Home thoughts from ….home

Several months ago I tried to come to terms with the fact that I may never see my mother again, when I was isolated for health reasons during the first wave of COVID-19.

She is currently living in what the late Sir Terry Wogan used to refer to as a “home for the bewildered”, and a good one too.

The home has immediate access to a lovely public park that we used to enjoy as a family. Last time I visited I was able to take Mother out to the park in a wheelchair and relive old memories.

This week she has undergone minor surgery to remove a cyst on her arm. Thanks to my sister for accompanying her for that.

But there has been an outbreak of the virus in the home, and in any case Mother will be confined to her room for 14 days on return to the home.

My Mum has not had an easy life. As a teenager in the 1940s she was working for her dad by delivering vegetables by bicycle to his customers and helping her mum to care for her new twin brothers.

In 1952 she married a widower and took on a 4 year old son, to be followed by me in 1954 and my sister in 1959.

Mum used to load us onto the pram and walk the 5 miles to town and then, with her shopping list, would check every shop in the high street for the best price before walking back and buying the groceries, and then the 5 miles home again.

In 1976 Dad died, after 13 years of a crippling illness, leaving her little more than the house. She soldiered on, working as a “Dinner lady” at my old school and in the local library.

She took on the task of caring for my 2 children while I was working long hours for a year after my divorce in 1978.

Mum has always been there for us. I have not always been there for her.

She is now 91. I hope to be able to visit her sometime before it’s too late.

In the meantime, thanks Mum for everything.

Stable stories

Another sign that Autumn is upon us. Mushrooms growing on top of the muck-heap at the stable yard.

As muck-heaps go, this is the neatest one I have ever seen. Chrissy takes great care to keep a series of flat steps up to the top and not allow overflow. The owner of the property calls it her Ziggurat.

But today was a little different. Two chaps arrived from the estate where she works and removed a full trailer load for use on the organic farm. We don’t pay for removal and they get a free load a couple of times a year.

And there it was – gone. Time to start again.

Unfortunately the emptiness of the bay is not clear because of the shadow and the discolouration.

Eighty years on – the end of the beginning?

Dear followers.

It is with regret that I have come to a decision to cease daily publication of my “Eighty Years On” blog posts.

This project is quite simply taking too much of my time.  I have managed one year of almost daily posts, but with the War becoming more active, the game diverging from reality – how can I fight the Battle of Britain when Germany has no aircraft? – and other gaming projects stagnating, I can’t keep up.

I will continue to play the game, probably with weekly turns, and make occasional posts but the detailed historical daily report must go.

Sorry folks, but sometimes ambition hits the brick wall of reality.

Eighty years on. 3rd September 1940


The weather over south-east England was again good for flying. The Luftwaffe sent one main raid of 50 Dornier Do17 bombers, 80 Messerschmitt Bf110 fighter bombers and 40 Bf109 fighters up the Thames Estuary which then split up and bombed RAF airfields at North Weald, Hornchurch and Debden.  All the airfields were badly damaged but still operational.  The Luftwaffe lost 17 fighters and 8 bombers. The RAF lost 20 fighters including 2 Blenheims returning to North Weald, accidentally shot down by Hurricanes mistaking them for Bf110s.  There was relatively little bombing overnight, unlike recent nights, but there were attacks in Kent, Liverpool, and South Wales.

The RAF made two major bombing attacks on the U-boat pens at Lorient and with incendiaries against German forests.

U-60 sank the British collier Ulva about 150 miles south-west of the Isle of Barra, Outer Hebrides.  U-57 collided with the Norwegian steamer Rona and sank just after midnight at Brunsbüttel at the Western end of the Kiel Canal.  200 miles west of Ireland U-101 was attacked with depth charges by a British convoy escort.  She was damaged and partially flooded.

 Adolf Hitler fixed the date of Operation Sea Lion for 21st September.

Vichy France ordered the internment of anyone who posed a threat to national security. Communists were particularly targeted.

