Sunday, December 2, 2012

Misson to Tokyo by Robert Dorr, a quick review.

Mission To Tokyo By Robert Dorr


I bought this book, thinking that I had read so much about the 8th Air Force.  I was very familiar with most of the strategic bombing campaign like Sweinfurt and Polesti.  I saw Mission to Tokyo and thought this would be an excellent opportunity to learn about some of the history of the B-29 raids over Japan.

Robert Dorr uses the same formula of writing that Stephen Ambrose used.  He gives short biographies of the various crew members and tells the reader about their hometowns.  I am sure that you are all very familiar with the writing style.  The author starts out with trials of designing such a complex aircraft teething problems that occurred in the B-29s development. Two of the most glaring problems were the electrical system and the R-3350 engines.   Through the low level incendiary attacks that devastated vast areas of Japanese cities.

A couple of more subjects that Dorr covers.  The first is the development of the B-32 Dominator.  I know of the airplane, but virtually nothing about the B-32.  The other subject that he covers, though it is a short subject.  It was in regards as the only B-29 crew member to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.  His name was Henry Eugene "Red" Erwin, Sr. and that man deserved the Medal of Honor like no other.  I cannot imagine doing what he did.

I was a bit disappointed in the book.  I did learn a lot, but it was not as an enjoyable exercise as I thought it would be.  I thought Dorr really missed the mark while writing about the crew members.  I am insure if he wrote about too many crew mwmbers or did not go in depth enough.  I know I wanted to know the crew members better and I did not get that.  I  also would have liked to have learned more from the Japanese perspective, again there was a little bit, but not enough.

I can recommend the book, but wait until hit hits the bargain self, I wish I had.

Thanks for reading,


World of Tanks IS-3

  I spend way too much time playing this game, but I do not care.  A friend describes it as TSA(time sucking abyss)  That is all I am going to say.

Thanks for reading.


Three more WWIII novels

I am sorry for the long hiatus, it was mi vida loca.  The biggest impediment of the last few months was that I got food poisoning and I mean the big E.  For your own references, do not eat at the Chipoltes in Mishiwaka Indiana.

I was going to review the game Maurice, but I did not do so, too much time has past to do the write up properly.  I will say that our group really liked the game.  We did decide that it would not make a very good rule set to use at a convention.  If anyone wants me to elaborate, just ask a qustion and I will try to answer it.

Now onto the meat of this post so to speak.  I wrote some recommendations on some books for gaining material to write modern scenarios.

 On the link below on The Miniatures Page, Lookingglassman stated that there were three more in "A visual novel of tomorrow war series"

 I went to Alibris and promptly ordered all three  None of these books ever won the Pulitzer, they are what they are. They will give one ideas for scenarios.  The first one I read was Helicopter aces: A visual novel of the war of tomorrow by James Bradin.  It as the title suggests, the book is about modern attack helicopter engagements over Europe in a hot war between NATO and Warsaw Pact  forces.  It was enjoyable and really focused toward the latter part of the book, AA engagements between helicopters.

The second book iA Visual Novel of War Tomorrow: Strike Eagles (Illustrated Novel of Near Future Warfare) by James Coyne.  It is about F-15E pilots and their sorties over Europe in a hot war.  Of the three, I thought this was the best book.  The only complaint that I had with the book, I do not think that the author did enough research.  A couple of chapters are devoted to F-15Es dog fighting MiG-25s at low altitude.   I do not believe that would happen, two aircraft types, one a ground attack/air superiority fighter and the other a interceptor.   The F-15E would smoke the MiG-25 at low altitude.

One usually says last but not least, however this book of the whole series is least.  That book is Armor at Fulda Gap: A Visual Novel of the War of Tomorrow  by John L Cook.  I hated it and could not finish it.  The main complaint I had with this book was that there was too much equipment that was never on the drawing board.  I know, I know, "I want realism in my futuristic novel" does not make much sense.   I have no problem with a piece of hardware that was never fielded, i.e. the Sgt. York.  All through this book there are equipment that more than likely never will be used.  There are robot tanks and robot tracked ATGM carriers.  There are robotic munition carriers too.  I could not get past all of these SciFi equipment in a near future novel. 


 In conclusion, these books are certainly worth the $1.99 I paid fort hem, well maybe not the last one.

