By Rob Morgan
I often encounter odd items which are of interest to other wargamers — we all do, but for the most part they go unrecorded, the information lost rather than passed on. I’m not suggesting that the SWA should, or even could, create what one or two of the much larger, and far more affluent — and narrower-based — groups and societies produce: an annual compendium of books, articles and material on its interest. Ours is far too large a matter for that. But it is useful to all of us when we as members actually share what we encounter, or even are “desperately seeking!” In that case, since you ask, I’m looking for a 1/600th scale ACW warship USS Galena, and a CSS Baltic in the same scale. No? Ah, well.
(A related question, please: I can’t find any manufacturer in 1/600th who makes any of the following American Civil War vessels — USS Galena, USS Ozark, and USS Osage, and the uncompleted CSS Mobile. Someone in the US might make them.)
I found myself in a corner of the old library the other evening, waiting for my lift home. I had the chance to scan shelves I rarely look at, and found a number of magazines on “classical matters.” One of them, MINERVA, looked interesting. Published in English, in the UK with a “world-wide” distribution, the cover of the newest issue attracted me. I found myself looking through the pile of recent issues, one or two of which had useful material. In the May/June 2010 issue, there’s a splendid article, pages 16-19, entitled “Ship of the People.” Written by James Beresford, this is a very readable, illustrated, short appraisal of the Greek trireme, the super-weapon of the ancient world
There are a couple of points worth noting on the narrowness and light construction of Athenian warships, which meant that only four bowmen and ten marine hoplites could be carried on the top deck. It also meant, says the writer, that the hoplites were trained to throw javelins from a sitting position in order not to rock the boat! There’s a serious hands-on piece of practical research for re-enactors there. Beresford also mentions a book I’ve not seen, but he regards as being of value, “Lords of the Sea” by John Hale ( Viking Press 2009). Might be worth looking out for.