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Wednesday, 31 August 2016

SOTCW Journal 88, 31 August 2016

SOTCW Journal 88, 31 August 2016

I am pleased to announced that Journal 88 has just been published in print and PDF formats.

Articles

Subscription News – Information for the next subscription of The Journal
The War in Angola – Some interesting Ambush Scenarios for modern games
Hungary's Red Army – The 129 day Army – March-August 1919
March on Madrid – A Campaign of the first 100 days of the SCW*
Meet The Members – Secretary Phil Gray
Notes on the Great War – Rob Morgan's continuing WW1 series
The Battle of Annual – 22 July 1921 – colonial warfare in Morocco
Harry Lime and the Sewer Police – An idea for a wargame underneath Berlin
The Chinese Civil War – A look at the war between 1927 – 1950
Ghosts of the East – Fictional Soviet vehicles
Modelling a Blocao for the Rif – A simple conversion of resin terrain
Pistol Popping! – A discussion of handgun usage in wargames
Two or Three Shermans to build – A kit review and build

Regulars

The Armoury – Reviews of 15mm – 28mm Wargaming vehicles
Rules of War – Reviews of Wargame Rules
Little Warriors – Reviews of figures and animals in all scales
Bookshelf – Book Reviews
Rob's Rearguard
All members will now need to resubscribe to the Journal for the next six issues. Details in the magazine or on the website.

We are moving to a bi-monthly magazine and if you subscribe now you will get an additional 10% off. Yes that's right 6 issues in PDF format only £6.30 GBP

SOTCW

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Slingshot 307

Slingshot 307

Slingshot 307 is currently being printed and should be out by the end of June. Contents include:

Table of contents:

• Arming the Slaves, by Richard Andrews
• It's a Long Way to Tibareni (4), by Alastair McBeath
• The ‘Drunken One' at Campaign 2016, by Steve Rathgay
• Actium Naval Rules, by Harry Ryder
• Pharsalus Battle Day Reports

Pharsalus in Japan, by Aaron Bell
Pharsalus with ‘To The Strongest!', by Paul Innes
Pharsalus using ‘Scutarii', by Bill Butler

• Hannibal Triumphs! – ‘Morten et Glorium', by Richard Jeffrey-Cook
• Another Consideration of Chaeronea, by Chris Hahn

The editor is always looking for more articles, photographs and art, so feel free to contact him if you have an idea you would like to pursue.

Slingshot

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Save Southern Campaign Battlefields from the American Revolution!

Save Southern Campaign Battlefields from the American Revolution!

Campaign 1776, the Civil War Trust’s national initiative to save Revolutionary War and War of 1812 battlefields, is embarking on its most exciting effort yet to preserve the hallowed grounds of our War for Independence. We have an unprecedented opportunity to save 1,037 acres at six sites associated with the Southern Campaign of the Revolutionary War. This is the first national, private-sector campaign to save this critical but overlooked story in American history.

By late 1778, George Washington had fought the British to a stalemate in the northern colonies. Looking for victory elsewhere, his foes adopted a new strategy. British generals sent troops south to key ports in Georgia and South Carolina. The resulting “Southern Campaign” is one of the great untold stories of the American Revolution.

The struggles fought in the southern colonies involved some of the giants of early American history. Edward Rutlege and Thomas Heyward, Jr., both signers of the Declaration of Independence, fought at Port Royal Island. “Light Horse” Harry Lee (father of Robert E. Lee) and Wade Hampton (grandfather of the Confederate cavalry leader) were key figures in the Southern Campaign. Thomas Sumter and William Moultrie earned their reputations defending the South, long before their names were attached to forts in Charleston Harbor.

Campaign 1776 is committed to preserving these battlegrounds and once saved interpreting the momentous events that occurred on these hallowed fields. Every day, people like you and I drive past these places oblivious to the struggles that raged there. By saving these battlefields, we can use these sites to tell this story of the American Revolution the way it deserves to be told.

Help us preserve the memory of this crucial chapter in American history and save the Southern Campaign.

P.S. Thanks to an incredible set of matching funds, every dollar you donate will be multiplied by a factor of 37 for a $37.57-to-$1 match. Take advantage of this opportunity to make your preservation dollar go even farther.

Campaign 1776
The Civil War Trust

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Remember the Burning of Washington!

Remember the Burning of Washington!

In 1814, British leaders deployed troops and ships to raid the American coast to bring the War of 1812 to an end. They hoped to draw American forces away from Canada and retaliate for the destruction of Canadian cities. Washington, DC was an attractive target because it was poorly defended and an invasion would be especially embarrassing to the young American government.

After defeating American troops at Bladensburg on August 24, redcoats marched into the city. As American sailors burned ships and supplies at the Navy Yard, the government fled into the countryside of Virginia and Maryland, hastily grabbing what records, artifacts, and valuables they could. British troops under Admiral George Cockburn promptly burned almost all of the government buildings, most famously the Capitol and White House. That night, the glow of the fires was visible for 40 miles. Looting and a fierce storm that followed devastated many of the private buildings that had escaped the British torch, leaving the Federal city a wreck as the British withdrew to begin an attack on Baltimore.

Faith in the Madison administration was at an all-time low, but despite the destruction, the government decided to reconvene in Washington in defiance of the British. American victories at Baltimore and Plattsburgh also bolstered morale. Most importantly, the burning of Washington proved that democratic government could survive military disaster while maintaining its legitimacy and effectiveness under the strain of war. For more resources on the War of 1812.

Campaign 1776
The Civil War Trust

Summer Sale - 30% off Books and eBooks, New Releases and Preorders plus News from the Osprey Games Team!

Summer Sale - 30% off Books and eBooks, New Releases and Preorders plus News from the Osprey Games Team!

August has been a busy month for us, with half the team heading off to the US for GenCon, leaving the rest of us here in Oxford to hold the fort. Thanks to everyone who came to say hello to us in Indianopolis, we hope you had as much fun as we did!

We've got some great new releases to show off but first some news that will interest the wargamers amongst you. We're currently running our Summer Sale, with 30% off books and eBooks. New releases and preorders are excluded, but it does mean that you can get some great deals on Bolt Action, our Osprey Wargames series and the award winning Frostgrave rules.

New Releases

Bolt Action: Konflikt '47

Bolt Action: Konflikt '47

Fully compatible with the incredibly popular Bolt Action rules, Konflikt ’47 takes the war to a completely new level. Rifts torn in the fabric of space have brought huge technological advances, and this ruleset gives players everything they need to field forces incorporating the incredible new weapons and technologies as they engage in tabletop battles for supremacy and survival.


Broken Legions

Broken Legions

Broken Legions is a set of fantasy skirmish rules for a war unknown to history, fought in the shadows of the Roman Empire. Various factions recruit small warbands to fight in tight, scenario-driven battles that could secure the mystical power to defend - or crush - Rome. A points system allows factions to easily build a warband, and mercenaries and free agents may also be hired to bolster a force. Heroes and leaders may possess a range of skills, traits and magical abilities, but a henchman's blade can be just as sharp, and a campaign can see even the lowliest henchman become a hero of renown.

Available to Preorder

Colditz Castle - World War II.

Colditz Castle - World War II.

An impregnable fortress. An inescapable prison. Until now.
Designed by Major Pat Reid, one of only a handful of prisoners-of-war to escape Colditz Castle, and screenwriter Brian Degas, Escape From Colditz is the iconic game of careful planning and nerves of steel.

Become Allied escape officers - assemble your equipment, plot your escape routes, and coordinate your efforts to avoid the guards. Become the German security officer - maintain control through guile, ruthlessness, and careful observation despite limited numbers.

This deluxe edition of the classic game for 2 to 6 players includes both original and updated rules, new hand-painted artwork, an oversized board, 56 wooden playing pieces, 100 fully illustrated cards, a 32-page history book, and unique replicas of artefacts from the prison.

Seventy-five years ago, Major Reid braved barbed wire, searchlights, and armed guards to Escape from Colditz. Now it's your turn to do the same.

