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Sunday, 25 July 2021

I have been to ... the Oriental Club

For the second time in a week, I travelled up to the centre of London for an important meal. This time Sue came with me, and we made the journey by car (to North Greenwich Underground Station) and then the Jubilee Line to Bond Street. The venue for the meal - a birthday lunch for someone Sue and I have known for over ten years - was being held in the Oriental Club in Stamford Place, which is almost opposite Bond Street Underground Station.

We had eaten there before in 2019, and knew that the food and the atmosphere would be excellent ... and we were not disappointed. On this occasion we ate in the Library ...

... where all the guests sat around a long table, with our host sat at in the centre of one side.

The menu for our meal was as follows:

Indian Street Food Selection

Cornish Prime Rib of Beef, Triple Cooked Chips and BBQ Sauce, Mixed Salad

Salted Toffee Chocolate Pot, Assorted Biscuits

Coffee and Handmade Chocolates

All served with:
Picpoul de Pinet, Les Trois Mates, Languedoc, France, 2020
Merlot, Reserve La Vigneau, Vin de Pays, France, 2019

The food was superb, and I am told that the wine (which I did not drink) complemented it extremely well.

All-in-all, we had a wonderful time. Besides the excellent food and drink and the stunning location, the company was as diverse as it was entertaining. We sat in the midst of a group that included the host's son and his wife, a film extra turned entrepreneur and cryptocurrency dealer, a couple of orchestral conductors who also lecture at the Royal Academy of music, and a distant descendant of Field Marshal Lord Roberts of Kandahar VC and his lady friend! Conversation covered a wide range of topics, and everyone had something to say that was well worth listening to.

The lunch finished just after 4.30pm and having thanked our host and said goodbye to everyone we had spoken to, Sue and I returned home by Tube. It was somewhat more crowded than it had been earlier in the day, and the only jarring note was the level of non-compliance with the compulsory wearing of facemasks being exhibited by some of our fellow passengers. That said, it was hardly surprising as an anti-vaccination and anti-lockdown demonstration had taken place during the day in Trafalgar Square, which was served by one of the Underground stations we stopped at on our journey home.

Saturday, 24 July 2021

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

I understand that this Latin phrase can be found in Juvenal’s Satires (Satire VI) and is usually translated as ‘Who will guard the guards themselves?’ although it can also be translated as ‘Who watches the watchers?’ or ‘Who will watch the watchers?’.

Taking Sir Charles James Napier's reputed example of using 'Perccavi' (literally translated as 'I have sinned') in his despatch to the British government after forces under his command had seized control of the province of Sindh, I am using 'Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?' to ask 'Who is watching THE WATCH?'.

I came to the late Sir Terry Pratchett’s DISCWORLD stories only recently, but I have enjoyed them, and when I saw that the BBC had made BBC America’s THE WATCH available on iPlayer, I decided to give it a go.

The development of this series began back in 2012, but it was not until late 2018 that a contract for an eight-episode series was signed. It premiered in the United States in January this year, and it was recently made available on iPlayer.

So far, I have watched the first four episodes, and after some initial reluctance, I am gradually beginning to enjoy it. The plot of the series seems to be based on an amalgamation of two of Terry Pratchett’s books, NIGHT WATCH and GUARDS! GUARDS!

Unlike the books, where Ankh-Morpork seems to be depicted as a mixture of medieval, early industrial, steampunk, and magical fantasy, the Ankh-Morpork shown in THE WATCH is much more modern-looking and has a very punk atmosphere. It has been criticised by quite a few people for deviating so far from the original, and I must admit that I would have preferred something more akin to my vision of what the city and the members of the City Watch looked like … but once I had set that aside, I began to enjoy the programme.

Friday, 23 July 2021

My Balkan Wars rules and army lists

When looking through my clipping's library, I discovered that I didn’t seem to have a copy of the rules that I wrote to accompany my Balkan Wars Matrix Game. However, my mother used to buy copies of everything that I wrote, and in the pile of stuff that I inherited after her death was a copy of the issue of WARGAMES ILLUSTRATED that contained the rules and army lists … and I have included scans of the relevant pages below.

