Osprey has been busy recently!


Osprey has recently published several new books of various genres covering several periods of military history.  Napoleonic Heavy Cavalry & Dragoon Tactics is self-explanatory, and is a useful treatise on the uniforms, armament, and tactics used by the Imperial troops and their many adversaries. Like most of Osprey’s past titles, this is lavishly illustrated with original artwork. Plates show the typical heavy cavalrymen, as well as illustrating their tactics on the battlefield.

The French Musketeer 1622-1775 covers the period made famous by Alexander Dumas in his classic book with the tale of Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, and their young friend D’Artagnan. Again, color plates show examples of uniforms. The books details the formation of the Musketeers, their rise to prominence, and their eventual downfall.

Manzikert 1071 details a critical battle between the Byzantine Empire and the Seljuq Turks at the start of the second millenium.  In a pitched fight, forces under the sultan Alp-Arslan defeated the troops of Romanus IV Diogenes in what is now modern Turkey,

Another of the recent publications is an army list for the popular rules set Bolt Action, written by Alessio Cavatore and Rick Priestley.  This new book covers the Armies of Imperial Japan.

Ronin is a new rules set covering skirmish wargaming in the age of the Samurai,  For more information, see Osprey’s webpage for the book.

Daniel Mersey’s new book King Arthur is the latest edition in the Myths and Legends series .

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New book lists all Western Indian Wars casualties, battles, and skirmishes


I have long been fascinated by the Plains Indians Wars. As a child in the 1960s, my interest stems from my early Christmas presents of Fort Apache and Fort Cheyenne, which provided hours and hours of entertainment for me and my friends. We set up forts, rolled or threw marbles at the plastic warriors and cavalrymen, and pretended to burn down or defend the forts and outbuildings.

Fast forward to adulthood, and I continue to be interested in western topics, having read most books in print on the Custer fight. Eric S. Johnson has added a grim new reality to those childhood days of “killing” toy soldiers and plastic Native Americans with marbles or dice. He has compiled the true cost of the long-forgotten battles, engagements, and skirmishes of the post-Civil War era, a time when bullets, arrows, and hand weapons dealt death and destruction to thousands of men, women, and children across the Great Plains. Johnson has diligently searched through all of the key records, and some of the more obscures ones as well, to compile a listing of the known white and black military casualties of the Indians Wars, a challenging task to be sure. Compiled and presented in chronological order, this thick book is a listing of the dates and places of engagement, and the names of those killed or wounded by the warring tribesmen. From the famous (George Armstrong Custer and his brothers) to the long-forgotten single men killed in totally obscure skirmishes, Johnson presents them all. He includes photos of the gravesites of some of the more prominent officers, and he presents lists of burial sites and brief bios for the slain officers in an appendix, as well as a listing of all enlisted men killed and the known citizens slain in direct support of military operations.

He also presents information on the various medals of honor issued during the wars. This book is a very useful reference for anyone interested in reading about the human toll of the conquering of the West, and gives a brief glimpse at the names of those whose lives ended prematurely and violently. A companion book on the Indians would, of course, be much more difficult to compile, but this work stands alone for its sheer volume of data and names. It, however, is a reminder that the pleasure our generation took in the 60s and 70s in shooting marbles at Custer’s beleaguered men or a fort’s outgunned garrison or a wagon train of under-armed civilians had in real life gruesome results. Johnson has aptly brought the memories of the fallen to a 21st century audience.


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WWII book provides glimpse into life of American-born “Axis Sally”

My father was a soldier in Europe in the American Army Air Corps during World War II. I remember his disdain for a female radio propagandist known widely to GIs and airmen alike as “Axis Sally.” Little did my Dad know that years after the war he would live less than an hour from the infamous sultry-voiced Nazi collaborator. Mildred Gillars was born and raised in Portland, Maine, but moved to Conneaut, Ohio, when she was 16 years old. She briefly attended Ohio Wesleyan College before dropping out and moving to Grennwich Village in New York City. She later moved to Europe and lived and studied in various countries. She finally landed in Germany and took a job in radio. Her lover, a professed Nazi (married to someone else), scripted her broadcasts, which increasingly became propaganda tools of the Third Reich. Gillars often tormented Allied listeners, particularly her fellow Americans, with descriptions of the deaths they faced if they attacked and taunted them with stories that their sweethearts back home were unfaithful. Gillars later served time in U.S. prison for treason. She lived a relatively quiet life in Columbus, Ohio, including working in a convent.

Author Richard Lewis has penned a new biography of the notorious voice in the European night entitled Axis Sally: The American Voice of Nazi Germany.

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Gettysburg hero Charles Hazlett was from my hometown

The story of Lieutenant Charles Edward Hazlett‘s death at the Battle of Gettysburg is well known, and appears in early newspaper accounts of the battle within days after the troops had left Pennsylvania.  He commanded Battery D, 5th U.S. Artillery during the July 1863 battle. His men laboriously hauled heavy artillery pieces up the steep eastern slope of Little Round Top, positioned them near the crest, and then joined in the defense of the hill.  His old friend and former artillery commander, Brig. Gen. Stephen Weed, fell mortally wounded and collapsed to the ground.  As Hazlett bent over him, a bullet killed the lieutenant.

Family members buried Hazlett in Woodlawn Cemetery in Zanesville, Ohio, where his family lived. His brother would also die in the Civil War, perishing at the Battle of Stone’s River out in Tennessee.

On a recent visit to my hometown of Zanesville, I took a few photos of the Hazlett brothers’ graves, which have been nicely restored by the Zanesville Civil War Round Table.

