Archives for June 2006



While looking for information about the survivability of an Abrams tank to a napalm strike (they are supposed to have all sorts of improvements in that arena) I came across this site. It is very informative and gives a great discussion on the merits of Diesel vs Gas Turbine engines in tanks.

Check it out!

Potomac Books Supports the Greater Pacific War Project

Potomac Books just contacted me and has lent their support to the project in a big way! They are funding Jon Parshall’s trip to Historicon so that he can give a lecture and do a book signing! This is fantastic and brings to the project the scholarly link necessary to make this a truely educational experience. I am so excited about this words just can describe my joy. I will post more about this on the Greater Pacific War’s website later this week as we hammer out the details.

If you have not checked out Jon’s book “Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway” please do. Its amazing and I highly recommend it.

Champions of the Force

Champions of the Force

Yeah – my addiction continues! Having complete collections of all prior releases there was no reason not to go gangbusters on this set too. It just came out last week. I picked up 2 cases that were sequencial. I ended up not getting a single rare or ultra rare duplicate! What amazing luck. I have almost the whole set of 60. I have extras of some decent figures and of course quite a few junky bits. Actually the junk is useful. The Ugnaughts are 3 points and can blow doors of their hinges. This is clearly the answer to that opponent you think plans on turtleing (using override to stay locked in a room after killing one of your guys).

You only need one or two though. I have 6. Same with the R5 droid. Its semi-useful with droids so it will see more use with Sepratists than anything else. It should have been given the ability to repair vehicles. Oh well. There are a few nice droids it could repair.

The heavy hitters in this set are the Sith, a new faction. The Old Republic is also a new faction but is lacking any unique characters. For now the Sith will pretty much kill any Old Republic squads. In a future set the Old Republic will likely get the characters they need. You ought to see the stats on Darth Bane. I got one of them and he would kick Darth Vader’s ass in any of his configurations. And that’s saying something!

The Republic gets the most new characters and a lot of them rock. Of course the old school Rebels and Empire get some nice loot now too! I need a few more E-Blasters and Atgar guns! Very nice models.

I was waiting for this game to Jump the Shark but this set is really quite solid. It continues to add to the tactical options the serious collector has and there are some fun characters in there.

Definitely give it a look if you can stand collectable games and love Star Wars as much as this Alpha Nerd does!

Advair is my new friend

Advair Indications, Dosage, Storage, Stability – Fluticasone Propionate and Salmeterol – RxList Monographs

Well it looks like the fun I had back in May with the asphixiant fumes has had a long term effect. If you are not familiar with that incident check out this article at TMP. It turns out I have damaged my right lung and will be put on an inhaler until it properly heals. There is a slight wheeze detectable from the lung and its probably been interfering with my sleep. However I believe it will heal quickly enough. As it turns out, asthema runs in the family somewhat so I am familiar with it. I haven’t had any attacks and this will more than compensate for any loss of capcity I gained. Its just another reason why we should be careful of what chemicals we use in our project.

So folks, keep it safe!

ABC News: Kalashnikov — The Bio of the Big Gun

ABC News: Kalashnikov — The Bio of the Big Gun

The elderly inventer of the AK is slated to speak out against terrorists and revolutionaries world wide who have made his weapon the most popular on Earth. Great read.

Thought Hammer

Thought Hammer

Thought Hammer is an online retailer that sells boardgames, CCGs, miniatures and so forth. I found them through Boardgame Geek and decided to give them a try since I wanted to pick up some of the Runebound expansions.

They have great prices (up to 35% off of retail) and the service is fantastic. Packing and shipping was well done and they were great with communicating back to me. I think of all the things an online retailer can get right or wrong, communication is the most important. After that comes service and price. I am more prone to pay more for good service than to save a buck and wait in doubt.

So what did I get? I got the two adventure decks for Runebound: “Crown of the Elder Kings” and “The Scepter of Kyros” as well as the boxed expansion “The Isle of Dread” which I was not able to get at the local Nords Games (I could have ordered it but since they don’t give discounts and driving eats up gas, I gave that option a pass.)

I played Runebound the weekend of Nashcon with Rohn and Pete and had a great time. We played it with the two new items decks and the two new challenges decks. It was a blast. We did it over two nights logging about 5 hours for 3 players (two of which were very new to the game.) I ended up winning but, as Rohn put it concerning my items, I had the Arsenal of Democracy. Indeed in the end game I did have the Wings of Regiroth and some crystal scepter that allowed me to make an additional 2 damage magic attack in pre-combat. Since I was playing Carthos the Mad this allowed me to potentially deal out 4 damage in pre-combat! I was basically unstoppable and when I took on the Red Encounters I was at +14 magic in woods (base plus experience plus a special encounter card.) Suffice to say my allies would watch the fireworks show while I fried 3 of the lesser dragons. I had 7 health so it wasn’t even a competition.

I am REALLY looking forward to the Isle of Dread expansion. That baby looks sweet!

Comparing Iraq to Malaya

BBC NEWS | World | Middle East | Haditha blow to new doctrine

This is an interesting article that talks about the blow Haditha has served to the current attempt at counter-insurgency. It talks about the counter-insurgency thinking that is currently being developed and also discusses a book published in 2002 entitled

    Eat Soup with a Knife

which comes from a quote by Laurence of Arabia:

To make war upon rebellion is messy and slow, like eating soup with a knife.

While the article implies that the US learned nothing from Vietnam and has no counter-insurgency plan the fact is the US certainly has a lot of experience with counter-insurgency in Central America and South America. There are now large bodies of thought, knowlege and doctrine concerning counter-insurgency. Its not clear to me why these resources were not used once it became evident that our nation-building efforts would be confronted by large scale violent opposition.

An interesting note in the article says that while the book lauds the efforts of the British in post-war Malaya they too had a masacre of unarmed civilians. By historical accident they also numbered 24.

A good book on the subject is the old but still extremely relevent Modern Warfare: A French View of Counterinsurgency by Roger Trinquier. The asymetrical fight between nation-builders and terrorists was just as much a problem in 1961 as it is in 2006.

While battles may be won on our table tops, this kind of war requires winning the allegiance of the population and to do that you have to be careful, sensitive and systematic. Its the non-battle events like the Haditha incident that are victories for the insurgents. You could game it out in a campaign but you would need a way of having unexpected events pop up. It might seem forced in a way and that might make it hard to feel like the players have any real control – but then that would make it a realistic simulation!

The important thing about this news story, I think, is that the things that happened in the Pacific Theater of WWII still provide valuable lessons.