Eighty years on. 31st October 1939

Historical

In Italy Mussolini had a cabinet reshuffle, replacing pro-Nazis with more neutral members.

The Royal Navy started a world-wide hunt for the battleships Admiral Graf Spee and Deutschland

Game day 61. Germany

The hunt for the Graf Spee and Deutschland (referred to above) having been already resolved in the Kriegsmarine’s favour, and the British having retreated northwards, the flotilla in the South Atlantic sailed to the south-east in search of more prey.

In the North Atlantic, the 1st Battleship Flotilla sailed north, and located the British carrier flotilla to their north-north-west.  They steamed north and engaged.  All three British carriers were sunk, with the additional loss of 2nd Fighter Group.  The Germans lost one battleship.

The submarines in the North Atlantic moved off to the north-west. It appeared that Germany was winning the naval war.

In Germany 2nd Armoured Corps moved north-west to take position north of 4th Infantry Corps.  1st Armoured Corps moved west from their position north of Berlin.

Background image © Milton Bradley Games

Twenty-five years on. Our silver wedding anniversary

With apologies to followers of my “Eighty years on” blog posts.

Twenty-five years ago we got married on the cheap. Our honeymoon was a single night in the Castle Inn in what hd been voted “Britain’s Prettiest Village”: Castle Combe in Wiltshire. It was only about 50 miles from home, but was enough.

When we reached the prettiest village we opened the doors of the (borrowed from a colleague) Mercedes and proceeded to chase up and down the street, in and out of gardens, the escaped balloons with which our so-called “friends” had filled the car.

Arriving at our room we found that not only was a (pre-ordered) bottle of champagne waiting in the ice bucket, but the luxurious bathroom was well supplied with rubber ducks in addition to the normal expectations.

Next morning we got up early and were first to arrive for breakfast. It proved to be somewhat of a challenge after the previous day’s celebrations and the evening champagne:

We chose the “full English” breakfast (i.e. fried food). Question 1. “How would you like your eggs; fried, poached or scrambled?” Question 2. “Sausages: pork or beef?” Question 3: “Bacon: smoked or unsmoked, back or streaky?” Question 4: “mushrooms, tomato, beans, black pudding?” Question 4: “Toast? 4a: “Brown or white?” 4b: “Wholemeal, granary or plain?” Question 5. “Butter or spread with the toast?” Question 6: “Marmalade or jam?” I avoided the expected 6a “What flavour jam?” by selecting marmalade.

Then we got into stage two. “Tea or coffee?” I foolishly chose tea. You can guess where we went from there…

I may have temporarily confused our waiter by asking for un-grilled tomato, which was not on the (unwritten) selection list, but in the end he won the eight o’clock guest challenge. But I have played adventure games with fewer choices at each node.

After breakfast we drove back home, where we had left about a dozen people occupying what was now “our” home. Arriving home we realised that I had forgotten to tell anyone that my old pop-up toaster no longer popped, and thus we found the lawn covered in burnt bread “for the birds”. And nobody had bought us the almost obligatory toaster as a wedding gift.

As an aside to the wedding story, I was privileged to announce that my bride’s supporter for the day had discovered that she was expecting a baby, and we later found that another baby had been conceived in the house while we were away. Someone clearly had more energy that night than we had ourselves!

Fast forward 25 years. I booked a couple of nights at the same hotel that we had stayed in back in 1994. Once again we arrived in the dark. We unloaded the bags and I set off for the car park in the now partnership hotel a few hundred yards away. Returning to the hotel Chrissy and the bags had vanished. A helpful young man guided me to our room. I began to wish that I had brought a bag of breadcrumbs for a trail to find my way back! And here is the route from the bar/reception area to our room…

We were back to the adventure game mode!

I had booked the room with the “romantic” four-poster bed, but Chrissy told me that we had been given a complimentary upgrade. This room had a bed nine feet wide! I quickly browsed Google Earth to find the best route to my wife’s side of the bed. We later found that the disadvantage was that the duvet was only eight feet wide, so we could spend a couple of nights (as usual) in silent argument about territorial boundaries.

Anyway, despite the restaurant being fully booked, they had found us a table, a mere 30 minutes before the kitchen closed. We obliged and had a single-course meal, which was excellent, if mine was somewhat less filling than the menu suggested.

Next morning we went for breakfast. No longer the multiple choice examination, but a simple choice of egg preparation. The peripheral breakfast items were well presented, but we think our fried breakfast may have spent too much time under a heat lamp.

With a day to spend and no plan we investigated the local church. Surprisingly interesting, as we discovered the mechanism of the 600-year old clock (still working) and, in one of the stained-glass windows, the arms of the local family Poulet (3 swords, joined at the points, on a black background- and yes, I do know the correct heraldic description), which we recognise as the flag of the Marquess of Winchester’s Regiment of the English Civil War Society. the Marquess of Winchester was named Paulet and owned Basing House in the Englisg Civil War.

Later we set of on a random tour of the area, looking for interesting places. We came close to a monument (too long a story…) in an ancient hill fort with a carved white horse in the hillside. Many years ago we had ridden on horseback around this hill fort and considered, briefly, walking up to it. Then we reconsidered and set off for Avebury.

Avebury is an ancient monument, comprising stone circles. The village of Avebury is largely within the ancient circle. We walked the ring, declined to pay the fee for visiting the manor, museum, etc. during the school holiday/Halloween special attraction period, and bought some Christmas paraphernalia in the National Trust shop.

