Monday, August 09, 2010

He's back..

Yes, he's back..

Steve the Wargamer's family have been off on their yearly diaspora, also known as holiday, and this year for a change I didn't have to drive hundreds of miles, as the current Mrs Steve the Wargamer & I agreed that it was time for us to return to Greece (scene of some memorable holidays in the past pre the brats, and indeed the location for the best holiday I ever had when we spent 3 entire weeks of our honey moon on an island so remote that it didn't even have a motorised vehicle on it!). Our concerns to now have been heat, Greece is not exactly "cool" in late July!! It was clear though that the minor Steve the Wargamer's could handle the heat having done exactly that in the south of France last year....

Our location of choice was the southern Peloponissos - the ancient Greek Messenia [click here]..

...with no car however, and little inclination to stir fro sun bed, pool, or beach, I have to report a total lack of any posts with regard to ancient battle fields visited

On the other hand - with daily temperatures in the high 30's, and not a cloud to be seen for two entire weeks, and a view like this from your balcony - I might be forgiven! The other side of those mountains by the way, is Lacedaemon - otherwise known as Sparta... the two countries went to war at least twice, with Sparta being triumphant on both occasions...

I did get a lot of reading done however, and none of them duff and I very definitely recommend the following (in no particular order!)

Bit of an impulse buy this one as I don't really have an interest in the Crimean war, but what a good choice.. as mentioned the book is set in the Crimean war and is about the exploits of Anthony Morgan a young officer in the 95th Regiment of Foot (not the famous green jackets of Sharp fame as they had been renamed the Rifle Brigade which freed up the regimental number to be used again, hence the Derbyshire Regiment who were formed in 1823). The depiction of what it was like in the Crimea, the frictions of command, the tactics, the battles, and weaponry is brilliantly described - I do hope that there'll be follow up books - Mercer is an excellent read...

This one was a planned buy - it's the follow up to "Outlaw" (which I reviewed here). This volume is equally as good as the first part, and covers the events of the 3rd Crusade, Richard the Lionheart's expedition to the holy land to free it from Saladin. Once again Donald describes a very complex Robin Hood - no simple robbing the rich to give to the poor, this Robin Hood was knighted and given lands at the end of the last book so has new challenges - feeding and equipping a force of troops as per his feudal responsibility... Donald describes what the crusade must have been really like to serve in - the dirt and uncertainty, the cost of keeping a body of men in the field, how long it took to get to the holy land, the politics and infighting between the respective commanders.. and against this a robin Hood fighting to maintain his position - by fair mean and foul. Another excellent read..

Along the way there were also a couple of detective novels, but just before we left to come home I started this one..

This was a very pleasant surprise - I brought it ages ago but had not got round to reading it as I was a bit worried it might be a bit .. dry.. how wrong can you be??! The book covers all the wars of the early part of Victoria's reign, up until the death of Albert the prince consort in 1861. As a result it covers off a lot of military history that isn't covered in huge detail elsewhere - the Crimea, the conquest of India, the Sikh wars, the Indian Mutiny, the Burmese War, the fiasco in Afghanistan etc.

I've just got to the China expedition against the Taku forts (the Opium Wars) but am enjoying the book very much - also recommended...!

..so a fantastic holiday, but nose back to the grind stone tomorrow with the return to work...

On the cards - the ACW scenario you voted for (and I have some idea's I thought up while on holiday!), and the army review of the War of the Spanish Succession troops....

10 comments:

  1. Welcome back, Steve. Sounds like a lovely holiday to me.


    -- Jeff

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  2. I spent four lovely years posted at Nea Makri and enjoyed every day. Glad to see I'm not alone!!!

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  3. Welcome back, Greece sounds too hot for me. I thought you might have gone sailing.

    Will

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  4. Welcome back, Steve. I love Greece, having been there many times when young and a couple of times as an adult. You weren't at Methone, were you? I can't recall when my family went there, but I do remember visiting Navarino Bay and getting very excited about seeing my first sea-battlefield.

    Best wishes

    Giles

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  5. Welcome back Steve. 'Victoria's wars' sounds interesting enough to consider buying

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  6. I went to a tiny greek island (Simi?) with no cars for a day trip years ago and had a fantastic day. The highlight was returning into Rhodes harbour where the boat we were on sailed straight into a small fishing boat and cut it in half. Their was a lot of shouting and fist waving from the men in the water whilst the Captain of our boat just shrugged his shoulders. It all seemed very normal somehow!

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  7. May thanks gents - good to go away, but good to come back as well... and yes, Greece is definitely a destination of choice in Steve the wargamers house at the moment, the current Mrs Steve the wargamer is already checking next years brochures!

    Moif - as an entertaining light, introduction to the many (many!) wars of the early years of her reign Victoria's Wars is without parallel - lots of personal histories, and some of those characters are quite astonishing, Wolsey/Garnett/Gordon/Palmerston..

    Now finally - together gents, a virtual round of applause for Bluebear Jeff who is published in the pilot issue of Classic Wargamers Journal - well done Jeff, good article!

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  8. A rather sobering thought but 2,500 years ago wouldn't the boys from Sparta be coming over the mountains to introduce you to a new career as a helot?

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  9. The victorias wars sounds like a very interesting read thanks for the heads up.

    looks like a lovely holiday

    regards
    pp

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  10. Sounds wonderful! I had a brilliant sailing holiday in the Ionian a good few years back and I use to go to Athens a lot on business. Love Greece (except the taxi drivers).

    There is already a sequel to the Patrick Mercer book which is set in the Indian Mutiny. Good for me as I am painting Indian Mutiny figures but bad because I have bought To do or Die to read first and there are all these lovely new Crimean War figures coming out!

    I have just read Saul David's book on the Zulu war which is excellent and notice that the second of his Victorian military novels is out too..

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