Thursday 30 June 2011

Centurion BARV

My thanks to John Armatys for sending me his photos of the Centurion BARV, taken at Tankfest at the Tank Museum last weekend. 
John has kindly offered me the rest of his Tankfest photos for use here, so expect more over the next couple of weeks.

Conference of Wargamers 2011 - Plenary Game team list

Below is the provisional team list for the COW Plenary Game - All in the best possible taste

Umpire Team
Tim Gow
John Armatys
Martin Rapier
Jerry Elsmore
Team 1
Chris Ager
Fred Cartwright
Ian Drury
Mike Elliott
Philip Hooper
Peter Roe
Jim Wallman
Team 2
Phil Barker
Rob Cooper
Nigel Drury
Nick Huband
Tom Mouat
Dick Scholefield
Team 3
John Bassett
David Brock
Bob Cordery
Graham Evans
Chris James
Wayne Thomas
Team 4
Keira Bentley 
Jonathan Crowe
Peter Grizzell
Russell King
John Salt
Will Whyler
Gavin Parnaby
Team 5
Roger Barnes
David Bradbury
John Curry
Matthew Hartley
Alex Kleanthous
Sue Laflin-Barker
Michael Young
Team 6
Richard Brooks
Nick Drage
Tony Hawkins
Chris Perry
Phil Steele
Ian Mitchell
James Roche

Wednesday 29 June 2011

New painting challenge?

I now have the painting refernces I need for my next 'modern' army.  My thanks to Tom Stockton for posting these recently on the GHQ forum Link 
The infantry uniform looks easy enough to paint...
...and the AFV colours are, er, interesting.  Some modelling work will be required on my BTR-50s, but the fast exit ramp at the rear is clearly a winner!

Tuesday 28 June 2011

Tank Museum - part 4 - postwar

Late model Ferret scout car.  Lovely.
AMX 13 light tank - another of my favourites.
EBR-75 armoured car - this uses the same turret as the AMX-13.  The basic vehicle was designed before WW2.
Leopard C.1 - the Canadian version.
Not a great photo, but this odd device is a Centurion BARV (Beach Armoured Recovery Vehicle),
Another Centurion - this time late of the Swedish Army, complete with applique false breasts and shoulder pads.
Another Swedish AFV - an m40/L - actually a pre-WW2 light tank but variants were in service well after the war.
S-Tank, complete with 'garden railing' additional armour.
BMP-1.  Strictly speaking this wasn't actually donated by it's previous owners...
The impressively big M-60.
The even bigger M-103 - think of it as the US equivalent to Conqueror.
And's OK, I didn't try it.

Monday 27 June 2011

Il Giogo Pass - WW2 Airsoft event - part 1

On Saturday 18 June I took part in a WW2 Airsoft event in Portland, Dorset (hence the en-route visit to the Tank Museum).  The scenario was based on the fighting for Il Giogo Pass during the Allied assault on the Gothic Line in Italy (Wiki Link).
The game was organised by Comrades in Arms (Link) and attracted over 40 players.    
My thanks for allowing me the use of their photos goes to CiA members Boshman, MartinR, BedsnHerts, Agent Orange & Seidler.  This post will look at the initial setting up, with 'action' pics forming a second post.
One of the excellent props which made the day so atmospheric.  There was indeed a minefield!
The (top secret) German map showing the layout of the quarry.  I was part of the garrison of 'Anton' which was around 10m above 'ground' level.  'Zeppelin', the German rear echelon, was about 250m distant.  The British attack came from around 200m to the left of 'Anton'.
Some of the 'Germans' getting their gear together.  
The German CO with his command bus.  Most impressive.  He played his role particularly well - to the extent of sporting a long cigarette holder and a riding crop.
4 FJR Div ready for action. 

Saturday 25 June 2011

Conference of Wargamers 2011 timetable

The timetable for the 2011 Conference of Wargamers is below - click on the image to make it less damaging to your eyesight.
The COW Programme can be viewed on the COW 2011 page of the WD website: COW

I'm glad that's done!

