Eighty years on. 19th November 1939


In Warsaw barricades began to go up around the Jewish ghetto.

In Czechoslovakia 50,000 people were under arrest and three more dissidents were executed.

Winston Churchill proposed mining the River Rhine by dropping mines from bombers.

The Chinese Nationalist Government ordered a winter offensive against the Japanese.

Game day 80. Britain

The two convoys heading for the USA sailed south-south-west around Newfoundland.  After reorganisation a flotilla of four battleships left Gibraltar as protection for these convoys.  Three ships were left at Gibraltar.

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BBC “War of the Worlds”

My view of BBC’s “War of the Worlds”

After several weeks of BBC advertising I tried to watch the first broadcast on Sunday evening and fell asleep waiting for the story to arrive. I watched it again this morning, eventually and after some considerable difficulty, using the BBC “I-Player” facility.

To be honest, I have seen more believable BBC science fiction in the days when Dr. Who was played by Sean Pertwee.

If the BBC had transcribed H.G.Wells’ story into a screenplay it may have made a good 2-3 hour drama. But, like every previous interpreter (except maybe Jeff Wayne), they felt that they had to bugger about with the story. At least the BBC set it in the correct era unlike previous film versions.

Having set the drama in the correct era, there were some fundamental errors for a “nit-picker” like myself. The biggest folly is about signing divorce papers. Did anyone check English divorce law before 1923? Can the writers explain which papers? As I understand it, the only possible accusation was adultery by the wife. This did not appear to be the case in this drama.

And as a (normally military) “rivet counter” why would anyone use a Great Western Railway train from Surrey to London? They may as well have used the Hogwarts Express.

When it came to the settings and “action”:
The woods looked like the same ones used for some “Harry Potter” scenes, totally devoid of undergrowth to impede people running from the inexpicably invisible Martian Death Ray.
There were far too many scenes of actors and “additional talent” staring in awe at stuff that would be inserted later using computer graphics. So much so that it became boring.

There were some baffling scenes of people walking in slow motion in a pseudo-Martian environment. Were these intended as “flash-forward” teasers to make us watch another episode?

I noticed that the series is “based on” H.G.Wells’ novel. It appears, so far, that “based on” refers to the title and the fact that the Martians have three-legged war machines. Also, as I mentioned above, the era is correct, which just about sets this drama above the others.

I will stick with it, if only to see if it improves.

Eighty years on. 18th November 1939


Martial Law was proclaimed in German-occupied Prague, Czechoslovakia.

In the North Sea the Dutch liner “Simon Bolivar” with about 400 people on board sank after striking a German mine.  About 85 people drowned.  Most of the survivors were landed in Britain.

Game day 79. Germany

The U-Boat Flotilla moved south-east off the coast of Canada, hoping to intercept British shipping.  The 2st Battleship Flotilla sailed south-west on a parallel course to the British convoys, without knowing where the enemy was.  In the South Atlantic the 2nd Flotilla sailed due north towards the coast of West Africa.

Background image © Milton Bradley Games
Background image © Milton Bradley Games

Eighty years on. 17th November 1939

17th November 1939


The Irish Republican Army was blamed for bombs set off in London.

In Paris, the “Czech National Committee” was set up by the ex-Prime Minister, Eduard Benes.

Game day 78. USSR

Russia continued to move the bulk of its army corps to the west to confront Germany or the the south-east as a block against Japanese expansion.  On the Finnish frontier there was now an armoured corps and an infantry corps, with a fighter group in support.

Background image copyright Milton Bradley Games

Eighty years on. 16th November 1939

16th November 1939


The Rumanian King Carol’s offer of mediation was rejected by both sides.

The first British civilian casualty of the war was James Isbister, killed in an air raid on Orkney in Scotland.  Also in Britain, it was revealed that the cost of living had risen by 2.5% in October.  6000 suspected spies had been arrested in the past two months, and the Postal Censorship Department now totalled 1700 personnel.

Finland mobilised its armed forces after the breakdown of negotiations with the USSR.  The Soviets wanted possession of Finnish territory to safeguard Leningrad and Murmansk against a possible German attack.  Finland was not prepared to surrender its territory.

Game day 77. China

3rd, 4th and 5th Infantry Corps continued eastwards to confront the Japanese.

From Peking the combined infantry defenders attacked the Japanese 3rd Corps.  The Japanese lost two battalions to the Chinese one.  The Japanese fell back to the south, where they were attacked by 3rd Chinese Infantry Corps.  The Chinese wiped out a further two Japanese Battalions, but lost three.  The Chinese retreated.

Background image copyright Milton Bradley Games

Eighty years on. 15th November 1939


In Prague, the Gestapo arrested and executed nationalists attending the funeral of Jan Opletal, who had been wounded during the patriotic parades of October 28th.

In France three hours were added to the official working week, making it 43 hours.  Author’s note.  Possibly the only time that French trade unions have accepted longer working hours.  It is currently (2019) a maximum of 35 hours and 10 hours maximum per day.

Game day 76. Japan

3rd Infantry Corps, supported by 2nd Fighter Group, attacked Peking. 1 successful attack point against 1 successful defence point.  The 2nd Chinese Infantry Corps lost 1 Battalion, but the Japanese lost a squadron of fighters.  Peking held out.

1st Armoured Corps continued to advance towards the north of Peking in support of the attacking infantry.

Background image copyright Milton Bradley Games

Eighty years on. 14th November 1939


The Polish Government in Exile, led by General Sikorski, moved from Paris to London.

Hitler rejected the offer of mediation from Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands and King Leopold of the Belgians.  This offer had already been rejected by Winston Churchill in his speech two days previously (despite that he had no authority to speak for the British Government at this date).

The Franco-British alliance agreed to set up defensive lines on the River Dyle in Belgium if Germany were to attack.

Game day 75. Britain

1st and 2nd Battleship Flotillas reached the relative safety of Gibraltar.  Two empty convoys continued south-west across the North Atlantic towards the USA.

Background Image copyright Milton Bradley Games