Review of Wally Simon’s WWII Wargame Design

Rich Barbuto reviews another in the series of reprints of Wally Simon’s wargaming ideas: “Wally Simon’s WWII Secrets of Wargame Design, Volume 7.”

It’s on the Reviews page.

Posted in Periods - World War II | Leave a comment

A prison hulk model

By Rob Morgan

An unusual choice of wargame model, I’ll admit. However, the Airfix small scale (undetermined, but it will “fit” in with 1/600th or 1/700th models) kit of HMS Victory has some unusual potential.

I decided to make a prison hulk, or depot ship, or accommodation ship, take your choice, out of one I had acquired at a discount price in the Oxfam shop.

Simple  job (very). I cut it down to the waterline, and based the model. Notice the buoy at the front of the base; the old ship’s anchored. Adding just one  truncated mast amidships, I could have added two, or all three, of course, but chose not to. I replaced the original bowsprit with a new one, 25mm long.

You will notice that along the deck, there are some structures. There are five of them. All are taken from a Monopoly set. There’s an hotel in the foreground, just to remind you. I simply cemented them on the deck at suitable places and sprayed matt dark earth as an undercoat.

I haven’t finished this model yet, but will paint the sides matt black, maybe a single yellow, or red, strake or two along the sides. The deck “huts” will remain brown with some corticene-coloured roofs, deep brick red or grey. I’m intending to add a couple of very light guns, from the Tumbling Dice range on the surviving fighting top, and a big ensign at the stern on a pin. I could add some stem to stern rigging, perhaps with signal flags along it. I haven’t decided yet.

What I’ll have when I’ve finished is a suitable harbor target for a solo wargame set sometime between 1860 and 1890. Maybe with a few torpedo boats, or a destroyer or two. Gunboats perhaps, an attack on a defended anchorage, with an armed breakwater or shore batteries.

If this is a depot ship or accommodation ship, then the target is to kill an enemy commander or to destroy much of the opposing fleet’s manpower at one blow. If she’s a prison hulk, maybe a more complicated game would be to board her and rescue the lads imprisoned there.

Makes a change.

Posted in Naval gaming, Solo wargaming | Leave a comment

Review of Hotwheels Tie Fighter model

Jonathan Aird likes the Hotwheels Tie Fighter model, especially since the price is now reduced.

His review is on the Reviews page.

Posted in Periods - Science fiction | Leave a comment

Review of ‘Panther vs. T-34’ (Osprey)

Rob Morgan reviews one of Osprey’s Duel series, this one a comparison between the Russian T-34 and the German Panther.

It’s on the Ospreys at a Glance page.

Posted in Periods - World War II | Leave a comment

A sample article for April

This month’s sample article from previous Lone Warrior issues is “Ridge Line Reconnaissance,” by Kevin White.

The article describes a solo game in which the player is the reconnoitering side and the unknown enemy is controlled by dice rolls.

It’s on the Sample Articles page.

Posted in Periods - World War II, Solo wargaming | Leave a comment

‘War Machine’ magazine

By Rob Morgan

For me, the 1980s were a lean time, as a wargamer. Marriage, the kids, promotion, moving house, again, all took a toll of my interests. That’s why I didn’t buy War Machine, the 25-page themed magazine from Orbis Publishers. It was only 80 pence, but it passed me by, at least until I began to come across second-hand copies in book shops and in the hands of other wargamers. My collection now only stands at around 35 or so, but they are very, very useful ‘starts’ in terms of research. I can often dip into one and find something which will provide an odd, unusual weapon, or maybe suggest that a country I didn’t expect used a particular AFV or field gun. Like War Machine No. 118, on ‘Flamethrowers of WWII.’ The article gives details and a decent photo of a  Red Army static flamethrower used during ‘Operation Barbarossa,’ the Ampulenjot 1941 System Kartukov.’ The details in the magazine text make it easy to model an example in 15mm scale, and it’s unusual enough to provide a boost for a beleaguered Soviet base. It’s not unlike the British Northover Projector, a weapon for urgent desperate defence rather than a long-term piece of ordnance.

Plenty of useful information in No. 10, on ‘Railway Guns and Armoured Trains.’ Another favourite is Number 76, on ‘War Rockets of WWII.’ As an ordnance ‘geek,’ I loved the Hedgerow rocket device, a variant of the naval Hedgehog, used in Normandy (where’s the wargames scale model?) and the late war ‘Land Mattress’(?) … ditto! And, what about the LILO, an anti-bunker rocket of substantial power. I tried scratch-building one with little luck. Page 1507 of this issue deals with Japanese  artillery rockets, and what a wargames subject this could be! A topic worthy of an Osprey title.

The warship issues are magnificent. Number 140 is on ‘Commerce Raiders of WWI’, and there are issues dealing with most of the warship types of the century, from battleships to spy ships, all with plenty of potential. Model ship makers seem to have missed out the spy ships en masse, and the Soviet Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin would be the pride of any table top fleet!

The 143 subject issues, number 144 was the Index, are not all known to me. In fact, I don’t know of a list of the titles or subjects of each one, beyond what I own, and the information given in the ‘forthcoming issues note’ in many of them. I don’t suppose any member could furnish a list 1 to 143?

Posted in Wargaming | Leave a comment

A trip to Shiloh

By George Arnold

I recently had occasion to travel to Memphis, Tennessee, to visit family and decided to leave a day early and drive 120 miles beyond Memphis and take in the Shiloh battlefield as a side trip.

