Friday 30 September 2016

War memorials and statues in the Whitehall area

Whilst Sue and I were visiting the Whitehall area of London, I had a chance to look at some of the numerous memorial and statues that have been erected there. On Horse Guards Parade itself are statues of Field Marshal Frederick Sleigh Roberts, 1st Earl Roberts, ...

... Field Marshal Garnet Joseph Wolseley, 1st Viscount Wolseley, ...

... and a memorial to Field Marshal Horatio Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener.

On the St James's Park side of Horse Guards Parade is the Guards Memorial, which was erected after the First World War. It commemorates the members of the Guards Division who died during the Great War as well as the dead of the Household Division from the Second World War and other conflicts that have been fought since 1918.

In Whitehall itself the most prominent memorials are the Cenotaph ...

... and the more recent Monument to the Women of World War II.

The former was erected in 1919 and the latter in 2005.

There are also three statues of British Field Marshals along one side of Whitehall. They are Field Marshal William (Bill) Joseph Slim, 1st Viscount Slim, ...

... Field Marshal Alan Francis Brooke, 1st Viscount Alanbrooke, ...

... and Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein.

Thursday 29 September 2016

A few more 'fine fellows'

After a bit of a hiatus, I've resumed work on my Napoleonic project.

The latest additions to my British Napoleonic army include an Infantry unit and two units of Rifles.

The Infantry unit was made up from a number of figures that did not fit in with the majority of the rest of the British Infantry figures in my collection, and it is my intention to use them as Fencibles, Volunteers, or Militia.

Note: Fencibles were temporary units that were recruited to serve solely as garrison or home defence troops within Great Britain.

Spanish Civil War: Day-by-Day: 29th September 1936

The Republican destroyer Almirante Juan Ferrandiz was sunk by the Nationalist cruiser Canarias during a naval battle off the coast near Gibraltar.

Wednesday 28 September 2016

I have been to ... the Banqueting House, Whitehall

After our visit to Horse Guards and the Household Cavalry Museum, Sue and I crossed the road to have a look around the Banqueting House.

The Banqueting House, Whitehall, is the only remaining building of the Palace of Whitehall. It was designed in 1619 by Inigo Jones in the Palladian style, and completed three years later at a cost of £15,618. In January 1649 King Charles I was executed on a scaffold built outside the Banqueting House, and this is commemorated by a bust of the King that is above the entrance to the building.

Our first stop on our brief visit was to the building's undercroft.

We then ascended the stairs to the main hall ...

... which is a double-height, double cube with ...

... a ceiling that was painted by Peter Paul Rubens during the last decade of his life.

The painting was commissioned by King Charles I and was entitled The Apotheosis of James I.

Tuesday 27 September 2016

The Men Who Would Be Kings

As wargamer with a long-time interest in Colonial wargaming, it follows that I would have to buy the latest offering from Osprey Wargames ... THE MEN WHO WOULD BE KINGS. The rules have been written by Daniel Mersey and were published last week by Osprey (ISBN 978 1 4728 1500 2).

I pre-ordered my copy from Amazon some months ago, and was a little upset when it began to be sold by other retailers ahead of the stated publication date. That said, I did pay a lower price as a result, and in some ways that mollified my feelings of annoyance.

The book is split into seven main chapters:
  1. Introduction
  2. Battle Rules
  3. Building a Field Force
  4. Optional Rules
  5. Playing against Mr Babbage
  6. Scenarios
  7. 24-point Starter Field Forces
It also included a single page Quick Reference Sheet inside the back cover.

In his introduction, Daniel Mersey has laid down his design objectives ... which is something that I wish a lot of other wargame designers would do as it helps readers to understand the decisions the designer has made with regard to the mechanisms they have used. I also like the fact that he has listed a large number of great films (including all my favourite Colonial films!) as part of what he calls 'essential research'.

The rules are split into subsections entitled:
  • Setting up a game
  • Organising your Field Force
  • Important rule conventions
  • Understanding unit profiles
  • Leaders
  • Unit basing, cohesion and facing
  • Terrain
  • What happens during each turn
  • Activating your units
  • Action: At the double
  • Action: Attack
  • Action: Fire
  • Action: Forming close order
  • Action: Going to ground
  • Action: Move
  • Action: Rally
  • Action: Skirmish
  • Action: Stand to
  • Action: Volley fire
  • Pinned units
  • Retreating
  • Ending the game
I found this structure very easy to follow, and it helped me to make sense of the rules and the game mechanisms.

The chapters that dealt with Building a Field Force and Optional Rules were very clear and concise, and as I was reading them I was mentally ticking off how I could use figures from my existing collection of Colonial figures with these rules.

As a mainly solo wargamer, I was particularly interested in reading the chapter entitled Playing against Mr Babbage, and having done so I can see myself using them – or something like them – at some time in the future.

