Duke Seifried

I bought another of the more recent additions to John Curry’s ‘History of Wargaming’ Project last week, and have just finished reading it. It is entitled DUKE SEIFRIED AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF AMERICAN MINIATURE WARGAMING, and it has been edited by John Curry and Jim Getz.

I had been aware of Duke Seifried for many years, mainly thanks to the occasional mention of the games he has put on at US wargame conventions. These have all seemed to be magnificent examples of large wargames fought with beautifully painted figures on custom-built terrain. Furthermore, they had a reputation for being fun to take part in as well as using well-designed rules.

What I was not aware of until I read this book was how influential Duke Seifried has been to the development of miniature wargaming in the US. One only has to read the citation for the 1995 Jack Scruby Award and Hal Thinglum’s tribute from a 1980s issue of the alas-now-defunct MWAN to begin to get some idea of the impact he has had, and this book has certainly ensured that his role in developing the hobby of miniature wargaming will be recorded for posterity.

The book contains:

  • The Jack Scruby Award (1995) to Duke Seifried;
  • MWAN tribute to Duke Seifried by Hal Thinglum (1989);
  • Early American Wargaming by Jim Getz;
  • Remembrances ‘Uncle Duke’ – Many years Later (2017);
  • Reflections on the Melee Rules by ‘Uncle Duke’ (2017);
  • “Melee” A Game of War (by Duke Seifried);
  • Napoleonique: A Miniature Wargame Strategic-Tactical Manoeuvre in the Napoleonic Era (by Jim Getz with Duke Seifried);
  • Appendix: Key Personalities in the Development of Modern American Wargaming.

The book is illustrated with a number of previously unpublished black and white photographs of early American wargames.

I would recommend this book to anyone who – like me – has an interest in the history and development of wargaming. It certainly filled a hole in my knowledge, and now occupies a space on my shelf of important wargaming books.

The book is published by the ‘History of Wargaming’ Project, and costs £14.95 plus postage and packing (ISBN 978 0 244 64137 5).

Small Wars: New Perspectives on Wargaming Counter Insurgency on the Tabletop

It seems to be my week for acquiring new books. On Friday the latest addition to John Curry’s ‘History of Wargaming’ Project arrived … David Wayne Thomas’s SMALL WARS: NEW PERSPECTIVES ON WARGAMING COUNTER INSURGENCY ON THE TABLETOP.

I have known the author ever since he joined Wargame Developments many years ago, and he is a regular attendee (and session provider) at the annual Conference of Wargamers. As a result I have seen in operation (and taken part in) some the games featured in this book, and I can assure anyone who buys and uses the rules therein that they will enjoy some thought-provoking and well-designed games.

Besides a Foreword written by Brian Train (who is probably the foremost designer of counter insurgency board wargames), the books has six separate rules for COIN games:

  • Company Level Actions in the Early 21st Century: Boots on the Ground (by John Armatys)
  • An Isolated Outpost: Six Months in the Sahara
  • Soviet involvement in Afghanistan: Eight Years in a Distant Country
  • Counter-Insurgency in South West Africa
  • The Irish Troubles 1920-21: Flying Column
  • LBJ’s War 1965-68: Good Morning Vietnam!

The book also contains an extensive list of COIN games and rules as well as a five-page bibliography.

The book is published by the ‘History of Wargaming’ Project, and costs £12,95 plus postage and packing (ISBN 978 0 244 65183 1).

A birthday present to myself

It was my birthday earlier this week, an as a small present to myself I bought a copy of KURSK 1943: THE SOUTHERN FRONT by Robert Forczyk.

I already have the earlier KURSK 1943: THE NORTHERN FRONT by same author (which I thoroughly enjoyed), and seemed like a good idea to buy this companion book. I hope to read it over the next few days, and to get some inspiration for my long-planned Eastern Front/Great Patriotic War project.

KURSK 1943: THE SOUTHERN FRONT was written by Robert Forczyk and illustrated by Graham Turner. It was published by Osprey Publishing in 2017 as No.305 in their ‘Campaign’ series (ISBN 978 1 4728 1690 0).

