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Sunday, 22 April 2012

More WW1 10mm from Pendraken

Sent from my iPad

I'm starting to pick up the pace now. The batch of figures I won from eBay gave me a Late War German Starter Army of 90+infantry/Stormtroopers, 4 minewerfern, 4 flamethrower teams and 6 MG teams. As well as these there was a random selection of vehicles - 2 A/Cs, a French Schneider & FT17 tanks, a Whippet and two 4 Tonners.

The vehicles are now finished, as are the British 18 pdrs and command figures. I'm basing the infantry in threes on 25x20mm mdf - which is taking most of the time! On with the basing......

Sent from my iPad

Few Painted Pendraken WW1 Figures

Subject: First Few Painted Pendraken WW1 Figures

Not the best pictures I'm afraid as they were taken on my phone, but they'll give an impression of the way these are going.

I'm very pleased with them so far and now I've got a German army (won on eBay) as well, I'll have enough figures for a game.

Still not sure of which rules to use....Bloody Picnic are certainly detailed but they look daunting. BKC II for the Great War is looking a better option.

Sent from my iPad

Saturday, 14 April 2012

"Back in the saddle"

Well I've got back into my figure painting after a 2-3 month lay-off.

I've been doing a Life Drawing course which swallowed up most of my creative effort + I'd spent a great deal of time planning our annual battlefield tour (which hopefully you will have recently read about).

Now it's time to get going again, and the first things I've finished are these Pendraken Mark IVs and A7V. These are a hint of my latest project - WW1 in 10mm!

I've long wanted to wargame this period but couldn't make my mind up on scale our rules. Now I've settled on 10mm for battalion/brigade size actions I need to decide on rules.

I've more sets that I care to count; including TTG Trench (from 1980s), Great War Spearhead, Over the Top, Bloody Picnic, Square Bashing, If the Lord Spares Us, etc.. None of which I truly feel comfortable with. Recently I found these on the Pendraken Forum - http://www.pendraken.co.uk/FileBin/FLANDERS%20FIELDS%20V1_2012.pdf - they're thoughtfully written and have separate play sheets covering different stages of the war and their quite different tactics. Maybe these will be the ones?

Or I could always go back to my original plan and try and write my own based on BKC II?

I'll keep you posted......

Monday, 9 April 2012

The Old Front Line Tour 2012 - Day Six

The interior of the bunker was deathly cold. You could see where the roof had been penetrated by a Tallboy as well as how the V2s would have been transported out of the building for launch.

In all a great deal of effort, concrete and lives had gone into the bunker's manufacture. Today the museum it has become is well worth a visit.

And that was it. Another year's battlefield touring over .......

The Old Front Line Tour 2012 - Day Six

The bunker is imposing. It was never totally finished, being pounded regularly by both the RAF and the USAAF. originally intended as a combined final assembly plant and launch site for V2s targeting England. However due to the level of damage it endured (including hits from Tallboy bombs) it was only ever used as a fuel manufacturing plant.

The Old Front Line Tour 2012 - Day Six

After Grevillers we joined the motorway and made for the V2 Bunker in the Foret d'Eperlecques near Watten.

The museum looked unassuming - certainly less slick than La Coupole nearby - but once it got going it was just as fascinating.

To start with there various bits of military hardware to see as you approached the bunker. This included a cattle truck of the type used to to transport slave labour tote site in 1942-3.

The Old Front Line Tour 2012 - Day Six

Time to head for home after a hectic and very educational week.

We headed towards Grevillers to pay our respects to one of the group's Great Uncles. On the way we stopped at the Butte du Warlencourt - the furthest point reached by Britsh forces on the Somme in 1916.

Afterwards on the way to the CWGC at Grevillers we stumbled on this bunker just outside the village.

The Old Front Line Tour 2012 - Day Five

Just a few hundred metres down the road was the Riqueval Bridge. This was stormed by troops of the 1/6th North Staffordshire Regt. on 29th September 1918 and captured intact before the defenders in the nearby pillbox could detonate the demolition charges. It was immortalised in a famous wartime photograph as Brigadier General J V Campbell addressed his victorious 46th Division from the bridge.

Although the light was fading fast, you could just smell the history at this spot.

