Last two of weeks I have made some progress with multiple armies. A week ago I painted the first cohorts of a Roman army. 1 legion consisting of 10 cohorts. 8 with red shields, 1 with blue shield and 1 with green shield. Finished they look very nice. Painting these 2mm blocks was quite easy. First painting the base in earth colors. Then the army blocks based in silver. Afterwards the shield in their color and banners in red. Next step army painter strongtone wash, which really put everything together. Applying grass, and a nice red border on the base, to make it easier to spot the correct owner and they were finished
After the Roman army I came across a youtube video on the one hour wargame book by Neil Thomas. Being inspirered and I already had the book, started to read it again. As I have a Napoleonic army nearly finished, I played a game of Napoleonics, realizing how quick and easy the rules are, and started fantasizing to start new armies. After reading the wo2 rules, I already was thinking to order some unit when I realized I had some after wo2, 1970s units in stock, planned to be used in the Ethiopean and african conflicts. So this resulted in trowing everything together, to have two 10 unit armies. Every army consisting of 2 tank units (t55 en t62, 2 anti tank units (bmp and sagger), 2 artillery units, and 4 infantry units (some stands with transports like bmp etc.) The red border army is in dark green, the blue colored in yellow green.
This weekend I had planned another attack on the lead pile. Glue-ing the magnets under the planes. There is still a long way to go (probably around 150 planes to go)
But the different air forces are slowly growing. The picture of the ww2 era planes did not turn out to be clear, so there is another can full of planes. I hope to do still some more planes, and then to prime all the planes, so I have something to paint for the coming months.
For glueing of the magnets I have used the following magnets. I prepared a lot of square magnets, with the smaller magnets put on it in the correct orrientation. (I checked the orientation against the bases) Than file or scrape a flat area under the belly of the plane. Put a dot of CA glue on it, let it dry for half a minute, and put them together holding them for another half a minute. Then I would let them cure for 5 minutes. Before removing the rest of the stack and the cube.
Previous weekend, I also started to make some targets to attack. A bridge, fuel storage, an a piece of dike. Hope to put a convoy or some troops on it.
I hope to proceed with the magnetizing the coming weeks. And by the end of January priming them and preparing for painting. Probably not all planes will be based by then, but enough to sustain painting for a couple of months.
A couple of weeks ago my father and I placed a substantial order at TumblingDice. Within less than a week, the package was send and delivered. A was astonished by how quickly this went. This was a very good service. He even included a sample of some 16th century ships, as we are curious how these are, for Anglo-Dutch wars.
Directly after arrival I checked al my planes, and now have over 200 planes to clean and paint. Which I already have started. I think I have not even halfway. But the results are looking interestingly.
These are only the planes I have cleaned up. And I think it is only around half of the pile. As I have still the Ethiopian, Eritrean and Somalian planes. Plus all the Spanish Civil war bi-planes and some additional soviet planes.
I have already ordered some new magnets, so I can base all the planes. Hope these will be delivered this week. Hope to have more detailed pictures when I start painting the different air forces. I have already started searching for color schemes. I have not decided yet on which air force to start. Maybe the Dutch or American Cold war forces, as I know best the colors for these, or maybe the ww2 forces. Up to the next update.
After reading the books on the Ethiopian history and air force actions, I hope to create multiple campaigns. Trying to simulate the different wars and operations. I think I will play most of these campaigns in solo mode. Testing out the Missle threat Solo rules and the Missle threat mercenary air campaign. I have divided the history in the following operations:
United Nations Operation in the Congo (1960-1964)
Eritrean war of independence (1961-1991)
Ogaden war, Ethiopia-Somali (1978)
DERG period (1978-1988)
Badme war, Ethiopia-Eritrean (1998-2001)
For most of these periods there were a lot of engagements, but most are not described with a lot of details. Therefore for gaming purposes I will simplify these eras, and create some kind of alternate-history. This enables to use a campaign system and generate some raids and air clashes, from tables.
At this moment I don’t have any planes yet. Therefore more detailed plans will be made when I acquire them. A big inspiration will come from the Cuba Libre! blog. This was one of the reasons with the air wargaming, and also lead me to Lacquered coffins and Missile threat rules. Please check out his work, especially his Phantoms over Havana series.
For the different 1/600 air projects, I was in need for decals. I hope this enabled the finish of the planes, and take it to a little higher level. For most of the projects decals were readily available. But for the Ethiopian, Eritrean and Somali air forces, no suitable could be found. Luckily Dan from flight deck decals was willing to create these new ones, which are now available on his website.
I have ordered the following list. I hope they arrive soon. I have no experience with them yet. But hope to show the results when ready.
To look deeper into human rights in war, I have looked to the internationally general accepted rules. Please be aware that this is a quite modern creation, which was first negotiated after world war 2, and updated several times.
1. The civilian population and individual civilians shall enjoy general protection against dangers arising from military operations. To give effect to this protection, the following rules, which are additional to other applicable rules of international law, shall be observed in all circumstances.
4. Indiscriminate attacks are prohibited. Indiscriminate attacks are:
(a) those which are not directed at a specific military objective;
… 5. Among others, the following types of attacks are to be considered as indiscriminate:
(a) an attack by bombardment by any methods or means which treats as a single military objective a number of clearly separated and distinct military objectives located in a city, town, village or other area containing a similar concentration of civilians or civilian objects; and … 6. Attacks against the civilian population or civilians by way of reprisals are prohibited.