The British cabinet approved a £2,000 compensation payment to each householder whose house was destroyed by Luftwaffe attacks.

King Carol of Rumania survived an attempted assassination.

Game day 369.  Week 53.  South & Central America (Continued).

A continuation of the cataloguing of the assets of the southern Americas.

Guatemala is a country in Central America with a population of 2 million.  The country is self-sufficient and neutral.

Haiti is the western half of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola.  The population is 3 million.  The country is neutral, self-sufficient and contributes nothing to the war effort.

(From Wikipedia) The small Panama Canal Zone was United States territory, and American forces from the U.S. Navy, U.S. Army, the USAAF (at Howard Air Force Base), and Colombian forces helped inside the Canal Zone, guarded the Panama Canal from both ends. This Canal provided the United States and its Allies with the ability to move warships and troops rapidly between the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. Since most of the American shipbuilding capability was on the East Coast and the Gulf of Mexico, the Canal was vital for moving new warships to the Pacific to fight the Imperial Japanese Navy.  For game purposes the country has 2 million people and is self-sufficient and nominally neutral.

Peru has 7 million people, no war resources and is neutral.

Uruguay is neutral.  The population is 2 million and there is a food surplus of 65,000 tons per week.

That concludes the documentation of neutral Central and South America

Stable stories

(Being an occasional update of my increasing involvement in my wife’s hobby)

Background. During the Covid-19 lockdown I was advised to isolate myself as much as possible, even from my family. I moved into the caravan in our garden.

Most days we took the opportunity to get some outdoor exercise by looking after the two horses at my wife’s stable yard. She does not own the yard but keeps a horse there and is responsible for the yard, supported by the owner of the second horse and a couple of volunteers who occasionally ride one of the horses.

The stable yard. My self-appointed task is to keep it tidy, because it is next to the owners’ garden.

During “lockdown” we would take two cars to the yard. Suitably gloved, after Chrissy had mixed up the horses’ supplementary feed, I would take one bucket and feed Cesar. Chrissy would take care of her own horse, Tristan. I would make sure that both horses had sufficient water.

As the summer drew on and I was allowed back indoors I found myself helping more in closer situations. Neither horse likes the application of anti-fly spray, and Cesar was often and for the rest of the group a “bit of a bugger” to catch. For some reason he will come to me and I have rarely had problems getting the head collar on him. He is 17.2HH (1.72m to the shoulder for those not equine-oriented) and if he decides to throw his head up you need a lasso or a step-ladder.

The only jobs I don’t do are “mucking out” and “poo picking”, but I see the day coming…

While Chrissy deals with horses’ excrement I divide the time between playing “chuck and fetch the ball” with Sparky, our 9 year-old labrador/collie cross dog and general tidying up and gardening tasks.

This morning was the first indication of Autumn (Fall for the ex-colonials). It was, as we used to say as kids, a “misty moisty morning”. The sun broke through about 08:00 and by 09:00 we were at the yard, where I took this photograph:

The first dew-laden cobweb of the season. Later I found bigger and better, but this is the first.

The weather forecast today is continual sunshine and temperatures rising to the high twenties (Celsius). We plan to bring the lads into the stables for the afternoon for shelter from the heat, so first job was to make sure they have hay and water available.

Then the normal feeding routine, including half an apple to keep the boys occupied while we fill the feed buckets. Chrissy deals with her horse Tristan while I look after Cesar. If we need to add or remove rugs, fly masks or other impedimenta it’s easier while they are feeding.

Tristan in his anti-fly outfit, waiting for breakfast after a bit of a downpour. Known to me as “Burglar Bill” or “Deborah the Zebra” (despite the gender issue)

For some reason this morning Cesar decided to take his breakfast and spread it across the wet surface of his upturned winter water trough, then lick it off bit by bit. I have caught him before licking the ganvanised surface.

Cesar’s new breakfast routine.

After the basic routine, I went to the winter paddocks that we worked on yesterday to cut out a couple of stumps too big for the brush-cutter to deal with.

