Saturday, October 26, 2013

Review of The Arab-Israeli Wars by Chaim Herzog

Author:  Chaim Herzog.
Title:  The Arab-Israeli Wars.
Publisher:  Vintage Books.
Publishing Date:  1984.
Price:  $14.95.

This is book, The Arab-Israeli Wars, by Chaim Herzog was my crash course into modern Middle East military history.  Though dated, the book covers all the conflicts from the War of Independence in 1948 to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982. 

The most interesting campaigns to me were the War for Independence in 1948 and the Yom Kippur War in 1973.  Part of the problem in reading this book is the all too familiar repeats of history like the backstabbing on the part of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, and to a less extent, Iraq.  The Israelis were either able to play different Arab governments off or use interior lines from being overwhelmed. 

The Sinai desert factors in the conflicts starting in 1948.  Egypt lost the Sinai peninsula in the subsequent campaigns.  The Soviet Union basically bankrolled the Arab governments with their equipment until it got trashed by the Israelis in the different wars.  The Yom Kippur War of 1973 was the only campaign were Arabs (and the Egyptians in particular) showed real imagination and ingenuity in dealing with the Israeli military.  The Egyptians were able to launch a surprise attack on the Israelis and almost rolled over them in the Sinai.  But lousy Egyptian leadership and a divided officer corps gave the Israelis time to recover and launch a counter attack.  The Syrian attack on the Golan heights turned into another Marianas "turkey shoot" with the destruction of over 850 AFVs and thousands of support vehicles.    

Now that I've educated myself on the Arab-Israeli Wars, I'm not thrilled about Battlefronts Arab-Israeli Miniatures Game.  What's the point in playing the Arabs in 1965 if I'm going to get trashed every time I game them?  I think the 15mm Khurasan Yom Kippur range would be a much better investment for a wargamer's time and cash.  I'd just use unofficial stats for Egyptian, Syrian, and Israeli forces for the Yom Kippur War if I were going to game the conflict.  But that's just me...

I'm more interested in 28mm Arab-Israeli figures.  Or 28mm Israeli-Hezbollah figures for the more recent Lebanon campaign.  But I recommend the Herzog book as a single volume history.  

Sunday, October 20, 2013

28mm FPW Game, 19OCT13

I ran a 28mm FPW game Saturday afternoon at Wargamers Cave in Granite City, IL using Larry Brom's Chassepot and Needlegun.  Despite some learning curves on initiating close combat, the game  flowed smoothly.  Part of my problem is my forces are too big for the playing area we had.  I only deployed one infantry brigade per side on a 8' x 5' table.  I have an entire division aside for each army!  And I'm still painting up my second brigade 28mm 1870 Bavarian infantry brigade along with another 28mm 1870 Turco regiment! 

When I started this project, I thought I'd be done by X-mas 2013.  Now, it looks like spring 2014 at the earliest.  Even if I get a wargaming table in the house, I won't be able to field my entire 28mm FPW armies.  I should have thought this through.  I should have done this in 15mm.  I can go on with the lamentations, but I do now have 28mm forces for 1870. 

Getting back to the game, Don Cox and Steve Hood (Combat Colours) ran the Prussians and the French respectively.  The French were able to shoot up the Prussians before they got into range with their Needleguns.  But the Prussian artillery eventually hammered the French artillery off the board.  The cavalry action on the right flank began as a Prussian cuirassier charge that got shot up.  Two figures were left out of the regiment.  Their morale held and they were charged by a regiment of Chassuers d'Afrique light cavalry.  The Prussians held up the French cavalry for a turn before failing morale and routing off the board. 

I still have many questions regarding close combat with Chassepot and Needlegun.  This is only the third time I've ran a game.  So I'm new to everything.  The Prussian army eventually failed army morale.  Not before it hammered the French infantry.  I did army morale with stand loses.  Once someone got to 60% losses, I declared them the loser.  That's how the third game of Chassepot and Needlegun finished.

Here are some photos from the game:

                                          28mm 1870 French infantry brigade defending "Frenchyburg."

                                         French infantry falling back from a 1870 Prussian cuirassier charge.

                                          Don Cox looks over his Prussian troops attacking "Frenchyburg."

                      End of the game once the Prussians suffered enough losses to fail army morale.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

WIP, Menoth Warcasters, 17OCT13

Here is a photo of the Warmachine Menoth Warcasters I've been working on:

                                          30mm Menoth Warcasters:  Epic Kreoss and Harbringer of Menoth

WIP, Part II, 16OCT13

I spent yesterday evening and this morning drilling out the spear hands for 25mm Old Glory Greek Spearmen with tower shields.  It's tedious work.  I would have preferred having the figures with open hands for weapons.  But Old Glory is peculiar in that regard.  Most spearmen have hands that need to be drilled out. 

It gets to be a problem when you have hundreds of figures to work on.  It's also another reason I started working on basing my 25mm Old Glory Greeks and Trojan armies earlier this year.  By the time all the figures based, I'll be ready to start painting them.  I also have a dozen 25mm Old Glory chariots to assemble and base once all the spearmen are done.  The work never ends, so it seems...