Moving on we discovered the REME (Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers Regiment) museum at MOD Lyneham. Surprisingly Chrissy said it might be interesting. For me it was. I have some new ideas for converted 6mm models for WW2. She beat me on most of the children’s interactive games, including a complex modern vehicle recovery situation involving, a surround video, two joysticks and a soundtrack of shouty oeople.

Returning to the hotel we found that Moonpig had delivered the flowers and the hotel staff had placed them in our room as requested, but also taken the initiative of placing them in a kilner jar. I was amazed to find that the “multi-coloured roses” included some roses with multicolours on a single stem.

Apparently the process to produce these flowers is secret.

We went to the restaurant for dinner and were greeted with two glasses of complimentary champagne. The waiter appeared a little nonplussed as I had previously advised that I avoid alcohol. I was granted a dispensation for one glass. The hotel staff had taken the trouble to acquire my non-alcoholic alternative for the rest of the meal.

Dinner was far more tasty and exquisitely presented than the menu suggested. Although expensive I think it represented value for money. Our second morning’s breakfast proved to be equal to the previous night’s dinner. The muffin, smoked salmon and poached egg with hollandaise sauce was to die for!

After breakfast we checked out and took another walking tour of the village. This is a favourite “English village” for film directors, having been used for, amongst others: “Dr. Doolitle” the “Poirot” TV Series and Spielberg’s “War Horse”. Local regulations prohibit street lighting and visible TV aerials and satellite dishes.

Castle Combe. England as she used to was.

And so that was our mini-break. Sorry to be a bore, but some folks may glean something useful for their own holiday from my ramblings.

Eighty years on. 30th October 1939

Historical

“The Lion Has Wings” was released.  The first cinema film about the Second World War.

In the British Parliament a White Paper was published exposing Nazi concentration camps and brutality, particularly towards political dissidents and Jews.

Game day 60. USSR

1st Armoured Corps in Karelia moved north-west.   In Ukraine 2nd Armoured Corps continued its move westwards. 

In Caucasus 5th Infantry Corps occupied Stalingrad, 10th Infantry Corps and 3rd armoured Corps continued to move west.

In the east all units continued generally to the south and east.

Background image © Milton Bradley Games

Eighty years on. 28th October 1939

Historical

A Heinkel He111 was shot down over Scotland; the first German aircraft of the war to crash on British soil.  The British Expeditionary Force in France now amounted to nearly 200,000 men with supplies for 6 weeks.

Heinrich Himmler urged German women to dispense with the tradition of marriage and to produce racially pure children.

Joseph Tiso became the first President of Slovakia.

In Prague fighting broke out between German forces and Czech students parading to remember the 20th anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia.

Game day 58. China

 1st Mongolian Infantry Corps joined the defenders of Peking.  In China 3rd Infantry Corps continued eastwards towards Kwangtung.

Background image © Milton Bradley Games

Note There will be no post for 29th October. I will be busy with my 25th Wedding Anniversary and coincidentally there is nothing to report. I have been unable to find any war-related news for 29th October 1939 and in the game France was inactive on that day.

Eighty years on. 27th October 1939

Historical

From the Vatican Pope Pius XII condemned racism, dictators and treaty violations. 

Game day 57. Japan

3rd Infantry Corps in Kwangtung continued north towards Peking.

2nd Fighter Group in Manchuria flew a mission against 1st Mongolian Infantry Corps. Each side lost 1 point.

Background image © Milton Bradley Games

Eighty years on. 26th October 1939

Historical

Krakow, Poland.  Hans Frank took up his post as Governor-General of Poland.  All Jewish men between the ages of 14 and 60 were required to work on Government Labour Projects, including building concentration camps for themselves.  Polish citizens were ordered to leave the pavements free for Germans.

In Britain, the Auxiliary Military Pioneer Corps was created from certain volunteer reserve units.

Game day 56. Britain.

1st Carrier Flotilla launched 2nd Fighter Group in an attack on the enemy submarines in the North Atlantic.  3 submarines were sunk for no loss.  The remaining Submarine withdrew northwards.  1st Battleship Flotilla moved south-east into the Bay of Biscay.  The convoy carrying the Canadians headed for the UK.

Background image © Milton Bradley Games
(Hey! I finally got the © symbol to work in WordPress!)

In the South Atlantic the remains of 2nd Battleship Flotilla, headed for Gibraltar.

Gaming note. I have created a new sea area “North Sea/English Channel” by subdividing the North-East Atlantic, as seen in the picture above.

Eighty years on. 25th October 1939

Historical

Leon Trotsky stated “Stalin is afraid of Hitler, and right to be so.”

In Britain the Handley Page Halifax bomber took to the skies for the first time.

Game day 55. Germany

2nd Fighter Group attacked the Royal Navy submarines in the North Sea.  2 submarines were sunk for the loss of 4 squadrons.

2nd Armoured Corps moved south-west.  4th Infantry Corps counter-attacked against the French 2nd Infantry Corps, inflicting 2 damage points for the loss of 3 points.

In the North Atlantic 1st Submarine Flotilla attacked the Royal Navy Carrier Flotilla.  Two carriers were sunk, and the submarines submerged.  1st Battleship Flotilla searched to the north-west.

In the South Atlantic the 2nd Battleship Flotilla located and attacked the 2nd British Battleship Flotilla.  The British lost 5 ships to the German 4.

Background image copyright Milton Bradley Games