Eighty years on. 31st January 1940


Britain secretly approached neutral Italy about purchasing badly needed fighter planes for the war effort. Author’s note. looking at the aircraft available Britain must have been desperate!

U-13 sank the Norwegian steamer SS Start carrying coal from Sunderland between Stavanger, Norway & Aberdeen, Scotland.  U-21 sank the Danish SS Vidar carrying steel from Grimsby 25 miles East of Aberdeen. 

Russian Commander Timoshenko prepared to assault the Mannerheim Line. He had 12 fresh divisions and 400 heavy artillery pieces available.

Britain launched a campaign to collect household waste for the war effort.  Iron and Steel were needed for melting down, waste paper for pulping and food waste for pig swill.  In Britain it was revealed that the country, like much of Europe, was suffering from freezing weather and heavy snowfall.  Official reports on the weather were censored until 15 days after the event.  The population had noticed…

Game day 153. France

Six battalions of Algerian Infantry disembarked at Marseilles and moved north.


We have all seen the headlines. City lockdown, stay at home, wear a face mask, no movement that could spread the virus.

It’s in China. For many of us China is a long way away. China is one of the few countries in the world where controlling its people is accepted as normal.

But what if it happened in your town?

How much food do you have in your house?

Forget hospitals and medical attention: what happens if the power station or water company workers cannot go to work?

Could you cook the food in your freezer?

Do you have a supply of drinking water?

Where would you go to the toilet?

Our society is so interdependent that we cannot afford to take chances.

We are, after all, only one more species liable to extinction.

More painting…

Starting my recent 1939 game I found that potential German reinforcements included cavalry and wagons. I checked my painted and unpainted horde and ordered more.

Alas, the wagons I thought I ordered turned out to be carts. My mistake or his, no matter, because a couple turned up in the half-painted pile. The carts will be added to the unpainted heap.

But now I have to paint a load of WW2 cavalry and I absolutely hate painting cavalry. First of all I get the horse colours, with associated manes and tails, wrong. Then there us the tack. I have been too involved with reenactment cavalry to get it wrong.

Even in 6mm I feel I ought to make some representation of not only the saddle, saddle cloth and reins, but at least the bridle, bit, stirrups and leathers, girth, crupper and in some periods the additional head collar and tether.

It was hard enough dealing with all this with real horses in 1800mm scale. Knowing that it all exists makes tiny model painting a chore.

Oh for the old days when I knew nothing and just copied the box artwork in 20mm!

Warning! Politically biased comment.

This post may contain terms and expressions that are no longer regarded as appropriate. But in their own time frame they were relevant. We cannot hide these things. They happened.

I have been listening this week to a great deal of news coverage about Auschwitz/Birkenau and the so-called “holocaust” generally. I have in the past read, listened to and viewed many distressing accounts of the appalling treatment of supposedly respectable humans against other humans who they regarded as animals.

As an aside, this is not dissimilar to the “White man’s” treatment of black people a century or so before. Thousands of Africans were taken by Arab traders and sold to Europeans for shipment to the Americas as slave labour.

But the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (shortened in the German fashion but never officially used, to “Nazi”) organisation took this persecution one stage further and decided that, having blamed the Jews for all Europe’s ills, the only solution to the problem was not simply deportation or slavery but elimination. Slave labour was viable if and while they were fit, but when they became useless as beasts of burden they should be destroyed. (Even donkeys in unenlightened communities are simply abandoned!)

It was a gradual process, but it worked, and the people who knew were sucked into a gradual belief that this was a positive policy. Those who did not know (including the victims) were fooled by propaganda about “resettlement in the east”. This is all too easy, and was managed without modern social media.

But, and this is my controversial political point: Why does a nation built from the results of this terrible persecution and incarceration, believe that it can be right to build walls around other peoples’ communities, restrict imports of vital necessities and generally treat their neighbours (whose territory they have occupied) as a sub-culture? Have they not seen enough of Ghettoes?

And as for the latest “Peace Plan” delivered by the President of the USA, words fail me.

Enough said. Rant over. I hope that enough people remember history to not let it happen again.

Eighty years on. 30th January 1940


Adolf Hitler gave a speech at the Berlin Sportpalast on the seventh anniversary of the Nazis taking power, his first public speech since the attempt on his life in November 1939. He claimed that Britain and France wanted war and he vowed that they would get their fight.

Heinrich Himmler issued a statement clarifying his “procreation” order of 28th October 1939. The “worst misunderstanding”, Himmler wrote, was that the order encouraged SS men to approach the wives of serving soldiers.

Himmler also ordered the deportation of 30,000 Gypsies from Germany, while Heydrich ordered the transportation of German Jews to Lublin in eastern Poland. Author’s note: to the Soviet-controlled area?

German aircraft bombed shipping in the English Channel and North Sea.  The cargo steamers SS Highwave, SS Giralda and SS Bancrest were sunk off the Orkney Islands, Scotland.   SS Voreda was also hit and damaged off the coast of East Anglia.

The German submarine U-15 sank in the North Sea at Hoofden after it was accidentally rammed by the German torpedo boat Iltis, being wrongly identified as a British submarine.

The German submarine U-55 attacked convoy OA-80G off Ushant, Brittany, sinking the British tanker SS Vaclite The crew was picked up by the Italian SS Pollenzo and landed at Barry, South Wales. In a second attack the Greek SS Keramiai was sunk.  U-55 was then sunk by depth charges from the escorts HMS Whitshed, HMS Fowey and the French destroyers Valmy and Guépard, and a RAF Short Sunderland from No. 228 Squadron.  Kapitänleutnant Werner Heidel went down with his ship.  Author’s note.  This action reveals the international nature of transatlantic convoys.