 Thanks for reading,


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Three Great Books for Cold War Gone Hot Scenarios

I know that on my previous post I said that I would be doing a review/impression of the new rule-set Maurice.  I had my days confused.  We played  a game of Black Powder last Saturday and I will post that soon.  It takes me a while to load all the photos up, I think I took 30 plus photos.  I will also write about Maurice in the nest week or two.  The following post appears in The Herald.  This is a bi-monthly publication of the HMGSGL chapter.  A good friend committed to be the editor and I told him I would write articles.  Several friend also help him label and stamp them.  I am going to start putting those on my blog.  The following is the 1st installment.

It is relatively easy to come up with a scenario for an ACW, AWI, WWII and I could go on. Any historical period , with a little bit of research has a lot of material for scenarios. Those of us that enjoy playing more modern periods, what ifs and Cold War gone hot have a bit harder time. I do have three books that are really great for generating scenarios.

The first book is by Steven Zaloga and it is titled, Red Thrust. The following is a partial biography of Steven Zaloga from .

Steven Zaloga is a senior analyst for Teal Group Corp., an aerospace consulting firm. His professional specialization is the commercial and technological aspects of the international trade in missiles, precision guided munitions, and unmanned aerial vehicles. He also serves as an adjunct staff member with the Institute for Defense Analyses, a federal think-tank.
Mr. Zaloga has published numerous books and articles on military technology and military history. His books have been translated into Japanese, German, Polish, Czech, Romanian, and Russian. He has been a special correspondent for "Jane's Intelligence Review" and is on the executive board of the "Journal of Slavic Military Studies". From 1987 through 1992, he was the writer/director for Video Ordnance Inc., preparing their TV series "Firepower" that aired on The Discovery Channel in the US.

Red Thrust is a very interesting book. It deals with a hypothetical clash between NATO and the USSR in the mid 90s. The first chapter is entitled Plan Buran: The Invasion of Western Europe. This is just background material as to why the USSR is attacking NATO. There is a lot of unrest in the Warsaw Pact nations and the Soviets are really pretty heavy handed about dealing with it. The situation quickly spirals out of control.

Then each and subsequent chapters have a fictionalized account the battle. In the second chapter, Zaloga describes a Motor Rifle assault on a small farm manned by West German territorial troops.  The third chapter describes Independent Tank Battalion(18th Guards) attacking a small town

Then the last third of each chapter Zaloga analyzes the equipment, training and tactics of the Soviets.

The chapters include the a fore mentioned Motor Rifle Attack, Tank Attack, Spetsnaz, Attack Helicopters and Fighter Combat to name a few. In fact if you play CY6 Jet Age. I wrote a scenario using this book. If you want to take a look, you can see it at the CY6 yahoo group. It is in the player designed scenario folder under Cold War Gone Hot. It is called Shaska Flight and it is a clash between MiG-29s and RCAF CF-18s.

There a lot of scenario ideas. It primarily deals with land warfare and is suitable for skirmish and larger games.

The second book is First Clash by Kenneth Macksey. The following is his biography on .
Kenneth John Macksey (1 July 1923 – 30 November 2005) was a British author and historian who specialized in military history and military biography, particularly of World War II. Macksey was commissioned in the Royal Armoured Corps and served in World War II (winning a Military Cross ) under the command of Percy Hobart, later writing the (authoritative) biography of that leader. Macksey, gaining a permanent commission in 1946 and being transferred to the Royal Tank Regiment in 1947 , reached the rank of major in 1957 , retiring from the Army in 1968 . Amongst many other books, Macksey wrote two volumes of alternate history, one dealing with a successful invasion of England by Germany in 1940, and the other describing a NATO - Warsaw Pact clash in the late 1980s. The latter book was done under contract to the Canadian Forces and focuses on the Canadian role in such a conflict.

He also wrote several Ballantine's Illustrated History of World War II and people of a certain age(we won't say how old) will remember those fondly.

First Clash was originally written as an official manual for the Canadian Armed Forces. This book follows the 4th Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group that is in defense of the Buhl plateau. First Clash is very detailed as a training manual would be. Macksey's book details defense in depth, fighting withdrawal and counter attack made by the Canadians.

There are detailed battle maps showing the disposition of NATO and Warsaw Pact troops. It would be ideal for a campaign game and is suitable for a skirmish game also.

