I was cruising around the Internet the other day, using Mr Google* extensively, looking for something or other and in the usual way of things, I stumbled across something I was not looking for. This time it was the Danish Brigade. It started with me stumbling across the Danish Brigade in Sweden on Wikipedia, which discussed the formation of the Danish Brigade.
The Swedish Government (in either 1943 or 1944, I have not been able to find clear information on that, in English, Swedish or Danish) granted permission to form a Danish Corps in Sweden for action in Denmark, to relieve the country from German occupation. In the spring of 1945, Germany was reeling with the Soviets and allies pressing from the east and with the Allies pushing from the west. With that pressure, the Germans were redeploying divisions to both shore up the eastern and western fronts. It was felt the time was good for the Danish Corp to move firstly on Copenhagen and then eventually to liberate Denmark entirely.
When the Germans had overrun Denmark, many of the smaller naval vessels had escaped scuttling by making the run to neutral Sweden. They formed the basis of the Danish Flotilla.
The Danish Flotilla was a collection of 13 of those smaller naval vessels.
Kommandørkaptajn F. H. Kjølsen had served as the naval attaché in Berlin previously and he later acted as the head of the Maritime Department to ensure that the flotilla would play a role in the return to Denmark of the Danish Corps.
Crews were retrained as the first priority for the Danish Flotilla, and a camp, Sofielund, was set up in Småland. It started operations in early February 1944. Three further camps were set up at Sätrabrunn and Hätunaholm near Stockholm, and Ronneby in Blekinge.
The naval crews received their final training at Sätrabrunn camp in the Spring of 1944.
In the meantime the land forces and volunteers were also being trained and armed in Sweden, presumably by a mix of Danish and Swedish officers and NCOs. Equipment was certainly provided by the Swedes.
Possible World War 2 variation. Never made it into combat but were ready for the liberation of Denmark so a good what-if scenario can come from here. A variation for D-Day 🙂
To borrow from a writer with more skill than I, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Actually, truth be told, there was bugger-all on the best side of things.
I felt that I had not really accomplished anything, wargames-wise, over 2020, however, looking back, I surprised myself somewhat with what I did manage. Listening to Devo singing Whip It seems very appropriate for post as well.
January started well in Manila with the Taal Volcano in the Tagaytay area deciding that it would remind the locals that it was still an active volcano. It is about 60kms or so from Makati City in Metro Manila (what could possibly go wrong) and it had an eruption which caused an ash fall over surrounding provinces as well as Metro Manila. It was impossible to buy a mask after a couple of days. They disappeared from drug store shelves faster than toilet paper in an Australian supermarket during a viral pandemic!
I finished the Soviet modern fleet in February 2020 (see left) with the application of the flight deck decals to the two Soviet carriers.
A quick varnish and they are ready for the modern naval warfare table top. I will report on games that occur in the future.
In the meantime, I am looking at how I can use these vessels in some solo games.
March marched in and so did various levels of community quarantine. In Metro Manila we had an Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) from the middle of the month. Really, ECQ is simply another way of saying lockdown and it was called by the government when there were about 200 active cases of the plague in the Philippines. Essentially everything was closed down except for food, medicine and export companies (BPO, BPS organisations) and work from home was the requirement for all staff.
I quickly built, painted and based some Japanese modern ships in 1/3000 scale. These are produced by Fujimi who produce World War 2 ships in the same scale. They are concentrating on Japanese vessels only and they can build into nice display pieces as Fujimi also makes naval dockyards to the same scale. I did paint ships these as part of an exercise to display the way I make sea bases which is a variation on the method described on the GHQ website (Making Ocean Hexes). My method is described in Sea Bases from March this year.
I did not do much on the wargaming side of things over the period March to June 2020 as much of my time was spent ensuring all our staff were OK working from home, resetting machines at the office when necessary (I lived about 400 metres from the office so that walk was possible during ECQ) and generally being tired of the whole damned thing (see Prisoner — Inmate No. 6) and other posts such as (Day 25 passing, 20 days to go (hopefully) and Day 49 passing, 13 days to go (hopefully)). Of course, the bloody ECQ ended up lasting around three months in Makati and even when it was lifted to a General Community Quarantine (GCQ) there still was not much you could do.
