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Sunday, 2 October 2022

The High North

Yesterday I took part in an online political game about the High North (i.e. the Arctic region). As the ice cap melts, this is very likely to become the next part of the world where the different major world powers find themselves confronting each other for control of the exploitable resources that will become available. The scenario was set to take place in 2050, by which time it was expected that much of the Arctic region would be navigable and that seabed mining and oil extraction would be feasible.

I was a member of the Canadian team (Canada is a member of the Arctic Council) and was one of two negotiators who visited the other teams and players during the six-turn game. We used Zoom to meet for general end-of-turn plenary meetings, team meetings (in breakout rooms), and for individual negotiations (again in breakout rooms). The other teams/players were:

The negotiations and plenary votes on proposals went to and fro during the game, and although some progress was made, the situation remained unresolved by the end, although I think that quite a few issues were thrown up that require further investigation in future games.

This was a serious game, and I would not describe it as being fun ... but I did enjoy the experience and it did give me the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of this potential geo-political hotspot.

My thanks go to John Curry (of Bath Spa University) and Stephen Aguilar-Millan (of the European Future Observatory) for staging the game, and to Charlotte Aguilar-Millan for acting as the technical support.


Being a wargamer, I did some pre-game research into the military and quasi-military assets that Canada currently has or will have in the near future … and it makes for interesting reading. These assets are:

Canadian Assets

Military (Navy):

  • Six Harry DeWolf-class offshore patrol vessels are Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS). The class is armed with 1 × BAE Mk 38 25 mm (0.98 in) gun and 2 × M2 Browning machine gun and is equipped with a hangar and flight deck and can operate the Sikorsky CH-148 Cyclone and UMS Skeldar V-200/CU-176 Gargoyle drones. The ships can deploy with multiple payloads, including shipping containers, underwater survey equipment, landing craft, snowmobiles, and all-terrain vehicles, and have a 20-tonne (20-long-ton; 22-short-ton) crane for loading and unloading. They can also carry 22 military personnel in addition to their crew of 65. They are designed for use in the Arctic regions of Canada for patrol and support within Canada's exclusive economic zone.

HMCS Harry DeWolf. © Royal Canadian Navy.

Military (Air Force):

  • Fourteen Lockheed CP-140 Aurora maritime patrol aircraft based in Nova Scotia and Vancouver. Due to be replaced by the Boeing P-8 Poseidon or the Raytheon Sentinel.

Military (Army):

  • Canadian Rangers a 5,000-strong sub-component of the reserve that provides a limited military presence in Canada's sparsely settled northern, coastal, and isolated areas. They also conduct inspections of the North Warning System (NWS) sites.
  • Four Arctic Response Company Groups have been created to support the Regular Force and the Canadian Rangers in operations to ensure security and the protection of Canada's national security and sovereignty in the Canadian Arctic.
  • The Canadian Army is currently in the process of replacing its existing fleet of fourteen BV206s with a purchase of around one hundred vehicles, either the ST Kinetics Bronco 3 or the BAE Systems Hägglunds BvS 10 Beowulf.

Coast Guard:

  • Two polar icebreakers, two heavy icebreakers, seven medium icebreakers, seven high endurance multi-task vessels (with icebreaking capabilities), and two Harry DeWolf-class offshore patrol vessels. None of these are armed.

I also discovered that there are as yet to be solved problems with communication in the High North. These are:

  • Communications satellites operating in geostationary Earth orbit do not cover the area of the Arctic. Even when a link can be made, it can be prone to interruption from icing on antennas, or from disruption caused by heavy seas.
  • The Iridium satellite constellation can supply communications services in the Arctic, but there have been recorded cases of interruptions to the service which can last several minutes. It also does not provide the broadband communication that will be needed more and more with the development of human activities in the region, posing a challenge for the coming years 
  • The Canadian Space Agency has been developing the Polar Communications and Weather satellite (PCW) mission. Although the project is still being developed, it would comprise two satellites to serve Canada’s communication needs, as well as collecting information for the global research community on Arctic weather and climate.
  • In polar regions the ionosphere has rather different properties from those found elsewhere. These differences affect HF wave propagation in two important respects:
    • at frequencies below 30 mc./s., natural noise levels are lower than those existing in middle and low latitudes, and
    • the frequency of occurrence, duration, and severity of ionospheric disturbances is greater. The last factor is of major importance in designing arctic communication circuits.

