a photo of a World War One game where the author had assembled a number of Airfix Mark 1 tanks that were busily advancing on a reproduction of the German trench system around Hamel modelled out of Plasticene of all things. The tanks were supported by British infantry in caps and the Germans all had pointy helmets, (all that was available then) but it was an image which has stayed in mind ever since, and I thought that, one day, I too would put on a game with masses of rhomboid tanks poised to crash through the mud and the blood to the green fields beyond. That day finally came last year when I realised just how many W.W.1 tanks the redoubtable members of Sheffield Wargames Club had between them. Time for a game ...

2. Design Concepts
After reading around the subject, I decided there were a number of elements of the battle I wanted to capture:
  • The sheer mass of armoured vehicles employed (almost 500 in all);
  • The key tactical role the tanks played in the destruction of German wire obstacles in lieu of a long preliminary bombardment;
  • The limited endurance of W.W.1 heavy battle tanks and the limits that posed on their operational significance.
Having decided to put a modicum of complexity into modelling the armoured side of things, then clearly the infantry, artillery etc. were going to have to be heavily abstracted to make a playable game, but these elements needed to be present and have the capability to play a significant role as W.W.1 armoured operations were most definitely a combined arms event. One element I made very abstracted was the creeping barrage, in the end allowing British field guns to fire fairly freely (although only able to hit the first two rows) as it wasn’t worth the extra complexity of specifying barrage or rates of advance etc.

The basic game elements were drawn from my various grid based games (most of which were in turn inspired by Peter Pigs ‘Square Bashing’ and Ian Drury’s ‘Storm of Steel’ and ‘Sands of New Stanhall’. I kicked around some designs for a two or three day battle which would include some of the German counter attacks but in the end decided to concentrate purely on the first day. This in turn meant that all players would play the British, as running the Germans on the wrong end of the initial attack would be a dismal job at best! The game then fell into place fairly rapidly, the mechanisms used in Operation Uranus being obvious candidates, the main things to note being:
  1. Dice rolls are required to enter particular terrain types, this made wire especially a formidable obstacle to infantry and cavalry.
  2. Rolling dice for movement meant vehicle reliability could be simply modelled by making low scores a bad result for tanks (losing vehicles to breakdowns etc).
  3. Whilst infantry, guns and cavalry were modelled as one base = one battalion (or cavalry brigade) and they fought as a single element, the tanks were represented as strength points assigned to each vehicle model so the attritional effects of movement and combat could be modelled without requiring truly immense numbers of toys. The available tank SPs were just distributed over the available tank models and recorded with little dice. The game was designed with twelve tanks in mind, but in the event we managed to assemble no less than eighteen!
  4. Artillery barrages attack everything in the square, this makes the defending artillery pre-registered on no mans land extremely powerful indeed if the attackers try and march through with massed infantry. This in turn means that reaching the enemy gun line is a high priority for the tanks and that infantry attacks against uncut wire are essentially doomed to fail (as there is very little chance of crossing the wire and the defensive artillery will destroy units stuck in no mans land fairly quickly).
  5. Similar command and control limits as in Operation Uranus apply i.e. units can generally only move straight forward once committed to combat.
3. Playsheet
A very simple set of rules, British move and then Germans move. Squares are attacked by ‘assaulting’ them i.e. trying to move into them. Those units which make a successful move roll are shot at by the defenders, the survivors then engage in three rounds of close combat. Stationary units are hit by fire on a 6 but moving targets on a 5 or more, which makes assaults extremely bloody. Only some units have a ranged fire capability, the rest fight by assaulting. Move distances and ranges are in terms of squares, orthogonal only.

Turn Sequence
  • British move, declare assaults.
  • German move, declare assaults.
  • Artillery fire.
  • Ranged fire.
  • Assaults.
  • Rally (4+).

  • * Dice per SP or base, Number after / is defensive fire only.
  • ** 3D6 if Anti-tank gun vs. tanks.
  • *** Pillboxes can only be destroyed by hits from artillery or by assault, all other ‘kills’ just disorganise them.
Move rolls (to enter/cross terrain). Use worst type in square.

  • * lose 1 SP on a '1'.
  • Stacking maximum 6 units per square.
Ranged, Artillery and Defensive fire
  • 1D6 per unit/SP.
  • To hit target: Stationary 6, Moving 5, Moving Cavalry 4.
  • Score = killed/1SP loss for tanks.
  • Heavy Artillery and barrage fire hits all units in a square.
  • Field artillery barrage disorganises if roll one less e.g. 5 disorganised hits on 6 vs. stationary. This is supposed to represent suppression from the creeping barrage.
  • Distribute hits randomly. Disorganised units may not move, conduct ranged fire and in assault shoot once and defend with 1 dice with no fortification benefits. Tanks are never disorganised.
  • Units may rally on 4+.
  • Units which make a successful move roll enter the square.
  • Defender fires twice using assault rating (unless disorganised).
  • Then fight three rounds using assault rating, 6 to kill.
  • Defender gets one extra dice for wire and one for trenches/cover (not pillboxes).
  • Attacker pushes out defender by rolling 6+, adding surplus troop bases, tanks and defenders in fortifications count double.
  • Guns and pillboxes are captured if the defender is pushed out, assaulting infantry are disorganised if they win.
4. Game Notes
  • 6 x 4 squares battle area, along with a further row of squares for no mans land and another row further back for reserves etc. No mans land is at the top of the battlefield (not shown) with a further line of squares behind that. The Germans have continuous lines of trenches across the first, second and fourth rows, the first two lines being covered by wire as well. The gun line is the third row. Each square represents approximately 2,000m, Cambrai itself is off the table at the bottom of the map.
  • The game lasts 8 turns (hours).
  • Defensive artillery may be surprised on the first turn if the British choose not to fire a preparatory bombardment. They open fire and are spotted but their fire has no effect on a 3+, roll for each target square.
  • The British have four turns of field gun barrage (two shots each) per division and 25 rounds of heavy gun ammo (maximum six shots per turn). One round of preparatory bombardment may be allowed (does not disorganise targets). If the guns move they lose all their dumped ammo and are only allowed one conventional ranged shot per turn. Field guns only support their own division.
  • British will need to allocate corps and divisional frontages, which may not overlap for infantry divisions, although a reserve division can overlap one front line division. No movement outside divisional areas. The cavalry boundaries can be allocated when they are committed. Once committed to NO MANS LAND units move straight forward, although tanks may deviate within the Corps zone to avoid obstacles.
German Forces
    2 x Infantry Divisions with 9 x Infantry, 1 x MG, 1 x Mortar and 3 x Field Guns each
The Hindenburg line has 6 x pillboxes, 3 further pillboxes in outpost and reserve lines. One gun is an Anti-tank gun (positioned in Bourlon Wood).