Frostgrave: Forgotten Pacts

Frostgrave: Forgotten Pacts

In this supplement for Frostgrave, players lead their warbands into the northern reaches of the city, exploring the ruined temples of the Frozen City to search for the lost secrets of evocation - the art of summoning demons. While the lure of such knowledge is great, few wizards have ventured into this region as it is overrun by barbaric northern tribesmen who have descended from the hills in their own search for treasure. Marking themselves with demonic sigils, many of these barbarians have aligned with ancient powers discovered amongst the temples. Along with a host of new scenarios focusing on the exploration of the temples, the book also contains new treasures, spells, soldiers, and creatures that can be found amongst the ruins.

Bolt Action: Armies of Germany 2nd Edition

Bolt Action: Armies of Germany 2nd Edition

Revised and expanded for Bolt Action 2nd Edition, this book provides players with all of the information they need to command Germany's military might. Detailed unit options and theatre selectors allow players to build armies for any of Germany's campaigns, from the Blitzkrieg against Poland and France, through North Africa and the Eastern Front, to the fall of Normandy and the defence of Germany.

Osprey Publishing Ltd

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Pose Variety by Good Ground LLC

Hello to all. Over the years, I have seen many postings revolving around the lack of variety in poses available in many 10mm ACW lines. This is an observation which in my opinion, is somewhat justifiable. One of my objectives with Good Ground Miniatures was to avoid this trap. My early packs had 4 to 6 different poses in a standard pack of 12 figures. As my lines have expanded, I have been able to increase the number of poses in a pack. As each new pose was created, the next pack in line often had that pose modified and added to the mix. With my purchase of the old Starfort/Langton line of figures in 2014, I was able to exponentially expand the number of poses. I thought I would post a few examples of the latest packs and the variety available in each of those standard infantry packs of 12 figures.

Pose Variety by Good Ground LLC picture 1

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Pose Variety by Good Ground LLC picture 3

The number of poses in the standard packs adds an esthetic quality previously not available in 10mm. It allows for realistic looking lines of battle with an almost infinite variety of poses. The pictures above are not designed to be "artsy", but to show some examples of the pose variety available from our 10mm ranges Cracker Line and Plank Road. Shown below are the results made possible by this variety. We hope this does a little to change the minds of those folks about variety in 10mm ACW lines. When you consider our figures mix well with Pendraken, Magister Militum and much of the GHQ range, variety in poses should be almost unlimited for you 10mm enthusiast and those considering 10mm.

Pose Variety by Good Ground LLC picture 4

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Pose Variety by Good Ground LLC picture 8

Good Ground LLC

Aotrs Shipyards August 2016 Release

Aotrs Shipyards is a webstore on Shapeways.com, a 3D print house which had production and shipping facilities located in the USA and the the Netherlands.

(Settle in folks, we've got a long one today…!)

For our August release, we proudly – and finally – present the first fleet of the elenthnar races – the Xyriat Hegemony!

Xyriat Hegemony

The first wave of Xyriats will be coming out over the next three months.


Introduction to the Elenthnar powers and the Xyriat Hegemony

(This – believe it or not!) is an abbreviated form of their fluff text – if there is interest, I can post the full thing up later.)

The Xyriat Hegemony (more properly, the Xyriat Dulhazon in Zoxyriat) is the largest, and as its name suggests, the most influential of the elenthnar powers.

The elenthnar homeworld, Urrot, in the Zon system, is part of a double planet system with it's smaller companion, Haron, which also supports life. Because of the double planets, the two worlds have a long day/night cycle with frequent ecilpses. Both worlds are highly aqueous and the land surfaces are heavily forested. T

The elenthnar are six-limbed vertebrate mammal analogues (somewhere between placental and marsupial); four legs spreading out like a spider and two arms on a more humanoid torso. They have a wide maw filled with teeth, two large eyes and four ears. Two sit atop the head like those of a Earth fennik fox; the other pair are not eternally visible, but sit further back and lower down in the skull. The males have throat sacs either side of the neck, amplifying their voices. Elenthnars are covered with a thickened skin, but otherwise lack body hair. Their skin is typically a dark-to-tan brown, depending on racial stock. Varying by ethnicity, elenthnars have spots, stippling or striping patterns of muted green. Plain individuals are rare, but not unheard of, though this can be linked to deleterious conditions, including albinism. The elenthnars wear a wide variety of clothing styles, varying by culture and personal preference.

Both genders have a specialised sexual bioluminencent signalling organs on the chest regions (the female's which is larger and more elaborate) – these organs are a characteristic defining feature of the elenthnar and their close relatives. Like humans, however, almost all the elenthnar cultures have nudity taboos and these are covered by clothing.

The proximity of a clearly visible similar world (had a significant effect on elenthnar culture, culminating an comparatively early reach for the stars. In their late industrial age, there was an extended race to be the first to reach and then colonise Haron. As Haron was close enough to be highly profitable, this space race did not die off at happened with humans, but spurred further development, including the relatively early colonisation and terraforming of Kalaor and lead to the early development of FTL travel nearly five hundred years ago.

The elenthnars arose in relative isolation, allowing them to expand significantly. Like humans, elenthnars are highly factionalised, with a huge number of diverse major through minor powers and independent system states, with a variety of languages and cultures. Zoxyriat is the closest language to a common tongue, being the language of science and engineering (analogous to human English) and also largely because of the Xyriat Hegemony's far-reaching influence even in its rivals. The elenthnar's expansion and technological progress has been rapid, comparable with that of humans.

The Xyriat Hegemony currently holds the largest proportion of Urrot and similarly, the largest area of space – though these are only marginal values above their competitors. Though its name has changed with the fall and rise of dynasties, the Hegemony has existed as political entity in an unbroken chain dating millennia, through empire to kingdom and humble beginnings.

Xyriat Hegemony technology is quite advanced, being slightly above the galactic standard, and typical of the other elenthnar powers. The Hegemony's size and influence means it is leading the field of research and development, with only the Wodef Enclave coming quite close and a larger gap before the other power.

SDN01 Kaxvyit Class Superdreadnought

SDN01 Kaxvyit Class Superdreadnought picture 1

SDN01 Kaxvyit Class Superdreadnought picture 2

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The Kaxvyit Superdreadnought has become a common sight in the last decade since its introduction. Coming in towards the end of the last development cycle and thus outfitted with the latest technology, the Kaxvyit has required no major upgrades to the current time, with only minor incremental improvements applied.

The Kaxvyit has the all the typical features of the Hegemony vessels: the large blue-white glowing dish at the front which serves as both the primary shield broadcasting system and also a focussing point for the Garrast-Viyroub FTL Drive; the low-placed drive tubes, linked through the distinctive vertical ventral exhaust port for the primary generator core at the mid-point of their length; and the rear superstructure. The base components are repeated in various forms across all the Xyriat starships. Like several larger vessels, the Kaxvyit also has a dorsal refuelling lance projecting along the hull from the rear superstructure.

The Kaxvyit's role is to serve as centrepiece to a formation. In keeping with current Xyriat doctrine, it carries a considerable eight heavy tractor beam emplacements. The Xyriat formation makes a pass through the enemy at close range, attempting to catch choice targets with their tractors and pull them away from the enemy formation. The enemy vessels can then be dealt with at leisure by the vessel's escorts and its own plethora of other weapons.

Softening up the enemy vessel's shields are armour is accomplished principally by the numerous larger particle beam emplacements. The Kaxvyit, like almost all other Xyriat capital starships, mounts several light torpedo launchers in turrets. These weapon fire munitions typically carried by fighters or small craft. While their range and yield is smaller than a capital-scale torpedo launcher, they make up for this in precision and with staggered-fire salvos can penetrate better than a typical capital warship. Combined with plentiful short-range point-defence particle beams, the Kaxvyit can either destroy a captured vessel wholesale or strategically pick off key systems, rendering it helpless but mostly intact.

The Kaxvyit also mounts four light spinal-mount railguns for long-range fire on approach to an enemy task force.

Finally, it carries a quad dorsal warhead launcher on top of the rear superstructure. This weapon system carries a variety of munitions. Torpedoes, both standard anti-matter and dispersed blast munitions and long-range missiles provide weapons for extreme range (the former using the Xyriat's excellent torpedo technology), while salvo rockets and standard missiles provide medium range offense and shield/armour stripping for tractored vessels. Finally, point-defence missiles are employed both defensively and as an additional precision targeting against enemies held in the tractor beams.