Please note that most of the above information about communications is a 'cut and paste' exercise from various sources.

Saturday, 1 October 2022

Backstories for my Belle Époque imagi-nations: The Commonwealth of Avalon

A thousand years ago the island of Avalon was settled by successive waves of tribal invaders from the areas that are now known as Burgundy and Schwarzenberg, and these incomers displaced the original inhabitants to the west and north. Over many centuries the invaders interbred with each other and the indigenous population, and although those from the north and west retain some elements of regional differences in terms of accent and dress, the modern population of Avalon can be regarded as being largely homogenous.

The flag of the present-day Commonwealth of Avalon.

The Commonwealth of Avalon came about after a bloody civil war between the monarch and his parliament. After the king’s death in battle, the parliamentary forces won and a republic (or commonwealth) was set up, with an elected head of state who was known as the Lord Protector.

Some fifteen years after the end of the civil war, the king’s son Edward – who was by now thirty years old – returned from exile in Burgundy. He did not come back to claim his throne, but as a commoner. However, he soon became the leader of the political party that had been set up by his father’s former supporters, and by the time he was forty he had been elected Lord Protector.

Edward’s enthusiastic adherence to the Commonwealth’s Constitution eventually led to the gradual demise of the republican movement, and few years before his death, parliament passed an Act that restored the monarchy. Before he signed it, the king insisted that the country should continue to be known as the Commonwealth of Avalon and the head of state’s title should henceforth be monarch and Lord Protector to ensure that the monarch remained subject to the Constitution.

The current monarch and Lord Protector is Valberta, who was the niece of the previous, childless monarch and Lord Protector.

Being an island, Avalon has always been outward looking, and has relied on seaborne trade to import raw materials that cannot be found on the island and to export the products of its industries. Its economy is based on light and heavy industries (mining, iron and steel production, shipbuilding etc.), agriculture, and fishing, and its merchant navy is the largest in the world.

The armed forces of Avalon consist of a navy and a small professional army. The latter is backed up by reserves and volunteers whose main task in time of war would be to defend the country from invaders.


Act declaring Avalon to be a Commonwealth

Be it declared and and enacted by this present Parliament and by the Authority of the same – That the People of Avalon and of all the Dominions and Territories thereunto Avalon a Commonwealth. belonging are and shall be and are hereby constituted, made, established, and confirmed to be a Commonwealth and free State And shall from henceforth be Governed as a Commonwealth and Free State by the supreme Authority of this Nation, the Representatives of the People in Parliament and by such as they shall appoint and constitute as Officers and Ministers under them for the good of the People and that without any King.


