Churchill’s Last Wartime Secret The 1943 German Raid Airbrushed From History – book review

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With an interest in Skirmish gaming, small games and uneven troop numbers,  I found this book by Adrian Searle an interesting read about one of WW2’s unsolved mysteries, invasion scares and hush ups.

Did the Germans ever mount a raid on the radar stations of the Isle of Wight?

Officially according to U.K. Government Archives, no.

However Adrian Searle explores in detail the similar rumours along the East and South Coast such as Shingle Street as comparison material.

The secret  history and development of British radar is covered in another chapter.

The German  raid on Granville harbour in Northern France in March 1945

Operation Biting –  The British Commando  Raid on Radar stations in Bruneval Northern France February 1942  is given another chapter.

Tracing and evaluating eyewitness accounts (mostly German)  and archive material (absences) takes up the rest of the book.

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Chapter headings

What makes this book interesting from a Games scenario point of view is the detailed inclusion of maps and terrain photographs of a raid that may or may not have happened.

A range of characters from German naval and military personnel, radar technicians, British civilians, Home  Guard, British infantry and  ARP Staff are featured.

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Some of the few but well chosen photographs in the book. 

The kind of detailed maps that game scenario writers love.

Here is Adrian Searle’s preface to whet your appetite.

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Preface page 2 – suitably intrigued? 

Any good wartime history book needs blurb and an intriguing cover montage.

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Atmospheric stock photo library shots of a German amphibious assault. 
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The start of the Bruneval raid chapter …

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This should be an interesting scenario inspiration for future raid and Skirmish games.

Things I learned – the battle of Graveney Marsh 27 September 1940 between a downed German Ju88 bomber crew and a detachment of the 1st Battalion the Royal Irish Rifles. 

The existence of Royal Military Police Vulnerable Points Wing  The Blue Hats to protect key installations like radar sites in 1941 in addition to the RAF regiment. 

I partly blame my interest in this type of wartime book on the following things in no particular order: Dad’s Army, Bletchley Park and Robert Harris’ book Enigma, Went the Day Well? and The Eagle Has Landed films, and the proliferation of elite forces troops like paratroops produced by Airfix that I played with as a child.  

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Recently rebased and varnished 54mm Airfix German paratroops,  preserved from my childhood attempts at painting camouflage.
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An interesting Featherstone first for the History of Wargaming Project publications …

More commando raid type posts to come …

Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN January 2019 

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Fantasy Plastic 54mm Warriors for FEMbruary?

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Crossposted from my Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog for FEMbruary

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2019/02/24/fantasy-plastic-warriors/

Meanwhile  the 2019  FEMbruary figures painting challenge carries on:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/01/31/fembruary-2019-and-new-bad-squiddo-figures-arrive/

Arms Reduction at Pound Land

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Once a hundred, now seventy … Previous centurions need not apply. 

Crossposted by Mark Man of TIN from his Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog, 13 February 2019

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2019/02/12/30-percent-less-troops-at-poundland/

Unpacking a happy jumble tin of plastic soldiers

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https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2019/02/08/whats-in-this-tin-of-plastic-pound-store-warriors/

Crossposted from Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog by Mark, Man of TIN blog, 8 February 2019.

Wargaming Warrior Women on The Raft blog

With FEMbruary in mind, you could do well to visit the interesting blogposts, references and figure lists at The Raft blog section on Wargaming Warrior Women.  I visited this site for the Dahomey Warrior Women section last year https://wargamingraft.wordpress.com/wargaming-warrior-women/

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Some of the interesting Warrior Women articles on this blog (screenshot).

Well worth spending some time reading and browsing here.

Here are some of my last year’s FEMbruary posts which link with The Raft’s history research:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/10/dahomey-amazons/

https://wordpress.com/post/poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/4016

Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN on 5th FEMbruary 2019.

FEMbruary 2019 Work in Progress

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After black acrylic primer, blocking in colour begins with light olive and flesh – very animated 28mm Annie Norman’s Bad Squiddo figures Women of WW2 Russian Command.

Over the weekend as FEMbruary 2019 begins, I have undercoated my two sets of believable female miniatures by Annie Norman at Bad Squiddo.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/01/31/fembruary-2019-and-new-bad-squiddo-figures-arrive/

I started to block out basic colours onto each set. Finding the right green / khaki shade for Soviet troops should be interesting. They will most likely be gloss finished.

I noticed when comparing the Land Girls set this year with those painted last year that I used mostly  Revell Aquacolor Gloss Acrylics.  I usually now paint in toy soldier style, rather than the more realistic “grungy” khaki and brown wash of modern Wargames figures and “Military Modelling”. A matter of personal taste.

Gloss or not Gloss? Even the wider range of  Matt colours can be glossed at the end with Varnish.

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Last year’s FEMbruary Land Girls at Rest on the left, this year’s work in progress are  Land Girls at Work with bag of spuds on the right. The hay stook on the left is the cut off broom head from a Steve Weston Mexican peasant woman, converted into a Suffragette last year.

Gloss or not gloss?

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2018 FEMbruary Land Girl figures painted in gloss – not quite finished yet.

One new #FEMbruary / #MARCH challenge that has come up – Will I be able to get both sets of Land Girls finished and box framed ready for the craft section of my local Spring Flower Show in mid March?

It fits the local agricultural / flower show theme. Many Land Girls worked or trained on local farms in  my semi-rural Southwest area of Britain during WW1 and WW2.

It strikes a blow for “boy-craft” in an otherwise mostly female craft section.

Hopefully I can finish  this project on time to a suitable standard (my own!)

Last year I didn’t think my Suffragette conversions were quite ready or suitable for the same event, even though it was the Right to Vote centenary and we had had active suffragette campaign in my home area.

Already Marvin at Suburban Militarism has finished his FEMbruary project, a fine set of 54mm WREN Royal Navy female figures, who turned out to be made in his very own home town!
https://suburbanmilitarism.wordpress.com/2019/02/03/fembruary-a-la-mode/

Meanwhile reading my FEMbruary challenge read – The Unwomanly Face of War, an oral history of Russian women in WW2 – is proving surprisingly interesting and challenging subject matter. Grim in many places, not for the faint hearted but certainly a history that needed to be recorded (written 1985, updated 2017) before this generation of women  passed away.

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Bad Squiddo figures: https://badsquiddogames.com/shop#!/Bad-Squiddo-Miniatures/c/20887901/offset=0&sort=addedTimeDesc

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 4 February 2019