Scenario: The Amber War between Opeland and Upsland
Both Opeland and Upsland have small professional armies and navies that are equipped with the most modern weapons their respective governments can afford to buy for them. The economies of Opeland and Upsland depend upon the exploitation of their natural resources (mainly wood and metal ores) and the small-scale manufacturing of weapons, ships, and furniture. They are also important suppliers of amber to the rest of the world.
A recent storm in the straits between the Britannic Sea and the Sea of Opeland has exposed a large deposit of amber on the beach of the small uninhibited island of Litenoy. The island is approximately halfway between the northernmost tip of the Jutaland Peninsular and the coast of Opeland. The amber was discovered by fishermen from both Opeland and Upsland who use the island as a safe anchorage during storms. The only problem is that the island is claimed by both Opeland and Upsland.
The potential area of operations should war break out over the island of Litenoy.
Both nations wish to be able to enforce their claim of sovereignty over Litenoy should the need arise, and to ensure this they have put their respective armed forces onto the highest state of preparedness short of war.
Having sketched out a scenario, all I need to do now is the raise the necessary wargame forces from what I have to hand … and then the campaign may commence!
The Nationalist forces were made up of two ‘battalions’ of infantry (actually a Bandera of the Spanish Foreign Legion and a Tabor of Moroccan Regulares), a battery of field artillery, and a tank company.
The Republicans were made up of both regular and militia forces.
The regulars consisted of a battalion of Peninsulares (Spanish conscripts who served on the Spanish mainland and not in North Africa), two companies of Assault Guards (para-military police), a Grupo of field artillery, a battery of anti-tank guns, and a tank company.
The militia consisted of three ‘battalions’ of Trade Unionist and members of political movements. These were the PCE (Partido Comunista de España [Communist Party of Spain]), the UGT (Unión General de Trabajadores [General Union of Workers]), and the FAI (Federación Anarquista Ibérica [Iberian Anarchist Federation]).
An added bonus was the fact that the box these armies were stored in contained three scratch-built 15mm-scale model Vickers six-ton tanks.
These were built many years ago for my Chaco War project … and I can certainly find a use for them today!
In a very recent blog entry he wrote about his current interest in wargaming the early stages of the First World War. Included in the text of this particular blog entry was the following statement:
The real point is that, while preparing an old Crescent 18pdr for repainting in grey, it occurred to me that my recent enthusiasm for WWI figures and books and plan for a Centenary Homage game may have unintentionally given the impression that I might be on the cusp of reverting to being a bona fide historical miniature wargamer. Let me assure everyone that this is not the case; I remain a proponent of the Little Wars approach. Not the specific bit about shooting toy cannons but the general approach of studying history but playing a game with fictional armies of toy soldiers.
I have emboldened the last two sentences because Ross’s statement encapsulates my approach to my solo wargaming. I still fight historical wargames with the other members of Wargame Developments and the Jockey’s Field Irregulars, but when I am at home fighting my solo wargames I am always happier using the armies of historically and fictionally-based imagi-nations.
In his most recent blog entry, Ross Macfarlane mentions that he owns a tinplate castle that is very similar to the one I found during the recent sort out of my shed. I have now done some research and it would appear that the castle was made by Crescent Toys and was sold in at least three boxed versions:
- Gatehouse, small square towers, and walls
- Gatehouse, large round towers, small square towers, and walls
- Gatehouse, large round towers, small square towers, walls, and a selection of Knights
Mine appears to be the second of these versions, although the small square towers – which I remember owning – seem to have been lost at some point.
The real Danish Royal Life Guards look like this:
My toy soldier versions look like this:
Not 100% accurate … but good enough for my wargaming needs!
The links are:
The detail on the Les Higgins Miniatures is quite phenomenal when you consider that they are 20mm-scale. They are also more anatomically ‘correct’ that some more modern figure ranges.