Game day 152. China

Despite the risk of air attacks (to which they were already vulnerable) two Chinese infantry divisions (10 battalions) moved eastwards in preparation for an assault on Peking.

Eighty years on. 29th January 1940


French Prime Minister Édouard Daladier made a radio address titled “The Nazis’ Aim is Slavery”. “For us, there is more to do than merely win the war,” Daladier said. “We shall win it, but we must also win a victory far greater than that of arms. In this world of masters and slaves, which those madmen who rule at Berlin are seeking to forge, we must also save liberty and human dignity.”

The Polish Government in Exile stated that the Nazis had killed 18,000 Poles.

A fire at Ajikawaguchi Station in Osaka, Japan killed almost 200 people.

The USSR suggested negotiations to the Finns via a diplomatic note to Sweden.

Game day 151. Japan

The Japanese launched another air strike on Chinese Infantry south-west of Peking.  This was carried out at the limit of the fighters’ range by returning to another location just inside Japanese-held Manchukuo.  Two squadrons were lost and no casualties inflicted on the Chinese.

2020. The year of decluttering

I have decided to rid my life of stuff that there is no chance that I will use before I die.

We have to dispose of a load of surplus stationery and filing apparatus after revamping the home office, but I have also decided to offload a lot of wargaming stuff that I bought on retiring that in retrospect is never likely to be used.

When I retired I decided to scour the internet for the stuff that I saw in wargame books and wished I could afford as a teenager in the 1960s/70s. Alas, most of it languishes in my loft.

I have an excellent opportunity to clear my stuff and raise money for a good cause at the auction in aid of Combat Stress run by Henry Hyde at the annual Donald Featherstone memorial wargame dinner. This charity has recently been in the news because government funding has been withdrawn and they can no longer afford to take on new cases of military personnel mentally affected by their battlefield experiences.

So I am accumulating a pile of models, books, etc. for fellow wargamers to spend good money on for a good cause, and to stuff their own lofts with in the vain expectation that the purchases will ever be used.

Meanwhile I am also gradually disposing of re-enactment gear. Today I sold a Brown Bess cavalry carbine and gave away an old oak table and four folding chairs, last used in the officers’ mess tent at Waterloo in 2015. The table was in poor condition as the lashing rain attacking it on the roof of my car en route from Hougoumont to Hampshire stripped most of the varnish from it. That probably makes it better for its intended new use as a battlefield surgeon’s table.

On the other hand I have today unpacked a cart, bought last year from Poland. This is intended for use at our ECW events in my civilian “camp follower” rôle for carrying water and other requisites for the cavalry. The youngsters can drag it while I supervise…

Tomorrow I hope to deliver the wheels to a friend to have steel tyres added. Then I need to work out how to build the cart in a folding or flat-pack style for transport.

This is a replacement for the wheelbarrow that I bought a few years back and lovingly restored to “original”, oiled, and flat-pack status before losing it in a fire the very next day.

The restored wheelbarrow…
…is in here, somewhere!

To supplement the cart I have also bought in the last year or so wooden water buckets, stone water bottles, wicker bottle baskets, canvas buckets, a yoke, etc., etc.

Now, back to the objective of decluttering………..

4th September 1939. Poland…

A short and shaky video showIng the situation at the end of turn 2. I tried recording this commentary on the video but I was rubbish! So here is the commentary followed by the pictures. (3/10. See me after class.)

“We start on the German left flank where Polish infantry have advanced to within rifle range and caused the German howitzers to prepare to withdraw.

In front of the German artillery is a company of Polish infantry in total disorder in the village.

Moving to the right is the scene of a close-range skirmish between Polish infantry and German light tanks (PzII), in which the Germans came off worst.  Almost invisible in the woods is another company of Polish infantry with anti-tank rifles, which failed to do any damage whatsoever.

In the woods at the centre of the battlefield is a German infantry company, also with AT rifles, which has just been rallied and reorganised by the battalion CO after their pounding by Polish artillery.

Moving across we see that the PzIV has abandoned its concealed position at the edge of the village, because of the two companies of Polish infantry advancing down the road.  

The armoured cars (SdKfz222) to the left of the village were driven back by shellfire – the craters are clearly seen – but recovered and are once again moving forward to engage the enemy infantry with the support of the PzIV.

Eighty years on. 28th January 1940

Finnish troops eliminated Soviet forces encircled in the Pieni-Kelivaara pocket on the north shore of Lake Ladoga.

Chinese troops captured Lucheng, Shanxi Province. (Shan-si on the contemporary map)

Game day 150. Great Britain

First an apology that the game day counting has been 10 days adrift since 31st December.  This is indeed game day 150.

The escorted empty convoy continued south-west towards the US east coast.  (This was reported yesterday under the German turn.)

The battleship in the bay of Biscay began its return towards Gibraltar.

In the North East Atlantic the warship withdrew to Portsmouth.  Trying to take on four submarines alone was not a good proposition.  But they called on the RAF who made a bombing raid on the submarines.  Two submarines were sunk.  The bombers returned to south-west England.

The convoy in the Red Sea sailed east into the Indian Ocean.

Needing to get my filing done.

Yesterday evening I spent some hours searching the house for my copy of Joseph Morschauser’s book on wargaming. I know that I have it. I remember reading it.

Finally in desperation I ordered from eBay a second-hand copy of the “History of Wargaming” version edited by John Curry and Bob Cordery.

No doubt, just like almost every other work by Bob that I have purchased, a previous purchase will emerge from the woodwork next week! I once owned three copies of “Hexblitz”, only discovered when the Memsahib was engaged in a book-covering frenzy. I believe that I am inadvertently the main contributor to Bob’s meagre retirement fund.

With apologies to Bob for mis-spelling his name in the original post.