Новини - литература и периодика

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simo
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Новини - литература и периодика

Мнение от simo » 31 дек 2019, 19:42

Продължаваме новините от издатели на моделистка литература и периодика в нова тема.
Симеон Иванов (simo)
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Мнение от Клуб Стендов Моделизъм България » 02 яну 2020, 18:00

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1. Films 2020 - 2020-01-02 09:53:00
For the past few years, we have shared our film-picks for the year, and this year is no different. We’ve compiled a list of a few military history-related movies that are currently set for release this year. Let us know in the comments which movie you're most excited to watch.
1917
Director: Sam Mendes,
Starring: George MacKay, Dean-Charles Chapman, Mark Strong, Andrew Scott, Richard Madden, Claire Duburcq, with Colin Firth and Benedict Cumberbatch


Two young British privates during the First World War are given an impossible mission: deliver a message deep in enemy territory that will stop 1,600 men, and one of the soldier's brothers, from walking straight into a deadly trap.
Source: IMDB
Even though 1917 is already out in some countries, it will be available everywhere in January 2020. Based on the reviews and trailer, this looks like it will be another WWI epic.
Greyhound
Director: Aaron Schneider
Starring: Tom Hanks
During World War II, a Merchant Marine skipper must maintain his ship's place in a convoy being stalked by Nazi U-boat wolf packs.
Source: IMDB This film originally had a 2019 release date, but it got pushed back to 2020. With, Academy Award winner Aaron Schneider as the director and Oscar-winner Tom Hanks in the leading role, it sounds like Greyhound will be worth the wait.
The Last Fall Measure
Director: Todd Robinson
Starring: Sebastian Stan, Christopher Plummer, William Hurt, Ed Harris, Samuel L. Jackson



Thirty-four years after his death, Airman William H. Pitsenbarger, Jr. ("Pits") is awarded the nation's highest military honor, for his actions on the battlefield.
Source: IMDB
This movie, features an all-star cast who come together to document the life of USAF pararescueman William Pitsenbarger. Pitsenbarger gave his life aiding a unit of soldiers pinned down by an enemy assault in Vietnam This looks like it will be another fantastic film.
Wolf Hound
Director: Michael B. Chait
Starring: Trevor Donovan, James Maslow
Based on the real life Nazi program KG 200, Wolf Hound chronicles the story of a Jewish-American pilot shot down behind enemy lines. With little more than his wits and a sidearm, he must outsmart a brilliant enemy, rescue his captured crew, and foil a plot that could change the course of the war.
Source: IMDB
Director Michael B. Chait has already directed the short film B-52: Three Generations, so his passion for aviation history and filmmaking is abundantly clear. Wolf Hound definitely has potential to be a fast-paced and exciting story.


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Мнение от Клуб Стендов Моделизъм България » 04 яну 2020, 18:00

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1. D-Day Extract - 2020-01-04 11:48:00
D-Day, the first book in our new Under Fire series, publishes 23 January. Keep reading for an exclusive extract from the book.



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Want to see more? Preorder your copy of D-Day from the website now.


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Мнение от Клуб Стендов Моделизъм България » 06 яну 2020, 18:00

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1. January Book Vote and Last Month's Results - 2020-01-06 10:05:00
To start our book vote in 2020, we're looking at five books from the Air Campaign series. As with every month, there are five books to choose between. Have a read of the descriptions and cast your vote!

ACM: Lorraine 1918: Billy Mitchell’s great Franco-American air offensive over St Mihiel/Meuse-Argonne

ACM: Germany 1942: The RAF brings area-bombing, fire-bombing, and 1,000-Bomber raids ACM: Berlin Airlift 1948: The first air campaign of the Cold War

ACM: Operation Niagara 1968: The huge close air support operation over Khe Sanh

ACM: Operation Allied Force 1999: NATO’s ‘humanitarian air campaign’ against in the Kosovo War


Lorraine 1918: Billy Mitchell’s great Franco-American air offensive over St Mihiel/Meuse-Argonne
The AEF's combined St Mihiel/Meuse-Argonne air campaign was probably the largest air offensive of World War I. The 1,500 Franco-American planes Billy Mitchell marshalled against St Mihiel in mid-September 1918 was supposedly the largest air armada ever assembled until at least 1942. Judging from the Germans rushing all their elite Jagdgeschwader pursuit groups to meet it, the St Mihiel/Meuse-Argonne air offensive was arguably the most important air campaign of the war's final months. In addition to major roles for the American, French, and German air forces, the British also had a minor role thanks to RAF strategic bomber raids against German Lorraine targets

Germany 1942: The RAF brings area-bombing, fire-bombing, and 1,000-Bomber raids
At the start of 1942, the controversial ‘area bombing’ of Germany became RAF policy, and Arthur Harris ramped up Bomber Command’s war against Germany’s cities. Towns and cities selected for their flammability were hit first, and as Bomber Command grew in size and power, it launched massed ‘Thousand Bomber’ raids, the first of which devastated the city of Cologne. The area bombing campaign of 1942 was a proving ground for bombing techniques that would be used later in the war, against Hamburg, Berlin, and many other cities.

