Monday, November 17, 2014

Ottawa 2014

I recently went on a very short weekend trip to Ottawa to celebrate my Dad's birthday.

Some history/gaming related trip highlights:
  1. I wanted to see the new WWI special exhibit at the War Museum.  It was a good exhibit.  It probably is a good introduction to those that do not know the war.  For the space they had, it was good.  I'm sure they could have filled a whole museum just dedicated to WWI.  The highlight for me was the quality models that were created for the exhibit.  They also had fake smelling stations for the various gases used in the war.
  2. The War Museum was selling off used books from it's library collection.  I picked up some great books for really cheap.  Maybe I just got lucky with who was working that day.
  3. I always have to visit the War Museum gift shop.  I was trying to get a good book on this history of the involvement of Canada in Afghanistan recently, but had no luck.  All the books were just first person accounts. 
  4. Fandom II looks to be doing well.  Layout has not changed in many years.  I think the layout was different when they first moved into the current store location, but that was so long ago I can't remember.  It is a must stop by when in downtown Ottawa.  It is a small store, but worth it.  With multiple stores having closed in Colorado, it is good to see some staying open.
  5. Had to stop by the National War Memorial.  With the shooting of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo at the Memorial, it meant something different to go there.  There were the two ceremonial guards, but there was also at least three Ottawa police officers there for security.
War museum, War Memorial and General Currie photos below.
War Museum Photos
 
Canadian armoured car from 1914

Canadian BL 8" howitzer Mark VIII


21 cm M├Ârser (German Howitzer/Mortar)

 

10mm or 15mm scale miniatures.  Look to be custom made miniatures.

 

Maybe 20mm scale miniatures.

Approximately 28mm miniature scale.



 
National War Memorial
 
 



 
Commander of the Canadian Corp in WWI
General Sir Arthur William Currie
 

Statue with War Memorial in background.

Currie's original uniform.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

WWI Palestine

The "What should I work on next?" poll result has kick started my WWI in Africa/Middle East wargaming.  I do not have what I need painted up and know very little about WWI in Africa or Middle East.  This all started with the purchase of 10mm Pendraken miniatures at a garage sale that a friend put on a year or two ago.


I had read about the war in East Africa in WWI and there are only limited set piece large battles and it was basically a German withdrawal to fight another day campaign.  The Battle of Tanga may still be doable.  I then looked at Egypt with the Suez canal.  I did some testing of the Battle of Romani, but discovered the Turks did not attack with enough troops and were easily stopped and pushed back.  This battle would not be an interesting scenario.  I am now exploring the First Battle of Gaza (1917).  I think it is doable.

 
As part of putting together a scenario is deciding on what rules to use.  My current favorite rules just don't fit with these battles or are not designed for WWI.  Here are the WWI rulesets I have been looking into potentially using:
  • If the Lord Spares Us
  • Great War Spearhead
  • Field of Battle WWI
  • Blitzkrieg Command WWI
  • Command Decision
  • No Mans Land
  • Megablitz WWI (Kaiserblitz)
  • Big Table Little Men
I discovered that to really encompass a good variety of units in a battle with some interesting terrain, the rules have to cover a larger map area, otherwise there would just be a few dunes on the table and all the figures on the board would look the same.  For me, a pretty boring scenario.  This knocked out most of the rulesets listed above.  I believe I have narrowed it down to Big Table Little Men (a free ruleset) with some help from Megablitz.  The scale is basically 4cm to 1km and each turn being about 2 hours.  The First Battle of Gaza took place over two days and Megablitz takes this into account.  Using this scale, the British for example have four divisions and about two brigades on the table.  I will say that someone could focus just on the town of Gaza and maybe do a skirmish game, but I'm more interested in something bigger.


I used to wargame 20mm North Africa WWII, and figured I would not go back to desert wargaming, but here I am.  Researching the maps of the Sinai and Palestine, it does look pretty bleak.  Gaza does sound interesting with cactus hedges, but outside Gaza there doesn't seem to be very much.  I'll have to see what I can do to spruce it up somewhat.  I have some ideas for palm trees.  Maybe with all the figures it will look better.

 
I'll be using 10mm Pendraken miniatures.  I have been painting up some Australian lighthorsemen.  I look forward to painting up the interesting variety of Turkish, Austrian, British, Australian, and New Zealander miniatures.  There were aircraft over the battlefield, but I'm not certain how to incorporate them.

After I paint up everything, I can do future battles in Palestine and maybe Mesopotamia.  The Second Battle of Gaza has British tanks.


I am not ruling out picking a different ruleset for a different battle in the future.  The First Battle of Gaza will probably work best for me with the Big Table Little Men and Megablitz combo.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Italian Bersaglieri Band Quick Marches

Here are some fun Italian Bersaglieri bands and military in parades.  Last one is funny.



 
 
 

"Wings" BBC Series

I just finished watching the first season of Wings.  It is a 1977-78 BBC produced series focused on a British 17 year old who wants to fly in the Royal Flying Corps in 1915.  His family are involved in a smithery.  I stumbled upon this series while doing research on the British B.E. 2c aircraft.  It turns out this plane is basically the only British plane featured, but the plane and action looked great in the episodes.
 
