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

Monday 29 November 2021

David The Prince

 This is the latest in my chronological re-read of Nigel Tranter's novels covering the history of Scotland.  This book is about David I, who ruled from 1124 to 1153. David is not as well remembered as some of the later medieval monarchs, perhaps because he doesn't fit into the modern nationalist view of history. Nevertheless, Tranter was clearly a fan, as this is a very sympathetic history of him.

David was born in 1084, probably the eighth son of King Malcolm III and the sixth and youngest borne by Malcolm's second wife, the blessed Margaret. As such, he had no expectations of becoming King and spent much of his youth in the English court of Henry I, who married his sister Matilda. As a brother in law to the King, David prospered and was granted the Earldom of Huntingdon after he married another Matilda, the former Earl's widow. Matilda appears to have been a popular name choice, as there are confusingly many of them in this story!

He was also appointed Prince of the Cumbrians, probably after Henry pressured his brother, the Scots King Alexander. This has little to do with the modern region of NW England, although it certainly included Carlisle.  It covered most of southern Scotland, and David used the revenues from Huntingdon to build abbeys and castles in the Norman style.

When Alexander died without an heir in 1124, David was the last surviving brother. Life could be very short in medieval Scotland! However, the Scots had no tradition of primogeniture, so his election was far from certain. Tranter portrays his accession as reasonably smooth, but historians of the period point to considerable opposition, particularly in the North. The backing from Henry and the threat of an English army was the decisive factor. In practice, David only ruled in the south for the early years until a revolt by the northern earls was defeated at Stracathro in 1130. Then, with the help of the Norman knights he had brought to Scotland and military aid from Henry, he pacified the rest of Scotland. The Normans who came to Scotland included families who would later make their mark on Scottish history, including Bruce, Balliol and Stewart, anglicised from their French names.

David is best known as an administrative reformer, introducing the parish system that partially survives to this day, burghs and the feudal system. It is this following of English practice, imposed with Anglo-Norman cash and swords, which makes David problematic for nationalist history.

After Henry's death, relations with England reverted to more normal hostility. David had backed Henry's daughter, another Matilda, for the throne. However, Stephen had usurped the throne, and civil war in England allowed David to assert Scottish rule over Northumbria. Despite losing the Battle of the Standard, he still managed to reach an agreement on holding these lands in the name of his son. He died in 1153 with the borders of Scotland at their largest, although they didn't survive long after his death.

For further reading, I would recommend the very readable Richard Oram's David: The King Who Made Scotland. My copy is the 2008 edition, but I notice there is a 2020 edition.

On to the tabletop for a game of To the Strongest! The armies of the period are interesting, with the Scots having a couple of units of Norman knights alongside the usual massed ranks of spearmen. The Anglo-Norman army is quite different from the typical feudal English armies. The Normans kept the Saxon fyrd, so you get shieldwall Saxons alongside Norman spearmen. The bows and crossbows are light units, so they don't dominate. In the Battle of the Standard, the Normans dismounted to fight, which was a rare experience.

The Anglo-Norman left-wing quickly defeated their opposite number and started to roll up the Scots right.

The Scots left got the better of their fight but not in time to save the centre. This was some melee, but it broke the Scots army. So Northumbria was won for the Anglo-Normans in this refight.

Saturday 27 November 2021

Greek-Turkish Relations Since 1955

 This book by Tozun Bahcheli is some background reading for my Cyprus 1974 project. After a brief background chapter, the focus is on Cyprus and the diplomatic efforts to address it. Military operations are only briefly touched on.

Despite the book's title, the author challenges the view that the Cypriot communities were observers in the dispute between the two countries. He argues that the Cypriot communities often took the initiative, and their role in determining the course of events has been underestimated. The Greek and Turkish governments often reacted to events rather than initiating them.

The first chapter sets the scene for the post-1955 conflict by outlining the island's history and the limited integration between the communities. This goes back to the Ottoman millet system, reinforced by separate education systems and, of course, religion. For UK readers, the pattern of segregation looks dismally familiar to Northern Ireland. However, despite these differences, there was no history of communal violence for over 400 years until the mid-1950s. 

The Greek-Cypriot campaign for Enosis (union with Greece) in the early 1950s changed everything. In the early years, this campaign was aimed at Britain as the colonial power with the armed insurgency, led by EOKA, starting in 1955. While Greek governments and domestic public opinion supported Enosis, they were initially reluctant to support the armed struggle, as Britain was an ally. However, Makarios used public opinion and the non-aligned movement through the UN to promote the Greek Cypriot case, gradually winning over the Greek government. 