Berlin Airlift 1948: The first air campaign of the Cold War
The blockade of Berlin was the first major crisis of the Cold War, when the USSR closed road and rail access to the city in an attempt to gain Soviet control over West Berlin. The airlift that was launched in response was audacious and unproven – no city had been supplied by air alone before, the RAF and USAF had relatively few transport aircraft in theatre, and the operation had to be devised from scratch and mistakes rapidly fixed. The airlift had to be flown in the face of bitter and challenging weather, harassment by Soviet Air Force fighters, and a severe lack of aircraft- and cargo-handling facilities. By the end of the operation, however, thanks to excellent organization, the determination of the aircrews, and the vital assistance of the Berliners themselves, the airlift was routinely flying in West Berlin’s needs. The Soviets were forced to back down, and the concept of large-scale airlift was proven.

Operation Niagara 1968: The huge close air support operation over Khe Sanh
Khe Sanh was a key Marine combat base just south of the DMZ. In early 1968, the fighting around the base erupted into a full-scale bid to capture Khe Sanh by three divisions of the PAVN. The two sides saw this as a chance to either slay or resurrect the ghosts of Dien Bien Phu, when French airpower failed to save the French Army’s outpost. In Khe Sanh, however, the US could send in not only tactical fighters but B-52 strategic bombers – although it did run into inter-service rivalry between the USAF and Marine aviation. Bombing alarmingly close to friendly troops, the fighters and B-52s conducted one of the most concentrated assaults in air power history, relying both on the skills of the aircrews and the systems and capabilities of the Marines and USAF to control such firepower.

Operation Allied Force 1999: NATO’s ‘humanitarian air campaign’ against in the Kosovo War
Following the clear success of Western air power in the Gulf War, and the end of the Cold War, NATO gained a new freedom of action to use its advanced air power. As Yugoslavia continued to disintegrate, the ethnic-Albanian province of Kosovo rebelled against Slobodan Milosevic’s Yugoslavia, which drew in the Western powers as it saw human-rights abuses and another humanitarian crisis on its borders. As diplomacy failed in 1999, Operation Allied Force was launched to force a Yugoslav withdrawal. The Yugoslavs’ MiG-29s were no match for NATO air-superiority fighters, but the Western aircraft had to run the gauntlet of Soviet anti-aircraft systems, and Yugoslav ground-attack aircraft managed to evade NATO to fly sorties against Kosovo. Targeting government buildings, industry, power, and transport links as well as the Yugoslav military, Allied Force was successful, though controversial, and it was undermined by failures such as the bombing of the Chinese embassy and the shock loss of an F-117 ‘stealth fighter’, as well as several other NATO aircraft.

Make your vote by clicking here!
Last month we asked you what would you like to see published in our Combat Aircraft series. Thank you to everyone who voted and provided feedback, the full results are listed below!
COM: RB-47 Units in Combat 11% COM: Ju 52/3m Transport and Minesweeping Units 1941-45 23% COM: USAF and USMC RF-4 Phantom II Units of the Vietnam War 12% COM: USAAF A-20 Havoc Units of the ETO/MTO 18% COM: Macchi C.202 Folgore and C.205V Veltro Units in Combat 35%

Did your favourite win? Which Air Campaign title did you vote for? Let us know in the comments!


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Мнение от Клуб Стендов Моделизъм България » 07 яну 2020, 18:00

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1. Obituary for Dennis Showalter - 2020-01-07 13:23:00
We are very sad to report that highly respected military historian and Osprey author Dennis Showalter has passed away at his Colorado Springs home on the night of 30–31 December 2019. He was 77.


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Image courtesy of Colorado College

A Colorado College professor for 47 years, Showalter specialized in German military history but is credited for shaping the study of military history across the world. He also taught at many military schools including the Air Force Academy, West Point, and the Marine Corps University.
Showalter’s first book, Railroads and Rifles, a study of technology and warfare in the reunification of Germany, was published in 1975 and continues to be used in classes at colleges, universities and military academies. For Osprey he wrote Instrument of War: The German Army of 1914–18 which was awarded the Tomlinson Prize. At the time of his death, he was writing his 28th book, Modern Warfare, and asked his family that it be finished and published posthumously.
He will be sorely missed by all who had the pleasure of working with him.
Our thoughts are with his wife and family.

Information taken from The Gazette.