One bright spot in May however, and a lifeline to sanity was the discovery of and acceptance into the Virtual Wargames Club. This was a virtual meeting of gamers from around the world, with the main area of interest being Horse and Musket games in larger scales, however, the group was welcoming and my Saturday nights from around midnight Manila time were booked. I also became involved more virtually with a bunch of reprobates with a certain naval bent that met for the Sunday Bristol Breakfast. Two vastly different groups, with the WVC following a fairly well organized format and agenda whilst the SBB (which was around 2:30pm my time and dinner time for the Oz members so really only a breakfast for one) not having any structure and being more like the guys from the local club, sat at pub after a club meeting and talking as blokes do, with occasional interludes from “the author” to display where he was up to with his next book.
Enter June, still in ECQ and a liquor ban had allegedly been applied in Makati City. I say allegedly as there were signs on all the liquor cabinets indicating a ban and as the delightful Hazel at the local convenience store was ringing up and packing my beer, I asked if there was a liquor band and she replied, “yes sir Ian, there is.” There were official liquor bans all over Metro Manila but Makati and one or two of the other cities did not have official bans.
June was also when I finished my Winter War collection of Finns in various fighter aircraft and Soviet bombers and fighters.
Enter July and for the Virtual Wargames Club, after displaying some of my naval models, I was asked if I would do a presentation on preparing sea bases for the club. Rather than just describe the method, I actually added a couple of ships to the bases to add some interest. I selected some French pre-World War One cruisers as they have a lot of funnels and who doesn’t like funnels and tumblehomes on vessels from that era?
The process for that was dutifully prepared into a power-point presentation which can be viewed in Painting Sea Bases (and some ships). The ships selected were the Ernest Renan and Jules Michelet and I must admit, they came out very well.
Nothing much happened then until Typhoon Ulysses decided to pay a visit in November. There had been a couple of named storms already passing over Luzon however Typhoon Ulysses was quite nasty and the eye-wall passed not far from here. Six or Seven hours of a roaring wind (and I understand the term “roaring wind” now and I’d had enough.
I had lost my painting mojo but it returned after the Typhoon and December arrived and I decided that I did at least want to complete phase 1 of my coastal project. I had painted enough German Attackers and merchant vessels, it was time to get some defenders prepared.
I finished some Fairmile Motor Launches as well as Fairmile Ds. To those I added some Motor Gun Boats (MGBs) which whilst small, have the advantage of being both small, and fast!
To be fair, I was quite busy over that last part of the year, supporting projects in the local time zone as well as Canada along with the regular day job. I was also in the process of moving from Makati City to my current home in Angeles City, a distance of some 95 road kilometres.
So, that was the year that was. What’s in store for the coming year? I hope, more painting time. I also have a long term project in mind that I want to start working on, especially while I am at home and with enough preliminary work done, I will be able to continue work on it should I be called out of the country.
Do have a Happy New Year and stay safe, be good, look after each other and wash your hands!
I’ve finally completed the first batch of vessels and aircraft for my little coastal wars set. I will get around to posting photographs in a day or so. The crisis arrives as now I need to decide what to do next and I do have a lot in the lead pile. I was thinking of:
Finish off the coastal set as I have to paint:
Do some other naval, such as:
World War One
Early World War 2 Germans and British
My Spanish Civil War Fleets
Argentinian and Brazilian World War One Fleets
US World War One Fleet
Soviet World War Two Fleet
US and Japanese Pacific Fleets
British Pacific Fleet
Finish my Moderns (Italians, Dutch, French)
Paint some 6mm figures such as:
Classical Punic Wars (5 armies left to paint)
Greeks (fousands of ’em)
Dark Age Set (five armies left to paint there)
Victorian Science Fiction (Aeronefs and similar including 2mm ground forces)
6mm World War Two land forces including:
Early War Germans
Late War British, American, Soviet or German
Finish the Japanese
World War 2 aerial – late war bombers and fighters
Modern Armies such as my Poles etc
Sigh – decisions, decisions. There are other items in the lead pile such as English Civil War, Dutch/Belgian and Polish Napoleonics, Napoleonic ships (1/2400 scale), and Ancient and Renaissance Galleys. I think I will need a burger and two beers to make this decision 🙂
Late note: I managed the burger and two beers, but am still undecided!
