Seduced by Morschauser

I spent most of the morning finishing off cutting up and shredding the remaining laurel branches that had broken off and fallen down during the recent storms. I then raked up all the dead leaves that had also come down … and now I have a large green wheelie bin full of leaves and shredded laurel branches and a largish pile of laurel logs.

By the time I had finished I was feeling rather tired and did little else before lunch. After lunch I helped my wife to try to sort out the information she had acquired concerning her father’s army career. We used a variety of different documents provided by the Army Records Department as well his Pay Book and Soldiers Book. None of the documents showed a complete breakdown of where he was, what unit/formation he served with, and the places he served in throughout his service. In the end I used a spreadsheet to enter and sort the information, and we finally have a slightly less confused idea about his army career, although there still appear to be some anomalies and quite a few gaps.

Towards the latter part of the afternoon I decided to try to do some more work on my combined OP14 and ITCHY AND SCRATCHY wargame rules … but despite my best intentions I was ‘dragged’ away by a recent addition to my collection of articles written by or about Joseph Morschauser. This happened because the VINTAGE WARGAMING blog had published a copy of Joseph Morschauser’s contribution to the 1966/67 edition of Donald Featherstone’s WARGAMERS YEARBOOK and I had printed off a copy of what he had written.

Over the years I have been transcribing and saving all the relevant articles that I can find. As a result I have a small but gradually expanding archive of Morschauser’s work … and this afternoon – as a consequence of reading the latest addition to my collection – I made the mistake of sitting back and reading through everything in the archive, with the result that I did very little work on anything else.

One thing in the latest article did make me sit up and think. It was the following paragraph:

I have been playing around with grids and small war game boards for some time now and have finally developed a workable and interesting method of conducting full-scale battles on a 3 by 3 foot board lined with a 3 inch grid. To push things to the limit so to speak I have designed this one for use with 54mm troops figuring that if it were possible to fight a full battle with these on such a small board any other scale would work.

Visions of some of my Britains 54mm figures being used on my small tabletop suddenly came to mind … as did the idea for a ‘Very Little Wars’ game! I even went into my toy/wargames room to see if I had a large enough piece of green felt on which to mark out a 12 x 12 grid of 3-inch squares before sanity returned and I decided that I needed to try to get one project finished first before I started another.

Yet again I had almost been seduced away from what I should have been doing by Morschauser!

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COW acquisitions

Although there are no trade stands or an official ‘bring and buy’ at COW (the Conference of Wargamers) attendees do bring stuff to the conference to sell, give away, or swop. This year I did rather well and acquired quite a few items.

I obtained two books published as part of the ‘History of Wargaming‘ Project from John Curry. They were MORE WARGAMING PIONEERS: ANCIENT AND WORLD WAR II BATTLE AND SKIRMISH RULES BY TONY BATH, LIONEL TARR AND MICHAEL KORNS: EARLY WARGAMES VOL. 4 (ISBN 978 1 291 19817 1) and DONALD FEATHERSTONE’S WARGAMING COMMANDO OPERATIONS AND REFLECTIONS ON WARGAMING: LOST TALES VOLUME 2 (ISBN 978 1 291 39891 5).


MORE WARGAMING PIONEERS: ANCIENT AND WORLD WAR II BATTLE AND SKIRMISH RULES BY TONY BATH, LIONEL TARR AND MICHAEL KORNS: EARLY WARGAMES VOL. 4

This book is split into a foreword, three main sections, and an appendix:

  • Foreword
  • Lionel Tarr’s Modern Wargaming Rules for 1939-1945
    • INTRODUCTION
    • ANALYSIS OF THE LIONEL TARR GAME
    • RETASOL TARR’S SOLO WARGAMING CAMPAIGN
    • WARGAMING STALINGRAD
    • THE LIONEL TARR PERISCOPE
    • THE SPACE SIZE CONTINUUM BY CARL REAVLEY
    • THE BATTLE OF HOMARD 1956, AN EARLY EXAMPLE OF A BATTLE REPORT BY CARL REAVLEY
    • THE BATTLE OF WAL, A SECOND EXAMPLE OF AN EARLY BATTLE REPORT BY CARL REAVLEY
  • War Games of the Middle Ages and Ancient Times by Tony Bath
  • Modern War in Miniature (1966)
    • PART ONE: INTRODUCTION
    • PART TWO: THE RULES FOR THE PERIOD 1939 TO 1945
    • EQUIPMENT
    • SIMULATION CHARTS
  • Appendix: An early Portuguese Wargamer – Backyard Wars of the 1920s


DONALD FEATHERSTONE’S WARGAMING COMMANDO OPERATIONS AND REFLECTIONS ON WARGAMING: LOST TALES VOLUME 2

This book is split into a foreword, an introduction, three parts, a list of the books written by Donald Featherstone, and an appendix.