2. Designer Blog: Zona Alfa - The Basics - 2020-01-06 15:43:28
Zona Alfa is the latest addition to the Osprey Wargames series, bringing the feel of S.T.A.L.K.E.R and Metro 2033 to the tabletop. Over the next few weeks, author Patrick Todoroff will be joining us on the blog to tell us more about his game, starting today with an overview of the system. You can read more on his blog.
Zona Alfa is a skirmish-level war game that uses D10s and was made with 28mm miniatures in mind, but 15mm or 20mm will work just as well. A fairly simple system, it’s played in a 3’ x 3’ or 4’ x4’ area with a set turn limit, so games typically run one to two hours.
Players start by forming crews of 4 -12 miniatures, each with special gear, weapons, and abilities, who will work together to salvage valuable items and artifacts in the dangerous and eerie quarantined area known as the ‘Exclusion Zone’. Game play rests on three pillars: Streamlined Game Stats, Alternating Activation, and Troop Quality Levels.

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Streamlined Game Stats: There are two types of Game Stats: Model and Weapon. Individual models have four basic stats: Combat Ability, which covers both Ranged and Melee. Armor Rating to deflect or reduce the effects of combat. This is linked to the particular type of body armor the character is equipped with. Movement which is the distance in inches the model can move for one Action. And Will, their mental acumen and resolve under fire. It’s used when testing for Morale and performing specific, in game, mission or plot-oriented tasks.
The Weapon Stats refer to the general class of weapon the character is armed with. Each weapon has three values: Fire power, Effective Range, and Damage. Firepower is the number if dice rolled for each attack. Effective Range is a table top abstraction to represent frantic, stressful combat conditions. Damage is simply a weapon’s stopping power or penetration.
Because Zona Alfa is miniatures-agnostic, these are intentionally broad and abstracted so players can generate values for the wide range of models in their collection, then select categories of body armor and personal weapons.

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Why Alternating Activation? Simply because I’m not a fan of IGO-UGO turn sequences. My goal is to keep all players on both sides involved as much as possible, acting and reacting to events as they unfold in the course of a game turn. IGO-UGO doesn’t do that for me.
Troop Quality is the final support. To reflect varying expertise and experience, there are three kinds of soldier in the Zone: Rookie, Hardened, or Veteran. Each has corresponding ability to act in battle.
Rookies have one action per activation, no special abilities and a limited amount of gear. Hardened soldiers have two actions per activation, have learned a skill, and can use more equipment. Veterans can perform three actions per activation, have two vital skills, and can equip themselves with useful items for themselves and their weapons.

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Those three elements form the core of Zona Alfa game play and should allow anyone to form a crew and start exploring the Zone.
I expanded those very basic ideas with a simple campaign and progression system so a player’s individual models can be rewarded, promoted, and improved over the course of several games. After all, the Zone is an excellent teacher – if you live long enough to learn her lessons.
I wasn’t looking to reinvent the wheel here. I wanted to offer a set of simple, reliable tools. Life is busy. Hobby time can be hard to come by. My hope is that gamers and fans of the setting get plenty of mileage out of Zona Alfa, that they’ll make their crews, run their own missions into the Exclusion Zone, and retire with riches and fame as Zone Legends. Or at least tons of great stories.
Good Luck and Good Hunting.
Want to give the game a go? Preorder your copy today!


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Мнение от Клуб Стендов Моделизъм България » 09 яну 2020, 18:00

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1. Designer Blog: Creating your Kingdom in Oathmark: Battles of the Lost Age - 2020-01-09 11:17:45
Oathmark: Battles of the Lost Age author Joseph A. McCullough is back on the blog to talk about Kingdom creation in his upcoming mass-battle fantasy wargame!
My biggest personal goal for the design of Oathmark – other than making a game that worked mechanically and was fun to play – was to bring a large narrative element to the game in the form of a campaign system. Traditionally, campaigns in mass-battle games have consisted of a few interlinked scenarios with each scenario having a knock-on effect on the next. While I enjoy this style of campaign, and intend to use the idea, it was never quite enough for me. I was always a little disappointed that when those connected games ended, so too did the campaign. The campaign just floated in space, remembered by the players, but contributing no meaning to a greater narrative.
So, I got my thinking hat on. How could I bring a campaign element to a mass-battle system that is more like the ones seen in numerous skirmish systems? I quickly realised that I couldn’t just have people’s armies ‘gain experience’ and thus abilities in the same way as a skirmish system. First off, this would grow completely out of hand really quickly, but more importantly, one of the real joys of a mass-battle game is that players don’t have to bring the same army to every game; in fact, different scenarios and games will often involve different size armies.
Then it hit me, when constructing a narrative to the game, players shouldn’t focus on armies, which are just temporary constructs for a given battle, but upon the kingdom which produced them. A history of battles is the history of a kingdom, as it expands its borders or retracts as enemies invade their territory.