The Kaxvyit has slightly above average speed and mobility for a ship of its size and is well protected by shields and armour, allowing it to better survive the crucial first pass.

CPD01 Volovax Class Point-Defence Cruiser

CPD01 Volovax Class Point-Defence Cruiser

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The Volovax Point Defence Cruiser is the most common specialist point-defence vessel in use with the Hegemonic Navy. The two distinctive rotatory particle beam turret mounts were prototyped on the earlier Vuxor Point-Defence Frigate and honed to perfection on the larger Volovax. The rotary system allows a higher rate of fire to be concentrated to a single area, which still leaving full coverage elsewhere. Against dispersed targets, this effect can often be minimal, but it allows the Volovax to deploy a near-continuous stream of light attacks to a point target – such as a vessel caught in the two tractor beam arrays the cruiser carries.

To further supplement this firepower, the Volovax carries several light torpedo turrets. While these are most often used against captured targets, the Volovax's role as a point-defence ship means they are also used against attacking fighters or, particularly, larger small craft.

CL01C Rapax Class Light Cruiser

CL01C Rapax Class Light Cruiser

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The Rapax Light Cruiser is the Hegemony's standard ship-of-the-line. It has been in service for several decades and has been overhauled and refitted three times in that period. Despite its name, the Rapax is only slightly smaller than the Xoriet Heavy Cruiser and is in fact, comparable to most typical heavy cruisers in performance.

The current CL01C version of the Rapax is armed with a variety of particle beam turrets for both anti starship and point defence operations. It carries a single spinal-mount rail cannon, principally for long range fire on the approaching pass.

While the Rapax itself does not carry any tractor beams, it is typically found either flying escort to a larger capital ship or accompanied by Volovax Point Defence Cruisers, relying on the larger vessel's tractor beams to catch enemy vessels. It carries several light torpedo turrets principally to assist in the destruction or neutralisation of such targets.

DST02D Andrast Class Dro'Sanla Tug

DST02D Andrast Class Dro'Sanla Tug

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The Andrast Dro'Sanla tug performs a function that it largely unique to the elenthnars. The elenthnars have two forms of FTL transit in active use. The first is Garrast-Viyroub Drive (or Dro'Garrast-Viyroub in the language of the Hegemony), named after the scientists that discovered it. It is similar in function to traditional Hyperdrive and is the standard FTL system.

The second, Dro'Sanla (literally "warp- field drive"), is a form of teleportation drive, which was developed after first contact with the United Concorde of Divine Realms three centuries ago. The UCDR's magical teleportation was able to function through fixed Node Stations, teleporting between which effectively reduced the distance between the nodes to that between two neighbouring systems. The effect is akin to opening a wormhole, though which anything capable of broadcasting (teleporting) can utilise the node's effect. The effect of the Node Stations was greatest closest to the nodes, but has a radius larger enough to allow vessels in nearby systems to use it at reduced efficacy.

The Dro'Sanla drive was developed to make use of that system. As both GVD and Dro'Sanla are mutually incompatible systems, a vessel that wishes to use both has to fit both systems separately. Thus, Dro'Sanla tugs were developed. These vessels carried normal GVD for regular flight, but large Dro'Sanla systems to allow them to teleport between nodes, carrying several non-Dro'Sanla-equipped vessels with them. As the effective distance between areas linked by node stations is very small, the Dro'Sanla do not require a high FTL transit speed. Current Hegemony Dro'Sanla speed is only about 71% of the GVD speed – but Dro'Sanla is very rarely used over any distance where transit speed is an issue, as the Dro'Sanla tugs simply ferry vessels between two node-linked regions.

In the last few decades, separate breakthroughs in both the Xyriat Hegemony and Wodef Enclave have allowed the elenthnars to finally begin to build their own node stations.

The Andrast is the current primary Dro'Sanla tug in use with the Hegemony navy. A cruiser-sized vessel, the Andrast is capable of carrying at maximum, up to roughly fifteen times its own load on Dro'Sanla drive, though only a little under four times at full efficiency. However, the short effective distance between node-linked areas mean that the low efficiency doesn't usually matter.

The Andrast is very slow in sublight speed, minimally protected by point-defence and with relatively light shielding, as most of the bulk is taken up by the large Dro'Sanla. In addition to a regular towing array, it carries six tractor beam arrays spaced around the hull to lock on to vessels to tow. In addition, three reinforced bars, one dorsal and one either to side, each carry five reinforced lugs, which are designed for other vessels to latch onto with their own tractor beams, and thus increase the number of vessels the Andrast can carry at once. In practise, it is very rare to see all twenty-two towing points in use simultaneously, since the load limitation of carried vessels scales much faster than the number of utilised towing points.

SCV01F Halgat Class Recon Carrier

SCV01F Halgat Class Recon Carrier

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The lightest carrier vessel designated as a carrier, the Halgat Recon Carrier is little more than a heavy frigate. Like the Calgast, the Halgat has a long service history; extended more so because it is not typically deployed as a full combat vessel. The Halgat often operates on its own or with only a light transport, behind enemy lines.

The Halgat carries a sensor array of its own, but its primary job is to act as mothership to a series of Drone Scout Craft, the DNS02A Vitokor of which is the most recent. The Halgat will deploy to a safe system and then deploy its pair of Vitokors to fly to local systems and investigate. The Vitokors, being fully automated, can operate for extended periods – and can even be shut down into a waiting state with nothing but the most basic passive sensors operational for even longer.

When their task is finished, the Vitokors will either return with the data or transmit it back to the Halgat's communications systems via a specially encrypted transmission disguised to look like background noise. The twin arrays on the Halgat's sides are highly sensitive and attuned to the transmissions specifically from the Vitokor, which drastically reduces the Vitokor's transmission power requirements, making both vessel more secure.

The Halgat relies more on evasion for protection, and has a high sublight speed and agility. It has some particle beam arrays for point-defence, along with a limited number of light torpedo tubes, but only moderate shields – suitable for dealing with enemy recon fighters in small numbers, but not against enemy capital ships of any significant size.

DNS02A Vitokor Drone Scout Craft

The Vitokor is the largest vehicle in the Hegemonic arsenal which is entirely under drone control. The Vitokor is essentially, a large droid, as close to the legal and practical limitation of non-sapience as possible.

The Vitokor is designed for extended operations on reconnaissance behind enemy lines and is technically self-sufficient with supply and internal repair systems to not require a carrier. However, to maximise its service range and improve damage repair and resupply, they are typically operated from carriers, most notably the Halgat Recon Carrier.

The Vitokor mounts a compact but power sensor and communicator array to serve its primary purpose as recon. While individually it is not as powerful as that found on many dedicated capital ship sensor vessels, the Vitokor, in concert with a partner and a Recon Carrier can cover two or three systems at once, especially for the all-important observation role which principally relies on navigational and passive sensors.

It can enter a state of stand-by, leaving only those most basic systems operational and even enter a true hibernation state and drift "cold" for a determined period of time.

The Vitokor is not entirely toothless. In addition to strong small craft shields, it has several point-defence particle beam emplacements and a dorsal light torpedo turret. This is usually equipped with only lighter anti-fighter munitions as opposed to the heavier fighter warheads carried by the larger Xyriat vessels, but it is entirely capable of being mounted with heavier warheads if the need is required.

(All photos are of the Replicator 2 prototypes. for the Xyriat, I used a right/left half print; the Shapeways ones, of course will be all one piece!

Still getting the hang of the new camera, it's obviously been a while since I last took any photos of painted starships; the front ends are a bit dark, for some reason… Live and learn…!)


Next month – more Xyriat! After the first wave of Xyriat, the Wodef Enclave vessels will follow (though there may be some 144 ground forces released before then).

