Vive l’Empereur! Even more Light Infantry added to my Napoleonic French army

I have managed to finish the last batch of Napoleonic French Light Infantry that I will be adding to my collection for the time being.

I am now going to take a bit of a break until Christmas. I then hope to return to this project fully energised and raring to go!


Ships of the Nationalist and Republican Navies during the Spanish Civil War: España-class Battleships

The class was built at El Ferrol between 1910 and 1921. They were the smallest dreadnought-type battleships ever constructed. The completion of Jaime I was considerably delayed by the non-delivery of material, including the main armament, from Britain due to the outbreak of the First World War. España was originally named Alfonso XIII.

Battleship España.

Battleship Jaime I.

Ships’ characteristics:

  • Displacement: 15,452 tons normal; 15,700 tons maximum
  • Dimensions:
    • Length: 459’ 2” (140m)
    • Beam: 78’ 9” (24m)
    • Draught: 25’ 6” (7.8m)
  • Speed: 19.5 knots
  • Armour: Belt: 8” to 4” (203mm to 102mm); Barbettes: 10” (254mm); Gunhouses: 8” (203mm): Deck: 1.5” (38 mm)
  • Armament: 8 x 12” (305mm) (4 x 2); 20 x 4” (102mm) (20 x 1); 4 x 3 pdr (47mm) Anti-Aircraft Guns (4 x 1)
  • Complement: 854

España served in the Nationalist Navy and sank after hitting a mine on 30th April 1937.
Jamie I served in the Republican Navy. She was damaged by Nationalist bombing whilst at Cartagena, and was subsequently scuttled there on 17th June 1937 following a fire that was caused by an accidental magazine explosion.


Latest Osprey Men-at-Arms

Sue and I have visited Croatia (or Hrvatska) many time on cruises to the Adriatic, and when I saw the latest addition to the Osprey Men-at-Arms series (No.508), I had to buy it.

WORLD WAR II CROATIAN LEGIONARIES: CROATIAN TROOPS UNDER AXIS COMMAND 1941-45 has been written by Vladimir Brnardic and illustrated by Viseslav Aralica (ISBN 978 1 4728 1767 9).

It deals with the histories of and the uniforms worn by:

  • The Croat Legion (the 369th Reinforced Infantry Regiment) that served with the German 6th Army, and which was destroyed at Stalingrad.
  • The Italian-Croatian Legion (which was a Light Motorised Battalion) that served as part the Italian Eight Army in Russia, where it was wiped out.
  • The 2nd Croatian Legion, that was attached to the Italian Army for training in the period up to the Italian capitulation and then came under German control.
  • The Croatian Air Force Legion that served alongside the Luftwaffe in Russia.
  • The Croatian Naval Legion that served with the Kriegsmarine in the Black Sea.
  • Various Croatian Anti-aircraft Legions.
  • The Volunteer Anti-Communist Militia.
  • The 369th (Croatian), 373rd (Croatian), and 392nd (Croatian) Infantry Divisions that fought alongside the German Army against the partisans in former Yugoslavia.
  • 13th SS Mountain Division Handschar (Croatian No.1) and 23rd SS Mountain Division Kama (Croatian No.2).
  • Various German-Croatian Police Units

This book compliments the other books produced by Osprey about the war in the Balkans, including PARTISAN WARFARE 1941-45, AXIS FORCES IN YUGOSLAVIA 1941-45,and TITO’S PARTISANS 1941-45, all of which I already own.


My Portable Wargame book: Yet another update

Work on my PORTABLE WARGAME book continues to proceed slowly but surely.

I have now added two sets of rules – one for the late nineteenth century (including Colonial) and one for the early to mid twentieth century – and I now need to write two illustrated battle reports that explain how the rules work. These are going to take some time and quite a lot of effort to get right, and I am thinking of leaving them until I have a block of uninterrupted time available.

At present the book is A5 size, and is just over 70 pages long. Once the battle reports are added I suspect that it will be close to 100 pages in length. I have no idea how much they will sell for, but as I am writing this book to ‘spread the word’ rather than to make huge amounts of cash, I will try to keep the price under £10.00.

As a flavour of what the book looks like, here some images of some of the existing pages:


HMS Haslemere

HMS Haslemere was the ship that attempted to rescue Amy Johnson.

HMS Haslemere.

HMS Haslemere was a small, former ferry that was commissioned and used by the a Royal Navy as a barrage balloon ship. She was built in 1925 for the Southern Railway in the Meadowside Yard of Messrs D & W Henderson, Glasgow. She operated out of Southampton to the Channel Islands and Northern France until she was requisitioned in 1940.