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Thus, I created a system where players begin by building their kingdom. They do this by selecting certain territories, which are recorded on a special Kingdom Sheet. Each territory gives that kingdom access to certain troop types. So, if you have an orc city, you can get orc soldiers, orc archers, etc. If you have dark forests, you can get giant spiders. If you have high fells, you can recruit a dragon.
As you construct your kingdom, you are essentially building your own army list. So, when you come to play a game, with a specific number of points, you know exactly which units and figures your kingdom can muster into its army. This also worked well with the idea of Oathmark armies including units from different races. Maybe your kingdom includes both an Elf and a Dwarf city, which is why its army contains units form both races!
With the kingdom in place, it allowed me to construct a campaign system where the outcome of each battle affected the kingdom, not necessarily the armies it produces. Maybe the kingdom gains new territory, which means it has access to new units. You can never fully lose territory, so you will never be in a situation where you can’t use specific units that you have bought and painted (because that would be really annoying), but you can have territory occupied, which means those units fight at slightly less efficiency.

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Artwork by Jan Pospíšil
So, to sum up, in Oathmark you are basically constructing the military history of your kingdom. In each game, you muster an army from the forces that your kingdom can produce. The kingdom might gain new territory, or it might have its territory occupied, but when it comes to each game, the players are still playing to the same points value, and theoretically have an equal chance of winning.
This charting of a kingdom is something I hope to expand upon in future supplements, but I hope players will really enjoy the freedom given by these rules to create the kingdom, and thus the army, they want to field. Previous: Combat in Oathmark: Battles of the Lost Age
Next: Kingdom Building extract (coming soon!)


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Мнение от Клуб Стендов Моделизъм България » 10 яну 2020, 18:00

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1. Designer Blog: Kingdom Creation Extract from Oathmark: Battles of the Lost Age - 2020-01-10 09:17:32
Following on from the previous blog about Kingdom Creation in Oathmark: Battles of the Lost Age, today we have an extract from the book delving a little deeper into the options available to you as you create your Kingdom.



Can't view the extract? Download it here.
Download a printer-friendly extract of the Kingdom Sheet here.
Previous: Kingdom Creation in Oathmark: Battles of the Lost Age
Next: Activation in Oathmark: Battles of the Lost Age (coming soon!)


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Мнение от Клуб Стендов Моделизъм България » 13 яну 2020, 18:00

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1. Designer Blog: Zona Alfa - Creating a Zone Crew - 2020-01-13 08:26:43
Patrick Todoroff is back on the blog looking at creating your crew in Zona Alfa: Salvage and Survival in the Exclusion Zone. You can read more on his blog.
USHANKA SECURITY: A ZONE CREW
After a pair of near- disastrous jobs, Yuri Bonyev, the Exclusion Zone’s premier tour guide, decided to shift his operation from a one-man outfit to a full blown salvage and security crew. For all its danger, the Zone is a busy place: Scientists, Corporations, Traders, PMCs, Criminals, Cultists, Loners… So many conflicting agendas, there’s always a market for professionals with negotiable ethics and itchy trigger fingers.
***
“Grab a bottle and let’s talk.
I hear a lot of whining these days about ‘Safe Spaces’. What is that? What does that mean? No punches, no insults, no ruffled feathers? Bah. That’s not Life and that certainly isn’t the Exclusion Zone.
Don’t get me wrong – the Zone doesn’t discriminate; anyone is welcome to try their hand here. That doesn’t mean they’ll be successful. Most likely, they’ll die a nasty death in a remote location and their bones will go back to the black soil. But young, old, educated, street smart, rich, poor, male, female, whatever, can come and carve out out a place here.
If they survive.” Zakhar, a.k.a. “The Turk”, talking to a gaggle of newcomers at a checkpoint inside the Cordon.
There are three levels of combatant in ZONA ALFA: Green, Hardened, and Veteran. Each has a corresponding capacity to act in the game. Green troopers can perform one action when activated. Hardened can perform two, and Veterans can do three.
Zone crews are built on what’s termed khrabrost‘, (courage or mettle) which is nothing more than the total number of Actions per Turn available in a particular group. The “K-Value” for a starting crew is 12, which – after the Leader is set – can be spread (or spent) among the remaining members any way you see fit.

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Yuri’s crew, the newly formed Ushanka Security Firm, is a typical 12 K crew: Yuri (Veteran, 3K), Anton (Veteran, 3K), Laslo, (Hardened, 2K) Mikail (Hardened, 2K) and Boris (Hardened, 2K).
Yuri could have gone with a small crew of four Veterans, or a large Noob Mob of nine, wet-behind-the-ears, Green recruits. But he decided a mix of troop qualities was best, leaning toward more experienced fighters.
Troop Quality also confers different skills, and the ability to carry and use gear. Green recruits have no real skills and can only handle one piece of equipment. Hardened fighters have learned one skill and can deal with two pieces of special gear. Veterans have two skills and three pieces of equipment. So here’s the breakdown:
A Veteran, Yuri has both the LEADER and HARD abilities, meaning he can help his comrades rally in the face of fire and give orders, plus he’s not easily shaken in combat or stressful situations. For special gear, he’s got a Red Dot on his AK74, a set of NODs for low-light situations, and a Med-Kit in case his famous luck runs thin.
Anton is also a Veteran. As crew medic, he’s got BONE DOC and HUSTLE. (He can patch you up and get around quick) For gear, he loaded up on Med-Kits (Bone Docs can double up) and a Red Dot on his trusty old AK47.
Mikail, Boris, and Laslo have been around but not as long as Yuri or Anton. They are Hardened men, each with one skill and some extra gear.