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Interesting new American Revolution book: Tories by Thomas B. Allen

Thomas B. Allen is a prolific historian and author whose work I have long admired in National Geographic Magazine and other publications.  Allen was Associate Chief of the National Geographic Society’s Book Service from 1974 until 1981, when he left the Society to freelance as a writer and editor. His works run the gamut from World War II to Colonial America, and his book on espionage is a staple that is sold at the International Spy Museum.

Allen’s latest book, Tories: Fighting for the King in America’s First Civil War, examines in great detail the pro-British colonists in North America who remained loyal to the Crown and to their kingdom during the American Revolution. While many colonists openly joined the rebellion, there are large pockets within the thirteen colonies where the residents either passively sat out the war, taking a wait and see attitude, stuck to their own business. However, many Loyalist men formed themselves into military units and actively supported the British Army, at times even fighting their friends, family, and neighbors.

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21st Annual Civil War Re-enactment at Neshaminy State Park

Civil War diorama at the Dobbin House in Gettysburg, PA. Circa 1960s.

The 21st annual Civil War Re-enactment will be held on Saturday-Sunday, May 1 – 2, 2010 at Neshaminy State Park, located on 3401 State Road in Bensalem, PA, from 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM, rain or shine. Admission is free!

This event is the largest Civil War re-enactment on the East Coast outside of Gettysburg and the theme for this year is “The Appomattox Campaign – April 6, 1865”. Over 1,000 re-enactors will converge on the park for this two-day event featuring:

· Authentic battle re-enactments

· Camp life scenarios

· Military and civilian life demonstrations

The Appomattox Campaign consisted of a series of battles to the south and west of the capital of the Confederacy, Richmond, Virginia in early April of 1865. These battles ended with the surrender of Confederate forces on April 9, 1865, lead by General Robert E. Lee. April 6, 1865 is notable for two actions: “The Battle of Sailor’s Creek” and “High Bridge”. “The Battle of Sailor’s Creek” occurred when the Union cavalry exploited a gap in the Confederate line and cut off two Confederate corps, resulting in a Union victory. “High Bridge” saw Confederate cavalry capture Union forces, resulting in a Confederate victory. These two battle actions will be staged during this year’s re-enactment.

While admission is free, a voluntary collection will be taken each day of the re-enactment and all proceeds will go toward Civil War preservation efforts. Proceeds from this year’s collection will go to the Civil War Preservation Trust, (www.civilwar.org) a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of Civil War battlefields. The Neshaminy Civil War Re-enactment has raised close to $30,000 during its 21 year history, for various Civil War organizations.

This event is a joint project sponsored by Neshaminy State Park, the Bensalem Historical Society, the 28th Pennsylvania Historical Association, the Army of Northern Virginia Reenacting Organization, the Delaware Valley Civil War Round Table, The G.A.R. Museum and Library, and Waste Management, Inc.

For more information, please visit http://www.28thpvi.org or contact Ken Gavin, Event Chairman, at 610-809-6540 or kgc28pvi@comcast.net.

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February 20 wargame – Battle of Pipe Creek

(Click on each photo to enlarge them to better view the details)

Eight gamers from south-central Pennsylvania met in Harrisburg on Saturday afternoon, February 20, 2010, at the gaming room of the Department of the Susquehanna wargaming club. I hosted at 15mm miniature wargame based upon a scenario I wrote for CHARGE! Issue #26. It is a hypothetical games based upon General George G. Meade’s planned Pipe Creek Line in the Gettysburg Campaign. I used period maps from Carroll County, Maryland as well as the Army of the Potomac’s known movements in the region and Meade’s circular that directed his troops to form along Pipe Creek.

Here are some more photos from the game, which was won by Abner Doubleday’s I Corps.

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Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the JRGS!

Christmas 1863. Harpers Weekly.

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Specialty manufacturers to organize new kind of military history event


New York, NY— On October 19, 1781, British General Charles Cornwallis surrendered to the American Revolutionaries at Yorktown, VA, effectively ending the American War of Independence. To commemorate this event and celebrate America’s rich military heritage, W. Britain has teamed with Osprey Publishing and Casemate Publishing to organize the first-annual Military History Weekend in Williamsburg, Virginia. It will be a two-day affair, October 17-18, at the Hospitality House in downtown Williamsburg.

“We have felt for a long time that fans of military history need an event that bridges the different segments of the hobby, notes W. Britain general manager, Richard Walker. “In the one corner you have ‘metal heads’ like me who paint and collect toy soldiers. In the other you have Ph.D. historians who chase down things like the names of General Washington’s body guard. And in between you have reenactors, wargamers, and armchair historians. There are plenty of shows that serve each of these groups separately. We hope that our event will be the kind of ‘big tent’ under which everyone can come together.”

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Call for Historical Game Masters and Flea Market Sellers


The Historical Miniatures Gaming Society, East presents a “Games-in-Education Day” on  Saturday, September 26, 2009, from 9 am – 10 pm at the Baltimore Convention Center, One West Pratt Street, Baltimore, Maryland.

HMGS members are urged to invite teachers, educators and college students to this inaugural FREE event.


Camden Lobby – Camden Terrace – rooms 345-350 *** Enter through the Otterbein Lobby ***

Currently Planned:

• Over 50 HISTORICAL EVENTS! (room for more than 100)

• FLEA MARKET ($10:  one table per member; first come/ first served)



• PARKING ARRANGEMENTS: To be announced soon



• BAR OPEN 5pm – 11pm

• EVENT INFORMATION TO BE POSTED SOON ON http://www.hmgs.org/ged.htm

To register an event or reserve a flea market table, please send an email to games.education.day@gmail.com


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