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Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Callan: Wargaming on TV

If you have access to the TALKING PICTURES TV channel on Freeview, Sky etc., you might want to watch tonight's episode of CALLAN. It is entitled AN ACT OF KINDNESS, and features a visit to a wargame show, and two Napoleonic wargames.

I have been to ... Cartagena Military Museum: Miscellaneous Exhibits

The Cartagena Military Museum has some interesting exhibits that do not fit easily into a category.

40/70 Powder Testing Cannon
This unusual weapon was created by matching a 40/70 Bofors 40mm Anti-aircraft Gun barrel with the carriage of a 45/44 Soviet 45mm Anti-tank Gun. It was used to test batches of propellant powder produced at the National Factory of Gunpowder and Explosives, El Fargue, Granada. (The powder mill is now owned by Santa Bárbara Sistemas (SBS), an arms company that is part of the multinational General Dynamics group.)


RIM-7 Sea Sparrow Surface-to-Air Missile (left)
Aspide Surface-to-Air Missile (right)


The RIM-7 Sea Sparrow surface-to-air missile was developed in the early 1960s from the AIM-7 Sparrow air-to-air missile as a lightweight point-defence weapon that could be quickly and easily fitted to existing ships. The missile has been upgraded over the years and remains in service.

The Aspide Improved surface-to-air missile uses the same airframe as the RIM-7 Sea Sparrow surface-to-air missile, but uses different electronics and an improved warhead as well as a new and more powerful engine.

483mm/19-inch Mark 32 Torpedo
The Mark 32 torpedo was the first active acoustic anti-submarine homing torpedo to be built and used by the United States Navy. It was designed in 1942, and introduced into service in 1944. It was withdrawn from service in 1955.

Monday, 18 March 2019

I have been to ... Skirmish

SKIRMISH takes place twice a year at Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar School, Sidcup, Kent.


As it is by far and away the closest wargame show to where I live, I always try to attend, and despite a few domestic problems (the need to take my wife to have her glasses urgently repaired after she had fallen over in Faversham. Kent, on Saturday), I managed to spend just over an hour there yesterday morning.

There were several traders in the entrance hall ...



... but the majority were concentrated in the main hall.


The school's dining room was the location for most of the wargames that were taking place as well as the bring-and-buy stand.


This particular show took as its theme EGYPT AND THE SUDAN, and in the main hall Replica Metal Models staged a re-fight of the Battle of Tel el Kebir using 54mm toy soldiers. It was magnificent, as the following photographs show.










The Rainham Wargames Club also staged a re-fight of the battle (but in a much smaller scale) ...



... whilst the Old Guard fought a skirmish between British and Egyptian troops and some Mahdists.



Skirmish Wargames put on the wonderfully named 'What A Carry On Up The Nile' using some stunning terrain, buildings, and a huge model paddle steamer ...





... and the Maidstone Wargames Society fought a battle between the British and the Mahdists.







Some non-Colonial games were also put on. These included several post-apocalypse and fantasy games by Tunbridge Wells Wargames Society ...


... the Medway Wargames Society, ...



...and The Emperor's 10th Gamers Club.



Milton Hundred Wargames Club ran a participation game using the 'What a Tanker!' rules ...




... and the Privateers of London recreated the Battle of Havana, which took place during the War of Austrian Succession.




One of the joys of going to shows like SKIRMISH is the opportunity to meet and talk to other wargamers. On this occasion I was able to spend some time with Big Lee, Postie, and David Crook.


It was great to see them, and I only wish that had been able to spend longer at the show.

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Masters at War Volume 2: 1920 to 1970

My latest book – MASTERS AT WAR VOLUME 2: 1920 TO 1970 – has been through the proof reading process and proof copies of the hardback and paperback editions have been printed and checked ... with the result that they have now been released for publication.


The text covers the stories of thirty members of the Hertfordshire Masters' Lodge No.4090 who served in military and non-military (e.g. Civil Defence, Police, and Auxiliary Fire Service) roles during the Second World War. Two of them – Lieutenant Stanley William Lowe RNVR and Lieutenant Ronald George Walker (Royal Engineers) – were awarded the George Medal for work disarming bombs. The former dealt with eight parachute mines and seven bombs that had been dropped on Barrow-in-Furness over the space of seven nights in September 1941.

Other notable entry deals with the career of Lieutenant Commander Reginald Howard Palmer OBE, RNVR. He commanded an anti-submarine trawler during the Great War and was the assistant to the commander of the Western Approaches Anti-submarine School (HMS Western Isles) at Tobermory from September 1940 onwards.

