Yesterday and today I have spent some time painting aircraft. This is a slow progress. Every time referencing some photos and choosing what to paint. But it is progress and enjoyable. It will take still significant time to complete everything.
A small update for last week. I have made some progress and played a game. My father and I have played our second game of chain of command. Knowing the rules better it went more smootly. But we have still some things to learn. The scenario was a village road crossing, trying to be captured by both sides. My father played the 1940 Dutch forces, and I the opposing German forces. It ended with a firefight accros one of the roads, with the fire power of my mg34 defeating the Bike platoon of the Dutch.
Next to the game I have also managed to do some painting/creating. I have started to make a terrain cloth, with canvas lined with chaulk. I have mixed some color into the chaulk, creating a nice earth tone. This is the first very thin layer. Next I hope to apply a second layer, mixing some sand in it, to get a rougher texture. After that I will apply some grass/turf to create some random landscape.
I have also spend some time painting the cold war Dutch airforce planes, just spending an sunday afternoon hour. Still a lot of work to do. But progress is progress.
all the cold war Dutch Air force planes, and some USAF 32nd TSF stationed in the Netherlands. Also the B 52 didn’t fit somewhere else, so resides also in this box. I painted the F4’s, some Thunderstreaks and T33 and started with the gloster meteors. Hope to make some more detailed photos when they are finished.
A lot has changed, but still pressing on
The last blog is a couple of months back. A few months where a lot has happened. Some things sort of planned, some un-expected. A short summery: being fired, Covid-19 and becomming a father. Luckely the last one is very positive and enjoyable. It only reduces modelling and wargame time 😉
But in between all the events, I am still working on some small projects. But I didn’t have time to write some updates.
I have started to paint a bunch of the 1:600 tumbling dice planes. Starting with some of the USAF 32 TFS fighters stationed on Soesterberg, the Netherlands. I didn’t make any photo’s yet, so those have to wait.
Next to that I have started on basing the 10mm Irregular Pike and Shot units, and applied the first paint.
I hope to create an army for pikemans lament. I have decided to base them 3-2-1 on 20mm square bases.
But an army does need some terrain to fight. So have also started making some scratchbuild terrain pieces. Some houses, a castlehouse and some forest and ruins. The windmill and one of the houses had been started earlier. Now most things are primed and some have received a paint layer. Hopefully I can do some more next weekend.
So this was a small update on some work in progress. I have also worked on some scale models in between. Maybe I will post some pictures of those when I have finished them. I am still pressing on, on all different subject. (also reading some books) I hope to update a little more frequently, but expect not too much.
War of the broken Wills: turn 1-3
During the weekend I found some time to start the campaign. So I played the first 3 campaign turns. Next step are two battles, to end turn 3.
Above you can see the start of the campaign. Red pawns are my armies, black pawns are Potential Enemy Forces, turning into a yellow pawn, when resolved to be an enemy army.
My plan is to march with two different groups, as quickly as possible to the capital. Due to the rivers and roads, these two entry point would be the quickest.
After turn one, marching up along the roads. Enemy movement was not that much, which is quite logical as they will try to defend.
Closing in on the first bigger towns, enemy forces, will try to block the road.
In the West, I tried to sneak past the enemy, but their scouts got news of our troops, and did catch the second army by surprise. In the East, they just blocked the road and hope to stop us as soon as possible, by moving forward one of their armies. I don’t know what they have in reserve.
On both fronts it turns into a battle. I still have to roll for the scenarios, and find my troops. I have found a solution for the playing area. A printed grid, with some fields from google earth in the background.
I didn’t have time to play the first game, but looking forward to them. Until now, it was just half an hour, including setup and finding nice pawns. Up to the battle next.
campaign: War of the broken Wills
The only army which is in a reasonable state to play some games, is the 2mm Napoleonic armies. I want to play some more games this years, and play also some solo. Therefore I have ventured into the realms om Imagination.
The basic idea is, to have a simple campaign system, without a lot of bookkeeping. Playing multiple battles in an evening or Sunday afternoon. I have created some backstory. Probably not the best. But a reason to move some troops and play games.
The campaign system is created by myself, simple moving some armies from area to area, to secure the capital, and destroy the enemy army. Enemy movement is mostly based on the chainreaction system from two hour wargames.