The Turkish government was initially relaxed, hoping that the campaign would fizzle out, although their strategic concerns over Greece gaining control of Cyprus remained. However, public opinion in Turkey also played its part in forcing the Turkish government to take a stronger line in protecting the Turkish community. After inter-communal violence increased in 1958 with more than 120 people killed, Ankara provided more aid to the Turkish defence organisation, the TMT.

The independence settlement in 1960, guaranteed by Greece, Turkey and Britain, initially calmed tensions. However, when Makarios abrogated the agreement and prepared the Akritas Plan to knock out the Turkish communities, the scale of fighting dramatically increased. The threat of Turkish military intervention put something of a brake on the Greek Cypriot offensives. Still, by 1964 the Turkish minority had largely been forced into enclaves for their own security. Only US intervention stopped Turkey from intervening in 1964 and again in 1967, although their capacity to put boots on the ground was limited. The book covers the various peace plans and other initiatives before the Greek military coup of 1974, which led to the Turkish peace operation/invasion. 

I took from this book that several of these initiatives came closer to an agreement than I had thought. It is tempting to view the Cyprus issue as impossible to resolve, but this history shows that the diplomats were not entirely wasting their time and effort.  Many Greek Cypriot politicians believed the Turkish enclaves could be whittled away through economic blockades rather than military action. It is a matter of opinion how much of the blame for 1974 can be placed conveniently on the junta rather than Makarios. 

The many post-1974 peace efforts have failed to find a resolution. These also have to be seen in the context of growing tensions between Greece and Turkey over issues other than Cyprus. These include the continental shelf, territorial waters and airspace issues in the Aegean. There are also disputes over the treatment of minorities in Istanbul and Western Thrace, which were exempt from the population exchanges in the 1920s.

While this book was published over 30 years ago, little has changed in the region. Cyprus remains a highly militarized island, and relations between Greece and Turkey have not improved. In fact, it could be argued that they have deteriorated to the extent that they came close to armed conflict this year. Overall, this is an interesting and very readable history, if not an uplifting read!

Just one of the many Turkish memorials to 1974.

A Turkish painting of 1964 Kokkina enclave defence

Saturday 20 November 2021

Modern Turkish Armed Forces

Our daughter returned home for most of the last week, which meant I was outvoted with the TV remote. The good news is that it forced me back to the painting table and caught up with History Hit shows and podcasts. 

After I finished the Venetian galleons, it was back to the Cyprus 1974 project in 20mm. Having painted some armour, it was time to tackle the infantry. I now have two squads and a spotter team. The figures are from the Elhiem range, which look pretty tall for 20mm but are nice figures with only a little flash in the usual places. There are some compromises as obviously, no one does specific models for the Turks, so they are a mix of US army/marines and Vietnam figures. 

One of the advantages of doing a modern army is the availability of colour photos. I trekked around Salute in search of the closest spray paint I could find and settled on a new firm to me, TTC, which have an impressive range of colours. Perhaps a little too dark, but there was a range of shades from the photos even before they hit the dusty ground. First, a primer followed by some block painting, including a darker shade of green for the webbing and the distinctive helmet covers. Then a brown ink wash, finishing with dry-brushing dark sand. 

One of the reasons I use 20mm for moderns is the availability of ready built and painted models. These are from the Easy Model range. The downside is that they usually have the wrong decals for my obscure armies. That was the case with these M113s and the Huey. The plus side of having our daughter at home is that she has acetone nail varnish remover. This is terrific stuff that, with a bit of careful application with cotton buds, brings the decals off, although it stinks! The M113s needed a bit of conversion work to change them from the US version, but the overall effect is fine after some dry-brushing. Twenty M113s landed with the first wave of the amphibious assault on 20 July 1974, and many more in the second wave.

A key element of the Turkish plan was to use airborne troops to hold what was known as The Triangle. This was an area of Turkish villages north of Nicosia held by the local Turkish Cypriot militia (TMT). They parachuted in an Airborne Brigade and used helicopters to bring in three commando battalions and a battalion of infantry that was hurriedly trained in the role. To achieve this, just about every available helicopter in the Turkish Army and Air Force was brought together for the task. I helpfully had some roundels and transfers leftover from my WW2 project, after a liberal application of acetone. Thanks, daughter!

