Sunday, 20 August 2017

National Maritime Museum Brest

I've always wanted to visit this museum which is located in the Chateau de Brest above the original naval harbour. It is an impressive location but the museum itself was a bit of a let down, apart from the section on the eighteenth century dockyard, which was very interesting. There were some good exhibits too, the highlight being an original Kriegsmarine Seehund mini-submarine which was operated by the French navy after the war into the 1960's, a fact that I wasn't aware of at all. Not bad if you have a rainy day in Brest to kill but not as good as some other museums that I've visited on similar themes.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Pointe Saint Mathieu

Just down the road from the Musée Mémoires 39-45 is the Pointe Saint Mathieu, which is well worth a visit as it is the site of the French naval memorial and cenotaph. This has recently been opened to the public and is situated in a typical Napoleon III coastal fort It features an impressive display of photographs of every single individual lost in battle or at sea from the late nineteenth century through to the current day. There is also a very imposing cenotaph monument which is situated adjacent to the fort itself. I thought they had done this all extremely well, in an understated but thoughtful way.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Musée Mémoires 39-45

We've been away camping near Brest for a week, during which we visited this excellent museum located in a former German artillery observation and command bunker near Plougonvelin, not far from Pointe Saint-Mathieu. It really is a very impressive museum with numerous exhibits and a lot to see, let alone the restored interior of a very large piece of the Atlantic Wall. It's a bit of a way to go but not too far if you are in the vicinity of Brest or if you take a day trip detour from the ferry port in Roscoff. Anyway, here are some more pictures and a link to the museum website, so you can see for yourself:

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Where Sten Guns Dare

Another set of rules to grab my attention is the latest publication from Nordic Weasel, a very aplty titled WW2 skirmish system built around small scale commando raiding and derring-do. I had a cunning plan a couple of years ago to do just this sort of thing in 28mm, my Achtung Kommando! project, but with no set of suitable squad level rules to use, aside from Bolt Action! which I don't really like, I left the figures to gather dust on the shelf.

Now, suitably equipped with proper rules for commando raiding, I may now well dig them out, blow off the dust and blow something up later in the year?

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Patton's First Fight

I've been reading through the Fistful of Lead: Viva la Revolucion! scenario supplement and working out how to put together a starting force for both the American Punitive Expedition and the Villistas. An obvious scenario to kick things off would be Scenario 10: Patton's First Fight. This represents the raid by Patton and his foraging party on a ranch where one of Villa's top commanders, Julio Cardenas, was staying, leading to a brief but bloody skirmish in which the rebels were killed. It's a small scenario with limited forces, so perfect as a beginning to a larger project.

The 20mm forces required for the scenario I already have from Shellhole Scenics, including a squad of ten US Infantry and a contingent of six Dorados, the elite cavalry unit of the Villista forces, the latter both in mounted and dismounted form. In the raid, the small force of Cardenas actually made a run for it on horseback, charging out of the gateway of the ranch in an attempt to getaway. The scenario only has them on foot defending the ranch but I might as well paint up the mounted figures too. I think I may also have a couple of die cast toy vintage cars for Patton to arrive in?

The only thing I need is a terrain square and a suitable 20mm scale ranch house with a surrounding wall, as I already have some desert scatter terrain and can improvise a two foot square board. This can actually be  little smaller as the scenario assumes that you will be using 28mm figures, so I might scale it down to 20'' or so? The ranch can be found in the Blotz 20mm Middle Eastern range, which has a couple of suitable buildings, both with lift-off roofing. These could be used as they are, with one only needing the addition of a small outbuilding to be spot on, although I could change the position of the main gateway to match the scenario plan.

This is definitely a manageable project and would be a good place to start!