I’d been to Shiloh before, but it was many years ago. I wanted to refresh my memory of the geography of the place and spend a leisurely day driving and walking the battlefield.

The Battle of Shiloh was a key engagement in the second year of the American Civil War. It occurred on April 6-7, 1862, when Confederate forces led by General Albert Sydney Johnston surprised the Federal Army of the Tennessee under the command of General U.S. Grant. Grant’s army was encamped near Pittsburg Landing on the Tennessee River, with the army’s camps extending from the landing south about two miles to include a log church named the Shiloh (place of peace) Meeting House.

Although surprised by Johnston’s attack, elements of the Union army put up a stiff resistance. Then, driven back almost to the landing itself by nightfall, Grant was reinforced through the night with the timely arrival of General Don Carlos Buell’s Union Army of the Ohio. On the following day, fresh Union troops counter-attacked the disorganized Confederates — Johnston had been killed on the first day — and drove them from the field. What had begun as a potentially overwhelming Confederate victory had turned into a clear defeat for the Rebels.

The battlefield is located in south Tennessee, on the western bank of the Tennessee River, about 20 miles north of Corinth, Mississippi, a major rail hub of the Confederacy and the original objective of Grant’s and Buell’s armies. The battlefield is “out in the country” and the nearest town of any size is Savannah, Tennessee, on the opposite side of the river, about 10 miles from Shiloh itself.






Above is the sign at the main entrance to the park.

Continue reading

Posted in Periods - American Civil War | 4 Comments

War on the Great Lakes 1812, from ‘Mariner’s Mirror’

By Rob Morgan

Mariner’s Mirror really is a learned publication which provides, and regularly, excellent material for the naval and combined ops wargamer. The current issue, Volume 103, No. 1, for February 2017 contains an interesting, valuable article entitled ‘Zeal, Intelligence and Intrepidity,’ which deals with ‘irregular’ naval warfare on the Great Lakes of North America in the War of 1812.

This is sound stuff. Written by Cdr. B.J.Armstrong USN, it covers in a dozen pages, operations involving raiding and broader maritime security. It’s made for the wargamer. There’s a brief overview of the Great Lakes theatre, followed by an introductory account of gunboat raiding along the St. Lawrence, while the footnotes and Bibliography indicate that there is a wealth of information available to develop an understanding of this aspect of the war much further. Plenty of scenarios appear!

The article goes on to introduce naval raiding ashore, mainly from the American perspective. British small-unit actions during the war are also covered, and in some detail. There’s a mention of ‘cutting out’ operations, which are a seriously neglected form of naval wargaming, but are to be found in the pages of C.S.Forester’s Hornblower’ novels in much greater wargamer-friendly detail.

Armstrong ends with an excellent evaluation of the naval ‘irregular’ campaigns and raids in the overall War, and suggests its effects on US naval developments during the 19th century. A Bibliography of some 40 volumes and papers, some of which will be well known to American readers, ends this splendid contribution to the journal.

I’m reminded that Don Featherstone’s landmark ‘Naval Wargames’ contains a very decent period lake small craft battle on pages 201-204, and of course in the UK Rod Langton Miniatures produce a group of sixteen 1/1200th sloops, galleys, gunboats and other vessels intended for this campaign, but American readers may know of some suitable vessels in a larger wargames scale. Irregular Miniatures do produce 1/300th canoes and rowing boats which could easily be converted for the purpose of raiding, and one or two other ranges, such as ‘Tumbling Dice’ have craft which could easily be converted for the Great Lakes War.

Posted in Periods - Napoleonic | Leave a comment

Coming soon: Lone Warrior No. 198

The latest issue of Lone Warrior magazine, No. 198, is expected to be delivered in the next few days. Here’s an early look at the contents:

  • “Damn the Torpedoes! Fast Play WW2 Naval Rules,” by Kevin White. Some simple rules for naval gaming, including several charts and markers.
  • “Mount Badon Refought — Eight Times,” by Paul Le Long. Fighting the same battle with different rule sets provides some unexpected insights.
  • “Review of ‘Byzantine Naval Forces 1261-1461′” by Rob Morgan. A thorough review of an Osprey Men-at-Arms title.
  • “Role Playing Scavenger Hunt Questions,” by Preston Shah. A quiz for enthusiasts of role-playing games. With answers elsewhere in this issue.
  • “Trying Out Some Reaction Tests,” by George Arnold. Plugging in reaction tests to some home-brew rules runs into problems.
  • “The Dictionary of Imaginary Places,” by Rob Morgan. A look at a 1980 book with 440 pages of names and maps from a broad swath of fantasy literature.
  • “A Tale of Seven (Unpainted) Samurai (Armies),” by David Newport. A chronicle of trying over and over to collect Samurai figures.
  • “”Spy Story’ and War Games,” by Rob Morgan. Remembering a Len Deighton novel that features wargaming.
  • “Gettysburg,” By George Knapp and Rich Barbuto. The rules and set-up for a convention-style (multi-player) game featuring the American Civil War’s pivotal battle. With thoughts on converting the game to solo.

All that, plus the usual assortment of color photos, maps, charts and markers. Watch for it!

Posted in Latest issue of LW | Leave a comment

A sample article for March

This month’s sample article from past pages of Lone Warrior magazine is a science fiction game write-up from Jonathan Aird, featuring characters from the Dr. Who series.

It’s on the Sample Articles page.

Posted in Periods - Science fiction | Leave a comment