The battle which will happen when two armies will occupy one area, will be played out with the Simplicity in Hexes rules, which I found on the blog of Jay Ward, with again some enemy behaviour based on the chainreation system of THW. Scenarios will be coming from the One Hour wargames book of Neil Thomas. The terrain will be a hex landscape, slightly larger as in the rules, for visual reasons.
Below I will tell the background story, and show the map. The map has been created with the help of the fantasy map generator on the web. (see link below) the data has been exported to QGis, a map making tool. Playing around, some visual formatting was done. If you like the map, you can download it for your own projects, and also the more detailed rules for the campaign in the links provided at the bottom.
The year is 1785, 7 years after Marcus Fontusius Rethida and his sister Cillia Rethida were forced to leave their beloved country Ukkhinbar. They had grown up as prince and princes at the royal court in the Capital Wawic. But had to flee south during the coup. Their own nephew had murdered their father and crowned himself emperor.
Now it was the time to march back to their hometown. Five large armies listened to their command. When they had left, they had been young. Heading south they found rest in Segifell. A rough city, were you’re live was most precious. They had met an old man, which had taken them into house. The 17 year old twins, had been weeping and sleeping for a week, they had lost everything. Only the ring, received from their father was still on their finger. The man tried to comfort them, and learned them a riddle: “Bait with smelt to catch a cod”
The first year they worked here and there. Creating more and more connections, and growing a larger network. Both on the legal side as on the dark side of the world. After three years, Marcus and Cillia started to think about revenge on their Nephew. They started to employ people for their cause. Now after the 7 years, they have amassed 5 armies. Built from mercenaries, pirates and adventurers. But very loyal, as long as they paid regularly.
They had only a limited amount of money, so they had to do a quick campaign. Moving as swiftly as possible, to liberate the capital. After that they would deal with the rest of the country, but would have access to the treasure of the crown to pay the armies. Spies are reporting multiple armies which are defending the capital and surrounding lands. The only way to their home, is forward.
- Enemy start with 9 PEF Armies
- You start with 5 armies, two under command of Marcus and three under command of Cillia.
- Each army is 6 units. Scenario determines how many units are involved in each battle. Following OHW scenarios
- You start on southern edge, with 5 armies, deploy as you wish.
- Enemy start northern cities with 9 PEFs. 1 PEF start at other side of water to the right.
- each campaign turn is 1 day.
- Capital must be reached within 30 days, to ensure you can pay the armies to complete the campaign.
I hope to start the campaign next weekend, most of the things are ready.
- terrain pieces
Only the hex grid for the scenarios I have to arrange. I have the possibility to print on white paper. The files are ready, but I am thinking in a little more pleasing solution, with more eye candy. I don’t have a solution yet.
This is just my first try, to play a campaign, have a backstory. I don’t know how it will turn out. And probably adapt the rules on the fly. Hope it will make some fun.
- Simplicity in Hexes rules: Jay Ward :http://flagsofvictory.blogspot.com/p/simplicity-in-hexes.html
- One-Hour Wargames: Neil Thomas, Pen and Sword 2014
- Morale Napoleon, grand tactical rules for the Napoleonic wars: Two Hour Wargames
- Fantasy map generator: https://azgaar.github.io/Fantasy-Map-Generator/
Assembly of planes
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.
The Battle of Scherpenzeel
Last year I have done a lot of reading and searching on the battle of Scherpenzeel and the days leading to this battle. For this moment, I will skip the political landscape, and focus on the scenario I think is most plausible at the moment.
The battle of Scherpenzeel was part of the Sticht (Utrecht) Civil war in 1481-1483. It took place in the beginning of this period. It started with a conflict between cities and the Bischop, which was the ruler of the province.
Around September an army contingent from Holland visited Wijk bij Duurstede, the city where the Bishop, David van Burgundy, housed. After some festivities there were plans made to pillage the country around Amersfoort, which was one of the revolting cities.
One of the sources speak about a 4-day trip. They started at Wijk bij Duurstede, and went north over the road in direction of Amersfoort. The army was build up:
- Jean van Salazar (Biscay noble, leading the army)
- 34 Biscay crossbowmen (Well trained, as the number is very specific, a force to be reckoned with)
- Around 50 man on horse back (Unclear if the bowman are included)
- 300 other armed man under Jean van Salazar
- 300 knights from the army of David of Burgundy
- 300 men at arms from the army of David of Burgundy
The total army was around 1000 man. It is unclear if the Bishop himself joined the raid, or had his troops lend to Jean.
