Jeu de guerre de Ornria

"Postings from the Ornrian Wars", or "Warplay with Plastic Armymen"

A quick out of character moment

I finished reading the John Curry edition of Donald Featherstone's "War Games; Battles and Maneuvers with Model Soldiers". and thought I'd write a short but proper review. To begin with, It's a great effort, and I feel that making these out of print books in a price range I can reach, is an awesome thing. Now on to the critical part; As is common with print on demand press-work there is a decided lack of polish. I noticed several minor typos, and one spot where the formatting seems to have knocked out part of a sentence, typical problems with word-processed documents. Next, the black and white photographs are obviously .jpg files and suffer from compression artifacts and loss of fidelity that comes from low resolution scanning. The pics would have fared better if High Resolution scanning and .tiff format had been used. They are, however, not all bad, in some cases it's actually easier to make out the subject of the image than it was in the original! I think some processing of the image was done, bringing out the stuff that had been lost in dark shadows. So overall it's a bit of a plus! Now a review of content; Wargames is a major seminal work in the toy soldier and wargame hobby. The book is divided into about 5 sections; the first is a brief history of the toy/model soldier and general overview of the hobby as it was 50 years ago. after a brief synopsis of a general battlegame, it moves on to briefly cover campaign games and how to make one's own figures. Then comes the real "meat" of the text. One plus about this new edition is commentary by the editor and various luminaries of the hobby. To begin with, A set of ancient rules based on Tony Bath's original Hyperborian campaign, followed by a sample battle to illustrate how the rules are used. A chapter detailing a nice set of Horse and Musket rules follows, it uses the

Hyperborian Rules for melee, but really stands alone apart from that. I especially favor the mechanic that allows the risking of an Officer casualty. The famous "Battle in the Platteville Valley" scenario follows, a medium sized wargame with balanced forces; 6 infantry Regiments of 20 castings, 2 15 man Cavalry Regiments, and 2 Artillery Batteries (1 gun represents a battery) form each army, thus to play one needs a grand total of ; 240 infantry, 60 horse, and 4 guns with 16 artillerists. a reasonable sized pair of armies! The book moves on to the modern era, with the famous Lionel Tarr WWII rules, and a minor gloss of his solo Stalingrad campaign (eye candy!). Then illustrates the rules with a battle for a crossroads. This is interesting if only for the images which include plaster home-made tanks! An added bonus is that Curry's revision of the book includes the western front equipment that was missing from Tarr's original Eastern Front focused game rules. The book ends with a skirmish rules chapter that is notable primarily for being more in the nature of a set of suggestions. It reminds me very much of a simple Basic Dungeons and Dragons melee. To cap the book is a timeline of publications in Wargaming highlighting the "essential reading" for the serious gamer and toy soldier enthusiast.All in all, as I spent about $20.00 including shipping, I think I got my money's worth! Really, if you only ever buy one book about wargames, this would have to be it. It's certainly on my "stranded on a deserted island" library list!Many Thanks to John Curry, who is engaged in a laudable effort! Well, your mileage may vary, and results may differ, and my opinion is not necessarily reflective of reality, etc....

Armor Trials at Parachute Guy Deployment Center Delta

Field Trials have begun at the Fabulouth Armee's proving grounds outside the small town of Parachute-Guy-Deployment-Center-Delta.  The Army is testing proposals for new tanks to fill the needs of the recent expansion and conversion of the army's Cavalry Regiments.  Under consideration are tanks to fill the needs of Hussar, Uhlan, Dragoon, and Cuirassier Regiments.  According to Colonal Barbette, Proctor of the Martel Cavalry Training School and liason officer of the Quartermaster's Requirements Office, "Several Polyestrine companies have come forward with wonderful machines.  We are quite seriously pushing these machines to the limit in order to reach the requirements of military provision.  After all, it's not merely the speed, armor, or firepower that determines our decision.  The army must also have machines that are durable, rugged, can be made quickly and cheaply, that use minium resources and supplies, in all it's really quite exciting to see these compititions."   
The Army must rapidly provide for the several different needs of the Cavalry Regiments,  The Hussars require rapid movement and communications for their primarily reconnaissance role.  The Dragoons require a good all around mix of armor, speed, and firepower.  Of course the most glamorous arm, the Cuirassier Regiments need to be equipped with a powerful heavy tank.  
     It has been said that there is a real "tank gap" vis-a-vis the PDSR, whose industry is estimated to be building 10-30 new machines per month.  It is a real question whether or not Polyestrine industry can re-arm the Freestate before hostilities in Mantissippi spread into neighboring states.  Concern in the cabinet borders on a tank obsession, and bills have been posted requiring the donation and compulsory recycling of paper products  to supply local factories with the necessary construction materials for mass manufacture of military hardware.  Chrysrolet executives have begun hiring to establish a new factory in Polyesterdelphia, and have opened negotiations with the Paperworker's Union that so far have proven quite amiable.  Below are some images from the workyards of the Proving grounds showing some examples under consideration.

