Friday 27 May 2011
Wargames Illustrated 284
The theme this month is centred on King Gustavus Adolphus during the Thirty Years War and starts by looking at his early career and the war against the Poles in the early 17th Century. There is also a very interesting article about the Battle of Breitenfeld (1631). This battle confirmed Gustavus as an excellent battlefield general and turned him into a hero of the Protestant cause. In addition there is a battle report for a re fight of the Battle of Lützen (1632), another Swedish victory but one that saw Gustavus killed in action. Ultimately his death enabled the French to consolidate control of the anti-Habsburg alliance forcing Sweden's regency to accept a more passive role.
This issue also seems to have a secondary theme in the form of two articles centered on the imminent release of Battlefronts Hell at Cassino. The Battlefront studio team played through an ‘Infantry Aces’ campaign set in and around their battles for Monte Cassino. The second article Heroes of Cassino looks at some of the key personalities who fought in the battle and provides some ‘Infantry Aces’ statistics. Although I found these articles interesting (they are WWII/FOW after all) I'm not about to rush out and buy forces to fight this battle myself.
Another article which I think is worth highlighting was How Wargaming Solved Some Historical Mysteries from Waterloo by the wargamer and historian, Barry van Danzig. Danzig presents a fascinating - and possibly contentious - argument that using a topographically correct wargames table and suitable figures can help historians understand events on the ground better. He built a scale model of the whole Waterloo Battlefield then worked through the events of the day using contemporary accounts to see what was being described. His conclusion is that using a table and figures can shed new light on existing mysteries.
Although I found his argument interesting it also sounded like a wargamer trying desperately to justify why he plays with toy soldiers by giving it an air of intellectualism! Maybe that's a bit harsh but I can't shake off the conviction that the Fog of War makes any pinpoint accurate assessment of a battle almost impossible. Danzigs conclusions are interesting but I think they need to be taken into consideration alongside the huge mass of analysis and research undertaken over the last 196 years.
Lastly, Its time for me to renew my subscription to WI and I have no hesitation in doing so. The only dilemma facing me is which models do I select as part of my subscription offer. Such are the tribulations of a wargamer. There are several tempting options available but I think the Wittman box set (GBX16) wins the selection. I've wanted to paint a Tiger I for some time and here is my chance. Coincidentally I was recently given a Peter Pig Tiger I by the Angry Lurker so it will be interesting to assemble and paint the two vehicles together as a comparison.