Just in time for Christmas reading comes the Too Fat Lardies Annual. This is now an annual event and this year’s magazine consists of 180 pages of articles, photographs, suggestions, scenarios, complete campaigns, rules amendments, fresh periods to game, previews of future rule sets, build projects unveiled among other things– all grist for the mill for the wargamer.
While, as it would be expected, the magazine focusses on the rulesets and games of the Lardies, there is plenty in there for gamers of other rule sets and periods to amend, hack or use.
The contents this year are:
FORCES OF THE 100 DAYS: A guide to the troops of the campaign of Waterloo for Sharp Practice.
WACHT AM SAMBRE: The Prussians take on the French Armee du Nord as they advance into Belgium
RESUPPLY HOUGOUMONT: A scenario to accompany the 100 Days guide sees action. on the British right at Waterloo.
PUNCH UP AT PLANCENOIT: A classic action to the East of La Belle Alliance sees the French attempt to stop the Prussian juggernaut.
MICRO MAP MAKING: Sidney Roundwood is released from a high security institution to show us how he makes some stunning campaign maps
ALL THE KINGS MEN VERSUS DRACULA: The Price of Darkness takes on the House of Stuart in a blood curdling scenario set in Whitby. A creepy classic from the pen of David Hiscocks.
SOLO CHAIN OF COMMAND: From the Welsh valleys comes an Artificial Intelligence called Bond. Geoff Bond.
INCH HIGH ROVING EYE: Mike Whittaker presents some technological insight for gaming IABSM over Zoom from a soldier’s eye viewpoint.
FILIBUSTERS! Colin Murray introduces some Manifest Destiny for Sharp Practice from the 1840’s and 1850’s down Mexico Way…and a bit of Canada.
EX ADIPIS SUILLAE: No thanks, I had one earlier! David Hunter presents an epic of the ancient world as he campaigns through Britannia in the 1st Century AD with Infamy, Infamy!
GLIDERS, CROSS THE MERSEY: Kevin Pierce calls out the Home Guard as Fallschirmjäger land in Liverpool.
BOMBS AWAY: It’s Squadron Leader Johnny Danger taking to the skies again as he offers some tips on bombing in Bag the Hun.
TO THE VOLGA!: International YouTube Superstar, Alex Sotheran attacks into Stalingrad with some ideas for Solo IABSM during Lockdown
BETWEEN THE MOUNTAINS AND THE SEA: Always one for a large Falx, Yorkshire’s own John Savage presents some 100% unofficial lists for Dacians in Infamy, Infamy!
HOME FRONT: Who do you think you’re kidding Mr ‘Itler? Britain prepares to stand alone and sticks two fingers up to the enemy across the Channel. Yes, it is (of course!) 1940 and a bumper handbook for Britain’s Home Front and Chain of Command.
24 HOURS FROM ROMFORD: “This is not a drill…” German landings in East Anglia threaten to wrong foot Britain’s high command, only the Home Guard stand between the capital and the rampaging Jerries. A Pint-Size Campaign for Operation Sea Lion.
A LOOK AT ‘O’GROUP: Sidney Roundwood interviews Housewife’s favourite Dave Brown about what we can expect from the forthcoming WWII Battalion size rules.
SMALL FOOTPRINT TERRAIN: Oddcast host and wargaming Glitterati, Sidney, proves what they say about small footprints with this fabulous terrain building article.
SCRAMBLING FOR SUPPLIES: Olve Kroknes straps on on his skis as he heads for Narvik to refight a Chain of Command action in the (snow) shoes of his grandfather.
