A charming old Hinchcliffe Model video.

 

This video appeared in my feed so I thought I’d share it. Three reasons…

 

1- a nice bit of gaming/ modelling history.

2- shows you how they do white metal casting in a way that still hasn’t changed.

3- It is local: I grew up in the next village over. Although I was yet to be born when this was filmed.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

VCOW- Virtual Conference of Wargamers.

This last weekend I attended the Virtual Conference of Wargamers, organised by Wargames Developments. The usual format is a 3 day/ 2 night residential that has obviously been cancelled due to COVID-19. Although I’ve been a member of WD variously over the years I’ve never, for logistical and financial reasons mainly, managed to attend their yearly get together. But this years I could attend some sessions remotely.

 

I couldn’t make any of the Friday sessions so sadly missed the plenary lecture by Peter Perla but Saturday morning saw me participate in a virtual TEWT, Tactical Exercise Without Troops, based on the English Civil War Battle of Crepedy, run by John Curry from the UIniversity of Bath. It was very interesting to see the ground from eye level to plan a battle rather than the usual bird’s eye view of the table top. Gave me lots to think about for my own games.

I also listened to a couple of lectures, one deliverd by Professor Gary Sheffield from my old alma mater University of Wolverhampton, on the links between history and wargaming in his own career. This was followed by Graham Longley-Brown on his work on Defence and Recreational Gaming, including an overview of his work as a professional wargamer. Both were very interest and thought provoking, with my academic hat on however, I would have quibbled a couple of the points….

In the evening I got the chance to take part in a stripped down professional game that has been run for various US govt. agencies exploring US/Japan/China  naval confrontation in the imminent future. A fascinating glimpse of how things are done, I like think of myself as fairly up to date on military tech matters but I realise I do have a bit of a hole when it comes to naval systems.

On Sunday morning John Curry presented again, this time it was looking at his experimental archaelogy in storming a castle. This research forms part of his upcoming book on medieval history and wargaming. Very interesting and the experiments, sadly undocumented, sounded great fun, seemingly done some years ago before health ands safety got too onerous.

Sunday afternoon continued with accounts of lockdown gaming activities before being finished off with WD’s AGM.

 

All in all it was great fun and makes me really keen to attend the actual event next year when it resumes.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

 

Clausewitz’s library

Being book obsessed I do like a good article on other people’s books, not what they wrote themselves necessarily but what they own(ed).

 

Therefore when I found this article I was all over it…:

 

https://thestrategybridge.org/the-bridge/2018/8/6/clausewitzs-library-strategy-politics-and-poetry

 

Interesting stuff… plenty of leads to follopw up to get into the thinking of one of the more influential thinkers in military history.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

A new look at the Battle of Kursk.

A bit back Bill of Under Fire sent me this news article that he had found:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-48963295

I looked for the journal article that it mentioned, and at the time of writting, it is available for free here:

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/16161262.2019.1606545 (just click on the PDF tab) which is always nice to see as so much academic work is hidden behind rather expensive paywalls most of the time.

It is definately worth taking the time to download and read if you have the slightest interest in the Eastern Front of WW2. I will flag up a few quick points though…

Although the Germans are now believed to have lost signaficantly less tanks than previously, although I don’t think the attritional strategy suggested by the author would have worked in the slightest: the economic output of the Germans was dwarfed by that of the allies. Even for the duration of the summer I don’t think it could have forestalled the Soviet offensive, leaving aside the human cost the Soviet materiel losses were replaceable.*

The battle was still an operational defeat (the salient was not reduced) and a strategic defeat as the Nazi forces never regained the initiative on the eastern front for the rest of the war.

For those of us who like to play wargaming campaigns with our tanks it does seem that retaining possession of the battlefield at the end of an encounter, thus allowing you to recover/repair as many tanks as possible, mitigates the majority of losses as relatively few tanks that are knocked out in combat are reduced to flaming wrecks. That is definately something to factor into future games.

The strength of the SS divisions vis a vie the Whermacht ones, far stronger, nearly twice as big in some cases. Whilst the early SS formations suffered from a paucity of equipment by this stage it seems clear that that trend had been reversed.

I hope you have found that of interest and if you read the articles and have any comments I’d love to hear them.

Cheers,

Pete.

* Some rough numbers to argue my case. The Panze IV, Sherman and T34 are roughly comparable. Between 1939-45 the Nazis made 9000 Pz IVs, between 1940- 45 about 50,000 T34s were made, in slightly less time (1942-45) about 50,000 Shermans were made.