By Rob Morgan
I took this snapshot at Pegasus Bridge in Normandy. The original bridge has been replaced with a wider replica, and the original sits in the middle of one of the glider landing fields close to the River Orne. There are a number of relics of the battle, as well as a sizeable museum complete with a Horsa Glider, and this weapon.
It’s a US-manufactured Maxson Mount, 4x.50 heavy Browning machine guns on a remarkable powered mounting. I first encountered this weapon when Matchbox issued their M16 Half-Track with Maxson in 1/72nd scale, what 40 years ago? It complemented the Airfix M3 well, and I bought three. One ended up ‘Lend-Lease’ to my wargame Red Army, one was captured, and mounted on a GMC truck, and the third’s still in the box.
What a superb weapon this was. Not a huge calibre 12.7mm, but a very powerful A/A and ground fire combination. Fully electrically powered, the gunner sat inside the guns, and each ammunition box held 200 rounds, with a very high rate of fire, and a ceiling of about 3,000 feet. It was truly capable of all-round fire. I believe many of them served well after World War II ended (even in Vietnam possibly) , while examples were provided to countries like Brazil and Israel. The mounting shown here has a compact and business-like look to it. I’ve often wondered why the Maxson didn’t find its way onto MTB’s or light warships. Perhaps it did.
A pity about all those marvellous and unusual Matchbox kits. The designers and manufacturers avoided the trap of duplicating what Airfix, then first in the field, had already made, and somehow ‘topped-up’ the 1/72nd military model market. Mind you, Matchbox did produce a splendid MkV Panther that was straightforward to build and wicked looking, easily displacing the frail, complex Airfix model of a decade before.
This month’s sample article from Lone Warrior is titled “Battles in the Hyborean Age” by James Davis, in which he describes how reading some Robert E. Howard stories reinvigorated his own gaming.
It’s on the Sample Articles page.
Here’s an article from the blog’s archives, written by Kevin White back in April 2012. In it, Kevin discusses his personal experiences with wargaming from a young age and specifically how and why he began solo gaming. Kevin’s article is timeless and well worth a re-read.
Take a look here to find “Billy No-Mates: A Soloist Speaks Up.”
Rob Morgan likes this HaT set of figures and finds a number of ways that they can be useful in gaming.
It’s on the Reviews page.
By Rob Morgan
In several of the diverse publications, newsletters and the few e-blogs, etc., for which I write, members regularly send in news of the publication of articles specific to the relevant field of interest. Castle and ordnance enthusiasts are particularly keen on this activity. They actually publish annual bibliographies, so why aren’t we so keen to exchange information? Admittedly, articles on solo gaming are less frequently published than we could hope for, but they do crop up in all sorts of places.
The other day, I was wading through my old copies of Practical Wargamer, arguably the best broad-church wargames magazine ever published, looking for notes on Lepanto, and noticed a surprising number of solo scenario articles over just a few years. That’s what brought this to mind. In fact PW had as editor Stuart Asquith who was clearly tuned in to the solo gaming world. I found a handful of scenarios which I copied and will try, and like many solo games, they will transpose to other eras with little difficulty. A surprising number of these solitaire scenarios were written by Graham Harrison, who might well be, or have been, one of SWA’s members. A few are worth mentioning, as they are likely to be of interest to many readers. In September 1993, Graham produced an excellent solo game on Braddock’s 1775 defeat in the American colonies, while in February 1999, he provided a set of skirmish rules of immense value. My favourite from that pen, however, came in July 1997, when he wrote “St. Radu’s Finger,” a C15th Holy Roman Empire adventure. Stuart himself often dipped in, and in November 1993’s issue there was a substantial solo game based on the Sudan in 1884, with gunboat!
Other journals sometimes provided a solo effort, like Battle! as long ago as November 1978, which came up with a single-page “Commando Raid: France 1943” by F.J. Taylor, a short one-player game which has few equals in print. I’ll stop there, but no doubt others will know of similar solo games from other publications.
Here’s another entry for the Complete Rule Sets page. These rules are by Bob Stewart and involve a search of a mummy’s tomb. It’s all played out with simple rules — suitable for play with the kiddos — and uses simple counters (coins) and decks of cards.
Click on the blue link above to get to the rules.
By Rob Morgan
This summer, staying in the walled medieval town of Dinan in Brittany, I had the opportunity to wander around some of the medieval-oriented bookshops and, in a tiny courtyard shop found a range of postcards, all with medieval military themes.
The cards are produced by Patrick Dallanegra and there are some 35 in all, of very high quality indeed and are marketed under the title Les Coulers de ‘Histoire. They come in sets of six or eight but, in fact, always seem to be sold singly in the shops and historical sites I’ve visited, between 1 and 3 Euros in price. There are cards of the Crusader Orders, and of armoured individuals for time-specific periods, for example 1170, 1390 and 1465. Cards representing individuals, William of Normandy, Joan of Arc and the ubiquitous Breton hero Bertrand du Guesclin among them. Each card has captions naming weapons, i.e. mace, two-handed sword and various parts of the armour worn Shields and distinctions are also shown.
The web site shows some figures but I haven’t seen them and can’t specifically work out scale. There are posters of medieval warfare too, but here is shown one of the cards I bought — a Teutonic knight from around the time of the great defeat at Tannenberg.
Worth looking out for, but it doesn’t seem that there is a British supplier for what is a specifically French product. Is there an American supplier?
The web site: www.patrickdellanegra.fr.
This month’s sample article from past issues of Lone Warrior magazine is an old one, from 1988!
It’s by long-time contributor Marvin Scott and has notes and suggestions for gaming the Northfield, Minnesota, bank raid by the James and Younger gangs.
It’s on the Sample Articles page.
By Rob Morgan
Sorting through some ancient videotapes, destined for disposal, I found, along with the kids’ “Postman Pat” and”My Little Pony,” a long forgotten and damaged tape. In my own barely legible hand it reads….
“A Game of War” 1997
- Naseby. 2 …”
That’s it! The recording, undoubtedly made at home over 20 years ago, can’t be played again, so it’s down to memory. I think that this was a group of wargamers playing out the English Civil War battle with 25mm figures, but can’t recall who the others were. It must have been a series of battles, and for some reason Waterloo and Agincourt come to mind, but little else.
Does anyone else remember this series? Can anyone fill in a gap or two? It must have been one of the last wargame representations shown on TV, not that there were ever that many.
Here’s another addition to the rules page: Kevin White’s rules for aerial combat in World War I.
They’re on the Complete Rule Sets page.