The War Game … edited by Peter Young

A recent comment that the terrain created by the late Peter Gilder for the film CALLAN was also photographed and used in the book edited by Peter Young and entitled THE WAR GAME made me look out my copy of the book … and reminded me how much it had inspired me when I first saw a copy.

The book was divided into ten chapters (each of which covered a major battle and was written by a different author) and two appendices:

  • THERMOPYLAE BC480 by Charles Grant
  • AGINCOURT 1415 by Philip Warner
  • EDGEHILL 1642 by Peter Young
  • BLENHEIM 1704 by David Chandler
  • LOBOSITZ 1756 by Charles Grant
  • SARATOGA 1777 by Aram Bakshian Jr
  • AUSTERLITZ 1805 by David Chandler
  • WATERLOO 1815 by James Lawford
  • GETTYSBURG 1863 by Clifford C Johnson

  • EL ALAMEIN 1942 by Donald Featherstone

  • Appendix 1: The Principles of War Gaming
  • Appendix 2: Model Soldier Suppliers

THE WAR GAME was edited by Brigadier Peter Young and illustrated with photographs taken by Philip O Stearns. It was published by Cassell & Company Ltd in 1972 (ISBN 0 304 29074 2).

In the acknowledgements at the back of the book it states that the figures came from the collections of David Chandler, Peter Gilder, Charles Grant, Lieutenant Commander John Sandars, Ed Smith, John Tunstill, and Brigadier Peter Young, and that the terrain was specially made for the book by Hinchliffe Models of Huddersfield.

Some interesting things were delivered whilst we were away

Some time ago I ordered a book and a game online, and expected them to be delivered after Sue and I returned from our cruise. Both products were released earlier than I expected, and as a result the book was waiting for me when we got home, and the game was at the local post office distribution office awaiting collection.

The book was one of Osprey’s latest publications, IMPERIAL CHINESE ARMIES 1840-1911.

It was written by Philip S Jowett and illustrated by Gerry Embleton and is No.505 in the ‘Men-at-Arms’ series (ISBN 978 1 4728 1427 2). It is divided into a number of chapters with the following titles:

  • Introduction
  • Conflicts with external enemies
  • The Armies
  • Character of the Imperial Army
  • Weapons
  • Uniforms & Equipment

This book fills a niche in my collection and will hopefully spur me to sorting out the small collection of Chinese figures that i have in my collection of 15mm-scale wargames figures.

The game was AIRFIX BATTLES by Modiphius.

(This image is taken from their website. © Modiphius)

I bought this game for a number of reasons, including:

  • Nostalgia: Like so many wargamers of my generation, my first ‘proper’ wargames were fought using Airfix figures and tanks, and buying this game seemed to be the obvious thing to do.
  • Interest in the period: I grew up with stories about the Second World War, and it has always been one of my wargaming areas of interest. For this reason I seem – over the years – to have collected quite a few sets of rules etc. and if for no other reason than that, I wanted a copy of this game.
  • Interesting design features: I have met one of the designers at COW (Wargame Development‘s annual Conference of Wargamers) and he has promised to demonstrate the game at this year’s conference. As I know that he designs games with interesting features and mechanisms, it struck me that having a look at the game before the conference might be a good idea.

I have yet to take the components out of the box and to use them … but rest assured that when I do, I will write a blog entry about my play-test.

I have been to … Tøjhusmuseet (The Royal Danish Arsenal Museum), Copenhagen, Denmark

Sue and I visited Tøjhusmuseet (The Royal Danish Arsenal Museum), Copenhagen, Denmark some years ago, but at the time of our earlier visit the Museum was undergoing a lot of building work and reorganisation. By the time of this visit, most the work had been completed, and the display area had more than doubled in size.

Rather than repeat the coverage of the exhibits that were included in my earlier blog entry, I am going to concentrate on the new exhibits … although I could not resist photographing some of my favourites, which include a model of the building that houses the Museum as it was when it was used as an arsenal, …

… a Carden-Lloyd Tankette, …

… and a mobile armoured pillbox … which bears a striking resemblance to a Dalek on wheels!

Denmark did not take part in the First World War and 2014 marks a very different anniversary for the Danes; it is the 150th anniversary of the war with Prussia that ended with the area of Europe controlled by the Danish monarchy being reduced to almost half of its former size. As a result, the Museum has mounted a small display to mark this anniversary.

The Danish Armed Forces in Afghanistan
This exhibit was undergoing revision and expansion the last time we visited the Museum. It is now open, and gives a very realistic idea about the conditions under which members of the Danish Armed Forces operated in Afghanistan. It combines photographs, recreations, and sound to do this … and both Sue and I were very impressed by it.

