By Rob Morgan
It’s a touch on the miserable side here as I write this, and so I’m catching up with some of my late Winter reading. Currently, reading in support of my occasional wargaming, includes one of those ‘bits and pieces’ books which make a wargamer’s life easier. ‘War on the Eastern Front 1941-45’ by James Lucas, was first published (by Macdonald & Janes) about 40 years ago, and I picked up my copy in a second-hand bookshop, and, as usual for me, ‘reasonably priced.’ It’s subtitled ‘The German Soldier in Russia’, but it deals with the OstFront campaigns right up to the capture of Berlin.
It’s 28 short chapters, each dealing with a small aspect of the war, from the Nazi point of view, of course, and provides endless scenarios, and small actions, ideas for games and tactics to suit any World War II wargamer active in the East. One I must look to create is ‘The last days of tank destruction unit DORA II in Brandenburg during April 1945,’ a short five-page tale of action which cries out to be replayed, and is ideal for the skirmish gamer! No win, naturally. I can slip a good 25mm late WWII Wehrmacht modelling point in here. The headed pins which come in shirt packaging, if cut to 12mm long, make damn good panzerfausts, you’ll need loads of them if you recreate DORA II!
Other superb short items are ‘A platoon of SP guns in action against the Soviet thrust to capture Rzhev, Autumn 1942.’ If you own a group of Stugs, this is for you. ‘To Moscow by Horse,’ dealing with the miseries of the cavalry, also has something to offer as a game — apparently there were more horses in the Axis armies invading the USSR in 1941, than there were in Bonaparte’s army! There are notes on adapting to Winter warfare, on Partisans and how to fight them, on the influence of terrain and climate on war and weapons, and an excellent one on anti-tank weapons and tactics. Nothing in this book is wasted on the WWII wargamer. It’s unusual for me to say I couldn’t put it down, but it really does come to that.