Saturday, 6 March 2010

Period Warfare

Retrospective: March 2009

I have no recollection why I switched from late to early WW2 wargaming. Certainly it could not have been the abundance of gamers of this period which attracted me, or the plethora of miniatures available at that time (only Heroics & Ros made any French tanks and those were restricted to the Char B and S35). Perhaps I felt an initial frisson of exclusivity after making my contrary decision to embrace the world of anti-tank rifles, trench-crossing skids and multi-turretted tanks.

At the age of 15 I became the proud owner of squadrons of Char Bs, S35s, A9s, A13s, Panzer 3s & 4Ds and when they came out, H39s. Bafflingly I had Panzer 4F1s and Valentine 1s, neither of which took part in the campaign but paradoxically only had a tiny number of Panzer 1s & 2s (odd, since they made up the greater proprtion of the German tank strength, I would make amends for this crime in spades later).

But then rigorous accuracy was not within my remit at that time: most of the Panzer 3s had 50mm guns for no reason other than I misread the description in my tank book and anyway, the Allies had 2pdrs & 47mm guns in many of their tanks so it seemed to be more balanced that way. I did file down the barrels to resemble the 37mm on some Panzer 3s in a cursory nod to customization but in another ill-conceived moment I painted my French infantry using a rather fetchingly innaccurate dull blue and my British infantry in a kind of 'plastic toy soldier green'.

I became essentially a solo wargamer at this point, using unmodified Wargames Research Group 1925-1952 rules. I also made terrain boards similar to those I had seen used at the wargames club which seemed to have many dells & hollows where troops in ambush positions could lurk. All roads and rivers enter & leave at the middle of a board edge to facilitate arranging the boards in a multitude of combinations.

After I took a place at Leicester University to do Geology my father moved house and the wargaming stuff was put in the loft with my Action Men. Life happened to me for the next twenty years and no wargaming was done, although at some point it was relocated from his attic in Cornwall to mine in Essex.

Thus was my initial foray into wargaming the Invasion of France...

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