Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Brazen Chariots

I had heard somewhere that Brazen Chariots was an amazing book about armored warfare in North Africa during World War 2. Some time later I found a used hardback copy of the book and put it on the shelf, to await the appropriate opening in the reading queue. I pulled it down last week on a whim and, as it is only 240 pages long, ended up tearing through it in less than a week.

Amazon describes it thus:

"Unquestionably the finest narrative of tank warfare to come out of World War II."
Los Angeles Times

A tank officer's story of the desert war in North Africa, "Brazen Chariots" is one of the most widely praised war books ever published. Major Robert Crisp recounts Operation Crusader, the great tank battle waged against Rommel's Afrika Korps on the borders of Egypt.

The story covers just a little more than 2 weeks of war in the desert, but it is exceptionally well written; dry (pun intentional), witty, raw and at times, heart breaking. I found myself stopping to admire turns of phrase and wondering about a man who could write with such frankness and eloquence. I was not surprised to learn Robert Crisp worked as a journalist; his story beyond the war can be found in part, here.

I highly recommend you read Brazen Chariots, and be prepared to want more when the book abruptly ends!

See ya!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Fistful of Lead: French and Indian War Style!

A lot of you that look at this blog arrive here via The Baron's blog, so you already know about The Baron's Kickstarter for his Fistful of Lead: Reloaded wild west skirmish rules. 

To the rest of ya, if ya want to game in the Wild West at the skirmish level, and ya want to have loads of fun doin' it, ya cain't go wrong with Fistful of Lead: Reloaded!

And if yer still in need of convincin', Varmint, you can even game in the Horse and Musket era (aka the French and Indian War) with a tweak or two, as The Baron and I did just a'while back at Recruits. Check it out here and then run, don't walk, to the Fistful of Lead: Reloaded Kickstarter and get into the action!

Go Molly!

See ya!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Hannibal: A Hellenistic Life

Project-wise I don't have much progress to show. . . spray-varnishing minis and re-building woodland terrain does not make for dramatic documentation, so I'll share a "book like" instead. I just finished Hannibal: A Hellenistic Life, by Eve McDonald. Amazon describes it thus:

Hannibal lived a life of incredible feats of daring and survival, massive military engagements, and ultimate defeat. A citizen of Carthage and military commander in Punic Spain, he famously marched his war elephants and huge army over the Alps into Rome’s own heartland to fight the Second Punic War. Yet the Romans were the ultimate victors. They eventually captured and destroyed Carthage, and thus it was they who wrote the legend of Hannibal: a brilliant and worthy enemy whose defeat represented military glory for Rome.

In this groundbreaking biography Eve MacDonald expands the memory of Hannibal beyond his military feats and tactics. She considers him in the wider context of the society and vibrant culture of Carthage which shaped him and his family, employing archaeological findings and documentary sources not only from Rome but also the wider Mediterranean world of the third century B.C. MacDonald also analyzes Hannibal’s legend over the millennia, exploring how statuary, Jacobean tragedy, opera, nineteenth-century fiction, and other depictions illuminate the character of one of the most fascinating military personalities in all of history.

My wife asked me, when she saw me reading Hannibal, "Are you reading the same book about Hannibal, AGAIN?" Well. . . sorta. We only have so much information on a man that lived over 2,000 years ago. That said, Hannibal is a solid biography with copious notes and an extensive bibliography. It's focus is more socio-political than military, with some emphasis on "myth management" and use of propaganda, and places Hannibal and his Roman opponents squarely within a thoroughly Hellenistic Mediterranean political arena. 

From a "wargamer" point of view, then, this book is way more about "strategy" than tactics; in fact there is not a single battle diagram and battle descriptions are taken mostly from the primary sources and used to provide context for the narrative. Still, an interesting read.

See ya!