Eighty years on – 9th September 1939.

(being the report of a solo wargame campaign)

9th September 1939


Poland: 4th Panzer Division reached the outskirts of Warsaw. A counterattack by 10 Polish divisions had limited success in the area of Kutno.

France: The last of 13 RAF fighter squadrons arrives in France.

Game day 9: Finland

Background (from Wikipedia)

The Soviet Union and Nazi Germany signed the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact in August 1939. The pact was nominally a non-aggression treaty, but it included a secret protocol in which Eastern European countries were divided into spheres of interest. Finland fell into the Soviet sphere. On 1 September 1939, Germany began its invasion of Poland and two days later Great Britain and France declared war on Germany. On 17 September, the Soviet Union invaded Eastern Poland. The Baltic states were soon forced to accept treaties allowing the USSR to establish military bases and to station troops on their soil.  The Government of Estonia accepted the ultimatum, signing the agreement in September. Latvia and Lithuania followed in October. Unlike the Baltic states, Finland started a gradual mobilisation under the guise of “additional refresher training.

Finland has 1 IPC, stockpiled.

Background image copyright Milton Bradley/Hasbro

Note: I have decided to add the actual historical incidents and activities for each day before the gaming report.

A Friend Indeed!

Today I wish to pay tribute to a true gentleman.

Let me start the story from the beginning.  I own a large Japanese-made 4×4 vehicle.  It is 14 years old and beginning to show signs of age.  Back in August it was due for its MOT test (an annual roadworthiness check required in Britain).  This involved replacing a couple of suspension components.

The car has been serviced from new mainly by the dealership from which it was bought, but they closed their local-ish branch about 20 miles away, so the nearest dealer’s workshop is now around 60 miles away, so this involved two round trips of about 120 miles each.  Anyway, on the return trip I noticed the steering wheel was no longer aligned with the direction of travel.

I contacted the dealer who advised that if I took the car to a local garage they would pay for the work.   I had already decided that a combination of the distance and their poor attitude to customer service meant that I would not be going there again.  I booked the car in at our local friendly garage, but their premises were on fire on my appointed day!

A new booking was arranged for a couple of weeks later and sure enough, the tracking needed adjustment, both front and rear.  But the rear adjusters were rusted solid and had to be cut out.  Then it was discovered that one of the suspension arms is fractured.  There is no replacement part in the UK.  There is no replacement part in Europe.  It has to be ordered from Japan with a 5-week lead time.

Thus we are without the car for about 6 weeks.  Normally this would not be an issue because we have a second car, except that in the meantime we are booked to take the caravan away for a week’s “holiday” at an equestrian event. My wife’s car cannot tow.  We spent an evening researching alternatives:  towing companies, 4×4 hire, campervan hire, etc.

I quickly decided against paying about £800 to hire a Land Rover for 90 miles driving and 5 days sitting in a field.  Towing companies were not available, and most campervans/motorhomes were either not available, similarly expensive, or would not allow the dog.

My good lady spread the story amongst her Facebook friends and almost immediately we had a reply saying: “You shall go to the ball”.  This came from a chap who I would not call a close friend, but who I have known for several years.  He is a fellow re-enactor, not in my group, not even in the same army!  He is one of the most hard-working chaps at our events; always on the go and usually smiling.

Although in full time work and not (as far as I know) living in our area, he has volunteered to collect our caravan and tow it to the site midweek, returning the following Monday morning to take it home again.  This will involve two round trips of a minimum about 150 miles each, and he will do it for the cost of the fuel.  When we were refused permission to deliver the caravan earlier than the official campsite opening time, he just said “I can work around that.”

This man is our White Knight.  He has saved our holiday.  Some of my readers may recognise him from the description, but I will not name him publicly.

And it is just as well that earlier this year I cancelled my plans to take the car for a camping trip to Arnhem for a week in September!