EXCERPT 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, April 9, 2012

95 Years Ago Today - Vimy

Vimy Ridge is an icon for Canada. The battle is seen as a 'coming of age' event for our country, the one battle even school kids are likely to know.

It was fought on Easter Monday, the 9th of April 1917 and is usually associated with Easter here even as that date wanders. Oddly or perhaps very predictably  (I'm no expert in the wanderings of the Moon or of religious festivals) the 95th anniversary has fallen today, also the 9th of April and also Easter Monday.

I don't have a Vimy Ridge wargame in my pocket to show nor have I looked up appropriate links to video or pictures, but.........on  the vintagewargaming blog  there is a link to the following brilliant video clip from the British pathe archives of a proposed (or actual?) pre-WWII training aide using toy soldiers and which the commentators suggest in Wellsian fashion, could be used to replace the real thing. With something like 15-20,000 men killed, wounded or missing from the two armies over the four days, that may not be an inappropriate thought.


Now, I could probably build a canvas playing surface and 1/72nd plastic figures would work, but where am I going to find volunteers to crawl around under the table while I play?


  1. I'd noticed that the 9th was Easter Monday this year, as it was in 1917, and thought I should drag out my Vimy Game... but didn't quite get around to it... distracted by so many other things at the moment...

    Well I've got five years to finish up the rest of the table for the 100th anniversary!

    1. 5 years, in my books that's lots of time for 2 rebasings!

  2. I'm not sure how many people, never mind young people, know about Vimy Ridge here in the UK, nor that, by the end of the Great War,Canadian, Australian & NZ troops were regarded as the most reliable, most valued shock troops. We've let too many things go in recent decades, and too many good ties have loosened. Here's to their memory!

    1. Here's to their memory indeed. 100 years on I'm not sure the details are all that important for the average Joe on the street but that men answered the call and that they did their best, using brains as well as courage is worth their remembering.

  3. Ross:

    Meant to post this yesterday - thanks for reminding us about Vimy. Your post made me proud to be Canadian.
    Thanks for linking to that Pathe clip, quite fascinating. I love the face of the squaddie in the first few frames, and his deer in the headlights expression.

  4. Mike, It does swell the chest a little when reading about some of the WWI battles. I don't think that the men were any braver or the officers any smarter but with the right leaders in the right places and so many new to their craft there seems to have been more appetite for fresh approaches and analysis. Those guys didn't play by the rules.