Attention Aircraft Spotters!

There is a friendly stranger in the skies!  The Army Air Service has just received delivery of its first flight of Flyit fighters.  Built by the Flyit Avaiation Factory of Polyesterdelphia, these powerful aircraft put the Freestate ahead of it's rivals in Aeroplane development.  It is made of the best paper materials from the papermills of Pactraplant, and welded with powerful new Elmerson Adhesives of Testorton.  These beautiful machines composed of only dozens of parts can be made more quickly and cheaply than former defense aircraft, and yet fly faster, and carry more machine guns and bombs than anything before it.
    Amazing too, is the speed at which Military Aviation Engineers from the Army and from Polyestrine industry were able to produce these powerful new elements of national defense.  Only days from the planning, to printer to flight status!
     Flyit Aviation is proud to put this newly minted sword into the hands of The Freestate's finest pilots, the Chevaliers of the Army Air Service!

Secrets of Ornrian Temporal Reckoning, or a calendar for an Imagi-nation.

Hi there happy reader!

I've been doing a little more research into things Ornrian, and today I'm going to share more secrets of Ornrian time keeping!  Actually, as I've noted in previous posts Ornrians are very lazy mathematicians, so they practise a simple time keeping system.   You may remember my prior explanation of the months of the Ornrian Calendar however, I'll repeat them here, as I expect you will indulge me the redundancy in favor on not having to look through prior posts for reference.
     The twelve months are named; Frostember, Thawinary, Rainuary, Mudember, Smellgoodie, Swimuary, Sweatember, Griddle, Antember, Piefestober, Chillin (or Chillings),  and Freezeuary.
   All the months are of 30 days each, and are divided into 5 weeks of 6 days.  Easy hunh?
     On to the days of the week then;
Maunday is reckoned to be the first day of the week.  The name derives from "maun" which is an ancient word for begging.  Traditionally it's the day for observing charity to the poor by giving coins to beggars, volunteering to help at charitable organizations and so forth.  Also churches usually run food bank drives, and children sell candy and cookies.  
     In Modern times it became a day for Union activities, and led to the establishment of the 5 day work week.  More recently the day has become commonly written as Moanday, and aquired an air of aggrieved inevitability.  The Moanday Sigh as one drinks one's coffee before returning to the 'daily grind' is emblematic of the modern worker's mild malaise.

Tewsday is traditionally the day for hard labor.  In olden times Tew was the word for working leather, beating metal, pulling up heavy loads, towing carts or laden barges, and by extension any mind numbingly simple physical labor; ie. "To tew in the mines".  In more modern times Tew has become conflated with two as Tewsday is the second weekday, hence the common if incorrect useage of "Twosday".

Weddinsday,   The Third day of the week in ancient times, this was a pantheonic observance day favored for weddings.  In consequence the day came to be called weddings day or weddinsday, although Pantheonday is sometimes archaically used.

Thirstday,   In ancient times this was known as Duetheondi or Corn Sowing Day, a laborous and thirsty activity.  It aquired the common name of "thirstyday" in the 6 to 9th century.  Some religous groups have retroactivally applied a ritual fast, drinking nothing from Sun-up to Sun-down.  Especially observed in the Hot Countries

Fryday,  Properly the day is Vendorsday, in ancient and medieval times the Fair day, although some argue the name decends from "Venus'day".  In the 1st and 2nd Centuries the Ortholical Church lifted proscriptions against prostitution on Vendor's day.  In the Early Modern period Vendor's day became a celebration, often a shopping day or festival day, with people finishing the work week with a bit of fun.    Fried food became a centerpiece of the day, both at the fair; fried fritters, fried apples, chitterlins, and so forth.  The idyllic finish to the day is Fried Chicken at Grandma's house.  Hence "Fryday".