These scans can be enlarged by clicking on them.

I hope that my regular blog readers will find the above of interest … and it has been suggested that I ought to publish them in book form, possibly with a set of army-level PORTABLE WARGAME rules as an appendix.

Thursday, 22 July 2021

Going to a formal dinner: The Thames at night

I had a variety of routes that I could take to reach Waterman's Hall. I could have used my Freedom Pass to make the journey for free or at a discounted fare by

  • Mainline train from Woolwich Arsenal to Cannon Street, and walking from Cannon Street to Waterman's Hall
  • Docklands Light Railway from Woolwich Arsenal to Tower Gateway, and walking from there to Waterman's Hall
  • Underground from North Greenwich to London Bridge, then London Bridge to Monument, and walking from Monument to Waterman's Hall
  • Thames Clipper from North Greenwich to Tower Pier, and then walking from Tower Pier to Waterman's Hall

As it was very hot, I opted for the latter of the options. The discounted fare was just over £5.00 and despite having to wait for ten minutes for the boat to arrive, I was able to sit on North Greenwich Pier in the open and with a mild breeze helping to keep me cool.

A section of the Thames Clipper route. © Uber Boat by Thames Clipper.

The route took me along the River Thames from North Greenwich to Greenwich, and then on to Malthouse Terrace, Greenland (Surrey Quays), Canary Wharf, and then to Tower ... and after I got off I realised that I should have taken photographs of the various places of interest that we passed along the way.

By the time the formal dinner was over, it was nearly 10.00pm, but it still felt as hot as it had done earlier in the evening. I decided to return to North Greenwich by Thames Clipper, and this time I remembered to take some photographs!

Tower Pier gives some wonderful views of the River Thames at night, as I hope that the following photographs show.

Tower Bridge. Like all of London's major bridges, it is illuminated at night.
The south bank of the River Thames as seen from Tower Pier. The Shard (which is situated atop London Bridge Station) dominates the skyline, and London Bridge can be seen on the right of the photograph.
HMS Belfast, which is part of the Imperial War Museum, is permanently moored between Tower and London Bridges.

Wednesday, 21 July 2021

Going to a formal dinner

This evening I will be journeying up to the City of London to attend a formal dinner at Waterman’s Hall.

The dinner is to celebrate the appointment of several Hertfordshire Freemasons (including me) to what is termed ‘Grand Rank’. I already have an active Provincial Grand Rank (I am the Provincial Grand Orator or ProvGOrat), but Grand Rank is awarded by the United Grand Lodge of England and Wales (UGLE) on the recommendation of the Province. As a result, I am now a Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies (PAGDC) and these letters now appear after my name in Masonic communications.

Interestingly, the closest I have ever been to being a genuine Director of Ceremonies was the year I spent as the Deputy DC in my Mother Lodge … which in reality meant that I was the DC’s ‘gopher’ during Lodge meetings. I wasn’t that good in the role, which is probably why I only lasted a year before being given another office in the Lodge.


My family has a rather distant link with Waterman's Hall. The Company of Watermen and Lightermen of the River Thames is a City Guild that is without a Grant of Livery, and its original role was to oversee the apprenticeships of all Watermen and Lightermen operating on the River Thames, and to govern the work undertaken by Guild members. A Waterman was a river worker who transferred passengers across and along the river, and a Lighterman was a river worker who transferred goods between ships moored on the river and the quays, wharves, jetties and piers lining it.

Every year six apprentice Watermen compete for the Doggett Coat and Badge Wager. This is a race that has been held since 1715, and the winner is awarded a Watermen's red coat on which is a silver badge. The latter shows the horse of the House of Hanover and the word 'Liberty' in honour of George I's ascension to the throne in 1714. The award was created by Thomas Doggett, an Irish actor and comedian, who is reputed to have inaugurated the race and the prize after he was rescued from drowning by a passing waterman. Surprisingly, the race is overseen by the Fishmonger's Company, which is one of the Liveried Companies.

