Wednesday 21 June 2023



Regular readers of this blog will know that I can take my own sweet time in updating it with new material. Compared to the 15 years+ it has taken to get this project over the line, that seems pretty efficient. 

I must have started this at least 15 years ago and got it 90% finished. It then lay on the shelf whilst other things got in the way. I have finally managed to get it done and I must admit I am quite pleased with it. This is the first in what will hopefully be a series of short monographs on aspects of the Franco-Prussian War that interest me. 

The mitrailleuse is one of those subjects that is often talked about in relation to the battles of 1870, but in truth is little understood. Michael Howard's dismissive comments on its role and usefulness have been uncritically echoed by most subsequent English language writers and I am pleased to make a start in adding a little balance to the debate.

The book traces the development of the weapon before moving on to examine its technical characteristics and its tactical use on the battlefield. It will I hope, convince people that it was not a largely useless curiosity, but an imaginative and, for the time, remarkably well engineered piece of military technology. It had its shortcomings to be sure, but is deserving of a long-overdue reappraisal.

It is currently receiving its final proof reading before heading off to the printers. As it is a fairly specialised subject, I will probably only have a hundred copies printed initially, so if you would like to reserve one, please contact me at Price will be around £18.00 plus postage.

Monday 12 June 2023

I Blame Bloody Partizan!!


Like many wargamers I am sure, concentrating on one or two projects at a time and bringing them successfully to conclusion is easier said than done. Having several periods competing for painting time and a load of terrain boards and drop on features to make, the last thing I needed was another "bright idea" to complicate my wargaming life even further. Unfortunately I made my usual (and indispensable) visit to the Partizan wargames show, held on 21 May.

As usual, it was a great day out, packed full of excellent games and a chance to chat with lots of people I don't see at any other time. The high point was a superb ACW game put on by Dave Andrews, David Imrie and friends (the bayonets) and that is where the trouble began. I spent much of the day coming back to watch the game unfold and had a great chat with the guys putting it on. One of them gave me a copy of their handout, which included a link to a free set of  ACW rules, written by a chap in the US

Jay's Wargaming Madness (

If you are not familiar with this guys blog, it is well worth a look.

Anyway as a Yorkshireman anything that is free gets my attention and when I got home I ran off a copy of the rules - big mistake! I had watched them in use during the game and they looked to be a lot of fun and quite fast moving. When I read them through I couldn't resist doing the one thing I really shouldn't have - I ordered a couple of boxes of Perry Plastic Confederates and two metal command packs (enough figures for a brigade of 4 regiments) and set to work on yet another fairly large project. 

I am trying to get AWI, Napoleonic and WW2 on the move and already have longer term plans for the Italian and Seven Years Wars and the prospect of buying and painting another 800+ figures for something entirely different is just too silly - what can I say! 

In my defence, here are a few photos of the game that started it all - hopefully it offers some mitigation. If I can also get my arse in gear and start posting on my own blog a bit more regularly, that would also be a good step forward. Anyway, here they are - enjoy:

When I get a unit or two done, I will post a few pics. I hope this isn't another stillborn project that seemed a good idea at the time!