Shatterday,  Origin of the name is unclear, it is proposed to derive either from the mythological origins of the world;  breaking out of an egg, or from 'Slatter' a word meaning a washing woman.  The day is a traditional laundry day and so the idea has some wieght.  Slatternsday is attested in a letter of 5BCE and may mean either a weekday name or simply that it was washing day.  Slatter is the root of 'slattern' and 'slut', and if indeed the origin of the weekday name, sheds light on the socio-dynamics of gender relations during the early modern period.

12 O'Clock High!

Polyesterdelphian Tribune
Annalise Blathermukl reporting
3rd Rainuary, A Polyesterdelphian Airfield in Mantissippi.

     The rains have set in, and the young people of the Armee Air Arm chafe at the wait for good weather.  Even the foggy rain doesn't keep these folks down though.   They have a nonchalance unique to the young as they play cards for matches, and drink the strong Air Arm coffee.
     These are proud boys and young women, proud of their new "crates".  This wing has recently been re-equipped with the Freestate's newest bomber, a ship from the Alexi Zubr papermills nicknamed the" Zoober" by these cheerful youths. 
     It's a  roaring Goblin of Canvass and Steel that screams aloft in the shortest of sunbrakes to drop it's load of "eggs" on the Enemy's rear positions.
     Intentionally avoiding population centers, they give supply dumps, military trains, and troop concentrations a good "pasting".  I recently made a harrowing flight with one of these brave crews, and it was no picnic!
     We woke about 3AM to prepare for the run, timed to arrive over the target at dawn.  Coffee and Donuts fortified us for our ordeal.  We filled our thermos bottles with the hot brew and braced against the  chill outside our canvas barracks.   
     Our Pilot-Captain, Jack Vanzant of Testorton smiled a dog-tired smile at me as he gathered his crew like a group of goslings into the Command Tent for AM briefing.  Grizzled Major Timance gave the briefing with a wall map, and a sawhorse table of aerial reconnaissance photos.  Our job this day - save lives by obliterating a large artillery ammunition depot behind enemy lines.  
     The boys looked serious as they paid close attention to the briefing, the Major outlining the safest approach, and highlighting Republican Anti-Aircraft positions, the famous Ack-Ack.  An extra chill thrilled down my spine as I saw the many big guns that would be probing to take our lives.  It's wonderful to see that no-one in this flight is quailing at the work that's been cut out for them by "The Brass".
     A few questions, and we're out again into the damp cold for the pre-flight inspection.  Every join, screw, rivet and nut seems to be examined and passed.  Ammunition is loaded aboard for the heavy machine guns that will hopefully keep the PDRs dangerous fighters at bay.  I mustn't think too much about them, they give me the feeling of jumping into a school of sharks, swift powerfully finned death.  Some of our 'crates' won't be coming home, and it's a thought everyone here must keep pushing to the back of our minds like an ill fitting cap.
    Soon the Bomb Loaders come, burdened with the heavy, fat, finned 'eggs' that are the kernel of our endeavor.  Someone produces some chalk, and everyone takes a second to scratch something clever into the paint of the bombs.  Much of it unprintable here, and some giving the addresses and names of such of the enemy as is known to us.
     Now it's time to "saddle up".  We clamber into the great bird.  As large as it seems outside, suddenly, inside, the space feels as cramped as a sardine tin.  I wiggle into my assigned space, a tractor seat next to a celluloid film window laced with steel and aluminum girders.  Suddenly I feel how fragile a flying craft is. I must rest my feet with care on the slim plywood floor, a careless move might put my foot through the hardened paper-fibre skin between me and the Aether,
   The rest of the crew settles in;  Captain Vanzant with his rakish hat dons his radio-headset, his co-pilot, a Lt. Mouse of Roach Harbor runs through the check-list, she has tufts of blonde hair that stray out of her cap, and her smile is comforting.  Lt. Mouse doubles as the Bombardier once we are over our target, she claims she can plant one of her "eggs" into a chimney with a new device, though I shan't speak of it further for security's sake.
     Sergeant Bruimble, whose huge mustache makes him look like a Musketeer out of the pages of a Dumas novel grins at me in comradeship as he squeezes by to settle behind the blue-black steel of the machine-gun.  Lastly comes Specialist "Zappy" Hersdzukken, the youngest of us.  Despite his cherubic youthfulness, he holds one of the most serious positions on board, that of radio operator.  On him we depend to find our way to the target location, and to maintain all important communications with our escort fighters.  I wonder what he'd be doing if there was no war, dating a girl, and drinking phosphates at the corner drugstore I imagine.  Instead, he is huddled in his flight gear over our lifeline, a box of wires and tubes whose mysteries his young mind has had to quickly master in this National Crisis.
     I'm shivering, my fingers already numbing around my pad and pencil as I try to note my impressions.  The powerful resinous chemical smells of airplane dope, fuel oil and kerosene.  the arcs of Ozone from the radio equipment, and the sizzle of static from the radio headsets.  Finally the check is over and the ground crew shouts "Contact!" and the great fans begin to turn.  The sound is tremendous!  Hundreds of Horsepower whirl the propeller blades into a typhoon that soon has us rumbling cacophonously across the grassy field.  My heart is thrown into my throat as we bounce a few times, and then Lurch into the air with the grace of a goon-bird.  I now understand why our breakfast was so small!
     The Vibration is tremendous, exhilarating and soon, I become numb in my sitting parts.  It's cold up here,the fume of my breath begins to make a jack-frost pattern on the tubes and girders that surround me,  and the sensation of wonder grows as, looking DOWN, through the warbling plastic, I see a cold purple-blue seascape of cloud reminiscent of a Max Parish painting.