  • Foreword by Stuart Asquith
  • Introduction by John Curry
  • Part 1: Introduction to the British Commandos
    • THE BRAVEST OF THE BRAVE
    • CHAPTER 1: AN OVERVIEW OF THE HISTORY OF THE COMMANDOS
    • CHAPTER 2: TRAINING THE COMMANDOS
    • CHAPTER 3: EQUIPMENT
    • CHAPTER 4: OPERATION CAULDRON (1942)
    • CHAPTER 5: THE ASSAULT ON FLUSHING (1944)
    • CHAPTER 6: BRITISH LESSONS FROM COMMANDO OPERATIONS
  • Part 2: Rules and Scenarios for Commando Operations
    • CHAPTER 7: MEMORIES OF AN EARLY COMMANDO WARGAME
    • CHAPTER 8: THE FIRST MEGA GAME
    • CHAPTER 9: THE CLASSIC COMMANDO SCENARIO: THE RAID ON ST NAZAIRE
    • CHAPTER 10: FIBUA RULES
    • CHAPTER 11: WORLD WAR II WARFARE RULES
  • Part 3: Reflections
    • CHAPTER 12: DONALD FEATHERSTONE ON WAR (1939-45)
    • CHAPTER 13: DONALD FEATHERSTONE’S YEAR (1962)
    • CHAPTER 14: DONALD FEATHERSTONE ON WARGAMING (1927-2010)
    • CHAPTER 15: DONALD FEATHERSTONE ON VISITING BATTLEFIELDS
    • CHAPTER 16: DONALD FEATHERSTONE IN THE MEDIA
    • CHAPTER 17: DONALD FEATHERSTONE ON THE LATE PADDY GRIFFITH
    • CHAPTER 18: THE LIFE AND DEATH OF A WARGAMER
  • Wargaming and Military History Books by Donald Featherstone
  • Appendix

I also acquired some Minitanks from Tim Gow and John Armatys with the intention that they will form part of the forces that will be fielded in my Eastern Front/Great Patriotic War Campaign project.

I also bought some 15mm-scale Napoleonic infantry and cavalry … because they took my fancy!

This is a pathetic reason to buy some figures … but having done so I am now awaiting Richard Brook’s soon-to-be-made-available Napoleonic wargames rules. These are designed to be used with 15mm-scale figures … so it might not be such a stupid purchase after all.


Even more Black Watch Highlanders!

Today’s post brought some more additions to my Funny Little Wars army … some more Black Watch Highlanders (or proper soldiers, as Tim Gow would say!).

I now have 12 of them, including two officers, and they look mighty fine ‘on parade’.

I am sure that they will be the backbone of my Highland Brigade, and will serve with distinction alongside my other Highlanders, the Seaforths.

As I expect most of my Funny Little Wars battles will be fought using half-size units, I decided to see what the Black Watch looked like as a half-size battalion/regiment.

Not bad, eh?

(The two ‘missing’ figures will probably serve on the Brigade or Divisional Commander’s staff. The officer will be an aide de camp and the piper will no doubt entertain the Officers’ Mess on formal nights … and scare the willies out of the enemy the rest of the time!)

PS. I did buy some more Seaforth Highlanders via eBay … but they have yet to arrive.


Another six and eightpence!

No sooner had I written my earlier blog entry of today about my latest additions to my Funny Little Wars army when the doorbell rang … and a courier delivered two more boxes of 54mm Britains figures!

The latest additions are twelve Welsh Guards …

… and the eleven Seaforth Highlanders.

Some of these figures are over thirty years old, and have one or two minor painting errors or chips … but for the moment I intend to use them ‘as is’.

I have some more Highlanders that are yet to be delivered, and when they arrive I will try to arrange a ‘parade’ of all the Britains figures I have recently acquired.


Send another three and fourpence … better make that six and eightpence!

Not one but TWO packages arrived in the post today … and one of them contained two boxes of Britains 54mm figures to add to my growing Funny Little Wars army.

One box contained six members of the Black Watch …

… and the other ten soldiers of the York and Lancaster Regiment.

I now have the beginning of an Army Red … although I will have to come up with a ‘proper’ name for it in due course.

As to the other package … well more of that later!


Send three and fourpence …

Some further Funny Little Wars recruits arrived in this morning’s post (the first of several tranches I hope to receive this week!) and they have joined the ranks of my US Marines.

I now have 22 US Marines … which is enough figures to form a full-size Funny Little Wars Battalion/Regiment (the two terms are interchangeable in Funny Little Wars) or a small two-Battalion/Regiment-strong Brigade for half-size Funny Little Wars battles.

I have several more ‘units’ on order, including some Black Watch and Seaforth Highlanders (the latter being in campaign rather than parade dress), members of an English Line Infantry Regiment (the Yorks and Lancs), and some Guards (Welsh Guards to be precise).

Rest assured, as and when they arrive, they will be featured on a blog entry.


Recreating Morschauser’s original gridded wargame in 54mm-scale

Until recently I have been working to recreate Joseph Morschauser’s gridded FRONTIER wargame using 15mm-scale figures … but as I now have a growing collection 54mm-scale figures, the possibility of running a game that will look like one of Morschauser’s original wargames is growing.

I have been trawling eBay for possible additional figures for my collection, and I have several bids in place which will, if they are successful, increase the size of my FLW army to approximately twice it’s  present strength.

Morschauser mounted three 54mm-scale foot figures, two mounted figures, and two gunner figures and a cannon on a 3-inch square base. This would mean that I would need less than 50 figures per side to fight a battle on a 12 x 12 grid … and this quite achievable.

I decided to see what 54mm-scale figures would look like on 3-inch square bases … so I put my latest Funny Little Wars recruits onto some pre-cut 3-inch bases that I had to hand!

I must admit that I am quite impressed with the ‘look’ of the whole thing … although the ‘gunner’ at the back does need a companion to properly complete the set-up!

With the current upsurge in interest in Old School Wargaming, I might just have ‘found’ a possible session for COW2014.