The final book is Arctic Strike by Michael Palmer. He is a professor of History and Maritime Studies at East Carolina University. Arctic Strike details WWIII in the north. A Soviet invasion of Norway through Finland and fly overs of Sweden. The book also talks about para drops by the Soviets and amphibious attacks, both Soviet and NATO. Land engagements consists of Finnish vs. Soviet; Norwegian vs. Soviet; US Marines and Royal Marines vs. Soviets.

There is also quite a few naval engagements. Palmer also gives very detailed accounts of naval battles, even down to each specific vessel in each task force. I recently purchased the game Surface Battle Group byTom Dziegielewski and I will be gaming some of the encounters that are described in Arctic Strike.

Last but not least Arctic Strike gives a very good account air warfare from the very beginning of the book describing, Norwegian F-16s tangleing with Soviet fighters when they are trying to intercept Il-76s carrying Soviet VDS troops. Palmer also writes about US Navy aircraft fighting Su-27K (naval version). The Soviets have operational aircraft carriers. The author also mentions that Sweden defends her airspace against Soviet intrusions, which really intrigues me.

Now that I have told you about these books, you might ask, where can I get them? There are several places that one can get these books. As you all may or may not know, both Amazon and Barnes & Noble have a service for used books. When one types in a book, the website shows used copies and one can order that way. Amazon and Barnes & Noble have a relationship with some used book stores. The other website that is very good, I use this one a lot is . This is a collection of used book stores, both here and in the UK. I bought two of the three books on Alibris. One can also get used copies of Wargame rule sets and RPG games too.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Check Your 6 Jet Age 7.22.12

On 7-22-12 the group of gamers I play with get together about once a month. Most of us live in Lenawee county which is in Southeast Michigan. This month we played CY6 Jet Age run by yours truly. We played two scenarios out of the Star and Pyramid scenario book written by Jeff Fisher. The 1st game we played was Mystere Ground Pounding and the 2nd was 2-Kill Over the Canal.

Mystere Ground Pounding

The variable rules were rolled and the Egyptians rolled “Old Egyptian Tricks”, they could enter on the south edge of the board, edge 5 on turn three. The Israelis rolled “Mobile Medium AAA” It was hidden until fired. This was fortuitous for the Israelis as you shall find out. I also rolled for entry of my flight, turn 6, the worst roll I could have. Sorry Doug(my other flight leader for the Israelis) you are on your own for a bit. I am sorry I did not take a photo of the setup, I cannot say that will never happen again, but I will try.

The two light AAA positions.

Turn 1
It consisted of the the MiGs lining up for bomb runs and the Mysteres trying to get into position to get a shot off. The Med AAA fired and missed

Turn 2
The only firing consisted of the light and medium AAA missing.

Turn 3 & 4

Again all shots missed including AAA and AA cannon shots. The MiGs were not too successful in their bombing run. They destroyed one vehicle.

Some Closeups

Turn 5

The Mysteres have missile shots at two MiG, two MiGs are hit and one is splashed, the other manages to make it robustness roll 

Turn 6

 One Mystere is shot down and a MiG-17 is splashed by the Medium AAA.

Turn 7

I finally get to come on the board and I am coming in on afterburner. The Egyptian MiG-17s had not counted on that and they went to after burner also. I am in their rear arc and I have missiles. I splash two MiGs. I rippled fire two missiles at each MiG and achieve one missile hit per MiG. Another MiG is downed by Medium AAA. One Mystere is shot down also.  I believe the medium AAA has figured out the wind-age.

Turn 8

There is one MiG-17 left and all the Israelis believe he is going to turn for home., all except one that is.
The MiG-17 does a split s and is going to make a strafing run. The three Mysteres were not ready for that, but Davy Crockett in the medium AAA is. He ends up shooting down the last MiG.

2-Kill Over the Canal

The variable rules are as follows, The Egyptians rolled that the SA-3B Battery was manned by a skilled crew(+1) instead of a green (0) crew, must be a Soviet crew helping out their fellow prolitarian comrades.. The Israelis rolled, Israeli Intelligence Operations, so the Israelis know that there is a SA-3B battery and its location.

The set-up can be seen in the following three photos. I remembered to take photos this time of the set-up.

