Welcome to my blog!

News from a wargamer with a special interest in the military history of the Balkans. It mainly covers my current reading and wargaming projects. For more detail you can visit the web sites I edit - Balkan Military History and Glasgow & District Wargaming Society. Or follow me on Twitter @Balkan_Dave

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Burning Empires

My somewhat belated copy of Burning Empires turned up this week. This is the latest Flames of War supplement covering the early war in the Med.
Burning Empires: Battle for the Mediterranean
My primary interest is that it covers the Italian invasion of Greece and the German Balkan Blitzkrieg. Nice to have some official army lists for the period. The supplement also covers the Allied invasion of the French Levant and raiding actions across the desert war area.

The format is the usual FoW style. Well laid out army lists, short history, special rules and a useful painting guide. In essence everything you need to get your army on the tabletop. And I will - sometime!



Tuesday, 22 November 2011

The Black Hole

Busy, busy at present at work so my reading and gaming schedule is slipping somewhat. However, I have just finished The Black Hole by Jan Dalley.

The Black Hole: Money, Myth and EmpireIn 1756 the Nawab of Bengal captured the East India Company's base at Calcutta. Generations of British schoolchildren have been taught that 143 people were then looked in a cell 18ft by 14ft and by the following morning only 23 survived. So the legend of the Black Hole of Calcutta was born and served as the bedrock story of British rule in India.

Thankfully it is almost certainly largely a myth. There is little doubt that some prisoners died, but no where near the numbers quoted in the unreliable and contradictory eye witness accounts. Not least because the room simply could not have held the numbers claimed.

The author does not simply debunk the myth. He explains the basis of the hugely profitable trade between Britain and India that was controlled by the East India Company. The events leading up to the siege and the battle itself. Calcutta was quickly recaptured by Clive who went on to win the Battle of Plassey. It was at this time that the British changed from an aggressive trading partner in India to a colonial master.

This is a well written tale of commercial exploitation and incompetence that none the less led to the creation of a key part of the British Empire. Another excuse to get the sepoys and Mughals on the tabletop.