Some Ships – Singapore Strait

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Camillan Romans finished — DBA Project Army 2

The 6mm Camillan Roman DBA Army - figures by Baccus, painting by numbers!
The 6mm Camillan Roman DBA Army – figures by Baccus, painting by numbers!

I started these chaps about two years ago or so — soon after I finished the Numidians. They have been sitting, about 25% finished, just above my painting table where I could not miss seeing them gathering dust. I decided last week that to combat a large degree of stress in my professional life I would finish these off.

All that had been completed before were the velites (two bases front to the right in the picture to the left). The others had been undercoated and the cavalry was half painted.

Of course, it had been so long since I painted them that I could not remember the paints and flocks that I used doing the basing.

I managed to match them off quite well at the end and I like the way these guys look at the moment. Best of all, I can now play 6mm DBA here and finally get around to teaching the lady the game. She likes kicking my butt in chess so this should be a lay-down misère 😉

The DBA 6mm collection slowly growing. Here are the Romans arrayed next to the Numidians. These are the first two of my seven army Singapore wargames project that I should have finished two years ago!
The DBA 6mm collection slowly growing. Here are the Romans arrayed next to the Numidians. These are the first two of my seven army Singapore wargames project that I should have finished two years ago!

Just for reference and because it has been so long ago, I arrayed the Numidian figures on the playing surface next to the Romans. I built the Numidians with all options so picked 12 of the most interesting (that’s the 12 around the elephant) and then put the rest of the figures in a third group.

As you can see there are quite a few more Numidians than Romans. That Roman Army, however, has absolutely no choices except for the choice of a general on foot or on horseback. I just assumed that with the amount of close order foot there I would never really think about taking the general other than as the mounted option.

Both armies are built from Baccus Miniatures 6mm figure range — a wonderful range of ancient troops.

I still have to get around to doing camps and such but that will be later in the project.

I’m not sure what will be next under brush. Maybe the 6mm Japanese World War 2 tanks, perhaps a DBA Parthian Army (seems appropriate as I am reading Peter Darman’s Parthian Dawn at the moment – and feeling very horse soldierly as a result) or even the next army in the Singapore Wargames Project – Gauls or Spaniards.

I will leave you with a parting picture – this for the non-wargamer reading this so they can get an idea of scale.

And for the non-wargamer, a sense of size of the 6mm figures ... yes they are small and no I do not have a lot of patience, I am a grumpy old fart!
And for the non-wargamer, a sense of size of the 6mm figures … yes they are small and no I do not have a lot of patience, I am a grumpy old fart!

Sandcastles

The first castle I saw
The first castle I saw

As you know, I’m a bit of a wargamers and military history nut. I like military history, painting toy soldiers and the like. I was therefore pleasantly surprised when I ran across a castle here in Singapore.

The lady and I had decided to head down the East Coast for a walk on the edge of the Straits and a bite to eat by the seaside. Sand in the toes, a surf and turf and a bottle of something cold, a nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon and evening.

We went to the ManaMana Beach Club for a stroll and dinner.

What a pleasant surprise. Walking along the beach we ran across a sand castle. This was not the pile of sand I used to build as a child but rather a proper castle.

Defenders on the wall
Defenders on the wall

Walking along a bit further and we ran into a castle, defenders on the walls ready to repel the evil … well, evil whatevers.

I was impressed with the level of detail such as the stones in the walls and tiles on the roofs.

The soldiers and flags came from a popular toy set but the builder’s skill was amazing.

This castle was a big one.

A great way to spend a Sunday evening and when it was dark and there was no one around … I got to jump on the castle and flatten it 🙂

The big castle - with defenders
The big castle – with defenders

S.S. Robert J. Walker – the Man and the Ships

Robert_John_Walker_cph.3a01283
Robert J Walker

Somehow or other, Robert J Walker came up the other day. In one of those fortuitous moments of historical coincidence, I quickly checked the name and found some interesting stories.

Robert J Walker was an early economist and the 18th Secretary of the Treasury of the United States during the presidency of James Polk. This was the period 1845-1849.

He was responsible, amongst other things, with organising the financing of the US Mexican War. One example is seen in correspondence with Major General William Orlando Butler,

“February 23, 1848. Sir, Upon the ratification of a treaty of peace by the Republic of Mexico in conformity with the provisions of the act of the congress of the United States of America approved March 3, 1847 stated ‘an act making further appropriation to bring the existing war with Mexico to a speedy and honorable conclusion’ you are authorized to draw on this department for any sum not exceeding three millions of dollars to be paid in pursuance of the promotion of said act.”

