Tuesday 30 August 2022

Brussels Military History Museum - part 4

On then to the aviation hall - by far the biggest 'room' in the building!  Again the photos, though apparently in a random mix, have in fact been as carefully curated as you've come to expect...


The galleries visible contained mostly WW1 aircraft but were closed when I visited.  So I'll need to go again...

Dakota with Paras - part of a Congo exhibit
Maurice Farman 'Shorthorn'
Dassault Mystere
F-104 Starfighter
F-86 Sabre in Portuguese colours.  All the best people have one of these link...
C-119 Flying Boxcar - an exhibit you can walk through!
Mirage F.1
Good old Mirage III
Fouga Magister - rather more colourful then the one I built link
F-84G Thunderjet

Gerpard SPAA. 
F-16. I remember seeing Belgian F-16s above RAF Leuchars in the 1980s when they were new and exciting - and now here's one in a museum!
Belgian AIFV - similar to the Dutch army's YPR-765
MIG-23 Flogger
A curiosity - British Lloyd Carrier fitted with a 90mm AT gun.
M-113 fitters' track

Leopard 1
RF-84F Thunderflash and F-84F Thunderstreak
Mirage III again
Belgian-built Landrover in the Congo display
F-4 Phantom
Montgolfier balloon.  A large model - the figures are 1/32 scale!
Another Landie - this one packaged for air landing.
M-47 Patton

Saturday 27 August 2022

The Great Herring War of 1912

 THE GREAT HERRING WAR 1912 (2022 after taking into account inflation)


Shamelessly plagiarised and mangled by BTG from original notes by PHW.


The expression ‘flogging a dead horse’ has never been more appropriate than in the case of the  ‘Herring War’.  But first. Some history….

The 1909 Herring War Campaign followed a tense standoff in the Skagerrak between the fishing fleets of Norway and Denmark.  War was declared in early December, with the stronger Norwegian forces aiming to blockade, or close, the ports of SKAGEN and HITSHALS.  The Danish defenders had the task of keeping these ports open and stopping the blockade. 

This campaign saw two brief but bloody actions at sea, followed by a coastal engagement and a rather abortive Norwegian landing.  See more here (these games were played three years apart so expect some continuity errors!):






Now, three years later, a series of scandalous articles in the Norwegian press have called into question some of the er, personal habits of the esteemed Queen of Denmark, Brigitte the Foxy.  The Danish response was swift and took the form of a concentrated disruption of the Norwegian herring fleet.  It always comes back to fish, doesn’t it?  A declaration of war has followed from MOFFF (The Ministry of Fish, Foreigners and Fighting) in Norway’s capital, Kristiania.

Objectives remain much as per the earlier conflict.

Since 1909, both nations have striven to modernise their fleets, with larger battleships, monitors and modern cruisers much in evidence.

This time round the Norwegian Admiralty was headed by PHW, with John and Pete as his trusty admirals and Martin as the Austro-Hungarian Naval Attache.  (A-H had flogged them the ship designs).  Bob presided at the Danish Admiralty, with Simon and Russell as his chaps at sea.

The DK fleet: (This and all other ship data courtesy ofGOW’S FIGHTING SHIPS – SPECIAL HERRING CRISIS EDITION, ©The Lobby Press, Dundee, 1912)

Knusden Nyborg (Coast defence battleship)         2 H, 6 M, 2 TT

Sorensen Fonsmark (monitor)                                2 M, 2 L

Malling Friis (monitor)                                            1 H, 1 M, 2 L

Laugensen (modern cruiser)                                   8 L, 4 TT, 3 mines

Olsen (modern cruiser)                                            8 L, 4 TT, 3 mines

Larsen (TBD)                                                            2 L, 4 TT, 2 mines

Herkind (TBD)                                                         2 L, 4 TT, 2 mines

The Nor fleet:

Mestad Berg (modern battleship)               6 H, 6 L, 2 TT

Torp Norum (modern cruiser)                    8 L, 4 TT

Bo Morkid (modern cruiser)                        8 L, 4 TT

Heltberg Rygh (Monitor)                             2 H, 2 L

Vold (Torpedo boat leader)                         2 L, 4 TT

TB 1 / TB2 /  TB3 / TB 4                            1 L, 2 TT each

4 freighters

On Tuesday evening most of the players joined me on a Zoom call during which I plotted the movements of ships and squadrons as revealed to me by players in separate breakout rooms.  This produced the following rather confused picture:

I know, right?  To save your eyes, it turned out that much of the DK fleet had (accidentally!) concentrated against the Nor 'Flying Squadron', consisting of a cruiser, 2 torpedo boats and 2 (empty) freighters.  Patchy telegraphic messages relayed by the Nor airship had made the admirals aware of this and the Nor er, 'plan' was to draw the enemy onto their main fleet.