Friday 24 June 2011

Conference of Wargamers 2011 session list - additions

A number of additional sessions are to be included in the programme:

Jim Wallman
This is a sort of role playing game about being a colonel of a mid 18th Century infantry regiment.  Posessing little or no military knowledge or aptitude need not be a barrier to advancement.  The game is as much about peacetime influence as going to war, though there wil be opportunities for glory in some fever-infested Carribbean hell holes for those interested in that sort of thing.

Jonathan Crowe
A rapid play 1/300 scale game pitting the first Tiger tanks to be deployed in Normandy against some very surprised Yeomanry.  One brain cell rules, impossible die rolls and no time to think.  Are you drinking tea or pushing forward for the Fatherland?

Graham Evans
Come and have your (Roman toy soldier's) head stomped on by a big plastic elephant.

Tim Gow
A 70th anniversary game of Operation Barbarossa.  All of it.  In 20 minutes.  A three player toy soldier game which will probably be run several times.
The second playtest of Rollbahn Ost, with John, Gunter and Martin leading Army Groups South, North and Centre respectively.  Hopefully I'll have time to produce a more aesthetically pleasing board before COW.

Thursday 23 June 2011

Tank Museum - part 3 - WW2

Churchill Crocodile.
Crocodile fuel trailer
Pz IIL 'Luchs'

T-26 in Finnish markings.
Goliath remote-controlled demolition charge.
L-3 tankette with flamethrower.  That big gun is behind the L-3, not on it!
Marmon-Herrington MkVI.  An unsuccessful experiment.  Think of it as a poor copy of the Sdkfz 231 series.
Char B.
Finnish StuG III with interesting log armour.  Very eco-friendly.

Wednesday 22 June 2011

Tank Museum - part 2 - pre WW2

I have tried to put my photos in some sort of order.  There are none of the Great War display as I spent quite a bit of time in that section during my last visit.
Vickers Independent.  An experimental tank with loads of turrets.  What sort of lunatics would put that into production? 
Oh, sorry Ivan.
'Tank, Amphibious No3'.  This clearly inspired some Japanese designs.
'Dutchman' light tank.  Built for export to the Dutch East Indies.
Little Willie.  The original tank.
Renault FT-17.  I'm always surprised by just how tiny these are.
Carden Lloyd Carrier MkVI.  Just delightful!
The turret floor of the 80-ton 1941 TOG II heavy tank.  Not much health and safety in evidence here!
The driving compartment of the TOG II.  The steering wheel is decidedly postwar - from a late 1970s Chrysler I think.  It looks the same as the one in the '78 Chrysler Alpine GLS my Dad used to run! Alpine

Tuesday 21 June 2011

Conference of Wargamers 2011 session list

Yes, it's that time of year again - when I put together the CoW session list (quite easy) and timetable (complete nightmare).
Below is the list of sessions that I have been made aware of.  If there are any corrections or additions please let me know by 9pm on Wednesday 22 June.

WD Display Team North
Teams of players will be invited to describe the great battles of history using the medium of interpretive dance.  What could possibly go wrong?

WD Display Team North
This year’s participation game for up to 6 happy volunteers.  Players start as junior unit commanders in the Red Army of 1918 – they must struggle with the objectives of gaining promotion and surviving until 1941.  This will probably be run at least twice.

Mike Young
A game of Royal Marriages, Intrigue, and Inbreeding set in 16th and 17th Century Europe.
Hapsburg lip is a game of the politics and power struggles of the noble houses of the 16th and 17th Centuries.  Players represent a royal house who attempt to remain noble (by marrying other royals).  Judicious marriages can result in great gains in prestige.  
However each member of the Royal Family has a genetic fingerprint, and too much inbreeding will result in the manifestation of genetic difficulties, such as Hapsburg lip, Haemophilia or Jug Ears, thus damaging your ruler's health, mental capacity or physical attractiveness.
The game was played in prototype form at COW 2010, and will be present in a more developed form at COW 2011.
For an example of when it all goes horribly wrong see

Wayne Thomas & David Brock
The battle of San Juan Hill, 1898.  Up to five US Brigade Commanders and one valiant Spanish General are required.  Bring your own hats, and daiquiris for Generals Kent (aka Brock) and Wheeler (aka Thomas) and we’ll get those damn Yankees on the run.  (Oops!).

