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Sunday, 14 October 2012

Projects you will probably never do but keep buzzing around your head

Books are often inspirational for the wargamer.  However sometimes they give rise to the desire to do a project or refight a battle that is just very unlikely to happen.  That doesn't stop you thinking about them of course.  I am not talking about a passing fancy here but a long held wish that seems likely to be frustrated.

I have two longstanding examples that I thought I would share, prompted by the possibility of having acquired a third.

In 1979 I bought a copy of the Knight's wargaming series title on the Battle of Minden.  The successful advance of the British Infantry regiments against the cream of the French cavalry caught my imagination. I did some work on the OOB and how it might work as a wargame but have taken it no further.  I misplaced the book for about 10 years at my parents house and only came across it again after I was clearing their house when my mother passed away.  Once again the wargaming juices were stirred and tentative plans formed.

In 2005 I acquired a copy of Stopping Napoleon by Tom Pocock.A great book subtitled War and Intrigue in the Mediterranean.  This sparked another obsession, refighting Maida.  Another British victory but much less glamorous.  I can't really explain the fascination but once again I keep coming back to it.  Once again a full OOB exists (easier this time) but it has gone no further.

Last week I bought The Battle of Heligoland Bight 1939 by Robin Holmes.  This tells the story,which was entirely new to me, of the RAF's early attempt at a daylight bombing campaign using Wellingtons against the German Naval baseinthe North Sea.  They were intercepted and about half the force failed to return to base with the Luftwaffe only losing 2 fighters.  24 Wellingtons against about 40 German fighters, a mixture of Me 109s and Me 110s.  This led to the abandonment of a plan to launch a massive attack on the Ruhr and the Bomber Command stratedy turned to nightime bombing. Only time will tell whether or not this stays with me as the others have but my gut feeling is that it will.

Why not play these games if I am so interested in putting them on?  Part of it is to do with acquiring and painting the models.  Normally I am more than happy to borrow figures from friends but not for these battles.  I would want to own them.  The other major issue is that I have lots of other projects which grow in number every year and only move forward at a snails pace.  They at least allow me to use the same forces for a number of battles, the three above would be pretty much one offs. Also, after so much anticipation, would they live up to my expectations? 

Do you have anything similar on your bookshelves?  Those books that you go back to from time with a gleam in your eye thinking one day... one day....


  1. My main book pain is a trilogy, its the fictional novels by Bernard Cornwell on Arthur. I've read the books 3 times now and they're calling again, especially as I recently got the new Dux Bellorum Arthurian ruleset...dammit! My minds wandering all the time and its taking a lot of willpower not to place a sneaky order online!!

  2. About four years ago I was involved in an archaeological dig on the site of Manuel Nunnery on the River Avon, near Linlithgow Bridge. The battle of 1526 came up in conversation and I have been thinking of that period as a possibility.Maybe. In a small scale. Probably.....

  3. Allan

    We did this asa club display game a few years ago, in 10mm. Doug was the driver behind it. I can't remember if he still has the figures as he was going to donate them to the Linlighgow meuseum. Worth an ask though

  4. Thanks for this, Dave. I'll discuss with Doug which figures are best for the period. The usual problem is the Scottish gentry who formed the front rank of the pike wall behind pavises. Everything else seems straightforward from the Pendraken range.

  5. Had a similar experience as you with the result that I harboured a long running desire to replay Ramillies. Finally took the plunge and acquired enough 6mm WSS figures to run the game twice using a variant of Rank and File first time, then more successfully with the "Le Roi Soleil" variant of Basic Impetus. I enjoyed both occasions and would love to repeat the exercise.

    I am sure we could come up with something for Minden on a Club Sunday if you wanted to at least partially scratch that itch.