Then back to the yard weeding, where I managed about a square yard of deep-rooted weeds in the stone surface next to the lawn

Not today’s work, but an indication of the job in hand.

And then home. Back again at around 12:00 to bring the lads in.

We have heard a lot recently about the effect of “the virus” on our mental health. I have to say that this helps me. I am getting out. I am working with animals. I am doing something useful.

Eighty years on. 2nd September 1940


Four Luftwaffe raids flew up the Thames Estuary to bomb airfields in the Southeast of England.  The RAF was better able to cope using Air Vice-Marshall Keith Park’s strategy to attack the massed bombers before they split up.  Damage to airfields was consequently reduced, but Detling & Hornchurch are still bombed and Eastchurch was put out of action indefinitely. Aircraft factories at Rochester and Weybridge were also bombed.  The RAF shot down 27 German fighters and 10 bombers.  Anti-aircraft guns accounted for 1 Bf109 and 3 more bombers.   The RAF lost 20 fighters with 10 pilots killed.

Czech pilot Josef František scored his first kill, a Bf 109E.

Overnight, there was widespread bombing of towns in the Midlands, including Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield.

200 miles west of the Isle of Lewis U-47 sank the Belgian passenger and freight ship Ville de Mons, carrying 4,378 tons of general cargo, 1,280 boxes of pears, 648 tons of corn and 536 tons of wheat from New York with 4 torpedoes.   Later U-46 sank the British SS Thornlea 200 miles north-west of Ireland.

U-58 left her base in the French port of Lorient in the Bay of Biscay, and was attacked 30 miles out by the British submarine HMS Tigris, but all the torpedoes missed.  The British submarine HMS Sturgeon sank the German SS Pionier off Skagen, Denmark.  Pionier was carrying up to 1000 German troops, supplies and equipment from Frederikshavn, Denmark, to Frederiksstad, Norway.

The German armed merchant cruiser Widder sank the British tanker Cymbeline with her deck gun and a torpedo in the Central Atlantic 800 miles west of the Canary Islands.  

The battleship HMS Valiant and the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious joined Admiral Cunningham’s task force in the Mediterranean.

U.S. Secretary of State Cordell Hull and British Ambassador Lord Lothian exchanged notes concluding an agreement to trade old American destroyers for 99-year leases on British bases. (Author’s note:  I wonder if the bases will be returned to British ownership when the leases expire.  q.v.Hong Kong.)

Game day 368

No progress has been made on the game.  The weather has been so fine and warm that I have spent a lot of time helping with bush-cutting and bramble-shearing at my wife’s stable yard.  Everything else has taken a back seat this weekend.

I expect to conclude the data for South America tomorrow.

Meanwhile, here are a few views of what has diverted me from the one true hobby.

The stable yard. I try to keep the weeds under control as well as feeding and watering horses daily.
A view to the west along the Berkshire/Hampshire boundary. The hills in the distance are the site of the First Battle of Newbury. 20th September 1643.
Sunset over Greenham Common. The former USAF air base and site of massive anti-nuclear protests in the 1980s. Now largely returned to its pre-1940 state as common land for cattle grazing and public recreation.

The trouble with guns is…

I am a historical re-enactor. I have in the past re-enacted the “gunpowder era” from around 1640 to 1815. I have bought and used various designs of matchlock, “Firelock” and flintlock muskets and pistols during the last forty years.

During that time we have had to jump through increasingly small hoops set up by the Home Office to pursue our hobby, mainly because other people continually misuse completely different types of weapons. This has not only related to guns, but also “edged weapons”, such as swords, axes, pole-arms, spears and pikes, even if they are safely blunted for re-enactment use.

However, this diatribe relates to fire arms and shot guns; the two categories of re-enactment weapon used in my chosen period for displays of shooting. We use black powder (i.e. gunpowder) as a propellant – as opposed to an explosive. Let’s start with that one.