My family's link is that a very distant relative, one Harry Cordery of Putney, won the Doggett Coat and Badge Wager in 1879. Since then, several of my family have worked on the River Thames as Watermen and Lightermen, as have members of my wife's family.

Tuesday, 20 July 2021

Too hot to paint

My toy/wargame room is on the top floor of our three-storey house. It was built some years ago when we had the existing loft converted into more accommodation … and when the building regulations insisted that the cavity walls and roof were filled with heavy duty insulation in preparation for the then-much-predicted drop in global temperature. (This was before the concept of global warming had been proposed.) As a result, when the UK experiences one of its rare spells of hot weather, the room quickly becomes too hot to stay in for more than a few minutes.

Even with the windows open and a tower fan going full blast in my toy/wargame room, I cannot reduce the temperature in the room. The situation is not helped by the fact that the room faces south-west, and it is exposed to the sun from the late morning until the sun sets. The room heats up during the day but loses very little of that heat during the night. I have tried using the temperature differential between the back and the front of the house to create a draft, but there is hardly any wind to help reduce the temperature in the room.

I had hoped that by now I would have begun painting the cavalry and mounted officers for my FUNNY LITTLE WAR/PORTABLE WARGAME Army Black, but other than priming/undercoating the figures, I have made no progress … and until the temperature drops again, I am not likely to to.

Monday, 19 July 2021

My Balkan Wars Matrix Game

Back when the world – and I – were a lot younger, I devised a Balkan Wars Matrix game. It was published in MINIATURE WARGAMES (actually, as Phil Dutre has pointed out in his comment, it was WARGAMES ILLUSTRATED!) and in retrospect – and in the light of reading E R Hooton's PRELUDE TO THE FIRST WORLD WAR: THE BALKAN WARS 1912-1913 – I don't think that I did too bad a job.

As the issue of the magazine is long out-of-print, I have included scans of the pages of the article in this blog post so that my regular blog readers can cast their eyes over them. They might also like to remind themselves about Archduke Piccolo's excellent Blacklands War campaign, that used the first of the two maps in the article as the campaign map.

These scans can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Sunday, 18 July 2021

Prelude to the First World War: The Balkan Wars 1912-1913

Having read E R Hooton's military history of the Spanish Civil War, it followed that I would also read his history of the Balkan Wars.

PRELUDE TO THE FIRST WORLD WAR: THE BALKAN WARS 1912-1913 gives the right level of information beloved by wargamers, and it is by far and away the best book I have read about these two wars. It begins by giving a political background to the events leading up to the outbreak of the First Balkan War, then a description of the development of military technology during the nineteenth century and its impact of the armies of the combatants. This includes a rundown of each armies organisation and equipment, which is further enhanced by detailed ORBATs in the final chapter.

The book is divided into a Preface and six chapters:

  1. Gathering around the Sick Bed
  2. Bayonets and Battleships
  3. The Eastern Theatre - The Hollow Triumph
  4. The Western Theatre - The Ebb and Flow of Ambition
  5. The Naval and Diplomatic Struggles
  6. The Second Balkan War

There were several aspects of the war that I had certainly never come across before, including the first recorded submarine attack on an opposing warship. This took place on 22nd December 1913, when the Greek submarine Delfin unsuccessfully attempted to torpedo the Turkish cruiser Medjideh.

The Greek submarine Delfin.
The Turkish cruiser Medjideh.

My only criticism of the book is the quality of the maps. The details on some of them is rather sparse, and on one of them the same symbol is used to show trenches is is used on other maps to indicate railway lines. Very confusing!

As I was reading this book, all sorts of wargaming ideas came to mind, including the possibility of designing two Matrix Games that covered the runup to the outbreak of the First Balkan War and the situation that caused the Second Balkan War. I also thought that the battles could easily be re-fought using a slightly developed version of Mark Cordone's rules. After all, I have the example of Archduke Piccolo's excellent Blacklands War to inspire me!