There aren't many books on the Turkish military in English at least, although I am collecting everything available. However, there are quite a few academic papers, which are very helpful. I have just finished reading a Masters thesis by Connor Murphy, 'Modernisation of the Turkish Navy' (2020). The focus is post-1974, but it shows how the Turkish Navy has shifted its strategy and procurement policies since the Cyprus operation and the subsequent arms embargo. 

The traditional strategy of coastal defence is shifting towards what is called a 'Blue Homeland' policy. This envisages the navy operating across the Mediterranean, including Cyprus and Libya. Ships have also taken part in anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia and visited ports across the world. The navy now has a base in Qatar. Instead of relying on European and US shipbuilders, they now have the capacity to build corvettes, frigates and even destroyers. I can see a new naval project coming, although sourcing these ships is likely to be challenging! 

Friday 19 November 2021

A Viking in the Sun

 This is the second Lion Rampant supplement written in collaboration with the University of Edinburgh. It loosely follows the journeys of Harald Hardrada (more properly Harald Sigurdsson) and his fighting journey from Norway to the Byzantine Empire. Harald is better known in the UK for his failed attempt to take the English throne in 1066, but he had a much more exciting story before that.

This is the late Viking period; Harald was even a Christian! He was born sometime around 1015. Harold was forced into exile after his brother was killed at the Battle of Stiklestad 1030 and the throne seized by Cnut the Great. He took the route favoured by many Vikings before him, into Kievan Rus and then onto Constantinople. He joined the Varangian Guard around 1034.

Harald brought around 500 men with him from Rus and spent ten years fighting for the Byzantines all around the Mediterranean. These campaigns are covered in the army lists for Lion Rampant in this supplement. It also brings some optional rules that better reflect the troop types in this earlier period. I am looking forward to trying a few of these, particularly feigned retreats. Not entirely convinced by the medieval hand grenades, but I'll give them a go.

The new factions include the Varangians, Byzantines, Southern Italian Principalities, Normans and Muslim powers. These will be useful for extending Lion Rampant into other periods, as many already do. But I am sure there will be more supplements. Each faction has some special rules and limitations. 

Harald fought in Sicily and Italy as well as the Balkans, so he would have bumped into the Normans as allies and enemies. This is another of my favourite historical stories, beautifully told by John Julius Norwich. The second half of the book covers campaigns, allowing the player to link games together. Lion rampant can be played in an hour or two, so this works very well. There are three campaigns based around his fighting in the Holy Land, Sicily and Italy. There are special rules and scenarios for each campaign.

This is an excellent supplement for a set of rules I have let lapse recently. They are handy when you want a quick game, as it requires very few figures and a quick set-up. Highly recommended.

My 28mm Varangians, just the job for Harald and his lads.

And some Byzantine cavalry to cover his flanks.

The Normans popped up everywhere. Have horse and lance, will travel.

And not forgetting the Muslim armies.

I was listening to the History Hack podcast on my morning walk today. They have an entertaining interview with Georgios Theotokis about his new book on Bohemond of Taranto. Very to the point here.

Wednesday 17 November 2021

Scottish National Gallery

 I had to meet a client in the Scottish National Gallery yesterday. I hadn't visited for several years and had forgotten that there are several items of historical interest. The National Gallery houses what I would call 'proper' art'. If you want modernist spray painting and the like, there is the gallery of Modern Art.

As you enter the gallery, the largest, visually stunning painting is of King Alexander III being rescued from the fury of the stag. Alexander III ruled from 1249 to 1286, so I am not entirely sure the dress is correct. However, that isn't the point, as this was a PR effort by Clan Mackenzie after their role in the failed 1715 Jacobite uprising.

Then we have Sir John Sinclair of Ulbster, one of many paintings by the prolific Scottish painter Sir Henry Raeburn. He finished more than 1,000 paintings. Sir John is described as an 'agricultural improver'. What that really means is that he cleared people off his land and replaced them with sheep. A dark period of Scottish history is known as the clearances. He is pictured in a uniform of his own design as colonel of the Rothesay and Caithness Fencibles. Ironically a regiment that required men, not sheep!

This portrait by van Dyck is of the Lomellini family around 1625. Giacomo was the Doge of Genoa, but they had a rule against portraits to prevent personal propaganda. What would they have made of social media!