In Great Britain (Northern Ireland has different rules for historical reasons), most people can get a license to acquire up to 1Kg of black powder, provided that they can display a reasonable need, backed up by references. It may not be kept, but is acquired on the day, for use on the day, and any unused must be returned to the issuer.

The next stage is “acquire and keep.” this allows small quantities to be kept by the licensee. And I mean small quantities, like up to 1Kg. Above that one must have a licensed, alarmed, registered store for up to 30Kg. The powder must be kept in specified wooden safety boxes with each 1Kg separated by a fire-resistant barrier. I used to have a 30Kg store (5 boxes x 12 x 1/2Kg bottle) and if it were full I was not permitted to buy a single firework in a shop. Meanwhile folks over 18 with no license could buy the “multi-barrel mortar” style of firework with no checks whatsoever!

Returning to the guns: the rules apply equally to “live firing” or “blank firing” weapons. Muzzle loaded muskets are classed in the UK as “shot guns” and fall under the same rules as double-barreled smooth-bore hunting guns used for game shooting. You have to show a good reason to own the guns, provide references from two people of a particular social class and a doctor’s reference letter. After that, for five years and about sixty quid, you can use these guns for the specified activities and locations. You can buy and sell this type of gun to and from other shot gun license holders within reason. Each transfer must be notified to both parties’ police authority.

Fire Arms. Anything with a barrel bore over 2″ or length under 24″ is a Fire Arm. (i.e. cannons and pistols). They require a license that requires more references, a very good reason to own (The law expects you to belong to a shooting club and struggles with people who dress up in old style clothes to put on displays in fields). They cannot be freely traded without prior police permission.

Even “de-activated” guns have now become subject to scrutiny since December 2019, (following EU requirements). These are weapons that have been rendered incapable of firing. If owned before 2016 you may keep it without let or hindrance, but if you transfer it to someone else you must tell the Home Office. At this point it may require a “certificate of de-activation”, compliant with the latest rules. The process and certification may well cost more than the value of the item. These regulations were not widely published when introduced last year. I discovered them by accident, and could easily have inadvertently broken the law today.

I have spent two years trying to dispose of two reproduction 17th century flintlock pistols, but nobody can afford the expense of buying them, so unfortunately the bureaucrats have won and these weapons have been surrendered to the police for destruction.

Following previous reported incidents relating to guns certified as “destroyed” by UK Police, and the former owners finding their pistols on sale at European arms fairs, I wonder what their fate will be?

After all, if our local police can’t even be bothered to mention that the police station on their website is closed down, fenced off and moved to a new location, what hope do I have?

Disclaimer. All the above is the latest legislation to the best of my knowledge.

Eighty years on.

Chapter Thirteen: September 1940

1st September 1940


A busy day around the U.K.

The Luftwaffe again targeted RAF airfields, using the same tactics but on a reduced scale compared to the previous two days.  The RAF ignored probing flights of only Messerschmitts in the morning.  Three large raids came across the Channel at 11 a.m., 1.30 p.m. and 5.30 p.m.  As usual they split up.  Airfields at Hawkinge, Lympne, Kenley, Detling and Sherburn, and docks in the East End of London were attacked. Biggin Hill was bombed again in the middle of the funerals of those killed in the last two days.

The Luftwaffe lost 17 fighters but the fighter screen was so dense that only 8 bombers were shot down. The RAF lost 15 fighters, with six pilots killed.  There was less bombing than previous nights, with attacks in Kent, Bristol Channel, South Wales and along the Tyne and Tees in the north-east of England.  Oil tanks at Llandarcy, South Wales were bombed and set afire.

Just after midnight, U-101 sank the Greek SS Efploia 100 miles north-west of Ireland.  The entire crew abandoned ship in two lifeboats and are picked up by the destroyer HMS Anthony.  In the evening U-32 hit the British cruiser HMS Fiji with her last torpedo 200 miles west of Isle of Lewis, Scotland.  Fiji was badly damaged but returned to the Clyde under her own power escorted by four destroyers. Fiji’s place in the expedition to Dakar (Operation Menace) was be taken by the Australian cruiser HMAS Australia.