PRELUDE TO THE FIRST WORLD WAR: THE BALKAN WARS 1912-1913 was written by E R Hooton and published in 2014 by Fonthill Media (ISBN 978 1 78155 180 6).

Saturday, 17 July 2021

Some better pictures?

I was not very happy with the quality of the photographs I used in yesterday's blog post ... so I took new ones using a different camera with both the flash on and off. The new photographs looked like this:

They are not my best efforts, but they do show the different end results from the four painting methods I outline in yesterday's blog post and confirm my thinking that methods 2 and 4 produce the best results ... and that of these two, I am going to use method 2 for preference as it requires even less work that method 4!

Friday, 16 July 2021

Experiments in painting horses.

As I stated in my last blog post, I was not very good at painting horse; in fact, I HATED painting horses!

As a result of my outburst, I have received all sorts of advice, and I therefore decided to experiment with several methods so that I see which produced the best results with the least efforts. I used some spare casting that I had to hand, and after priming them with my usual grey primer, I tried painting them. On three of them I used Burnt Umber from the Windsor & Newton Artisan Water Mixable Oil Colour range, and on two I used Nut Brown Windsor & Newton Ink. The results looked like this:

From left to right (1 to 4):

  • This horse (1) was painted using just the Burnt Umber paint.
  • This horse (2) was painted with the Burnt Umber paint, which was then wiped off with a pieces of toilet tissue.
  • This horse (3) was washed with just the Nut Brown ink.
  • This horse (4) was painted with the Burnt Umber paint, and whilst it was still wet, washed with the Nut Brown ink.

These methods were all very quick and easy to use, and of the four, I prefer the results on horses 2 and 4.

Once the paint on the horses was dry, I painted the manes and hooves black, and added white blazes and socks to some of them. The figure and shabraque were painted blue, just to emphasis the results of the horse painting technique.

I am extremely pleased with the results and wish to thank everyone who gave me advice. I intend to use methods 2 or 4 to paint my horses in future ... and I no longer hate the idea of painting horses!

Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Stalled ... but only temporarily!

I do not like painting horses.

For some reason, I never ever seem to be able get horses right ... and my latest attempt - which was to paint some cavalry for my FUNNY LITTLE WARS/PORTABLE WARGAME Army Black have been an unmitigated disaster!

I have put my efforts to one side, and will leave them for a couple of days until I feel motivated enough to give painting them another go. As a result, my current project has stalled ... but only temporarily. In the meantime, I have other non-wargaming things to do over the next few days. First and foremost amongst these is sorting out our home office, which has never really been touched since it was built when our loft conversion was done. Things had reached a point where I was beginning to 'lose' things that I needed, and the time has now come to have a good sort out and to rationalise what is in there.

I suspect that once started, this is a project that will take several days (and several trips to the local charity shops and/or recycling centre) to complete, so if you don't hear from me for a couple of days, that is what I will be doing!

With luck, doing something like this will revitalise my desire to get those horses painted. They might not look good when they are done, but at least they will be done!

Monday, 12 July 2021

Did I jinx it? It is as valid a reason why England lost as some of the others I have read!

Well, I watched the complete European Championship Cup Final ... and England lost on penalties.

The England team played well, but not quite well enough to beat a very experienced Italian team that has not lost a football match since 2018. I have already read comments about how the team should have done x better, that player y didn't play well enough and let the others down, and that the manager selected the wrong players to play during the match and/or to take the penalties. Frankly, that is just a wonderful example of perfect 20/20 hindsight. The simple truth of the matter is that by watching the match, I must have jinxed it!

This may appear to be a rather flippant remark, but it is just as valid a reason as some of the rubbish I have read on social media this morning ... and don't get me started on the blatant and explicit racist comments I have read from certain sections of the population who have blamed England's loss on its black players! Do me a favour and crawl back under your favourite stone and keep your opinions to yourself! (By writing this, I have probably offended some people who might read my blog. In response, all I can say is ... oh dear!)

