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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
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Friday 27 October 2023

Ripped Apart - The Cyprus Conflict 1963-1974

 My latest book will be no surprise to anyone following my wargaming over the past year. Ripped Apart provides a richly illustrated account of the military history of Cyprus between independence from Britain and the events of 1964. Volume 1 examines the local military build-up and a series of armed clashes that shook the island in 1964 and lays much of the background to the events that would follow in the 1970s. There will be two further volumes, one dealing with the conflicts of the late 1960s and then a final volume on the Turkish intervention in 1974. All published by Helion Books.

The hard copies arrived yesterday. While digital has its place, I like to leaf through the hard copies of my work.

I focused on the Turkish armed forces and their operations, while my co-writer Dimitris Vassilopoulos focused on the Greek operations. Tom Cooper did the introduction and filled in the gaps. He also did most of the fantastic artwork, although I did persuade the aircraft buffs that some AFVs were required as well! The flyboys are all very well, but wars are won by boots on the ground 😂.

I emphasise 'focus on' because neither of us is writing from a Greek or Turkish perspective. If you want nationalist polemic, this is not the book for you. There are plenty of books that do that from either side. You can usually tell because so much text is in capital letters! 

In this volume, you get a generous introduction to Greek and Turkish history because the Cyprus conflict has to be put in the context of Greek-Turkish relations over a long time period. Then, chapters on the Hellenic and Turkish armed forces of the period. There is a chapter on the history of Cyprus followed by a description of the important British bases on the island and NATO bases in Greece and Turkey. These all had an important role in the conflict, and there are many British veterans who served on Cyprus, which continue to this day. I learned a lot from the archives about how British policy in relation to the bases developed and how they responded to Greek and Turkish interventions. Finally, we cover the operations on land, sea and air during the first crisis in 1963-64. 

I have been painting up some additional units recently to expand my armies back to 1964. I mostly use 20mm for this period, and there is a dedicated page on this blog for the wargaming aspects and some further reading.

Our midweek game scenario was the road to Kokkina. This was a vital harbour for smuggling weapons to the Turkish resistance organisation, the TMT. The Greek National Guard tried to capture the harbour and would probably have succeeded had it not been for the intervention of the Turkish Air Force. That is how the game played out, with the superior Greek numbers and artillery starting to break into the TMT defences, when eventually, the air support arrived to devastating effect.

The figures come from several ranges, including Elheim, SHQ, Liberation and EWM. Mostly from WW2 British Mediterranean ranges as that was how the student volunteers mostly looked like if a little less well equipped. I will be adding some more Liberation figures for those in civilian dress. The Marmon Herrington armoured car is from Butlers. The F-100C Super Sabre is from PM Model, an easily put-together model, which is robust enough for wargaming. It also comes with the early Turkish decals. 

Anyway, I hope that sparks some interest in what I think is a fascinating period.

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