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 25 February 2012

Who do you think you are kidding Mr Hitler

I know books are not good for me. Good historical fiction is really bad for me.

I enjoyed Andy Johnson's book Seelowe Nord so much that I just had to wargame it. A German invasion of Yorkshire in 1940. I have regular British troops in 15mm, but a key role in the book was played by a Home Guard platoon.

So off to Peter Pig who have all you will need in metal. A quick paint job and there we have a Yorkshire version of Mr Mannering and this merry band. These are based and organised for Flames of War. I used the Lines of Communication platoon data from the Blitzkrieg supplement.

Next I will need some Germans. Why did I sell of my last 15mm Germans? I have decided on a Gebirgsjager company. As some one who has puffed and panted my way up a fair few Scottish mountains I have nothing but respect for mountain troops who had to do it with equipment, in all weathers and without the benefit of modern walking gear. 

Lots of metal ordered for what will become one of my key projects for the year. Watch this space - eventually!

Sunday 19 February 2012

Italian Army Elite Units 1940-43

 Italian Army Elite Units and Special Forces 1940-43

The Italian Army of WW2 gets a generally bad press. This is largely based on the early war performance in the Western Desert. After that, despite some poor leadership and obsolete equipment, individual units performed well.

This new Osprey (Elite 99) covers most of the better units of the Italian army including armoured, paratroop and assault engineers. Then a variety of special units, many of which I had never heard of. All set out in the usual Osprey format with a good range of photies and the excellent colour plates.

Reading this inspired me to get some Italians out of the 'to do' box and onto the painting bench. Having reorganised my Flames of War army for the Greek campaign in line with the Burning Empires supplement, I realised that I am going to need more infantry.

I haven't painted 15mm figures for some time. Nice to be able to get units painted quickly for a change. Some LMG bases as a starter below.

Friday 17 February 2012

Hannibal - Enemy of Rome

Hannibal: Enemy of Rome

Just finished my latest Ben Kane book, Hannibal - Enemy of Rome.

I am always going to be sucked into a book about the Punic Wars and needed no encouragement when an author as good as Ben Kane gives Hannibal the treatment. Carthage was my very first wargames army, mostly Garrison 25mm figures - yes we are talking nearly 40 years ago!

He tells the story through the eyes of the family of one of Hannibal's officers. One son gets captured by pirates and is sold into slavery near Capua. You can tell where this will all end later in the campaign for those familiar with the history of Capua during this period. The other side through a Roman officers family from Capua.

Anyway, this book covers the siege of Saguntum, the crossing of the Alps and the Battle of Trebia. The battle scenes really come to life and the story is told really well. Looking forward to more of this. Recommended. 

Some of my current Carthaginian troops. Libiyan spearmen of the type commanded by the officers in the book.

Sunday 5 February 2012

Sons of Thunder

My latest read has been Giles Christian's Sons of Thunder. This is the second of his Raven series covering the adventures of a shipload of Viking warriors.
Raven: Sons of Thunder
This tale takes our band of warriors to Carolingian France. First to catch up with the Saxon traitor Ealdred and then to sell a religious book to the Emperor Charlemagne.

I have to say I struggled with this volume for the first two thirds. It seemed very slow with painful amounts of detail around individual relationships that had already been developed in the first book. The final third lived up to the billing as an action thriller when the band reached the Emperor and were forced to flee with a large force in pursuit.

I am glad I didn't give up on this at an early stage, but it simply wasn't as good as the first volume. Not sure I will bother with the next stage. But as they are heading for Constantinople I may well give in.

Wednesday 1 February 2012

Thunder in May

Just finished the second of Andy Johnson's World War 2 series 'Thunder in May'. I raved about his first book 'Seelowe Nord' last month, so I picked up the second eagerly and was not disappointed.

Thunder in MayThis volume deals with the Fall of France in 1940. The formula is similar. He tells the story in short chapters from the strategic level down to small unit action. Most of the characters are taken from history, albeit with fictional dialogue, and a few more are added in.

The main character is again Sargeant Jackson, 2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards. His platoon is involved in several delaying actions before they are evacuated at Dunkirk. But we are also given the glider landings at Eben Emael, Rommel and the Ghost Division, the counter attack at Arras,
Guderian and the halt order, and many more highlights from the campaign.

Couldn't put it down. Highly recommended.

Russo-Turkish War 1877

Reinforcements for the 1877 project. More Outpost Miniatures from their superb range.

First we have Russian Cossack cavalry and artillery.

Of course they need someone to skirmish with. So enter the Turkish cavalry and supporting artillery.