Man of TIN Advent Calendar Day 9 – The Russians are Coming 1873 New Zealand hoax

IMG_2755

Advent Day 9 – Another unpublished blog draft finally sees the light of day!

17 February 1873: Daily Southern Cross editor David Luckie publishes ‘The Russians are coming!’ hoax in New Zealand

If you want to read the whole article, you can find it here:

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/DSC18730217.2.19

During the 19th century the Russian and British empires were involved in a number of conflicts. With nothing but clear blue water between New Zealand’s shores and Russia’s Pacific ports, many New Zealanders feared a sea-borne invasion.

On the 17 February 1873 the editor of The Daily Southern Cross, David Luckie, published a hoax report of a Russian invasion of Auckland by the Russian ironclad Kaskowiski (Cask of Whisky).

Aucklanders were alarmed to read that the crew of the Kaskowiski had seized gold and taken the mayor hostage.

IMG_2756

Story reprinted in full here earlier on my blog

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/10/01/auckland-invaded-1873/

This hoax was believed by a considerable part of the city’s population, despite a footnote appended to the article which ‘explained the whole romance’.

Crowds besieged the offices of the Daily Southern Cross and the ‘incident’ was discussed in the streets throughout the city. This sounds much like the American public’s response to Orson Welles’ War of The Worlds on 1930s radio.

To a general reader or a gamer looking for a historical scenario, there seems almost too much detail.

Harking back to the ‘nobility’ of Allied actions against a hereditary or past enemy in the Crimean War  grounds this fictional warning in the reality of recent colonial history. It foregrounds the new barbarism of secret weapons –  a mephitic sleeping gas that knocks out the crew of enemy warships, a submarine pinnace.

Today in a world of fast jets, drone strikes, aircraft carriers and chemical weapons, warring governments and insurgencies  still compete to slur or smear their rival over the minimising of civilian casualties. The other side has to appear more barbaric to justify military intervention. We want a war where “our side” (the good guys)  fights with decency and clean hands …

Rereading the article today in a 24 hour rolling news culture, it seems quite clunky.  

Hard to believe it caused the upset and public outcry it did. To us in retrospect it reads more like H.G. Wells’ prophetic  Victorian Science Fiction. It sits comfortably within a genre of  “The Battle of Dorking” and Edwardian invasion narratives against Britain.

At the same time today to a modern audience,  it almost reads like a Carry On Up The Khyber script with its clunky puns about the Khazi of Calabar and Bungdit Din. The Russian ship is called the Kaskowiski (Cask o’ Whisky).  It is captained by one Admiral Herodskoff (Herod’s Cough?) , Herod being the traditional Nativity bad guy and abuser of civilian populations. The story is simultaneously trying to give itself away and create and maintain realism, partly to pardon or excuse the Editor against exactly the reaction it wants to stoke up. The story says “I showed you it was nonsense, full of  Herodskoff, Kaskowiski and other puns, set and dated three months in the future but you believed the truth behind it.”

It is an elaborate practical joke but written with a political aim. It has to be read in the spirit of the technology and times of 1873, of remote posts of Empire when there were very few news outlets, telegraph being the most modern, newspapers already full of old news.

The Crimean War with its on-the-spot reporting by William Russell of disastrous logistics and medical care was only a decade in the past. An expansionist Tsarist Russia was still a rival and traditional enemy of the British Empire.

After all, it’s not as if  we live in a world where fake news and social media storms no longer happen. It’s not as if countries go to war anymore  in coalition, based on a now infamous “dossier” about Weapons of Mass Destruction against a former enemy of ten years before.

The day after the hoax was published in 1873, the Editor David Luckie stated his intention was to publish the article as a warning, which would hopefully lead to future protection.

The Russian war scares of the 1880s caused the New Zealand Government to erect batteries overlooking the harbours of the four main centres.

Elsewhere across the British Empire the Volunteer Regiment movement was being formed, partly for Home Defence.