- MP 1: Grenadier march attack
- MP 2: Grenadier at ease
- MP 3: Grenadier throwing grenade
- MP 4: Grenadier port arms
- MP 5: Grenadier standing firing
- MP 6: Grenadier advance/thrusting
- MP 7: Grenadier charging
- MP 8: Grenadier loading
- MP 9: Grenadier kneeling firing
- MP 10: Musketeer loading
- MP 11: Musketeer march attack
- MP 12: Musketeer standing firing
- MP 13: Musketeer kneeling firing
- MP 14: Musketeer advance/thrusting
- MP 15: Musketeer at ease
- MP 16: Musketeer port arms
- MP 17a: Grenadier Officer waving sword
- MP 17b: Musketeer Officer waving sword
- MP 18a: Musketeer Drummer
- MP 18b: Grenadier Drummer
- MP 19a: Officer with spontoon
- MP 19b: Senior Officer (fat)
- MP 19c: Standard Bearer
- MP 19d: NCO (same as 20c)
- MP 20a: Gunner with scoop
- MP 20b: Gunner with rammer
- MP 20c: Gunner NCO (same as 19d)
- MP 20d: Gunner with linstock
- MP 21: Dragoon tricorne mounted
- MP 22: Trooper of Horse mounted
- MP 23: General mounted
- MP 24: Mounted Grenadier
- MP 25: Imperial Grenadier at ease
- MP 26: Dismounted Dragoon cap kneeling firing
- MP 27: Dismounted Dragoon tricorne standing firing
- MP 28: Mounted Dragoon cap
- MP 29: Cuirassier lobster pot helmet, pistol
- MP 30: Hussar
- MP 31: Cuirassier in tricorne
- MP 32: Mounted Trumpeter
- MP 33: Cuirassier Officer tricorne
- MP 34: Musketeer Drummer variant, different coat
- MP 35: Musketeer no weapon, general use
- MP 36: As MP 35, musket over left shoulder
- MP 38: Musketeer charging
- MP 39: Officer on foot, ornate coat, waving sword
- MP 40: Pikeman/Standard Bearer
- MP 41: Musketeer Drummer variant
- MP 42: Charging fur fronted cap
- MP 43: Musketeer advancing
- MP 44: Grenadier charging full mitre cap
- MP 45a: Charging fur fronted cap (small)
- MP 45b: Charging fur fronted cap (medium)
- MP 45c: Charging fur fronted cap (large)
- MP 46: Officer variant of MP 19a, slightly different sword hilt
- MP 47: Officer variant of MP 19a, more ornate wig
- MP 48: Drummer variant fur cap with tassel
- Type A: Standing/walking
- Type B: Galloping
- Type C: Trot
- Type D: As Type A larger pistol holsters EP 23
- Type E: As Type C larger pistol holsters EP 24
- Type F: As Type A with food/loot bags EP 27
Artillery (Gun set consists of gun barrel, wedge, gun carriage, 2 wheels, ammo box)
- A 1: Gun barrel medium
- A 2: Gun barrel large
- A 3: Gun barrel small (ECW)
- A 5: Gun Carriage
- A 6: Wheel
- A 7: Ammo box small
- A 8: Ammo box large
- A 9: Wedges for guns
- A 10: Wheel (ECW)
I used to have a small army of these figures, but most of them were sold when I was trying to raise money for the deposit on the first house my wife and I bought. All I have left are the few that I photographed recently.
The articles included in this issue are:
- Briefing (i.e. the editorial) by Henry Hyde
- Forward observer by Neil Shuck
- Hollow village: The continuing tales of a wargames widow by Diane Sutherland
- Fantasy Facts: Towers, Transits and tentacles by John Treadaway
- Forgetting the point: Points systems are rubbish – so get BUSKing by Andrew Rolph
- Send three and fourpence by Conrad Kinch
- Advance on Budapest ’44: Panzergrenadier Deluxe in Ostfront action by David C R Brown
- Bridge for the taking!: Make a model of Pegasus bridge by Jeff Brown
- The Mongols in Europe 1237-1241: Part 3: the Hungarian Campaign by Mick Sayce
- Brunkeberg 1471: Militia defeat professionals outside Stockholm by Jan Kärrman
- Hex encounter by Brad Harmer
- Escaping Cromwell: The Salisbury/Banbury Mutiny, May 1649 by Graham Burke
- The business vanishes: Why is running a wargames business so hard? by Martin Stephenson
- The Secret Eye Candy Page: Battlegroup North, Elvington by Mark Phillips and Tim Waudby
- Card games: The cheapest entry point for wargaming by Henry Hyde
- The Battlegames Combat Stress Appeal report by Henry Hyde
I particularly liked the free model of Pegasus Bridge and the surrounding buildings (which I have visited) and the article about running a wargames business. I ran my own (non-wargaming) business for twelve years, and can attest to the fact that it is not easy. I seemed to spend more time filling in forms for and making payments to the HMRC than I did running the core business. If I had tried to do that for a business that was also my hobby, I doubt that I would still be a wargamer!