Welcome to my blog!

News from a wargamer with a special interest in the military history of the Balkans. It mainly covers my current reading and wargaming projects. For more detail you can visit the web sites I edit - Balkan Military History and Glasgow & District Wargaming Society. I hope you find it helpful and entertaining.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Bolt Action - Campaign Sea Lion

Operation Seelowe is one of my favourite WW2 campaigns, so purchasing the new Bolt Action supplement was a no brainer.

And very good it is too. It starts and finishes with an explanation of the German plans and how it might have turned out. There is much of the 'What if' in this supplement, which won't please the purists, but the rest of us will love it.

There are lots of new British units, including the Royal Navy, Local Defence Volunteers and of course Captain Mainwaring and the Home Guard.  Longbow armed rural patrols, may be stretching it a little, but apparently they did exist. There are lots of auxiliary units, strange artillery and armoured vehicles. Not forgetting an armoured train, minefields and an array of fortifications.

For the Germans we have Brandenburger units, Abwehr agents and the British Union of Fascists. Their new equipment includes various invasion barges, amphibious tanks and gliders. Finally there are ten scenarios and a campaign.

Fans of the Very British Civil War genre will find lots to like in this supplement and many of the figures will come in useful. I would also recommend Andy Johnson's book, Seelowe Nord, which is a fictional account of landings in Yorkshire.

I haven't played much Bolt Action recently, but this supplement will certainly get me back into the fold.

One of my Seelowe Nord games in 15mm

Vickers light tank in 28mm

The Duchess's Hussars - why not!

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Carronade 2017

Thanks to the Falkirk club for organising another great show - Carronade 2017.

Carronade is one of the two big shows in Scotland held each year - helpfully a few months apart. The venue is a large secondary school that has several halls and canteen facilities. This accommodated 35 games and 40 plus traders.

This year seemed busier than normal and the organisers confirmed that with the numbers coming through the door - a positive sign for the hobby in Scotland. Our participation game was certainly non-stop, with hardly a gap between games and even squeezing in a quick version before closing. Usually you can start breaking down before 4pm, but not this year.

This means I didn't get much time to look at the other games and only bought a few bits and pieces. But what I did see was first class.

Starting with our GDWS game that required players to rescue the princess from the castle using Conan and his war band. The rules were a cut down version of Dan Mersey's 'Dragon Rampant'. It worked really well, with players picking up the essentials very quickly. The Princess got rescued six times, but a few were close run things.

The Princess rescued again - with the priest of Set getting his just deserts

We spared no expense with the prizes!

Here are some others that caught my eye.

French Indian War, if I recall using Muskets and Tomahawk rules

The Men Who Would be Kings - great rules, we will be using these for our game at Claymore

The Aegean 1941 - I have always wanted to try some games based on this campaign

Old school 30mm Seven Years War from the Tyneside visitors

I'm not a big sci-fi fan but this Dropzone Commander game was visually impressive

Spanish Civil War - No Passaran comrades!

No idea how Antares plays - but it certainly has colourful foliage

The Grahams are a raiding in the Border Reivers game. Lovely tower model

Great Northern War from the League of Augsburg

Hundred Years War - with some Scots fighting for the French

Ramilles, showing how small scales do big battles well.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Soviet Naval Infantry

My Soviet infantry for the Caucasus 1942 project needed some reinforcements. I couldn't face painting another pile of brown Soviets, so I turned to the naval infantry who played a significant role in the campaign. The Osprey campaign book has a great colour plate featuring them defending the Proletary cement factory.

The Soviet Navy contributed almost 100,000 sailors to roughly 30 infantry brigades fighting on land. As the war progressed, these naval infantrymen were assimilated into regular Red Army formations. However, in the Caucasus in 1942 they were primarily naval personnel transferred into land formations. Often with minimal training, they learned on the job. They also had fewer support units, particularly artillery, than normal rifle brigades.

My figures are from the Battlefront range. The basic uniform was black, although many also had blue shirts. A nice quick paint job for these four squads. There is enough in the pack for four more and some sub-machine gun squads.

And onto the tabletop. I haven't tried the new Flames of War rules, but they are a set that need a lot of playing and I don't do much 15mm WW2 these days. So I returned to Iron Cross, a much simpler fast play set of rules for the period. There are some gaps, but a bit of common sense can plug those.

The German mountain troops with tank support struggled to make progress up this river valley, particularly after the Soviet ATGs quickly knocked out the tanks - hurra!

Friday, 5 May 2017

Rebellion's Forge

This is the third in the 'Blood of Kings' series by K.M.Ashman. The setting is Wales in 1109, a country divided into a number of independent Welsh kingdoms and a substantial English presence. There is a truce between the English King Henry and the Welsh kingdoms, but revolts and unrest are commonplace.

A number of characters in the second book continue to play a role, most notably Prince Nesta who was married off to an English knight, and her brothers who organise different rebellions. The Welsh kings are torn between the realpolitik of protecting their kingdoms and moral support for rebellion.

The story appears to follow very broadly what we know of the period, which is not a great deal. It has small scale actions, rather than big battles - coupled with intrigue and treachery. The story is told well by an accomplished and fairly prolific author. I will keep reading this series.

For the wargamer this is definitely Lion Rampant territory. The rules fit this type of warfare really well.