Archive for September, 2014

War Tales

 Dick Trott of Venice had just graduated from boot camp in San Diego, Calif. in 1943 when this picture was taken. Photo provided Dick Trott of Venice had just graduated from boot camp in San Diego, Calif. in 1943 when this picture was taken. Photo provided

Dick Trott, who lives in the Jacaranda Trace Apartments in Venice, came ashore on Feb. 19, 1945 in the second wave with the 5th Marine Division during the Battle of Iwo Jima. He was a corporal operating a radio working with Navajo Code Talkers providing U.S. Marines with an unbreakable language to communicate in during the epic battle at the close of World War II.

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History Through Gaming

Panzer IV Photo Album

A Panzer IVG at the U.S. Army Ordnance Museum. Photo by Mark Pellegrini. A Panzer IVG at the U.S. Army Ordnance Museum. Photo by Mark Pellegrini.

The Panzer IV was the most common German tank during World War II and, as the only one produced throughout the entire war, this “workhorse” saw action everywhere the German army was deployed.

The medium tank was initially designed to support the Wehrmacht infantry; its added armor compensating for its slower speed while other tanks, like the Panzer III, which was faster and had a smaller-caliber gun, took on enemy tanks.

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“Wolf’s Head” by Steven A. McKay

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After viciously assaulting a corrupt but powerful clergyman, the young Robin Hood flees the only home he has ever known in Wakefield, Yorkshire. Becoming a member of a notorious band of outlaws, Hood and his new companions – including John Little and Will Scaflock – hide out in the great forests of Barnsdale, fighting for their very existence as the law hunts them down like animals. When they are betrayed, and their harsh lives become even more unbearable, the band of friends seeks bloody vengeance. Meanwhile, the country is in turmoil, as many of the powerful lords strive to undermine King Edward II’s rule until, inevitably, rebellion becomes a reality and the increasingly deadly yeoman outlaw from Wakefield finds his fate bound up with that of a Hospitaller Knight.

“Wolf’s Head” – the first in the “The Forest Lord” series opens up feeling like a fun, Errol Flynn-type Sunday afternoon swashbuckling adventure, but before long, one realises that this is not the story we thought we knew.  Several aspects of the tale are much darker and more violent than we have previously seen them. 

The phrase “gritty reboot” has become something of a joke these days, but it seems to apply here.  In fact, the violence sometimes seems to border on the extreme – this is certainly an 18+ novel!  It is, if you will, a story for kids who have grown up. 

The characters are all engaging and interesting, with old favourites such as Will Scarlet and Little John, meeting up with new and lesser know names and faces.

The plot is very well presented.  Whenever you think you’ve got a handle on where it’s going or what is going to happen next, it throws you a surprise, and heads off in a totally unexpected, though always credible direction.  The ending feels conclusive, but still leaves you keen to get onto the sequel.

A fun historical fiction adventure that’s well worth checking out.

World Book INK

(pc060845) British tank in World War I. Credit: © The Illustrated London News Picture Library (pc060845) British tank in World War I. Credit: © The Illustrated London News Picture Library

Machine guns, heavy artillery, barbed wire, and poison gas all existed before World War I (1914-1918). Airplanes, too, already existed, as did observation balloons, submarines, hand grenades, and flame throwers. One weapon, however, developed as a direct result of the fighting in the war: the armored combat vehicle known as the tank.

Battles in World War I tended to be fought by men charging through barbed wire into machine gun and artillery fire. This form of combat produced carnage on an unprecedented scale. Battlefronts settled into static trench systems. Repeated assaults on heavily defended trenches caused still more carnage. In early 1915, British Lord of the Admiralty (the Royal Navy) Winston Churchill was looking for a new idea, and he found one.

British Army Lieutenant-Colonel E. D. Swinton, assigned as a war correspondent, had seen…

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Thud Ridge Minis

Posted: September 19, 2014 in Aerial, Cold War, Gaming, Vietnam War

Been basing up my ‘Nam air-war minis for Thud Ridge.