As a wargamer, I have probably lost as many – if not more – tabletop battles than my fellow wargamers, and I have always learned more from my defeats than from my victories. I could have blamed the rules, or the dice, or any number of other reasons for my losses, but fundamentally my defeats were down to the decisions that I made at the time and in the circumstances as I saw them. Let us hope that when the initial furore had died down, there will be a rational analysis of what happened during the match, and that the England football team setup will learn from it.

Football didn't come home this time ... but it might do next time!

Sunday, 11 July 2021

Fifty-five years on

In 1966, England won the Jules Rimet World Cup …

... and I didn’t see the complete match until 1991!

Let me explain why.

My sister was born in August 1962, and my mother organised her fourth birthday party to take place on 30th July 1966 … the day of the World Cup final! She chose the date well in advance because – at the time – no one really expected England to reach the final.

As a result, we had a very large number of four-year-old children running around the house screaming, shouting, and playing party games … which made it almost impossible to watch the match on TV. (A few years ago I discovered that my brother had managed to sneak out and watched the match with our next door neighbours!)

A colour recording of the whole match was shown on TV on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the final, and this was the first opportunity I had to see it without any interruptions … and that was probably the last time I watched a complete football match.

I fell out of love with football (association football or soccer to anyone from outside the UK … or to rugby aficionados!) when I worked part-time for what was then a First Division (and now a Premiership) football club. I worked as part of the match day security team … and was on the receiving end of several violent attacks by so-called football fans who were intent on getting into the ground without paying, or who just wanted a fight with someone who wasn’t part of their gang. After I stopped working there, I continued to watch match highlights … until Sky bought the rights to transmit live Premiership football matches, and huge amounts of money flooded into the sport and – in my opinion – pretty well broke the link between teams and their local fan base. From that point onwards, I gave up watching football.

Later today, the England football team will be playing the Italian team at Wembley, and the whole of the country appears to have assumed a pre-match festive atmosphere, with everyone seemingly assured of England’s victory. The government has even suggested that schools should allow children to arrive late for lessons on Monday if they have been watching the match, and that we might even enjoy an additional Bank Holiday in celebration.

Now I am as patriotic as the next man, and I do hope the team win. I may even break my self-imposed ban on watching live football on the TV and watch the match live. If I don’t, I just hope that I don’t have to wait until 2046 to watch it in full!

Saturday, 10 July 2021

Oops!

It has been pointed out to me that there is a spelling mistake on the spine of ¡ARRIBA ESPAÑA! INCLUDING THE PORTABLE SPANISH CIVIL WAR WARGAME book. Instead of 'Portable', it reads 'Portabel'. I have corrected this error ... so any of you who own a copy with the original cover, now own something of a rarity!

Other people's Portable Wargame battle reports: Mark Cordone's terrain and his refight of the Battle of Aspern Essling

I was very surprised to realise that I had not shared any battle reports et al from the PORTABLE WARGAME Facebook page since April! This is very remiss of me as there has been so much being shared by the members that it is sometimes difficult to keep up with the latest news.

Over recent weeks, one member (Mark Cordone) has been writing about the terrain squares he has been creating.

These include some that have example of interesting semi-flat/2.5D buildings fixed to them.

This type of model building has the advantage of showing where there is a built-up area without taking up so much space on the terrain square that it is difficult to put figures in the square.

He has also put together are pair of armies to refight the Battle of Aspern Essling, using a scale of one base equals a division/brigade of infantry or cavalry or a hundred guns. The first army he prepared was the Austrian one, ...

Mark's simple but very effective morale/exhaustion and turn trackers can be seen in the foreground.

... followed by the French one.

Having prepared his terrain and his armies, Mark has now refought the Battle of Aspern Essling ...

The position of the Austrian army during the early morning.
The position of the French army during the early morning.
The positions of the two armies by the late afternoon. The morale/exhaustion and turn tackers make it very easy for players to keep track of the current situation on the tabletop.

... using an interesting variant of the PORTABLE NAPOLEONIC WARGAME rules.