     I can't hear it, but I feel my heart pounding hard in an anticipation that becomes more unbearable as each second ticks by like iced molasses. It is a long ride in the frigid protean gloom to the battlefield, harder even because of the harsh adrenalin coursing one's veins.
    Zappy gives me a distant look, his wireless is talking to him, though I cannot hear it.  The tight lines around his eyes tell me everything, "Incoming!".  The shark school of ugly open-mouthed Dardo Fighter-planes has already spotted us.  The fight is fast after the long painful wait.  My discomfort is forgotten as I strain my eyes to sight the enemy.  I never see him.  To my surprise there appears a  hole near my hand,  another nearly a foot above it.  Our machine has a whole range of new vibrations, the machineguns, now sputtering a waterstream of tracers out into the dark blue sky.        
      Ice fills my veins now, I realize how near death we really are.  I'm trapped up here in a small wooden crate filled with explosives, like a Founder's Day Fireworks Stand, and nothing below to catch us if we fall.  Everyone else has something to occupy them, to distract from the gut emptying fear.  Brumble gives the captain a thumbs up.  I think he's gotten a hit on a Dardo.  That makes me feel half a breath better.  
     A tap on my shoulder, and I jump with unconscious fear, it's just Zappy.  He smiles grimly and points out the window.  I can't see it at first, but then I catch a tiny shadow through the warped plastic of the window.  It's a plane, not a the distinctive Dardo, but something else.  I feel elation, a cold breath brings down the panic as I watch the fighter spin and flash as briefly as a tree glimpsed in a lightning storm.  Then  it's beyond my line of sight, leaving the retinal after image of our Falgore fighters!  I could kiss it in my glee.
     That's short lived though.  A black rose blooms outside.  I sense more than feel the shock.  It's Ack Ack, and it rapidly gets worse.   Soon we are in a broiling rapids of it.  The harsh rocking and jolting makes me fear we'll come apart.  Can I feel more heart squeezing terror than I do now?  I don't think it's possible, Then I see off our wing a sister ship, I think it's Captain Cod's, then it becomes suddenly a comet, a long tail of black behind it, as it plunges an eerily slow ballistic arc away and down.  I can never forget, so burned into my mind it will be, first the left wing folding and falling away like a paper crane, then from the darkness of the fuselage the image of a man, windmilling his way to his final resting place, no chute to save him.  The Horror is complete. 
      I remember everything seeming to slow down and dim, and the fire of the harsh coffee of the morning rises up, burning my throat acidly as it comes back to visit. Mercifully the Air Force is equipped for such emergencies- there are many uses for brown paper lunch-bags.
     I can't tell if the roller coaster of turbulence is growing less, or I'm just becoming accustomed to it.  Now and then a near one still seems as if it will kill us, tearing us apart, as careless as a child playing with a moth.  Fragile and helpless we are, yet the people around me are stern and solid.  Do they not know fear as I do, or has familiarity bred contempt? I cannot say.  But this is bravery, the knowledge of death, and yet unflinching adherence to duty.   We could quit, we could turn around, I almost very much want to, I nearly need to, but I know we must go on.  Still it's there, the knowledge that no one would reproach us in word, but we would live with the shame of those who survived by not going all the way...  A hard fate.  We go on.
     Now is the hour, the minute, the seconds.  Our target is sited.  Lt Mouse moves to the greenhouse-nose and puts her head to the bombsight.  I feel the bomb bay doors open.  The plane levels and we are now at our most vulnerable, flying straight steady and true.   Then I see the burst of the Sun!  it gleams from the metal outside like a furious God.  I am blinded to the effects off the drop.  I cannot see.  I feel the shudder and jump as the "stick" of bombs are released, and Lt Mouse mouths "Bombs Away!" at me.  The engines rev faster and we climb quickly.  Fear mingles with renewed hope.  I ache for home, we seem to move so slowly.  I burn with impatience!  If only I could get up and pace, or occupy myself somehow... this waiting is horrid!  I'm afraid to hope.  Then I notice something very wrong.  What is it?  What's this new terror?  it dawns on me...  We are past the rocking of Ack-ack.  Our flight turns placid as before us stretches the beautiful calm green of countryside in the sun.  Nothing has ever looked so peaceful and beautiful before!  My shaking hands are handed a cup of coffee.  I spill much of it, and it's hot, but also comforting and I smile at the people around me.  
     Soon I spot our home field, the canvass tents and familiar cross shapes of aircraft below us soon dreamily drift closer, and before long at all the pitch of noises change, A massive Jump and jolt, and we are terrestrial once more.   As amazing a ride as humanity has ever offered is now over, yet strangely I miss it.  I half want to do it again.  I now understand something of the bravery of the Air Arm's fine young people, and it's profound.  
      Later we are debriefed.  We learn our raid was a success, a stockpile of shrapnely death denied our enemies, many a grumbling hairy mudfooted infantrymen will live another day due to our exploit, and some number of tank crews have been spared a fiery death.  But our cost was high.  8 planes left here.  We were among the four that returned from the raid.  Two others found refuge in other harbors, "crates" riddled with machinegun holes and unable to go further.
     The Major gives us all a round of good stiff Potomacanian Burbon before we drag ourselves leadenly to the tents for an all-too-short daytime nap.  Another Day, another paycheck for these true heroes! Duty, Honor, Fraternity...  The words they live by.  This is what is best in a democracy.  Each person an individual, with hopes and dreams waiting to be fulfilled, or cut short, but not to be ignored.  We observe the loss of Cpt Cod's crew, and Cpt Lewson, Cpt Blondotter's and Cpt Globlerth's.  19 men and women gone from the globe, but not from our memories or our hearts.  It is for them we must carry on. "¡No pasarĂ¡n!"

