All aboard for ‘BattleShips’ to test submarine hunting skills. Trainees @RNASCuldrose 824 Squadron’s Merlin Training Facility are playing tactical games designed & made by the instructors. Wargames date back to WW2. The games featuring real @NATO scenarios are making a comeback. pic.twitter.com/12EvE3ERk7
If an army marches on its stomach then this colourfully illustrated article explores how the nutrition expertise of British surgeon William Willis and Dr Kanehiro Takaki was used in curing the Japanese Navy’s medical problems.
The Japanese Army was much slower to accept this and were still affected by this Beriberi malnutrition problem decades later during the Russo Japanese War of 1905.
You might find this article interesting in case you are tempted invest in some fine 20mm Jacklex Russo Japanese War figures with your Christmas money. The Jacklex website helpfully has free uniform painting guides, ORBATs and Mukden to Megiddo rules from Andy Callan. There is a useful 2004 Osprey on the subject and a RJW section in Featherstone’s Wargames Through the Ages Vol 4 1861-1945.
This is a different sort of article for naval gamers and military history enthusiasts but hopefully an interesting one.
This article mentions: “In 1915, Kanehiro Takaki received the ‘Grand Cordon of the Order of the Sacred Treasure’, one of the highest decorations in Japan. He died in 1920, and received posthumously the ‘Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun’ in that year. In 1959, a peninsula in Antarctica – The Takaki Promontory (65° 33′ 0″ S, 64° 34′ 0″ W) – was named after him.”
This used copy (in better condition than I expected) cost only a few poundsfrom Better World Books, an Abe Books Internet supplier of ex-library stock whose profits go to literacy and library projects worldwide. What’s not to like?
I never borrowed this Featherstone title from my local library, it was always out on loan.
Some supposedly simple ‘back of postcard rules’ by different gamers that Featherstone starts with.
No obvious simple (solo) convoy game rules but should be some interesting ideas. Add Bob Cordery’s book and ideas as well, it should promise to be an interesting few months puzzling out some rules for protecting my eraser ship convoy from the Wolf Pack.
It’s come quite a way since picking up these in Flying Tiger a few weeks ago.
I now look forward this autumn to working out some kind of (solo) convoy gaming simulation, once I have puzzled out what to do for escorts. I might have to raid the card ships from our old family copy of the Dover Patrol game for now.
Thanks to many of you for all the excellent suggestions regarding simple naval wargames rules. I have now ordered a paperback copy from Lulu of the Bob Cordery’s new Gridded Naval Wargames which received most recommendations, as well as a £2 bashed up, ex-library copy of Donald Featherstone’s Naval Wargames.
If these rules don’t suit an old infantry skirmish gamer, there were other helpful suggestions. Thank you all.
It will be interesting moving out into new territory or terrain, a whole new language of ships and naval warfare, a world or ocean apart from H. G. Wells type Little Wars or the small infantry skirmish game of Featherstone’s Close Wars.
Two tone grey camouflage makes it difficult to identify individual ships, which is the point of the dark grey lower and light grey upper sections. However it makes identifying individual cargo ships in any future naval game a problem, so a few pre-war coloured funnels might return as they did in WW2.
Paints used are several coats of Revell Aquacolor Acrylics, Gunship Grey and Stone Grey for the ships and painting separate layers of Ultramarine Blue and Mossy Green onto the black card bases made from scrap art framing or mounting card. What colour the sea?
Big ships don’t leave such a wide angle wake as a small river craft. Getting some kind of bow wave and wake was more tricky, a blob of off-white paint on the bow brushed along the side of the ship and its aftermath seemed to do the trick in most cases.
I also have to name and label my convoy ships, probably with some Bronte inspired Angria, Gondal and Gaaldine names: Angrian Princess, Gondal Queen, that sort of thing that suits possible Imagi-Nation naval campaigns.
I am not by nature a naval gamer. Some of my school friends were but it didn’t immediately ring any bells for me as someone who likes Simple 1:1 figure gaming, none of this 1 figure equals so many men. You could argue even more so, that one ship represents even more men.
Buying HMS Flying Tiger eraser battleships as recruits for a Pound store navy?
My World Book Day choice is a book called Codebreakers, a highly readable book on Room 40 and WW1 Codebreaking by James Willie and Michael McKinley (published by Ebury, 2015).
Codebreakers is a very interesting book on WW1, picked up in my local branch library (childhood habits die hard!) but certainly worth buying in paperback.
The book covers WW1 code breaking, cryptography, Room 40 and Naval Intelligence.
It covers naval and submarine warfare, Zeppelin raids, the Western Front and Ireland. It also features German espionage and sabotage in America and the legacy of WW1 codebreaking, after the interwar lapse, with the transition to WW2 codebreaking and breaking the Enigma codes at Bletchley Park.
Some remarkable characters are involved like Blinker Hall and larger than life authors who wrote in fictional form about their wartime espionage exploits such as A.E.W. Mason, author of The Four Feathers https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/A._E._W._Mason
I should imagine there are probably lots of gaming scenarios in this book for different people, although building spies and (lack of ) Signals Intelligence into games can be a challenge.
The book covers less familiar areas such as the Middle East and after the Russian Revolution. An interesting passage on Lawrence of Arabia, desert codes, telegraph wires and railways on page 249 in Codebreakers is featured here on my occasional railway and gaming related Sidetracked blog.
Interesting WW1 signalling and comms innovation blogpost with archive photographs and many interesting articles.
In some game scenarios, failure of interception in comms and orders may have a big or random effect on the game scenario outcome.
Your carrier pigeon or messenger dog is killed, your telephone lines are broken by shellfire, your advance orders are read by the opposing player, no signal to reinforce or retire is received so your troops fight on in the same position through counter attack after counter attack. All these are interesting random events that might affect a scenario outcome. All these were likely or real problems in WW1 communications such as at Passchendaele.
At last a use for all those wiring party troops, carrier pigeon troops and flag signallers in Airfix WW1 OO/HO infantry boxes.
A subject explored more in John Garth, Tolkien and the Great War: The Threshold of Middle Earth, 2005. Historical events and historical figure gaming meets Fantasy!
Naval Raiding Party Gaming Scenario
An exciting WW1 naval raiding party scenario could be formed out of this interesting piece on Wireless Interception in WW1 based around coastal listening stations such as Hippisley Hut in Hunstanton Norfolk. Just what Marines are for!