SHE WAS ONLY THE MAGISTRATE’S DAUGHTER… An AWI scenario for Sharp Practice tells a heart rending tale of woe. Can our heroes escape to victory?
Well recommended and at only £5.50, great value for 180 colourful pages of wargaming content.
I was reflecting over lunch today that I had been using Wargame Vault for a considerable time now so I thought I would look at the history of my account. So far it appears as though I have ordered around 100 items from there. My first order was on 18 November 2008 and I ordered:
Aeronef (Captain’s Handbook)
Salamis ad Actium
That was 12 years ago. I had not realised I had been using their services for that length of time.
Last night I purchased some more rules:
All Hell Let Loose
So, 12 years of being a typical wargamer and buying more rules than I will ever use, likely ever read. I then wondered how much I had spent over that time … and stopped wondering. That way lies hell.
Thomo’s Hole has moved from Manila to Pampanga. This is a new temporary hole as Thomo’s permanent “he is never moving again … ever” hole is under construction. The new location is the province of Pampanga, famous for its food, volcanoes, screwing up air traffic for weeks in the 1990s, old US Air Bases and for being a considerably less expensive and lower stress environment to live in compared to Manila. I did think I was rather clever, managing to finish the move the day before Typhoon Rolly ripped through southern Luzon, however, perhaps I did not throw enough virgins into the volcanoes as Typhoon Ulysses managed to catch me at home last week (and scared the living you know what out of me).
I think I will have enough space here, in the new temporary Hole, for the completion of some kits as well as playing some board games and figure games.
I should note that there are a number of bags of books upstairs still to be unpacked and some additional figures as well. I’ll get around to them in the near future when I can purchase an additional book case.
So what am I starting with to get the wargames rolling I hear you ask?
I had a hard look at what I had here and considered doing some rapid painting of some 6mm ancients and finish either the Punic Wars or Erik Bloodaxe sets.
I then considered getting stuck into painting the several thousand 6mm Greeks I have laying around.
I then thought it a good idea to either finish up my World War 2 North Africa Italians but then I would need to purchase some 8th Army figures and vehicles and all wargamers know where that leads – on to the Afrika Korps and from there late war British and Americans. Yes, that way lies madness – or at least the normal wargamers megalomania.
I am also cautious at the moment about ordering items for delivery from the UK given the state of international logistics in these plague-ridden times.
That also ruled out the American Civil War project I have been considering.
I thought about painting my Early World War 2 Belgians – there are not so many and I have some other early World War 2 foes they can fight.
I then had a brainwave, for something really simple to play as a project. Why not refight the entire Peloponnesian War, both land and sea, over the coming months, until the permanent location is complete?
Right then, that’s decided.
I had one additional problem to deal with. Again, with all the moving and some work stress, I had lost my painting mojo. I looked at the projects here, both big and small, and settled on the idea of picking something that was already undercoated and ready to go and could be managed in small chunks.
World War 2 coastal vessels. So the 1/1200 scale Hallmark coastal vessels were examined and whilst there are some big vessels there, such as destroyers, liberty ships and such, 12 S-Boote and 4 R-Boote seem to fit the bill. I started them tonight and have the sea bases completed, well except for the wakes, they come when the hulls are painted.
The boats were previously undercoated. Here waiting for the application of Dark Prussian Blue to the base.
The paints used for the sea bases – from dark to light. One day I will try the grey seas used by some other wargamer as I recall when looking at the North Sea from Scotland, it is a grey looking piece of water
The paints that will be used for the boats
Dark Orussian Blue has been added to the base, next and “wet” dry brush of Dark Blue
A slightly lighter dry brush of Sky Blue
Very thinned and wet, the phosphorescence is provided by, in this case, lime green
Big Lee Hadley is the owner of a YouTube channel, the Quarantined Wargamer, that I enjoy visiting, and I must admit, I do seem to agree with a lot of what he says. A couple of days ago he posted a video about Sportsmanship vs Gamesmanship in Wargaming. Have a look at it below.
