Thursday, 2 September 2021

The Snapcase Roller

Snappers left his office with something of a furtive air about him. He was about to indulge himself in his daily selfish pleasure session. During the afternoon heat, a lot of the base-wallahs were kipping on their charpoys and Snapcase felt this the best time of the day for his guilty secret. He was going to have a dekko at Genevieve! He was wont to give Genevieve a good buffing with plenty of elbow grease whenever he could find the time. As he bimbled in the heat of the Indian summer, he imagined himself polishing her silver-plated radiator, bringing a lovely sheen to her glossy black mud guards and running boards and finally, polishing that beautiful plum coloured bodywork to a fine finish. At Genevieve’s wheel, Snappers had won the annual London to Brighton Run in 1910. Genevieve had been delivered to Snapcase Hall, Much-Piddling by none other than Charles Rolls himself, an old family friend. Charles popped in with the new automobile on his way to a flying display in Bournemouth.

Rounding the back of the cook house and heading towards his bungalow, he beheld a rather odd sight, at first thought, a mirage? Maybe one or two many pinks gins in the Mess?

There appeared to be a junkyard on wheels parked outside his bungalow! Not only that, but there appeared to be a performing troupe of grease-monkeys swarming all over said junkyard.

“What the devil…” he spluttered, lost for words. “It can’t be…”, but it was!

The transport-johnny at Peshawar, Aggers had as we have seen, been collecting any available vehicles for the beano to Jhamjarhistan. Snapcase had thought Genevieve a secret but Aggers had seen him sneaking off at odd times of the day and had discovered his secret. Under orders to collect every available vehicle from Kenwood-Chef, Aggers had put three of his Royal Army Service Corps (known to the rest of the Army as Run Away, Someone’s Coming) bods onto preparing the Snapcase Roller for it’s trip to Djelibad.

Accordingly, Driver Jerry Clarkson, who resembled nothing more than a large orangutan was hanging off the running board sighting his SMLE. The diminutive form of Driver Dickie Hammond was squeezed into the back seat, sandwiched between two oil drums clutching a Lewis gun almost as big as himself. Lance Corporal Jimmy May had bagged the front seat and the only attractive thing left about this dismaying spectacle was the driver, Flight Sergeant Fi Bruce of the WRAF.

Never had Snapcase felt that his flabber had been so gasted! Gone was lovingly polished glossy plum bodywork. Even his black running boards had been lavishly covered in sand coloured paint. Genevieve was a mess and there was nothing he could do about it. Back to the Mess for a few stiff ones, he thought with a heavy heart.

To be continued...

Thursday, 26 August 2021

HQ Section

Snapcase has cobbled together an HQ Section for Snapforce. Various soldiers in transit at Peshawar have been seconded into this section. Part of HQ Section will contain the lead signals element and the rest, the heavy weapons element.

First in are Private Stan Laurel and Private Oliver Hardy under the redoubtable Sergeant Major Finlayson. They form the mortar crew and are seen here learning the ropes under the forbidding gaze of Major Hector McSnapcase (a distant cousin on the distaff side of the Snapcase family). All members of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, known to the rest of the British Army as the Agile and Bolton Wanderers!

Friday, 20 August 2021

The Guides

As H-Hour for Snapforce looms ever closer, Snappers has gone to see Kenners, along with Tuffers, Aggers, Bovvers and D. M. D’Emfore. “We need some sort of guide Kenners, old stick” said Snapcase. “Perhaps a local chappie or someone who has travelled these lonely tracks before?”. Kenners beamed at them and said “My dear boy. I have just the chaps you need. Two of the best soldiers in India!” Kenners whispered an aside to Captain Darling, who left hurriedly.

A minute later Snappers et al heard the sound of two pairs of army boots marching in step.

“Right turn, halt, hats off!” ordered the taller of the two soldiers.

Kenners introduced him as Daffadar Koda Dad Khan from the Corps of Guides. “Khan guided the Agile and Bolton Wanderers Regiment in their night attack against the ‘Raving’ Nana of Sheesh-Kebab in ’05” informed Kenwood-Chef. The other imposing warrior was a Gurkha who turned out to be Naik Majendra Bahadur Gurung, otherwise known as Billy Fish. “As you’ll recall, Snappers, Billy Fish was the hero of the defence of Fort Trumpton when the Doobrie tribe rose in revolt against the Raj in ’13. These men will guide you to Kashgar and on to Djelibad".

Khan came to the ‘shun and bellowed out the orders, “Hats on, about turn, by the left, quick march, left turn” and the pair had left Kenners office.

“Well, that’s sorted then” said Snapcase.

