Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sarajevo - The Riots 28-29 June

Riots soon started first in Sarajevo on the 28th and latter spreading throughout the empire wherever Serb nationals could be found. While loss of life was minimal damage was extensive to Serbian businesses, schools and cultural centers.

Riots continued the next day with the Croats and Muslims joining with the general population of the anti-Serbian rioters.

It is hard to see their being so much support amongst the people for the Archduke or if the other minorities did not want to appear to be seen supporting the Serbs. Looting and destruction was allowed for the first two days. The riots ended with Governor Potiorek declaring a state of siege in Sarajevo and marshal law in the province.  The removal of the body of the Archduke that evening also aided in reducing the strife on the streets of Sarajevo.

This was a reactionary riot led by the Catholic Church under Archbishop Štadler and the government under Governor Potiorek. Rioters were directed and the police and army stood back for two days.

While the proof for the blame of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand was limited both than and now the path was clear for Austria to lay the blame on Serbia.

By the end of the 29th, the Austria-Hungary Secretary of the Legation at Belgrade sent a dispatch to Vienna suggesting Serbian complicity in the crime of Sarajevo.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

It Now Begins - 28th June 1914

It was only hundred years ago, well within many family collective memories when Gavrilo Princip shot the heir of the Austro-Hungarian throne and his wife in Sarajevo.

Today is the start of commemoration for one of the greatest events in the annals of history. Do you disagree? Can you think of any other more pivotal shot in the history of man? This is arguably more important than “The Shot Heard Around the World” or the shot that killed Presidents Lincoln or Kennedy.

We have seen this week reports from around the world covering, debating or reporting from the street in Sarajevo.  These reports come from the BBC, NPR and the WSJ.

While the deaths of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie were not preordained, their Europe was a powder keg. The arms race both at sea and on land made Europe more heavily armed than at any point in recent history. This was due to the industrialization of both great and small powers in Europe. Arms manufactures were more than willing to sell to all before the start of the war. What was needed was a spark and it happened on 28 June 1914.

If you disagree ask what caused the boundaries for the Balkans, Middle East, Central Asia or Africa? What caused the nationalist movements in North Africa and the Middle East today (or in the 1920s, 30s, and 40s)? What of a Communist Russia or the dark writers of the 1920s and 30s? They are related to The Great War, which started today back a hundred years.

What can you do? You have well over a four years to follow along. Look up a good book on the subject of your choice. There are battles, woman issues, technology and human-interest pieces. Need a choice, start with Max Hastings, Catastrophe: Europe Goes to War 1914. Check out your local museum and historical society, I am certain their will on going exhibits for The Great War. While not local, I hope to visit the Museum of Military History, Vienna as it has an extensive set of exhibits for The Great War. The picture in this blog post is from one of their exhibits. When it reopens next month the Imperial War Museum is a must.

Lastly, follow this blog; I will be covering the period for at least another year. I will also be offer reviews on books, movies YouTube videos, blogs and podcasts. Check in often and let me know what interests you.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Nieuport 11/16 Bébé vs Fokker Eindecker

In his latest release, Jon Guttman has written another impressive story and one little told in the history of aviation. His Nieuport 11/16 Bébé vs Fokker Eindecker looks at two very important aircraft at the earliest stages of fighter combat. While many other works look at the Eindecker as the Scourge and an earlier period, Guttman looks at its latter history when it was to be eclipsed by more modern fighters.

This work is similar to other Osprey Duel titles as it reviews the development of these weapons. It looks at the strengths and weaknesses of the aircraft and the tactics used. While both aircraft were designed based on earlier models, we find the Eindecker was unable to improve significantly over the faults in the earlier models. These included underpowered engines and the use of wing-warping.

A good book for the modeler, wargamer or just aircraft enthusiast.  I purchased a hard copy of this book, but it is available as an ePub through both Amazon and Osprey Publishing. My purchase was done in part to help support a hobby shop that I found while on vacation in Arizona.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The New Phone Books Are Here !!!!

