Friday, 30 June 2017

SEA Mosquito

Plucked pretty much intact from the no-notorious Partizan Plane Purchase pile was this rather smart Mossie in Southeast Asia RAF colours.  I'm not sure which kit this is.  Airfix perhaps?
 Moqsuitos look pretty good in any finish but this one looks particularly striking.  It even retains a full set of propeller blades.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Fort Douaumont - European Road Trip Day 4, part 2

While visiting Col. Driant's command post and grave was clearly something of a niche interest, a more popular destination was Fort Douaumont.  This was one of the more significant fortifications around Verdun and had been designed to defend the frontiers and deter a German invasion.  Well, they tried.
Given the weight of fire which fell on Douaumont during the war, the surprise is not that it looks a bit knocked about but that so much of it is intact.
Above is one of the retractable armoured turrets.
 We started with a tour round the fort's innards.  Here are the sleeping quarters.
 The lavishly appointed latrines!
  The inner workings of one of the armoured turrets
 Dank, dark and damp.  The interior of the fort was everything I hoped for.  Bloody horrible.

 One of the chambers held this touching German memorial.
 You may imagine what a relief it was to get outside again.
 On the roof a number of the armoured observation cupolas survive..
 ...along with the rather splendid retractable turrets.

 Traces of tranches survive but most of those undulations are shell craters.  Lots of 'em.
 Again, the trees are a postwar innovation so the fort would have had a commanding position.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Col. Driant - European Road Trip Day 4, part 1

Deep in the woods on the hills north of Verdun lies the tomb of Colonel Emile Driant.  A French army officer from 1877, Driant resigned his commission in 1906 and took to politics, being elected to the House of Deputies in 1910.  He was also a prolific writer, mostly of 'future war' fiction.  On of his books - War of the Fortresses - concerned a surprise attack from Germany.
Recalled to the army when war broke out, Driant was soon a Lt. Col in charge of two battalions of reservists, the 56th and 59th Chasseurs.
Driant criticised Joffre for denuding the Verdun fortresses of guns but his protests went unheeded. As if the Germans would ever attack Verdun...
Killed leading his men on the second day of the German attack, Driant was originally buried with full military honours by the Germans.He was later re-interred by the French and remains a national hero.
Above - the new Tomb.  Below - the original (German) grave.

We pretty much had the hills to ourselves!
Col. Driant's HQ remains in remarkable good shape.

The trees are postwar - originally this position would have commanded quite a view.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

The bomber will always get through!

Or will it?  This game followed on from the WW1 playtest and featured some of the new-fangled monoplane tri-motor bombers you may have heard about.  This pair were on their way to bomb the same target as previously.
Unfortunately for them it also featured some new-fangled monoplane fighters.  I can't see those enclosed cockpits catching on.
On flew the bombers...

...skirting the barrage balloon...
...but what's this?  Tally Ho!
One bomber was hit by party popper AA fire.

Target in sight - bombs away!
As they left the area of play the fighters finally managed to intercept.  The striking thing about this game was that until the final turn the bombers ran rings round the more agile fighters.  Maybe they will always get through.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Aces (three feet) High

This was a playtest of some mechanisms which will see the light of day in a future set of rules.  I set up a WW1-era gun battery (above) as a target.  The old Britains 18in howitzer skulks in a position made from the sandbag positions I mentioned a few weeks ago here.
The field of battle.
The defenders also had an AA battery, and OP scanning the skies...
...and of course a barrage balloon.  First one to say it looks uncannily like a plastic bottle covered in duct tape wins a trip to the Gulag...

The attackers appeared  - a two-seater bomber being escorted by a fighter.  The defenders scrambled two fighters, one of which soon came under fire!

The bomber made a decent attempt on the target...
...but was soon dodging bullets.

I'll have more news on the mechanisms used when I have written the rest of the game.  Suffice to say it didn't involve dice.