British submarine HMS Tigris sank the French fishing vessel Sancte Michael with her deck gun near Brest, France.  The Submarine HMS Sunfish, leaving Grangemouth at 11.30 p.m., collided with the patrol launch Mesme which sank with her three crew.

The British minesweeping trawler HMT Royalo sank after hitting a mine off Penzance, Cornwall.

Cruisers HMS Orion and HMAS Sydney and destroyers HMS Decoy and Ilex shelled the Italian Dodecanese islands of Scarpanto (now Karpathos) and Stampalia (now Astypalea) in the Southern Aegean Sea. HMS Ilex rammed and sank the Italian motor torpedo boat MAS537.

In Lithuania the Japanese Consul was expelled after it was revealed that he was issuing exit visas to Jews.

The Italians captured Buna, Kenya.

The New England hurricane reached peak intensity as it passed by Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. The storm did $4 million in damage and resulted in 7 fatalities.

Game day 367. Week 53.  Central and South America

The latest data collection exercise covers everywhere from Mexico southwards, including the Caribbean.

Mexico has 19 million people with 8 major cities, is self-sufficient as to food, and produces 110,000 tons of oil per week.  No details are available related to armed forces.

Argentina has a population of 14 million and 4 major cities.  The main resource is food (notably beef), of which there is a weekly surplus of 350,000 tons.  The United Kingdom will be a major customer.  No details of the armed forces are available.

Bolivia is a country of 3 million, centred on the capital La Paz. It is self-sufficient and neutral.

Brazil is a populous country with 40 million people and is just self-sufficient.  There are no notable exports.  It has a small navy of half a dozen ships and is neutral.

Chile has only 5 million people and is self-sufficient.  There are no relevant resources.  I have no details about the armed forces.

Colombia has a population of 9 million, two-thirds of whom live in the Capital, Bogota.  The army is 16,000 men and the navy has 2 destroyers and 8 smaller vessels.  The main exports are coffee to the USA and Platinum, making it strategically important.

Costa Rica is a small neutral country in Central America. With a population of only 1 million it has no imports or exports needed for the game.

Cuba is a country of 4 million and is self-sufficient.  The main export is sugar, insufficient to record in the game.  The navy consists of several submarine-chasers, used in the Caribbean.

Dominica (Santo Domingo) has a population of 2 million and contributes nothing to the war effort.

Ecuador also has a population of 2 million.  It has a small army of 2,300 men.

To be continued…

Aside: Cor – this is taking longer than I expected. I only have the rest of South America, the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific and the belligerent Germany and British Empire to analyze and then we can get back to fighting…

I plan to calculate the industrial, import and export totals on a weekly basis, transferring military forces and convoys, etc. to their respective positions in their country’s game turn. meanwhile, particularly naval, interceptions may take place.

Countries not actively involved in conflict will simply have their new situation calculated. belligerent nations will need to review historical actions since their last turn and attempt to act accordingly.

This all has to be trialed and play-tested. Can someone please find me a psychiatrist?

Eighty years on. 31st August 1940


By huge effort overnight, Biggin Hill airfield was made operational after yesterday’s attack. The Luftwaffe again made concentrated attacks on RAF airfields, repeating yesterday’s exercise of flying large formations up the Thames Estuary which then split up to target different airfields.  RDF stations on the South coast were also hit.  The RAF lost 41 fighters and 9 pilots.  The RAF still had 613 Spitfires and Hurricanes but pilots were exhausted and many airfields out of action or badly damaged.  The Germans lost 56 fighters and 29 bombers. Their pilots too were exhausted.

Overnight, Liverpool was bombed for the fourth successive night and other cities in the Midlands are also targeted.

Five British destroyers sailed from England to lay mines off Texel Island on the Dutch coast.  They are suddenly ordered to intercept German ships but blundered into a new German minefield.  HMS Express hit a mine and was badly damaged.  HMS Esk went to assist, hit a mine and sank immediately. HMS Ivanhoe also tried to assist, hit a mine and was badly damaged.

