At the moment nothing as I have read everything I have! I am awaiting two books on the Pacific Theatre of war. Frank’s classic on the Battleof Guadalcanal and Hell to Pay on the last years in the Pacific and Operation Olympic, the invasion of Japan. I am also a massive fan of the Black Library books. Novels set in the Warhammer setting, be it 40K or Fantasy Battles. I am collecting all the Horus Heresy series and I recommend them. I have neither the skill nor the patience to paint the Warhammer figures but the literature I lap up eagerly. I much prefer the 40K setting but Malus Blackblade and Gotrek and Felix share the shelves with Space Marines, the Imperial Guard and the servants of Chaos. I hope to get my hands on the limited edition novella Aurelian in the next couple of days and the next installment of the Horus Heresy due out in November. M0st of my library is taken up with WW2 books which I will list in this blog once I have unpacked it from the boxes it currently resides in!
Opinions are like a part of the anatomy we all posses but here are some of the games I enjoy playing and would recommend to anyone out there!
War in the Pacific Admiral’s Edition (http://www.matrixgames.com/products/351/details/War.in.the.Pacific.-.Admiral%27s.Edition)
The Operational Art of War, Matrix Edition (http://www.matrixgames.com/store/317/)
HPS Panzer Campaigns (http://www.hpssims.com/)
Morrowind and Oblivion from Bethesda
The Baldur’s Gate/Icewind Dale/Neverwinter Nights Series of games.
I am also into collecting militaria, primarily German WW2 medals and paper work. At the moment the collection is in storage as we are doing up our new house and I very much look forward to setting it all up once we move in, at the moment the target date is Christmas 2011! My main thrust of collecting is Urkunde (medal documents) and Soldbuchs and Wherpass (sort of pay and service books). The Soldbuch was carried by the soldier on his person while the Wehrpass was usually held at the home depot the soldier belonged to. The great thing about them is that they are very, very re-searchable and a good background picture of the owner can be very easily built up. I have a decent enough library at home to help me in my research though there are many excellent forums out there as well as some indispensable websites such as the Lexikon der Whermacht, also great for OOB’s for wargamers.
OKH is starting to recover from the shock of coming up against the biggest amphibious landings in History by ordering a move to the south and south east. It is clear that the Allies will need a deep water port to supply their large armies. Cherbourg is the only port large enough in the area and as such will be a priority for defence, however OKH is wary of creating a Stalingrad in the West if the Cotentin Peninsular is cut off. As such a rough line from Franceville-Caen-Tilly-sur-Seulles-St Jean de Daye-Carentan-Valognes is being drawn using the benefits of the hilly terrain to anchor its defensive positions and using the unique bocage terrain of Normandy to nullify Allied numbers. At the moment Allied strength is concentrated but as they break out from their beachheads this strength will dissipate and the narrow country lanes will not allow the Allied forces to concentrate their armour bringing German anti-tank weapons to the fore.
The Big Red One led the breakout of Omaha Beach and its advance elements are ready to assault Mosles on the Bayeux-Isigny-sur-Mer main road.
American airborne units were also dropped into the Normandy hinterland in the early hours of 6th June. The main drop sites were around the villages of St Marie Eglise and St Marie du Mont, smack in the middle of the staging area of the 91st Luftlande Division. The US paras disrupted any attempts to support the coastal units at Utah Beach. As such Grenadier Regiment 909 and the 795th Regiment, comprised of Georgian conscripts, were quickly cut off and soon pressed off the beaches and caught in a pocket between the paras and the incoming landing forces. The strategic town of Carentan and its crossroads into the hinterland is garrisoned by elements of Grenadier Regiment 914 and several companies from Falschirmjaeger Regiment 6.
To the East of Carentan US Airborne are disrupting German reinforcements trying to reach the main front. Elements of 91st Luftlande Division and the Panzer Ersatz und Ausbildung Battalion 100 (an armoured training unit equipped with captured French tanks from the 1940 Campaign) are in direct contact with the 82nd Airborne Division at Etteville and Cretteville.
