Nugget 292

Yesterday evening the editor of THE NUGGET sent the latest issue to me so that I can take it to the printer. I hope to do that by Thursday morning so that I can collect it and post it out to members of Wargame Developments early next week.

IMPORTANT: Please note that this is the first issue of THE NUGGET to be published for the 2016-2017 subscription year, and that members who have not already re-subscribed can still do so if they want to. This can be done by visiting the relevant page on the Wargame Developments website. A printed reminder will also be sent out to all subscribers who have not yet re-subscribed.


During my recent researches at the National Archives I have spent a lot of time looking at the Muster Rolls and Pay Lists for various ‘detachments’ of the Royal Artillery during the Napoleonic Wars. This has set me thinking, and I have come to the conclusion that I might need to include rules regarding ‘detachments’ of various types in my Napoleonic wargame rules.

At present the majority of my Infantry and Cavalry units comprise two bases of figures. It would not be too difficult to split them into two detachments that could be used to garrison a location such as a town or small fortress or – in the case of the Cavalry – to act as scouts for an Infantry Division.

As far as Artillery are concerned I do have several spare figures that could be based on individual bases to act as the gun crews of fortress artillery, thus freeing my ‘normal’ Artillery units up so that they can support the field armies.

It is certainly something for me to think about … and it would enable me to find a use for some of the odd figures that I have left over at present.

Spanish Civil War: Day-by-Day: 28th August 1936

The Nationalists bombed Madrid for the first time.

Spain at the end of August 1936. The red areas are under Republican control whilst the blue areas are under Nationalist control.

I have been to … Charlton Cemetery

Yesterday Sue and I paid one of our periodic visits to a local cemetery. In this case we chose Charlton Cemetery, which was originally created as what was termed a ‘Gentleman’s Cemetery’ by Charlton Burial Board. It was created on eight acres of land that had been part of the estate of Sir Thomas Maryon-Wilson.

The cemetery has two chapels; a Church of England one that is built in the style of an Early English church …

… and a Roman Catholic one.

The cemetery almost doubled in size during the twentieth century when a further seven acres was added.

Because the cemetery contains a number of Commonwealth War Graves, it has a war memorial near the entrance.

True to its original purpose, the cemetery does contain a number of graves and memorials of prominent men and women. They include:

  • Peter Barlow (1776 – 1862): An English mathematician and physicist. He served as assistant mathematics master at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, and produced what became known as BARLOW’S TABLES which gives squares, cubes, square roots, cube roots, and reciprocals of all integer numbers from 1 to 10,000. He also worked with optician George Dollond to develop achromatic lens, and received the Royal Society’s Copley Medal for his work on correcting the deviation in ship compasses caused by the presence of iron in the hull.
  • William Henry Barlow (1812 – 1902): One of Peter Barlow’s two sons. He became a renowned the civil engineer and amongst his achievements was the completion of d Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s Clifton Suspension Bridge. In the aftermath of the Tay Bridge Disaster he served on the commission which investigated the causes and he helped to design the replacement bridge.
  • Sir Geoffrey Callender (1875 – 1946): He was an important English naval historian, having served as a Head of the History Departments at the Royal Naval College, Osborne and Dartmouth Royal Naval College before becoming the first Professor of History at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich. He was also the Society for Nautical Research’s honorary secretary and treasurer from 1920 onwards, was a leading member of the group that campaigned to save HMS Victory for the nation and to set up a national maritime museum. He became the first director of the National Maritime Museum when it opened in 1937, and remained in post until his death in 1946.
  • George Cooper (1844 –1909): He was a London County Council councillor for Bermondsey and later the Liberal Member of Parliament for Bermondsey. He supported the extension of the franchise to women and helped to develop the famous People’s Budget.
  • William Clark Cowie (1849 – 1910): A Scottish engineer, mariner, and businessman who helped establish British North Borneo. He later served as Chairman of the British North Borneo Company.
  • Sir William Cunningham Dalyell of the Binns, 7th Baronet (1784 – 1865): He was wounded over sixteen times in various actions during the Napoleonic Wars and was a prisoner of war in France from 1805 until 1813. He later served as Captain of Greenwich Hospital.
  • Lieutenant General Sir William George Shedden Dobbie, GCMG, KCB, DSO (1879 – 1964): A veteran of the Second Boer War as well as the First and Second World Wars, he was the Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Malta during the siege.
  • Lieutenant Colonel Ronald Hastings Lascelles, DSO, MID, Legion d’Honneur: His grave had fallen into disrepair and was recently given a new grave marker.

  • Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Walter Milward, CB (d 1875): Inventor of a lightweight steel cannon. He was an ADC to Queen Victoria and served as Superintendent of the Royal Laboratory, Woolwich, for nearly five years.

  • General Sir Charles Edward Nairne (1836 – 1899): He was commissioned into the Bengal Artillery in 1855 and took part in the suppression of the Indian Mutiny in 1857. He served as a Horse Battery Commander during the Second Afghan War from 1878 to 1880, and two years later he took part in the Anglo-Egyptian War and commanded the Artillery at the Battle of Tel el-Kebir. After having served as Inspector-General of Artillery in India, he was appointed Commander of a District in Bengal in 1892 and the following year he became Commander-in-Chief of the Bombay Army. He served as acting Commander-in-Chief, India, from March to November 1898.
  • Admiral Sir Watkin Owen Pell (1788 – 1869): He had an active naval career from 1799 to 1841, and served for a time under Lord Nelson. He later became a Superintendent of Dockyards (1841 to 1845) and a Commissioner of Greenwich Hospital
  • Admiral George James Perceval, 6th Earl of Egmont (1794 – 1874): He was a midshipman aboard HMS Orion at the Battle of Trafalgar (aged 11) and commanded HMS Infernal at the Bombardment of Algiers in 1816. He was also the nephew of Spencer Perceval, the only British Prime Minister to have been assassinated.
  • Lieutenant Colonel Victor Henry Sylvester Scratchley, DSO, OBE
  • Sir John Maryon–Wilson (1802 – 1876): A land owner and early conservationist, he was instrumental in the preservation of Hampstead Heath from development. (His family had the manorial rights over the land until 1940.)
  • Rachel Orde Wingate (1901 – 1953): She was an English linguist and missionary to Xinjiang in Western China, where she served with the Swedish Missionary Society.
  • Major General Orde Wingate, DSO and two bars (1903 – 1944): Nephew of Sir Reginald Wingate, an army general who had been Governor-General of the Sudan between 1899 and 1916 and High Commissioner of Egypt from 1917 to 1919, He was commissioned into the Royal Artillery in 1923, and transferred to the Sudan Defence Force in 1927. He returned to the UK in 1933, and served there until 1936, when he went to Palestine to become an intelligence officer. By 1938 he had organised the Special Night Squads to counter increasing levels of Arab sabotage. He returned to the UK in 1939, and when the Second World War broke out he was in command of an anti-aircraft unit. He went back to the Sudan in late 1940, where he helped to raise and lead Gideon Force, a guerrilla force composed of British, Sudanese and Ethiopian soldiers. Gideon Force helped to defeat the Italians in Ethiopia and East Africa. It was this success that eventually led to him creating a jungle long-range penetration unit in Burma, the famous ‘Chindits’. He was killed in an air crash in Burma and his body is buried at Arlington Cemetery, Washington, U.S.A.
  • Memorial to the fifty two men and boys who died of Yellow Fever aboard HMS Firebrand in July 1861.

Some of my ‘fine fellows’

I have finished renovating, varnishing, and basing the first of my additional British Infantry … and here they are!

They were originally British Guardsmen, but by repainting their trousers from white to grey and making one or two other minor alterations, they can now just about pass muster as line Infantry.