Despite the threat of invasion by Germany, Free French troops under General De Gaulle and 8,000 British troops left England escorted by the British cruisers HMS Devonshire and Fiji and five destroyers, to establish a base in Freetown, Sierra Leone.  Their final destination was the port of Dakar in French West Africa which is under Vichy French control.  De Gaulle intended to land his Free French troops unopposed to secure the colony for the Free French.  Britain wanted to prevent Germany basing U-boats there to threaten trade routes around the Cape of Good Hope.  They also had an eye on ultramodern French battleship Richelieu which, although damaged by British attacks on 7th and 8th July, could be repaired and brought into the Royal Navy.

100 miles north of Ireland, U-boats torpedoed 3 ships from convoy OB-205. At midnight, the Dutch passenger steamer Volendam (carrying 273 crew and 606 passengers, including many British children being evacuated to Canada) was hit by two torpedoes from U-60.  She did not sink and everyone escapes to safety in the lifeboats, except one crewman who fell overboard.  Later U-59 sank the British SS Bibury and U-38 sank the  British SS Har Zion

U-46 sank the Belgian passenger steamer Ville de Hasselt 100 miles north-west of Ireland.  All 53 crew abandon ship in 4 lifeboats.

German submarine U-95 was commissioned

President Roosevelt called up 60,000 National Guardsmen into federal service.

A new Pennsylvania Central Airlines Douglas DC-3 passenger plane crashed near Lovettsville, Virginia during a storm, killing all 25 aboard.

The Caproni Ca.331 military aircraft had its first test flight at Ponte San Pietro, Italy.

Game day 366. Week 53. U.S.A.

The USA has a population of 148 million, including its dependencies, and a surplus of food amounting to 1,270,000 tons per week.

There are 27 major cities.  Production capacity is 7.6 million tons of coal per week, 2.6 million tons of oil, 680,000 tons of iron ore, 440,000 tons of pig iron and 690,000 tons of steel.

As for the armed forces, by the end of 1940 the USA had 2 armoured divisions and 18 infantry divisions.  The U.S. Army Air Force had 92 heavy bombers, 639 medium and light bombers and 625 fighters, in addition to 2,600 aircraft of other types (recce, training, transport, etc.).

I only have data for the navy as at December 1941.  Given that the navy was undergoing a massive expansion programme I have halved the number of ships for September 1940, making 4 carriers, 8 battleships, 18 cruisers, 82 destroyers and 53 submarines.

Eighty years on. 30th August 1940


Rumania ceded half of Transylvania to Hungary.

Fine weather allowed concerted attacks on RAF airfields.  The Luftwaffe flew over 1,300 sorties.  Most airfields in south-east England were bombed.  Six RDF stations were disabled for three hours when a power line was hit.  Biggin Hill was bombed twice and put out of action with 74 casualties.

Squadron Leader Tom Gleave of 253 Squadron downed four Bf109s in one sortie.  Air Vice-Marshall Park’s 11 Group felt let down when fighters from 12 Group commanded by Air Vice-Marshall Leigh-Mallory did not arrive to cover the airfields.  The RAF lost 39 fighters and 8 pilots.  The Germans lost 33 fighters and 30 bombers.

Overnight, Liverpool is heavily bombed for the third night, as well as London, Portsmouth, Manchester, Worcester, Bristol and the Vauxhall Motor Works at Luton, where 50 were killed.

RAF Bomber Command again bombed Berlin as well as oil refineries near Rotterdam.  4 RAF bombers were lost.

Within the space of 30 minutes U-32 sank 3 ships in convoy HX-66A off the Isle of Lewis, Scotland.  British SS Mill Hill sank with all 34 hands lost.  British SS Chelsea sank with 24 dead and 11 crew rescued. The Norwegian MV Norne sank with 17 dead and 11 survivors rescued from the water.