Walker supported the Union Cause during the American Civil War and as a result, the county in Texas that was named initially, Walker County, in honour of Robert J Walker was renamed to honour Samuel Walker, a Texas Ranger.

The US Government however did name a Coastal Survey ship to honour him in 1848. The Coastal Survey Ship USCS Robert J Walker.

robert walker
USCS Robert J Walker

The USCS Robert J Walker was built in 1847. She was iron-hulled and was a side-wheel steamer. on June 21, 1860 she collided with a schooner in rough seas of

The Walker, built in 1847 as one of the first US government iron-hulled, side-wheel steamers, sank in rough seas on June 21, 1860, after being hit by a commercial schooner.

The 40-metre vessel sank within 30 minutes, taking 20 sailors down with it of a total crew of 66. The schooner it collided with has been identified as the Fanny.

The captain of the Robert J Walker at the time was one Lieutenant John J. Guthrie and apparently he was the only naval officer on board. He was an experienced officer but was not on the bridge at the time of then collision. The executive officer, Joseph A. Seawell, who had been dismissed from the Navy on the recommendation of the Efficiency Board in 1855 was the officer on watch at the time of the collision.

The Fanny was loaded with coal so was heavy. The collision occurred about 3:00 am off Absecon, New Jersey. The Robert J Walker was underway from Norfolk to New York.

The officers and surviving crew of the Robert J Walker were rescued by Captain L. J. Hudson of the schooner R. G. Porter and taken to May’s Landing on the coast of New Jersey. The steamer sunk in less than half an hour after the collision, which took place about twelve miles from land.

There is a great report on the Story of the Coast Survey Steamer Robert J Walker on the Internet.

This then leads to the connection between Robert J Walker and Australia. I will admit ahead of time that I did not realise that there were German U-Boats (or at least one u-boat) active off the Australian coast during the Second World War.

There was an American Steamship, the SS Robert J Walker, which was apparently running in ballast towards Australia. U-862, a type IXD2 u-boat was on a second cruise around Australia, having based out of Singapore. U-862 has an interesting history.

U-862 undertook two war patrols under Kapitänleutnant Heinrich Timm (Knights Cross). The first of these was a long cruise, starting at Kiel and from there moving on to Bergen and then Narvik. From Narvik U-862 sailed out into the Atlantic, around Iceland and headed south. On 25 July 1944 in the South Atlantic U-862 sank the US registered steam merchant Robin Goodfellow on-route from Capetown to New York via Brazil with a load of chrome ore. The vessel was lost with all hands.

Turning into the Indian Ocean around the Cape of Good Hope U-862 engaged the British merchant vessels Radbury, Empire Lancer, Nairung and Wayfarer. Most were carrying various ores and coal. All were sunk.

After passing up the channel between Madagascar and the African coast, U-862 was engaged by a Catalina aircraft. The submarine shot the Catalina down and proceeded to sail across the Indian Ocean to Penang then to Batavia.

After refuelling, rearming and restocking food and water in Batavia the U-862 still under Timms, now promoted to Korvettenkapitän , commenced a second patrol. This was south into the Indian Ocean from Batavia then eastwards across the Great Australian Bight, south around Tasmania and from there around the North Island of New Zealand, back to the Australian coast then through Bass Strait, across the Great Australian Bight again and back to Batavia. This was over the period 18 November 1944 to 15 February 1045.

On that patrol U-862 met and sank the Robert J Walker off the coast of New South Wales whilst U-862 was on her way to New Zealand. U-862 also met and sank the Peter Silvester in the Indian Ocean west of of Albany on her return leg to Batavia. Both ships were US registered. Interestingly, as U-862 passed around Tasmania on 9 December 1944 she had a gun duel with the Greek steam merchant Ilissos. U-862 fired three shots that missed, but choppy seas and accurate defensive gunfire from the merchant vessel forced the U-boat to dive and leave the area before firing any more.

After returning to Batavia U-862 then moved onto Singapore on 20 February 1945. on 5 May 1945 U-862 was taken over by Japan at Singapore and became the Japanese submarine I 502 on 15 July 1945. She had no further patrols that I have been able to determine.

At the conclusion of World War 2, I 502 surrendered at Singapore in August 1945. On 15 February 1946 she was towed into the Straits of Malacca, off Singapore, by HM Tug Growler and scuttled there alongside I 501((I 501 was U-181 before being handed over to the Japanese)) by the frigate HMS Loch Lomand((Seven u-boats, namely U-181, U-195, U-219, U-511, U-862, U-IT-24 and U-IT-25 were scuttled in Asia)).

