Eighty years on. 18th September 1939

18th September 1939


In Poland, the battle of the Bzura ended with 170,000 Polish prisoners.  Polish Cypher Bureau members arrived in Paris with the German “Enigma” cypher codes. The Polish government fled to Rumania, where they were interned.   William Joyce (“Lord Haw-Haw”) was employed by German radio.  

Game day 18: Italy

Italy took no action. Historically Mussolini believed that the country would not be ready for a major war until 1943.

(sent from my mobile ‘phone)

“9/11”: 11th September 2001

There has been a lot of talk on social media about “where you were on 9/11”.
On 11th September 2001 (to give it the correct date), I was in Satu Mare, at the north-west corner of Rumania. We were about two hours ahead of most of Europe and therefore in time zones about nine hours before the USA

After work I walked from the factory to my hotel and turned on the TV. The only English language programme was CNN news, and I was just in time to see the second aircraft strike the World Trade Center buildings.
Shocked, I called home. Sure enough, everyone was glued to the TV, although it was mid-afternoon in the UK. I watched CNN for the rest of the evening, despite the affliction of the soviet era combined hot water/heating system that could not be adjusted, except by hanging one’s head out of the window for temporary relief.

Very soon I received the company-wide “no-fly” instruction.
I was now stranded in a town that felt like something from the late 1950s, with just two flights per week to Budapest in Hungary and a similar train service via Ukraine to Budapest. I had “enjoyed” during the previous week the same greasy lamb stew every day in the Managers’ dining room. I had observed that even senior managers were paid weekly, in cash. My hotel wanted cash payment rather than the company-preferred Amex.

My Irish colleague and I started to search for alternative ways home, probably via train.

Fortunately after two days the flight ban was lifted. Just in time for the local flight to Budapest. At the local airport they had moved the security scanning equipment into the entrance lobby/car park area. They clearly had no idea what to do. My Psion organiser was temporarily confiscated as “computer equipment”, but my laptop computer passed without comment. The chap before me had his nail clippers taken away, but in the duty-free shop aferwards one could buy a Swiss Army Knife.

And so, our travel passed without any major incident, but with a few bizarre situations.

As it turned out, this was so much easier than the problems caused by the eruption of the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull, when I was stranded in Wrotslaw, Poland and booked to be in Italy four days later. But that’s another, and much longer, story.

WW2 games this week

This week I am committed to two games, and have a third to play if I can get the models prepared.

Game 1. Tuesday. My wife’s godson Benjamin will help me play the PSC/Richard Borg game: Battle of Britain. I have had the Kickstarter version of the game for over a year but only unpacked it today. It needs a table the size of Africa for the set-up, which may be an issue (especially if you have the Kickstarter game map and if the Memsahib has confiscated the best table for making a dress).

Ho, hum and back to reality. The game map is set up on the second best table. Spare tables for all the record sheets and cards have been extracted from the caravan and we are ready to go,

As for game 2 on Wednesday. This will be the first action of the Battle of Matapan (1941). This is the result of a request from a young neighbour who I encountered playing with large WW2 tanks and aircraft. He has seen my toys and asked to play a naval game. We will play the opening stage of the Battle of Matapan, 1941, and see how if goes.

Young Luke tells me that he wants to join the Royal Navy when he is old enough, so we shall see how well he will fare if he ever reaches the level of Admiral…

And when these are over I have to reset the table for a Market Garden PBEM game north of Oosterbeek in September 1944.


Does anyone please have a Trump-English dictionary?

For example, apparently in the USA there is no place for a “Group of hate”.

If I could understand the concept I might be tempted to send one to Washington as a test case.

Meanwhile I await some form of proper denunciation of the right of ordinary citizens to possess military grade weapons, designed for the sole purpose of inflicting maximum damage to people.

Mass shootings in the USA have now passed the average of one per day in 2019. It should no longer be a matter for debate or lobbying. It is out of control.

My health

I am worried.

I just found myself on my bed with absolutely no recollection of how I got here.

Chrissy (my good lady wife) says she found me in the office in a semi-comatose state and helped me to move.

This is not good.

A Piece of Cake

Watching the UK Channel 4 series, “Piece of Cake”, based on the novel by Derek Robinson, set during the Battle of Britain.

A pity that they could not source Hurricane fighters for the TV, but on the whole a good representation of the book.

Richard Hope plays an excellent “Skull” Skelton, as does David Horowitch as the adjutant. Both are exactly as portrayed in the novels.
As for the pilots, Neil Dudgeon, Nat Parker and all the others bring it to life.

A highly watchable series.