The original Constitution of the Commonwealth of Avalon

  1. That the supreme legislative authority of the Commonwealth of Avalon and the dominions thereunto belonging, shall be and reside in one person, and the people assembled in Parliament; the style of which person shall be the Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of Avalon.
  2. That the exercise of the chief magistracy and the administration of the government over the said country and dominions, and the people thereof, shall be in the Lord Protector, assisted with a council elected by Parliament, the number whereof shall not exceed twenty-one, nor be less than thirteen.
  3. That all writs, processes, commissions, patents, grants, and other things, which now run in the name and style of the keepers of the liberty of Avalon by authority of Parliament, shall run in the name and style of the Lord Protector, from whom, for the future, shall be derived all magistracy and honours in this nation; and have the power of pardons (except in case of murders and treason) and benefit of all forfeitures for the public use; and shall govern the said country and dominions in all things by the advice of the council, and according to these presents and the laws.
  4. That the Lord Protector, the Parliament sitting, shall dispose and order the militia and forces, both by sea and land, for the peace and good of the nation, by consent of Parliament; and that the Lord Protector, with the advice and consent of the major part of the council, shall dispose and order the militia for the ends aforesaid in the intervals of Parliament.
  5. That the Lord Protector, by the advice aforesaid, shall direct in all things concerning the keeping and holding of a good correspondence with foreign kings, princes, and states; and, with the consent of the major part of the council, have the power of war and peace.
  6. That the laws shall not be altered, suspended, abrogated, or repealed, nor any new law made, nor any tax, charge, or imposition laid upon the people, but by common consent in Parliament.
  7. That there shall be a new Parliament summoned to meet once in every third year.
  8. That Parliament shall not, during the time of five months, to be accounted from the day of their first meeting, be adjourned, prorogued, or dissolved, without their own consent.
  9. That Parliaments shall be summoned and elected in manner hereafter expressed; that is to say, the persons to be chosen within Avalon to sit and serve in Parliament, shall be, and not exceed, the number of two hundred.
  10. That the persons to be elected to sit in Parliament from time to time, shall be according to the proportions and numbers hereafter expressed in a list of constituencies, to be listed hereafter in a separate schedule.
  11. That the summons to Parliament shall be by writ under the Great Seal of Avalon.
  12. That the persons who shall be elected to serve in Parliament, shall be such (and no other than such) as are persons of known integrity and being of the age of twenty-one years.
  13. That all and every person shall be capable to elect members to serve in Parliament.
  14. That all Bills agreed unto by the Parliament, shall be presented to the Lord Protector for his consent; and in case he shall not give his consent thereto within twenty days after they shall be presented to him, or give satisfaction to the Parliament within the time limited, that then, upon declaration of the Parliament that the Lord Protector hath not consented nor given satisfaction, such Bills shall pass into and become laws, although he shall not give his consent thereunto; provided such Bills contain nothing in them contrary to the matters contained in these presents.
  15. That the office of Lord Protector over this nation shall be elective and not hereditary; and upon the death of the Lord Protector, another fit person shall be forthwith elected to succeed him in the Government; which election shall be by the People.
  16. That all laws, statutes and ordinances, and clauses in any law, statute, or ordinance to the contrary of the aforesaid liberty of the People from the tyranny of a king, shall be esteemed as null and void.
  17. That every successive Lord Protector over this nation shall take and subscribe a solemn oath, that he will seek the peace, quiet and welfare of this nation, cause law and justice to be equally administered; and that he will not violate or infringe the matters and things contained in this writing, and in all other things will, to his power and to the best of his understanding, govern these nations according to the laws, statutes, and customs thereof.

Upon the restitution of the monarchy, certain articles of the Constitution were amended accordingly (e.g. Articles 15 and 16), but it remains the same in all its major provisions.

Thursday, 29 September 2022

The demise of Knuston Hall

I have just been sent a link to the Northamptonshire Telegraph. It headlines the news that North Northamptonshire Council has decided to sell Knuston Hall, the location used for Wargame Developments’ annual Conference of Wargamers (COW) from 1981 until 2021.

In a statement, Councillor Graham Lawman, the Council’s executive member for highways, travel and assets, said:

Knuston Hall is a Grade II listed heritage asset and, until recently, has been used as a creative course and event centre including overnight accommodation. The hall was closed during the Covid-19 pandemic and re-opened briefly in 2021, with heavily restricted guest numbers, until it closed again in January 2022 following surveys conducted at the start of the year finding that it no longer met statutory compliance requirements. To overcome these would have entailed significant investment in the building. Unfortunately, a combination of the need for such a significant investment to bring it up to standard and a large uplift in annual maintenance budgets means the business has become financially unviable.

