Saturday, October 17, 2020

"Duel Under the Stars" - a review..

An interesting departure from the main stream this one - being the autobiography of a German night fighter pilot in WW2 flying Me110's - in fact as the title says more a memoir than an autobiography, since the book deals solely with the authors service in WW2 and we don't learn much else about him. 

Not a long read, it covers his service from the beginning of the war in northern German to the end where his squadron was based in Hungary, and then withdrawn to Germany. 

He is "famous" for having caused a bit of an international incident when he was shot down and had to force land in Switzerland where he and his crew were interned for a week before being exchanged for some British officers...  he mentions that the moment the Gestapo found out he had been interned, his family, and the families of his crew, were imprisoned and questioned...  it took Goering to get Himmler to release them...  nice to know the people at home have got your back!

I hadn't realised up until I read this book what a menace the German night fighters were to the British bomber crews, in the to and fro tussle over technology, these German night fighters at some periods  of the campaign were hugely successful..  Johnen himself reports shooting down sometimes two or three bombers in a single sortie.. you think flak was the main problem for the British crews, but I've changed my view, the constant edge of worry on whether you were being stalked by radar by another plane armed with multiple cannon, including the fearsome Schrage Musik [clicky] (upward firing twin cannons) must have been terrifying..  only the increasing use of night fighter Mosquito's armed with better radar, and speed, saw the end of the Me110 night fighter dominance..

Not a Nazi (or he doesn't come across as one), but clearly a loyal and patriotic officer with not a little skill (he ended up with 34 victories, ranked "ace", and with the Knight's Cross). 

Sobering..  the bravery of  him and his fellow aircraft crew fighting at this time in the face of almost limitless Allied superiority in both material and technology is worthy of huge respect.. worth a read...   Steve the Wargamer rates this one as 8 out of 10..

Johnen's Me110 pictured in Switzerland after his arrest/internment

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Reinforcements have arrived...

One of the things I have learned over may years in the hobby is that the painting mojo always returns eventually, and while I still have little desire to go up in the loft again after that extended stay (for work) at the beginning of the year, I've also noticed that there are stirrings in Steve the Wargamers psyche, and I'm beginning to think about pushing the lead again...

So it was, that when an email dropped into the inbox from the excellent fellows at Peter Pig offering me a COVID discount (of great value), who was I to turn down the offer of replenishing the lead pile ready for that moment when the brushes start to fly again?  Even more so as unlike most of my fellow wargaming bloggerati (it would seem) I've never been one for lead piles - I tend to operate like Tesco - "just in time" - so I order enough for a unit and then paint it, and repeat...

In all my years of wargaming - through mojo high's and low's - there's nothing to beat the excitement of the  arrival of a parcel of little metal men (and other stuff) and this one was no different..!

Either way ..  nuff waffling...  these will hit the paint table in the next few weeks/months..


ACW naval reinforcements..  I know I said I had enough, but I quite enjoy this period/game, and I blame Dave Crook [clicky] for giving me the idea to order a few more..   so what we have here is top right, the Commodore Morris (ferryboat) - a double ender (what we call RO-RO these days, proving there's nothing new under the sun) - the USS Fuchsia, a small gunboat (bottom right) - the CSS Governor Moore, a cotton clad paddler (bottom left) and the USS Tyler another paddle steamer (top left). They're all fairly typical and will serve on both sides depending on scenario...

..then some ECW reinforcements - I'm happy to say that in my mind this project is hitting critical mass just a few more units then after that the foot can come off the accelerator pedal..

Cavalry, foot command and pikes.. 

Muskets to go with the pike..  cavalry..  #28 is wounded cavalry - thought they would add a little colour/differentiation to the regular cavalry.. 

More musket..