EXERT FROM APPENDIX 1 from Don Featherstone's Battles With Model Soldiers
(The book that got me started.)

"Nothing in these pages is a dictate, no word says you must or you shall do it this way. On the contrary, the book sets out from the very beginning to stimulate the reader to think for himself, and to use what he has read merely as a foundation for efforts and ideas which reflect his own temperament and character. Only in this way will he obtain maximum satisfaction from the hobby of battling with model soldiers."

-Don Featherstone 1918 - 2013

Monday, July 23, 2012

Reading can be dangerous to your sanity

A couple of years ago I read US Grant's Civil War Memoirs and the campaigns leading up to Vicksburg left me with a prolonged itch to fight an operational level ACW game pushing divisions and corps about. A mini-campaign on a table.  Eventually this faded to a faint background itch.

So what have I done now? Now I'm reading Sherman's Memoirs.  (Available free from the Gutenburg Project for those who don't mind reading electronic media.)  To my mind this is an even better memoir even though the civil war is only part of it. He seems to go into more detail and does a better job of explaining why  he did various things and how things happened, how the battles were fought and so on, including lots of personal vignettes as well as copies of official reports, orders and letters.  He even manages to make the near siege of Atlanta interesting. Previously I saw this primarily as two entrenched forces sniping at each other with the occasional pointless assault. Now it makes sense and has exciting decisions and problems if you go high enough and wide enough.

All of which would be bested handled as an  old fashioned  map campaign with lots of details and paper work with supplies and raids and with battles fought on tabletop. I know where I could steal some ideas to start with but I'm not ready to go there this year. The smaller actions, and there are many of them, especially along the lines of supply, are suitable for conventional wargames but the major actions with a front of miles need something a little off the beaten track though Volley & Bayonet using the half scale and a large table could work.

It is tempting though to think about something a bit different. My mind comes back to something Portable Wargame inspired with 1 stand = a brigade, activation pips perhaps by Corps and 1 turn= an hour or maybe 1/2 hour  with night turns of 8 - 12 hours depending on the season so that multi-day engagements could be fought. The simple 1 die roll combat would be either ranged representing a mix of artillery and skirmishers to basically pin and engage the enemy or an assault which could destroy units or force retreats. LOC and supplies would need a role as would generals.The sort of thing where one probably ought to use 6mm or smaller figures, maybe 10's but which will have to make do with 20's since I've sold most of my 15's and I'm not starting an ACW collection in a 4th scale (1 man 54mm Brigades on a map might be an idea though since I have lots of those.)

  I'm up to the March To The Sea so hopefully I can soon put this back out of my mind and onto the back burner. Probably best if I don't start on the Second Sikh War book that I waiting. Its in that same operational realm. Perhaps Experiences of an English Volunteer in the Mexican War will be closer to the mark and less distracting.

9 comments:

  1. You have to be careful, reading can damage your bank balance ! - I've found out the hard way !

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    1. Which is why I sometime have to limit reading to books for which I already have the miniatures...

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    2. That doesn't actually narrow the field as much as you might think!

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  2. Sounds interesting, I'll be watching with interest.

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    1. Haven;t touched the campaign part yet but have knocked out a set of simple battle rules.

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  3. Dear Sir,
    Grant and Sherman certainly explain why they fought for the Union and how the Confederacy was a bad cause.
    Regarding scale, whilst standing in the ranks, the enemy across the battlefield seems to resemble 10mm wargame figures.

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  4. True but I care more about how they commanded armies, how they made and executed plans, how they issued orders etc than why they fought.

    New scale = new terrain and more duplication of existing armies!

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  5. Dangerous business, reading. I've recently been reading about Brits and French at Suez, Socs in Afghanistan and the siege of Budapest in WW2. Help!

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