Another piece of news – I am finally starting to iterate to publishing my own set of starship rules – Accelerate & Attack. Work started on them at about the same time as my oppos started on Maneuver Group – about 2003, so it's been a long time in progress! No potential release date yet – but we are at the stage that the rules are in position to have the final proofing (and cold-read by my oppo UshCha!) I was hoping to have got the starter set out for Othr Partizan last weekend, but due to various circumstances, that didn't happen. I am looking towards maybe having something for our December convention, Recon; but don't hold me to anything!

Accelerate & Attack might be thought of as something akin to Full Thrust for the even more geeky. I consider it, in my own mind, something of a spiritual successor to FT, as that was what we played originally. The scope is about the same as (at least how we played) FT, reckoning on about 20-ish ships per side for an evening's game. It is principally aimed at being an admiral's game – i.e. the emphasis comes down to tactical decision-making over weapons.

It has a tech tree system with twenty different levels of technology. The technology is simple and scalar, rather than being a list of special abilities; TL measures how good a system is at doing a job, but essentially a TL 1 and TL 20 system do the same job. Further, the optimum recommended range for play is between the TL 5-8 range, where the available technology is enough to give you a wide variation in tech trees between races (to say nothing of the variety of design philosophies between the same tech tree!) and the weapon ranges are most condusive to normal table-top play.

(As an example, we have, between our AccAtt group 44 starfleet's (most of which are mine!) and of those, 34 fall into the 5-8 range and all of them play differently.)

The system is D20-based, as that provides the necessary required granularity. It is, the only "buckets o'D20" system I'm aware of! (That said, if you don';t have handfuls of mini-D20s, you only need at nine; thanks to the studies we did that showed you actually get more randomisation by taking the average for tens and rolling the remainders!)

It is written with the intention that the players build their own vessels and races and fit to whatever genera they wish to play, rather than have any "official" background. A couple of alien fleets are provided as samples along with some starting scenarios – the idea being you could plug them into whatever existing universe you play in. I did my best to give the prospective player a good toolbox with which to craft their games from (to me, that's half the fun of gaming – the story arising at both the context of the battle and the battle itself.)

The game relies on the tactical complexities created from the interaction of relatively simple rules. (As a measure the QR sheet has basically all the modifiers for all twenty tech-levels – only a fraction of which you will ever use in any one game – on one side of A4, and half of the reverse side is the average dice table.)

This does mean, however, the downside that while the rules are fairly easy to pick up, but actually learning to play takes sometime longer. Full Thrust, by its own admission, said it was a bit of a six-pack-and-boldly-go; Accelerate & Attack is probably not the ideal sort of game if you only play a couple of times a year.

At the moment, the 0.95 pass is a 140-page document, of which about twenty pages are the rules, thirty-five pages for the ship design system, ten on the tech tree creation (which also includes an attempt to explain what some of the subtleties of the interactions are – this actually was the hardest part to write) and the last forty pages are the sample fleet fluff, stats, four starter scenarios (with record sheets) and markers, including markers for the sample fleets, the idea being that you can use those as a starter for ten to learn to play the game "out of the box" (kinda!)

As I said above, the hardest part of writing the rules has been trying to explain it (there are quite a lot of parts that take far longer to explain than to actually do in the game), and that's principally what the current target is to work on.

I intend to release a free (or token-fee) "starter set" at some point, though (it'll be through Wargames Vault,like Manoeuvre Group) – it originally would have been before the main release, but might end up being simultaneous now! This will comprise just enough of the rules to run the starter fleets and scenarios (which will also be included), leaving out a lot of stuff like ship generation, which halves the size of the document (though again the last forty pages of that the same scenario and fleet stuff). In theory, that should make it slightly easier (or at least slightly less intimidating!) to learn from – and will provide people the opportunity to decide whether it looks like the sort of game that is for them!

As I say, nothing concrete on release, but, for the first time in 13 years, all the writing-up had largely been done and all put into the main document, so that's something at least…!

Shapeways, Aotrs Shipyards

Ancient History Magazine 6, 24 August 2016

Ancient History Magazine 6, 24 August 2016

Rome of the Twelve Tables

The museum piece: Svenja Grosser, "Female gladiators - Fight to the draw"

Evidence from literary sources, inscriptions, and legal texts proves that women participated in Rome’s gladiatorial contests. To this evidence, we can add one depiction that shows two female gladiators – a relief from Halicarnassus.

Theme: Jona Lendering, "Rome in the fifth century BC - A crisis and its consequences"

After the fall of the monarchy, Rome went into decline. It had to defend itself against tribes from the mountains and had to cope with internal conflicts. To put an end to the latter, the Romans decided to write down their laws. It was the beginning of a legal tradition that was to dominate the Mediterranean world for centuries to come.

Theme: Richard Kroes, "The laws of the Twelve Tables - Clarifying the rules"

Dangerous foreign enemies and domestic conflicts: in the first half of the fifth century, Rome had to cope with serious difficulties. The Laws of the Twelve Tables were meant to solve the conflict between patricians and plebeians.

Theme: Marijke Gnade, "The fifth century in Latium - An archaeological dark period"

Rome’s sumptuary laws – to be discussed on page 31 – forbade conspicuous funerals, which makes the tombs of fifth-century Latium rather poor. Many ancient settlements are still occupied, making excavation impossible. As a consequence, archaeologists find it difficult to understand the world in which the Twelve Tables were written. There is one exception: Satricum, where a large sanctuary of Mater Matuta, a spectacular Latin inscription, and more than two hundred graves have been found.

Theme: Sidney E. Dean, "Roman patrician and plebeian pantheons - Upstairs, downstairs"

A major feature of the Roman Twelve Tables is the differentiation between the patrician and plebeian social classes. While the plebeians gained certain rights and securities through the Twelve Tables, the class structure – marked by patrician dominance – was largely cemented by the laws. But legal status, participation in government, and advancement opportunities were not the only factors separating the upper and lower classes in the early Roman Republic. To paraphrase George Bernard Shaw, patricians and plebeians were two groups of people divided by a common religion.

Theme: Andrei Pogăciaş, "Coriolanus and his legend - Hesitant traitor, tragic hero"

Gaius Marcius Coriolanus was a legendary general of Rome at the beginning of the fifth century. Victim of the conflict between the patricians and plebeians, he turned against his own city one of the few Roman military commanders to do so.

A cinerary urn from the age of the Twelve Tables, the mid fifth century. Interestingly, this young man is reclining as if he is attending a banquet in Greek style. The head of this limestone sculpture is removable, allowing the ashes of the deceased to be put into hollow body. Found in Chiusi, it is now in the Altes Museum in Berlin.

Theme: Mark McCaffery, "Death and funerals in Republican Rome - Three veils, a purple tunic & ten flute-players"

The tenth of the Twelve Tables clarified and established rules for a proper funeral. One of its aims was to limit conspicuous expenditure, a political instrument that the legislators wanted to be blunted. These laws were so successful that Roman graves from this age are quite sober, making this age an archaeological “dark period”.

Theme: Jona Lendering, "The significance of the Twelve Tables - Epilogue"

The Twelve Tables averted Rome’s disintegration but did not create unity. The tensions between patricians and plebeians remained. The real significance is the birth of a society that was, compared with contemporary societies, quite charmed by legal procedures.

Special: Jona Lendering, "The chronology of Mesopotamia - Deeper and deeper"

The study of Antiquity is not famous for spectacular breakthroughs, but occasionally, fundamental discoveries are made. Recently, one of the greatest puzzles was solved: the chronology of Mesopotamia in the Middle Bronze Age.

Special: Lauren van Zoonen, "The Nike of Samothrace - Winged victory"

Samothrace is not the most famous of the Greek islands. Small, mountainous, and situated in the northern waters of the Aegean Sea, it was on the periphery of the Classical and Hellenistic world. However, it has received a place in all books on art history, because it is the place where a priceless sculpture was uncovered on 15 April 1863: a winged victory. The Nike of Samothrace is one of the most important works of art from the Hellenistic age.

Special: Mike Manarpies, "Fossils in ancient Greece - Beasts or heroes?"

Surely those tales about supernatural beings such as minotaurs, cyclopes, giants, and heroes with superhuman abilities and stature must have been just “stories” for the ancient Greeks as well? The common people may perhaps have believed in those famous mythological creatures, but one would expect a more critical approach from the educated classes. But what if there appeared to be proof of their existence?