A bit of Balkan related interest with two pictures of Venice by Canaletto. Probably the most iconic images of the renaissance city.

We have to include a Scottish castle. This is Dunnottar castle near Stonehaven as it looked in 1867.

I wouldn't put the National Gallery on the list of military sites to visit in Edinburgh. But if you have the time, it is worth a look. Free admission as well.

Monday 15 November 2021

Suez Crisis 1956

 I watched the BBC drama series 'The Hour', which is set in a newsroom covering the Suez Crisis in 1956. My wife started to bombard me with questions about the events of that year, and I realised that my knowledge of the detail was limited. So, I have been reading David Charlwood's 'Suez Crisis 1965: End of Empire and the Reshaping of the Middle East', published by Pen and Sword.

This is a concise overview of the crisis with an emphasis on political and diplomatic events. It isn't a detailed military history, although that would, in any case, be a reasonably short book. British and French troops had barely landed before a ceasefire was agreed, although the Israeli Sinai campaign took a little longer.

The story that most people will know is that Egyptian President Nasser nationalised the Suez Canal. The British and French took exception, even though the treaty end was not that far off. They made some diplomatic efforts to resolve the issue before colluding with Israel to invade. The US and the Soviet Union made different threats to force a withdrawal, and the British PM Anthony Eden had to give in. He resigned soon after. Ironically, allowing Macmillan to become PM, one of the initial hawks in the Cabinet.

The book flagged up some details I didn't know.

Nasser claimed that 120,000 Egyptians died building the canal, a figure that the author doesn't challenge. It is widely quoted (including the Building Safety Journal), but others are sceptical. It totals seven deaths a day, which doesn't sound that unlikely by the shocking standards of the mid-nineteenth century but is much higher than the company medical officer's record. Of course, he isn't an objective source, but the truth is probably somewhere in-between.

I understood the US opposition, but perhaps not just how furious Eisenhower was. He was facing an election, but he was also concerned not to be drawn into what he regarded as French and British imperialist policies. It was the US refusal to cover the loss of oil supplies and dollar reserves once the canal was blocked that forced the British to give in. The Russians were obviously interested in developing their Middle East influence, even if the moral high ground is somewhat challenging when you are invading Hungary simultaneously!

I hadn't appreciated the French linkage to the conflict in Algeria. They were convinced that Nasser was helping arm the liberation movement. It was the French who initiated the secret deal with the Israelis (Sevres Protocol), creating the casus belli for the intervention. Israel saw it as an opportunity to damage the growing Egyptian threat. Many thought the Israeli mobilisation targeted Jordan, which created an interesting problem for the British, who had a treaty obligation to support Jordan.

The political fallout between the western allies didn't end at Suez. When Harold Wilson refused to support the US over Vietnam, officials reminded the US of their response to Suez. It remains the greatest rift in the 'special relationship'. 

Militarily, the campaign is not without interest. It was one of very few seriously contested amphibious landings since WW2. The Turkish intervention in Cyprus in 1974 is arguably the only other one. I have gamed the Sinai campaign in 10mm, but it was something of a walkover. 

Overall, this is an excellent overview of the crisis, well written with plenty of illustrations. 

Saturday 13 November 2021

Salute 2021

 I was at the UK's largest wargame show, Salute, in London today. I don't think I have been since 2015, which is while even allowing for the pandemic. It's usually in April, but the Warlords wisely decided to hold it later this year.

The queuing that used to be a feature of Salute has gone, with an efficient advanced ticketing system and access organisation. Much needed as typically 10,000 or so gamers turn up to the Excel centre. We passed the Star Trek convention on the way to our hall - I was disappointed not to see any Klingons!

The strength of Salute is that you get to see traders that don't make it to Scottish shows and others that you rarely see anywhere. There was a lot to see, and I had hardly got around half the show by lunchtime. With a 3:30pm train home, I had to get a move on. I used to tie a trip to Salute with a Fulham home game, but this is the international break, so I had a little more time than usual. My goodie bag has the evidence, along with the battered credit card.

My haul included more shades of olive green paint than you would have thought existed in the elusive search for the Turkish Army 1974 shade. I now have at least 5 new bottles to try, along with a similar number of spray cans. An airbrush would be cheaper! Plus brushes and sundry other bits and pieces of terrain. Not a lot of figures, although I gave in to some lovely Northumbrian Tin Soldier figures, including their new range of fighting cats. Our cat Razzy better look out! Plus a few late-war American vehicles that will work for my Turks.