Watching this brought a few flashbacks to my early years in wargaming, a time when we were all younger and winning was the thing. I recall many wargames – generally those under WRG Ancient an other Rules, where the games broke down, almost to fisticuffs over a rule interpretation or understanding an order. Competition games were even worse where the best efforts of the rules lawyer were to be seen, arguing that as the rules specifically did not rule out Ancient Gauls delivering a tactical nuclear strike on the hated Romans, there was, indeed, no reason why they couldn’t – well except for the fact that there was no way to assess it.
It seemed in those times that when heading out for a wargame, you packed your army, your rules, measuring stick, dice (both D6 and average dice), your army standing orders crafted over many previous games and covering all eventualities including Custer riding over the hill in front of the 7th cavalry and, last of all, analgesics for the headache that you knew was coming. It was in this early period of wargaming that I discovered there was nothing wrong with popping a few aspirin washed down with a beer. Either the aspirin or the beer worked.
In one memorable case, one gamer assisting me with a demonstration game in Hyde Park in Sydney, even cheated then. This gamer was famous, squire, for his 18-inch long 12-inch ruler!
So, what was Big Lee on about? Sportsmanship is assisting your opponent, especially newer members of the hobby, to understand why some moves are better than others, why it is better for your bowmen over there to fire on those naked berserkers than the shield wall and so on. Gamesmanship is doing everything you can to win at any cost, even if this means being a little “economical” with the interpretation of the rules.
Being a sportsman doesn’t mean you can’t get in your opponents head, or at least try. A bit of sledging here, a quizzical look there and second guessing your opponent is not a bad thing, especially against older experienced players who are your regular opponents. All aspects of the game should be fun.
In many respects, I am kind of glad of my current wargaming solitude. I play with myself, so no longer have the annoyance of players leaking gamesmanship all over the table. In this increasingly polarized world, it does make sense to relax, be nice and enjoy your hobby. After all, winning isn’t everything! Really, it’s not!
THERE’S a breathless hush in the Close to-night –
Ten to make and the match to win –
A bumping pitch and a blinding light,
An hour to play and the last man in.
And it’s not for the sake of a ribboned coat,
Or the selfish hope of a season’s fame,
But his Captain’s hand on his shoulder smote
“Play up! play up! and play the game!”
VitaiLampada by Sir Henry Newbolt
The next post from here will be game based – yes gentle reader, I am planning on playing with myself some more. My target, refight the entire Peloponnesian War between now and the end of January. Well, we all have to dream 🙂
Heroics and Ros 6mm Greeks for yet another Ancient project. I am still waiting on the delivery from Rapier Miniatures, but I fear these are the first order to the Philippines to go astray as it has been over 6 months now Update (May 1st) – I just received an email from Stefan at Rapier (not bad, about one hour after posting this) to note that the parcel was sent but they will send again. Brilliant service guys – thank you.
The Rapier Greeks duly arrived and the original parcel was received back at Rapier in the UK a few days after a replacement order was sent to me. Ah the vagaries of PhilPost. I digress however.
Last year I had also read a fair bit of Greek history, both land battles and naval, and had decided, with all those 6mm Greeks, along with a couple of fleet packs of Navwar’s 1/1200 ancient ships and a copy of GMT’s Galley, to refight the Peloponnesian War, both on land and sea, as a project.
Enter the plague! Several months of listless inactivity followed by a home move out of Metro Manila to a province and I had achieved absolutely nothing. In my defense, there was a good deal of work pressure at the same time as quarantine lockdowns and what-not (yes, I know, an excuse not a reason).
Tonight, sitting in the new residence (temporary for about 6 months while the final Thomo’s Hole is being constructed) and it occurred to me that to get rolling on this project, I could use my Commands and Colors (C&C) set. I have all six expansions from the Ancient C&C, although I had not placed the Spartan expansion figure stickers on the blocks for that yet. I started that tonight.
I now have a project, doable in short order — refighting the classical Greek world using C&C. I have the blocks, I have the reference material and best of all, I don’t need much space or to paint anything. When I get up to the Peloponnesian War I will probably consider breaking out War Galley as well. However, for the time being, it’s lock shields and advance!