For each division the commitment of forces to each line is:
  • Outpost line: 2 x Infantry, 1 x pillbox.
  • Main Battle Line (HKL): 5 x Infantry, 3 x pillbox, 1 x MG, 1 x Mortar.
  • Gun line: 3 x gun.
  • Reserves: 2 x Infantry.
Only deploy defending units when the British try to enter the square or are adjacent on high ground (Welsh Ridge, Bourlon Ridge).

British Forces
    III Corps
      62nd Infantry Division (9 x Infantry, 1 x MG, 1 x Mortar).
      51st (Highland) Infantry Division (9 x Infantry, 1 x MG, 1 x Mortar).
      20th Infantry Division (9 x Infantry, 1 x MG, 1 x Mortar).
      12th Infantry Division (9 x Infantry, 1 x MG, 1 x Mortar).
    IV Corps
      36th Infantry Division (9 x Infantry, 1 x MG, 1 x Mortar).
      56th Infantry Division (9 x Infantry, 1 x MG, 1 x Mortar).
    Cavalry Corps
      5th Cavalry Division (3 x Cavalry).
      2nd Cavalry Division (3 x Cavalry).
      1st Cavalry Division (3 x Cavalry).
    Tank Corps with 380 Mark IV tanks and 96 support tanks. Approximately 1SP per 6 tanks so around 70 SP distributed over the available models, maybe more if feeling generous.
5. Player Briefings
Battle of Cambrai, 20th November 1917
British Briefing
General Scheme
General Sir Julian Byng’s plan for an offensive by his Army has been accepted by GHQ. We will make a surprise attack in the region of Cambrai using massed tanks supported by predicted artillery fire and no major preliminary bombardment. When a breakthrough has been achieved the Cavalry Corps can exploit the situation and advance on Douai and Valenciennes. Given the limited resources available following our great victory at the Third Battle of Ypres, the progress of the operation will be reviewed after 24 hours.

  • Break through the Hindenburg Line defences on a frontage of at least 10,000 yards.
  • Take the dominating Bourlon Wood/Noyelles position.
  • Pass the Cavalry Corps through to capture Cambrai and exploit.
Enemy Forces
The enemy is believed to have some six divisions in the area, but only two manning the immediate defences. It is likely that large enemy reinforcements will arrive after 48 hours, however most enemy units are exhausted after the Battle of Ypres.

The Hindenburg Line consists of the three main defensive belts; an outpost line some 2,000m deep; the main battle zone also some 2,000m deep and fronted by a 14' wide anti-tank ditch and a further reserve line 6,000m to 8,000m into the enemy position.

Each defensive zone is fronted by major wire entanglements, contains numerous dug in positions and bunkers and is reinforced with concreted machine gun posts (the so-called 'pill boxes'). The bulk of the enemy troops and fortifications are likely to be concentrated in the main battle zone, with counter attack forces in the third line.

The enemy field artillery is mostly located behind the main battle zone and will lay down a curtain of defensive fire once our attack has commenced. The enemy gun line is out of barrage range of our field artillery, but the heavy artillery is within easy counter battery range.

Friendly Forces
    III Corps
      62nd Infantry Division
      51st (Highland) Infantry Division
      20th Infantry Division
      12th Infantry Division
    IV Corps
      36th Infantry Division
      56th Infantry Division
    Cavalry Corps
      5th Cavalry Division
      2nd Cavalry Division
      1st Cavalry Division
Each division has 100 field guns with sufficient ammunition for four hours barrage fire each. If they move this ammunition will be left behind and they will be reduced to their ready supply.

300 Heavy guns (six brigades) with sufficient ammunition for a total 25 concentrations between them. These guns are immobile.

Tank Corps, three tank brigades with 380 Mark IV heavy battle tanks and a further 96 support tanks of various marks.

Special Order to Tank Commanders
  1. Tomorrow the Tank Corps will have the chance for which it has been waiting for many months – to operate on good going in the van of the battle.
  2. All that hard work and ingenuity can achieve has been done in the way of preparation.
  3. It remains for unit commanders and tank crews to complete the work by judgement and pluck in the battle itself.
  4. In the light of past experience I leave the good name of the Corps with great confidence in their hands.
  5. I propose leading the attack in the centre division.
Hugh Elles B.G
Commanding Tank Corps

6. The Game
Tim Gow, Sharon Langdridge and John Armatys turned up for this one, which worked out at a rather handy two divisions each for them to command. The addition of Tim’s extra tanks (the paint seeming suspiciously wet) meant we could field no less than eighteen Mark IV type tanks in a surprising variety of colour schemes and markings, all very realistic no doubt. This meant each division could be assigned three tank models to produce a nice even distribution across the front, all very historical, and a necessity given the victory conditions of 10,000m wide break through. The 20mm troops were deployed in the south, and the 15mm troops in the north as being further away they naturally looked smaller.

The progress of the game was recorded for posterity by the miracle of digital camera technology, and we managed to record the situation at the start of the game and at the end of each turn. As might be expected, the massed armour rolled over the Germans, although the game was not without its distinctly sticky moments. The photographic evidence reveals rather poignantly the ever diminishing number of operational tanks in the front line and the increasingly ragged progress once the main Hindenburg defences were reached, a couple of pillboxes in the centre proving extremely tough nuts to crack.