Salute is not a great showcase for games, and that was certainly the case this year. In fact, there were a lot of empty tables, some with club names on them, which implies a no show. The best was probably the Stalingrad game.

Per's Poltava in 6mm was visually effective in showing the great Russian victory, even if I find 6mm hard work.

After those two, the rest were modest. Pirates were a strong theme for the participation games.

I liked this old school wars in India game and a tribute to Stuart Asquith.

This WW2 Battle of Britain game was simple, but looked fun to play.

Good to see folk are still playing A Very British Civil War. I must dust down my figures.

And Trump Apocolypse was inevitable sooner or later!

The Mexican revolution is always popular, and this was at a bigger scale.

Retreat to the Dnieper August 1943

The painting competitions were light on entires, but I thought this German 222 was good.

And finally, we had a Hurricane and a Spitfire. I do like Hurricane.

I am glad I made the effort. Fitted in some research in the British Library the previous day as well. Thanks to the Warlords for organising.

Tuesday 9 November 2021

The Last Muslim Conquest

 This is Gábor Ágoston’s new book on the Ottoman Empire and its wars in Europe. This is a narrative history of the Ottomans from their emergence to what he calls the wars of exhaustion against the Venetians and Habsburgs in the 18th century. While the subject matter is not new, he draws on the latest research, destroying a few long-standing myths in the process.

The first of those myths is that the Ottomans were simply holy warriors or Ghazis, forcing the boundaries of Islam. A theory promulgated by the Austrian Ottomanist Paul Wittek in the 1930s. While religion was an important driver, the Ottomans were pragmatic as they incorporated the polyglot and multiethnic societies on their borders and their administrative systems. Byzantine aristocratic families—the Komnenoi, Tornikoi, Gabrades, and Mavrozomai, became members of the Seljuk nobility. Greeks worked in the Seljuk administration, while the Byzantine emperors hired Turkish troops. The emperors also launched joint military campaigns with the Seljuks against other rivals. There were also many aspects of a shared culture and language.

Three of the four most famous Ottoman marcher lord dynasties—the Evrenosoğulları, Mihaloğulları, and Malkoçoğulları (the Sons of Evrenos, Mihal, and Malkoç/the Serbian Malković family), were of Christian origin. However, a conquest that did not start as a ghaza became one over time. Such an approach is a reminder that an emphasis on Ottoman pragmatism, flexibility, inclusiveness, and political shrewdness should not overshadow the importance of religious fervour in the early Ottoman society. 

The Ottomans became a naval power more quickly than many realised. They turned Gallipoli into a maritime base and a naval arsenal, building on the existing Byzantine dockyards. Their use of Gallipoli as a springboard for raids in Europe demonstrated a significant difference between the Ottomans and the other Turkish emirs in Asia Minor. Ágoston spends some time explaining the Ottoman administrative structures and finances, which was an essential part of their success, and how they reined in the marcher lords. Their marriage strategy reminds us that the Ottoman conquest was not just about military force. 

While the Ottomans usually eliminated the royal dynasties and aristocracies of the conquered lands after a victory, they tried to win over the lesser nobility by granting them military prebends (timars). Christian timariot sipahis, voynuks, and martoloses significantly augmented the Ottomans’ military strength and provided essential manpower in southeastern Europe while contributing tactical diversity and geographical knowledge of enemy lands. Even by 1520, Christians constituted 82% of the Balkan households. 

It has been argued that the Ottomans failed to adopt new military technologies. However, from the 1420s onwards, they were on par with western Europe. This included the use of light cannons and firearms. By the second half of the fifteenth century, the combined use of field artillery, arquebus infantry, and the tabur had become a decisive factor in Ottoman battlefield victories.

By the 16th century, the strains on the Empire were beginning to show. More salaried troops took over from the timar system, while the Janissaries fighting potential was diluted. Whereas the salaried troops constituted only about 20–25% of Süleyman’s armies, their share rose to 40–50% by 1697–98. Conversely, while in the early 16th century, the timariot provincial cavalry accounted for 60–75% of the Ottoman combat forces, their proportion had dropped to 10–15% by the late 1690s.

There are many more insights like this as the story unfolds. While this is primarily about the wars in Europe, the campaigns in the East are not ignored. Particularly in the context of examining overall Ottoman strategy. This is an important book on the Ottomans, drawing on archival research with plenty of data and maps to back up his arguments. While at 688 pages, this is not a short read; it is accessible in style and price to the general reader. If you want to hear more, the author gives an interesting interview on the New Books Network.

