Thursday, June 27, 2013

More interesting pictures.... and some other stuff....

More interesting pictures from another Time Life retrospective [clicky]...


I thought this was amazing - want to know what feldgrau (or GI issue) looks like under combat/campaign conditions? Here you go... (and this to me is where the re-enactors have it soooooo wrong.... they're always too clean, and they're also too errrrr..... "healthy" looking... )

Another thought when I looked at this picture - there's not a smile among them - they don't look relieved to have been captured - is it me or do those guys look like they were quite ready to carry on but for the fact they'd been captured? Interesting....



Labelled "An abandoned German machine gun, France, June 1944" but it looks French to me - a Hotchkiss Model 1914 [clicky] - perhaps liberated in 1940 and put to use against it's previous owners???



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Got an email about this today - very interesting!


Being hosted at the National Army Museum - more information here [clicky]
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Re. random new year resolution #2 [clicky] - I've just spotted it's the 370th Anniversary of the battle on the 13th July - serendipity??!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Mick Aston (1 July 1946 - 24 June 2013)

Woke up this morning to find that Mick Aston [clicky] had died... probably not the best known of characters, but he was a (very) prominent archaeologist, and one of the original team that helped to create the magic and wonderment that was "Time Team" [clicky]...

I've been watching with huge interest for years, and I'm still not convinced that I wouldn't like to take an archaeology course when the government finally lets me retire - and that interest is all thanks to this program, and in particular this bloke along with Phil, and Tony Robinson...

RIP with many thanks for the huge number of interesting archaeological digs you and the team managed to bring to life through your enthusiasm....


Thursday, June 20, 2013

D-Day colour pictures


The following grabbed my eye today while reading one of the online newspaper sites...

Picture copyright Getty images/Life magazine etc.
...because it reminded me so much of this....


The difference of course is that the first picture is real (St. Lo I believe following Allied aerial bombardment) and the second picture was taken at Salute this year....

The first picture comes from a number of previously unreleased pictures on the Time Life website [clicky]

Well worth a visit!!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Monday, June 17, 2013

Happy Fathers Day...

...to me... 


...and to all the other Dads...!

Friday, June 14, 2013

"Brothers Fury" - a review...


Second volume in the "Bleeding Land" series (first volume just above) and continues the story of the Rivers family - who have been torn apart by the event surrounding the English Civil War. For this book Kristian has three separate story lines going, one for each of the bothers (Mun fighting for the King, Tom fighting for Parliament) and also a separate strand for their sister Bess who is desperately trying to find Tom so as to re-unite the family..

Following the events at the end of the previous book Tom, now recovered from his wounds, returns to his regiment but falls out with the regimental commander and starts working for the Parliamentary spy master Captain Crafte. His first job involves breaking into Oxford to destroy the Royalist printing press responsible for printing "Mercurius Aulicus" - the propaganda news paper.

His brother Mun (short for Edmund) in the meanwhile is fighting his own battles, leading his own force across northern England ambushing Parliamentarian supply columns. Before long however, he is stealing a siege gun (form a Royalist supporter) on the orders of Prince Rupert!

Bess in the meanwhile leaves her new-born son to find her brother Tom and secure him a Royal pardon...

Along the way there is a wagon load of silver plate, someone really nasty gets killed, and the book ends with a stupendous depiction of the First Battle of Newbury, which doesn't quite end as Mun would like... Steve the Wargamer rates this one 9 out of 10 - it was even better than the first volume....

Can't wait for volume 3...!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Southampton Beer Festival (2013)

Picture courtesy of this site...
...a pleasant day out on Saturday in Southampton, at their beer festival in the equally pleasantly situated Guildhall...this turned out to be a yearly pilgrimage about four or five years ago as it turned out to be a good way of meeting up with my sister & her other half...  and unusually the current Mrs Steve the Wargamer likes to attend as well....

...like all beer festivals the day is marked by long conversations about utter rubbish, laughing at our fellow attendees, eating Melton Mowbray pork pies, playing games (Trivial Pursuit this time) and doing the festival General Knowledge quiz - always a goody, and we try not to use Google....  we did OK this time, but yet again we failed to score high enough that the organisers would want to see our answer paper...  always next year....

Cheers!