Graham Evans
15mm Spanish Civil War divisional level table top game. An attempt has been made to build period flavour in from the initial design, rather than rely on chrome. The command and control sequence has a new take on simultaneous v alternate movement. Other bits of the game may be borrowed but most is original. (NB Last year it was remarked that my RCW rules would work for the SCW. I have therefore completely changed the system as that wouldn’t be a challenge, would it?)

Phil Barker
Sharp End returns once more
In an attempt to produce an entirely new type of military disaster, this year we will attempt a pitched battle for Buggerupistan rather than low cunning. However, we do hope to follow or parallel this with an excursion to a different bandit country, set in Northern Ireland in the 70s.

Mike Elliott
The Siege and Battle of Quebec, 1759
An illustrated talk on the siege and battle of Quebec, in which I describe the events in Canada in the summer of 1759 culminating in the famous battle on the Plains of Abraham outside the city of Quebec. Illustrated with photos taken on a trip to Canada in 2010

Mike Elliott
Most Perfect Volley
Being the game I am developing on the siege and battle of Quebec as described in a series of articles in the Nugget. Up to 7 active players, but spectators of course welcome.

Richard Brooks & Ian Drury
Broken Square
Solo ADG with 10-30min slots.  As seen in Nugget 242

Richard Brooks & Ian Drury
Froeschwiller, 1870
FPW historical refight of Froeschwiller 1870 using Kiloschlacht, the 1:1000 level version of Minischlacht - similar level to OP14 but Minischlacht firing system with hexes .

John Bassett
Caesar’s Heirs
A map/role-playing game of the Philippi campaign of 42BC.  Brutus, Cassius, Octavian and Antony fight for control of the Roman world.  The latest development of John's game system for the fall of the Roman Republic, with evolved naval and military rules.

Russell King
Operation Pale Charlie
At the end of the Second World War states were confronting the new reality of resistance to empire. Operation Pale Charlie takes 13-25 players on a multi-power politics simulation of 1950s Vietnam, giving them key roles in France, China, Russia, USA, Britain, French Indo-China and the Vietminh, otherwise known as the Indo-Chinese Communist Party and associates. Alliances made and broken, policies forged in the heat of battles and events, and nuclear brinkmanship met head on. Featuring Operation Castor, the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, Algeria, the Suez Canal question, and the Geneva Peace Conference. Individual and confidential state objectives, politicians and certainty, and the boundaries to leadership tested. Full situation briefings provided.

Gavin Parnaby
The session is to introduce a web based campaign solution, specifically for the Napoleonic period but modifiable for other periods/genres.  It'll be a workshop session of 2hrs for up to eight active participants, more can be accomodated/share/hotseat. Participants don't need to be tech savvy, as long as they can drive a mouse and are reasonably familiar with the internet they'll be fine. There will be a brief intro, approx 1hr of playing time during which resultant battles will be gamed using a modified scrud system to give instant results and some dice based gratification. There will be then around 45mins of discussion and feedback to discuss further development, other applications etc.

Ian Drury
This is a re-working of Redcoats & Rebels to re-fight the larger battles of the American War of Independence. A double session for 6–8 players in which gallant bands of 15mm figures venture into the American wilderness, loving recreated with many bags of toy trees from Modelzone. Since setting up a historical battlefield takes too long for COW, we will instead stage the hitherto unknown Battle of Knuston Court House (known to the Canadians as Nouveau Dot Sur La Mappe).

Chris James
An early English Civil War game, for six players, not to be taken too seriously. The game will include a number of incidents most of which have at least a tenuous historic basis and will amuse at least some of the players, I hope!