...Somewhere in Mantissippi

Polyesterdelphia Prattle-Herald
Anonymous member of the Regiment
Last night the Anneglug Chasseurs bivouaced among the splintered trees of a once fine pear orchard, now devestated by Republican Mammoths. The Wooly beasts have left foul smelling calling cards all over the wreckage. Even more awful are the swollen bug infested carcasses of the beasts. Local Vigilante groups, pushed into killing the monsters to protect thier homes and fields, have triggered the war at last. Two days ago unidentified elements of the People's Army of the People's Democratic Steppe Republic pushed beyond the frontier into Mantissippi. Some of them have dug in for the night only a few dozen yards away from this point. Thier apish crude laughter sits heavy on the crisp night air, and burning pearwood smoke from thier campfires gives a bleak autumnal atmosphere to the theater. The shooting hasn't started in earnest. There is only lazy shelling of this position. It seems the enemy is disorganized and poorly supplied. Our brave Army of the Expedition is digging in. These Anneglug Chasseurs are valiant people. We know we may soon face the legions of People's Tanks, and we have little to stop them with but courage. Ours is a light regiment, swift to respond but lacking in heavy weapons. There is one machine gun in the regiment. One anti-tank gun, no bazookas, no mortars. If the enemy presses hard we will have to fall back, But that's our job here, to buy the allies time. We will do that job. Our blood will be a wall, a hedge, and wading through us will be like swimming in molasses. The Jack-Boots of the People's Army are going to find it hard going as we are in good spirits. There is little fear, and much excitement. Tonight is perhaps the last respite. Dawn will bring the war. The Freestate will prevail, you at home will make it so. As brave as we Chasseurs are, you must be braver still. It will take sacrifice to stand up to the Mob Dictatorship of our enemy, for they are numerous, viscious, and driven. Freedom and Justice under the guidance of faith will give us a positive conclusion. So work hard, be frugal, and buy war bonds. We will win through your labors. Amen