I also made some progress on my 28mm 1870 Bavarian infantry brigade.  I got all the backpacks painted last night.  This is another project that is taking longer than I'd like.  The goal is to have the figures done by New Years Day.  We'll see if that becomes a reality.  Though I did make progress on my 30mm WM Menoth Warcasters.  The figures are about done.  All I need to do is finish the bases.  I'll take photos of them when they are finished.     

Monday, October 14, 2013

WIP, 13OCT13

I didn't get much painting done this weekend.  I spent Sunday evening/Monday morning working on two 30mm Warmachine Menoth Warcasters.  My plan was to work on my Menoth Protectorate at least one day a weekend, that being Friday.  My weekend got destroyed this week.  Too many things going on and nothing got accomplished. 

So I felt I needed to do some painting tonight.  I'm basically done with the two Menoth warcasters.  All I need to do is finish the detailing.  That can wait until Friday.  Until then, I have no photos to show, yet. 

The only other things I got one was the basing of 60 25mm Trojan War skirmishers onto metal bases.  The last batch of figures are drying.  I'll put them away later to be painted at a future date.  Not much else going on.  I'll try and get some work on a regiment of 28mm 1870 Bavarian infantry later this week if things work out in my favor. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

WIP, 40K Chaos Cultists, 06OCT13

Photos of WIP, 40K Chaos Cultists of Nurgle from the Dark Vengeance box set:

                                          WIP, Nurgle Chaos Cultists, 06OCT13

This finishes my Dark Vengeance box set of figures.  I'll add on about 10 more zombie troopers/plague zombies to round these guys to go with my Typhus Chaos Lord and Plague Marines.


Review of Rolling Thunder in a Gentle Land

Title:  Rolling Thunder in a Gentle Land:  The Vietnam War Revisited.
Editor:  Andrew Wiest.
Publisher:  Osprey Military Publishing.
Publishing Date:  2012.
Pages:  310.

This was the first book I purchased for my Nook ereader.  I read the entire work over the course of several weeks.  The book is a collection of essays by different authors about the Vietnam War ranging from historians to former ARVN generals and South Vietnamese civilians.  The articles themselves cover French involvement in Indochina, life in the North Vietnamese Army, American media coverage during the conflict, American political leadership, American air power, American naval operations, American air mobile operations, and the after effects of the Vietnam War on American military policy.

There is just too many things to talk about in this book.  It gives a good overview of the conflict. 

Though I'm troubled by the last essay.  It hits too close to home.  The author basically says there was no political discussion of America going to war in both Vietnam and the War on Terror.  This is true. 

There is no political discussion of why we should have gone to war in places like Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq.  And there is no serious political discussion of this today!  The author also pointed out the people who made an issue of others questioning their decisions to go to war in 2001 were the ones who hid from their draft boards in the 1960s! 

That aside, Rolling Thunder in a Gentle Land will make a good addition to your military studies.  Whether you purchase it for Kindle, Nook, or buy an old fashioned hard copy.     

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Warmachine Demo Game, 02OCT13

I was introduced to Warmachine this evening.  It was my second game using the Cygnar and Menoth Protectorate battleboxes.  I had a press-ganger named James show me the basics with the Menoth spellcaster and warjacks.  Things are starting to make more sense with the game.  It's resource based.  How you allocate you spellcaster's focus helps determine what actions your units can do.  It's truly a skirmish game (unlike WH40K).

You are probably wonder how I talked myself into learning another gaming system?  My friend, Scott McCoy, and I had toyed with learning Warmachine/Hordes for about six months.  I played a game when it first came out with the old Mark I Prime rules using a Khador battlebox.  Eventually before Scott's mother got ill, we played a demo game of Warmachine/Hordes in mid-August 2013 at Game Nite in St. Louis, MO.

Fast forward to today.  Game Nite has their Warmachine league night on Wednesday evenings.  I make a trade with a guy named Brad for his Menoth Protectorate army in exchange for my painted 2500 point WHFB Warriors of Chaos army.  It's a far trade.  Brad gets a painted army and I get 70 points of Menoth figures. 

Most of the figures need to be primed and painted.  I'm an old school historical gamer.  I figure I can paint about 50 figures no problem.  So I make the mistake about asking about Menoth army colors.  The reply I get is you can do any paint scheme you like!  Jame's Cygnar and Menoth armies were painted forest green and metal!  There's no real way to customize an army list (unlike WH40K), so people do all sorts of color schemes to individualize their armies.  When I'm told about Menoth, think angry medieval catholics who like to cleanse everything with fire...

So, I'm stuck with figures that need to be primed.  I want to get Army Primer Bleached Bone and pick up a Menoth paint box so I get these figures finished.  I guess it's part of my old school mentality.  I want figures to be painted before I play with them.  I'm going to get about half dozen battle box games in before I start playing with my own figures.  That will give me time to paint and experiment with a decent color scheme for the Warmachine force.

I'll keep people posted with how things progress.  But I might let my 28mm FPW 1870 Bavarians rest for a month or two until I get all the WM stuff completed...