The hunt for William Richardson continues … and leads to the discovery of some very interesting maps

Sue and I went back to the National Archives, Kew, yesterday to continue searching for information about the career of William Richardson. We had a degree of success (we now have details of his promotion to Sergeant Major of the First battalion, Royal Artillery in 1811 and his pay records for 1824) but we are still looking for information that will fill in the gap between 1811 and 1822. I did find his entry on the relevant Description Book (a register of every recruit into the Royal Artillery) but not much more … so we will have to return in the not too distant future to continue our search.

Whilst we were at the National Archives we paid a visit to the onsite shop. Besides all sorts of genealogical and historical publications that they sell, they also sell a range of reproduced old maps. These are published by Alan Godfrey Maps, and after we returned home we both had a browse through the company’s website. The company specialises in reprinting of Old Ordnance Survey Maps of towns throughout Britain and Ireland … but it also reprints other old, historical maps. These include the Bigot Plans that were prepared for the Allied Invasion in 1944, and a section of one of these maps (taken from the company’s website) is shown below:

The series currently includes:

  • NE St Pierre du Mont – Omaha Beach 1944: The map covers the coastal area around Pointe du Hoc and Vierville-sur-Mer.
  • NW Ouistreham – Pegasus Bridge 1944: The map is double-sided and covers the area around the bridge that is now known as Pegasus Bridge and the area from Ouistreham in the north, southward to Herouvillette, and westward to Cazelle.
  • SW St Aubin – Sword & Juno Beaches: The map covers the area north of the Ouistreham map including St Aubin, and Langrune-sur-mer, and includes parts of Juno and Sword beaches.

Alan Godfrey Maps also sell maps of parts of Germany (mainly the Ruhrgebiet and Rhineland areas) that are taken from the British War Office 1:12,500 plans and reduced to approx 1:19,000. These show the areas largely as they were before the bombing raids of 1943-44, and include industrial sites, collieries and transport links (i.e. roads, canals, rivers, and railways). The maps that are available are:

  • Sterkrade & Osterfeld 1944
  • Oberhausen 1944
  • Mülheim-an-der-Ruhr 1944
  • Gladbeck & Buer 1944
  • Schalke, Horst & Bottrop 1944
  • Essen 1944
  • Werden, Kettwig & Villa Hügel 1944
  • Recklinghausen & Herten 1944
  • Gelsenkirchen & Herne 1943
  • Bochum & Wattenscheid 1944
  • Hattingen 1944
  • Castrop-Rauxel (N) 1944
  • Castrop-Rauxel (S) 1944
  • Witten & Langendreer 1944
  • Dortmund (N) 1944
  • Dortmund 1944
  • Hohensyburg 1944
  • Hagen 1944
  • Hamm 1945
  • Duisburg (N): Hamborn & Bruckhausen 1944
  • Duisburg & Ruhrort 1944
  • Duisburg (S): Rheinhausen & Wedau 1944
  • Neuss, Heerdt & Wolzheim 1944
  • Düsseldorf 1944
  • Wuppertal-Elberfeld 1945
  • Wuppertal-Barmen 1945
  • 1 Köln (N) 1944
  • 2 Köln (N) 1944

These maps cost £3.50 each, and I am sure that they will be of interest to quite a few wargamers.

Tin Soldiers In Action

David Crook (who writes the A WARGAMING ODYSSEY blog) recently bought a copy of TIN SOLDIERS IN ACTION: FAIR AND SQUARE RULES FROM 1680 UNTIL ABOUT 1914 from Caliver Books, and knowing my great interest in wargames that use a gridded playing surface, he suggested that I should buy a copy. I did … and it arrived a few days ago.

The book has been written by Rüdiger Hofrichter and Klaus Hofrichter. It is published by Partizan Press (ISBN 978 1 85818 721 1) and costs £27.50 plus postage. On the face of this the price seems to be rather steep, but the book is a hardback and has 272 pages. It is well illustrated, and has a section containing colour photographs in the middle.