I was less interested in the scenarios that are included in the book as I like my battles to form part of an evolving campaign. That said, they seem to be well thought out and would be an excellent starting point for novice Colonial wargamers and very suitable for experienced players who want to stage a 'one off' battle.

The 24-point Starter Field Forces are a list of basic armies for a variety of different Colonial conflicts, and it was particularly interesting to see that it was not just confined to British Colonial actions. The inclusion of Darkest Africa, French African wars, the Italian Invasion of Ethiopia, potential conflicts with Russia on the North West Frontier, the Old West, and The Pig War Gone Hot all show the range of warfare that fit under the Colonial banner. (I loved the fact that Danny and Peachey's Private Kafiristan Army is also listed, and that it draws its inspiration from the film that inspired the name of these rules!)

'Hats Off!' Two latter-day MEN WHO WOULD BE KINGS: myself (on the left) and Tony Hawkins (on the right) suitably attired at SALUTE 2003. We were running a participation Colonial wargame that used a set of rules that I had written.
Overall I think that the publication of these rules is likely to encourage an upsurge in interest in Colonial wargaming. They will not appeal to everyone, but they certainly meet the design brief set out in the introduction. Time will tell if they will supplant Larry Brom's THE SWORD AND THE FLAME as the most popular Colonial wargame rules in use. I hope not, as I think that both sets of rules have much to offer Colonial wargamers ... and I could even see wargamers buying and using both sets.

Monday 26 September 2016

Nugget 293

I collected the latest edition of THE NUGGET (N293) from the printer earlier this morning, and I hope to post it out to members of Wargame Developments by late this afternoon.

I have already uploaded the PDF versions of THE NUGGET and THE NUGGET COLOUR SUPPLEMENT to the Wargame Developments website, and they are available for members of Wargame Developments to read online or to download and print.

IMPORTANT: Please note that this is the second issue of THE NUGGET to be published for the 2016-2017 subscription year, and that members who have not already re-subscribed can still do so if they want to. This can be done by visiting the relevant page on the Wargame Developments website. A printed reminder was sent out some weeks ago to all of last year's subscribers who have not yet re-subscribed.

Sunday 25 September 2016

I have been to ... the Household Cavalry Museum, Whitehall

After leaving the main Horse Guards building, Sue and I walked the very short distance to the Household Cavalry Museum. The entrance is located on the Horse Guards Parade side of the building, near to a statue of Field Marshal Garnet Joseph Wolseley, 1st Viscount Wolseley.

The rooms used to house the museum were originally part of the stables, and the floor is still cobbled in places.

The first exhibit tells the story of the Horse Guards building ...

... and is followed by one that explains the role played by the Household Cavalry in protecting the Queen.

A selection of the ceremonial uniforms used by the current Household Cavalry regiments is then displayed.

Visitors then pass into a section of the museum that had been part of the stable's stalls, and one can still see the working end of the stables through a large frosted glass panel.

Examples of the uniforms worn by the troopers and the tack used on the horses are on display in this section of the museum.

The final part of the museum covers the history of the regiments that make up the Household Cavalry.

It starts with the English Civil War ...

and then moves on to the Napoleonic Wars.

The nineteenth century saw the evolution of the modern ceremonial uniform worn by the Household Cavalry.

In the centre of this part of the display is a magnificent piece of regimental silver known as the Zetland Trophy. It was made in 1874 and represents the role played by the Blues at the Battle of Waterloo. It is topped by the figure of Mars, the god of war.

There are also several exhibits that relate to Colonel Frederick Gustavus Burnaby, who was killed at the Battle of Abu Klea, including items of clothing that he wore whilst colonel of the Royal Horse Guards or Blues.

Just opposite is a tableau depicting the capture of the Eagle and Colour of the French 105th Regiment of the Line during the Battle of Waterloo ...

... and beneath it is the Earl of Uxbridge's wooden leg, which he had to wear after his leg was shot off during the closing stages of the battle. (William Paget was the son of Henry Paget, 1st Earl of Uxbridge. He commanded the British cavalry at the Battle of Waterloo and later became Field Marshal Henry William Paget, 1st Marquess of Anglesey. According to anecdote he was very close to Wellington when his leg was hit by a cannon ball, and exclaimed, 'By God, sir, I've lost my leg!' — to which Wellington said to have replied, 'By God, sir, so you have!'.)

The modern role of the Household Cavalry is not ignored, ...

... and the medals awarded to one member of the regiment shows how active they have been in recent years.

Almost the last item on show in the museum is a collection of Britains 54mm figures. They depict the Household Cavalry (both mounted and dismounted) as well as representatives of the Foot Guards.

If you are in the Westminster area of London and have an hour to spare, I would recommend a visit to this excellent small military museum.