Highlights of the game:
  1. The sheer spectacle of the table groaning under masses and masses of tanks, supported by an impressive number of infantry (some 54 bases of infantry alone, excluding artillery and support weapons).
  2. The glee with which the assembled tank commanders rolled over the German outpost line
  3. The consternation when they hit the Hindenburg Line proper!
  4. A lone German artillery battalion holding Bourlon Wood for hour after hour, fronted by blazing Mark IVs, all very historical.
  5. The death ride of the 51st Highland Division as they launched wave after wave of infantry assaults across the St Quentin Canal, only to be mowed down a brigade at a time by the defending artillery (who eventually succumbed to massed mortar and Vickers machine gun fire).
  6. The triumphant march of the Cavalry who trotted through the middle of the raging battle and off to glory without a scratch.
I was very pleased with the way the game went, and the players were all delighted to have given the Hun a good kicking, although it was by no means a walkover – some divisions had lost all their infantry and few tank units had more than one or two SP left. The only thing which really concerned me was that the combination of benefits they got which made the defenders extremely tough indeed and even during the game I dropped the additional dice they were supposed to have in close combat. If running it again I’ll probably revise that area somewhat.

7. Conclusions
Apart from a couple of minor tweaks, this game seems to work well. It is perhaps a bit depressing that I seem to have to write a set of rules for every single game I do, perhaps one day I’ll crack the secret of writing a more general purpose set. I’ll be bringing this to COW2003, and I hope anyone with even a passing interest in W.W.1 can come and give it a go. Contributions of even more tanks will be welcome!

Friday, 16 March 2018

Spanish Civil War: Day-by-Day: 16th – 18th March 1938

Barcelona was subjected to round-the-clock bombing by Italian aircraft based on Majorca.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Operation Uranus: PDF of the rules is now available

I have converted the text of Martin Rapier's rules and his battle report into PDF format, and they are now available to read and download here.

Martin has kindly given his permission to also publish his Cambrai rules on my blog, and I hope to do that in the next few days. These were a development of his Operation Uranus rules and involved two German Infantry Divisions vs. British forces amounting to six Infantry Divisions, three Cavalry Divisions, six Heavy Artillery Brigades, and three Tank Brigades.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Internet woes

For the past three days our Internet connection has been very erratic, hence my somewhat curtailed blogging.

What started as an intermittent fault became a total loss of service. Even when this was supposedly fixed, the connection remained unreliable, and by this morning I had given up counting the number of times I had reset the modem/router and input the network password on my computer, our iPads and iPhones, and our Amazon Firestick.

Hopefully the connection will have settled down overnight, and there will be no more problems.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Miniature Wargames Issue 420

The latest issue of Miniature Wargames arrived on Saturday, and I have just finished reading it.

The articles included in this issue are:
  • Welcome (i.e. the editorial) by John Treadaway
  • Forward observer
  • Send three and fourpence: Ruritanian Holiday – A tale of three games by Conrad Kinch, with photographs by the author and John Treadaway
  • Hell by daylight: 20th Century skirmish rules: Part 3 by Jim Webster
  • Pyrenees: July 1813: A conundrum to contemplate by Jon Sutherland, with photographs by Diane Sutherland
  • A Call to Arms: A scenario and other add-ons for Outremer: Faith and Blood by Jamie Gordon
  • Darker Horizons
    • Fantasy Facts
    • Look out Jason: The evolution of a participation game by Peter Merritt
  • The Victorio Campaign: 1870-1886: Part Two: Navajo and Pueblo: Mexicans and Texas Ranger by Robert Watt, with photographs by the author and Kevin Dallimore
  • Recce
  • Dusty Tracks: The continuing tales of a wargames widow by Diane Sutherland
  • Show Report: Vapnartak by John Treadaway
  • Club Directory
So what did I particularly enjoy in this issue?

The stand-out article for me was Conrad Kinch's Send three and fourpence: Ruritanian Holiday ... and not just because he used my PORTABLE WARGAME rules! I have been a sucker for Anthony Hope's Ruritanian stories ever since I saw the 1937 version of the film PRISONER OF ZENDA on our old black and white TV, and any wargame that has Ruritania as its setting is always going to get my vote. In addition to this, the article was illustrated with photographs of some of Julian Spilsbury's collection of wonderfully painted, semi-flat figures, which are so evocative of the toy soldiers that were on sale when the books were written and set.

On a personal note, a very favourable review of LA ULTIMA CRUZADA appeared in the Recce section of this issue, but it is too early to see if it has stimulate any additional sales.

This issue was accompanied by a copy of the SALUTE 2018 wargames show guide ...

... which I also read with considerable interest as I hope to go again this year.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Operation Uranus: An Army Level Game for One (or more Players) by Martin Rapier

An Army Level Game for One (or more Players) by Martin Rapier

Operation Uranus: Romanian briefing

To: Gen. Lascar, Commander 14th Vanatori Division, 3rd. Army, Seramifovitch 05.00 on 19th November 1942

There are strong indications that the enemy is preparing to attack. You must hold your positions at all costs for the honour of the Romanian Army, in particular you must delay or damage any enemy motorised formations to enable armoured reserves to move up and deal with them.

14th Vanatori Division
1 x Divisional headquarters
6 x Infantry battalions (3 Regiments)
1 x Infantry battalion (Jäger)
1 x Cavalry battalion (Reconnaissance)
1 x Engineer battalion
1 x 47mm Anti-tank gun (Anti-tank battalion)
1 x 120mm mortar (Mortar companies)
2 x 100mm howitzers (Artillery regiments)
2 x 75mm gun (Artillery regiments)
6 x barbed wire entrenchments
4 x minefields
25 x dummy counters
Units are deployed (as inverted counters) in rows B to E.

Operation Uranus: Russian Briefing

From: General Zhukov, Stavka representative to the Southern Front, Seramifovitch, 13.00 on 19th November 1942
To: General Bagramyan, 5th. Tank Army

The 5th Guards Tank Army will spearhead our thrust south to seize Kalach and surround the Nazis in Stalingrad. Use your attached Rifle Divisions to enable 3rd Tank Corps to pass through the lines of the Romanian Hitlerite running dogs to your front. The armour must be got through the lines in the maximum possible strength before nightfall.