I fired up HPS’s Normandy 44 in their great Panzer Campaigns series last Friday for the first time in a few months and have spent most of the weekend defending Festung Europa from the invading Allies. I have Volcano Man’s Mods (http://www.volcanomods.com/) installed and the map art from Map Mod ( http://mapmod.hist-sdc.com/). They add great flavour and give the game a much needed facelift.
The game currently stands at 18:00 on D-Day itself. The 21st Panzer Division is starting to dig in around Caen while carrying out a counter attack against the British Airborne units dropped east of the Orne, south of Franceville.
Elements of Grenadier Regiment 736 and Ost Battalion 642 defend Colville sur Orne against elements of the British 3rd Infantry Division and the 27t Armoured Brigade.
The Atlantic Wall was truly broken around Gold and Juno Beaches. Cromwells have been sighted near the outskirts of Colombiers while elements of 716th Infanteire Divison try to fall back to higher ground in good order.
Well its my first ever blog and I have no idea what I am doing at this moment in time but I hope to learn as time progresses.
A little bio bit. I am 36 years old and I am a teacher, primarily of History. I have titled this blog bytes and dice as living in Gibraltar the gaming community like Gibraltar is small and the opportunity to game in groups here is very small. I have a long history of DnD (hence the dice) and computer war gaming (hence the bytes). I have always loved History and that of the Second World War in particular. This stems from my paternal grandfather, a WW2 veteran with the 2nd Independent Parachute Brigade who had spells in Italy and Greece. My favourite toys as a boy were the many plastic soldiers of different scales with which I recreated battles I had read about or my grandfather told me about. One of my earliest memories is painting a German Falschirmjaeger in Red and my grandfather telling me in a somewhat misty voice that they didn’t wear red but rather shades of green. This love of History evolved into war gaming and my first ever war game was a Battle of Midway paper game at the back of some WW2 magazine a relative had bought for me when I was around 11. Gradually I chose to make a career out of History by qualifying as a teacher and now leading a History Department in the school I work in. My first computer (Commodore 64) brought the first pixellated warriors into my life with games such as Desert Fox, Crusade in Europe, Silent Service, Pirates! and Vietnam. At the same time a first reading of Lord of the Rings opened up the world of fantasy to me. 2nd Edition Dungeons and Dragons followed with a penchant for the worlds of Krynn and Faerun. A small DnD gaming group, that has risen and fallen through the ages, was created. My first PC expanded the scope of wargaming available to me. TIE Fighter was the natural progression from Gunship on the C64, but it was really a freeware game about the ACW that sparked an interest in rectangles with symbols on them. This led me to The Operational Art of War and then to the Panzer General Series. As PC’s got better I came across a free game called Steel Panthers:World at War. As a stickler for historical accuracy I loved the many mods and scenarios. Likewise PC RPG’s made a massive impact as well. From the text games on the C64 and the venerable and classic Bard’s Tale and through SSI’s games set in Krynn and Faerun Baldurs Gate was released followed by Icewind Dale and Neverwinter Nights. I visited Morrowind and fell in love with Tamriel, and her mods and expansions. Oblivion (modded is a delight to play) led me to my first ever 24 hour game session (complete with fake sickness to stave off the girlfriend(now wife)!). Matrix Games and HPS have provided endless hours of entertainment in the realms of History now lost and from the frozen steppes outside Stalingrad, to Krasnaya Polyana outside Moscow I have done the whole Ost Front. War in the Pacific took me to a theatre I had never had any interest in before and it has now taken over my game time with two ongoing AE PBEM’s. I dabble in WoW occasionally but its the call of the Wargame that I answer too. Coming up we have Skyrim coming out and a revisit to Tamriel is on the cards with the Nords!
So please be patient with a virgin blogger and enjoy the ride