Wednesday, 18 August 2021

Tuesday, 17 August 2021

Setting Jhamjarhistan Ablaze - Part the Sixteenth

You will of course recall Vaggers, the secretive and taciturn SIS man from Yorkshire.

As previously stated, Monty Bottomley-Throppet’s daughter Ophelia was on an archaeological dig with her college in Jhamjarhistan and Monty was worried about her. It had been agreed that Monty’s top two agents, one Henry Blofeld and the other known only as Vaggers, would accompany the advance column, first to Kashgar and then on to Djelibad to check that all was well with Ophelia and the dig.

Unbeknownst to all but himself, Vaggers had an ulterior motive in visiting Lord Creosote’s dig. An old flame of his, the Honourable Bunty Hamster-Crust was taking part in the dig as one of the Rumpole Scholars.

Snapcase emerged from the mess, blinking in the bright sunlight.

There had been a planning session for the forthcoming beano to Jhamjarhistan. Snappers always felt that planning details were more easily ironed-out when everybody was outside a couple of stiff-uns! He had a premonition that they were going to be right up the Ranygazoo without the proverbial scull, but he pushed that thought to the back of his mind.

Just then a rather curious sight hove into his peripheral vision.

“What ho, Vaggers. Sporty looking bit of kit you have there, old chap”, greeted Snappers.

“Its uz bike. Ah av stolen it fra t' bloody navy. It will doa wee eur chance ta operate on uz own. Ah want ta finn' uz Bunty. She's t' love o' uz life.”

“Jolly good show, old bean, keep it up”, replied Snapcase, not understanding a single word.

Snapcase backed away, trying to keep the befuddled look from his phizog. Why couldn’t these secret service chappies speak the King’s English?

To be continued...

Saturday, 14 August 2021

Ivanka Kozyrnyy and the Tractor Tachanka

Trotsky has not been slow to consider mechanisation since he took command of the Red Army. Resources are a problem for the Bolsheviks, but of course, for Trotsky himself, nothing is too much trouble. He already has three armoured cars on his massive, armoured rail-cruiser, named Revvoyensovet. Here we see Trotsky’s Chief Engineer, Ivanka Kozyrnyy experimenting with a tractor tachanka. Ivanka is impatiently awaiting the arrival of a Maxim MG to arm the tachanka.

Friday, 13 August 2021

The Zhlobinski Penal Battalion

Meanwhile, in a small village called Kaakharjahr, just inside the Jhamjarhistan border, one of Trotsky’s battalions was about to march to the rendezvous with the great man himself. This was the penal battalion from Zhlobin in Belarus, commanded by one Komandir-Eskatrony Solomon Rosenberg. Solomon was a passionate Trotskyite and his well-meaning but incompetent leadership had meant that he ended up in command of a battalion of criminals. The criminals had been released from prison in the October Revolution and had been causing mayhem across Central Asia ever since. Discipline was very strict in the penal battalion and was imposed mainly by the arch-sadist of a politicheskiy rukovoditel (political officer), Politruk Vykopannyy Korova. Here we see the Zhlobinski Penal Battalion formed up by the River Jham, ready to march. Their battle-cry, ‘dobycha ili smert’ echoes through the village.

Thursday, 12 August 2021

The Commanders!

I have just finished my 4 command figures for the November game. These represent each player personally.

From L to R: İsmail Enver Pasha (Vagabond), Lev Davidovich Bronstein, better known as Leon Trotsky (Doug ex-em4), Lieutenant Colonel Willard Cornelius Waterloo Clarence Wooster, 10th Earl of Snapcase (myself) and Helene (Hella) Amalie Gräfin von Brandenstein-Zeppelin (Hu Rhu). Things are getting even stickier in Jhamjarhistan.

Friday, 6 August 2021

Krasnyy Sotnya

The Krasnyy Sotnya (Red Hundred), Trotsky’s personal armoured train guard are now complete and ready for the game in November, this year.

As mentioned before, Ivanka Kozyrnyy, the famous Russian explorer will be the Krasnyy Sotnya’s guide. Ivanka has spent many years exploring Jhamjarhistan and its surroundings, secretly on behalf of the Cheka. She is a close personal friend of Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky, or ‘Iron Felix’ as she refers to him. She was part of the original party which discovered Scythian artefacts and remains at the dig site outside Djelibad.

Leon Trotsky has arrived at Djelibad in his armoured train. His train, the massive, armoured rail-cruiser named Revvoyensovet, is staffed by the Krasnyy Sotnia, an elite and oddly dressed group of Bolshevik soldiers who are charged with defending Comrade Trotsky and his armoured train.

