Wednesday, August 12, 2015

'The Tank war' - Mark Urban

I've just finished reading this remarkable book.

Urban has written two similar histories - 'Fusilier' (or 'how the British Army lost North America and learned how to fight'), and 'Rifles' (the story of the 95th Rifles ... think Richard Sharpe .. in the Napoleonic Wars). Urban writes the most delightful history, gathering together what is most often never before accessed archival material to offer a very personal view of war from the point of view of the individual men who fought (think private soldiers, not generals).

In this case it is the story of the 5th Royal Tank Regiment through World war 2. He chose the regiment not because he thought it was something special (although it was a part of 7th Armoured Division, the famous 'Desert Rats') but because if offered the richest source of surviving archival material.

Urban pulls no punches. There re tories of men abandoning tanks out of fear, buy so too there are stories of citizen soldiers who learn how to fight. He offers the second robust rebuttal of the old fable that British Armoured units were inferior in both hardware and 'software', without glossing over the failings of the unit in combat in the desert and Europe.

This review does the book justice - highly recommended if you have an interest in WW2, or in historiography (or BOTH!!).

Thanks for the 'heads up' on the documentary:

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Volley and Bayonet 1813

I managed my first largish game for many months when invited to the relaunch of Keith's Wargames Room on Friday night, and 'dang, it felt good'!!! We fought a Volley and Bayonet game using 1813 Prussian and French lists, and Keith's 6mm armies. It reminded me that even though I am a Spearhead fan, VnB is still my all time favourite games system. Here are just a few random shots.

Keith's commentary on the relaunch of his games room, and this battle, can be found here.

More introductory 'gaming goodness

These boys are keen. Having shown them what is possible with Crossfire and Spearhead, this week it was 'how to play fantasy games without spending $600. So nI brought along four HotT (Hordes of the Things) armies to give them a taste for the game system, and an eye for what can be done with very little outlay. One of the boys had previously played HotT, and so had set out to create a 'greeblie (honestly, it's the only word that comes to mind) army using modelling clay.

The used the 'greeblies, and my spiders, VSF, and Lost Worlds armies. Some general views.

They loved the games system and the army building potential. We are heading towards a 12 hour 'paint-a-thon', the goal of which is to teach them how to paint, and get them well down the path to creating their own armies. They now have several choices, and it would be fair to say that several of them are torn between WW2 and Fantasy.

Forcing the Uvarova

The vastness and the difficulty of the terrain through the Caucasus meant that by 1915 there were still avenues to be explored if victory wa...