Tuesday, 30 July 2013

The Reconnaissance of Reigate Fort

Kindly prompted by blog follower, Alastair, we set out on an expedition to Reigate Fort, a little to the east of Box Hill and another part of the London Defence Positions built in the 1890s to defend London from the French. Whilst Britain had been the world's super power since the Battle of Trafalgar, its strength was thinly spread and its naval dominance slipping. Although the subsequent naval race with Germany and the commitment to building 'Dreadnoughts' restored confidence in British naval supremacy and rendered the London Defence Positions obsolete, the fear of invasion was still great enough for parts of the LDP to be revitalised during the First and Second World Wars.

The southern edge of the South Downs forms a natural escarpment and a strong defensive position, and would have been the best, and, indeed, the last, place to resist an advance on London by forces landed on the south coast. London itself would have provided good internal lines of communication.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

The Conquest of Box Hill

Climbing Box Hill by the steps in the current British heatwave would not be recommended for a man of my age and fitness by any reputable physician, but that which does not kill me etc etc.

At 735 feet AOD, Box Hill - close to Dorking in Surrey - is the highest point on the North Downs. Having been there at least once before (many years ago) I dispensed with an OS map and relied on memory. This was a mistake. Accompanied by my good lady wife, a much more enthusiastic walker than myself, we crossed the River Mole near the Stepping Stones, missed the path to the summit and ended up in a nettly cul-de-sac beneath a WW2 pillbox. This got me thinking about Box Hill's strategic importance, and added a dimension of interest beyond mere sightseeing and exercise.

Monday, 22 July 2013

WW2 platoon hex rules: Part 2: Firefights

I want to create some very concise quickplay rules that confront players with intelligent command choices, but which use simple mechanisms to resolve the consequences. My first posting on this subject provoked a very interesting and helpful discussion on TMP. In the meantime, another TMP thread has given me an idea for managing firefights. The new thread began as a question about representing pinning and suppression but has drifted into a much wider discussion on the nature of firefights and combat in general.

I'm trying to get away from the micro 'element A fires at element B' approach and I had already decided to conduct close combat along the same lines that Assaults are conducted in Square Bashing, i.e. an en masse totalling of element factors. This mechanism is also used in another game I have played recently, Martin Rapier's Rifle and Kepi (albeit at grand tactical level).

Friday, 19 July 2013

War And Peace Revival 2013

I visited the War And Peace Revival show at its new home in Westenhanger yesterday. It took time to adjust to the new venue. Walking right around the considerably enlarged 'living history'/campsite part took a long time and I was more than ready to wash the dust out of my throat with a pint of Spitfire while watching the 40s singing in the Victory tent. Anyway, herewith a few pictures. I think I know what most of the equipment was but I won't risk exposing my ignorance by trying to name it.

WW1 light railway