Monday, 12 February 2018

Piddling-Snodsbury Canal Update

The navvies who have been causing so much trouble of late in the Bull and Bush (which is praised highly in the Automobile Guide) at Market Snodsbury have completed the first section of canal including two locks to start the climb towards Much-Piddling. Once they start drinking in the Cock-Dropper's Arms at Great Snoring of an evening, we may have to call on the services of our local bobby, P.C. Eustace Oates from the Totleigh-in-the-Wold police station. He should be able to quell any disturbances to the peace of this bucolic paradise!

Much painting and flocking etc. to be done now that the canal has arrived. No idea how to paint the water yet.

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Piddling-Snodsbury Canal Coy.

Work continues apace on the first narrow boat for the Piddling Snodsbury Canal Company. Will soon need a canal!

Friday, 2 February 2018

Toastrack RNAS and the Bordello Incident

A game of Wings of Glory using the Standard Rules. With due acknowledgement to Grimjack of the LAF as creator of Sub-Lieutenant Toastrack RNAS.
The scenario is that one of the British aircraft has a camera and must take a photograph of the target by stalling his aircraft within short-range of the target. The Germans must prevent this from happening or down the camera aircraft before it returns to base.

Colonel W. T. F. Kenwood-Chef DFC entered the pilots mess of No. 46 Squadron early that fateful morning. It was a dull and misty morning with rain forecast over the Ypres region all day. Roger Toastrack had a serious hang-over and was concentrating on keeping greasy fried eggs in their current location, rather than allowing them to make a re-appearance on his breakfast plate. Flight Lieutenant Gubber had snitched a parcel sausage-side and gone goose over stumps frog-side and 46 had held their traditional wake for a departed pilot.

Toastrack had been on attachment to 46 Squadron for some time trying to pass on his legendary skills at advanced navigation to a load of pongoes. A hopeless task, he felt.

“Ah, Toastrack,” boomed Kenwood-Chef. Toastrack’s head-ache was not improved by the foghorn-like tones of Kenwood-Chef’s normal speaking voice. “Got a little job for you this morning, I want you to rendezvous with a reccy bod and escort him over the lines to Roulers. The Château de Rumbeke to be precise.”

“Belgian partisans report intense activity with high-ranking German officers toing and froing constantly. Top brass wants to know what the devil’s going on. Off you pop, there’s a good chap.”
That’s how Roger Toastrack found himself at 10,000 feet with a wintry dawn about to rise, flying his Sopwith Camel and waiting to rendezvous with a ‘reccy bod’. The ‘bod’ duly arrived in an Airco DH.2 fitted out with an aerial camera of the latest design. Top brass wanted plenty of photographs. The pilot was none other than Lieutenant The Honourable George Colthurst St. Barleigh MC.

George was an old school chum from Roger’s days at St. Cakes School. Happier times before the war, under the stern and forbidding eye of the headmaster, Mr. R. J. Kipling BA.

Meanwhile, over the other side of the lines all is not well. Manfred von Richthofen has been briefed on Jasta 11’s latest mission by none other than Erich von Falkenhayn himself. Lothar, Manfred’s younger brother can see that Manfred is not happy about the mission.
“Those imbeciles at the High Command want us to fly round-the-clock protection over the Château de Rumbeke”, expostulated Manfred. “….and do you know what is the reason for this? A high-class bordello has been set up there for high-ranking officers and they are concerned that the Britishers may try and bomb the chateau and wipe out the whole command! Bloody good luck to them, I say!”
Manfred and Lothar find themselves patrolling the skies above the Château de Rumbeke and out of boredom are indulging in some aerobatics.

Then Manfred sees two specks approaching from the British lines. Signalling Lothar to continue the patrol, Manfred von Richthofen turns his bright red Dr.1 towards the enemy.

Approaching Roulers, Toastrack espies probable German aircraft and alters course to investigate. George makes adjustments to his course to head directly for the chateau and obtain the much-needed photographs. If he could be heard above the roar of the Gnome Monosoupape rotary engine, you would be able to hear him whistling the tune of Camptown Races.

Initially, Toastrack moves out of Manfred’s line of fire. Then both pilots circle around to get in a firing position. George bravely flies on alone towards the chateau. Lothar, seeing combat is about to commence, carries out an Immelman turn and head towards the action.

Manfred and Toastrack open fire at the same time at short range. Both cause severe damage to the others aircraft and both pilots are wounded. As Lothar turns to enter the fray he crosses the nose of George’s Airco and George opens up with the Lewis. Lothar’s engine is damaged but he is still able to fly.

George then crosses Lothar’s sights and takes some structural damage to the Airco. Undeterred, George maintains his steady course towards the target. Manfred side-slips the Dr.1 and Toastrack performs an Immelman, leaving them both unable to fire at each other.

