Rifles in the Ardennes

Tag Archives: History

TANKSgiving – Tanks and Armored Cars 1919-1939

Another gallery from a visit to Bovington  ~

Avery Abernethy, 20 November 2017

The tanks used in World War 1 were monstrous beasts that stood well over the ground. Most carried machine guns or at best very light cannons. After 1918 the industrial powers realized that anti-tank guns (and even anti-tank rifles) could easily knock out a WW1 era tank because of its thin armor, weak engine, slow speed and very high gun profile.

Much of the interwar period saw the development of Armored Cars and light tanks. Armored cars were much faster than the WW1 era tanks (especially on roads) and carried either similar or heavier guns than WW1 tanks. Thus the armored cars were faster, lower to the ground, less expensive to build, easier to maintain, and had more firepower than a WW1 tank.

Many armored cars were developed immediately after World War 1 through the early 1930s. As they developed, they became lower to the ground.

The development split into three directions.

In one direction the gun was removed and it became a scout car.  An example is the Dingo Mark 3.

Battle Lab: Why Logistics Sucks

Why logistics so rarely shows up in wargames ~

Brant Guillory, 25 October 2017

Here’s a logic puzzle for you.

You have 4 snakes that have to get through a maze. They each have a destination, but there are only 3 start points and only 3 endpoints. Oh, and the routes through the maze cross in several places, which means you have to sequence your snakes through the maze. And by the way, there is a certain sequence the snakes need to depart and arrive.

Does your head hurt yet? What if we started putting some obstacles in the maze? How about if the snakes stop off for a bite to eat? What if we start including snakes going the other direction, too? Some passageways are too small for some snakes, do you route them through those pathways to free up space for other snakes even if the smaller ones now take longer to get where they’re going?

The Airborne & Special Operations Museum

Downtown Fayetteville showcases the history of these twin elements of the US Army ~

Mike Orwick, 21 October 2017

click images to enlarge, and read the plaques

Last week I was in Fayetteville, NC.  Fayetteville is the home of Ft Bragg, where the Army’s 82nd Airborne division and the Army’s Special Operations command are home based.  Located in downtown Fayetteville is the Army’s Airborne and Special Operations Museum.  This museum tells the story of the evolution and history of these two arms of the Army.  On the last day there, a co-worker and myself had an opportunity to visit the museum.

Before going to the museum, we walked to the opposite side of the parking lot, and visited the North Carolina Veterans Memorial.  There are pillars there with each of the county names on them, with molds of hands.  The hands represent the raised hand while taking the oath when joining the military.  The two most interesting items at the memorial was a chandelier make of over 33,000 dog tags and a table setup for a member of each branch of the military for those that are POW or MIA.

Classic Articles: A Different Theory of the Japanese Surrender

Did the Soviet Union’s actions influence Truman’s decision-making? ~

Brant Guillory, 8 August 2017

Today is the anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, which is alternately considered both controversial and essential to ending the war.

A few years ago, I had the good fortune to hear a talk at the Mershon Center at Ohio State by Dr. Tsuyoshi Hasegawa, discussing the impact of the bomb on Japan’s decision to surrender.

INTRODUCTION

I attend[ed] a weekly seminar series at the Mershon Center for Security Studies and Public Policy here at Ohio State University. On some weeks, the seminar coincides with guest speakers. Last week, Dr. Tsuyoshi Hasegawa came to talk, and this is a summary of his narrative. But first, it may be helpful to introduce Dr. Hasegawa by way of his Mershon Center bio:
Tsuyoshi Hasegawa is professor of Modern Russian and Soviet History at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His current research interests include the political and social history of the Russian Revolution, focusing on crime and police in Petrograd during the Revolution, March 1917 – March 1918, as well as Soviet military history, collecting materials on V.K. Bliukher. Hasegawa is also studying Russian/Soviet-Japanese relations, especially the Soviet-Japanese War of 1945, Soviet policy toward the San Francisco Peace Treaty in 1951, and the Soviet-Japanese Normalization Talks, 1955-56. Hasegawa has published widely on the Russian and Soviet history, his most major publications being The Northern Territories Dispute and Russo-Japanese Relations. Vol. 1: Between War and Peace, 1967-1985. Vol.2: Neither War Nor Peace, 1985-1998 (UC Berkeley, 1998), Russia and Japan: An unresolved Dilemma between Distant Neighbors, edited with Jonathan Haslam and Andrew Kuchins (UC Berkeley, 1993), and Roshia kakumeika petorogurado no shiminseikatsu [Everyday Life of Petrograd during the Russian Revolution] (Chuokoronsha, 1989). His most recent publication is titled Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan (Belknap, 2005). Dr. Hasegawa received his PhD from Washington University in 1969.