John Curry
The Hunt for the Fletcher Pratt Naval Wargame
 A talk on the hunt for the elusive actual rules used by Pratt 1939-45 and an evaluation of the rules against naval reality.

John Curry 
The Fletcher Pratt Air Wargame John Curry
A table-top based Japanese attack on a British convoy using airplanes mounted on sticks. The game will be played using the previously unpublished full rules. It is only the second time the game will have been played since 1946 (the first time was in the Bunker in March 2011).

Bob Cordery
A short presentation about how and why this game was developed from Joseph Morschauser’s original ‘Frontier’ wargames rules .... and then developed a life of its own. This will be followed by a short explanation of the rules and then an opportunity for attendees to try the rules for themselves.

Tim Price
Another Footfall Situation
A small band of professional trouble-shooters ("If there's trouble - we shoot it!"), facing the unknown at a moments notice, out to save the Government and civilisation as we know it.
Previous outings have included secret underground Government bio-research labs, genetically engineered monkeys in the Channel Tunnel, a "terrorist attack" on a power station, a secret book depositary, terrorist attacks on a waste treatment facility, and a "chemical fire" in a High Wycombe industrial estate.  This outing promises to be only slightly different (Wikileaks! Eco-Terrorists! Secret Government Base! Etc!).

Tim Price
Sen Toku
A military staff-planning game of the Japanese Imperial Naval Staff in World War 2 (January 1944). Followed by the players actually having to execute the plan. Strike a decisive blow against the Despicable Imperialist Americans! Demonstrate Japanese Naval technical superiority! Go down in history! 

Tim Price
The Scuppers Were Awash with Blood! A Napoleonic Naval Game with one-player per ship using fast-paced mechanisms that offer a premium for the player with the best sailing skills. Completely revised and updated to make it smaller, faster and better! (Oops - sounds like a Government propaganda claim before a botched attempt to install an expensive IT system...). It will have toy ships with removable masts!

John Curry & Tim Price
A short lecture on cyberwar for beginners, then a card based cyberwargame. No technical background required, just a desire to cause chaos.

Chris Perry
Hammerin’ Iron
The latest version of Peter Pig’s ACW naval game.

Phil Steele
A newly designed toy soldier game.

Sue Laflin Barker
It's still the morning after the smugglers have landed their goods. They are still trying to deliver the contraband to those who have ordered it and the Revenue are still trying to intercept it. I have made some adjustments to the rules which I hope will make the game run more smoothly. As before there is room for up to 4 tavern keepers and up to 3 revenue.

Rob Cooper
Give me a ping Vasiliy, just one ping
A game of modern anti submarine warfare for 2-4 players.

Rob Cooper
Top Rank
A committee crisis game of deeply-entrenched Arab leadership faced with a surprising turn of events from their usually docile population.

Jim Wallman
Operation Goodwood
WW2 map game on the operation of the same name.  Teams represent divisional command staffs.

Jim Wallman
Naval and Army teams planning, building and operating Zeppelins.  A bit of a 'blue peter' session.

Jim Wallman
Village Sweep
A half-baked game design about intelligence gathering in Vietnam.  Can you get the information you need without starting a massacre?

Jim Roche
Jus ad Bello/Jus in Bello
A PowerPoint-led discussion of the Just War Theory of St Augustine and Thomas Aquinas looking at Britain's wars of the 20th century, from Spion Kop to Helmand and giving them marks out of ten. A daytime activity with argument and discussion, illuminated by philosophy.

Jim Roche
Ne Obliviscaris
An after-dinner game dedicated to Paddy Griffith, based on his Halberdiers game and inspired by his obituary in The Times.  Ne Obliviscaris means 'Do not Forget' and is the motto of The Argylls. In my version, participants are officers in that regiment and we follow their careers in WWII. Medals are awarded and worn. The game ends with death notices/obituaries, printed either in the Oban Times or the London Times.  'But Mrs Campbell, you have three more words in your husband's death notice'.....Ochtaye, chust add 'Volvo for sale'.