I expect that they went to “Huis ter Eem” a small castle, defending the river Eem. It is located close to Amersfoort. The house was besieged around September 1481, and destroyed by a canon. It is unclear if this was done before or after the raid around Amersfoort. The raid was either a counter action, or the reason why the house got besieged, as it might have happened after the raid.
But as you can see from the map, the distance from Wijk bij Duurstede to Amersfoort is around 37 km. Which is a long day of marching, but I think is feasible. The distance back and forth is certainly to long, to do in a single day, making the 4 day raid plausible. The army had to stay somewhere during the knight, and the castle was owned by the Bishop.
The raiding happened to the north of Amersfoort, in the direction of Hoevelaken.
Raiding and burning houses will take some time, therefore I expect that they had to move to a next castle. I am not certain which castle this would have been, but there are multiple castles located just to the east of Amersfoort.
The next day I expect that they are planning to return to Wijk bij Duurstede. Multiple sources are stating that they pillaged up to 1500 animals, cows, sheeps and pigs. This is a very large number, and would not move quickly. Also costing a lot of manpower to guide. Therefore the people of Amersfoort, gathered in an army, hoping to pay back for raiding the countryside. The mayor of the city gathered around 400 man at arms. Unclear what experience they would have, but probably consisted out of some knights and the city militia.
Near Scherpenzeel both forces met. Numerical the two forces differ a lot, 400 man for the Amersfoorters and 1000 man for the Bishops army. But because of the booty, the forces which are capable to fight, will probably more in the range of 400 against 600.
Still the battle was lost by the Amersfoorters. Somewhere between 100 and 200 people got killed, and another 100-200 were taken hostage. This had a large impact on the city defense of Amersfoort, and they called Utrecht to send some troops, as almost all men had died or where in hostage.
The location of the battle was near the village of Scherpenzeel. Hence the name of the battle. The village was located next to the road to Wijk bij Duurstede. I expect that the battle took place here, because there is a river running close by, and the road was going through a fordable place. This would make some kind of bottle neck, slowing the forces down. Resulting in the Amerfoorters catching up with the Bishops forces.
A battle will take some time, and expect that the Bishop forces would have taken some rest. Scherpenzeel does have a small castle, but it is unclear on which side this was, and a lot of damage was done to the village. As the taxes was allowed to be not paid for the next three year, due to the damage.
Geography of the battlefield
In the map included I have used the same geographical historical background, only projecting some extra information on top. The reason to use this, is to make an assumption how the route of travel would have been. Peat areas would have been swampy and diffcult to travel, especially with 1000 man and 1500 animals. Also river crossings will steer in a certain direction. That is the reason how I ended up in the current route as drawn.
In the future I hope to look more detailed into this, to investigate were the battle around Scherpenzeel took place. In the village itself, or close to the ford, or maybe somewhere to the north of Scherpenzeel, as that is the most dry area. There is only one mention of terrain data on the battlefield mentioned in the sources I have read. That is of a large hedge, either used to cover one flank or the rear of the Amersfoorters.
Next I hope to create some wargaming scenario using the above story. This so I can play it, parallel to the further research on the historical accounts, as I now mostly have used second hand sources.
I hope to play the scenario using the Sword&Spear rules, and 2mm figures. So I have to create some army lists, and starting conditions. Probably I will create multiple scenarios, to check if the troop strengths can be made more competitive if needed.
To be continued
Geography of a Battlefield – “The origin of the Dutch landscape”
The origin of the Dutch landscape
In this post I hope to provide a quick overview of the history of the Dutch landscape.
The Netherlands before the Roman occupation was partly sand and partly a marchy, swampy peat landscape. The southeastern parts (in light yellow and ochre) is higher and mostly consist of sands. The west and north is mostly covered in peat (reddish brown) with some swampy areas and streams (light blue and light green). Historical there is not much known on this area. There are some hunter gatherer communities, as found from archeological digs. But there is not much recorded on what actually happened.
During the roman occupation, or annexation, the cultivation of the land was started. They dried out the peat areas, to create farmland and to obtain fuel. this started around the bigger streams and rivers. As these were used as way of transport. And where the ancients highways. Most roman forts are found next to the rivers. The drying can be seen in the peat areas which are getting smaller.
Up until the medieval times, the cultivation continued and the large peat areas were getting smaller. The additional effect was, that the land was getting lower. When peat dries, it will shrink. Also it will start to rot, reducing the height level of the land. This is important in the next few ages, as it will increase the risk when a flood happens.
