Monday, 2 February 2009

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow …

Despite the worst snow London has had in 20 years, I managed to get to work only slightly later than normal, thanks to my trusty Mazda Tribute 4x4. Most of the side roads were not gritted or cleared, but these were not too difficult to negotiate in low gear with the four-wheel drive set to permanent. The main roads were almost empty – thanks to the fact that no buses were running – and most of the other drivers were being sensible, although I did see a few ‘muppets’ who had no idea what they were doing and a couple of drivers who seemed to think that aggressive driving was safe in the prevailing road conditions.

Having got to the Academy where I work I discovered that the staff outnumbered the students; there were six staff and five students! Needless to say the Academy was closed by 9.30am, and will remain so until Wednesday morning at the earliest. So it was back home for a couple of ‘bunce’ days off work.

This has given me the opportunity to do a couple of things that I thought would have to wait. Firstly I was able to read through a set of draft rules sent to me by Richard Brooks. We are jointly putting on a game at the forthcoming SALUTE 2009 on behalf of Wargame Developments. The game is entitled SOLFERINO IN TWENTY MINUTES and is a fast-play game that uses an 8 x 8 grid and playing pieces that represent infantry and cavalry divisions, artillery support, or personalities. Like most of Richard’s rules they look simple but produce very sophisticated results.

The second thing I managed to do was to have a long look through my most recent book purchase. This is Caliver Books latest publication, UNIFORMES DE LA GUERRA DEL PACIFICO 1879 – 1884. This war has intrigued me for a long time, but most of my interest has been in the naval aspects of the war, particularly the Battle of Angamos. This was one of the few ironclad vs. ironclad actions, and resulted in the capture of the Peruvian HUASCAR by the Chilean BLANCO ENCALADA and COCHRANE. Such was the importance of the capture of the HUASCAR that she is still in existence today as a museum ship in the port of Talcahuano, Chile.

This book about the uniforms of the War of the Pacific has shown me that I could easily refight the war both on land and at sea. The uniforms were variations on the typical European uniform styles popular at the time (i.e. French and German) but with a few South American twists. As I was trying to read the Spanish text and looking at the superb illustrations it struck me as being an ideal project for use with the TABLE TOP BATTLES wargames rules. Here we go again …

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