Wednesday, September 01, 2021

RIP Don...

I've had this newspaper clipping floating around on my desk for ages now, and thought it was high time I saved it for posterity before it eventually gets lost, or becomes unreadable..

On this, the anniversary of his death, I for one recognise completely what a huge (huge) impact his books and writings had on a young impressionable mind, and which lead in the end to a hobby that I have enjoyed and pursued for what must be almost 50 years now.. 
Happily, I did get to meet him..  just the once, at the COLOURS wargaming show as I was leaving he was coming in, or vice versa - I forget, as I was reduced to a gibbering wreck, but I got to shake his hand, and I got to tell him (in not enough words) how much I appreciated his work..
Cheers, Don, RIP..

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Alive and kicking...

Close run thing...  two months without a post and up until then I was doing my level best (and mostly succeeding) to put one up a week...  

I blame the boat and the summer..  little or no practical wargaming activity, but I have been busy with the boat, and also busy with the new love of my life, meet Gertrude...


2021 model Cube Town Hybrid EXC 500 Electric Hybrid

...bought end May and already hit 800 miles ..   should have bought one years ago! 😁

Wargaming content soon - not the least because I owe DG a game - but not going to be soon as I have the Jolly Boys (yacht) trip round the Solent this weekend..

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Rebasing the French...

Been a while - for which apologies - I'm afraid bigger things [clicky] have been demanding my paintbrush time.. 

Been meaning to update the basing for 15mm French for some time so as to bring them in line with the recent (well.. fairly...   well only 6 years ago!😲) basing that I'd done for the British..

The French were passed to me by DG more years ago than I care to think about, I think we'd done some kind of a deal - I'd passed him a whole load of 6mm stuff (another of my ill found and inexplicable prejudices..  I just can't like 6mm figures.. to me they are little more than board game counters.. ) and he passed me these in return....

These little men have fought many, many, times but I like the new style |I chose for the British so it is a long term goal to move all my 15mm WWII stuff to the same style..

As a reminder they were based as per the following - square card bases and numbers..

..but they now look like this..

Officers/command at the back on 2p pieces - rank and file on 1p's

I also rebased the antitank and support weapons..

.. mortars..

..machine guns..

I'll be using these sabot bases to move and deploy on the table..  I've just ordered another ten..

Armour and transport next...   and then the Germans... 

Friday, April 23, 2021

"Sicily '43" - a review..

Fantastic book - I have his book on Normandy in the "to read" pile and based on this one it has moved up a few places towards the top ..  

So a concise (well I say concise, but it's actually 600 or 700 odd pages... I can honestly say it didn't seem that long!) but easily read book, on what was the first Allied powers invasion into mainland Europe..   

Very much a learning exercise for the Allies, that in planning teams was a success beyond all expectations..  Holland has good coverage on the importance of naval cover (the ability to call in naval broadsides for what was predominantly a land campaign can't be underestimated), the air cover (originally from Malta cab rank style, and later from landing strips on the island itself was an absolute game changer and a significant input to the overall success of the campaign)

He touches on the the politic'ing and infighting between Patton (who I am sorry, and who despite his obvious skills as a battlefield commander, still comes across to me as a bit of a kn*b) and Montgomery (who could be prickly), and most of all the soldiers on the ground, that despite the Allied doctrine of "steel not flesh" were called on time and time again to attack well dug in, veteran and elite German forces simply because the terrain did not allow them to deploy their significant advantage in tanks and artillery...

Holland touches on the Mafia angle (and who knows how significant that was, as no one seems sure??) but my overwhelming impression was of how quick the campaign was, how important the air cover was, how hard the infantry had to fight, and how well Alexander managed the campaign.

A fascinating book.. 9 out of 10!

Friday, April 09, 2021

Wargamer's Newsletter - Phil Barker's "Rules for World War Two (Normandy) Wargames"

Another opportunity to share some of the gems from that recent purchase.. complete with hand typed notes, and wonky page lay outs..  glorious..  this time some vintage Phil Barker in the form of WW2 rules

Going to guess the paper slipped in the type writer..  πŸ˜€

First interesting note - Normandy was not well known for it's "open steppe's" so I suspect these originated in another rule set...  One to one scale - so these are skirmish level... By the by I think I have applied "inherent military probability" to every game I've ever played - very sound words indeed..

Interesting .."Time spent in throwing dice" - as compared to overturning over a card? I can see 'overwatch' fire being difficult to adjudicate and subject to discussion... πŸ˜€  The firing mechanism is entirely random so it couldn't easily be dice driven - it requires a specific result to score a hit - not a result range... I like the idea about using colours to help adjudicate hits in cover or not, though - simple and clever

Straight forward given the explanation on the previous page - note that there is no range for medium MG's, basically everyone in the line of fire has a 50% chance of being hit (!)..   the "6" under 'Radius of Effect' is a mis-type I think... 

I can't imagine Normandy was awash with T70's and Josef Stalin 122's... πŸ˜€ So a 25% chance of hitting irrespective of range, and then a 50% chance after that if the vehicle is hull down - waiting to see if there are any suppression rules as clearly unless you can hit the tank you aren't going to fire at it...

No suppression option but that's an easy add - the black and white nature of inflicting damage on an armoured vehicle - it is either penetrated, or it is not, there's no scope for morale effect on the crew.

So the two Appendices' are not wholly applicable to the rules - the penetration values are purely informational (it would be nice to know the source), and all you need from appendix 1 is the gun type for the vehicle you are firing, Appendix 2 is purely informational..

Post match analysis:
  • there is much in these rules that I like, and I would say it is more than possible I will have a go with my 15mm "Fall of France" figures, since there is more than enough here to be able to reverse engineer the earlier vehicles
  • the core mechanism is the card driven result - red or black, and a number between 0 and 3. 
  • It wasn't until I saw the firing results for light machine guns that I realised that the result given to hit something is an "actual", not a less than, or more than number...  if you need "1" to score a hit and you pull a "2" or a "3", then the fact those numbers are bigger, is irrelevant - you miss...  
  • so effectively then you automatically have a 25% chance of scoring a hit
  • that 25% chance is unaffected by range - which is a little strange - the range bands provided just require you to pull a different number - still with a 25% chance - so I am not sure what is being modelled there..  the rules could lose the range bands as they are irrelevant in terms of making it easier or harder to hit the target. What I would have done is to offer multiple chances to hit at lower ranges eg, at close range you hit on "1", "2" or "3", medium range on "2" or "3", long range on "3". A "0" would always be a miss (as they are in the rules as written)...
  • the other core mechanism is red or black - whether a result is red or black governs (among other things) whether a hit is on a hull or a turret (anti-tank fire), whether it is a hit or not (eg. targets in cover, targets for MG's etc.), and whether a vehicle is destroyed or immobilised (infantry anti tank)
  • no morale or suppression rules - given the level of abstraction that may be by design/decision, but for me, my reading would lead me to the conclusion that it isn't only penetrating hits that disabled vehicles..
  • no hand to hand rules either - which is probably more understandable, and easily dealt with under firing
  • what a refreshing set of rules...  like them...   but yeah, I'd have to replace the cards - a lot of what they bring is good, but it also means other mechanisms need tweaking..