Thursday, 26 August 2010

Spanish Civil War Bunkers on Menorca (2)

The next next bunker I visited is located on the southern side of the opening mouth of the bay of Santandria. It is significantly smaller than the one at Cala Blanca, however of note is that the opening of the gun position is in the face of the cliff itself about six feet down from the top.

More bunker pictures to follow...

Spanish Civil War Bunkers on Menorca (1)

Having visited the Spanish island of Menorca a number of times, I have always been facinated by the sheer number of military relics found along the coastline. This year was no different and when the family took a siesta, I grabbed my camera and went exploring. We stayed on the west coast of the island, just south of the 'old' capital Ceitadella, where I found three Civil War Bunkers and a British Napoleonic Era Fort. Below are the photographs I took of the bunkers; a map showing the locations of the bunker and a diagram of the bunker layouts.

This bunker is located just south of Cala Blanca beach and features a gun position, a machine position and rifle positions for about 12 men.

More photographs of other bunkers to follow...

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Starship Troopers M-9 Chickenhawk

Everybody has a wargames buddy that always makes the suggestion as to what game to pursue next. It always starts innocently - 'iv'e always fancied doing...' 'do you know what iv'e always wanted to try' etc etc... And before you know it you've invested in a new pile of unpainted lead, books, movies etc!
Well my buddy is Stuart, and yes mate, you've done it again!! This time it's Starship troopers - and would you believe that on the same week as Stu mentioned it, the film was on Sky. Well that was all I needed - it wasn't a case of another scale/range/era - it was fate!!

Here is my first foray into it - an M-9 Chickenhawk exo suit. A nice model to make and quite satisfying to paint:

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Battle of Coronel (Game Report)

On the 1st November 1914, the first naval engagement of the first world war took place off the coast of Chile. A German force comprising of the armoured cruisers Gneisenau and Scharnhorst and the light cruisers Leipzig, Dresden and Nurnberg delivered a crushing defeat on a British force comprising of two Armoured cruisers, the Monmouth and Good Hope, a modern light cruiser, the Glasgow and an old converted liner, the Otranto. Back in 1914 The Good hope and Monmouth were both sunk with complete loss of life - some 1600 men. The Germans had 3 men wounded.

On Sunday night we re fought the engagement with two 'what if' differences. Firstly we fought the battle during daylight, rather than twilight, and the pre-dreadnaught 'HMS Canopus' also joined the British force - back in 1914 it did not arrive on time.

The German force, commanded by Stu, deployed in two squadrons - the two armoured cruisers forming one, the three light cruisers the other. The British, commanded by myself, also deployed in two squadrons - again, the two armoured cruisers and the light cruiser forming one, SS Otranto and HMS Canopus forming the other.

The British Armoured Squadron, led by Good Hope steamed north, keeping the approaching German fleet on their starboard side. The Canopus, leading the Otranto, headed East bringing the Germans onto their port side.

The German squadrons headed south and as the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau came into range they pounded HMS Monmouth who took two critical hits to the engine room, significantly slowing her down and effectively removing her from the battle. Monmouth left the formation and limped west out of range.

The Scharnhorst and Gneisenau then started taking fire from the Canopus, causing the German pair to focus all their attention on the old battleship. The German light cruisers then steamed towards the British Cruiser squadron in order to shield the Scharnhorst and Gneienau.

Immediately the gunners on the Good Hope went to work and after only two rounds of fire SMS Nurnberg succumbed slid beneath the waves - first blood to the British.

The Canopus' gunfire hit both the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau causing fires on each ship, however the return fire pounded the Canopus, knocking out all her port side secondary armament. Eventually the accurate fire from the Scharnhorst hit the fore battery, the stacked cordite was ignited and the Canopus disappeared in a huge explosion. On seeing this the Captain of the Otranto steered a course south away from battle and to safety.

Meanwhile, HMS Good Hope turned it's guns on first the Dresden and then SMS Leipzig. The Dresden exploded and quickly sank and the Leipzig finally succumbed to the flames of the multiple fires burning throughout the ship. Chalk up two more ships to the Good Hope.

The remaining German ships swung around and headed straight for the Good Hope with revenge in mind. Although their gunfire was accurate, it caused little damage, however a critical hit on the main battery of the Scharnhorst caused the ship to explode and quickly sink. The Gneisenau, seeing this, took the opportunity to turn east and steam rapidly away from the battle.

A major victory for the British, with medals a-plenty for the crew of HMS Good Hope! The inclusion of HMS Canopus had quite a major effect on the German battle plan, drawing all the fire from the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, allowing the Good Hope to take on the German light cruisers at optimum range.

We used the rule set 'Naval Thunder', which both commanders agreed, played out really well.