Haslemere before she was requisitioned.

Haslemere was decommissioned in early 1945, refitted in Glasgow, and returned to service as a ferry with Southern Railways in June 1945. She was sold for scrapping in 1959.


Miniature Wargames Issue 404

The December issue of MINIATURE WARGAMES magazine was delivered yesterday afternoon, and I have read it with avid interest. I am still getting used to the new layout, and I am still unsure if I like it or not. That said, it is the contents which is the important thing, and this issue has quite a lot stuff in it that was of particular interest to me.

The articles included in this issue are:

  • Welcome (i.e. the editorial) by John Treadaway
  • Forward observer by John Treadaway
  • Send three and fourpence by Conrad Kinch
  • Dreadnought Battlefleet (Part 2): The Battle of Jutland by Martin Pike
  • It’s the Chicago Way by Brian Cameron
  • Grid Based Wargaming by David Burden
  • Bonaparte by Dirk Donvil
  • Critical Hits
    • Fantasy Facts
    • Crooked Dice
    • 4Ground
  • Recce
  • SELWG 2016 by John Treadaway
  • Wobby Bridge: The continuing tales of a wargames widow by Diane Sutherland
  • Club Spotlight: SELWG by Chris McNeil
  • Club Directory

Other than ignoring the 16-page Fantasy Facts section which was of no interest to me whatsoever, I found the rest of the contents of informative.

My ‘stand out’ articles were Conrad Kinch’s Send three and fourpence (as usual!) and David Burden’s Grid Based Wargaming. My interest in the latter needs little explanation to my regular blog readers, and indicates the growing level of interest in grid-based figure wargaming.


The death of Amy Johnson

During a recent visit to Herne Bay I saw a statue of the British aviatrix Amy Johnson.

At the time I understood that Amy Johnson died when her aircraft crashed into the Thames Estuary about twelve miles north of Herne Bay … but I subsequently discovered that the truth was somewhat more complicated.

Amy was a member of the Air Transport Auxiliary. This was a group of male and female civilian pilots who ferried military aircraft between factories, Maintenance Units (MUs), and active service squadrons and airfields. It was during one such flight that Amy Johnson died.

On 5th January 1941, Amy was flying an Airspeed Oxford from Prestwick to RAF Kidlington near Oxford when she went off course due to bad weather.

An Airspeed Oxford.

It would appear that the Oxford ran out of fuel and Amy bailed out. Her parachute was seen by the crew of HMS Haslemere, and she was seen to be alive and in the water. The ship’s commanding officer – Lieutenant Commander Walter Fletcher – dived in to save her, but the heavy seas, strong tide, and snow prevented him from doing so. He was rescued, but later died in hospital. He was awarded the Albert Medal posthumously for his attempt to save Amy.

HMS Haslemere.

Amy Johnson’s body was never found.


Vive l’Empereur! Even more Line Infantry are added to my Napoleonic French Army

I have managed to finish what I think is the last batch of Napoleonic French Line Infantry I will be adding to my collection for some time.

I now have a batch of French Light Infantry to work on, and I hope to finish them before taking an extended break from this project in the run up to Christmas.


Nugget 295

I have collected the latest edition of THE NUGGET (N295) from the printer and I hope to post it out to members of Wargame Developments by later this afternoon.

I have already uploaded the PDF versions of THE NUGGET and THE NUGGET COLOUR SUPPLEMENT to the Wargame Developments website, and they are available for members of Wargame Developments to read online or to download and print.

IMPORTANT: Please note that this is the fourth 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.


Taking the plunge

A year ago, whilst on our cruise to North Anerica, I wrote a thriller. At the time I did it to satisfy an intellectual ‘itch’ … and to do something other than to read, sit, eat, and drink on the cruise’s sea days. When it was finished I had no real intention of making it available to a wider audience, but recently I decided to take the plunge and to publish it.

The plot arose from some research I did for a game I was planning to stage at a Conference of Wargamers (COW). The scenario for the game revolved around a terrorist attack on London, and the more research that I did, the more the plot of my book began to formulate in my mind. In the end I quite literally dreamt the story over a series of nights, and each day I wrote down the main events that had occurred in my dreams. Once that was done I began to fill in the details … and the book was written.

The paperback edition of THE ELEPHANT AND THE COBRA is currently available from Lulu.com at a discounted price of £11.96, and an EBook edition is also available for £4.99.

Both editions of the book should be on sale at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online retailers in the near future.

I’m not sure if I will write any more fiction in the future, but if a story that I think is worth telling does emerge, then I may well put pen to paper or – to be more accurate – finger to keyboard.