It is very doubtful that whoever buys Knuston Hall will reopen it as a residential conference centre, so the forty-year link between Wargame Developments and Knuston Hall is over. For those of us who spent many very enjoyable conferences there, it will be sadly missed.

I hope that the excellent staff are treated properly by the Council and are either redeployed to better jobs or are given enhanced early retirement or a significant redundancy payment. They certainly deserve to be treated properly as they and the Hall are – in my humble opinion – victims of the previous council's shambolic governance. Their incompetance and financial mismanagement, added to lack of investment in what was a viable income generating asset, has led to the situation where the Hall had to close.

Wednesday, 28 September 2022

What name to use? A possible winner

After some great suggestions, a shortlist has emerged. The two frontrunners are

  • Albion (probably the Commonwealth of Albion, ruled over by the Queen and Lord Protector, Queen Gloriana)
  • Avalon (probably the Commonwealth of Avalon, ruled over by The Queen and Lord Protector, Queen Valberta)

I am tending to favour the latter of the two as the possessives of the country and monarch are Avalonian and Valbertan respectively, which seem to trip off the tongue slightly easier than Albionian and Glorianan. I also like the mythical links back to Arthurian Britain, one of the earliest imagi-nations.

Tuesday, 27 September 2022

The button box is sorted

I recently wrote about a 'sorting the button box' exercise that I undertook with regard to my collection of Axis and Allies Miniatures.

I have since 'won' a couple of eBay auctions that have increased the size of my collection, which now looks like this (the numbers indicate how many of each I have in my collection):

Australia

  • Veteran SMLE Riflemen (Contested Skies; Infantry; Common) 2

Canada

  • Canadian Infantrymen (D-Day and 1939–1945; Infantry; Common) 4
  • Eagle-Eyed NCO (D-Day and 1939–1945; Commander; Uncommon) 4
  • Sherman DD (D-Day; Tank; Rare) 1

Nationalist China

  • Kuomintang Machine-Gun Team (Set II; Machine-Gun Team; Uncommon) 3
  • Kuomintang Officer (Set II; Commander; Uncommon) 1
  • Kuomintang Riflemen (Set II; Infantry; Common) 4

Finland

  • Finnish Infantry (Eastern Front; Infantry; Common) 1
  • Finnish Machine-Gun Team (Eastern Front; Machine-Gun Team; Uncommon) 1
  • T-26E (Early War 1939–41; Tank; Rare) 3

France

  • Canon de 75 modele 1897 (Early War 1939–41; Artillery; Common) 1
  • Hotchkiss Machine-Gun Team (Eastern Front; Machine-Gun Team; Uncommon) 3
  • Lebel 86M93 Grenadier (Contested Skies; Infantry; Common) 1
  • MAS 7.5 mm Rifle (Base Set and 1939–1945; Infantry; Common) 22