  • The changes he has made can be summarised as follow:
  • One base equals a division/brigade or about 100 guns.
  • Units are destroyed after two hits.
  • When infantry attack they must either shoot or attack with the bayonet.
    • If shooting, the combat results are simultaneous, but the unit that initiated the combat can not advance to occupy a vacated square as a result of combat.
    • If attacking with the bayonet, the defender (infantry or artillery) shoots first, then the attacker goes after the effects of the defenders shooting are resolved. Infantry attacking with the bayonet can advance and occupy squares vacated as a result of combat.
  • Infantry can only attack cavalry by shooting.
  • If infantry are supported by cavalry in the same square or vice versa, they get a +2 bonus instead of +1.
  • If infantry or cavalry are supported by artillery in the same square, the artillery always get to shoot in combat, but provides no modifier.

For the purposes of this battle:

  • The Austrian grenadier units were graded as Elite and the rest of the army's units were graded as Regular
  • The French guard infantry & cavalry and the cuirassier units were graded as Elite and the rest of the army's units were graded as Regular.

These changes make it possible for players to fight large Napoleonic battles on a small tabletop ... and have given me some food for thought as to the possibility of creating a set of Napoleonic (or even American Civil War) army-level rules.


Please note that the photographs featured above are © Mark Cordone

Friday, 9 July 2021

Future books?

Whilst I have been pondering what project to work on this month, I have neem thinking about what books I might want to write in the future. There are two obvious ones that I have mentioned in earlier blog posts. These are:

  • An American Civil War version of the PORTABLE WARGAME that will include both land action and naval rules
  • An expanded version of the terrain generation system that formed part of THE PORTABLE COLONIAL WARGAME.
In the past it has been suggested that I ought to publish:

  • A skirmish-level PORTABLE WARGAME
  • A fantasy version of the PORTABLE WARGAME
  • A World War II version of the PORTABLE WARGAME
  • An updated and expanded edition of HEXBLITZ
  • A book of scenarios

All of these suggestions have both merit and appeal, and I am certainly considering publishing them, possibly with the help and assistance of others. For the time being, however, it is back to thinking about this month's project ... which will probably be to finish off my FUNNY LITTLE WARS/PORTABLE WARGAME Army Black.

Thursday, 8 July 2021

Hoist on my own petard?

As it is just past the start of the month, I should be looking at what project I am going to concentrate on during July. My original plan for last month was to do some work on my Napoleonic project, but in the end the gift of some 15mm-scale artillery and the discovery of some painted figures that I had in storage, lead me to concentrate putting together an Army Black army for my FUNNY LITTLE WARS/PORTABLE WARGAME oroject. At the same time, I worked on the new edition of ARRIBA ESPANA!, and this was published earlier this week.

Due to the latter taking up more of my time that I had expected, I have yet to complete my Army Black, and my first thought is to complete that before moving on to another project. However, I have an urge to paint some Spanish Civil War figures!

Now I need another project like I need a hole in the head … but I am having real problems resisting the temptation. I seem to have been hoist by my own petard in that if I hadn’t been working on my latest book, the thought of starting a new project would not have occurred to me.

As Oscar Wilde is reputed to have said, ‘I can resist everything except temptation’.

Wednesday, 7 July 2021

Faster than the speed of light ... Arriba Espana has been published!

Instead of the predicted seventy-two-hour gap between the ¡ARRIBA ESPAÑA! INCLUDING THE PORTABLE SPANISH CIVIL WAR WARGAME rules book being submitted for publication and it actually being on sale, Amazon excelled themselves and it was listed in less than twenty-four!

It is on sale in paperback and eBook formats for £5.99 and £2.99 respectively.

The book is divided into two parts and includes eleven chapters as well as list of useful resources. The first part is a slightly revised and re-typeset version of the original 1989 text and the second part contains a new set of Spanish Civil War wargame rules from the PORTABLE WARGAME stable. It also includes a number of scenarios that wargamers can use and adapt.