 
 
A blog I read recommended watching the series, so I started watching it.  Each episode is about 47 minutes.  It is completely available on YouTube.  Each episode spends about half the time featuring events with his family or love interest at home and the other half with his squadron.  I also recommend watching this series.  I was pleasantly surprised.  The blog that recommended it also recommended not watching the second season, so I'll pass on that.
 
I actually recognized some of the actors in the series.  I think the one that stands out the most is Michael Cochrane.  I watched him play a General in the Sir Henry Simmerson in the BBC Sharpe Series.  You can't miss him in Wings.  Just a wee bit younger.


 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum

Next in the series of historical sites on my trip to Savannah.  This is the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum.  This museum is mainly focused on Eighth Air Force history in WWII.  For those that do not know, this group was stationed in England in WWII focused on daylight bombing of targets in Germany.  The main bomber used by the Eighth Air Force was the B-17.  This was a good museum.  Not a lot large museum with not many planes, but it was told by a volunteer to a group of us that the museum is more a memorial than a museum to those that fought in the Eighth Air Force.  I really took my time at this museum as I had the whole afternoon before I had to get to the airport.  I was probably there for 2.5 hours.  It can easily be done in less time.  This is not a museum to see planes, but to get a sense of what the Eighth Air Force is all about.

Each of the lights on the map is a 8th Air Force airfield in WWII.  Impressive.

Example of just part of an airfield.

Not an 8th Air Force diorama, but B-24 bomber raid on Ploesti Oil Fields.

Mig-17A painted up as North Vietnamese fighter.
More photos here: Link to all photos

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Old Fort Jackson

The second fort I visited near Savannah, Georgia was Old Fort Jackson.  It dates back to the War of 1812.  The current configuration of the fort is post War of 1812 construction.  The fort was used in the War of 1812 and the American Civil War.  The fort was never assaulted.  If in the area, it is worth a quick visit.  It only took me about half an hour to walk around the fort, as it is fairly small.

War of 1812 layout
Magazine





More photos here: Link to all photos


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Fort Pulaski



Last week I was in Savannah, Georgia and had a day to visit some historic sites.  Fort Pulaski was built to guard the river approaches to Savannah.  It was complete in 1847.  In 1861 the fort was seized by Confederate forces.  A year later after a 30 hour bombardment by Union forces, the fort surrendered.  The damage on the fort walls dates back to that bombardment.  This fort is well worth visiting.  I took my time walking around the fort and it only took about 2.5 hours to see everything.







More photos can be seen here: Link to all photos

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Attack on Berber Campaign Game

Last month I played in a fun Colonial Sudan campaign game.  It was just a small engagement, British vs. Dervishes.  I was on the British side trying to take a town, with some help of a gunboat.  Dan (who is running the campaign) played the Dervishes.  The battle rules for the campaign are The Sword and the Flame.  Everyone knows these rules so I won't go into description about them.  What I will say is I got into historical miniature wargaming 29 years ago because of these rules.  I think I got burnt out on them awhile back, but this campaign is fun and the rules are not that bad.  The subtle changes/additions to the rules have improved things.  Also, Dan always puts on fun games.

Photo from Dan's blog.
Here is the link to the recap of the battle (on Dan's blog):

Attack on Berber

Sunday, March 30, 2014

No Offense, but...

...Man this is a terrible looking game.  I can not believe this was actually at a convention (Havoc XXX).  The terrain looks horrible.


What is wrong with this terrain?  It actually does not look real.  Wait...the buildings, bridge, and fence look real.  I own the same river terrain and the sides of the river have rocks, etc which should be painted.  Maybe playtesting by yourself at home then this would be okay, but I would never have anyone play at this table.  I try to avoid using felt, but I can understand it being used in certain situations (i.e. large water bodies like rivers/lakes).  These blobs of felt have no trees, etc.  Oh it just gets worse the more I look at this photo.

I would be very interested to hear the reason for the bad terrain.

I am of the opinion that at a gaming convention, the game presentation must look good.

Original link to photo:
Facebook post

At the same convention, below is a view of a successful looking game.

Facebook link

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Black Rock Raid Preview

I have finally put together the War of 1812 skirmish scenario "Black Rock Raid."  This is a historic raid that took place around the town of Black Rock (now a suburb of Buffalo, NY) during the War of 1812.  This raid July 11, 1813.  The area is located just upstream of Niagara Falls across from Fort Erie.  During the war there were various battles and raids along the Canadian/U.S. border, this is just one of them.  The British launched the raid in the middle of the night down stream of Black Rock.  The local NY militia were surprised and fled the area leaving behind artillery pieces and many supplies.  The British spiked various guns or took them to their boats now waiting at the local dock.  They also began taking what supplies they could from local government buildings and stores.  U.S. forces were assembled south of Black Rock from Buffalo.  Around 7am these forces began advancing on the British.  My scenario is just a small potion of the whole area, but has the action near the end of the raid, with the American forces getting close to the town of Black Rock.

Figures are all 28mm Knuckleduster, except for the artillery piece which is Perry.
Rules will be "Chosen Men."

View from Black Rock.
Canadian Militia emptying the local tavern.
British soldiers leaving dock to get more supplies.  They are passing a warehouse they burned earlier.
NY Militia advancing along shore road.
Main force of US regulars, militia and Indians advancing.
My daughter Paige hanging out with Dad.