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Mikail is a SCROUNGER (can Search salvage locations twice) with Binoculars and a Med Kit. Boris carries an RPK, so while he moves slower, he can UNLOAD (full-auto madness). He also has a Med-Kit, plus a shot of E-Juice (vodka and amphetamine) for those moments when he needs a boost. Laslo had some sharpshooter training in the army, so he has STEADY HANDS, a Red Dot and a Med-Kit.
Yuri managed to acquire Mil-spec Body Armor while the rest of the crew has decent, civilian grade protection. All the guys have a pair of grenades, (1 HE, 1 Smoke) .
Of course you’ll be able to swap out gear between missions, hire new fighters, upgrade armor and weapons, even improve a model’s core stats. (providing they live long enough) There are more options, equipment, and details in the ZONA ALFA rule book, but this provides an overview of a typical starting crew.
Good Luck and Good Hunting, Comrades. St. Strelok watch over you.
Think you've got what it takes to survive in the Exclusion Zone? Preorder your copy of Zona Alfa today!


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Мнение от Клуб Стендов Моделизъм България » 16 яну 2020, 18:00

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1. British Battleships vs Italian Battleships - 2020-01-16 11:25:00
On the blog today, Mark Stille, author of the upcoming Duel title, British Battleship vs Italian Battleship, looks at some of the key battles mentioned in the book.