Interestingly the wartime press in Australia all reported the attacks as Japanese submarines. Copies of some of those press reports are shown below.

Canb Times 14 March 1945
from the Canberra Times 14 March 1945

The Argus Melb 14 March 1945
From the Melbourne Argus 14 March 1945
Barrier Miner Broken Hill 13 March 1945
from the Barrier Miner Broken Hill 13 March 1945

The New Harbour Cheeseburger

The New Harbour CHeeseburger
The New Harbour Cheeseburger

On the way back from the wargame last night, the topic of dinner came up. The lady was looking for Korean first or mussels second. Our favourite Korean restaurant was full so mussels were then Plan B. We stopped into the New Harbour Cafe and Bar on Tanjong Pagar Road where I had a chance to savour a cheeseburger.

The New Harbour is a big cheeseburger with minimal inclusions – a piece of limp lettuce, a slice of tomato and a slice of cucumber. The beef patty however is reasonably seasoned and more importantly, big. The cheese is melted to the patty and the bun is strong enough to last the burger through.

The burger itself is fine and filling but not great. It weighs in at about $16.00 and on the modified Thomo Cheeseburger scale, I’d rate it a 6/10.

I really must put the scale up here at some point in the future.

Food Garage Cheeseburger

The Food Garage Cheeseburger
The Food Garage Cheeseburger

I’ve been on a diet. Yep, Thomo has been trimming down. My first target is to be overweight and in this I am being slowly successful. I only have about 300 grams to go to be overweight.

The diet has been to quit alcohol (with the exception of the very occasional shandy) and eat at least one cheeseburger a week.

Today, for lunch, I needed to head to Chinatown Point here to grab some stuff from the Daiso (the $2 store) and thought I would lunch there. There seemed to be at a table free at Food Garage so I wandered in. There was a cheeseburger there for $14.50 so burger it was.

Meat patty was well cooked but still juicy. Sesame seed bun, a reasonable cheese, ketchup, two types of shredded cabbage, onion and tomato.

A generous burger for the price and good overall flavour. I’d have to call this at about 7/10. Certainly good quality for the money.

The Gun Bar Burger

The Gun Bar Burger - sweet!
The Gun Bar Burger – sweet!

Anthony decided to experiment on Saturday before the French-Indian Wars Big Battle and in an effort to become more acquainted with his barbecue, decided to experiment with a burger. This was partly because of my previous burger posts and partly because he also likes a good burger.

Now, where there is a barbecue involved and the end result is a burger, Thomo is happy to be experimented on. Given the pursuit for the perfect burger in Singapore (and other locations as well it seems), the first bite of any burger needs to be reported on!

A hand-made beef patty lightly seasoned and pressed with care provided the core component of the burger. Taking flavour from the barbecue enriched the flavour. The cheese added to this burger was Brie which provides a nice depth of flavour to the burger. Add tomato, lettuce and onion and the burger provided an excellent meal – and certainly sustenance enough for me to fight the dastardly British to a standstill in North America!

Overall, I reckon this was the standard of a good burger – 7.5/10. Future burgers will need to work hard to taste better.

Cheeseburger – &MADE by Bruno Menard

2013-08-18 19.57.16We had just come back from lunch at the Taphouse and had spent a couple of hours chatting and taking over coffee. We were hungry again and as we were near Scott’s Plaza we decided that we would try what looked like a French Bistro.

They made burgers.

They made other stuff as well, like a steak but all Thomo noticed was that they made burgers.

I had a burger.

You may remember that the lady took me to db bistro moderne in Marina Bay Sands, a restaurant by chef Daniel Boulud, another Michelin Starred chef where I had for a Birthday Dinner – the $42 Burger. I was not so complimentary on that burger. However, chef Bruno Menard’s burger was the business.

For a start, the cost was $19 which compared very favourably with the $42 at db bistro moderne.The burger itself was well cooked and the presentation, whilst simple, was appealing. I was hungry and managed to demolish the chips before I managed to remember to take a photo.

The burger itself consists of a beef patty made with dry aged beef, caramelized onion, French Comte cheese, and a caper and garlic mayonnaise. It is served with a tomato relish.

The burger was delicious. The patty was juicy still and the bread was a treat. I would certainly rate this burger up there with the ones at Two Blur Guys in Tanjong Pagar ((I’m sure I reviewed those burgers here somewhere before but I’ll be dashed if U can see the review)).

In any case, I reckon the B  Burger is worth