Germany

  • BMW R75 (Contested Skies; Motorcycle; Uncommon) 1
  • Fallschirmjäger (Reserves; Paratrooper; Common) 5
  • Flammenwerfer 35 (Eastern Front; Flamethrower; Uncommon) 1
  • Focke-Wulf Fw 190A (D-Day; Aircraft; Rare) 1
  • Jagdpanther (Base Set and 1939–1945; Tank Destroyer; Rare) 1
  • Jagdpanzer IV/70 (Eastern Front; Tank Destroyer; Rare) 1
  • Luftwaffe Infantrymen (Contested Skies; Infantry; Common) 7
  • Light Mortar (Base Set; Mortar; Common) 10
  • Marder II (D-Day; Tank Destroyer; Uncommon) 9
  • Mauser Kar 98k (Base Set and 1939–1945; Infantry; Common) 23
  • MG 42 Machine-Gun Team (Base Set, 1939–1945 and North Africa; Machine-Gun Team; Uncommon) 12
  • Nebelwerfer 41 (Reserves and Eastern Front; Artillery; Uncommon) 2
  • PaK 35/36 Antitank Gun (Eastern Front; Artillery; Common) 5
  • PaK 40 Antitank Gun (Set II; Artillery; Uncommon) 1
  • Panther Ausf. D (Reserves; Tank; Rare) 1
  • Panzer II Ausf. C (Base Set; Tank; Rare) 1
  • Panzer II Ausf. F (Eastern Front and Early War 1939–41; Tank; Uncommon) 1
  • Panzer III Ausf. F (Set II, 1939–1945 and Early War 1939–41; Tank; Uncommon, Rare) 4
  • Panzer IV Ausf. G (Early) (Eastern Front and Counter Offensive; Tank; Rare) 4
  • Panzerfaust 30 (Base Set and 1939–1945; Infantry Antitank Team; Common) 14
  • Panzerschreck (Contested Skies; Antitank Team; Common) 4
  • Sd Kfz 222 (Base Set; Armoured Car; Uncommon) 1
  • Sd.Kfz. 251 (Base Set, 1939–1945 and North Africa; Half-Track; Uncommon) 1
  • sGrW 34 81mm Mortar (D-Day and Eastern Front; Mortar; Uncommon) 5
  • sIG 33 (Base Set; Assault Gun; Rare) 1
  • SS-Haupsturmführer (Base Set and 1939–1945; Commander; Uncommon) 11
  • SS-Panther Ausf. G (Base Set; Tank; Rare) 2
  • SS-Panzer IV Ausf. F2 (Set II; Tank; Rare) 2
  • SS-Panzergrenadier (Base Set and Eastern Front; Infantry; Common) 7
  • SS Stormtroopers (Contested Skies; Infantry; Common) 7
  • StuG III Ausf. D (Contested Skies and 1939–1945; Assault Gun; Uncommon) 1
  • Tiger I (Base Set, 1939–1945 and Eastern Front; Tank; Rare) 5
  • Veteran Fallschirmjäger (North Africa and Counter Offensive; Paratrooper; Uncommon) 1
  • Volkssturm Infantrymen (Reserves; Infantry; Common) 4
  • Wehrmacht Expert Sniper (Set II; Sniper; Uncommon) 1
  • Wehrmacht Oberleutnant (Set II and Eastern Front; Commander; Uncommon) 2
  • Wehrmacht Veteran Infantrymen (D-Day and North Africa; Infantry; Common) 1
  • Werwolf Partisans (Reserves; Partisan; Common) 4

Greece

  • Greek Mountain Infantry (Counter Offensive; Infantry; Common) 1
  • Greek Officer (North Africa; Commander; Uncommon) 1
  • Greek Soldier (North Africa; Infantry; Common) 7

Hungary

  • 8mm Huzagol 35M (Reserves and Eastern Front; Infantry; Common) 16
  • PzKpfw 38 (t) (Eastern Front; Tank; Rare) 1
  • Turan I (Reserves; Tank; Uncommon) 12
  • 40/43M Zrinyi Assault Howitzer (Counter Offensive; Assault Gun; Rare) 1

Italy

  • Blackshirts (Set II; Infantry; Common) 4
  • Brixia M35 45 mm Mortar (Contested Skies and Eastern Front; Artillery; Uncommon) 3
  • Fucile Modello 1891 (Base Set and 1939–1945; Infantry; Common) 9
  • Italian Conscript (North Africa; Infantry; Common) 11
  • L6/40 (Eastern Front; Tank; Uncommon) 1
  • Stalwart Lieutenant (Contested Skies and 1939–1945; Commander; Uncommon) 4

Japan

  • Azad Hind Fauj Infantrymen (Reserves; Infantry; Common) 4
  • Type 89 Mortar (Base Set and 1939–1945; Mortar; Common) 4

New Zealand

  • New Zealand Commander (Counter Offensive; Commander; Uncommon) 1
  • New Zealand Infantry (Counter Offensive; Infantry; Common) 2