Remains of these Victorian batteries, some updated to meet the threat of a Japanese invasion during the Second World War, can still be seen on the NZ coast.

http://www.heritage.org.nz/news-and-events/this-month-in-history

For games scenario ideas based on the Kaskowiski incident see below

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/11/30/kaskowiski-1873-inspired-scenario/

More NZ Heritage Links

You can explore more about these historic places associated with New Zealand’s coastal defence, on the New Zealand Heritage List, by following the links:
Fort Takapuna / O Peretu, Auckland http://www.heritage.org.nz/the-list/details/86

North Head –Devonport, Auckland http://www.heritage.org.nz/the-list/details/7005

https://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/north-shore-times/94337030/historic-disappearing-gun-goes-off-with-enormous-bang-on-aucklands-north-shore

Blumine Island Battery Historic Area, Queen Charlotte Sound http://www.heritage.org.nz/the-list/details/7529

Wright’s  Hill Fortress, Wellington http://www.heritage.org.nz/the-list/details/7543

Battery Point Battery Historic Area, Lyttelton http://www.heritage.org.nz/the-list/details/7553

These NZ preparations look very much like the 1850s / 1860s Palmerston Follies preparations against a possible  French invasion in early Victorian Britain. They would continue in New Zealand to be prepared for active service against the Japanese threat in WWII.

Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN, Advent Calendar Day 9 – Sunday 9th December  2018.

Advertisements

Kaskowiski 1873 inspired scenario

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

https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/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.

img_0367.png

IMG_0343
Fort Jervois (New Zealand) https://nzhistory.govt.nz/media/photo/fort-jervois

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/

IMG_0370
A little picture research brought up this massive gun (or tiny people)

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.

IMG_0372

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.

 

IMG_0373
Repainted and flocked, this old Airfix fort with gun shield off makes a reasonably old-looking  coastal gun position.

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).

IMG_0194

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)

IMG_0358
Russian Ironclad of the 1870s the Petropavlovsk https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_ironclad_Petropavlovsk

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.

IMG_0360

IMG_0362
The officer with pistol and rifleman with bayonet might be suitable for such Kaskowiski scenarios, rather than the LMG and SMG figures.

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.

IMG_0363
The customs officer and volunteer rifle Militia man confront the Russian Marines.
IMG_0364
The good old Airfix Pontoon Bridge boat makes a handy pinnace or Invasion barge. Heroscape Hex landscape.

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.

IMG_0341

IMG_0342
O should the Cask of Whisky / Kaskowiski come? The Volunteers will sort it out, as this ditty poem suggests.

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, November 2018.

Peter Laing 15mm Mounties on the Painting Table RCMP

I have been neglecting my Peter Laing 15mm figures a little of late.

Alan the Tradgardmastre of the Duchy of Tradgardland kindly sent me some spare Peter Laing mounted and dismounted colonial and ACW cavalry with bush hats.

I started painting them as US 7th or Union Cavalry.

IMG_0267

Then I spotted a Britain’s hollow cast Mountie in a display cabinet at home, and this set me thinking.

Wouldn’t a unit of Royal Canadian Mounted Police or  “Mounties” be an interesting use of these figures?

IMG_0272

So using this figure and an old 1930s Player’s cigarette card for uniform reference, I set about painting some Mountie test figures.

Downsizing to painting 15mm after months painting 54mm figures was a bit of a change.

IMG_0264
Painting those yellow trouser stripes on 15mm figures is a bit fiddly.
IMG_0266
Still on the painting stick …
IMG_0263
Does the brown or white / grey horse look more Hollywood, more cinematic?

These figures could also double up as redcoat colonial infantry or  Imagi-Nations troops for the Bronte Angria / Gondal sagas.

IMG_0270
Drugs? Murder? Witchcraft? Lots of scenarios there. 

And finally, what roles did or do the Mounties undertake? What scenarios might suggest themselves, having a bunch of Mounties?

IMG_0273
NWMP North West Mounted Police 1900 (Wikipedia Public Domain)

http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/en/history-rcmp

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/North-West_Mounted_Police#history

There are many interesting small skirmishes or battles that would form interesting and imaginative scenarios with my Peter Laing butternut Confederate figures  as  rebels. I have a small group of unpainted Peter Laing Native Americans to paint up who might be ‘Hollywood useful’ for all this.  https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Duck_Lake

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Frenchman%27s_Butte

Rewatching Gary Cooper in North West Mounted Police is also required.