Brewery Beer ABV Notes (from brewery website) What I can remember...
Oakleaf Heart of Gold 3.8% A new beer in the Saisson style, a Golden Ale.  1st beer - no idea what "saisson style" was but I know the brewery (they make one of my top 5 beers) so I thought this would be worth a try… glad I did as it was nice and refreshing after a warm wait in the queue to get in…  by the way, saisson (or rather saison) is "highly carbonated, fruity, spicy - sometimes from the addition of spices" and originated in France where it described the beer that farmers brewed for their seasonal workers (hence saison) - basically the continental equivalent of cider in the UK, I guess...
Emsworth  Wayfarer 4.6% None - no website 2nd beer - I really want to like this brewery (as they are located less than a mile from where I live) but the beers are all pretty bland - this one was pretty vinous (too the point of just being sour?) - not my cup of tea…
Kelham Island Bohemian Rhapsody 4.7% A golden continental style beer brewed with the finest aromatic Munich and Vienna malts and a trio of Styrian Goldings. This beer is fermented with a German lager yeast to give a refreshing beer with fruity estery notes which combine with the crisp floral hop character for a flavoursome pint. 3rd beer - I like Kelham beers and this was one I'd not tried before - second favourite beer of the day - citusy, grapefruity, nicely bitter, and a good after taste…  cracker..
Havant Decided 3.8% A crisp, dry floral pale ale 4th beer - and this is another local brewery and another disappointment - watery and flavourless - poured this one away…
Hopback Summer Lightning 5.0% An extremely pleasant bitter, straw coloured beer with a terrific fresh, hoppy aroma. This, coupled with an intense bitterness, leads to an excellent long, dry finish. 5th beer - fairly unadventurous as this is one of my all time top 5 beers…  it's a trend setter, one of the first golden, intensely hoppy/ citrus'y beers to be produced…  today though, looking for an uplift after the previous beer, I was slightly disappointed as it was a little lack lustre and lifeless....
Andwell Gold 4.4% The 4.4% abv golden ale has been brewed with pale and caramel malt and Northern Brewer, First Gold and Cascade hops, giving it the taste of tropical fruit against sweeter toast and marmalade. The bittersweet finish leaves you wanting more! …and at last an upturn…  liked it so much I came back again later ths was my 6th and 8th beers of the day - huge grapefruit/citrus scent and a lovely ctirusy/bitter taste - a cracker and (my personal unreserved winner of the festival for me…
Harveys Armada 4.5% A premium bitter ale with vibrant hop tones. A brewer’s choice. In 1988 the Maritime Museum in Greenwich commissioned Harveys to brew a 400th anniversary beer in celebration of the defeat of the Spanish Armada; many of the ships were sunk off the Sussex coast. 7th beer of the day - dark, fruity, sweet.. Not at all as hoppy as I thought it was going to be….
Oakleaf IPA 5.5% Initially dry and bitter, full flavoured and complex marmalade/aniseed notes follow,which leaves a lingering bitterness on the palate. 9th (and last) beer of the day- I'm a big fan of the style, and the brewery, so this was a no brainer … glad I did as this was very tasty...

Thursday, June 06, 2013

"Child of Vengeance" - a review...

...it does seem, that with the rediscovery of what the weather gods call "summer" I am more than a little occupied with other activities [clicky] in this fine weather...

I make no apologies for this, it is part of the rich and varied tapestry that is Steve the Wargamer's life, but having taken the decision a few years ago now to hive off the 'other stuff' into it's own, bespoke, blog it can make things a little quiet here from time to time.... 

In the absence of any painting table action - too hot and stuffy in the loft - or even wargaming table action (ditto - though I want a second game via Skype with DG at some time as I'm itching to retry "Rank and File"), then reading, correspondence chess, and regular games of "Blue Max" and "Wooden Ships and Iron Men" at the truly excellent youplay.it [clicky] site are scratching my militaristic/wargaming itch for the time being....

So how about "Child of Vengeance"?

I would say that I stumbled on an absolute cracker with this one...

Based on the real-life exploits of the legendary samurai Musashi Miyamoto the book is set in 16th Century Japan at the time of the Shogun wars... we have political bickering, double and triple dealing, back stabbing all set against the struggle for leadership following the death of Hideoyoshi (he was the one who triggered the invasions of Korea) but described through the life of a young son of a samurai, Bennosuke.

His mother had died when he was a young boy (and you find out why), but  his father Munisai has abandoned him and serves his Lord, Shinmen - a powerful but I'd say fairly minor player in the power struggles.

Bennosuke is raised by his uncle Dorinbo who is a Buddhist monk but despite the upbringing, he wishes to be a samurai as he promised is father. When his father returns, badly wounded, he discovers the secret of his past, and why he has been bought up alone. Training with his father he gains his respect, but following an argument with another powerful Lord his father is ordered to commit sepukku and Bennosuke is launched on a path of vengeance that culminates in a brilliant account of the battle of Sekigahara.

I won't spoil the end, & happily David Kirk is working on a follow up book, but as I said above - if you have any, or even no, interest in samurai era Japan you really should try this...  Steve the Wargamer gives this one 9 out of 10....