HMS Western Isles was the former passenger/cargo ship Batavier IV. The ship was built in 1902, and taken over by the Royal Navy in September 1940. She was initially named HMS Eastern Isles, but was renamed HMS Western Isles in March 1941. In 1946 she was sold to the Koninklijke Marine (Royal Netherlands Navy), who renamed her HNLMS Zeearend (A 892) and converted her into a submarine warfare training ship. She was decommissioned in October 1970 and sold for scrapping in November 1972.
Lieutenant Commander R H Palmer OBE, RNVR playing with Peebles, the ship's cat, on board HMS Western Isles, Tobermory, Mull. According to the original caption to this photograph, Peebles was very clever and shook the hands of strangers when they entered the wardroom. As can be seen here, Lieutenant Commander Palmer taught Peebles to jump through a hoop made by his arms.
The School was commanded by Vice Admiral Sir Gilbert Owen Stephenson KBE, who was known as 'The Terror of Tobermory' and had a reputation for his ruthless – and sometimes unconventional – training methods. The School ran 1,132 anti-submarine courses during the war, and 911 ships undertook training there.

The books are published by Eglinton Book and currently on sale at Lulu.com. The hardback (ISBN 978 0 244 46496 7) costs £15.00 and the paperback (ISBN 978 0 244 76496 8) costs £5.00.

Saturday, 16 March 2019

My third batch of renovated 20mm-scale German figures

My third batch of 20mm-scale German figures has now been renovated, varnished, and re-based, and has joined the ranks of my growing individually-based World War II figure collection.



These figures were manufactured by Raventhorpe, and include four single-crewed heavy machine guns. The latter have each been been based on two one-pence pieces, something that I have never tried doing before. The end result seems to have been reasonably successful, and I will use this method again if and when the needs arises.

Friday, 15 March 2019

The terrorist attack in New Zealand

As regular readers of my blog will know, I don't usually mention current world events on my blog ... but sometimes something happens that is so terrible that I just cannot refrain from making a comment.

Today is one such day.

Almost every morning, after getting up and making Sue a cup of tea, I sit down at my PC, read and answer my emails, and then see what is being reported on the news. This morning I did that ... and was confronted by headlines about the terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.


At present the details are still very sketchy, but the news reports indicate that at least forty innocent people have been shot and killed in two separate but linked attacks that took place on Friday, the day when Muslim men and women will always try to go to the mosque to pray.


I know that there are many people who follow my blog in New Zealand, and that some live in or near Christchurch. I would like to offer my condolences, sympathy, and moral support to all the people affected by what has happened, be they the family of one of the people who has been killed or wounded, a member of the emergency services who are dealing with what seems to be an ongoing incident, or anyone who lives in New Zealand in general and Christchurch in particular.

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Miniature Wargames 432

Although the latest issue of this magazine was delivered whilst we had no Internet access and I managed to read it all the way through on the day it arrived, I have only just got around to writing down my thoughts about this edition.


The articles included in this issue are:
  • Welcome (i.e. the editorial) by John Treadaway
  • Forward observer
  • Send three and fourpence: Screen Time: The best of wargamers’ YouTube by Conrad Kinch
  • Ultra Combat Normandy: New small action rules plus Carentan: a scenario by John Treadaway, with photographs by Dishdash Games
  • The Causeway at La Fière: Cotentin Peninsular June 1944 by Jon Sutherland, with photographs by Diane Sutherland
  • Alexander: Conquest Fulfilled: “There is nothing impossible to him who will try” with text and photographs by George Moraitis and John Kersey
  • Darker Horizons
    • Fantasy Facts
    • Stars & Lasers II: Parrots and eye patches are not compulsory … by Mac Cross, with photographs by John Treadaway
    • Mos Espa: Scratch-building historically accurate 28mm Star Wars Terrain with text and photographs by Tony Harwood
  • Morocco: France & The Berbers: The Zaian War of 1914-1921 by Chris Swan, with photographs by John Treadaway
  • Show Report: ROBIN: The Editor makes his first trip to the Red On Blue In Nottingham show with text and photographs by John Treadaway
  • Recce
  • Bocage Revisited: The continuing tales of a wargames widow with text and photographs by Diane Sutherland
  • Club Directory
Although I am not a great fan of fighting battles in Normandy, both Ultra Combat Normandy and Jon Sutherland's The Causeway at La Fière made for interesting reading. I also enjoyed Alexander: Conquest Fulfilled by George Moraitis and John Kersey because I always enjoy 'what if?' scenarios.

Not being a great lover (or user) of YouTube, Conrad Kinch's Send three and fourpence: Screen Time: The best of wargamers’ YouTube left me a bit flat, and I wasn't particularly convinced that I will be looking at any of the things he recommended. That said, our new TV has direct access to YouTube, which might make exploring what it has to offer a bit more appealing.

Recce had a full-page review of THE PORTABLE NAPOLEONIC WARGAME by Arthur Harman, and although I don't like blowing my own trumpet too much (honest!), I am hoping that it will convince potential users to buy the book in one of its formats and use the rules.
The SALUTE 2019 guide has been published and distributed with this issue. I'm not sure if I'll be able to make it to SALUTE, but the list of traders and games is certainly enticing.