Hopefully some of you out there will get that line from the Steve Martin classic. For others, well the Lardy Summer Special is out and it is bigger than ever. I think the only thing holding Richard and Company back is the bandwidth most people have for email systems.

Mine is down loaded and I will be getting to it shortly. Enjoy.

From the TOOFATLardies website.

“Hot off the press, the latest Summer Special is here and its a real Special Special:  our Tenth Anniversary Special to be precise.  Packed with great stuff, we will post more details tomorrow.  For now, those brave enough to trust us on the quality of the content can get it here. We’re off to get some sleep…”

Fao - 1914

A lot can change in a hundred years, but one thing is for certain, not much has been done to improve the land along the Shatt-al-Arab waterway. It is still extremely poor and the soil is soft. This was not always the case, this was considered a fertile area up until the 1700s.  (Sorry but I cannot find the source for the date. I know I read it recently but it is lost from me for now.) A simple look on Google Earth shows much of the land barely above sea level.  In places it is difficult to determine the coastline. What makes this battlefield incredibly difficult to travel over, besides the weather, insects and mirages, is that the melting of the snow cape up north easily floods the soft ground. The issues I find in 1914 are still relevant today. The infrastructure is not in place and there is no government directive to set it up.

The Iraqi city of Basra is cut off from any land approach during the flood season of March thru May. Unfortunately for any invading army this is also the coolest weather for campaigning.

Small dams of built up earth and clay hold back the waters. If broken the yellow soil becomes a quagmire halting all wheeled traffic and slows both the hoof and foot. Units can become cut off from each other if flooding occurs. These dams were little maintained in 1914 and in 2014 they still are a problem

While a rail line was discussed from Baghdad to Basra, the engineering issues halted the design. (This part of Iraq/Iran has continues to be under developed. ) This was to come back to haunt both the Turks and the British during this campaign.

The route of advance and logistics would be maintained by the waterways, and the Royal Navy and the IEF D did not bring along enough boats. The reports from the officers in charge do not think  the lack of boats or other logistic items are a concern. The IEF D also needed more than the two companies of engineers for this operation. Losses will be heavy because of these over sites.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Flames of War – The Great War

We knew it was coming. One of the worse secrets in the industry, the list for Flames of War – The Great War Miniatures Game has been released.

I have play Flames of War a couple of times and it is interesting but not my cup of tea. I will stick with the Lardies. But, they make great miniatures and I wanted to see what they were going to release. We also can use the 6-Day War release as a guide to what they are going to do.

With all of that in mind I am disappointed in their releases. Their releases are for 1917-18, not 1914-15. Which is a shame as the uniforms and kit for the early days of the war are colorful and flashy. Just what a tabletop game needs. So we are looking at the end of the war, while the media today is talking of the opening moves of The Great War.

So lets looks at the parts list.  The Germans infantry have the standard kit, but grenades are only talked about with the shock troops. Not historically accurate but I can wait to see the figures. I also do not see the Lewis gun for either side. The Lewis was the preferred LMG used by the Germans and British. I hope they are somewhere in the figure mixes.

There are also a few strange occurrences with the tanks. We have the Mark IV tank for the British while the Mark V maybe more appropriate. It is good to see the Whippet, my favorite tank for the period. The behemoth A7V is shown. A battleship on tracks. Unfortunately it was not as good as the German propaganda would have us think. But Flames of War has this write up;

“The panzer is new and unstoppable weapon. Our A7V is more powerful, faster and bettered armoured than Tommy’s tanks. These steel beasts will break the British frontline, opening the way to victory.”

And this copy comes from the army list. I cannot wait to see the breakdown table in the rules.