Later, within 20 minutes U-59 hit 2 ships in convoy OB-205 70 miles north-west of Ireland.  The British tanker Anadara was towed to the Clyde by the tug HMS Schelde.  The Greek SS San Gabriel also did not sink.  She was abandoned, declared a total loss and beached.

Vichy France announced that it would allow 6,000 Japanese troops to be stationed in Indochina and use ports, airfields and railroads for military purposes.  However, the French government attempted to delay the implementation of this plan for as long as possible.

German submarine U-93 was commissioned.

Game Day 365.  Week 52.  European Neutrals

Today I have been working on the complex subject of the remaining neutral countries in Europe.  My best efforts below:

Albania has a population of one million and a small army of 13,000 men.  The country is self-sufficient and contributes no coal, oil, iron or steel to the world economy.

Bulgaria has a population of six million.  Despite treaty limitations the army has been increased to 160,000 men.  Bulgaria is self-sufficient.

Greece is more prosperous and better armed.  The two major cities of Athens and Thessaloniki have a population of 7 million.  The army is 430,000 men in 15 divisions, the air force has 4 fighter and 3 bomber squadrons, each of 12 aircraft.  The navy is equipped with 21 cruisers, 10 destroyers and 6 submarines.  The country is self-sufficient as to food but has no coal, oil, iron or steel resources.  (Odd that in my 1938 world atlas Thessaloniki is depicted about 50 miles from the sea.  I have been there, sat on the harbour wall and watched the ships, so I know it’s wrong.)

Hungary has a population of 9 million, sufficient food and no useful resources.  The country is friendly to the axis powers.  The army is 80,000 strong and the air force has 16 squadrons, half fighter and half bomber (as well as some reconnaissance and training units not counted in the game).                      

Iceland, separated from occupied Denmark in April, was occupied by Royal Marines in May, now occuppied by 4,000 Canadian infantry.  The population is less than one million and the island serves only as a base.  

The Republic of Ireland (still shown as the Irish Free State on the map) has a population of 3 million, sufficient food supplies and is strictly neutral.

Portugal is neutral, but a hotbed of espionage (outside the scope of this game).  The indigenous population is 4 million, but Portugal also has Angola and Mozambique in Africa with a further 13 million people, as well as the Cape Verde and Azores islands off Africa.  All of the territories are self-sufficient for food, contribute no useful game resources and can be left to their own devices.

Spain has 26 million people and a further 1 million in Spanish Morocco.  The country is just about self-sufficient in food.  Spain can produce 40,000 tons of iron ore per week but has no natural coal or industrial capacity to process it.   Spain is neutral, but in the recent civil war relied heavily on German and Italian support.  Details of the armed forces are not known, but 50,000 men and a squadron of aircraft were later made available to the Germans, so that is what I have used, based in Madrid.

Rumania (Romania, Roumania) is also associated with the axis cause.  It is particularly important to the war effort because of the 160,000 tons of oil produced each week.  The navy has 4 destroyers, based on the Black Sea coast, but nominally allocated to Bucharest.  The air force consisted of 11 fighter and  4 bomber squadrons of 25 aircraft each. The army was 21 divisions of 33,000 men.

Sweden was nominally neutral, but supplying iron ore to Germany, which probably explains why it was not included in the April 1940 assaults.  Sweden produces 150,000 tons of iron ore per week.  Although historically the ore was produced in the north of Sweden and shipped via Norway, for game purposes I need to allocate it to either Stockholm or Gothenberg.  90,000 tons to Stockholm, 60,000 tons to Gothenberg.  Sweden appears to have called up “Home Guard” type defensive forces, had a few small motor vessels in the navy and an aborted contract for fighter aircraft from the USA.  I have not included any forces in the game.  The country is self-sufficient as to food.

Switzerland has a population of 4 million and is self-sufficient.  430,000 home defence forces have been called up but most were dismissed during the “Phoney War”.  I have allowed 3 units of 10,000 based in Bern.

(with apologies for the horrid mix of past and present tenses in this post).