A reconstruction of the famous statue of Augustus, found in the villa of his wife Livia in Primaporta (a suburb of Rome). The little Amor on the dolphin would have reminded every ancient visitor that Augustus’ family claimed descent from the goddess Venus, as was broadcasted in Virgil’s epic poem Aeneid. On the body armor are representations of military successes during Augustus’ reign.

Special: Patrik Klingborg, "The dark side of Rome's first emperor - Augustus the monster"

The emperor Augustus took great care to present himself as the man who had extinguished the flames of civil war. While stressing his own peaceful intentions, he tried to erase evidence to the contrary. Still, this hostile information once circulated and is as important as Augustus’ own account. A historian needs to take it into account to get a balanced image of Rome’s first emperor.

Philosophy: Kees Alders, "A short look at Stoic logic - Does God play dice?"

The conquests of Alexander the Great profoundly changed the Greek world. The old dichotomy between the independent Greek city-states and the eastern world empires ceased to be relevant. People were citizens of a common world. The world view changed, and hence philosophy, as we see in our series on Hellenistic philosophy. In this issue: the early Stoics after Zeno.

How do they know?: Jona Lendering, "How do we decipher ancient languages - Breaking the code"

Archaeologist often find ancient texts. If they are written in a language that is still in use, like Latin, we can understand them. Other texts, however, are more problematic. Even worse, some ancient texts are written in a script we don’t understand. Still, progress is possible.

Ancient History Magazine

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Help Save Antietam And The Maryland Campaign!

Help Save Antietam And The Maryland Campaign!

As a member of the Civil War Trust, you know all about the great work members like you have done to preserve the Antietam battlefield in Maryland. Just last year, you helped preserve the 44-acre “Epicenter” tract at the heart of the battlefield. Surrounded by the Cornfield, the East Woods, West Woods, and the Dunker Church, those 44 acres were crucial to understanding the bloodiest day in American history. Nearby, you also helped us preserve land in the adjacent East Woods and North Woods.

Today, I’m writing to you about another opportunity to save land right next to the Dunker Church. This is just one piece of a deal we’re working on to save 84 acres at Antietam and two other Maryland Campaign battlefields, South Mountain and Shepherdstown. In each case we are adding to the total number of acres saved at these key battlefields, building on the great work that you have already done to preserve American history.

You’ll recall that the autumn of 1862 was a momentous season for Americans in the North and South. Confederate General Robert E. Lee hoped a decisive victory on northern soil would win his fledgling nation international recognition. Meanwhile, President Abraham Lincoln needed a victory of his own so he could issue his Emancipation Proclamation. The subsequent battles of South Mountain, Harpers Ferry, Antietam, and Shepherdstown—where a total of 41,000 Americans were killed, wounded, or captured—decided the issue. Lee’s men fought valiantly but failed to land a decisive blow. Though the Yankees failed to achieve a clear victory, they had thwarted the Confederate invasion, and Lincoln used the partial success to issue the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.

You now have a chance to save 84 acres at three of those battlefields where the course of American history was altered forever. By saving this land, you and I are giving future generations the opportunity to see some of the sites where the great issues of our Civil War were decided. I can think of no better tribute to those soldiers in blue and gray.

Help Save the Maryland Campaign.

The Civil War Trust

Osprey's Big Reveal

It's time for our Big Reveal, where we give you a sneak peek at the books we are bringing out in 2017. So far, we've given you a look at Men-at-Arms, Combat Aircraft, Weapon, X-Planes and Warrior, with plenty more planned over the next couple of weeks.

Osprey's Big Reveal: Men-at-Arms


 Dutch Armies of the 80 Years’ War 1568-1648 (1): Infantry

Dutch Armies of the 80 Years’ War 1568-1648 (1): Infantry

During the course of the 80 Years’ War one of its main leaders – Maurice of Orange-Nassau – created an army and a tactical system that became a model throughout Europe. This study focuses on the Dutch infantry, examining how Maurice of Orange-Nassau mobilized patriots and volunteers from across Europe, introduced innovative new training methods and standardised the organisation and payment system of the army to make it more than a match for the occupying Spanish.

Roman Army Units in the Eastern Provinces (1): 31 BC - AD 195

Roman Army Units in the Eastern Provinces (1): 31 BC - AD 195

Between the reigns of Augustus and Septimus Severus, the Eastern provinces of the Roman Empire frequently saw brutal fighting, most notably during the conquest of Dacia by Trajan, the suppression of the Great Revolt in Judea and the intermittent clashes with Rome’s great rival Parthia. Drawing upon the latest archaeological research, this book examines the variation of equipment and uniforms both between different military units, and in armies stationed in different regions of the Empire.

Dutch Armies of the 80 Years’ War 1568-1648 (2): Cavalry, Artillery & Engineers

The second in a two-part series on the Dutch armies of the 80 Years’ War focuses on the cavalry, artillery and engineers of the evolving armies created by Maurice of Nassau. Using specially commissioned artwork and photographs of historical artefacts, it shows how the Dutch cavalry arm, artillery, and conduct of siege warfare contributed to the long struggle against the might of the Spanish Empire. These two books include previously unpublished details of unit flags.

Armies of the Italian Wars of Unification 1848-70 (1): Piedmont and the Two Sicilies

In the 1840s, post-Napoleonic Italy was 'a geographical expression' – not a country, but a patchwork of states, divided between the Austrian-occupied north, and a Spanish-descended Bourbon monarchy, who ruled the south from Naples. Two decades later, it was a nation united under a single king and government, thanks largely to the efforts of the King of Sardinia-Piedmont, and the revolutionary Giuseppe Garibaldi. This book, the first of a two-part series on the armies that fought in the Italian Wars of Unification, examines the Piedmontese and Neapolitan armies that fought in the north and south of the peninsula.

Armies of the Greek-Italian War 1940-41

In October/November 1940 an Italian army some 200,000 strong invaded Greece across the largely undefended Albanian border. Britain supported Greece, at first by sea and in the air and later by landing British and ANZAC troops from North Africa, but the main burden of the six-month war was borne by the Greek Army, Navy and Air Force. Although greatly outnumbered, LtGen Papagos's Greek army was so successful against the Italians in north-west Greece that by 22 November it was actually advancing into Albania, inflicting heavy casualties and capturing much equipment. Simultaneously faced with disastrous defeats at British hands in North Africa and at sea, Mussolini appealed for German help. Although providing German troops and aircraft imposed a serious delay on the planned invasion of the USSR, in early April 1941 the Wehrmacht invaded both Yugoslavia and then, with nine divisions including a Panzer Korps, Greece.

Next up in our Big Reveal is the Combat Aircraft series, which sees four new books landing in 2017.

Nakajima B5N ‘Kate’ and B6N ‘Jill’ Units

Entering service during the Sino-Japanese War, the Nakajima B5N (code-named ‘Kate’) excelled and went on to achieve surprising and dramatic successes in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  Its replacement, the Nakajima B6N ‘Jill’, while a marked improvement over its illustrious predecessor, was never able to achieve its full potential in combat due to advances in Allied aircraft, finding itself relegated to the dreaded Kamikaze strikes in the latter part of the war. This book will cover the history of both aircraft, including their design and development, as well as the combat highs and lows of the Imperial Japanese Navy’s premier torpedo-bombers.

Ju 52/3m Bomber and Transport Units 1936-41

The all-metal Junkers Ju 52/3m enjoyed a solid – indeed, revered – reputation amongst its crews and the troops and paratroopers who used and depended on it. For more than ten years, it saw service as a successful military transport, with its distinctive, three-engined design and corrugated metal construction becoming instantly recognisable. This, the first of two books, details its service as a bomber in Spain and in South America, followed by its pivotal role in early war operations during the invasions of Poland and France, the airborne invasion of Crete and the early stages of Operation Barbarossa.