Poland

  • Cavalrymen (Set II; Cavalry; Uncommon) 4
  • Determined Infantrymen (Reserves; Infantry; Common) 5

Romania

  • Antitank Grenadier (Set II and Eastern Front; Infantry; Common) 13
  • Bohler 47 mm Antitank Gun (Contested Skies; Artillery; Uncommon) 1
  • R35 (Eastern Front; Tank; Uncommon) 1
  • Romanian Infantry (Eastern Front; Infantry; Common) 1
  • Vigilant Lieutenant (Contested Skies and Eastern Front; Commander; Uncommon) 16

South Africa

  • South African Infantry (Early War 1939–41; Infantry; Common) 1

Slovak Republic

  • Slovakian Infantry (Counter Offensive; Infantry; Common) 3

Soviet Union

  • 82mm PM-37 Mortar (Contested Skies and 1939–1945; Mortar; Common) 13
  • BM-13 Katyusha Rocket Launcher (Contested Skies; Artillery; Rare) 3
  • Commissar (Base Set and 1939–1945; Commander; Uncommon) 3
  • Communist Partisans (Contested Skies; Partisan; Common) 9
  • Cossack Captain (Set II; Commander; Uncommon) 1
  • Cossack Cavalrymen (Contested Skies; Cavalry; Uncommon) 3
  • Degtyarev DP27 (Reserves; Infantry; Common) 2
  • Fanatical Sniper (Set II and Eastern Front; Sniper; Common) 3
  • Hero of the Soviet Union (D-Day; Hero; Uncommon) 1
  • IL-10 Sturmovik (Contested Skies and 1939–1945; Aircraft; Rare) 1
  • IS-2 Model 1944 (Set II and 1939–1945; Tank; Rare) 2
  • KV-1 (Base Set and 1939–1945; Tank; Rare) 1
  • Mosin–Nagant 1891/30 (Base Set and 1939–1945; Infantry; Common) 7
  • PPSh-41 SMG (Set II and Eastern Front; Infantry; Common) 7
  • PTRD-41 Antitank Rifle (Set II and Eastern Front; Antitank; Uncommon) 2
  • Red Army Forward Observer (Contested Skies; Artillery Observer; Common) 3
  • Soviet Grenadiers (Contested Skies; Infantry; Common) 5
  • Soviet-Polish Infantry (Eastern Front; Infantry; Common) 4
  • SU-76M (D-Day; Tank Destroyer; Uncommon) 6
  • T-34/76 (Base Set and 1939–1945; Tank; Rare and Uncommon) 6
  • T-35 (Reserves; Tank; Rare) 1
  • T-70 Model 1942 (Set II, 1939–1945 and Eastern Front; Tank; Uncommon) 3
  • ZIS-2 57mm Model 1943 (Set II and 1939–1945; Anti-tank Gun; Uncommon) 9

United Kingdom

  • 6-Pounder Antitank Gun (Base Set; Antitank Gun; Common) 10
  • 17-Pounder Antitank Gun (Contested Skies; Antitank Gun; Uncommon) 1
  • Archer (Set II; Tank Destroyer; Uncommon) 4
  • Bren Machine Gunner (D-Day and North Africa; Infantry; Common) 2
  • Churchill Crocodile (Base Set; Tank; Rare) 2
  • Cromwell IV (Set II and 1939–1945; Tank; Rare) 5
  • Defiant Paratroopers (D-Day; Paratrooper; Common) 7
  • Entrenched Antitank Gun (Eastern Front; Antitank Gun; Common) 2
  • Gurkha Riflemen (Contested Skies; Infantry; Common) 7
  • Humber Scout Car (Base Set and 1939–1945; Armoured Car; Uncommon) 5
  • Inspiring Lieutenant (Base Set and 1939–1945; Commander; Uncommon) 52
  • M3 Stuart (Base Set and North Africa; Tank; Uncommon) 1
  • Mk.VII Tetrarch (D-Day; Tank; Uncommon) 3
  • PIAT Gunner (Set II; Anti-Tank Team; Uncommon) 1
  • Royal Engineers (Base Set; Engineer; Common) 16
  • Sten Gun (North Africa; Infantry; Common) 4
  • Universal Carrier (Contested Skies and Counter Offensive; Transport; Uncommon) 4
  • Vickers Machine-Gun Team (Base Set and 1939–1945; Machine-Gun Team; Uncommon) 12

