The Kaskowiski invasion hoax of 1873 set me thinking about future games scenarios that could be based around the supposed or suggested incident. After all, that is what the author or newspaper editor of the Daily Southern Cross David Luckie intended in his May 1873 article, published in February 1873, to stir up concern over New Zealand’s naval and land defences. Eventually continued concern led to the building of fortified batteries.
Where would I get a suitable coastal fort or battery as a focus for a game?
I have explored Victorian and later adapted wartime forts and gun batteries in the West Country ranging from Pendennis Castle
in Falmouth and its sister fort of St Mawes (both English Heritage) along with the St. Antony Battery and Lighthouse nearby (National Trust) and similar adapted fortifications in the Scilly Isles. I was familiar with the underground passageways and ammunition stores, mess rooms, ventilation grilles and concrete gun emplacements that might be found in such coastal forts.
There are some interesting photographs of Victorian coastal forts and artillery on the internet, ranging from Britain to New Zealand.
Closed by recent earthquake damage, Fort Jervois has been photographed by Urbex photographers https://urbexcentral.com/2016/01/27/earthquake-island/fort-jervois-ripapa-island-95/
Seeing these last few pictures of grassy concrete batteries and giant coastal guns convinced me that I had a suitable fort or two packed away from childhood – the Airfix Gun Emplacement.
With a little repainting, these would serve from Victorian times onwards. At a pinch they should suit my 15mm Peter Laing figures as well as the larger OO/HO 20 to 25mm plastic Airfix sort of figures.
My 15mm and 20mm figure bases are a little large for the narrowest passageways, so I may have to trim any bases slightly before painting up a suitable garrison or attackers. I remember it being a tight fit anyway with the later larger Airfix OO/HO second version figures (the first version 1960s ones had smaller but more topply bases).
I also have a passable Airfix coastal defence fort from childhood that could be added, much like the one featured on the front of John Curry’s recent reprint of Donald Featherstone’s unpublished Wargaming Commando Operations.
The 1873 Kaskowiski Russian Invasion of New Zealand Hoax focuses on an amphibious raid or landing by Russian Marines, Naval Infantry or Sailor, supported by a Russian Ironclad like the PavelPavlosk.
The closest ‘Russian marines’ I currently have are some 15mm Peter Laing Russians (painted as Bulgarians)
I do have about four Russian Marines from a brief flirtation in the 1980s with new Platoon 20 figures (metal, 20mm, which wiped my pocket money). These Platoon 20 figures are still available.
I shall have to look through and see what Peter Laing figures I have that are suitable. Here are my 15mm Russians, disembarking near a lonely customs post.
It will be interesting to research suitable Victorian uniforms for 19th century Colonial figures.
The Volunteer Rifle movement had reached New Zealand by the time of the Kaskowiski invasion hoax of 1873, as this account shows in the Daily Southern Cross newspaper around the hoax date of 17 February 1873.
Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, November 2018.