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. Or follow me on Twitter @Balkan_Dave
or on Mastodon @balkandave@mastodon.scot, or Threads @davewatson1683

Saturday 28 August 2010

La Pasionaria

Last Monday was the rededication in Glasgow of the statue of La Pasionaria - with the inscription "Better to die on your feet than live for ever on your knees". The statue commemorates the British volunteers to the International Brigades who fought against Fascism in the Spanish Civil War. Over 2,000 volunteers went from the UK, and over 500 died in the conflict, 65 of whom came from Glasgow.

The ceremony was attended by the last surviving Scot who served in the war, Thomas Watters, who is 97.  Mr Watters served in the Scottish Ambulance Unit, which worked at the front line on the battlefields of Spain to aid wounded fighters and volunteers from across the world.

I also received this week the new Flames of War supplement, Blitzkrieg. Lots of data and ideas that should help with my Spanish Civil War project. I am new to FoW but I am impressed with the clear layout of the data in this supplement and others.

Monday 23 August 2010

Musée de l'Armée

A recent trip to Paris was an opportunity to reacquaint myself with one of the world's finest military museums the musée de l'Armée.

I haven't been there for many years. Although most of the galleries are as I remembered them the temporary exhibitions are a good way to bring out items that don't always make it to permanent display. The highlights for me are the uniform collections, particularly of the Napoleonic period.

A few photies to give a flavour, starting of course with the Balkan interest. An Ottoman Spahi, usually mounted on a fully armoured horse.

Then the amazing Vauban relief models of his fortifications. When I first visited the museum, 30 plus years ago these were just spread around the attic. Now they are well presented.


and finally the man himself, Napoleon's Tomb

Sunday 15 August 2010

King Arthur - Dragons Child

House move and other distractions have slowed up my leisure reading of late. I have therefore only just finished my summer holiday fiction read; King Arthur - Dragons Child by M.K.Hume.

This is the first of a planned series covering the life of King Arthur. As the real Arthur is the subject of much academic debate, it is hardly surprising that fiction takes many different approaches as well. Traditionalists will probably like this version as it sticks fairly closely to the commonly told tale. All the main elements of the story are there, whilst giving the reader a good understanding of the political and military realities of Dark Age Britain.

The author has an excellent writing style and the narrative flows off the page at a good pace. Not quite a Bernard Cornwell but pretty good.

Wednesday 11 August 2010


Last Saturday was one of Scotland's biggest wargame shows, Claymore. Held for the second year at its new venue, Telford College in Edinburgh.

The new venue is a huge improvement on the dismal Meadowbank stadium that housed this show for many years. Plenty of space, good lighting and decent catering all help to make this a very good show. As usual there was good support from the trade and there seemed to be a good turnout from Scottish gamers.

We presented a display game based on the Battle of Alexandria 1801. A development of the Napoleon in Egypt series of demos we ran a few years ago. This time the French faced a British expeditionary force. My new Vitrix Brits got their first run out, accompanied by Liam's very fine foot and cavalry with his trademark supersized flags. A colourful display with a decent handout and display that attracted a lot of interest. We even won a prize.

General Moore's Brigade around the ruins

French cavalry brigade advances