124th Guards Rifle Division
1 x Divisional headquarters
9 x Rifle battalions
1 x SMG battalion
1 x Anti-tank Gun
1 x 120mm Mortar
1 x Engineer battalion
2 x 76mm guns
1 x 122mm gun
16th Rifle Division
1 x Divisional headquarters
9 x Rifle battalions
1 x Anti-tank Gun
1 x 120mm Mortar
1 x Engineer battalion
2 x 76mm guns
3rd Tank Corps
1 x Corps headquarters
3 x Tank brigades (2 x T-34, 1 x Motor Rifle battalion each)
1 x Motor Rifle brigade (3 x Motor Rifle battalions)
1 x Motorised SMG battalion
1 x Motorised Engineer battalion
1 x Armoured Reconnaissance battalion
1 x Guards Mortar battalion (Katayushas)
Plus air/artillery support as detailed in the rules.

Victory Levels: Based on number of Tank Corps units exited by the end of the day.
Note: the maximum victory level is only attainable if the entire tank corps leaves the table intact.
17: Order of Lenin all around. The Fascists in Stalingrad will be utterly annihilated as the mighty 3rd Tank Corps sweeps aside all opposition
15 to 16: Your mission has been achieved, and it is likely the enemy in Stalingrad will be surrounded by our powerful armoured forces.
13 to 14: 3rd Tank Corps has penetrated the enemy line, but will have a stiff fight to defeat the enemy armoured reserves and complete the breakthrough. Strict adherence to Stalinist principles will be necessary in future to avoid disgrace.
Less than 13: The crippled 3rd Tank Corps is highly unlikely to defeat 1st Romanian Armoured Division, and the success of our offensive now hangs by a thread. Report to Moscow immediately for reassignment to a Peoples’ Mine Clearing battalion.

Operation Uranus: Rules
  • Each stand is a battalion.
  • Turns are approximately three hours (6 tums in a day).
  • Each square is about 2km.
  • The battle lasts a single day.
  • The battlefield is four zones wide by six zones deep.
  • The defender deploys counters face down in his area (rows B, C, D, E).
  • The Russians do reconnaissance (roll 206 for row/column, pick two counters three times).
  • Russians plan and fire bombardment: they have 16 points to fire initially (maximum 2 per zone), plus a further 8 on call (maximum 4 per turn).
  • Place fire points and plot four Target Registration Points (TRP) for on call fire. Roll D6 for each counter in a square per fire point, kill on 6.
  • Infantry/artillery move 1 zone.
  • Motorised move 2 zones (3 if not into combat).
  • Romanians may move D6 mobile units (half D6 if HQ destroyed).
  • Maximum of 6 units per zone at any time.
  • Artillery fire: allocate and resolve support points vs. squares (only vs. TRPs) ... Note: this hits everyone! Resolve as initial barrage (roll per unit in target area, 6 kills). This includes airstrikes generated by random events.
  • Support fire (mortars l square, artillery/rockets 2 squares) may be into friendly squares. Romanians fire first, unmasked batteries cannot be targeted in the turn they are revealed. Fire once, 6 kills.
  • Close Combat (in same zone): Fight three rounds, rolls of 6 kill. Defender fires first on first round. All roll 1D6 except:
    • Engineer/SMG Infantry: 2D6 vs. soft, but die first.
    • Anti-tank: 2D6 vs. armoured, no effect vs. Infantry.
    • Tanks: 2D6.
    • Artillery: 2D6.
  • Each barbed wire gives one defender an extra D6, each minefield gives one defender an extra 2D6. Undefended wire does not impede movement in any way. Undefended minefields kill one unit on a 6, may be cleared by engineers spending a turn in zone. Units may not withdraw from close combat except in direction they came – defenders allowed 1 free shot with 1 unit.
  • Terrain has no effect, it just looks pretty at this scale (it is the rolling Steppe after all!).
Command and Control
  • In real life Red Army attacks were carefully orchestrated.
  • Each rifle division must have a divisional sector, and its forces must be divided into echelons (1st and 2nd).
  • The 1st echelon components are allocated an axis in the divisional sector and must move forwards along it (it may halt).
  • Divisional units may move around freely in the divisional sector.
  • The 2nd echelon is held off table and may be committed to an axis in the divisional sector only on the say so of the C-in-C.
  • Units may not move off their axis (line of squares) at any time.
  • The Tank Corps may be held in reserve and allocated a divisional sector and brigade axes when it is committed. All calls for support fire are also routed via Army HQ, against the TRPs.

Random events (D6 +1 per turn elapsed). Roll at the start of each turn:
    1 to 4: Thick fog, artillery and support fire may only be directed against squares adjacent to friendly units. Event is cancelled whenever 5+ rolled.
    5: Russian Air Strike. One support point available against any square.
    6: Romanian Air Strike. One support point available against any square.
    7: Extra Ammo. Add one support point to pool of available Russian points.
    8+: No effect

    The Game
    An enthusiastic crowd of Russians was assembled: 16th Rifle (Daniel), 124th Guards (Steve Bridden), 3rd Tank (John Armatys), all under the watchful eye of Comrade General Nick Mitchell and Commissar Tim Gow.

    The Russians deployed as shown on the plan.

    Basically the 124th Guards was attacking on a narrow (1 zone) front, whilst 16th Rifle had three zones to cover. The Tank Corps was kept in third echelon reserve so its divisional sector and brigade axes could be determined once the initial attacks had gone in. The Romanians deployed as piles of inverted counters, although in fact it was a very conventional defence – four battalions in column E with wire/mines, mortars and two reserve battalions in column D, divisional artillery and a few more obstacles in row C, and divisional reserves (cavalry, engineers, Jäger battalion, anti-tank and Divisional HQ) in column B.

    General Mitchell rolled the three recon attempts, two of which either missed the table altogether or landed on empty squares. The final one turned up a mortar battalion in D2. The Russians plotted four target registration points for their on-call artillery, mainly along the 124th Guards axis, and allocated their 16 point barrage in quite a deep fire plan, again favouring the Guards. The barrage was resolved and numerous counters removed, the Hill in E4 was completely cleared, much to the Guards delight, and one hidden loss the Russians were not aware of was the Romanian divisional HQ. Only two of four Romanian front line battalions survived the barrage, and of them, only one (in E1) had any fortifications left intact.