George is now positioning himself for the photo run over the chateau. Toastrack, thinking of the mission, tries to break contact with Manfred’s Fokker and flies to engage Lothar to keep him off George’s back. Manfred, diving Toastrack’s intentions correctly, performs an Immelman putting himself in a perfect position, right on Toastrack’s tail. Unfortunately for Manfred, just out of range for his twin Spandaus.

Lothar, seeing the Honourable George slipping past him, also performs an Immelman and tries to manoeuvre himself into a firing position. Unfortunately for Lothar, he crosses Toastrack’s sights. Toastrack opens up with his twin Vickers. Lothar’s engine is hit again and the yellow Fokker spirals down to the ground, out of control.

As Lothar is going down in an uncontrollable spin, George stalls the Airco over the chateau and gets a lovely series of photographs of staff cars unloading a series of high-ranking army officers. He wonders what the Germans are planning. Maybe a big new offensive? George performs an Immelman and plots a direct course for home, tea and medals.

Manfred, having watched his younger brother shot out of the sky is out for revenge. Banking right, he unleashes a long burst from the twin Spandaus and has the satisfaction of seeing Toastrack’s Camel erupt into flames. “Buggery, bollocks,” ejaculates Toastrack, “I’m in the soup now!”.

Manfred now flies too close to Toastrack’s Camel to shoot at him and instead fires at George who is still pushing the Airco flat out for home. Luckily for George there is no damage to his aircraft, but he pluckily returns fire with his Lewis and Manfred’s rudder jams.

To avoid mid-air collisions, Toastrack banks left of George and Manfred banks right. As Toastrack and George pass they exchange cheery waves. Not a very cheery wave from the Red Baron though.

Toastrack now finds that his Camel won’t fly straight and nearly collides with the Fokker.

Manfred performs an Immelman turn and once again hits Toastrack’s Camel with his machine-guns. To George’s horrified gaze, the Camel explodes in mid-air.

George is now in a very sticky situation, probably the stickiest situation since Sticky the Stick Insect got stuck on a sticky bun. He needs to get the Airco and its precious cargo of photographs back to safety but the Red Baron’s Dr.1 is a faster machine. George has a head start on him but will it be enough? George flies straight and true and as the minutes tick by, it looks like he’s going to get the tea and medals after all.

As George nurses the Airco back over his own lines, Manfred is forced to turn back due to the intensity of the Allied ack-ack. Good old George!


There was 1 point awarded for an enemy aircraft exiting the game. 2 points for each enemy aircraft shot down. There was -1 point for having one of your own aircraft shot down and an aircraft exiting from it’s starting side with the photographs earns 2 points.
Thus, the game concluded with an allied victory of 3 points to 1.
We await with bated breath to see if Lothar and Toastrack escaped death to fight another day.

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

The Lisbon Maru Incident

My friend, fellow Mountain Rescue team member and near-neighbour, Brian Finch has translated a book on the Lisbon Maru incident and it has just been published. Brian was commissioned into the Middlesex Regiment in 1960 and served with one of the survivors of the Lisbon Maru, sparking a life-long interest. Brian saw active service in Malaysia (where he commanded a platoon of Iban head-hunters), and later on peacekeeping duties in Northern Ireland.

It gives details of the Lisbon Maru Incident of 1942, seen through the eyes of the Chinese fishermen who rescued hundreds of British prisoners of war from Hong Kong, whose ship had been torpedoed. The Japanese had tried to keep them in the holds as the ship sank, and then shot at them as they tried to escape. These courageous fishermen not only prevented hundreds more deaths, they also hid three prisoners under the noses of the Japanese until they could be sent secretly on a journey across more than 1,000 miles of China to reach Chongqing, from where they could tell the world what had happened.

A highly recommended read.

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Piddling-Snodsbury Canal

Work continues on the first narrow boat for the Piddling-Snodsbury Canal Co. It is intended that this boat will transport coal between Much-Piddling and Market Snodsbury. Of course, it could also be a means of transport for the U-Boat sailors mentioned in the scenario in a previous post!

Sunday, 21 January 2018

News Flash

Newsflash from the Piddling-Snodsbury Canal Co.

Fat Nun with Big Gun steals narrow boat!

Much-Piddling Cricket Club Pavilion

Just finished the MPCC pavilion this morning, one more for the Dad's Army game later this year. The player's are not painted yet but hopefully will be complete soon.

The Much-Piddling Cricket Club.............

.............their only opponents at present, the St. Trinians girls! The MPCC have 542 to make owing to the 6th form St. Trinians girls having seduced the scorer to get at his barrel of scrumpy (and in the process, fiddling the score). Caught in the slips, indeed! The bowler’s Holding, the batsman’s Willey.

and the pavilion. Lord Snapcase, Chulmleigh the bulldog and Old Scrotum (the wrinkled Snapcase family retainer) inspect the wicket at lunch.