World War I Seaplane and Aircraft Carriers

During my recent visit to the local branch of Waterstones bookshop I bought a copy of WORLD WAR I SEAPLANE AND AIRCRAFT CARRIERS.

The use of aircraft by various navies during the First World War has always interested me, and this book is quite a good, brief introduction to the topic. It includes a section that looks at the way in which the major navies introduced and developed the use of aircraft at sea, and a second section that gives a brief history of the operational use of seaplane and aircraft carriers. The third section covers the technical characteristics as well as a short service history of each of the vessels used as a seaplane and aircraft carrier.

My particular favourites included HMS Furious after her landing deck was added but before she was converted into a full-blown, flush-deck aircraft carrier …

and the French Foudre, which was converted from a torpedo boat carrier.

WORLD WAR I SEAPLANE AND AIRCRAFT CARRIERS was written by Mark Lardas and illustrated by Paul Wright. It was published in 2016 by Osprey Publishing as No.238 in their ‘New Vanguard’ series (ISBN 978 1 4728 1378 7).

The Soldier

During a short visit to a local discount bookshop, I bought a copy of Chris McNab’s book entitled THE SOLDIER for £5.00. The book was published in 2016 by Parragon, and was originally priced at £16.00.

The book is split into three sections, and each section is divided into three chapters.

  • Section One: Global Conflict and Revolution
    • The Seven Year’s War
    • The American Revolution
    • The Napoleonic Wars
  • Section Two: The Age of Empire and Statehood
    • The American Civil War
    • Colonial Wars
    • Wars of Empire and Unification
  • Section Three: The World Wars and Modern Conflict
    • World War I
    • World War II
    • The Modern Era

Whilst this might not be the most definitive study of what it was like to be a soldier over the past two hundred and sixty years, it has some interesting illustrations. It is certainly worth £5.00 of anyone’s money … although personally I wouldn’t have paid full price for it.

Hitler’s Armies on sale at The Works

During a recent visit to the branch of THE WORKS in Chatham, I spotted a hardback copy of HITLERS ARMIES: A HISTORY OF THE GERMAN WAR MACHINE 1939-45 on sale for just £10.00 … a discount of £20.00!

The book is a compilation of elements from some of the myriad of Osprey Publishing that deal with the history of the German Army with a text written by Chris McNab. As such it is better than many similar publications, and as one would expect from this publisher, the illustrations are excellent.

The book is divided into several chapters:

  • Introduction
  • Blitzkrieg: Hitler’s War Machine Unleashed
  • Desert Warfare: Rommel’s Afrika Korps
  • The Surprise Assault: Operation Barbarossa and the war in the East 1941-43
  • The Tide Turns: War on the Western Front 1944
  • The Final Defeats: Retreat to the Fatherland 1944-45
  • Conclusion

The book is 424 pages long and contains 250 black and white photographs as well as numerous colour drawings.

HITLERS ARMIES: A HISTORY OF THE GERMAN WAR MACHINE 1939-45 was edited by Chris McNab and published in 2011 by Osprey Publishing (ISBN 978 1 47281 533 0). The edition on sale in THE WORKS was published in 2015.

Britannia’s Gamble: The Dawlish Chronicles: March 1884 – February 1885

I’ve just purchased the sixth and latest addition to Antoine Vanner’s excellent DAWLISH CHRONICLES – BRITANNIA’S GAMBLE – and hope to read it over the next couple of weeks.

As the cover illustrations and the dates make obvious, this book is mostly set in Egypt and the Sudan during the attempt to reach Khartoum, raise the Mahdist siege, and save General Charles ‘Chinese’ Gordon from certain death.

This looks like it will be yet another excellent addition to what has turned out to be a very enjoyable series of books to read … and from what one can gather, there are still plenty more books to come!

BRITANNIA’S GAMBLE was written by Antoine Vanner and published by Old Salt Press in 2017 (ISBN 978 1 943404 18 6).