(Please note that the lighting inside the exhibit was designed for dramatic effect and not for photography, hence some of the odd colours that appear in some of the following images.)

Arriving at Camp Bastion

Front-line Accommodation

Leaving Camp Bastion to go out on patrol

Afghan house

Patrolling the countryside

The impact of an IED (Improvised Explosive Device)

An Afghan polling station

An Afghan Market

Denmark’s Wars
On our previous visit the upper floor of the Museum had been close for renovation, but on this occasion it was open and housed a gallery entitled ‘Denmark’s Wars’.

To the right of the entrance to the upper floor was a collection of modern helmets displayed in the way that ancient armour is often displayed …

… as were a number of modern automatic rifles.

The exhibits included a number of sets of armour for horses …

… and men, …

… including some Japanese armour.

There were several display cases full of early weapons …

… and nineteenth century Russian uniforms.

There were also collections of military headgear, …

… examples of uniforms that were worn by various Norwegian monarchs, …

… military medals, …

… and models of artillery pieces.

The middle of the nineteenth century was also featured, and included two cabinets containing typical military uniforms of the period as worn by ordinary US soldiers.

The latter part of the nineteenth century was covered …

… as was the First World War, during which Denmark remained neutral.

There were several cabinets devoted to Denmark’s involvement in the Second World War …

… and the Cold War.

The role of the Danish Air Force was not forgotten, and there were two display cases full of large-scale models of aircraft used by the Air Force.

Les Higgins Miniatures: Seeing them in the flesh

John Cunningham (AKA Old John) has very kindly sent me some links to The Old Metal Detector blog where it is possible to see some painted Les Higgins and Douglas Miniatures in the flesh.

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.

Some more Blandford books

Last Wednesday – just before the Masonic meeting I was attending was about to start – one of the other members of my Lodge gave me a plastic carrier bag and said, “I found these at a boot sale and thought that you could find a use for them.”

I only got around to looking inside the bag last night … and was extremely pleased to find copies of three different books written by Robert and Christopher Wilkinson-Latham, illustrated by Jack Cassin-Scott, and published by Blandford. The were CAVALRY UNIFORMS OF BRITAIN AND THE COMMONWEALTH, …

… INFANTRY UNIFORMS 1742-1855, and …


These were a very welcome gift, and fill a gap in my book collection.

I have been to … the Historical Military Museum of Coruña

I visited the Historical Military Museum of Coruña (Museo Histórico Militar de Coruña) some years ago, and enjoyed myself. At the time the Museum was a bit old-fashioned, with a large number of poorly-labelled objects on display in glass-fronted, dark-coloured wooden cabinets, but there were lots of interesting things to see. Since then the Museum has undergone a refurbishment and is now much improved.

The Museum is located just across the road from the San Carlos Gardens that houses Sir John Moore’s tomb.

Upon entering the Museum you pass up a grand staircase …

… that is dominated by a picture of King Juan Carlos, …

… and lit by a stained-glass skylight.

The central design in the skylight is that of the Spanish Artillery as the Museum is housed in one of the numerous fortifications that were manned by the Coastal defence Artillery branch of that Arm of the Spanish Army.

Because of the way in which the exhibits are now displayed, the following description of what I saw has been themed rather than covered in strict gallery order.

FirearmsOne room contains a display of modern firearms, …

… including a large number of machine guns.

At the end of this room a number of standards are on display in wooden cases, in front of which are some examples of small cannons.

PaintingsScattered around the Museum are a number of paintings that depict the various uniforms worn by the Spanish Army.

Rayadillo UniformsThere are two interesting and very different styles of rayadillo uniforms on display.

Note: Rayadillo was a blue and white striped cotton fabric used to make the military uniforms worn by Spanish colonial soldiers during the late nineteenth century. The word means ‘striped material’ and at a distance uniforms made from rayadillo look very light blue or blue-grey in colour.

Model ShipsThe Museum has a small but interesting collection of model ships.

A Spanish 74-gun line-of-battle ship

The Spanish corvette Maria Pita

Columbus’s Pinta, Niña, and Santa Maria

A cutaway model of a typical Spanish galleon

Battle of Elviña dioramaThe museum houses a very impressive diorama of the Battle of Elviña.

Models of the fortifications of CoruñaThe Museum also houses some interesting models of the fortifications built to protect La Coruña, including a model of the building used by the Captain-General of Galicia.

ArtilleryAs a former base of the Spanish Artillery, it is no surprise that the Museum houses a collection of full-size and model artillery pieces.