United States

  • 3" Gun M5 (Set II; Antitank Gun; Uncommon) 2
  • BAR Gunner (Set II; Infantry; Common) 2
  • Bazooka (Base Set and 1939–1945; Antitank Team; Common) 13
  • Buffalo Soldiers (D-Day; Infantry; Common) 9
  • FO Jeep (Contested Skies; Artillery Observation vehicle; Uncommon) 2
  • Hunting Sniper (Contested Skies; Sniper; Uncommon) 5
  • Jeep (Base Set and Eastern Front; Transport; Common) 4
  • M1 Garand Rifle (Base Set and 1939–1945; Infantry; Common) 12
  • M3 Lee (Base Set; Tank; Rare) 1
  • M4A1 Sherman (Base Set and 1939–1945; Tank; Uncommon) 8
  • M4A3 (105) Sherman (Base Set and 1939–1945; Artillery; Rare) 1
  • M4A3E8 Sherman Easy Eight (Base Set; Tank; Rare) 1
  • M5 Half-Track (Set II, 1939–1945 and North Africa; Half-Track; Uncommon) 3
  • M26 Pershing (Contested Skies and 1939–1945; Tank; Rare) 1
  • M36 MGC (Contested Skies; Tank Destroyer; Rare) 2
  • Marine Riflemen (Contested Skies; Infantry; Common) 11
  • Marines M2-2 Flamethrower (Base Set; Flamethrower; Common) 5
  • Mortar M2 (Base Set; Mortar; Common) 4
  • P-51D Mustang (Contested Skies and 1939–1945; Aircraft; Rare) 1
  • Quad 50 (Contested Skies and 1939–1945; Antiaircraft Gun; Uncommon) 4
  • Red Devil Captain (Base Set and 1939–1945; Commander; Uncommon) 11
  • Resourceful Hero (D-Day; Hero; Uncommon) 1
  • Screaming Eagle Captain (Set II; Paratrooper Commander; Uncommon) 2
  • U.S. Engineer (Eastern Front; Engineer; Uncommon) 1

Kingdom of Yugoslavia

  • Yugoslav Partisan Infantry (Counter Offensive; Infantry; Common) 1

Obstacles and Support Units

  • Barbed Wire (D-Day; Obstacle; Common) 4
  • Headquarters (Reserves; Support; Uncommon) 1
  • Minefield (D-Day; Obstacle; Common) 1
  • Pillbox (D-Day; Obstacle; Uncommon) 3
  • Tank Obstacle (D-Day; Obstacle; Common) 2

It is interesting to note just how uneven the distribution of figures and vehicles are. For example, I have virtually no Japanese stuff ... but also have 52 Inspiring UK Lieutenants and 16 Vigilant Romanian Lieutenants!

Looking at what I now have in my collection, it has become obvious that with a few judicious additional purchases, mainly of figures and artillery, I could quite easily put together several World War 2 Fast Play Portable Wargame armies, so having recently decided to put my Eastern Front/Great Patriotic War project on the back burner, it might just have eased itself forward just a bit!

As the figures and vehicles are already painted, creating such armies would be relatively quick and simple. Furthermore, they take up a lot less space than my existing 20mm collection and are much lighter to carry about, all of which makes the idea much more attractive in the light of my current medical problems.

Monday, 26 September 2022

Nugget 347

I collected the latest issue of THE NUGGET on Saturday, and I will post it out to members later today. In the meantime, members can read this issue online.