    The Red horde rolled forward, and General Mitchell proceeded to stick pins in his map and shout down the telephone. As might be expected, 16th Rifle ran into opposition along its entire front, the regiment from F1 eventually totally destroying itself in fruitless attacks on the surviving Romanian battalion hiding behind its minefield. Progress further south was better, although again it was 16th Rifle which ran into most opposition, and lacking sufficient concentration of force along its attack axes, suffered brutally, its attack eventually petering out as indicated on the following map.

    The lack of opposition to the Guards prompted the Tank Corps to move into 2nd echelon reserve on turn 2, and then to enter the table on turn three, most of its brigades routed along row 4, while one Motor Rifle brigade moved along row 3. Unfortunately, Corps Commander Armatys had been ordered to 'follow the Guards infantry closely', and like a good Marxist-Leninist, that is exactly what he did – the loaded tanks, trucks and batteries of Katyushas bumping slowly over the Steppe, following the plodding infantry in front.

    By the fifth turn, the 124th had actually reached column A, but General Mitchell's map pins were not indicating any armoured breakthrough, so Commissar Gow came to investigate. He found the Tank Corps motoring slowly along behind the infantry. A certain amount of political reorientation took place, and by shifting infantry units back and forth, it was found to be possible to move the vast bulk of the Tank Corps up at a more rapid rate. Despite firing 3 ammo loads at B3 (on top of an unfortunate regiment of the 16th Rifle), all of which missed (raising shouts of sabotage) in an effort to clear the way, the last Romanian reserve, their Anti-tank battalion, slipped into A4 on the last turn. This prevented the Tank Corps from simply driving off the table, and although the T-34s crunched the Romanian 47mms under their tracks easily, as night fell the Tank Corps was still on the field and not motoring off lo its destiny at Kalach.

    Fortunately, there was still at least one defended minefield left for the Division and Army commanders to clear in their new assignment to a Shtraf battalion ...

    So not a good day for the Red Army. although the Romanians were largely obliterated, significant portions were still holding out at nightfall, and had delayed the Russian Tank Corps significantly. Interestingly one of the operational problems Red Army commanders strove to resolve (with increasing success) was at what point to commit their Army and Front level deep operational manoeuvre groups. Too soon and they would get chewed up in breakthrough fighting, too late and the enemy would have time to bring up reserves. In this case, time to revisit those Pu-36 Field Regulations I think!

    While these rules are incredibly simple, they do actually work, even for a large battle like the one described above – mainly through the uncertainty the attacker faces, and they work even better with a proper command structure superimposed. I hope to use them for other set piece modern battles, although probably at the lower company base scale.

    Saturday, 10 March 2018

    La Ultima Cruzada: Paperback and eBook editions ... are now available

    As I intimated in a recent blog entry, over recent weeks I have been thinking about releasing both paperback and eBook editions of LA ULTIMA CRUZADA.

    The work required to do this took somewhat more time and effort than I had expected, but that task is now over and both editions are now available. They can currently be purchased from for £14.99 (paperback) and £4.99 (eBook), but should be available from Amazon etc., within the next fortnight or so.

    Friday, 9 March 2018

    Spanish Civil War: Day-by-Day: 9th March – 23rd July 1938


    With the failure of the Republican attack upon Teruel the Nationalists were now able to mount an offensive eastward into on Aragon and Levante. The intention was to cut Republican Spain into two parts. The assault, which was led by General Fidel Davila, began on 9th March and by 16th March the Nationalists had forced the Republicans to retreat up to 60 miles in places.

    Lerida, in Catalonia, surrendered to the Nationalists on 3rd April, and twelve days later Vinaroz, a village about half-way between Valencia and Barcelona on the Mediterranean coast, was captured and the Republic was cut in two. The Nationalist sought to widen this gap and on 14th June they captured Castellon de la Plana, 40 miles North of Valencia. Republican resistance was, however, increasing, and the Nationalists brought the offensive to a halt to allow time for their troops to rest and re-equip before the attack on Valencia.

    Thursday, 8 March 2018

    Operation Uranus: A development of 'The Sands of New Stanhall'

    In reply to my original blog entry about Ian Drury's game, Martin Rapier mentioned in his comment that he had developed the basic game into an Army-level game about Operation Uranus. I therefore dug through the archives of THE NUGGET and found the article ... and realised that he had already trodden a path that I was considering going down myself!

    The article – which contained all the rules necessary to play the game – was published in N144 (March 2000).

    Unfortunately this article is not available to download, ...

    ... but if Martin gives permission, I will try to make it available in PDF format.

    The main change that Martin made was to make the playing pieces battalions rather than companies.

    The reason why copies of THE NUGGET published before N193 are not freely available is related to copyright. From N193 onwards authors of articles knew that anything that they wrote would be made freely available online after publication; before that issue they did not know that. Therefore any article featured in THE NUGGET before N193 may only be made available with the express permission of the author.

    Wednesday, 7 March 2018

    My latest book sales figures

    The latest sales figures for my books arrived yesterday morning. It is interesting to note that the sales of THE PORTABLE WARGAME and DEVELOPING THE PORTABLE WARGAME continue to flourish, ...

    ... although Amazon still don't appear to have sold a single copy of LA ULTIMA CRUZADA!

    I have checked with why this apparent lack of sales doesn't match with the fact that there are two reviews on Amazon that have been written by verified purchasers and I have had emails from people who have purchased the book from Amazon. informed me that due to the different sales reporting 'cycles', Amazon sales figures can be up to eight weeks in arrears, so that any book sales from late December onward might not yet be included in the sales figures for the period up to and including February.

    This all sounds a bit odd to me, and I will certainly be checking the sales figures in some detail next month.

    Tuesday, 6 March 2018

    Spanish Civil War: Day-by-Day: 6th March 1938

    The modern Nationalist cruiser Baleares, ...

    ... was sunk by torpedoes launched by Republican destroyers whilst she was escorting a convoy of merchant ships off the Mediterranean coast near Cartagena.

    Monday, 5 March 2018

    Where is New Stanhall?