Some parts of article 51 of Protocol I, Convention of Geneva Source: ICRC
Looking at these rules, it is easy to find violations on these rules. Only looking at the world war 2 all sides did make use of these kind of attacks. Think on the Luftwaffe bombing on London, Rotterdam and other cities. But also widely used on allied side, bombing German cities and the American nuclear bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima.But even in modern times, it is still happening. Think about some Israeli attacks, US drone and anti terrorist attacks in the middle east. US shoot down of Iran civilian airplane in 1988 (Iran Air Flight 655). And before mentioned wars of Ethiopia.
In modern times these violations are often overlooked or other wise dismissed by the actors. Or research on these items otherwise blocked or hindered. A good example is the research on the downing of flight MH17 in Ukrainian. Were both sides blame each other, and Russia actively hindering the research and spreading a lot of disinformation. In my research I have read trough some international court cases of Eritrea and Ethiopia, on the Badme war. And it is quite difficult to determine what is actually a civilian or military target.
As example, there was a new Electricity plant in Eritrea. It was bombed by Ethiopia. Is this a tactical target and military objective as it powers the military air base? Or civilian as it is the power source for the whole city, and the civilian side of the air base? May the people suffer because the military have a base close by, and do have mobile power plants in case others are brought down. It was a very confusing case. In this case the power plant was considered military valuable, and therefore a legitimate target. But it did increase the suffering of the inhabitants of the city, and reduced the first aid capabilities to the city, because no civilian planes could land on the airfield anymore.
It has learned me a lot of new insights. War is always dirty, even if the good guy is fighting it. And people will suffer, both when it is a violation against human rights and when it officially is not. Next research case will be civilians in war games.
In my research for the Ethiopian-Eritrean-Somali conflict, I encountered a lot of stories which are violating human rights. It started with reading the book Ethiopian-Eritrean wars Volume 2. As my interest is mostly on the aerial war, I didn’t bother that much on the ground war. I had already read the first volume and the one on the Ogaden war, and the ground war was nasty, but the aerial engagements were mostly air to air conflicts and ground attacks, with the ground attacks on military or insurgents targets. There would be some accidentally civilian casualties, but it looked like a genuine war.
Until the mention of Civil bombings around the 1978-1979 period. There were a couple of incidents described, were the Ethiopian air force attacked civilian targets, and saw them as tactical targets. Targets were: Food supply points, Markets and Aid convoys. It was stated that most interviewed airforce personal wouldn’t talk about these incidents, but admitted that it had happened. This triggered a question by me.
Some examples of human rights violation reports on Ethiopia. Source: Human Right Watch (hrw.org)
If the attacks have been placed historically, and I want to represent the air force of Ethiopia during that period, would that also include wargaming these strikes against civilian targets?
Can I challenge myself to wargame this conflict and feel guilty when I have to attack a civilian target, without circumventing these events? I hope this post to be the first in a series just debating, discussing this issue, and maybe create some kind of scenario, around this theme. It will probably be quite challenging.
For playing wargames, there are three main drivers as I see them:
Learning history/ Create a story
War is not fun, but still having fun is I think one of the most important aspects of wargaming. Either having fun with other people, or enjoy your own time spend. The fun is not about the war, but about the game and contacts. And it does not matter if it is an historical scenario recreated or a fantasy battle in space. You can enjoy your decisions made, either the ones that went wrong, or the ones that won the game. But in the end, it is a safe playground, and only the miniatures did die.
Every battle you can learn something, but for wargaming learning new things is wider. You will learn new painting skills, calculating skills, research skills and knowledge. Wargaming will develop yourself willing or unwillingly.
Learning history/ Create a story
This is the divider between historical wargamers and fictional wargamers. Some people want to recreate history and learn what errors are made, and how it could have been changed if decisions were made differently. Others like to tell an epic story, in which would be heroes of villains defeating a certain threat. With a lot of grey area in between, like imaginations and alternative histories. But the basic idea behind it, is that humans want to (re)create stories to tell to each other or himself.
From above mentioned point I came to a general question, and hope I can investigate this in the future.
Can wargame rules include human rights violations, and still teach us a lesson, while telling the (his)story?
I hope to discuss and answer this question in multiple follow up post along the way. Looking more in-dept to the actual events and the physical impact, and how to recreate a scenario where you can both feel the impact of human right violations and not feel sadistic.
I finished the books on the Ogaden war and the second volume on the Ethiopian Eritrean conflicts. For the project I try to create I am planning to have the air force of Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somali. With all the photos in the book, I determined what the different roundels for the aircraft would be. For Somali and Eritrea this was quite easy. But the Ethiopian air force is quite challenging, and multiple different roundels can be found. Even the information on Wikipedia is incomplete. But I came up to the following roundels.
Ethiopian Air Force
The Imperial Ethiopian Air Force Roundel from 1941-1974. Multiple different shapes of the star in the middle can be found. With more sharper points. This roundel was replaced in 1974 but was still used on older planes for long period of time. So coexisted with newer versions.
The Ethiopian Air Force Roundel from 1974~1998. The roundel has been replaced with the next version, but can still be seen on older planes. Coexisting with both other designs, and can be spotted still today.
The Ethiopian Air Force roundel of present day. Introduced just before the Badme war. 1998~now.
Somali Air Force
Somali Air Force roundel, introduced after the creation of the air force in 1954 and still used up today. It is very similar to the USAF roundel from 1942-1943.
Eritrean Air Force
The Eritrean Air force was only created in 1994 when it gained the Eritrean Independence. It started with old Ethiopian planes. Roundel is used up to today.