Sunday, January 31, 2010

Carronade Game Agreed

Following a meeting at the Maltby club this morning (it’s amazing how much SOTCW business you get through whilst refighting Jutland) we now have a plan for a SOTCW game at the Falkirk show in May.

The Krefeld Salient will mark the 25th anniversary of the fictional events in General Sir John Hackett’s The Third World War and The Third World War: The Untold Story.  

We’ll be playing in 6mm (1/300th) scale and using Cold War Commander rules.

The scenario sees elements of II British Corps attacking (yes NATO on the offensive) a rearguard of 20th Guards Army in an attempt to prevent the Soviet main force slipping away from the encircling III US Corps (shades of Normandy and Cobra there perhaps).

I (Richard Crawley) am looking after recruiting the main forces of each side and Stuart Adams has volunteered to the co-ordinate the construction of the terrain.  The letter should be interesting because the attack follows a major B-52 strike that shattered 20GA’s fighting capacity for several days.  The countryside will be really ploughed up!

Anyone else who wants to get involved can do so by contributing reinforcing elements.  I’ll post some example units here shortly.  You can also get involved by playing, playtesting, or by suggesting ideas for reinforcing units or random events.

We hope to get as many people as possible involved in determining the course of the battle on the day.  If you’re coming to Carronade you could play all day or for a short period by taking on one of our pre-generated reinforcement units or you could just purchase a few chance cards and decide how they are used.  All proceeds will go charity as usual.

Look out here for more details shortly!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

El Tiburon

A couple of photos of El Tiburon "The Shark" pride of my Spanish Navy.
She's a resin model by Britannia Miniatures (a German WW2 armed trawler) crewed with various Kreigsmarine and Russian Naval Marines from Grubby Tanks and Britannia.
The photos were taken at two of our recent games.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

test photo

Spanish landing barge loaded with Infanteria de Marina

Breaking the Siege of Tifaruin

A bit of background for those not familiar with this action -

The Rifian attempt to wipeout the Spanish outpost at Tizzi-Azza (the siege started around May 27, 1923) led to one of the most vicious battles of the campaign. Again and again both Regulares (Moroccan soldiers in the service of Spain) and soldier of The Spanish Foreign Legion (La Legion) attempted to break the siege, this climaxed with 2nd Bandera (of La Legion) led personally by Lieutenant Colonel Valenzuela the commander of La Legion; leading from the front as was expected of a Legion officer, Valenzuela was shot and killed, he became the only commander of La Legion to be killed during the conflict.

Major Francisco Franco Bahamonde, long looked upon with suspicion by his superiors and those opposed to Spain’s colonial adventure, was the obvious choice to take over. With his promotion to Lieutenant Colonel on June 6 with the blessings of the king, he returned to Morocco to assume command.

(After the death of Col. Valenzuela the Spanish authorities refused requests from the military to prosecute the war further, this of course left Tizzi-Azza a vulnerable position for many months to come. Invigorated by this success Abd el-Krim decided in August to move against Tifaurin, Sidi Mesaud and Afrau in the hope of another Annual like victory (a massive defeat for the Spanish back in 1921 which was the opening round of Abd el Krim's rebelion).

All three towns were quickly isolated and so began a series of engagements with the Riffians besieging the towns whilst preventing relief columns from breaking through. After several failed attempts on August 19 the defenders of Tifaurin sent a cablegram stating that they would blow up their position before ever surrendering to the Riffians!

Col. Franco acting with General Fernandez Perez organized a relief plan. Whilst the Regulares de Alhucemas would push against the Riffian defenses in front of Sidi Mesaud. Two Legion Banderas (1st and 2nd) together with a battalion of Infanteria de Marina (naval marines) would come ashore at Afrau and envelope the Riffians. This surprise-flanking maneuver stunned the Riffians and broke the sieges causing numerous casualties.

We are planning to recreate the final act of the siege with converging columns of Spanish troops trying to fight their way through to the beseiged town. We will have three land based columns plus a landing by Infanteria de Marina, each column pitted against dug in Riffi positions and local attacks. The Spanish will be supported by both field and mountain artillery, plus naval gunfire and aircraft.

The game will be played in 20mm mostly using figures and kit from my collection.

2010 Anniversaries

We need to come up with a subject for a game at Carronade in May so I thought I’d go back through the last 100 years and see what anniversaries it might be interesting to commemorate.

One hundred years ago in 1910 we have an Albanian uprising against Ottoman rule, the Wadai War (French colonial conflict in what is now Chad), and the outbreak of revolution in Mexico.  1910 also saw Royal Navy patrols active against gun runners in the Persian Gulf and on the coasts of Baluchistan - this was the subject of our 2007 game at Gauntlet.

In 1935 (75 years ago) we have the beginning of the Second Italo-Abyssinian War as Italian forces under General Emilio de Bono invade Ethiopia.

I’m ignoring, for now, the seventieth anniversary of the Blitzkrieg campaigns in western Europe - I think we all know what the options are there.  Much of it’s been done before.

60 years ago takes us to 1950; not a great year for world peace. The French-Indo China War was in full swing.  June saw the beginning of the Korean War and October the Chinese invasion of Tibet.      

2010 is the fiftieth anniversary of the end of the Mau Mau insurgency in Kenya (January 1960).  That month also saw a major insurrection in French Algiers.  In February there were clashes on the snowy borders of India and China and in December there was a failed coup d’etat in Ethiopia.

Moving on to 1980 (30 years ago) we have Operation Eagle Claw - the failed Delta Force operation to rescue the US Hostages in Tehran.  A few days later, the SAS successfully retook the Irnaian Embassy in London after it had been seized by six Iranian-born terrorists.

Meanwhile, the Soviet involvement in Afghanistan was on-going.  The first offensive in the Panjsher Valley took place in Spring this year and the Soviets began to adopt a scorched earth policy to deny resources to the Mujahideen.

In September, Iraqi forces moved into Iran initiating the longest conventional war of the twentieth century.

Finally, as far as interesting anniversaries go we come to 1985 and the silver anniversary of the Third World War!  You missed that one?  Well it was actually a fictional war as covered in General Sir John Hackett’s book of the same name - a great excuse to dust off those Cold War forces and go at it on the North German Plain one more time!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

2010 Events

It's snowing here in Yorkshire and I'm stuck at home as the kids haven't been able to get to school.  So there's just a little time to mention upcoming events.

Over the April 30th - May 2nd weekend there will be an SOTCW Gathering at Huzzah! in Portland, Maine.  (Go on admit it: those of you of a certain age and musical disposition are now "Rolling down the 295 out of Portland, Maine").  I'm hoping Dean Emmerson will be signing up here so he can tell you more about it.  

The Gauntlet crew (without me; I'm at Cornbury Festival) are putting on The Siege of Tifaruin, a Rif War extravaganza over the weekend 4th - 5th July.

And I'm planning on getting up to Carronade in Falkirk on the 8th May.  This year sees the 25th anniversary of the events in General Sir John Hackett's "The Third World War".  I'm considering a 6mm game based on the book using Cold War Commander but if any of the local members have a better idea I'm keen to hear what they have to say.

 - Richard C 

Monday, January 4, 2010


Hello, and welcome to the new SOTCW Events Blog!  

Our idea here is to provide somewhere that we can show the development of SOTCW members' plans for putting on games and other events.  I've uploaded the postings from last year's Achse and Avalanche game so you've got something to look at straight away.

2010 should see at least a first SOTCW Gathering in North America thanks to Dean Emmerson and another SOTCW participation game at Gauntlet in North Wales.  Keep an eye on this page for further plans.