After multiple floods (between 1000-1200 AD) the sea has reclaimed some lands. The zuiderzee (southern sea, nowadays mostly called Ijselmeer) has increased in size, and the northwestern part of the Netherlands is a lot smaller. To reclaim the land of the sea multiple projects are started to make polders. This will continue the next centuries, with hightpoint around the 17th century. But also the modern day Flevoland has been reclaimed from the Ijsselmeer, as shown in the above map, with the projected contours.
The next step will be to focus on the Gelderse vallei again. Located in the middle, just below the Ijselmeer. Some large peat areas are still present, providing some economical interest.
Quite recently I have been listening some podcast about the Dutch history. This quite interesting with a lot of information, and gives a quick overview of how the swamp land had grown into the Netherlands.
See their website or check on spotify
Vos, P. & S. de Vries 2013: 2e generatie palaeogeografische kaarten van Nederland (versie 2.0). Deltares, Utrecht. Op 07-11-2019 gedownload van www.archeologieinnederland.nl
To Infinity and beyond
On Crisis 2019 I obtained a box of Corvus Belli Infinity Operation Icestorm. Or actually half the box, the Pan Oceania is missing, but the terrain is still in. (It was second hand, so price was also appropriate.) Also included was a starter set for Infinity Nomads, totaling in 13 Nomad miniatures.
I probably will end up to paint the starter set in blue, to proxy as Pan Oceania, to do some playing in the end. The Operation Icestorm ones, hope to finish in the Nomad red scheme, as on the box.
After assembly I have started with a black undercoat. Yesterday evening I tried some airbrushing, but it did clog up. So couldn’t get any progress. I hope to continue in the weekend. Hopefully some progress to show next week.
Civilians in wargames
First to start with a disclaimer. I am quite new to wargaming, and have not played a lot of games. So probably I will overlook a lot of rules and concepts. But I will try to write some summary I could find right now.
In general wargames don’t bother to much with civilians. I have read a couple of recent wargames battle reports and most did not feature any civilians. When they do participate I could identify a couple of reasons:
Think about farmers defending their crops against raiding and stealing cattle. Most of the time not part of any team, but acting like some kind of military units with low capabilities. The actual live and living of these civilians is most of the time not considerd, and wont have impact on the story or campaign. This is mostly used in medieval or more ancient battles and sometimes in fantasy or sci-fi adventures.
( Negative or Positive) modifier
It is not good to have civilian casualties, but they are only some negative modifier to the end score. Often seen in ww2 air war games, were you try to recreate bombing of a city, were missed bombs (which have civilian causalities) generate negative points. But is might also be used in modern urban warfare. But it might also be used impacting morale, as the civilians are liking your side more or less.
Those refugee streams can clog up roads, or make moving around more difficult. It just act the same way as terrain feature, impacting your military forces. They might be moving around as a walking forest is which you only see in fantasy setting, so refugees make up a more believable story, in historical setting.
Unexpected military unit
This is mostly used in modern irregular wars, were mobs of civilians are either blocking your road, or suddenly turning back on you and showing itself as military unit.
Starting the research I had expected that there would be not much ways to involve civilians in wargames, but multiple different ways have been discovered. The only one missing, which would make sense from human rights perspective, is a direct head on head wargame, civilians against a militairy power, where the civilians do not use weapons, but score by avoiding casualties. I haven’t found a system what uses these kind of mechanics yet. Maybe I have to create my own.
Now looking back at the original question:
Can wargame rules include human rights violations, and still teach us a lesson, while telling the (his)story?
I don’t think the mechanisms above tells something about human rights violations. They do take civilians in account, and can create good (his)stories. But don’t teach us about human rights violations.
For this I have to search futher or create my own. From computer games I want to highlight two examples, which takes some civilian live into account. The first is “This war of mine”, which is a game where you play as civilian in a warzone, and try to survive in your house. You are searching for supplies and encounter thereby other people, were you can steal their supplies or fight them. The emotional aspect has some place here, as it feels not good to steal from an elderly couple. But if you don’t get the supply, one of your characters die. The second game is “Conflict Zone” were two parties battle, but the resources are civilians. For the “good” side, you try to save as many refugees as possible, for the “bad” side, you don’t care, but need to indoctrinate as many civilians as possible.
Maybe these games can be a good inspiration for finding a solution. Hope to expand this research in the future.