Archives for February 2006

Coming Soon!


I am working on a tutorial on making flight stands for 1:72 die cast air craft. Here is an initial prototype! Posted by Picasa

The Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang

The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocost of World War II
Iris Chang
ISBN: 0-14-027744-7
Penguin Books

In December of 1937 the defenses of Nanking fell apart and the Japanese Army swept in. From December of 1937 until March of 1938 the Japanese killed possibly 300,000 civilians. Thousands were raped, tortured or murdered for fun. Many were killed in bayonet practice. This book was hard to put down and yet also hard to imagine. It tells an important story and one that is often forgotten. Many Japanese don’t know the truth about Nanking because offically in Japan it never happened. However there is a great deal of photographic evidence compiled by many sources including the Japanese Soldiers themselves.

The book not only goes into the facts of the case but also tries to explore why it would happen. Chang is unsympathetic to the men that chose to commit the attrocities but she is sympathetic to the community that is trying its best to deny it and forget it. However she is adamant that they must not forget and they must admit their fault and apologize. She points to how Germany has healed its wounds since WWII.

The story, while graphic and reprehensible, is also very interesting. It speaks about the efforts of Western Diplomats who used the shield of their diplomatic status to help hundres of thousands of Chinese. John Rabe was chief among them; conspicuous for being a Nazi but recognized for his strength of character and humane nature. He was the Living Buddha of Nanjing some say. He saw his efforts as his duty because the Chinese were his people, he was quoted as saying.

The atrocities and destruction on Nanking should be remembered and some attempt made to understand them. In reading this book I feel like I have gotten closer to knowing the facts and a little closer to understanding it. I think in order to fully understand it you have to watch the evolution Japanese culture from the civil war of the 1860’s to the Meiji Restoriation to the Russo-Japanese War and what transpired up to 1937. I think Hirohito wasn’t a particularily strong Emperor so the military re-established itself as the defacto power and revived a twisted form of Bushido. In any case, while suicide and a fixation on death was always part of Samurai culture, it was never at the level that the Japanese of the 1930’s and 1940’s took it.

The book makes you think and that is the most important thing it can do. Wargames are fun, but war is not and this book grounds us into remembering that war brings horrors. I think this book is a worthy read. You won’t find ideas for your games in it but you will find a lot that will challenge what you may think is possible in terms of human cruelty. Also you will learn what a true measure of heroic courage is in the men and women who, unarmed, faced down the Japanese Army. To me that is the true definition of being a Hero.

Contest is On! GPW Project gives away swag!

The Greater Pacific War Project has its first contest. Check out this article for details. The project is giving away T-shirts, art prints, calenders, mugs, mouse pads and other stuff. Entering the contest is as simple as signing up for the forums.

The Greater Pacific War Project is an educational effort to tell the story of the Pacific Theater of World War II. It is an ongoing project with a major events being held at Nashcon in late Spring and Historicon in Summer of 2006. The website and forums will support historical miniature enthusiasts with information, scenearios, TO&E and plenty of advice on gaming in the period. The Pacific Theater was a lot more than a few bloody battles for sandy islands. The role played by many nations and the diversity of combat in the air, at sea, in amphibious operations, land operations, urban battles and so forth is very diverse. The project hopes to encourage gamers to look at this theater more closely and to remind visitors to the site of the history and sacrifices of this time period.

The project has been growing over the last 2 months with new events added to both the Nashcon and Historicon schedules. There are currently 15 volunteers and a lot of effort is being made to make the games as top notch as possible. Many thanks to HMG magazine which is giving us some of their space at Historicon to use for the project.

For more details check out the project’s website.

Drive On

This is an Ode to Pete English. He has found that he occasionally gets words mixed up between real life and gaming. Things like Morale and Morals. You know, little stuff! He asked for help but I am here to tell him it isn’t anything to worry about. When you are a gamer like he has been for 25 years its expected that you pick up a few idiosyncrasies.