Mike Young & Tom Mouat
Libya Decision Workshop
What will the future government of Libya be like? Will Gaddafi remain in power? Will freedom and democracy come to Libya? Will the country be divided? Will Al Qaeda establish a presence in the new government?
This session will attempt to forecast the answer to those questions using Confrontation Analysis and Role Play. The session will be a rehearsal for a formal session to be held at RMCS Shrivenham on the 19th July, where use of this method will be proposed to the UK Defense establishment:

Tank Museum visit - part 1 - overview

Last Friday, while en route to deepest darkest Dorset for a WW2 Airsoft event (more on that coming soon!), Martin and I took the opportunity to call in at the Tank Museum in Bovington Link .  It would have been rude not to.  I had last visited the museum in 2007, when a number of the exhibits had been moved to facilitate the development of a new hall.  Here then are a few photos of the new hall.  Further posts will offer more pics of the exhibits - but only the stuff inside as it was raining rather enthusiastically during our visit!
A view from the cafe overlooking the new hall which tells the story of AFV development - starting with 'Little Willie' seen here in the centre of the photo.
Some of the WW2 exhibits, including Churchill Croc, Firefly and Cromwell.
Looking towards the postwar exhibits - visible are the Centurion and bits of Berlin Wall.

Monday 20 June 2011


It is always nice to get a mention on another blog, but I was rather surprised to see my name on Figgoblogotheque.  I have looked at this blog a few times recently after noticing that quite a bit of my own blog traffic was coming from here.  Link

Figgoblogotheque is essentially a list of other wargaming and toy soldier blogs - in several languages - which is well worth a look.  You never know what you might find!

Sunday 19 June 2011

Just south of Cheux, Normandy

26th June 1944, 1345 hrs, first day of Operation Epsom. Location: Just south of Cheux, Normandy.

General Briefing
By noon on the 26th 15th Scottish Div had broken through the main line of 12th SS Panzer Div infantry, taken Cheux and was mopping up, VIIIth Corps then tried to pass 11th AD through the town to continue the advance south. The divisional recce regiment, 2nd Northamptonshire Yeomanry were ordered to race south in the hopes of capturing the Odon bridges. South of Cheux the line was held by elements of 12th SS Panzer Divs recce and engineer battalions.
Forces were a recce troop from 2nd Northants Yeomanry vs a couple of sections from 12th SS Panzerpioniere Abt and a section of armoured cars from 12th SS PAA - the depth defences of 26th SSPGR south of Cheux.

The British infantry dodge into cover....
Martin organised this game, which used John's Platoon Commander's War rules.  It was one of a series of linked scenarios we've been working our way through over the past few years.  John and I commanded the Brits while Martin ran the Germans.  My plan involved inserting the dismounts from the two Carriers and M3 scout car (two rifle groups and a Bren team) into cover from the west while John would trundle down the road from the north with the two Daimler armoured cars and command Dingo.
The toys are all 15mm (it'll never catch on) from Martin's collection. an MG42 opens up from cover in a wheat field.
Sadly, having pinned the MG team with Bren fire, the buggers popped up again just as the Brit rifle group closed to assault them.  Ouch.
The armoured cars finally appeared and helped out with Besa fire.
The second rifle group moves in to assault more Germans.  SS Pioneers apparently.
An Sdkfz 234/1 crests the ridge.
The Daimlers move up and manage to dodge fire from the '234.  But what is the SS Pioneers have a...
...Panzerfaust?  Oh, they do.  Martins toys have removeable turrets - I couldn't resist...
Balance was soon restored - the Daimlers were fitted with Littlejohn adapters!
The Carriers move up, as the Germans are clearly on the run!
The Carriers dismount their Bren teams who then sneak up to the crest line.
Endgame.  The Germans in the second field have been killed, and the Daimler has notched up another '234.
The game was a clear victory for the Brits, but perhaps a sign of things to come in terms of the infantry cost of fighting in the bocage country which lies further south.