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There are many misconceptions regarding the naval war in the Mediterranean fought between Great Britain’s Royal Navy (RN) and Italy’s Regia Marina (RM). Most of these stemmed from British efforts to paint the RM as cowardly and inept during the war; this theme continued in a series of memoirs and histories published after the war. This was also due in part because the British concept of seapower employed during the naval war in the Mediterranean did not apply to the Italians. The RN sought a decisive engagement against the Italians and the commander of the Mediterranean Fleet, Vice Admiral Andrew Browne Cunningham, aggressively pursued such an action. The Italians also sought a battle fleet engagement with the RN, but for a variety of reasons, none of which had to do with a lack of fighting spirit, had no desire to seek a decisive result in a clash between battle fleets. In fact, the RM’s strategy of maintaining a fleet in being to underwrite its control of theCentral Mediterranean proved successful for the period that the Italians were engaged in the conflict. The RM was able to supply Axis forces in North Africa from June 1940 until May 1943 and was able to close the Mediterranean to Allied shipping until the Italian Armistice in September 1943.
The most surprising aspect of the naval war in the Mediterranean was the fact that British and Italian battleships directly fired on each other on only one occasion during the war. This was in spite of the fact that both navies prescribed to the precept that the battleship and their big guns were the final arbiters of victory at sea. The only clash between British and Italian battleships took place immediately after the war began. The RN, led by Cunningham, sought the opportunity to use a convoy to Malta as bait to draw out the RM’s battle fleet. What resulted was the battle of Calabria (Punta Stilo to the Italians) which was the largest battle fought in European waters during the war. Both operational RM battleships were present, along with 16 cruisers and 36 destroyers. Cunningham had the advantage in capital ships with three battleships and an aircraft carrier, but was outnumbered in other categories with only 5 cruisers and 16 destroyers. The battle remains virtually unknown because it was short and indecisive. The two fleets met on the late afternoon of 9 July 1940. In a pattern that dictated the nature of every other fleet action during the Mediterranean naval war, the Italian commander laboured under restrictive rules of engagement. This, and the RM’s preference to fight battles at long range, meant the two sides never got close enough to deliver serious blows. In the only time during the war in which battleships from both sides engaged the other, the RN gained the advantage when battleship Warpsite scored a hit on Giulio Cesare at 26,000 yards – the longest hit ever recorded by a battleship. Not knowing the degree of damage suffered by one of his two battleships, the Italian commander broke off the action. The battle of Calabria resulted in no ships being sunk on either side, thus explaining its relative obscurity.
Most histories of the battle claimed it established a moral ascendancy for the RN over the RM. If this was true, why did the Italian battle fleet sortie again on 31 August 1940 to engage Cunningham’s fleet and on 7 September to engage Force H operating from Gibraltar? Even after the disastrous (for the RM) raid on Taranto on 11 November 1940 during which three Italian battleships (of the six present) were placed out of action, the Italians failed to understand that they should be cowed into inaction and only a few days later on 17 November their battle fleet sortied again to engage Force H.
Even though the battleships of both sides fought each other only once, battleships from both navies played a key role in every major naval engagement in 1940-41. There are two more actions described in the book in which battleships from both sides were present but failed to engage each other directly. The first was at the battle of Cape Spartivento on 27 November 1940 when the RM’s battle fleet with two battleships engaged Force H with one battleship, one battlecruiser and an aircraft carrier. The action was fought at very long range and barely qualifies as a battleship duel. Neither side lost a ship, but it clearly showed the RM’s determination to fight.
The final action described in detail in the book is the battle of cape Matapanfought on 28-29 March 1941. This was an aggressive operation for the RM which did not end well for them. Also in the book is a synopsis of the operations involving battleships for the remainder of 1941 and 1942. Surprisingly, the mere presence of Italian battleships during key convoy battles during this period resulted in their largest successes of the war. Readers can make their own conclusions, but the book describes an Italian Navy which was cautious at the strategic level, very aggressive at the operational level, and timid on the tactical level. In any event, the record shows that the Italians were not afraid to fight and were not overwhelmed by the RN.
The ships themselves in this naval theatre were interesting. Because the RN was compelled to keep its most modern battleships in the North Atlantic to keep watch over the German Navy’s few but powerful battleships, the backbone of the Mediterranean Fleet’s battle line was composed of Queen Elizabeth-class battleships dating from World War I. These possessed a fine balance or protection, firepower and speed and proved able to take modernization between the wars. All five ships in the class fought in the Mediterranean, and of these three were extensively modernized. The RM’s battle line was unready for war when Mussolini opened hostilities in June 1940. The only battleships available were the two units of the Conte di Cavour class. These also dated from World War I and were much more extensively rebuilt than the units of the Queen Elizabeth class. However, the result was not worth the investment for the RM. The rebuilt ships compared poorly to the Queen Elizabeths in terms of protection and firepower. But they were much faster than their British counterparts which allowed the Italians the tactical advantage of engaging or breaking off an action as they wished. Later in 1940, two units of the Caio Duilio class also entered service, but these were also dubious investments of the resources required to rebuild them since they possessed capabilities similar to the Cavour class. Not until the first two units of the Vittorio Veneto class entered service in late 1940 did the RM possess battleships able to stand up against the Queen Elizabeths. The new RM battleships were designed under Washington Treaty restrictions (which the RM flouted) but were slightly superior in terms of firepower and protection to the Queen Elizabeth class. In addition, they retained a significant speed advantage over the British ships. Another factor which is often overlooked was the total ineffectiveness of Italian battleship gunnery. The main batteries of Italian battleships failed to sink a single enemy ship during the war in spite of generally good fire-control systems. The problem was excessive salvo dispersion caused by a number of issues including excessive barrel wear caused by high muzzle velocities, and excessive manufacturing tolerances on the guns and the shells they fired.
The naval war in the Mediterranean was fascinating and battleships were an important part of this history. Hopefully, readers will find something new and enlightening in this book.

British Battleship vs Italian Battleship publishes 23 January 2020. Preorder your copy here.


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1. Guest Blog - Preparing for Zona Alfa with Bloodbeard's Garage - 2020-01-17 10:38:51
Søren 'Bloodbeard' Bay from Bloodbeard's Garage is back on the blog as he prepares for Zona Alfa: Salvage and Survival in the Exclusion Zone by Patrick Todoroff. Be sure to follow his Facebook Page and check out all of his content at Bloodbeard's Garage!
Happy New Year fellow hobbyists! Every year I try to make a hobby resolution for myself. Two years in a row I've succeeded in my goals: paint a lot of models and limit my hoarding. This year I aim to try out solo gaming for the first time - and first up is some Zona Alfa!

Being a huge fan of the inspirational material (S.t.a.l.k.e.r. and Metro 2033), I really dig this new book by Patrick Todoroff, and after reading through the rules, my mind was buzzing with ideas for models, terrain and little scatter pieces. I know exactly what mood I'm going for with Zona Alfa – and my current wasteland won't cut it without upgrades!
I'm here to share the stuff I've made to get going and will be back when it's all finished.

The Crew
Zona Alfa lets you choose between six different faction and I've gone with the independents - like Red in Roadside Picnic. The story is that my leader is new in their role. He’s part of an old crew whose last Zone Run went bad – really bad – and the old leader and some of the veterans got hurt. It was time for my guy to step up and start calling the shots as the leader of his own crew!
Zona Alfa is a WYSIWYG game and when recruiting a model it starts with a lot of gear, so there's no reason to track game credits from the start. The amount of gear and skills are depending on the miniatures action point level, and they pick freely from the armory. You have 12 action points with which to build a crew.
When I got Zona Alfa, I was lucky to get a great deal on some base coated Lead Adventure models on a trade site – happy days. I picked the coolest for the team, they are described from left to right.