Now, I will tell you that this song is not politically correct and adapted from Johnny Cash’s amazing song “Drive On.” If you know us then you’ll get the inside jokes. If you don’t, well, don’t worry. Just shake your head and drive on.

Drive On (modified)
28mm, Modern Day

I got a friend named Whiskey Don
He was my bud every year at Historicon
He said “is my country just a little off track?”
Took ’em two elections to welcome me back
But, it’s better than not coming back at all
Many a right winger
I saw fall
And even now,
every time I dream
I hear the broads and the liberals in the PO scream…

Drive on, don’t mean nothin’
My children love me , but they don’t understand
And I got a woman who knows her man
Drive on, don’t mean nothin’, drive on

I remember one night,
Re-Pete and me Rappelled in on a hot L.Z.
We had our 16’s on rock and roll
But, with all that fire,
we was scared and cold
We were crazy, we were wild
And I have seen the tiger smile
I insulted one who thought all were nice
And I’d be dead, but by Hot Dice

Drive on, don’t mean nothin’
My children love me, but they don’t understand
And I got a woman who knows her man
Drive on, don’t mean nothin’, drive on

It was a real slow game, an awful baliwick
And nobody tried to be Frank Chadwick
I came home, but Tex did not
And I can’t talk about the dice he got
I got a little limp now when I walk
an’ I Got a little tremolo when I talk
But my letter read from Whiskey Don
You’re a walkin’ talkin’ miracle from Historicon

Drive on, don’t mean nothin’
My children love me, but they don’t understand
And I got a woman who knows her man
Drive on, don’t mean nothin’, drive on

An interview with Les Groshong

Tarawa on the Web My grandfather fought at Tarawa. He was with the Seabees. The site Tarawa on the Web is fascinating. It has interviews like the one this article is linked to. The information might not be 100% useful for the historical miniature gaming but its of ultimate use for the historian and for the person who is trying to understand what their ancestor went through in combat. There is a bit of detail about climbing down a rope ladder with heavy equipment that you probably would never even think about and yet to the man who did it he was curioius as to how it would be portrayed by an artist.

Read this article, its really great.

Iwo D+2

[[click the title to link to a higher resolution image]] This is Iwo Jima on D+2. It is a desolate disaster, strewn with equipment and men, supply and vehicles. The battle still rages on deeper on the island. The grey sky and the ominous mountain dominate this small shore of hell. Notice the LVTA-4 in the lower part of the picture. Its dragon head contains a 75mm short barreled howitzer. This one is perhaps seeking repair and resupply. The Marines called them AMTANKS and they were very effective at clearing out caves and combatting field guns.

Odd to us today, but back in the 1930’s we didn’t have a large military industrial capacity. The Amtracs and Amtanks were developed from civilian vehicles. The first 100 were produced by the Food Machinery Corporation! You can read more about their history at link.

Iwo Jima: A Remembrance

Iwo Jima: A Remembrance

The Japanese defense was headed by General Tadamichi Kuribayashi, resourceful, resolute, much admired by his men and respected by the Americans. LtCol Justice M. Chambers (Medal of Honor) commanding 3rd Bn, 25th Marines, 4th Marine Division, recalled how General Kuribayashi ordered each soldier to kill ten Marines — “for a while he was beating their quotas.”

This is an enjoyable article. I found it while researching the TO&E of the Marine Corp on Iwo Jima. I still don’t have as good a handle on the correct organization as I’d like but I am pretty close. I have a lot of ideas on how they will operate in the game. Still, I’d prefer to be as authentic as I can be.

Four miles long, shaped like a pork chop, covering eight square miles, Iwo had no front lines, no rear, every inch a battleground.

This is going to be a very impressive game I hope. If I can capture the feel of this battle I will have achieved something.

“At great cost, you’d take a hill to find then the same enemy suddenly on your flank or rear. The Japanese were not on Iwo Jima. They were in it!” Colonel Thomas M. Fields (USMC Ret)

Given the nature of this battle it is clearly going to be a challenge for all. I can’t wait to get closer to running the playtest on this one.