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Tuesday, 29 March 2016
The Dardanelles and Salonika 1916
Monday, 28 March 2016
Napoleon's Irish Legion
Friday, 25 March 2016
John Bellany and the Scottish Women Hospitals
The driving force of SWH was Dr Elsie Inglis, one of the very first women to become a doctor in the 1880's. When she offered her services to the War Office she was dismissed with the words 'My good lady, go home and sit still'. Other countries were not so reticent and the SWH units went to France, and my particular interest, Kragujevac in Serbia. While this story is less well known in Scotland, anniversary events are held in Serbia every year.
You can purchase a book of the exhibition in the Scottish Parliament shop and the Scots Makar, Liz Lockheed, has written a special poem for the occasion.
Here are a few photos from the exhibition.
Sunday, 20 March 2016
The Vistula Legion
The Vistula Legion was formed from Poles in Italian service and was transferred to French service in 1808. It was organised on French lines and its depot was at Sedan. All men of the Legion were Polish except for the company clerks, the fourriers, battalion adjutant non-commissioned officers, and paymasters who were to be French.
The 2nd and 3rd infantry regiments of the Vistula Legion participated in Napoleon's invasion of Spain in 1808 and were joined by a regiment of Lancers. The Legion grew to a force of 16,000 men. They took part in a number of actions, including the siege of Saragossa and the Battle of Talavera in 1809. They mostly fought in the eastern provinces under Suchet and their final action was at Sagunto in October 1811.
Probably their most famous action was at the Battle of Albuera in May 181, when the Vistula lancers destroyed Colborne's British infantry brigade. By February 1812 all Polish units were on the Ebro, before joining the army for the invasion of Russia. Polish casualties in Spain were around 40,000 in a bitter campaign with atrocities in both sides.
The infantry figures below come from the Warlord range. The lancers, and command figures are Front Rank, artillery are Perry Miniatures.
Tuesday, 15 March 2016
Images of War: Battle for Greece and Crete
The series 'Images of war' from Pen and Sword had passed me by until I saw this title, which covers the battle for Greece and Crete 1940-41. Each chapter has a potted history of a section of the campaign, rarely more than 4 pages. The strength of this series is the use of rare photographs from wartime archives. In this case mostly from German, Australian and British sources. This means the section on the war in Albania is a bit light, but the German invasion period is excellent.
Lots of pictures of the A10 cruiser tank, including one of close support version. I've always liked the look of this tank although it had a shocking record for mechanical reliability. The British lost more to track failure than German gunfire.
A few other gems include captured Yugoslavian Renault R35's and a Skoda T32 tankette that I hadn't seen before. Lots of photographs of Marmon-Herrington armoured cars that served with the New Zealand Divisional Cavalry.
There are also a few pictures of Vickers Light tanks, including those that defended Crete. Just the job, as I picked this one up at Albanich last Saturday!
Saturday, 12 March 2016
I was in Dumfries today for the Albanich 2016 show. I haven't been for a couple of years as it clashes with a work commitment, so a welcome cancelled meeting gave me the opportunity to make the journey.
This is a small but enjoyable show, early in the show calendar, that attracts some nice games and a good range of traders. It's a bit of a trek for most gamers in Scotland, but that is balanced by being more accessible for gamers from the north of England.
I picked up some Border Reiver figures from Foundry for my Game of Thrones project, some character figures from Colonel Bill as well as some scenic items from Warbases and Figures in Comfort. And some very nice 28mm painted US WW2 figures and a Vickers light tank from Solway Miniatures.
The painting competition had some lovely entrants, I particularly liked the Gordon at Khartoum diorama.
A demo game for the 'To the Strongest' rules was popular.
The Glasgow Tradeston lads had a nice 10mm Spearhead game of Tobruk 1942.
A big ECW game of the Battle of Edgehill
A simple but effective participation game, El Dorado, for those old enough to remember the atmospheric Herzog film, Wrath of God.
The French Wars of Religion in 15mm.
And last, but certainly not least, was this Very British Civil War urban fight. With some nice aircraft models as well.
Wednesday, 9 March 2016
Legionary - Gods and Emperors
I love classic historical fiction and one set in the Balkans is always going to be a must read. In this case the setting is Thracia in 378AD. A fateful year for the Roman Empire as Fritigern and the Goths control the region outwith the major towns and cities. Emperor Valens brings his legions back from Persia and heads for Adrianople. The Romans are heavily defeated and the Goths and their successors will go on to spread across the Empire as far as Spain.
The book follows the broad thrust of the campaign and captures the tensions and splits in both camps. Will the Western Emperor, Gratian, come to the aid of the east - or will the Gothic horde split up into tribal interests.
The focus is on a group of veteran Centurions who are drawn into the campaign and the intrigues of both emperors. The historical detail is well researched, but doesn't take over the story that moves on at a good pace.
An excellent read.