  • Part One: ¡Arriba España!
    • General rules and playing equipment
    • Pre-game organisation
    • The rules for battles with 1:200 scale figures
    • Amendments for battles with 1:300 scale figures
    • Amendments for division-sized battles with 20mm figures
    • Amendments for brigade-sized battles with 20mm figures
    • Examples of unit organisation charts
    • Playing hints
  • Part Two: Portable Spanish Civil War wargame rules
    • Some design notes
    • The Portable Spanish Civil War Wargame
    • Before battle commences
    • Battle rules
    • Scenarios
      • Clash of the columns! (1936)
      • Saving the garrison! (1936)
      • The battle for the University City (1936)
      • There’s a valley in Spain … (1937)
      • On to Guadalajara! (1937)
      • Turning point (1937/38)
      • For Whom the Bell Tolls (1938)
      • Adapting the scenarios and maps
    • Useful resources

I understand that Amazon will print and post out the paperback edition in a matter of a couple of days after an order has been placed ... unless you are the author! I will have to wait for a week before my author's copies arrive, although I have bought a copy for £5.99 so that I can see what the finished product looks like! (Amazon did allow me to download the Kindle edition in order to check it, and I was very pleased with the end result.)

Tuesday, 6 July 2021

Arriba Espana!: Almost there!

After a few minor bumps along the way, ¡ARRIBA ESPAÑA! INCLUDING THE PORTABLE SPANISH CIVIL WAR WARGAME rules should be published at some point this week in paperback and eBook format.

At present, I am looking at how the book can also be distributed in PDF format, but if that is possible, it might take a couple more days to sort out.

The book will be on sale for £5.99 in paperback and £2.99 as an eBook. It will be cheaper than most of my more recent books because it contains no photographs and the maps and diagrams are all black & white. This keeps the cost down, and I have passed that saving on to potential purchasers.


This book would not have been published without the help and support of several people, and I would like to acknowledge this publicly. They are:

  • Arthur Harman, who continues to be my ‘go to’ proof-reader and much put-upon editor. I think that at one point, due to a glitch with my email account, he was getting the same draft text sent to him every couple of hours! Without his tireless efforts, this book would have never made it into print.
  • Robert-Jan Maycock, who administers the Spanish Civil Wargames group on Facebook, and who has been using his own version of THE PORTABLE WARGAME to fight Spanish Civil War battles for some time.
  • Nick Huband and Andrew Rolph, who both sent me very useful suggestions and materials for scenarios, which I hope that I have not mangled too much when I adapted them for this book!

Monday, 5 July 2021

Spain in Arms: A military history of the Spanish Civil War 1936-1939

Whilst I was away, Andrew Rolph – the author of BARBAROSSA: KICKING IN THE DOOR and KHARKOV, MAY 1942 – THE LAST DISASTER – sent me a spare copy of E R Hooton's SPAIN IN ARMS: A MILITARY HISTORY OF THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR 1936-1939 that he had on his shelves.

The book is described as a military history, and unlike almost every other book I have read about the Spanish Civil War, it is exactly what it sets out to be. It covers the operational and strategic actions of both sides in what I found to be an easy to understand style as well as examining the evolution of the armies that took part in the war. It also gives an account of the involvement of foreign troops in the fighting and the impact that the supply of foreign military equipment had on combat.

The book is split into six chapters:

  1. Testing the Blades: The Madrid Front
  2. The New Armies
  3. Decision on the Northern Front
  4. High Tide for the Republic: Brunete and the Aragon Offensive
  5. The Pendulum Swings: Teruel and the Aragon Offensive
  6. The Last Acts: Ebro and Catalonia

I already had a Kindle copy of this book, and I did consult it during the writing of my forthcoming ¡ARRIBA ESPANA! INCLUDING THE PORTABLE SPANISH CIVIL WAR WARGAME RULES. I found it particularly helpful when I was writing the scenarios that are included in my book.


SPAIN IN ARMS: A MILITARY HISTORY OF THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR 1936-1939 was written by E R Hooton and published in 2019 by Casemate Publishers (ISBN 978 1 61200 637 6).