    I have had a request for more information about the island of New Stanhall ... so here goes ...
    • The name New Stanhall is taken from the venue used for COW, Knuston Hall (Knu Stanhall, where the 'k' is silent as in 'know');
    • The map is actually based on an outline of Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands.
    New Stanhall


    This all goes to show what can be done with a little imagination and a simple outline map.

    Sunday, 4 March 2018

    Duke Seifried

    I bought another of the more recent additions to John Curry's 'History of Wargaming' Project last week, and have just finished reading it. It is entitled DUKE SEIFRIED AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF AMERICAN MINIATURE WARGAMING, and it has been edited by John Curry and Jim Getz.

    I had been aware of Duke Seifried for many years, mainly thanks to the occasional mention of the games he has put on at US wargame conventions. These have all seemed to be magnificent examples of large wargames fought with beautifully painted figures on custom-built terrain. Furthermore, they had a reputation for being fun to take part in as well as using well-designed rules.

    What I was not aware of until I read this book was how influential Duke Seifried has been to the development of miniature wargaming in the US. One only has to read the citation for the 1995 Jack Scruby Award and Hal Thinglum's tribute from a 1980s issue of the alas-now-defunct MWAN to begin to get some idea of the impact he has had, and this book has certainly ensured that his role in developing the hobby of miniature wargaming will be recorded for posterity.

    The book contains:
    • The Jack Scruby Award (1995) to Duke Seifried;
    • MWAN tribute to Duke Seifried by Hal Thinglum (1989);
    • Early American Wargaming by Jim Getz;
    • Remembrances 'Uncle Duke' – Many years Later (2017);
    • Reflections on the Melee Rules by 'Uncle Duke' (2017);
    • "Melee" A Game of War (by Duke Seifried);
    • Napoleonique: A Miniature Wargame Strategic-Tactical Manoeuvre in the Napoleonic Era (by Jim Getz with Duke Seifried);
    • Appendix: Key Personalities in the Development of Modern American Wargaming.
    The book is illustrated with a number of previously unpublished black and white photographs of early American wargames.

    I would recommend this book to anyone who – like me – has an interest in the history and development of wargaming. It certainly filled a hole in my knowledge, and now occupies a space on my shelf of important wargaming books.

    The book is published by the 'History of Wargaming' Project, and costs £14.95 plus postage and packing (ISBN 978 0 244 64137 5).

    Saturday, 3 March 2018

    The Sands of New Stanhall revisted

    Nearly twenty one years ago(!) – at COW1997 – Ian Drury ran a wargame about an amphibious operation in the South Pacific. The game saw a US Marine Division assault the Japanese-defended island of New Stanhall, and it was one of the first times I took part in a figure game that was fought out on a tabletop that was divided up into areas. All movement and combat was area-to-area, and the combat system was very simple but also very effective.

    This game came to mind after a recent exchange of emails with David Crook, and after I re-read the rules it struck me that they were capable of use – after a few small changes – for a quick divisional-level wargames set during the Second World War.

    Some extracts from the original rules:

    Turn sequence
    Each day is divided into 3 turns
    • Forenoon
    • Afternoon
    • Night
    1. US player moves
    2. Japanese player moves
    3. Both sides reveal artillery/mortar/machine gun units that will provide support fire for combat
    4. Resolve combat between hostile ground forces in the same area
    Example unit: US Marine Division
    • 1 x HQ (1 figure)
    • 3 x Marine regiments, each comprising three battalions, with each battalion having three companies (1 figure = 1 company)
    • 3 x Marine assault engineer platoons (1 figure with a flamethrower = 1 platoon)
    • 1 x Marine tank battalion comprising companies of M4 Sherman tanks (1 model tank = 1 company)
    • 1 x Pioneer battalion comprising three companies (1 figure = 1 company)
    • 1 x Marine weapons battalion comprising one machine gun and one mortar company (1 weapon and 1 figure = 1 company)
    • 1 x Marine artillery regiment comprising one battery of 155 mm howitzers and three batteries of 75 mm howitzers (1 weapon and 1 figure = 1 battery)
    Total = 40 figures with 3 flamethrowers, 1 machine gun, 1 mortar, 4 howitzers, and 2 tanks

    Example unit: Japanese mobile defenders
    • 1 x HQ (1 figure)
    • 24 x Rifle companies (1 figure = 1 company)
    • 12 x Machine gun companies (1 weapon and 1 figure = 1 company)
    • 3 x Anti-tank gun companies (1 weapon and 1 figure = 1 company)
    • 3 x Battalion gun companies (1 weapon and 1 figure = 1 company)
    • 2 x Pack artillery batteries (1 weapon and 1 figure = 1 battery)
    Total = 45 figures with 12 machine guns, 3 anti-tank guns, 3 battalion guns, and 2 pack guns

    US units move 2 areas per daytime move, but 1 area per night time move whereas Japanese units move 1 are per daytime move and 2 areas per night time move. (US units moving at night could be ambushed or get lost.) Units stop as soon as they enter an area already occupied by an enemy unit.

    Weapon ranges
    • Infantry weapons: Same area
    • Flamethrowers: Same area
    • Machine guns: Same or adjacent areas
    • Mortars: Up to two areas
    • Anti-tank guns: Same or adjacent areas
    • Battalion guns: Up to two areas
    • Pack guns: Up to two areas
    • US Howitzers: Unlimited range
    Combat occurs between US and Japanese ground forces in the same area. Both sides can receive support from air strikes, naval gunfire or nearby artillery/machine-gun units.
    • Supporting fires roll a D6 per air strike, shore bombardment or artillery unit supporting the ground forces. Each score of 6 removes one enemy ground unit. Japanese support fire (artillery) fires first;
    • First round of ground combat roll a D6 for each ground unit in action, removing one enemy unit for each 6 scored. If one side was in sole occupancy of the area at the beginning of the turn, it rolls first and the other side's losses are removed before firing.
    • Second and third round of ground combat. As for 2 but both sides fire simultaneously.
    • If the US forces lose more units than the Japanese they must retreat one area.
    • If the Japanese lost more than the US and advanced into the area this turn they must retreat one area. Otherwise the survivors fight on.
    The above is not a complete set of rules, but they do give a flavour of how they work.