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IF I ONLY HAD A TIME MACHINE

world-war-2THIS WEEK IN WORLD WAR II

OPERATION STALEMATE

First wave of LVTs moves toward the invasion beaches - Peleliu First wave of LVTs moves toward the invasion beaches – Peleliu

On September 15, 1944, the U.S. 1st Marine Division lands on the island of Peleliu, one of the Palau Islands in the Pacific, as part of a larger operation to provide support for Gen. Douglas MacArthur, who was preparing to invade the Philippines. The cost in American lives would prove historic.

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The Palaus, part of the Caroline Islands, were among the mandated islands taken from Germany and given to Japan as one of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles at the close of World War I. The U.S. military lacked familiarity with the islands, and Adm. William Halsey argued against Operation Stalemate, which included the Army invasion of Morotai in the Dutch East Indies, believing that MacArthur would meet minimal resistance in the Philippines, therefore making this operation unnecessary, especially…

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Defence of the Realm

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The Hawker Hunter was the RAF’s answer to the swept wing Soviet fighters that emerged in the early 1950s namely the MiG-15 and MiG-17. Both Soviet aircraft were prolific in Eastern Europe and had the Cold War turned ‘hot’ in the second half of the 1950s there is no doubt that RAF pilots would have faced these aircraft in air-to-air combat. So how well would the Hunter have faired against the MiG-17F? For this comparison I am looking only at the Hunter F.6 and MiG-17F variants as these were the most common fighter variants of their respective types.

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Both aircraft were day fighters in the traditional sense of the role. In the 1950s the main threat from both sides came from armadas of bombers armed with nuclear weapons. The Hunter and the MiG-17F required radar stations on the ground to direct them to within visual range of the enemy…

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Took a trip on Friday to check out the IWM (London) and see their new WWI galleries, and I was not disappointed!  It’s a mind-blowingly good exhibition.  New technology mixes with traditional exhibition methods to show off their collections in a truly immersive way.  I’d even go so far as to say that it’s the best exhibition I’ve ever been to – regardless of theme or focus.  I grabbed a few photos (only one of the galleries, though…it needs to be seen for itself!)…hope you enjoy!

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Your devoted writer and editor.

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Large male tank toward the end of the new WWI galleries.
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Wreckage of a suicide car bomb from Afghanistan, 2013.

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Harrier Jump Jet in the main foyer.

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T-34 in the main exhibition hall.

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Monty’s staff car.

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Little Boy.  Mega Bang.

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V-1 in the main exhibition hall.

Vickers Medium Mk.III

Posted: September 13, 2014 in Tanks, World War II

Defence of the Realm

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The Vickers Medium Mark.III tank was a brief footnote in British tank development. Only three were built for trials purposes and it was intended that they would replace the previous Mark.II. Despite being the spiritual successor to the Medium Mark.II the two vehicles had very little in common and was one of a number of multi turreted designs that several tank manufacturers the world over had taken an interest in during the 1930s.

The Mark.III was intended to replace the older Mark.II The Mark.III was intended to replace the older Mark.II

The origins of the tank can be traced back to 1926 when the War Office wanted a replacement for the proven but increasingly obsolete Mark.II tank which had served the Army well after World War I. There was an increasing interest in multi turreted designs (particularly in Britain and the Soviet Union) and as such a new design was drawn up comprising of four turrets;

  • A single 3…

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M. Landers

“Suppose that Hitler’s programme could be put into effect. What he envisages, a hundred years hence, is a continuous state if 250 million Germans with plenty of “living room” (i.e. stretching to Afhanistan or somewhere thereabouts), a horrible brainless empire in which, essentially, nothing ever happens except the training of young men for war and the endless breeding of fresh cannon-fodder. How was it that he was able to put this monstrous vision across? It is easy to say that at one stage of his career he was financed by the heavy industrialists, who saw in him the man who would smash the Socialists and Communists. They would not have backed him, however, if he had not talked a great movement into existence already. Again, the situation in Germany, with its seven million unemployed, was obviously favorable for demagogues. But Hitler could not have succeeded against his many rivals if…

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