The original Herring War may be read about in this fine book:

Yesterday John and Simon joined me to fight the engagement(s) thus created with 1/1200 ships and a modified version of the 'Fistful Of Herring' rules I wrote for the games in 2016.  I'll let the photos tell most of the story.  They're not great as it has been very sunny here.

The Nor 'Flying Sqn'.

Danish flagship Knudsen Nyborg
Far to the east - the Nor airship.  Definitely not a 'Hot Wheels' blimp on a camera tripod.
While setting up I received a message from the A-H attache:  "Excellent! Funnily enough, I am about to board a mighty steamship bound for Oslo. I shall wave at our brave boys as they fight in the Skagerrac."
Danish TBs near the coast
Action stations!  Shells pound the Nor cruiser Torp Norum
Nor TB 3 sunk in collision!  Dk Laughensen sunk. Nor Torp Norum damaged!
Survivors take to the boats!
At this point night fell ("thud") and the action was broken off.  The Danes set off east towards the rest of their fleet and - unknown to them - the Norwegian main force.  The Nor sqn circled round and trailed safely behind, also heading east.
In the darkness the fleets steamed towards each other and then powerful searchlights pierced the gloom!

This was replicated by laser measured which players had to position before they were switched on.  Eventually both battleships were illuminated and the shooting commenced.
First to be hit was the Nor TBL Vold which exploded and sank!
At this point a further communique reached us from the A-H Naval Attache.  
I have to say, he didn't look overly concerned by the news. (photo by Martin)
...but then the sea was a lot calmer where he was! (photo by Martin)
The Norwegians concentrated a lot of firepower on the DK flagship.  Here the hand carved hit markers (they look a bit like golf tees) indicate hits by a heavy shell (blue) a lighter shell and two torpedoes.  But both the torpedoes turn out to be duds (1-2 on a D6, shells are duds on a 1).
Much Danish fire was directed against the Nor monitor the Heltberg Rygh which soon lost some speed and guns.
The gunnery range in action.  Matchstick firing cannon fire at targets whose size is determined by gun weight, range and target size.  And of course light conditions!

With a couple of hours of darkness remaining, both sides opted to slink off and run for home.

So what happened?  In a desperate night action a lot of ammunition was exchanged and some of it worked.  Each side has now lost a cruiser, and the Nor a TB and TBL  The Nor monitor is damaged, as is the DK battleship and a cruiser.  Both sides have decided to break off and run for home under cover of the remaining couple of hours of darkness.  A hard-fought action which may have saved - at least for now - the Danish fishing fleet but is likely to result in complaints to certain Austrian manufacturers about dodgy ammo and vessels.  A Nor Admiralty spokesman is quoted as saying "I hope we kept the bloody receipts..."

Friday 26 August 2022

Brussels Military History Museum - part 2

Back in Brussels, the next door took us into the Great War hall.  Probably my favourite bit of the museum.

The photos are again a rather random jumble - something to do with being taken on an iPhone and transferred to PC via Onedrive. 

German helmets and caps.  Rather a lot of them!

Surely they won't miss this one little gun?
Lots more artillery!
The fabulous (replica) Minerva armoured car
Whippet tank
Beautiful camo painting!

Lots of uniforms too.  Just like my 1/32 Bersaglieri
French 37mm trench gun
The Whippet again -  clearly rather broken.

And of course, similarly suspended but less dusty than most Airfix versions - a Fokker triplane!

Italian Alpini
The French 37mm gun again

Nice little Renault FT-17

French Chasseurs Alpins.  You have to love a big floppy beret.
Belgian infantry.