Leader - 3 AP
Battle rifle, pistol, hand grenade, molotov, red dot sight, med-kit and gasmask
Skills: Leader, hard (he'll be tougher to take out off action). My leader the figure pointing on the left side in the photograph below.

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Veteran - 3 AP
A good friend of my leader, an old colleague. This guy has never been one to take a leading position, but he is super professional.
Assault rifle, pistol, hand greande, molotov, red dot, med-kit, gasmask
Skills: Unload, hustle. Excellent skills - will bring extra firepower and speed. I can see this make a difference many times.
A couple of hardened veterans and freelancers, brought in by the leader when he decided to make his own crew.
Hardened - 2 AP
LMG, magnum, 2x hand grenades, red dot sight
Skills: Steady hands. Being a better shot at a greater distance with that machine gun.
Hardened - 2 AP
Assault rifle, pistol, smoke grenade, flashbang, 2x med-kit. The extra med-kit is a faction bonus, and the grenades are to provide cover.
Skills: Bone doc. He's better at healing his comrades when the get hurt.
Rookies. They are cheap, unpaid even. Their pay on the first runs will be experience. These guys just need to nut up, shup up and stay alive - they might just make stalkers someday.
Rookie - 1 AP
Assault rifle, pistol, hand grenade, molotov, med-kit
Rookie - 1 AP
Shotgun, pistol, hand grenade, molotov, med-kit
So that's the starting crew. It'll be exciting to see those 1 AP rookies try and get anything done and not fall to far behind. Rolling a critical for a free action on these guys will make a lot of difference for them.
Terrain
I have a lot of post apocalyptic terrain and I've built lots of modern stuff for the games of Last Days: Zombie Apocalypse – but it all has that suburban US or Americana style. That won't do in the wet, grey, post-soviet exclusion zone.
I think a few simple tricks will help turn around my terrain collection to get the right vibe going.
Signs and billboards
First, I've used a few paint-fu tricks to make some Russian signage. I found some warning signs on Google and scaled them down. You can find a printable document on the Zona Alfa community FB page.

My plan is to make some scatter terrain from these (and enter the Zona Alfa terrain competition). These will show clearly (with the addition of a few rusty oil drums etc) that this is an exclusion zone.

The biggest signs will be glue on cardboard and can quickly be added to my MDF brick buildings. In no time those buildings will become a Russian cafe, supermarket or hotel.

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Vehicles
Some of the toy cars I've painted as terrain will work fine for Zona Alfa. I have both lightly weathered and completely rusted ones. But a few military vehicles would be nice, especially for some of the printed scenarios. So, I jumped on Ebay, searched for 'russian military vehicles' and found a few toys. The scale is probably slightly off, but the models vary in size as well.
My experience with this is that it doesn't really matter. When the toys are matt varnished and weathered it'll look good on the board no matter what.

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With a minimal amount of work, a few specific vehicles and printed details my board will have a great post-soviet feel.
Monsters and enemies
Zona Alfa has a small yet sufficient bestiary for random monsters. You could actually be facing a variety of different types from light, medium, or large Critters to zombies or human bandits.
I jumped into my boxes of miniatures and bits. I planned on having pure radiation mutation monsters – but after reading Roadside Picnic, I wanted some mutated alien types as well.

I recently painted up rabid dogs and sprawl rats for Reality's Edge – so they'll be useful here as well.

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Then using some bits and finding some random boardgame models I made some more alien oriented mutants. These are old Mantic and Sedition War bits – I had for when I needed them. So great to see these getting into the light.

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The game call for 'bandits' when rolling for hot spot enemies. I didn't have any good bandits lying around. But from that good Lead Adventure deal I have some scruffy looking uniformed dudes. Large beards, CCCP armbands. The story I’ve come up with is that these guys are remnants of the Soviet Army, tasked with guarding The Zone back in the day. When the USSR broke down, these guys stayed. First to contain the Zone, knowing the dangers within - then later it just became the way it was. So now they are bandits. I still want to make some proper military units.


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The book comes with a small introductory campaign, with some linked scenarios. I'll be playing these solo and will try to up the difficulty where needed. Since my crew will tackle enemies on their own, I think it'll work out fine. The first of these have the crew coming across a broken-down military convoy – searching for some data.
I found some old Mantic sci-fi zombies, added some modern military bits, and will paint them in military colors. I used thin paper strips with superglue to make slings for the guns, because I don't like zombies carrying things with their hands.