The train carries everything needed onboard, including a telegraph and radio office, a power station, bathhouse, and library. The club car is used by Trotsky to entertain Ivanka and he is very proud to be able to offer 35 different varieties of vodka to his guests. There is also a fully functioning garage onboard which houses three armoured cars.

The Krasnyy Sotnya were formed in 1918 as Commissar Trotsky’s train crew and mobile guards. As such, the Krasnyy Sotnya are uniquely dressed and heavily armed to protect the chairman of the Red Army and his personal staff while aboard the Pullman cars of Revvoyensovet. Tasked with defending him with their lives, they are considered elite soldiers.

Their uniform and equipment consisted of a dyed red leather overcoat and red leather trousers and boots. Leather was highly sought after by Red Army officers, cavalry troopers, and armoured train personnel. Besides the obvious style, the leather offered some protection from the brutal Russian weather. Trotsky once remarked that they made the Krasnyy Sotnya look "heavily imposing."

Thanks to the Warfare History Blog for all this very useful information.

Sunday, 1 August 2021

Mission to the Forest Moon of Endor

With restrictions easing, my daughter, her partner and my three grandchildren made their first visit to Snapcase Hall, Much-Piddling in nearly two years. In the case of my youngest granddaughter, it was her first visit, being born during lock-down last year. My eldest granddaughter Eva (aged 7) loves Star Wars and so I decided to set up a surprise game for her. I used X-Wing Miniatures models with the Fistful of Lead Starfighters! rules. James of OSHIROmodels made the two buildings which were to form the centre-point of the game, an Imperial outpost with landing pad and the all-important shield generator complex to protect the incomplete second Death Star in orbit around the Forest Moon of Endor.

The scenario was that the Imperial base on Endor had an SLD-26 planetary shield generator which emitted a repulsor-lift field to keep the Death Star in a stationary orbit around the moon of Endor.

I simplified the rules a little and made each player's character an ace, supported by three ships. The Rebel objective was to destroy the SLD-26 shield generator. The Rebels could only fly between the giant trees and not over them.

There were four players, my granddaughter, Master Jedi Eva Skywalker,

with a squadron consisting of three X-Wings and a K-Wing bomber. The K-Wing was the only ship armed with bombs.

Eva's dad was on her side playing as Poe, in an A-Wing, supported by another A-Wing and two B-Wings.

I, as Darth Grampie flew a TIE Defender with three TIE Fighters in support. My daughter playing as Howlrunner had a TIE Interceptor and three TIE Fighters.

I painted some scenery to make a bigger base, but of course it was not as lovely as OSHIROmodels work. Some photos of the set-up here.

The Rebels were briefed that the Imperial ships would not take off from the base until the first shots were fired, thus sounding the base alarm. The rebels started manoeuvring through the trees and came across two AT-STs which they duly dispatched. This alerted Darth Grampie as he felt a disturbance in the Force! Imperial forces take off to investigate.

Unbelievably, Darth Grampie is shot down by Eva Skywalker before he's even had a chance to shoot at anything!

Meanwhile, on the Rebel's right flank, a B-Wing is taken out as Poe scores a direct hit on the AT-ST.

All Imperial forces are now airborne (apart from Darth Grampie, who is trying to extricate himself from the crashed TIE Defender).

From the Rebels point of view, the A-Wings and remaining B-Wing separate. The X-Wings stick together but the K-Wing is looking for an easy route through.

Howlrunner in her distinctive red Interceptor are now in range and looking for trouble!

Hard to believe, but Howlrunner, the other Imperial ace is also shot down without firing a shot!

The TIEs get revenge for Darth Grampie by downing an X-Wing,

and then a second one.

Poe is shot down by more TIEs, swarming towards the K-Wing.

Meanwhile, Jedi Master Eva downs two TIE Fighters and evades a third in the race to get to the generator.

Eva Skywalker then gets a direct hit on the generator.

The K-Wing performs a 'do-or-die' manoeuvre through the trees to evade the TIEs.

The TIEs execute a 90 degree turn to port, miss all their shots and then, out of manoeuvring space, they crash head-long into a giant Endorian tree!

One of the B-Wings has also penetrated the defence and scores another hit on the SLD-26 planetary shield generator.

...and now the K-Wing has a chance to drop it's ordinance on the generator too,

but before it locks in the target, the B-Wing and Eva in the X-Wing score another hit apiece and the generator is destroyed! A Rebel victory!

The destruction of the shield means that the Rebel Fleet in orbit around Endor can now attack the Death Star directly.

We had a great game, non-stop carnage!