Much-Piddling Water Mill

The Sarissa water mill is now complete. This is planned to be used in the DevLAM '18 Dad's Army game but will also fit in nicely in my Witchfinder General project (more details The Belstone Cleave Coven). It is a very nice MDF kit and I decided not to detail the interior.


Much-Piddling Home Guard

In preparation for the much-anticipated DevLAM '18, I am preparing a Dad's Army type game set in my home village of Much-Piddling. The scenario is somewhat insane, too involved and impossible to play, so I'm definitely going to run it! We shall probably use Bolt Action rules with the Unternehmen Seelöwe supplement.

Here is a rough draft of the scenario which will evolve over the coming months:

Dad's Army Game (|A Working Title), Version 1.0 - DevLAM '18

Die Luftwaffe

I see John as Staffelkapitän Peter Wilhelm Stahl (2nd from right), Iron Cross First and Second Class, German Cross in Gold of the highly secret and elite Kampfgeschwader 200. Stahl heads a detachment within KG200 responsible for flying large aircraft (including captured allied planes) on special long-range flights under difficult navigational conditions. As there will be minimal Luftwaffe figures in the game, John will also command the Nazi fifth column in Devon (obviously there will be German agents dressed as Nuns, maybe even a pram or two?) and maybe a Fallschirmjäger unit.

Der Kriegsmarine

Doug of course is Kapitänleutnant Günther Prien, Iron Cross First and Second Class, U-boat War Badge with Diamonds and Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves. Prien is in command of the new type VIIB Unterseeboot, U-47.

Home Guard, Royal Navy, Women's Land Army, Much-Piddling Women's Institute etc.

I see myself as the bumbling and incompetent Captain Bertram Wilberforce Snapcase, 10th Earl of Snapcase. Snapcase is in charge of the local home guard only by virtue of his position in the county. At the time of the incident, he will be the senior office present in the vicinity! Oh Lord!


It is 1940 and the Battle of Britain is underway. Two female SOE agents have stolen the OKW plans for Unternehmen Seelöwe and, impersonating Abwehr agents are about to be dropped into England by parachute from Stahl’s plane. Stahl believes they are on a secret mission for the Abwehr in England. Hanna Reitsch is flying as Stahl’s co-pilot. The plane also contains secret early German radar equipment for testing, codenamed Hohentwiel. The agents decide on a risky strategy of setting the plane alight after crossing the English Channel, in order to force the plane to land in England. They can then deliver the plans, capture Stahl and hand the radar equipment over to the RAF for examination.
Stahl manages to transmit a May Day call giving his location as near Much-Piddling, Devon before crash-landing the plane. Fearing the secret radar equipment may fall into enemy hands, the Germans mobilise all resources to either recapture or destroy it. U-47 (the nearest German force) is patrolling the Atlantic and is tasked by the Kriegsmarine to land a force of sailors near Barnstaple to retrieve the Luftwaffe crew, the secret plans and the radar itself. Meanwhile, agents of the Abwehr in Devon have been alerted to the plight of the downed airmen and the fact that SOE agents have the secret plans. To avoid being shot by the Luftwaffe crew, the SOE girls are currently with the plane crew who think they are protecting them. The agents will make a run for it if they think the circumstances are right.


OKW Secret plans
Radar equipment
Possible capture/kidnap of important characters


Doug – U-Boat crew
John – Plane crew, fifth column (possibly small unit of Fallschirmjäger delivered by glider, Otto Skorzeny?)
Martin - Home Guard, Royal Navy, Women’s Land Army, Much-Piddling WI

Notable Characters Who May Be Present!

HRH Princess Elizabeth
Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark
Winston Churchill
Roderick Spode, 7th Earl of Sidcup

Recommended Watching

Went the Day Well?
The Eagle Has Landed
Cottage to Let

DevLAM '17

Over the course of a November weekend three like-minded LAFers met at Snapcase Hall, Much-Piddling in Devon for a long weekend of gaming, drinking and socialising. A superb time and some really great games. Here are a few teaser photos, links to the full AARs below. In the meantime I would like to thank Doug and John for a really great weekend, I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it (apart from my hang-over that morning!). It was my privilege and an absolute pleasure to game with you both.


The Haunted Temple (run by Doug em4, Frostgrave)

The Cattle-Baron's Daughter (run by Mad Lord Snapcase, Shoot 'N Skedaddle, scenario very kindly provided by Elbows)

The Elven Lord's Treasure (run by Doug em4, Frostgrave)

Return of the Mabel Street Gang (run by Vagabond, Two-Hour Wargames)

Momento Mori (run by Mad Lord Snapcase, Pulp Alley)

Doug's empties!

The Protagonists: Doug em4, Mad Lord Snapcase, Vagabond - yee haaar!

After Action Reports

Game 3 - The Elven Lord's Treasure

Game 5 - Memento Mori