Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Short S184 (8359) - The Battle of Jutland

The picture below shows the only actual British aircraft to take part in the Battle of Jutland, the decisive naval battle that took place one hundred years ago today.
Short 184

This aircraft, a Short S184, is located at the Fleet Air Arm Museum in Yeovil. From Wikipedia:

"A Short 184, aircraft number 8359, was the only British aircraft to take part in the Battle of Jutland. Flown by Flt Lt Frederick Rutland (who became known afterwards as "Rutland of Jutland") with Assistant Paymaster G. S. Trewin as observer, the aircraft was launched from HMS Engadine at about 3.08 p.m.: flying at about 90 feet (27 m) due to low visibility, they spotted four cruisers of the German fleet, reporting their presence back to the Engadine at about 3.30. The aircraft was presented to the Imperial War Museum in 1917, where it was damaged in a German air raid during the blitz. The unrestored forward section of the fuselage is now an exhibit in the Fleet Air Arm Museum." 

The reference to "damaged in a German air raid" during WWII is interesting. The fuselage is actually peppered with bullet holes, something that was only recently noticed during conservation efforts.

More details about the pilot from the Osprey Publishing website:

"Rutland received a well-deserved DSC for his gallantry, and was thereafter known as Rutland of Jutland. He left the Royal Navy in 1922, apparently becoming a consultant. Setting up shop at Honolulu, Rutland sold his expertise on aircraft carrier operations to the Imperial Japanese Navy. British intelligence, unamused by his enterprise, interned Rutland shortly after his return to Britain in October 1941."

Role - Two seat reconnaissance, bombing and torpedo carrying seaplane
Manufacturers - Westland Aircraft Works, Yeovil
Power Plant - One Sunbeam 225hp/240hp or 260hp
Wingspan - 63ft 6.25ins
Length - 40ft 7.50ins
Height - 13ft 6ins
Weight - 5,363lbs loaded
Max Speed - 88.50mph at 2,000ft (Sunbeam 260)
Duration - 2.75 hours endurance

Armament - One free mounted Lewis machine gun aft, and provision for one 14in torpedo or various bombs up to a maximum of 520lb

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Mine Entrance, scratchbuilt - Part 2 of 2

Although not generally well known the use of mine warfare was fairly common throughout the medieval and 17th century English Civil War (ECW) periods. During the medieval period RochesterDover and Bungay castles were all attacked using mines.

Throughout the ECW mines were used at the sieges of the castles at Harwardine, Sherborne, Goodrich, Wardour and Pontefract. Mines were also used against the city walls of YorkNewcastle-upon-Tyne and Lichfield cathedral to name ones I'm aware of. In fact the first known use of explosive mine in England took place at the siege of Lichfield in 1643 by Prince Rupert.

Also of interest are the mine and countermines created at the 1546–1547 siege of St. Andrew's castle in Scotland. These are particularly impressive, you can watch people walk above you through a grill in the pavement as you stand in the original mine entrance.

As with the sap in a previous post [Part 1 here] the base for this model is a CD with 20mm thick extruded Styrofoam glued onto it to build up the groundwork.

The trenches were cut out with a craft knife and lined with horizontal coffee stirrers and vertical barbeque sticks. Gaps in the foam were smoothed over using DAS white modelling clay. I've no idea if it is any different from the terracotta version apart from the colour.
Entrance (hidden) from the enemies point of view
For the entrance supports I used dowel whittled to give the impression that it had been rough hewn from timber. The entrance for the mine with downward facing coffee stirrers facing diagonal downwards, which looking at the images again you can't actually see in the photos.

I'm still in two minds as to whether I should add a blanket/screen to the mine entrance. I'm not sure if this was simply to keep out the rain or had another practical reason.

The figure is from Wargames Foundry.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Siege Sap, scratchbuilt - Part 1 of 2

These two posts will detail models I've made to represent a sap and a mine entrance for my historical games. Until I make (if ever) a form of trench system (and work out rules for siege warfare at a skirmish level) then I will probably use these as objective markers with medieval and English Civil War (ECW) games, hence the labels.

An interesting approach to siege rules can be found at the following blog, details here: [Siege Testing]
This form of siege work was often used to advance a trench so that mortars could brought into use against heavily defended fortifications, such as a castle. Once mortars were within effective range castle garrisons normally quickly surrendered as there was no real defense against such weapons, as witnessed at the siege of [Goodrich Castle]. I will detail a model mortar in a future post). 

The base for both models is simply a CD with 20mm thick extruded Styrofoam (or Blue Foam as most people seem to call it) glued onto it.
The sap was cut out with a sharp craft knife and lined with horizontal coffee stirrers and vertical barbeque sticks. Gaps in the foam were filled in with DAS white modelling clay.
Sap work from the enemies point of view.
The figure is from Wargames Foundry. 
The gabions, from Renedra Ltd, were placed along the top of the sap. This is based upon an illustrations (link below) that shows the practical way to dig a siege work and remain relatively safe.