An excellent excuse to dig out some Ottoman v Habsburg wargame figures as well.

Thursday 4 November 2021

Cyprus 1974 remembered

 On 20 July 1974, the Turkish armed forces landed at Pentemilli (Five Mile Beach) near the village of Karanoglanoglu, as it is called today, after the colonel of the 50 Infantry Regiment who died there. The beachhead was secured, and the Turkish forces just about held off counterattacks from the Greek National Guard before being reinforced. 

This is landing beach today. The first thing that strikes the visitor is how small it is.

Inland, Turkish militia held the strategic Kyrenia Pass and territory towards Nicosia known as the Turkish Triangle. They were reinforced by Turkish airborne forces brought in by parachutes and helicopters. Lacking heavy weapons, they also struggled against Greek counterattacks until they were reinforced by armour coming off the beachhead. Both incursions relied heavily on Turkish air superiority. After a short truce broke down, the second phase of the operation resulted in Turkish forces reaching their objectives along the line that divides the island to this day. 

The best book on the operation is by Ed Erickson and Mesut Uyar, Phase Line Attila. For an excellent analysis of the amphibious operation, I recommend Güvenç, S & Uyar, M, On Contested Shores: Chapter 17: Against All Odds: Turkish Amphibious Operation in Cyprus, 20-23 July 1974 (Marine Corps University Press, 2020). Both are available as free downloads.  

The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) remembers 1974 in a series of memorials and museums. I visited a number of them during my trip to Cyprus. The starting point should be the Peace and Liberty Museum at Karanoglanoglu. The usual Cyprus health warning, do not expect objectivity in Turkish or Greek museums on this subject!

The small indoor museum was closed, but there is an outdoor section with an excellent collection of Greek National Guard armour, captured or knocked out during the fighting.

The T34/85 was the main tank deployed by the Greek National Guard.

3 Ton Gaz-63 trucks. Some carried the 106mm RCL.

British 25pdr field gun

Not quite sure what this is, but I suspect it is a TS APC used by the Assault Company of 21 EAN.  They were initially bought to transport the SA-2 SAM. Otherwise, it is an improvised AFV.

These are labelled as Dingos. But I think they are Marmon Herrington Mk IVF armoured cars.

BTR-152VI APC. The primary National Guard carrier.

Above the beach, there is a Turkish Navy landing craft. I assume it has been renumbered for the memorial.

The Karaoglanoglu Martyrs Memorial includes the monumental tombs of 8 officers, 5 sergeants and 58 soldiers who died here in 1974. The column behind symbolises the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot soldiers, with the gap in between symbolising a window to the Fatherland (Turkey).

In the mountains above the coast near St Hilarion Castle, there is a monument to Turkish and Cypriot soldiers who died fighting near there.

The Kyrenia Pass today is a modern dual carriageway, but in 1974 it was a narrow road. The battle for the pass is symbolised by this memorial.

The 287 Turkish and 26 TMT troops who died in battles in the Turkish Triangle north of Nicosia are commemorated in a huge memorial at Bogaz Sehitligi.

In Lefkosa (North Nicosia), there is the Turkish National Struggle Museum (Milli Mucadele Muzesi). This reflects the intercommunal violence before 1974 with a predictable focus on Greek atrocities. There are graphic photographs, artwork, newspaper reports, and a collection of weapons.

Outside the museum, there is a collection of TMT improvised AFVs and heavy weapons.

The Greek National Struggle Museum in Lefkosia (South Nicosia) has very little about 1974. Instead, it focuses on the resistance to British rule that led to independence in 1960. Predictably, this has a very different take on the island's history. This information board summarises their case.

Perhaps the most effective visual in the museum is on the top floor. I assume the photos are of those sentenced to hang by the British, although most were commuted and nine were hanged between May 1956 and March 1957. Their graves are inside the central prison, known as the imprisoned graves.

The city maps do refer to the National Guard Commando Museum, but that is now a shop. I understand that there are plans to open a new National Guard Museum, and the exhibits are in store. This means that the remembrance of 1974 is more than a little one-sided, but they do say that history is written by the winners.

If you are in any doubt that you have entered a different country when crossing the border, this TRNC flag on the mountains is the size of six football pitches!