88mm Flak 18 Anti-aircraft Gun

152mm Schneider Medium Gun

105mm M1919 Schneider Mountain Howitzer

The breech of a 15-inch/381mm M1929 Vickers Coastal Defence Gun

75mm M1896 Krupp Mountain Gun

5.5-inch Vickers Coastal Defence Gun

57mm M1898 Nordenfelt Quick-Firing Gun Mark II

240mm M1881 Coastal Defence Gun

240mm M1916 Coastal Defence Howitzer

150mm Coastal Defence Gun

Miscellaneous ExhibitsThe Museum also contains a number of displays that do not fit into other categories very easily.

Badges of the various units of the Spanish Foreign Legion (El Tercio or La Legion)

A company flag of the División Azul (or División Española de Voluntarios)

Note: The División Azul (or División Española de Voluntarios) was formed in 1941 to fight against Soviet Russia. Its German designation was 250. Infanterie-Division, and it comprised:

  • 262nd, 263rd, and 269th Infantry Regiments
  • 250th Artillery Regiment of four battalions
  • 250th Panzerjäger Battalion
  • 250th Reconnaissance Battalion
  • 250th Replacement Battalion
  • 250th Pioneer Battalion
  • 250th Signals Battalion
  • Supply Troops

It was disbanded in 1943 although some of its members continued to serve alongside their German allies in various units.

A German four-rotor Enigma machine

A display in honour of those members of the Spanish Army who have served as United Nations Peacekeepers

A diorama of Carlist troops

Various regimental and unit standards

Miscellaneous items (this is how many of the Museum’s exhibits used to be displayed)

Spanish Army uniforms of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries

Napoleonic WarsOne of the new sections added to the Museum contains exhibits that cover Spain’s involvement in the Napoleonic Wars. These were mainly some very nicely constructed dioramas …

… and full-size figures in uniforms of the period.

Temporary ExhibitNext to the entrance to the Museum is a small separate area which houses temporary exhibitions. At the time of my visit this was devoted to the history of the Civil Guard (La Guardia Civil), which was founded 170 years ago.

Another batch of eBay purchases

Late yesterday afternoon the Royal Mail delivered my latest batch of eBay purchases. Its arrival lifted my spirits somewhat, and it took all my self-control not to immediately rip the parcel open and write a blog entry about the contents … but in line with my recent resolution to try to restrict myself to writing one blog entry per day, I resisted the temptation!

The parcel contained quite a few packs of Del Prado pre-painted 25/28mm-scale Napoleonic wargames figures:

These additional figures will enhance my existing collection quite considerably … and are yet another reason why I really must get them all varnished and based so that I can start using them.

Another foray into eBay proves successful

At 8.30am a parcel containing my latest batch of auction ‘wins’ on eBay arrive … and mighty pleased I am to receive them. (The service from the seller was outstanding! Not only did they combine postage without being asked; they also packed the items extremely well and sent them so that they arrived in twenty-four hours.)

The items were more figures to add to my growing collection of Del Prado pre-painted 25/28mm-scale Napoleonic wargames figures. The figures came in packs as sold with the original magazine, and the contents of today’s parcel is shown below:

All seventy figures cost me approximately £1.25 each … which I think is a bargain when one considers the cost of unpainted 25/28mm-scale figures. They will enable me to add several more units to my current armies … and I still have some more eBay auctions that have yet to mature!

By the time the two hundredth anniversary of the Waterloo campaign comes around in 201, I might just have enough stuff to do something that I have never done before … and that is to re-fight part or all of the campaign in miniature.

We can but dream.

Lots of parcels to open

I have been so busy for the past few days that I have not had enough time to open the five small parcels that have been delivered by the Post Office since Wednesday … but that all changed this afternoon.

The parcels contained some of the auction lots that I won on eBay over last weekend, and they contained enough figures for me to form eight new four-figure units:

  • Four French Infantry Regiments (4 x Line Infantry Regiments)
  • Four British Infantry Regiments (2 x Line Infantry Regiments, 2 x Rifle Regiments) 

I have a few more eBay auction bids waiting to mature over the next few days, and if I won them they should enable me to expand my collection even further.

Ross Macfarlane’s 19C Square Brigadier wargame rules

Over recent weeks Ross Macfarlane has published and play-tested his latest set of 19th century wargame rules – 19C SQUARE BRIGADIER wargame rules – on his blog BATTLE GAME OF THE MONTH.

These rules meet almost all the parameters that I laid down for the rules that I want to use with my 25/28mm-scale collection of Napoleonic wargames figures, and I am seriously giving consideration to trying them out myself once I have based up my figures.

I thoroughly recommend these rules for your serious perusal, even if they are not quite your cup of tea. They are very close to becoming that Holy Grail of wargamers, a set of back-of-the-postcard rules that work!