THE PRESENTATION

Following the fall of Germany in May of ’45, the Allies turned their attention to the three-year old Pacific War. To avoid continued American causalities and bring World War II to a close, Truman ordered the nuclear bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Conventional American wisdom is that the atomic bomb brought about the fall of Japan, and few American textbooks challenge this idea. However, a Japanese scholar, Dr. Tsuyoshi Hasegawa of UC-Santa Barbara, has published an new book, Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan, that re-examines the end of World War II through a new perspective on international diplomacy, and comes to the conclusion that although the atomic bomb was certainly a very important factor in ending World War II, it was not the most important one. In fact, it might have caused the U.S. to prolong the war longer than necessary.

Monsters of War: Learning Complex Games

How do you eat an elephant? ~

Gary Mengle, 31 July 2017

Many wargamers can hear the quiet siren’s call of the complex monster, the game with a thousand counters and 50+ pages of rules… or more. For those of us who desire simulation over competitive gameplay the song can be particularly strong. Sure, that game of For the People is enjoyable for a long afternoon, but we still thirst for the big, deep, epic, massive game that takes weeks or months and hundreds of hours to play.

 

Even so, most of us have only so much mental space to be taken up with complex rules for multiple games, which I figure is why a lot of ASL players seldom touch other games with similar depth. “Complex” doesn’t equate to “monster,” of course — and ASL is again a great example of that — but in recent years many monsters have also been complex.

Advanced Squad Leader

So how do you approach a game like that? Having learned and forgotten a number of complicated games over the years, here are some time that might help you learn the great beasts of wargaming. These won’t guarantee mastery… but learn the rules and then play, and mastery will come.

Origins War College 2017 Schedule

What’s on tap for this summer’s lectures at Origins? ~

GrogHeads Staff, 29 April 2017

The Origins War College has been folded into the overall lecture/seminar program at the convention.  But they’re still sort-of separated out into 2 distinct program tracks, each in their own rooms.

There’s plenty of interesting talks, and many of them staffed/hosted by the NSDM crew.

GrogHeads Reviews The Political Machine 2016

Is politics just a war by other means? ~

Avery Abernethy, 25 March 2017

The Political Machine 2016 is a light simulation of the 2016 Campaign for President of the United States by Stardock. The Political Machine debuted in 2004 and an updated version has been released for every subsequent US Presidential Election. The review is based on the 2016 simulation and I’ve not played the previous versions.

The game starts by selecting your avatar for the Presidency. You can select one of nineteen Democratic candidates, one of twenty-six Republican candidates, or build your own candidate. This is a two candidate race with no third party candidates. The leftist third party options are included with the Democrats (think Jill Stein) and the libertarian candidates are included with the Republican options (think Gary Johnson).

PolMach-game setup

GrogHeads Reviews High Treason!

See you in court! ~

Jim Owczarski, 18 February 2017

Function before form!

Function before form!

My love of the Napoleonic era is high, wide, and deep, but I’ve always taken the age of empire to be my second true love, if such a thing can be countenanced.  Much of my early study of the era came from Jan Morris’ Pax Britannica trilogy, particularly the first volume, Heaven’s Command.  Far from an academic exercise, it’s an evocative series of sketches of the men and women who peopled the British empire, giving more weight, it has always seemed to me, to the interesting as opposed to the more objectively significant, although one can certainly be both.