To achieve the same look I added the wicker base of the horizontal lying gabion using greenstuff.

Monday, 21 March 2016

On This Day - Battle of Stow 21st March 1646

On this day in 1646 the Battle of Stow took place. This was the last major battle of the First Civil War.
Site of Battle of Stow
Battle of Stow Monument
Monument Detail
Details of the battle can be found here: 

Market Cross
After the Royalist were pushed back into the town and taking around two hundred casualties in the market square the Royalist commander Sir Jacob Astley sat down on the medieval cross and said, 

'Gentlemen, ye may now sit down and play, for you have done all your work, 
if you fall not out among yourselves!’ 

It was the same Astley that prayed before the Battle of Edgehill,

"O Lord, Thou knowest how busy I must be this day. If I forget Thee, do not forget me." 

quickly followed by the order,
"March on, boys!" 

St. Edward’s Church (which can be seen behind the cross in the above photo) where hundreds of Royalist prisoners were held after the battle, contains a very rare surviving grave of a Civil War causality, that of the royalist Captain Hastings Keyt.  
Grave of Hastings Keyt
Grave of Hastings Keyt
Grave detail of Hastings Keyt
More recently the back door of the church, bracketed by trees, are said to have inspired Tolkien's Gates of Moria, his sketches of which do look very similar. The church also held the funeral for John Entwistle, bass guitarist for the band The Who.
St. Edward’s Church, Stow
Back door of St. Edward’s Church, Tolkien inspiration?

Thursday, 17 March 2016

WMMS 2016

Last Sunday saw the annual West Midland Military Show, better known by its acronym WMMS, take place. I realise its a cliché but these annual shows really do seem to fly by with surprising speed as the years pass. As usual I'm probably the last person online to post images from the show. My brother took the photos which probably explains why they are generally in focus. It will also explain why I'm not able to identify the majority of the tables as he didn't take notes or photograph any of the info that normally identifies the stands.

The date of the show unfortunately fell a week before my monthly payday so I kept my purchases to an absolute minimum. I will however, over the next few weeks, be posting a few of the purchases that my brother picked up.
WWII Displays - J Vaughan

Mill detail - Shrewsbury
ECW Battle of Edgehill
ECW Battle of Edgehill
ECW Battle of Edgehill
Battle of Hastings
Battle of Hastings
Battle of Hastings
The standard of the games on display was very good. My brother and myself were admiring one (unattended) particular table (Photos below). I assumed was a display English Civil War game given the quality of the terrain and number of figures that populated the table. I do mean 'populated' because everywhere you looked there were small detailed vignettes, civilians going about their daily business and even animals in natural settings.

After a while two chaps walked across, apologised for making us wait (no apology needed as we thought it was a display game) and asking if we wanted to play a game.

The scenario was based on the true events involving the rescue of Charles I who was being escorted in a stagecoach to a manor house.

Ducking Stool detail 
Windmill detail
King Charles I's armed escort

Tavern scene
'My' guards beginning their rescue attempt
Stopping off for a swift half at the local tavern
My men getting distracted by the local attractions
The rules were a variation of the Steve Jackson Zombie dice game. Very simple to play and follow.

For better photos of the game take a look [here].

There were over a dozen more participation and demo games of which only a handful we managed to photograph.
WWI Bolt Action
WWI Bolt Action
Also at the show were a number of modelling groups.As usual the standard of display was very high.

Washington State Patrol Car - Pensnett
Mark V Tank - Wombourne
All-in-all the WMMS is a very enjoyable show with plenty of different displays and games to keep you interested. I'm already looking forward to next years show.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Hold On Tight, Lion Rampant

I'm finally managing to get somewhat organised, blog-wise. These are a few doctored images of a game played between gaming chums Derek, George and myself a few weeks ago. The game was based on Scenario E: Hold On Tight (I think). The object was to reach the bridge as quickly as possible and hold it against the enemy. In this particular game this involved Derek and myself taking on George.
You may notice it took an eternity to get my forces into the game with Derek pushing on and reaching, and holding, the bridge first. It didn't help that my deployment decision was terrible, plus I was using my notoriously unlucky dice. Well...any dice I use seem to be unlucky.  

Derek and myself managed to hold of George's forces and gain enough glory points to secure the win. I had to stop myself from celebrating with a small victory dance as winning games is a habit I somehow haven't managed to develop. There's few things more annoying than a bad winner. The game took place at [Asgard Games Uk] in sunny Walsall, West Midlands.

If you want to see far better photos please pop over to George's page [Hrothgars shed blog] and read the proper game review.