Fun Fact – Francis Jeffrey Dickens (# O.29)
The son of famous British novelist Charles Dickens served with the North-West Mounted Police from November 4, 1874 until March 1, 1886. He also commanded Fort Pitt during the Northwest Rebellion, 1885.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 25 November 2018

 

 

100 Years On …

IMG_0164
WW1 – Men and women in uniform – The 1971 British Legion Anniversary stamp that I have had in my collection since childhood

Poppy Day is here again. Whichever colour poppy you choose to wear,

the traditional red poppy

the white peace poppy for remembering all nations dead and conscientious objectors

or the purple poppy to remember the horses and animals involved in war

wear it with thoughtfulness today.

I wear the red poppy to symbolises all three of these aspects of conflict since 1914.

Remembering all the men and women of all nations  and animals affected by war on the 100th anniversary of the Armistice.

Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN 11 November 2018

Last  year’s Remembrance Sunday post 2017 –

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/11/11/remembrance-great-war-and-little-wars/

Our Modern Army 1950s cards

img_4430

Interesting little group for a pound or two.

Very much Herald  postwar plastic soldiers

The whole set of 53  playing cards would set you back a few quid!

https://www.londoncigcard.co.uk/product/our-modern-army-playing-card-inset-1956/8616

A strange stylistic mixture of illustration, some more lifelike than others.

Obviously a bit of a career or recruitment thing. National Service only  had a few  years left to go (my late father was one of the last intakes c. 1958).

These cards very much remind me of my childhood Herald plastic soldiers.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/06/18/national-service-days-1/ 

Interesting to see women soldiers shown, albeit in an admin / secretarial role, rather than a frontline role.

I previously posted about a Happy Families card set last year:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/07/31/mr-thomas-atkins-and-family/

Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN, October 2018.

Time Spent in Reconnaissance … makes you smile!

 

 

 

IMG_4454I came across this spirited photo today and it made me smile!

To me, it is the  Snoopy “Born to Dance” Peanuts cartoon of Carrier pictures.

Titled: “Universal Carrier of 52nd Reconnaissance Regiment moving at speed over rough ground, Scotland, 10 November 1942.”

This is an Official British Army Photograph aken by Lieutenant W.T. Lockeyear, War Office official photographer, 10 November 1942. Imperial War Museum image H25279.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reconnaissance_Corps

Who doesn’t like a nice tankette?

Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN, 2 October 2018

Auckland Invaded May 1873

IMG_0326
In amongst the shipping, commercial  and mining news the new Editor David Luckie inserted his “fake news” of 17 February 1873  issue of the Daily Southern Cross 
IMG_0327
Clever stores inserted their own topical links to this invasion hoax “fake news” story
IMG_0328
The freight ship Golden Cross is mentioned in the hoax account, adding realism

An explanation of the Invasion Hoax was given several days later by the editor of the Daily Southern Cross.

IMG_0329

IMG_0330
The point made clear a few days later?

The need to explain or excuse the hoax and how it was set up or could be revealed as “fake news” by its future date 

IMG_0332

The whole fake news story

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/DSC18730217.2.19

 

IMG_0321IMG_0322IMG_0313IMG_0314IMG_0315

img_0316.jpg

IMG_0325
At this point the invasion begins with Russian marines …

A suitable gaming scenario could be made of this landing.

img_0317.pngIMG_0318IMG_0319

IMG_0320
https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/DSC18730217.2.19

This was published in the Daily Southern Cross, 17 February 1873 – note the date of this deliberately alarmists news story – set 3 months in the future, 15th May 1873.

The next issue editorial 18th February featured the explanation or the reveal.

 

IMG_0343IMG_0344There are several online articles about this Russian Scare and the historical background.

https://airminded.org/2008/05/30/the-russians-are-coming/

https://nzhistory.govt.nz/the-russians-are-coming

Victorian and WW2 coastal defences at Fort Takapuna

https://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/auckland/places/fort-takapuna-historic-reserve/fort-takapuna-history/

https://www.myguideauckland.com/things-to-do/north-head-historic-reserve

https://www.nzgeo.com/stories/history-2/

Even a podcast

http://www.podcasts.com/the-podcasters-guide-to-the-conspiracy-14/episode/the-russian-invasion-of-auckland-1873

Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN Oct