Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Resources and References

South African tank men, probably of the South African 6th Armored Division, with M4Al Sherman tank on hilltop; shells are being loaded in through turret. “28 Dec. 1944. 5/MM-44-32547. Fifth Army, Monzuno Area, Italy. These South African tank men fight for the first time in snow country, in the rugged Apennines. Against the snow-clad mountains this tank is made ready for firing. Photo by Schmidt. 3131 Signal Service Co.” Near Monzuno, Italy. 28 December 1944 From the Digital Collection of the US National WW2 Museum
From the Digital Collection of the United States National WWII Museum

A fair few months ago now, I was sent a collection of resource files compiled by some Johannesburg-based Flames of War gamers: J.C von Winterbach, Scott Sutherland, Mike Bersiks, Rex Barret, Andre Wessels and Wayne Turner, together with contributions by the local military historian, Lt. Col. William Marshall. They very kindly gave me permission to publish their resources here. Apologies for the delay in getting these up onto the blog, gents, and thanks for the generous contribution to this blog. Much appreciated. 

These are the resources relevant to the South African 6th Armoured Division:

South African 6th Armoured Division Paint Guide

J.C von Winterbach, Lt. Col. William Marshall & Wayne Turner

South African 6th Armoured Division History

J.C von Winterbach, Scott Sutherland, Mike Bersiks, Rex Barret

South African 6th Armoured Division OOB

J.C von Winterbach, Lt. Col. William Marshall, Scott Sutherland & Rex Barret

They have also begun work on similar documents covering the history of the 1st & 2nd South African Infantry Division (1940-43), so we can look forward to more of these invaluable resources.

Additionally, they have prepared this document concerning the war against Japan from a South African perspective:

South Africa at War with Japan 1941-1945

J.C von Winterbach & Andre Wessels

Monday, 16 March 2015


You would be forgiven for thinking I am no longer gaming. But I am: my gaming – mostly with the Peninsular Wargaming Group – has continued at regular club meetings, and the lack of posts, if anything, reflects my focus on getting as many games played as possible, rather than writing about games, or indeed, painting miniatures for games.

So what games have I been playing?

Wings of Glory

Sometime in 2014 I purchased an assorted box of old Wings of War miniatures, and got hold of the latest incarnation of the rules - Wings of Glory by Ares Games. It quickly became a club favourite for quick, multiplayer games with minimal setup time. In their most basic form the rulesets (plural, as the WW2 version is distinct from the WW1 set) are very quick to learn, and are very intuitive, but they also have layers of advanced or optional rules that increase the complexity of the game and give it a great deal of credibility when used for gaming more historical scenarios.


I have lost count of how many games of Saga I have played. While the rules have a fairly steep learning curve - both in terms of the core mechanics, and in terms of the particular strengths and weaknesses of each faction - they make up for that in providing an immersive, engaging game that demands attention to detail and careful tactics. Each game seems to develop in its own way, and you seldom get the sense that you have all the nuances mastered. A game with real depth of options. It combines a boardgame-style dice economy element, with a historical miniatures game. The latest iteration of the game - Saga Crescent and Cross - covers the period of the Crusades and the Reconquista, and has successfully managed to adapt the game from its original Dark Ages setting, and in my opinion has captured the essence and tactics of the Crusades era.

Bolt Action

While Rapid Fire still holds it place in the club as the "go to" game for recreating large, historically accurate WW2 battles, Bolt Action has entrenched itself as the "large skirmish" ruleset of choice. It is just so immersive - the dice activation system means all players are involved at all times, and it provides enough "friction" or "fog of war" that players are constantly needing to re-evaluate their next option.

We have successfully used it to fight historical skirmish campaigns, with fairly representative historical outcomes, as well as plenty of light-hearted "beer and pretzel" games. We have cracked the code of using it to fight larger games - splitting bigger tables into sectors which are effectively independent games, but allowing forces to fire from one sector to the next, and allowing forces to be "handed off" from one table to the other. The more recent additions to the BA rules range - Tank War and Battlefield Europe (and Ostront still on its way) seem to have re-invigorated interest in the game at the club, with a huge range of very diverse forces being tabled. 

Short term plans

I plan to index and organise the reference pages of this blog - not the least because I have been sent some great resources to add to the blog, and the pages have outgrown their original ad hoc nature. I also have some interesting AAR's to publish, as well as pix of some recent hobby projects...