A-6 Intruder Units 1974-96

In the three decades after Vietnam, the veteran A-6 Intruder remained the most powerful strike aircraft available to the US Navy and Marine Corps. Engaging in operations over Cambodia, Lebanon and Libya during the 1970s and 80s, the A-6 maintained its reputation as the ‘Main Battery’ of carrier aviation, remaining in service through the First Gulf War up until 1996 when its duties were taken over by the F-14 Tomcat. Filled with first-hand accounts from pilots and navigators, and fully illustrated with profile artwork and photographs, this is the complete story of the US Navy's main medium attack aircraft in the latter part of the Cold War.

Savoia-Marchetti S.79 Sparviero Bomber Units

Initially developed by Savoia-Marchetti as a transport aircraft, the aircraft had evolved into a dedicated medium bomber by the time the S.79-I made its combat debut in the Spanish Civil War in 1936. During World War 2, it became Italy’s most successful bomber, and the most produced, with around 1370 built between 1936 and early 1944. Although initially hampered by poor tactics, the S.79 bomber crews nonetheless scored sunk a number of Allied vessels. The bombers patrolled ceaselessly over the Mediterranean providing a constant threat to Allied sailors in the early stages of the war. This volume chronicles the history of the S.79’s war in the Mediterranean, North African, Balkan, and East African theatres.

Next up is a look at the Weapon series, which examines the most important, famous and infamous weapons throughout history.

Colt Single-Action Revolvers

In 1836, Samuel Colt changed the face of warfare with the production of the first of a series of iconic and influential single-action revolvers, including the .44-calibre Colt Walker and the seminal .45-calibre Colt Single Action Army, which remains in production today.  These weapons shifted the role of the pistol from single-shot weapon of last resort to a practical and powerful sidearm that gave the soldier the ability to defend himself once his primary armament was discharged.  They transformed cavalry tactics and relegated the sword to a largely ceremonial role in many armies.

The FN Minimi Light Machine Gun

In 1974, renowned Belgian arms company Fabrique Nationale brought out a ground-breaking new light machine gun, the Minimi. Its success has been meteoric, arming more than 45 countries around the world.

The Minimi offers the ultimate in portable firepower. Firing the high-velocity 5.56×45mm round, the Minimi is a gas-operated, lightweight, belt or magazine-fed weapon, able to burn through cartridges at a cyclical rate of up to 1,150 rounds per minute, making it the weapon of choice for tactical support at squad level.

The Suomi Submachine Gun

Entering service in 1931, the 9x19mm Suomi KP/-31 submachine gun saw extensive combat with Finnish troops during their fight against Soviet forces in 1939–44. It was also manufactured under licence in Switzerland, Denmark and Sweden, and remained in Finnish service until the 1980s, an indication of its durability.

Rugged and accurate, the Suomi was a favourite with Finnish ski troops who would strike from ambush, cutting down Soviet troops, then skiing away into the woods. Initially used by the Finns as a light machine gun at infantry squad level, it eventually became a dedicated submachine gun, and since it had been designed to be more accurate than the typical SMG, it was often even used as a sniping weapon, or to supplement longer-ranged rifles such as the Mosin-Nagant.

The Pilum

A heavy javelin, normally used as a shock weapon immediately before contact, the pilum was designed with a particular speciality: it could penetrate a shield and carry on into the individual behind it. Relying on mass rather than velocity, at short range a volley of pila had much the same effect on a charging enemy as musketry would in later periods.  The design was not uniform, with a wide diversity of types throughout the developmental history of the weapon, but for more than four centuries it remained a vital part of the arsenal of weapons at the disposal of the Roman legionary.

Sharpshooting Rifles of the American Civil War

At the outset of the American Civil War, the Union Army's sharpshooters were initially equipped with the M1855 Colt revolving rifle, but it was prone to malfunction. Instead, the North’s sharpshooters preferred the Sharps rifle, an innovative breech-loading weapon capable of firing up to ten shots per minute – more than three times the rate of fire offered by the standard-issue Springfield .58-caliber rifled musket. Other Union sharpshooters were equipped with the standard-issue Springfield rifled musket or the .56-56-caliber Spencer Repeating Rifle.

Conversely, the Confederacy favoured the Pattern 1853 Enfield rifled musket for its sharpshooters and also imported from Britain the Whitworth Rifle, a .45-caliber, single-shot, muzzle-loading weapon distinguished by its use of a twisted hexagonal barrel.

US Grenade Launchers

Reliable, easy to use, and lethally effective, the M79 grenade launcher stands as an iconic symbol of the Vietnam War. It had a profound influence on small-unit tactics, making a valuable contribution to the squad’s overall firepower at the expense of one rifle per M79 assigned. As the Vietnam conflict continued it was joined on the front line by experimental models such as the magazine-fed T148E1 and pump-action China Lake grenade launcher, as well as two launchers intended to be fitted under the barrel of the new M16 assault rifle, Colt’s XM148 and AAI Corporation’s M203. The M203 remains in US Army service today alongside a newer model, the M320, while the US Marine Corps now also fields the M32 multiple grenade launcher – like the M79, a standalone weapon. The M79 and its successors also influenced the design of tripod- and vehicle-mounted full-automatic grenade launchers, which for the most part, used similar, but different high-pressure 40mm rounds.

The 'Broomhandle' Mauser

At a time when most handguns were limited to six rounds, the ten-shot Mauser caught the attention of the world for its unprecedented firepower and formidable high-velocity 7.63×25mm cartridge, offering longer range and better penetration than other pistols of the day. This saw its ultimate expression in the first-ever select-fire handgun – the ‘Schnellfeuer’ machine pistol, fed by a detachable magazine and offering both full-automatic and single-shot modes. Long-barrelled carbines were also produced to take full advantage of the weapon’s power and accuracy, and even standard variants were supplied with a combination shoulder stock and holster, prefiguring the ‘Personal Defence Weapon’ of today.

Cavalry Lance

Offering formidable reach and striking power, the lance has been the quintessential shock weapon of the cavalry throughout history. Yet with the development of cavalry firearms and the widespread disappearance of armour from the European battlefield, it became somewhat marginalized. However, by 19th century the lance, much changed from its medieval predecessors in both form and function, was back in use by the majority of Western militaries. A weapon once considered obsolete returned to favour, seeing action in a host of conflicts including the Napoleonic Wars, the American Civil War and World War I. It was not until the disappearance of the mounted warrior from the battlefield that the lance was finally consigned to history.

X-Planes is our brand new aviation series, looking at the dangerous and thrilling world of experimental aircraft. The first 2 books in the series publish in September 2016, and we are pleased to announce four new titles for 2017.

XPL: North American X-15

The revolutionary X-15 remains the fastest manned aircraft ever to fly. Designed and built as the Space Race hotted up, the X-15 was intended to research hypersonic speeds and flights to the edge of space, and form the basis of a possible orbital spaceplane. It obliterated previous speed records, achieving Mach 6.7 and altitudes beyond the edge of space, 100km above the Earth. These ultra-high altitude flights – where the air no longer supports aerodynamic flight, and X-15 pilots relied on spacecraft-style rocket thrusters to keep control – qualified several pilots as astronauts, including Neil Armstrong. In all, the three X-15s made 199 flights, testing new technologies and techniques which helped make the Apollo missions and the Space Shuttle viable propositions.

XPL: Luftwaffe Emergency Fighters

In late 1944, the German Air Ministry organised an ‘Emergency Fighter Competition’ intended to produce designs for quick-to-build yet technically and tactically effective jet fighters capable of tackling the anticipated arrival of the B-29 Superfortress over Europe, as well as the British Mosquito and US P-38 Lightning which were appearing in ever-greater numbers.

Thus was born a cutting-edge, highly sophisticated series of aircraft designs, including the futuristic and elegant Focke-Wulf Ta 183; the extraordinary Blohm und Voss P.212, and the state-of-the-art Messerschmitt P.1101 series. As the war ended before they could be fully developed and built, none of the Emergency Fighters saw service, but these advanced aircraft would heavily influence fighter design in the early years of the Jet Age. This book includes a new colour three-view of every Emergency Fighter, plus technical art and a battlescene of how jet aerial combat might have looked if World War II had dragged on into 1946.