For me I will look at the miniatures and I am sure I will buy the Whippets, Mark IVs and A7Vs. Well not to many A7V as the Germans only made twenty of them. I may even see if the figures will work with my Peter Pig miniatures. But I am afraid they missed a great market to enter into by focusing on the later war and trenches over the earlier period. As they have not expanded their AIW, I fear they will also not expand The Great War range. This release looks good but poorly executed.

Friday, June 13, 2014

France '40 IABSM Game

This is not my game but the images needed to be shared. If this is not educational, or a teachable moment, I am not sure what is.

France 40 microarmor game we played last month at Gigabites café in Marietta, GA.
It represents the defense of the 4e Reg Dragoons around the Berthonval farm outside of Mont St Eloi on May 23, 1940, the day after the big Arras attack.


Thursday, June 12, 2014

HMS Polyphemus

The HMS Polyphemus a Royal Navy torpedo ram, serving from 1881 until 1903. A perfect addition for any Space 1889 or Victorian Science Fiction fleet. Shallow-draft, fast, low profile vessel, she was designed to penetrate enemy harbors at speed and sink anchored ships with both the ram and torpedoes.

With 6 Nordenfelt guns and five 14” torpedo tubes, this is a vessel that was dangerous to any fleet caught unaware. The guns to be used on patrol craft and the torpedoes against capital ships.

At almost 18 knots she was fast for the period, almost as fast as the torpedoes she carried.

There were issues, as her main forward torpedo tube was in the ram bow and it was difficult to open the bow cap. As shown in the picture, she also varied a forward set of rudders for operating in reverse.

She was not copied. Shortly after her joining the fleet, quick firing guns shortened the life of torpedo craft like the HMS Polyphemus. She was to be superseded by both Torpedo Boats and Destroyers.

Got to love those Victorians.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Mitsubishi 1MT

Ever start an Internet search and it took you to a location you would never plan on visiting. Just look at this picture, you would have to read more. Come on admit it.

Designed by Herbert Smith and other ex members of the Sopwith Company after The Great War, the Mitsubishi 1MT was a unique aircraft design. They had designed for Mitsubishi and the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service what most navies were looking for, a single seat torpedo bomber.

While the British had the Sopwith Cuckoo and the Blackburn Dart as part of their carrier air groups the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service and the Mitsubishi wanted one of there own. The designed 1MT was tested after the Cuckoo and contemporary with the Dart.

What the Japanese wanted was an aircraft that could take off and land on their new aircraft carrier, Hōshō. That would have been an improvement over the Cuckoo, which could not initially land on the Royal Navy carriers. What the Japanese found was an aircraft that was difficult to fly and could not take off of a carrier while carrying a torpedo. That could be a problem.

What the Japanese ended up doing is purchasing a Blackburn Dart for review.  They were latter to design (with the help of Herbert Smith) the Mitsubishi B1M, an effective torpedo bomber that was built in large numbers, 443 aircraft, and was combat tested over China. The B1M also added a second crewman that was useful for reconnaissance. This was a good aircraft for the period.

While most were scraped after a short term of service, I wonder if any were around for the final defense of the Home Islands in World War II. Can you image the gun camera film of a F6F pilot shooting down a 1MT kamikaze? Probably not.

Image is from Wikipedia.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

MY Miniatures

I have had the pleasure of finding two gems in the gaming world. The first was about two months ago called War Times Journal. It is a great source for information and miniatures. While the site is very much a work in progress (aren’t they all) they are producing awesome 3D printed ships that help fill out existing lines. I have added heavily to my pre-dreadnoughts and Spanish American War fleets. The Battle of Manila Bay and the fight in the Baltic during WW I is do able, and the ships look great.

The other is Mick Yarrow Miniatures, or MY Miniatures. Mick has a number of interesting lines including 15mm Ice Age to 15mm WWII figures. For me the 1/2000 and 1/3000 scale ships have helped fill out (and start) a couple of projects.  The 1/2000-scale ships are useful for WWI battles such as raids and destroyer actions. I will be using the 1/3000 to fill out missing ships from my existing 1/2400 lines. As long as the escort ships are also 1/3000 the table looks good.

