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'A gaping silken dragon,/Puffed by the wind, suffices us for God./We, not the City, are the Empire's soul:/A rotten tree lives only in its rind.'

Tuesday, 16 July 2013


.... ready for the Rattle of Dice.

The newly reinforced Army Blue, oh, ok, US Army, battle line:

7th New York Volunteer Zouaves on the left of the line; stretching into the distance are another Zouave regiment (NY Fire Guard ?), a battery of field artillery, and two regular regiments.

Another overview of the line. The balloon back chair on the right, incidentally, probably dates back to the 1870s - a few years after the conflict - and I sit on it to eat my breakfast!

But what is the objective? And who is waiting?

Army Gray, aka the Army of the Confederate States of America. Three regiments of foot, and a battery of 12 pdrs. Ready and waiting...

And the goal ? Control of the railroad. The US forces have eight moves to take the line that can be seen. This is going to be a hard fought one.

On the general theme, I caught a news item on the BBC website recently about two memorials to Britons that fought in the American Civil War/War Between the States that are due to be unveiled. Stupidly, I didn't take a note of where exactly, or when. Also, I have a confused memory (well, I was at work) that the figure for Britons in the war was 300,000 - can this be the case? Does any reader know?

On a more restful note, my shady, ragged, tree filled, rose scented garden is luxuriating in the heat, but those masters of harshness - cacti - are showing the rest up with this sort of display:

Stunning. High temperatures, little moisture, sun, and the flowers are amazing, weird, and to the English eye, alien. Mind you, as the bad man said (to paraphrase) in The Third Man, the Borgias gave us the Renaissance. And The Third Man has to be one of the finest films ever, with Orson Welles before his decline, screenplay by the personally nauseous GG, music by a Hungarian busker, and at a time of Europe's humbling. And the, of its time, Anglo-Americanism (Americo-Anglicanism?), with the naive, decent, child like cowboy Yank, supported by world weary, decent, established middle class officer, and loyal to death, decent British non-com. And it was true - the only books my 1940s/50s soldier father read were by Zane Grey. 'The Stars in Texas...' what are the words to the tune...?


  1. The Third Man is a fine, fine film - one of my favourites. My favourite scene is where the RMP takes Joseph Cotten to the children's ward.

    What is so odious about GG?

    1. Indeed. But that scene is just a bit too harrowing for me, I'm afraid. The long shot of Alida Valli (in the marvellous hat and trench coat)walking away from the real funeral is my favourite. In fact, I daren't watch it - tears, you know.

      Don't get me wrong, some of GG's novels are part of me - Heart of the Matter (Scobie - the universal man?), or Our Man (dam' dam' funny), Stamboul Train (a bloody good yarn); even the first part of End of the Affair (the rest annoys me - either give up the Catholicism, or women). But, as a man, well, he was a bloody cad. I suspect the Catholicism was a pose - a sort of upper middle class alternative to Communism. And his dealings with women - well, he was a s***. I'm afraid I don't permit benefit of clergy for writers and artists (I was influenced at an early age by Orwell on this), and the excellent, recommended The Intellectuals and the Masses by Carey spells out in fine detail. Just because one can write doesn't mean to say one has to be a swine.

  2. Nice looking figures and looks like a great little game.

    With the red fezzes and trousers, the second regiment looks more like the 5th (or perhaps 165th) NY vol. infantry, or Duryee's Zouaves.


    1. Cheers, James. It's all on hold (too many diurnals in the way), but they stand ready on the table still...

  3. I look forward to seeing the game's progression and outcome.Another example of the fun to be had with smallish numbers of troops om a smallish table.

    1. Indeed - it's the only way. I hope the anti-bios are doing the trick!

  4. Hey,
    I am interested in model war gaming after years of board and computer war gaming. What do you recommend for a size to start with?

    1. My dear Gimli, you have asked a very difficult question...6mm, 10mm, 15mm, 2omm, 25mm. 28mm, or here 42mm.... I suppose the first question I would ask in return is what do you wish to game - sci fi? fantasy (your nom de computer suggests this), historicaal, future wars... Let me know, and I will attempt sage advice,