    Friday, 2 March 2018

    Comparing ROCO and Zvezda models of the T-34/76 tank

    I decided to construct one of the Zvezda models of a T-34/76 tank to see how it compared in size with a ROCO model that I had. The results were interesting.

    The Zvezda model is 1:100th-scale and the ROCO model is 1:87th-scale, and the latter should be 15% larger. In fact the main dimensions of the two models are as follows:
    • ROCO: 68mm x 34mm
    • Zvezda: 61mm x 30mm
    When compared, the ROCO model is 7mm (and therefore 11.5%) longer and 4mm (and therefore 13.3%) wider than the Zvezda model.

    The most noticeable difference is the height of the two models. The ROCO is 30mm high and the Zvezda model is 24mm high ... which I estimate means that the ROCO model is about 2.5mm too tall.

    It is reasonably well known that the ROCO model is not one of their most accurate models, but I do have a lot of them. I also have quite a few Corgi ready-painted diecast models of the T-34 from their 'Fighting Machines' range, which are variously described as being 1:80th or 1:72nd-scale. When these are placed alongside the Zvezda model, the difference in size is far more noticeable.

    Thursday, 1 March 2018

    Zvezda's Art of Tactic games: A way forward for my Eastern Front/Great Patriotic War project?

    Over the past few weeks I have been doing a lot of thinking about how best to approach starting work on my Eastern Front/Great Patriotic War project. One possibility that I have been considering is to take a simple quick-start short-cut … and buy a copy of Zveda’s ‘Art of Tactic’ OPERATION BARBAROSSA game.

    The game components are compatible with my PORTABLE WARGAME rules. I know this because I previously owned a copy, but in what now strikes me as a fit of madness, I passed it on to another wargamer, along with a stack of unmade models that I had bought to go with it.

    In terms of figures and vehicles, the basic game contains:
    • 1 x Pzkpfw II tank
    • 1 x Pzkpfw III tank
    • 1 x Opel Blitz truck
    • 3 x Bases of German infantry
    • 1 x Base of German assault engineers
    • 1 x German machine gun crew
    • 1 x Ju87 Stuka dive-bomber
    • 1 x 81mm mortar and crew
    • 1 x German HQ
    • 1 x T-34/76 tank
    • 1 x Zis-5 truck
    • 3 x Bases of Russian infantry
    • 1 x Russian machine gun and crew
    • 1 x Russian 82mm mortar and crew
    • 1 x 45mm anti-tank gun and crew
    • 1 x 37mm anti-aircraft gun and crew
    • 1 x Russian HQ
    The terrain items in the box include:
    • 6 x double-sided six by four hexed terrain boards (they are actually five hexes plus two half hexes by four hexes)
    • 30 x double-sided single terrain hexes
    • 6 x hill hexes
    • 1 x Pillbox
    • 2 x Dragon’s teeth anti-tank obstacles
    • 4 x Sets of barbed wire
    • 1 x Pontoon bridge
    In addition, I already have soome models I had bought some years ago during a visit to the Artillery Museum in St Petersburg. These include:
    • 1 x T-26 tank
    • 2 x T-34/76 (mod.43) tanks
    • 2 x 45mm anti-tank guns and crew
    • 2 x 76mm infantry guns and crew
    • 2 x 122mm M-30 howitzers and crew
    • 2 x 85mm anti-aircraft guns and crew
    Since the first game came out, Zvezda have added several additional sets to the range including the ‘Art of Tactic’ TANK COMBAT game.

    This set comprises:
    • 1 x Pzkpfw II tanks
    • 1 x Pzkpfw 38(t) tanks
    • 1 x Pzkpfw IV tanks
    • 1 x BT-5 tanks
    • 1 x T-26 tanks
    • 1 x T-34/76 (mod.40) tanks
    • 1 x double-sided four by three hexed terrain boards (they are actually four hexes by two hexes plus two half hexes)
    The other two widely available games are Zveda’s ‘Art of Tactic’ BATTLE FOR MOSCOW ...


    ... games.

    The former contains:
    • 1 x Pzkpfw III ausf.G tank
    • 1 x Pzkpfw IV ausf.D tank
    • 1 x StuG ausf.B assault gun
    • 3 x Bases of German infantry in winter uniform
    • 1 x German machine gun crew in winter uniform
    • 1 x 81mm mortar and crew in winter uniform
    • 1 x German motorcycle and sidecar
    • 1 x German HQ in winter uniform
    • 1 x T-35 tank
    • 1 x Base of Russian infantry in winter uniform
    • 2 x Bases of Russian militia infantry
    • 1 x Base of Russian ski infantry
    • 1 x Russian machine gun and crew in winter uniform
    • 1 x Russian 82mm mortar and crew in winter uniform
    • 1 x 85mm anti-aircraft gun and crew
    • 1 x Russian HQ in winter uniform
    • 6 x double-sided six by four hexed snowy terrain boards (they are actually five hexes plus two half hexes by four hexes)
    • 30 x double-sided single terrain snowy hexes
    • 6 x hill hexes
    • 1 x Pillbox
    • 2 x Dragon’s teeth anti-tank obstacles
    • 4 x Sets of barbed wire
    • 1 x Pontoon bridge
    • 8 x Smoke markers
    • 2 x Fire markers
    The latter contains:
    • 1 x Pzkpfw IV tank
    • 1 x Base of German infantry in winter uniform
    • 1 x 75mm anti-tank gun and crew
    • 1 x 81mm mortar and crew in winter uniform
    • 1 x German HQ in winter uniform
    • 1 x T-34/76 tank
    • 1 x Base of Russian infantry in winter uniform
    • 1 x Russian anti-tank team
    • 1 x 76mm Zis-3 anti-tank gun and crew
    • 1 x Russian HQ in winter uniform
    • 3 x double-sided six by four hexed terrain boards, two of which are snowy (they are actually five hexes plus two half hexes by four hexes)
    • 1 x Pillbox
    • 2 x Dragon’s teeth anti-tank obstacles
    • 4 x Sets of barbed wire
    • 1 x Pontoon bridge
    • 6 x Smoke markers
    • 2 x Fire markers
    By buying most or all of the above I could quickly 'kick-start' my Eastern Front/Great Patriotic War project into life ... and it is certainly an option I need to think about some more.