Now I found this site through TMP but none of my naval gaming friends were aware of it and they are please with these new additions. So I think of this as a new find, at least for my club. I can see battles being designed using 1920s War Plan Red, Yellow or Blue. Think War of 1812 with 1920s technology.

As a company I am please with Mick and MY Miniatures. His customer service is stellar. He returned all emails in 24 hours or less and once the order was placed I had the figures within the week and that was from East Yorkshire, England. If I was to fault anything is his site. It is a work in progress. But I would love for him to have pricing on the site. Not a big deal.

All in all a great find. I hope to share this with gamers and modelers that are interested in naval warfare. Let me know what you think.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Paint Table XI

I have been away from the table for too long. Finished up some row boats for 1914, and testing out the colors for the Naval Infantry. I also have new additions from MY Miniatures in 1/3000 scale for 1920s.

For the 1914 project I am finding 28th of June approaching way too fast. Than again I have more time to plan than our ancestors had.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Landing Craft WWI Style

I am pleased that my funk with painting is over, or so I hope. Was able today to go through the terrain and boats for the landing at Fao on the way to Baghdad.  On the bench are six whalers.

What I find interesting is that 70 years ago this week the Allies landed on the Normandy coast with very specialized craft. They brought LCT, LCT (R), LCVP, LCA, LCI (L), Sherman DD and many others. Yet thirty years earlier the British Empire had only barges and whaleboats.

Even as late as the late 1930s naval technology was closer to the technology of the First World War than the second. This might explain the difficulty with the planning of Operation Sealion. Today we look at the idea of using Rhine canal barges as laughable. Well that was the level of technology at the time. It took the Allies three plus years to get it right. The Germans never stood a chance.

So what does a gamer do? Well the whaleboat and its cousin are easy to find. Mine are closer to the ear of pirates than the Normandy beaches but I am fine with the look. You can also scratch build a steamer to take the place of the SS River Clyde for the Cape Helles. That is my plan at least.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Gulf of Riga - End Notes

The Germans have left the Gulf of Riga and they caused a great deal of damage to the Russians.

Both of the coastal hexes were bombarded for an additional 10VP each. British submarines tried to intercept the Germans bombardment fleets and sweepers but only the Roon was damaged. This added 12VPs to the Germans and only 3VP to the Russians.

It will take several months to rebuild the British submarine squadron in the Baltic. The ore trade with Sweden will not be interfered with for at least three months. A side benefit and not part of the game but important.

Game ends with:
  • Russians 9VP 
  • Germans 69VP

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


Another resource that I love to use in a research projects are the videos on YouTube. YouTube is great for newsreels and period videos. In this case it is for a less academic and more nuanced view of history.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Mesopotamian Campaign 1914

What is up next, as it is 2014 I think it is time to start the Mesopotamian Campaign. I have four plus years to get the British Empire forces in miniature from Shatt-al-Arab to, I don’t know, Anatolia, or the Russian forces. I will settle for Baghdad.

For 2014 the games will be:
  • HM ships "Espiegle" and "Dalhousie" entered the Shatt-al-Arab and moved to Muhammerah (29 September 1914)
  • British offensive began with the naval force bombarding the old fort at Fao (6 November 1914)
  • The capture of Basra (21 November 1914)
  • The capture of Qurna (3 - 19 December 1914)
I see three possible games and a handful of raids. Rules will be If the Lord Spares Us and Through the Mud and the Blood with the possible addition of some aerial combat using Algernon.

And all I need is a fort, or at least a picture of the Fao Fort.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Round 1 to the Germans

After the Russian cruiser squadron was devastated the opposing battle squadron attempted to both find there like number and also protect their damaged fleets.

German and Russian dreadnoughts have come up short looking for the opposing fleets. All that is left to stop the bombardment fleets are a handful of British submarines.