IMPORTANT: Please note that this is the second issue of THE NUGGET to be published for the 2022-2023 subscription year. If you have not yet re-subscribed, a reminder was sent to you some time ago. 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.

Saturday, 24 September 2022

What name to use?

Having finished my Zubian Army, I only have the British Colonial figures in my collection to renovate, varnish, and rebase. This should take me about a fortnight … but I’m rather stuck as to what to call the country whose army they will represent.

In the past I’ve used Britannia, and that is currently the front runner. However, I’m open to using a different name and I’d appreciate suggestions. Alternatives I have already considered so far include:

  • The United Kingdoms (which harks back to the heptarchy)
  • Albion (the name used by the Romans before the name Britannia became more popular)
  • Anglia (named after the Angles who invaded during the post-Roman period)
  • Saxony (again, named after the Saxons who invaded during the post-Roman period)
  • Jutland (yet again, named after the Jutes who invaded during the post-Roman period)
  • Pritania (derived from the Greek name – Pritani – used before the Roman invasion)
  • Northland, Norland, or Normandy

Thursday, 22 September 2022

The Army of Zubia: The infantry, machine gun, artillery, and train units

I have just finished renovating, varnishing, and rebasing the rest of the units that will make up the Army of Zubia.

The Army of Zubia has the following units:

  • Infantry
    • 1st Guard Regiment
    • 2nd Guard Regiment
    • 1st Infantry Regiment
    • 2nd Infantry Regiment
    • 3rd Infantry Regiment
    • 1st Machine Gun Battalion
  • Cavalry
    • 1st Cavalry Regiment
    • 2nd Cavalry Regiment
    • Independent Cavalry Squadron
  • Artillery
    • 1st Artillery Regiment
    • 2nd Artillery Regiment
  • Train
    • 1st Supply Column
    • 2nd Supply Column
    • 3rd Supply Column

The Army of Zubia.
The units are shown attached to the magnetic sheet that holds them in place in thier REALLY USEFUL BOXES storage box.

Units shown in italics are militia or reserve units.

Wednesday, 21 September 2022

Nugget 347

The editor of THE NUGGET sent me the latest issue on Sunday, and I will send it to the printer later this morning. With luck, it should be ready to be posted out to members early next week.

IMPORTANT: Please note that this is the second issue of THE NUGGET to be published for the 2022-2023 subscription year. If you have not yet re-subscribed, a reminder was sent to you some time ago. 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, 20 September 2022

A bit of nostalgia ... and possibly the reason why I am interested in military history

After I had found the photograph of the Frazier Street Coronation street party, I remembered that I had an aerial photograph of the Waterloo area dating from before the Second World War.

I have annotated it so that anyone who knows that part of London as it is now should be able to pick out the various places that still exist.

The following map extract should help.

I was born in the General Lying-In Hospital (shown below circled in red), my Aunt Mary, Uncle Peter, cousin Jacqueline, and grandmother lived on Webber Row (circled in light blue), my great grandmother and my Aunt Kit lived in a tenement off Frazier Street (circled in purple), and when she was a child my mother went to school at Joanna Street School (circled in green)

My maternal relatives did their shopping in Lower Marsh, which they always called 'The Cut' even thought the road with that name actually runs between the Waterloo and Blackfriars Roads, and I had another aunt (my grandmother's sister, who was also somewhat confusingly called Mary and referred to in the family as Little Aunt Mary) who lived with her husband on an estate just across the Waterloo Bridge Road.

My paternal relatives lived in the East End, and when I was growing up, I saw less of them than I did my mother's family. My grandmother looked after me a lot when I was very young, and her idea of child car was to take me to the Imperial War Museum (which is just off the bottom of the map) and let me wander whilst she sat outside chatting with her friends. The museum's warding staff (most of whom were veterans of the First World War) looked after me and explained the exhibits to me ... so it is no wonder that I grew up with such an interest in military history!