The Old Front Line Tour 2012 - Day Five

The Southern tunnel entrance was an incredible place to visit. Built by Napoleon, it was fortified by the Germans and turned into an almost impregnable fortress. The mouths to the tunnel being bricked up and the banks surrounding riddled with MG posts. One embrasure is still visible above, and to the left, of the tunnel entrance (together with its access door just inside the tunnel.

Evidence of the MG posts in the banks is still apparent in this now peaceful place.

Incredible to think that many of the assaulting troops actually had to wade/swim across the canal to attack the enemy. And who says only Australian and Canadian troops have guts?

The Old Front Line Tour 2012 - Day Five

Then on into the early evening we headed west to the US Cemetery at Bony. Followed by the US Memorial a few k's further South.

The Memorial was almost directly above the St Quentin Canal Tunnel used by the German troops as an underground barracks and strong point as part of the Hindenburg Line.

US troops took part in the assault on the canal with the British 46th North Midlands Division and above the Southern entrance to the tunnel we found another Memorial this time to the Tennessee troops who were apparently responsible for breaking the Hindenburg Line!

The Old Front Line Tour 2012 - Day Five

We then pressed on to Peronne to visit the Historial museum.

This is well worth a visit, setting the scene for the start of the Great War. It then shows you the dress and equipment of all the main players and as an interesting "Art House" video of the battle of the Somme. There's an interesting Art of the Great War section and a well stocked shop.

There is something missing......it doesn't seem to come to any conclusions?

Well worth a visit all the same and if you keep an eye out at other venues, there's a 1.5€ discount voucher widely available.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

The Old Front Line Tour 2012 - Day Five

A bit of a round up day, starting in Amiens at the site of Operation Jericho - the Mosquito raid on the prison to release Resistance fighters. We also took in Group Captain Pickard's grave - the leader of the mission who was shot down over Amiens.

Then it was on to Villers - Brettenox where we saw the Australian National Memorial to the Missing. The tower was strafed by the Luftwaffe in WW2 and still bears the scars. Fantastic views of the 1918 battlefields from here.

Next it was a couple of k's down the road to Le Hamel and Australia's version of Vimy Ridge! Their very own memorial park with remains of German trenches. Very informative plaques nada lovely spot for a spot of lunch.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

The Old Front Line Tour 2012 - Day Four

Last of all for day our, a visit to Arras.

Here we saw the Mur des Fusilles. A spot against the old Vauban defences of the city's Citadel where the German occupiers chose to execute by firing squad in excess of 200 local resistance fighters and others who disagreed with there regime.

An altogether evil place that I think we all found sobering.

Then back to the Arras CWGC and Memorial to the missing, before we foundation fritterie for our tea.

The Old Front Line Tour 2012 - Day Four

Afterwards we went along to the Vimy Memorial.

Simply stunning. A masterpiece.

The Old Front Line Tour 2012 - Day Four

Back at Vimy Ridge we were treated to a guided tour by Michelle from Vancouver.
She took us firstly through the concrete preserved trenches and then through a short section of the Grange Tunnels.
It's a great story that the Canadian Students have learnt to tell, you may call me an old whinger but weren't the tunnels dug by British Royal Engineers and weren't the infantry supported by British Artillery and most importantly, wasn't the Vimy assault just part of the Battle of Arras?
Cracking tour all the same.

The Old Front Line Tour 2012 - Day Four

Day four was to be Vimy Ridge day!

We left early after failing to secure a tour of theGrange Tunnels over the phone. Luckily when we got there we were offered a guided tour at one pm. So with two hours to kill we evaded for the French National Memorial at Notre Dame de la Lorette.

Here we found a cemetery containing literally tens of thousands of French graves. At the centre there was a chapel and an Ossuary and behind a privately run museum.

This included (for the princely sum of 1€) a field containing "preserved" frontline French and German trenches and other rusty relics.

This was most enjoyable if somewhat unbelievable!

The Old Front Line Tour 2012 - Day Three

After visiting Charles Dickens' Grandson's memorial to visited the Grave of Prime Minister Asquith's son.

Finally we went to the German Cemetery at Fricourt. An unhappy place with its black crosses and mass graves, but an important visit all the same.