18 Thawninary

Jabjotha Desert Scarab
Jabjotha, Yarkastan Jabber Telallah

Once again Oppressorbad has closed it's borders. During the night Concrete Barriers were erected on the Afeekashban,Dogchewigrad, and Cappochino Railroad. Agog and Podunk report similar closures.
Gray tanks have been spotted on maneuvers in the disputed territory north of the Asp River. Oppressorbad officials are silent, and the Hemmer Confederation denys any involvement in the armored incursion.
His Excellency the Pooba of Yarkastan has put negotiations with Agog on hold, possibly to avoid further antagonizing the government of Oppressorbad.
Chairman Glumjaw, Oppressorbad's aging dictator, is not known to have made a public appearance since the Annual Freezuary 13th Parade in Styrofoamybad. Rumors that he is being succeeded by a government of hardliners possibly headed by Party Secretary Punknose are unconfirmed at this time.

13 Thawinary

Kiltrash Examiner
Trade Resumes!
Kiltrash, Earldom of Ear
Jock Mcintosh
This afternoon a new trade agreement between the Earldom and the Marquisate of Gueret goes into effect, ending the 10 month import ban Gueret had imposed on Earish wool and mutton. The glut of wool, and the scarcity of Gueret butter and guapamolotl Chocolotl brought new experiments in cuisine from our enterprising island nation.
Among our successes; a margarine of wool lanolin and sheep milk, and a
'chocolate' bar whose recipe is a secret, though it does use sheep products. (It tastes brown in this editor's opinion.) Also Potatoscotch, a butterscotch alternative, and a potato/Lanolin shortbread cookie.
No matter the hardships our National breakfast of kippers and groats has remained unchanged!
Speaking today from Perpiggy in the Marquisate the Earl of Ear had this to say;
"It ghives me grrreat joy ta see our wee dif'rences sa well patched upp!"
The Marquis of Gueret in his turn at the podium declared;
"Hit Eees Joyeuse that Fraternite et diplomacee can overcome le differahncees of zees too grreat peoples! Viva la diffherance!"
The Ambassador of Dundoon pleaded no comment on the development though unconfirmed rumors that Dundoon has expanded it's submarine fleet does give one pause.
Dundoon and Summartha continue to be the Marquisates principle markets, so it is unlikely that Gueret has signed any military agreements with our Earldom. The old treaties remain in force however, providing for a naval alliance with Gueret in case of war with Illee.

11 of Thawinary

From the Drawingboard Daily Wind, Squigglesbottom, Queendom of Ilee
Olander Prigg reporting
The Queen spoke today amid the Roses of her Retreat at Skigglesbottom. Her Majesty was pleased to announce a Tripartate Friendship and Trade Treaty between the Queendom, The 2nd Polyester Freestate, and Podunk.
She praised the work of her royal sister, the Dame of Winklewikky, Special Envoy to the Freestate and Podunk.
Meanwhile the tension mounts with Podunk's nieghbor Oppressorbad whose Satrap has said Very Nasty Things about our beloved Queen.
Podunk is, in addition, fending off Etrulian accusations of overfishing the Bronx River, a ridiculous claim from a nation which has 7 barge fish factories on the river itself.
It is a concern with this editor that we may be drawn into a general war. Certainly the Ministry of the Military cannot be seriously contemplating involving our valiant small army on the continent? Who could consience such folly?