Sorry for the poor photo, but you get the picture.

Turn 1 and 2

The two Egytion MiGs, the two Mirages and the four Skyhawks are trying to get into position. The SA-3B has lock on a Skyhawk.

Turn 3

The SA-3B has lock on the +2 Mirage (Israel Baharav) and Baharav damages a MiG-21 with engine damage. The Medium AAA knocks Menachem Sharon out of the air. I rolled box cars with a 31 damage roll.

Turn 4

A MiG-21 hits a Skyhawk and the Skyhawk rolls double 6 on his robustness roll and he has fire on the plane. He know must make a pilot reaction in order to put out the fire and if he does not, the Skyhawk will take more special damage. Israel Baharav downs the MiG-21 that he damaged the previous turn. The Medium AAA takes down a Skyhawk.

Turn 5
The Skyhawk did manage to put out the fire, but he was apparently distracted from the incoming missiles from the remaining MiG-21 and he is splashed.

Turn 6

The Medium AAA again has the windage, maybe the crew was trained by Vasily Zaytsev. They manage to damage Israel Baharav's Mirage with engine damage. Israel Baharav damages the MiG-21 with engine damage.

Turn 7

The MiG-21 is flying his best, he rolled a pilot check in order to pull off the maneuver and was successful. Israel Baharav attempts to shoot down that damn MiG-21. He rolls, double ones, blue on blue fire on the Skyhawk and it goes poof. The MiG-21 will be able to fight at least one more turn.

Turn 7
The Mig-21 dove and the Mirage III did not have a shot and all the AAA missed.

Turn 9

Again, the MiG-21 has to make a pilot check in order to successfully attempt this maneuver and he is successful. So we have a MiG-21(+1) vs. a Mirage III (+2) nose to nose. Let us see who comes out on top. They both would have won in chicken, because neither one flinched. They both destroyed each other.

Turn 10 & 11

There is only one Skyhawk on the table now and he decides that the better part of valor and so on. All the AAA missed on turn 9 and The SA-3B has lock on. Torn 10 in another story, again Vasily Zaytsev AKA Medium AAA destroys the last plane on the board.

Both those battles were pretty ugly for the losing side, though the first game was a bit closer. A couple of thought s in closing. The first being is that we find it difficult to hit anything with bombs or torpedoes for that matter. Though torpedoes were not a decisive factor in any of the Arab-Israeli wars. We have played several games and cannot hit anything. In these two game, the 1st game the Egyptians achieved one bomb strike and in the 2nd, game, the Israelis did not achieve any.

In all the games we have played, AAA has been very ineffective, but in these two games they had a very decisive factor in the winning side's victory. Lastly, we had our first ever blue on blue hit in all the game we have played.

Next month we are playing Maurice, this will be our first playing of the rule-set.  That will be my next entry.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Battlefields Miniature Convention March 17th, 2012

I have been procrastinating my write up of the Battlefields miniature convention put on by Pro or Con miniature gaming group from Detroit. If you ever have the opportunity, do attend, because they really present a great convention.

I played in two games, A CY6 Jet Age game run by Tom Michael. The second game I played in was a CY6 game run by Dave Winfree.

The Game was a Wild Weasel SAM Suppression scenario. I will not bore you with the gory details of my play in the 1st game other than to say it was abysmal. There was a F-4 Phantom that had a either a +2 or +3 pilot and he ripped through the Vietnamese players until the second too the last turn. A +0 MiG-17 player got in the F-4's six at one hex. The MiG-17 attained a hit and rolled damage. It went off the chart and the F-4 player blew his robustness roll and blew up.

The second game had an interesting run of events. I was flying three AVG P-40s and towards the end of the game I shot at an Oscar. Special damage was then rolled. The pilot was rendered unconscious. The next turn the Oscar pilot again did not regain consciousness and his random movement was straight ahead, level. The next turn I got a another hit on another Oscar and special damage was rolled for that Oscar. He rolled pilot killed. The next turn random movement was rolled for each Oscar. They both ended up in the same hex and altitude. Of course they hit each other because they were unable to roll pilot reaction and after all the special damage was rolled. They both ceased to exist.

Here are some random photos of different games. 

DBA Tournament
Johnny Reb III
Close Action
Ambush Valley
Ambush Valley
Ambush Valley