XPL: TSR2

The TSR2 is one of the greatest 'what-if' aircraft of the Cold War, whose cancellation still generates anger and controversy among aviation fans. It was a magnificent, cutting-edge aircraft, one of the most striking of the Cold War, but it fell victim to cost overruns, overambitious requirements, and politics. Its scrapping marked the point when Britain's aerospace industry could no longer build world-class aircraft independently. More than 50 years after it first flew, it is still one of the icons of British Cold War aviation, at once representing the very peak of British aero-engineering achievement, and the most powerful symbol of its decline.

XPL: Bell X-2

Pioneering the now-standard layout for supersonic fighters, the Bell X-2 was one of the most influential research aircraft of the early Jet Age. Although it now looks like a conventional jet fighter, it was revolutionary at the time, with swept wings and a completely new type of airframe, and was capable of exploring Mach 2–3 for the first time. Designed in the late 1940s alongside the X-1 programme, Bell combined the most advanced US technology with knowledge captured from Nazi Germany to produce aircraft that were far ahead of any others in their field.

In the early 1950s the absence of adequate computers and supersonic wind-tunnel data meant that pilots could only test new technologies the hard way. Both X-2s were destroyed in crashes, killing two test pilots, but the knowledge gained from the program was invaluable in developing aircraft that could safely fly in the Mach 2–3 range. Every high-speed aircraft from the 1950s onwards, from Concorde to the SR-71 Blackbird to the hypersonic X-15, relied on data originally gained by the X-2 and its brave test pilots.

 Next up in the Big Reveal we have Warrior, which will be seeing two new titles join its ranks in 2017.

Roman Legionary 109 - 58 BC

From 109 BC, when the cohort replaced the maniple as the crucial tactical subunit of the legion, the centurion, although inferior in military rank and social class, superseded the tribune as the most important officer in the legion. The Roman centurion, holding the legionaries steady before the barbarian horde and then leading them forward to victory, was the heroic exemplar of the Roman world, the personification of virtus – masculine valour and excellence. This period is often overlooked, but the invincible legions that Julius Caesar led into Gaul were the refined products of 50 years of military reforms.

British Tank Crewman 1939-45

Great Britain had introduced the tank to warfare during World War I and maintained its superiority with the ‘Experimental Mechanised Force’ during the late 1920s, which combined lorried infantry with fast tanks to produce good results against more conventional forces in several major exercises. Despite these successes, the Experimental Mechanised Force was disbanded due to a mixture of defence cuts in the 1930s depression (so severe that even soldiers' pay was cut) and opposition from traditionalist officers, especially from the cavalry. Britain thus lost leadership in tank warfare, and was relatively unprepared for World War II, both in terms of doctrine and equipment. However, it quickly became obvious that building a large and effective armoured force would be key to defeating Germany.

This study examines the men who crewed the tanks of Britain’s armoured force, which was only four battalions large in 1939. It looks at the recruitment and training of the vast numbers of men required, their equipment, appearance and combat experience in every theatre of the war.

In today's instalment of the Big Reveal we are charging into the thick of battle, with eight new Combat titles scheduled for release in 2017.

Panzergrenadier vs US Armored Infantryman

During World War II, the two pre-eminent mechanized infantry forces of the conflict, the German Panzergrenadier arm and the US Army’s armoured infantrymen, clashed in France and Belgium after the Normandy landings.  These engagements went on to profoundly influence the use of mechanized infantry in the post-war world.  Drawing upon a variety of sources, this book focuses on three key encounters between July and December 1944 including during Operation Cobra and the Battle of the Bulge, and examines the origins, equipment, doctrine and combat record of both forces.

New Zealand Infantryman vs German Motorcycle Soldier

In April 1941, as Churchill strove to counter the German threat to the Balkans, New Zealand troops were hastily committed to combat in the wake of the German invasion of Greece where they would face off against the German Kradschützen – motorcycle troops. Examining three major encounters in detail with the help of maps and contemporary photographs, this lively study shows how the New Zealanders used all their courage and ingenuity to counter the mobile and well-trained motorcycle forces opposing them in the mountains and plains of Greece and Crete.

Longbowman vs Crossbowman

For centuries, the crossbow had dominated the battlefields of continental Europe, with mercenaries from Genoa and Brabant in particular filling the ranks of the French army, yet on the outbreak of the Hundred Years' War they came up against a formidable foe. To master the English longbow was a labour of years, requiring far greater skill to use than the crossbow, but it was much more flexible and formidable, striking fear into French men-at-arms and cavalry.

Canadian Corps Soldier vs Royal Bavarian Soldier

In 1917 the soldiers of the Canadian Corps would prove themselves the equal of any fighting on the Western Front, while on the other side of the wire, the men of the Royal Bavarian Army won a distinguished reputation in combat. Employing the latest weapons and pioneering tactics, these two forces would clash in three notable encounters: the Canadian storming of Vimy Ridge, the back-and-forth engagement at Fresnoy and at the sodden, bloody battle of Passchendaele.

Boer Guerrilla vs British Mounted Soldier

Waged across an inhospitable terrain which varied from open African savannah to broken mountain country and arid semi-desert, the Anglo-Boer wars of 1880–81 and 1899–1902 pitted the British Army and its allies against the Boers’ commandos.

The nature of warfare across these campaigns was shaped by the realities of the terrain and by Boer fighting techniques. Independent and individualistic, the Boers were not professional soldiers but a civilian militia who were bound by the terms of the ‘Commando system’ to come together to protect their community against an outside threat. By contrast the British Army was a full-time professional body with an established military ethos, but its over-dependence on conventional infantry tactics led to a string of Boer victories.

Viking Warrior vs Anglo-Saxon Warrior

In the two centuries before the Norman invasion of England, Anglo-Saxon and Viking forces clashed repeatedly in bloody battles across the country. Repeated Viking victories in the 9th century led to their settlement in the north of the country, but the tide of war ebbed and flowed until the final Anglo-Saxon victory before the Norman Conquest. Using stunning artwork, this book examines in detail three battles between the two deadly foes: Ashdown in 871 which involved the future Alfred the Great; Maldon in 991 where an Anglo-Saxon army sought to prevent a renewed Viking invasion; and Stamford Bridge in 1066 which forced King Harold Godwinson to abandon his preparations to repel the expected Norman invasion to fight off Harald Hard-Counsel of Norway.

German Soldier vs Soviet Soldier

By the end of the first week of November 1942, the German Sixth Army held about 90 per cent of the city of Stalingrad. Yet the Soviets stubbornly held on to the remaining parts of the city, and German casualties were reaching catastrophic levels. In an attempt to break the deadlock, on 2 November Hitler decided to send additional German pioneer battalions to act as an urban warfare spearhead. These combat engineers were skilled in all aspects of city fighting, especially in the use of demolitions and small arms to overcome defended positions and in the destruction of armoured vehicles. Facing them were Soviet troops hardened by months of fighting experience. They had perfected the use of urban camouflage, concealed and interlocking firing positions, the application of submachine guns and grenades at close quarters, and sniper support.

Soviet Paratrooper vs Mujahideen Fighter

In 1979 the Soviet Union moved from military ‘help’ to active intervention in its neighbour Afghanistan, with Soviet paratroopers seizing Kabul at the end of December 1979 and motor-rifle divisions crossing the border to reinforce them. Four-fifths of the Afghan National Army deserted in the first year of the war, which, compounded with the spread and intensification of the rebellion throughout the provinces – led by the Mujahideen, formidable guerrilla fighters – forced the Soviets to intensify their involvement. The Mujahideen were never a singular force, though they shared tactics and behaviours that spoke to a common cultural and military experience. They understood the value of surprise, fighting on one’s own terms and the intelligent use of terrain, behaving in a manner that was oftentimes not so different from that of their ancestors fighting the British over a century before.

Next up in Osprey's Big Reveal we have the Aircraft of the Aces series, which will be seeing four additional titles in 2017.

