Panzerschreck Design Studio

Journey of a Wargamer – Comments welcomed

Archive for the ‘History’ Category

ASL: Valor of the Guards is finally here!

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2008, July 17

Happy VotG day to me!

Happy VotG day to me!

Exquisite timing from Milsims sees Valor of the Guards arrive at my door on my birthday. Even though I was Pre-order #22 or so back in 2005 and knew then what VotG would contain, seeing the contents in reality still managed to impress me. There’s a lot included in the box: 17 scenarios, 4 campaign games, 780 1/2″ and 352 5/8″ counters, two mapsheets and 36 pages of rules. When I showed Kirsty what the box included, even she was impressed! It helped that I trotted out the old saw, “ASL. It’s not just a game, it’s a lifestyle!” which brought a laugh. At $77 plus P&H, VotG is very much a bargain.

What strikes me after just a brief look at the package is how much more play value I’ll be getting compared to Red Barricades. Don’t get me wrong, I loved RB, but I’ve pretty much run the gamut of playing all four Campaign Games and all 11 or 12 scenarios that I know of that use the RB map and to be honest, RB can become a chore at times to get through.

Of the 17 scenarios in VotG, I’d hazard that I’ll be able to get through 14 of them before the end of the year in Face to Face play without overdoing it, and the three remaining are the larger scenarios that will reward taking the extra time to get familiar with all the new rules and the various aspects of the terrain. Once I’ve finished playing through all the scenarios as both sides then I’ll definitely be looking to play the various CGs and the extra scenarios that have been published already in Dispatches From the Bunker. This should take me right up until the end of 2009 and yet still leave me time for more casual ASL play.

Thankfully with regular attendance and availability of other ASL players at the Paddington Bears in Sydney, my days of solely playing ASL via VASL/ PBeM are history.

Not only is this a stellar day for me ASL wise, but it’s kickstarted my interest in other things Stalingrad. I’ve picked up a few more books on Stalingrad from Jason Marks et al, and some generalist Eastern Front histories that piqued my interest. I’ve also received some more Flames of War blisters that will now allow me to assemble the two Stalingrad themed forces I’ve always wanted to field – a Shturmoviye Gruppiye based force and the requisite German opposition –  T34 and KV variants, StuIG 33b SPGs and landser.

Last but not really least, Ithe quick perusal of the VotG chapter has allowed me to revisit the much-maligned Critical Hit Dzerhezinsky Tractor Works/Grain Elevator HASL modules. Just from this, I’m pretty sure I can come up with a much more workable version of the DTW and GE campaign games as well as sorting out the various scenarios. Just as with my Flames of War projects, this is not something designed for the rigours of competitive play but is more along the lines of a historical study game – purely for the interest in seeing how the history plays out on the tabletop or the mapsheet.

It’s been a very good day.

Advertisements

Posted in Advanced Squad Leader, Boardgames, Books, Flames of War, Gaming, History, Reviews, wargaming | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The end of the month…

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2008, February 29

My copy of Paul Freyberg’s biography of his father arrived earlier this week. It’s a little battered, but still very serviceable. I’ve managed to get through to the first stage of the Crete battles and it’s reminded me that there is still so much to look at. Crete is one of those WW2 battles that I feel can only be really looked at with a line drawn through much of the scholarship of the pre-Ultra release era. So much was unable to be said, so much commentary without a core understanding of the realities.

What did strike a chord, and is still occasionally discernable in certain operations today, was  the total lack of understanding of British Higher command towards the commonwealth troops. The treatment of Freyberg and Blamey in Greece was not just poor, it was criminally reprehensible and Wavell and Wilson’s handling of the matters should have seen them sacked with the full weight of prosecution.

Wavell certainly comes across as a complete noserag.  I’m looking forward to reading more of Freyberg’s Italian Campaign recollections. Yes, the aurtthor is somehwat too close to the subject, but then again, having the source on tap and most importantly willing to talk about matters helps. Paul Freyberg himself being a soldier brings a degree of polish and understanding to the prose, yet he doesn’t fall into the trap of talking down to his audience.

Glad I finally got hold of a copy. Now to pick up a few more recent books on Crete and Greece.

In other news, the Tiger Abteilung arrived as well. Given it worked out at $15 per tiger , I’m well pleased.I had a quick glance through the little FOW handbook that came with it and I don’t think that much of the actual historical pieces. There’s something definitely offputting about the section on Wittman. Not overtly Nazi Fan-boy, but the hagiography reeks of Agte and phrases such as  “he died a soldier’s death”  make my skin crawl.

The models are ver’ pretty indeed.Definitely staying in the can until Australia though. I want to be much better with the airbrush by the time I tackle them.

Posted in Books, Diary of An Army III (1944-45 German Kampfgruppe), Flames of War, Gaming, History | Leave a Comment »

Reference materials and Reading list

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2008, February 23

I haven’t restricted myself to buying just models lately, I’ve also picked up a few books:

The first is a  biography of Freyberg by his son, which has been on my Holy Grail list of books for some time. It’ll make a nice counterpoint to the rather facile criticisms of the Cassino battles by some of the more acerbic British and American authors (Fred Majdalany being a notable exception) and will also compliment my collection of Crete references perfectly

Freyberg VC 

The second book is another one that will sit by my workbench at all times, and will hopefully aid me in my quest to improve my modelling skills:

The Handbook 

The third book should be no surprise to recent viewers, given what i’ve been buying lately:

How to Build a Tigger 

I had thought of picking up the Greenland Ospreys on Panzers etc, and may still do so, but this should give me a starting point with the detailing.

The last book I bought lately was to get me started on the various 2nd Edition Flames of War supplements. I finally completed getting all my 1st Ed Flames of War books (somehow I now have 3 copies of the early Diving Eagles book though) apart from Stars and Stripes, but that will be easy enough to find. The real book I wanted was the initial 2nd ed army book: Festung Europa:

Festung Europa 

So that’s my current reading pile, no real relaxing reads, but enough to generate some real ideas.

Posted in Books, Diary of An Army II (1944 Fallschirmjäger), Diary of An Army III (1944-45 German Kampfgruppe), Flames of War, Gaming, History, Modelling and Painting, wargaming | Leave a Comment »

Further Reading and Research (read Amazon shopping)

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2007, May 8

In a weak moment I mentioned publicly that I was thinking about storyboarding the historical flow of events using the Killing Ground. Mike Traynor and Charles Vasey, who have an interest in both the game and the campaign expressed in no uncertain terms that I need to publish my experiences in doing so. I think I see some serious outlay at Amazon again:

copp_fields.jpg hill112b.jpg goodwood.jpg bluecoat.jpg

While this is only scratching the surface of my needs for further reference materials, it’s a good start. I’ve already got Major How’s account of Hill 112, along with the usual works by McKee, D’Este, Zetterling and Balkoski, but I will need to grab some more US accounts to flesh that side of things out. Thankfully the US side of the Normandy campaign is well docuimented and less open to interpretation.  I will however have to grab Buckley’s tome on the employment of British armour in Normandy as there’s some fairly significant analysis that will help. The Canadian side of things is best taken from Copp’s books and Hubert Meyer’s opus on 12 SS PzGrd Div “HJ” . I’ll use Hasting’s Overlord and the Isby edited German side of the hill monographs for operational flow but as I’m not interested in analysis so much as movements and courses of events, I can safely avoid much of the polemic or agenda laden parts.

This looks like being a very sizable project, much more than I originally intended  – I’m not so sure I’m up to it, it’s starting to look all too like actual work and I left  academic rigour a long time ago.

Posted in Boardgames, Books, History | Leave a Comment »