Gaming the Great War

British Assault

While I go about organising my Age of Arthur army, I figure I may as well post a few pics of completed projects. There aren’t too many of these really, but we will start off with my figs for the Great War 1914-1918. These represent forces from 1916-18, particularly the latter part, where a more mobile form of warfare began to appear. I have a platoon each of British, Germans and French, plus tanks, heavy machine guns mortars and aircraft for their support. To me, the interesting part of World War One tactics was the evolution at platoon and company level, so I’ve gone with a 1:1 figure scale. This allows me to have the proper make-up of a British platoon for instance – 1 rifle grenade section, a bombing section, a rifle section and a Lewis gun section. At the moment I’m looking at using the Rules of Engagement rules for World War Two, which are based at platoon level. I’ve played one test game with them, and they seem to work Ok. According to Rob Broom on the WAB yahoo group, next year will see the release of Warhammer Great War. I’ll probably get these, as I’m a fan of Warhammer Historical rules, and they are meant to be 1:1 scale, which will suit me. These rules will apparently be aimed at Company level, so they may not suit or I may have to add a couple of more platoons to each army, but we’ll cross that hurdle when we get to it.

 Rifle GrenadesLeft: Rifle Grenades

So why the Great War? It is without a doubt my favourite era in military history, and has been since I was a very young boy. Growing up, World War Two may have been ‘the war’, and the one in all of the Commando comics and the one toy soldiers were easily available for, but Dad had some old magazines in the top of the wardrobe which gave me a different perspective. No, not those types of magazines, these were copies of Purnell’s History of the Twentieth Century. He’d only collected them up to the 1920s, but that meant I had all the First World War issues. One cover in particular struck me. It was the issue for Verdun and the Somme, and featured Henri Leroux’s painting, L’Enfer – Hell. It was evocative, and drew me in. As I looked at the photos inside, and gazed at the graphics for casualty rates, I became entranced. I was a Great War buff.

French Left: the French

As I grew up, I watched the Australian miniseries ANZACs on tape over and over. I also watched All Quiet on the Western Front (the original) again and again. I read about WWI but couldn’t game it properly as there were no figures (although I still used WWII figs to populate the trench systems I dug into the back lawn). I played Napoleonics and WWI remained an interest, but not my gaming passion. In 1992 Revell released Germans and French for WWI.  I bought a couple of packets of each, but there were no supporting figs or vehicles, and, worse, no Brits. When Emhar released figs in 2000, I immediately bought up large 1/72 armies for WWI (since sold to finance 28mm). By this stage I had completed my Master’s Thesis, and a detailed study of operations in WWI had led me to read the new scholarship on the war, particularly Paddy Griffith and Tim Travers. So at the very time that figures became available my deep interest in the war had been renewed at a scholarly level. WWI became my passion once more, and hence it is the first large scale 28mm project that I have finished. I began buying these armies in 2006, and finished them at the beginning of 2007.

Germans Left: the Germans

My figures are mostly Renegade, but I have a few Great War Miniatures, and will probably get more of these. The French are Old Glory, because their range was so complete, and on a trip to Sydney, the Tin Soldier was having a sale on Old Glory figs! The terrain is the one modular board that Dan and I have finished. WWI terrain is a time consuming business if you want to do it well, and not particulalry easy to store. And, of course, there isn’t a huge amount of variety in your trench system! But I am also planning on creating some ‘free-standing’ slit trenches for 1918 games, and to play more ‘open’ warfare.

The future of my WWI hobby holds the prospect of a platoon each of Austrians, Italians and Russians. Maybe even Serbs.

Next, I’ll put up some photos of my Wild West figs, Peninsular War Brits and French, and WWII Germans.



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