In the Introduction the author writes that he began the process of designing the rules in 2010 because he wanted to create ‘a more manageable system of war gaming for our tin soldier armies. The aim was to find a game, which would be quick and easy to play‘. He sums his objectives as follows:

The challenge was to design a game which is

  • action driven
  • quick and easy to play
  • historically accurate
  • realistic in its feel
  • easy to understand
  • smooth in its flow
  • simple to explain
  • while taking it easy on our hand-painted tin soldiers

I am currently still reading my way through the book. It is well laid out, and I am finding the rules easy to follow, although I do find the language a bit ponderous at times. I suspect that this is due to it being translated from German, the language the book was originally written in.

The book has its own Facebook page and section on BoardGameGeek, and I suspect that it will attract a small but enthusiastic following.

Spanish Civil War: Day-by-Day: 24th August 1936

The new Russian Ambassador, Marcel Rosenberg, arrived in Republican Spain. He was accompanied by a large number of Russian “advisers”.

Connections UK 2016: Programme details

I have now downloaded a copy of the Connections UK 2016 Programme, and it looks like this:

Day 1: Tuesday 6th September

  • 9.00am – 09.30am: Arrivals and coffee.
  • 9.30am – 09.40am: Welcome and introduction.
  • 9.40am – 5.10pm: Megagame – ‘War in Binni’. (Breaks for drinks at 11.30am and 4.45pm, and for lunch from 1.00pm to 2.00pm.)
  • 5.10pm – 6.00pm: Megagame After Action Review. How the game could be improved.

Day 2: Wednesday 7th September

  • 9.00am – 09.20am: Arrivals and coffee.
  • 9.20am – 09.30am: Welcome and introduction.
  • 9.30am – 11.00am: Plenary 1: The psychology of successful wargames.
  • 11.00am – 11.30am: Drinks break.
  • 11.30am – Midday: Games Fair briefing.
  • Midday – 1.00pm: Lunch.
  • 1.00pm – 2.15pm: Plenary 2: Non-combat (non-map and counter) wargames.
  • 2.30pm – 5.00pm: Games Fair Session 1. (Break for drinks at 4.00pm).
  • 5.00pm – 6.00pm: Keynote address: Advancing and Expanding the Craft of Wargaming: Ten (Not Entirely Randomly-Generated) Reflections on Wargaming.
  • 6.00pm – 7.00pm: Supper.
  • 7.00pm onwards: Games Fair Session 2.

Day 3: Thursday 8th September

  • 8.45am – 09.00am: Arrivals and coffee.
  • 9.00am – 10.00am: Plenary 3: Computer simulations and technology.
  • 10.00am – 10.45am: Plenary 4: Strategic Gaming.
  • 10.45am – 11.15am: Drinks break.
  • 11.15am – 12.30pm: Plenary 4: Successful real-world wargames.
  • 12.30pm – 1.15pm: Lunch
  • 1.15pm – 2.35pm: Plenary 5: Wargaming Innovations.
  • 2.40pm – 2.50pm Breakout introduction: How might we institutionalise wargaming and build the wargaming capacity?
  • 2.50pm – 3.00pm: Drinks break.
  • 3.00pm – 3.45pm: Breakout Facilitated syndicates for:
    • Serving ‘front line’ personnel;
    • Defence Science & Technology;
    • Education and Training;
    • Connections (global);
    • Historical Analysis/Conflict Research;
    • Academia;
    • Industry;
    • Game designers/hobby gamers.
  • 3.45pm – 4.30pm: Breakout back briefs and discussion.
  • 4.30pm – 4.45pm: Closing remarks.

I have booked my place at this year’s conference, and I am looking forward to attending it. As it tends to be quite ‘hands on’ and not like many of the ‘Death by PowerPoint’ conferences that I used to attend before I retired, I know that I will come away from it with lots to think about.

My three thousandth blog entry!

This is the three thousandth blog entry that I have written since I first started this blog back on 18th September 2008!

In that first entry I wrote the following:

I intend to share my thoughts on wargaming (and other related matters that crop up) with a wider audience … probably much to the relief of my wife and wargaming colleagues. So watch this space … and come prepared to be bored!

Well eight years on I still have thoughts to share, and judging by the number of ‘hits’ my blog gets each day, I’ve not been too boring … yet!