    Wednesday, 28 February 2018

    Nugget 306

    I collected the latest edition of THE NUGGET (N306) from the printer yesterday afternoon, and I will be posting it out to members of Wargame Developments as soon as I can ... weather permitting! (We had a heavy snowfall last night, and very little foot or vehicle traffic seems to be able to move outside our house at present.)

    I have already uploaded the PDF version of THE NUGGET to the Wargame Developments website so that it can be read online or downloaded and printed.

    IMPORTANT: Please note that this is the sixth issue of THE NUGGET to be published for the 2017-2018 subscription year, and that members who have not already re-subscribed can do so by visiting the relevant page on the Wargame Developments website.

    Tuesday, 27 February 2018

    Other people's Portable Wargame battle reports: Cavalier 2018

    One thing that I really regret about not making it to CAVALIER this year was the opportunity to see Mike Lewis and Anthony Morton running a PORTABLE WARGAME using 54mm-scale figures. Luckily Mike has written a blog entry about the game, and he has illustrated it with some excellent photographs.

    As I wrote in a commented on his blog, 'I was struck by how similar the whole game looked to the battles fought by Joseph Morschauser, who was – of course – the inspiration for my PORTABLE WARGAME rules. Mike’s terrain and figures look beautiful, and I love the very simple but very effective trees and built-up areas. A truly inspiring wargame!'

    Reading Mike's blog and seeing the photographs has certainly given my somewhat lagging spirits a bit of a lift, and when I begin feeling a bit better I hope to stage a PORTABLE WARGAME of my own.

    Please note that the photographs featured above are © Mike Lewis.

    Monday, 26 February 2018

    A great Saturday ... but an awful Sunday

    Sue and I enjoyed our trip to Bristol. The hotel we stayed in on Friday night was excellent value, their restaurant produced some very good food, and we both slept well. On Saturday I went to the Masonic meeting – which I thoroughly enjoyed – and the after-meeting meal was one of the best I have ever eaten after a Masonic function.

    Just after 4.00pm we left Bristol to return home, and the journey was only marred by the fact that I seemed to be developing a rather sore throat, my eyes were beginning to itch, and I kept feeling very hot or shivering. In fact by the time we arrived home just after 7.15pm, it was obvious that I was coming down with a heavy cold, and by I was asleep.

    I was supposed to be going to the CAVALIER wargames show in Tonbridge on Sunday, but when I awoke on Sunday morning, I felt awful. The cold had developed overnight, and all I wanted to do was to stay still, keep warm, and not to venture outside into the freezing cold. Unfortunately we had to go shopping on Sunday morning for some food, and driving to the local shops and back confirmed my decision that going to Tonbridge was not a good idea.

    Feeling unwell did give me the excuse to sit in from of the TV all afternoon and into the early evening watching THE BRIDGE AT REMAGEN, A BRIDGE TOO FAR, and WHERE EAGLES DARE. It was almost as if the TV channel knew I was going to be ill and would need something to keep my fevered brain semi-active!

    I did everything that one is supposed to do when one has a cold. I took aspirin to deal with the headache and to reduce the fever (I cannot take paracetamol as I am allergic to the substance they add to make you vomit if you take too many!), and I drank lots of fluids. It certainly relieved the worst of the symptoms, and by this morning I was feeling somewhat better. As I write – however – it is snowing outside, and before I can take it easy today I have to get the salt and shovel out of the garden store ... just in case I need to use it as the week progresses.

    Saturday, 24 February 2018

    A busy weekend

    I am paying a flying visit to Bristol today to see an old friend (and fellow wargamer) Installed as the Worshipful Master of his Bristol-based Masonic Lodge. The meeting will be followed by what we Freemasons call a 'White Table', which is a celebratory meal where non-Masons (usually wives, other family members, and friends) are invited. My wife has accompanied me to Bristol, and whilst I am in the meeting, she will no doubt be undertaking some retail therapy. She will be joining me for the 'White Table', after which we will drive back to London.

    We could have stayed overnight in Bristol, but as the weather forecast isn't good (snow is predicted for Monday) and the CAVALIER wargame show is taking place in Tonbridge, Kent, tomorrow, we decided to drive back home to South East London tonight. With luck (and assuming that the weather is not too bad), I should be able to go to Tonbridge tomorrow ... where I hope to meet up with some of my fellow wargame bloggers, buy one or two items for my current projects, and see my PORTABLE WARGAME rules in action!

    Looks like I am in for a busy (and hopefully very enjoyable) weekend!

    Friday, 23 February 2018

    La Ultima Cruzada: Paperback and eBook editions

    Since LA ULTIMA CRUZADA was published late last year, I've had several requests for both paperback and eBook editions.

    Having given it some thought, I've decided to see how quickly and easily this could be done, and if it does not require too much work on my part, I hope to be able make them available in the near future.

    Thursday, 22 February 2018

    Royal Arsenal Museum 2017: Smaller and Post-war ships

    Whilst looking through the image files on my computer, I discovered that I had not finished sharing the photographs that I took last year during our visit to the Royal Arsenal Museum (or Tøjhusmuseet) in Copenhagen.

    Lossen (Mine Vessel)

    Tumleren and Hvalrossen (Torpedo Boats)

    Daphne (D1) and Havmanden (H1) (Submarines)

    Willemoes (Torpedo Boat)

    Søløven (P510) (Fast Torpedo Boat)

    Lommen (P567) (Fast Torpedo Boat)

    Olfert Fischer (F353) (Corvette)

    Peder Skram (F352) (Frigate)

    Flyvefisken (P550) (Patrol Boat)

    Narhvalen (S320) (Submarine)

    Delfinen (S326) (Submarine)

    Ingolf (F350) (Ocean Patrol Vessel)

    Daphne (P530) (Patrol Boat)

    Bopa (MHV90) (Coastal Patrol Craft/Home Guard Cutter)

    Hjortø (MHV85) (Motor Minesweeper/Coastal Patrol Craft/Home Guard Cutter)