Jagdgeschwader 53 ‘Pik-As’ Bf 109 Aces of 1940

Boasting pilots who had been blooded in the Spanish Civil War, Jagdgeschwader 53 (JG 53) ‘Pik As’ or ‘Ace of Spades’ achieved great success in the skies over France and Britain in 1940. Among the leading aces were Werner Mölders, Rolf Pingel and Hans Karl Mayer, all of whom received the Knight’s Cross for their successes in aerial combat. The successes of its pilots resulted in JG 53 being credited with 258 victories following the Battle of Britain for the loss of 51 pilots killed or captured. This study follows the aces of JG 53 into battle, telling the stories of their victories, losses, and ultimate fate.

MiG-21 Aces of the Vietnam War

Having honed their skills on the subsonic MiG-17, pilots of the VPAF received their first examples of the legendary MiG-21 supersonic fighter in 1966. Soon thrown into combat over North Vietnam, the guided-missile equipped MiG-21 proved a deadly opponent for the USAF, US Navy and US Marine Corps crews striking at targets deep into communist territory. Although the communist pilots initially struggled to come to terms with the fighter’s air-search radar and weapons systems, the ceaseless cycle of combat operations quickly honed their skills. Indeed, by the time the last US aircraft (a B-52) was claimed by the VPAF on 28 December 1972, no fewer than 13 pilots had become aces flying the MiG-21, with five more claiming four victories. The best fighter then available to the VPAF, more than 200 MiG-21s (of various sub-types) were supplied to the North Vietnamese.

Jagdgeschwader 1 ‘Oesau’ Aces 1939-45

Formed shortly after the outbreak of World War 2, and equipped with Messerschmitt Bf 109Es, Jagdgeschwader 1 was initially tasked to defend the regional North Sea and Baltic coastal areas and the Reich's main port cities and naval bases. The greatest task for JG 1 though came after 1942 in its defence of the Reich against the US Eighth Air Force’s B-17s and B-24s, bearing the brunt of defence against increasingly regular, larger and deep penetration USAAF daylight bomber raids with fighter escort. Levels of attrition subsequently grew, but so did experience among the leading aces who were often the subject of propaganda films and literature.

Allied Jet Killers of World War 2

Allied fighter pilots began encountering German jets – principally the outstanding Me 262 fighter – from the autumn of 1944. Stunned by the aircraft’s speed and rate of climb, it took USAAF and RAF units time to work out how to combat this deadly threat as the Luftwaffe targeted the medium and heavy bombers attacking targets across the Reich. It was soon discovered the best way to down a jet was to attack it when it was preparing to land after its mission has been completed. Occasionally, a pilot would get lucky and hit a jet whilst it was attacking bombers, knocking out an engine that then slowed the fighter enough for it to be caught up and shot down. A number of high-scoring aces from the Eighth Air Force (Drew, Glover, Meyer, Norley and Yeager, to name but a few) succeeded in claiming Me 262s, Me 163 and Ar 234s during the final months of the campaign, as did RAF aces like Tony Gaze and ‘Foob’ Fairbanks flying Spitfires and Tempests. The exploits of both famous and little-known pilots will be chronicled in this volume, detailing how they pushed their aircraft to the limits of their performance in order to down the Luftwaffe's 'wonder weapons'.

Osprey Publishing Ltd

Monday, 22 August 2016

10mm Han Chinese by Newline Designs

A great addition to our range of 10mm figures – Han Chinese. The figures come in packs of 30 infantry figures, or twelve cavalry, or three 4-horse chariots. Each pack £4.00 GBP

10HA01 Han Swordsmen 30 figures incl command

10HA01 Han Swordsmen 30 figures incl command

10HA02 Han Halberdiers 30 figures incl command

10HA02 Han Halberdiers 30 figures incl command

10HA03 Han Crossbowmen 30 figures incl command



10HA06 Han Heavy Chariots 3 x 4 horse chariots

10HA06 Han Heavy Chariots 3 x 4 horse chariots


10HA07 Han Horse Archers 12 cavalry



10HA08 Han Heavy Cavalry 12 cavalry


Newline Designs

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Miniature Wargames 401, September 2016

Miniature Wargames 401, September 2016

We are currently working on this issue. On sale 19th August 2016.

As the Olympics reach their climax and the wargamer about town looks for new things to hold his attention, issue 401 lands on his doormat just in time!

In To the next river, the fifth installment of The red empire strikes back – fighting the Great Patriotic War one battle at a time, Andrew Rolph continues his series of Ostfront scenarios with a desperate defence of a river line by a hastily cobbled together kampfgruppe in danger of being overwhelmed.

In Centreville refought, Mike Batten and his friends from the Shrewsbury Wargames Society discovered that they had inspiration in common, sparked by the late, great Terry Wise and his simple games with Airfix toy soldiers.

A Piper at the Gates sees John Treadaway setting out a scenario for the popular ‘hard’ sci-fi ruleset Hammer’s Slammers, which can easily be translated to most modern settings. In addition, he recounts how The Editor mercifully avoided disgracing himself in his first ever Slammers encounter!

In Grenouisse at bay part 3, The Editor continues his account of the latest installment of his image-nations campaign, which brought players from around the UK together at the final showdown weekend in Ayton, Yorkshire. This month, he plunges us into the opening action of the campaign. However, it was not a battle that opened the hostilities, but an 18th century covert mission gone wrong!

Tony Harwood has been Making More Hay, following up his first haymaking project that appeared in issue 392 with a delightful covered haystack suitable for any historical or fantasy setting. So pick up your pitchforks and get cracking!

And finally we have a show report from The Joy of Six 2016 by Neil Shuck who reports on this specialist micro-scale event.

Of course, we have our regular spots too:

In his Briefing The Editor considers the many ways in which our hobby is fulfilling, involving as it does so many creative strands.

In World Wide War gaming, The Editor continues his research into the English Civil War, now trying to find suitable model buildings; looks at the Kickstarter success of Miniature Wargaming: The Movie; and picks another pair of Blogs of the Month.

The Editor completes his regular spots this month with Forward Observer, scouting out the latest offerings from The Plastic Soldier Company, Black Hussar, Crusader Miniatures, Totentanz Miniatures, Total Battle Miniatures, Lancashire Games, Rapier Miniatures, Rapid Fire and Tiny Wargames.

Diane Sutherland gives us Corking outcrops in her Continuing tales of a wargames widow. She’s never one to waste a bit of cork, especially if there’s a decent bottle of red underneath it, but lately husband Jon has been driving her barking mad with demands for realistic rocky outcrops. Once again, our heroine proves that there’s no recycling challenge she cannot meet.

In Fantasy Facts, John Treadaway returns with his regular monthly roundup of genre goodies, including one that was a complete mystery! Even knee-deep in gnolls, he’s managed to find the time to play a bit, but realises that the games just aren’t as big as he remembers...

Author and well known demo game supremo Steve Jones of the Newark Irregular picks up the Wargaming my way, our series featuring a different wargamer every month telling us just what it is about the hobby that they love. Next time, it could be you!

In Hex Encounter, boardgame specialist Brad Harmer-Barnes makes some recommendations for recreating that Hollywood feeling, perhaps without the glamour, but with plenty of entertainment.

In his Send three and fourpence column, Conrad Kinch our roving reporter from the Emerald Isle manages to corner the creator of Commands & Colors and many other successful gaming systems Richard Borg, in an attempt to extract the latest intelligence from this wargaming hero.

Of course we have our Battlegames Combat Stress Appeal and finally, our regular review slot Recce.

Our front cover photo, taken by the Editor, shows action during his first ever game of Hammer’s Slammers, hosted by our genial F/S-F Editor John Treadaway.

Remember also to check out the new “Downloads” section on the new website at  for additional material for Andrew Rolph’s article.

And a reminder, if you would like to feature in the new Wargaming My Way column, here’s the brief. Write about whatever you love about the hobby, the games you like to play, the periods/genres you love, how you like to paint, who you admire… Basically, write about why you love wargaming, and more importantly how and why you’ve ended up pursuing it your way. Length, no more than 2,000 words, plus supply half a dozen or so images to accompany the piece. So, over to you! If you’d like to feature, send your submissions in the usual way to henry@henryhyde.co.uk. I also advise using Dropbox or Wetransfer.com as a more organised way of sending your material, rather than just attachments to an email.

Roll ‘em high!

Miniature Wargames