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And there we have it. My first crew, all the bestiary monsters I'll ever need, and a few terrain pieces to upgrade my board to post-apocalyptic Eastern-Bloc
Now to get some paint on these quickly, because I'm itching to get into The Zone and try my luck. Anomalies, artefacts, bad weather, aliens – it's gonna be good.
If you want to read more words on what I think about Zona Alfa? I've posted a book review on my own blog: Bloodbeards Garage.
Want to give Zona Alfa a try? Preorder your copy today!


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1. Sneak Peek at April's Artwork - 2020-01-20 12:08:56
Today on the blog, we're looking at a few wonderful pieces of artwork from three of our April 2020 books. Let us know what you think in the comments section. If there are any May titles you would like to see the artwork from, don't forget to mention that too.

Air Campaign 16: Legion Condor 1963–39 by James S. Corum
Artwork by Graham Turner

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This image, requested by PAUL W, depicts a flight of Stukas from K/88 attacking the key highway junction at Ocala del Obispo, diving from 9,000ft to score a direct hit on the crossroads with a 500kg bomb. While it was an impressive feat of aerial marksmanship, the dry ground enabled the Republican Army to simply drive its columns around the huge crater made by the Stukas.
Campaign 348: The Naval Siege of Japan 1945 by Brian Lane Herder
Artwork by Dorothy Hwee

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This next piece of artwork, requested by Gi Gene, shows USS Hancock (CV-17)’s VBF-6 attacking the Japanese Hybrid battleship-carrier Ise on 28 July 1945.
New Vanguard 281: Tanks in the Battle of the Bulge by Steven J. Zaloga
Artwork by Felipe Rodríguez

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This last piece of artwork depicts the final Hitlerjugend assault on the Dom Bütgenbach manor farm on 21 December 1944. On that day, a few tanks from the I./SS-Panzer-Regiment 12 penetrated through the initial US infantry defenses. They reached as far as the manor farm itself, where the regiment’s headquarters was located. The HQ was defended by C Company, 703rd Tank Destroyer Battalion, which had 12 M36 90mm GMCs in the vicinity, a few like this one, within the farmyard. By the afternoon, the tank destroyers had repulsed the attack, knocking out several German vehicles, including this PzKpfw IV commanded by Sturmmann Heinz Müller of 5.Kompanie, SS-Pz.Rgt.12.


2. Designer Blog: Activation in Oathmark: Battles of the Lost Age - 2020-01-20 12:04:30
Oathmark: Battles of the Lost Age author Joseph A. McCullough is back on the blog to talk about activation in his upcoming mass-battle fantasy wargame!
A few months ago, I wrote an article for Miniature Wargames magazine about ‘Core Mechanics’ in wargames. I defined core mechanics as the element of the game that contains the most important decision-making by the players. It tends to be the mechanic that makes a game unique and fun.
In Oathmark, that mechanic is activation. When players are away from the table, Oathmark is about building the narrative of your kingdom and recruiting different armies, but when you come to the table, it’s about tactics and good generalship. Essentially, Oathmark is played as a series of turns, and during each turn the players will go back-and-forth activating their units. Or at least attempting to. Every figure has an Activation stat, and whenever you attempt to activate a unit you must roll two dice, and at least one of them must equal or beat that stat. So, highly disciplined elven soldiers have an Activation stat of 3, meaning they nearly always do what you want. The unruly orcs, however, with their activation of 6, often do not. If you fail the activation roll, you can still move the unit, but your options are much more limited.

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The order in which you move units becomes critically important for a number of reasons, the biggest of which is that a unit that is engaged in hand-to-hand before it activates will not get the opportunity to activate that turn. This is especially troublesome for units like orcs or cavalry that get bonuses when they are the attacker, or units that have special abilities like spellcasting.
So, during a game, you are often faced with choices such as – do I activate the archers on this flank so they can get off their shots before the enemy charges them, or do I try and activate these orcs so they can charge first?
Thus, the game has a very large command-and-control element to it, and this can be influenced by the presence of leaders on the field. Leaders – or more precisely – characters with the Command special ability, can influence activation in two different ways. First, they give a bonus activation die to any nearby units. So, that unit of orcs with an orc captain nearby is now rolling 3 dice, and is significantly more likely to activate. In addition, leaders can also attempt to activate multiple units at the same time. A captain, for example can attempt to activate two units at the same time, meaning if they are both in his command range, you can try to shoot with those archers and charge with those orcs before your opponent activates his next unit.

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By focusing on Activation as Oathmark’s core mechanic, I was able to construct a game that is constantly swinging back-and-forth, both between the players, who never have long to wait to make their next move, and on the field where units are constantly charging and counter-charging. Learning how to handle activation, and deciding when to activate which units is key for any general who wishes to win battles in the Marches! Previous: Kingdom Creation extract from Oathmark: Battles of the Lost Age
Next: Oathmark Artwork Showcase(coming soon!)


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1. Designer Blog: Zona Alfa - AAR - 2020-01-21 11:34:02
Patrick Todoroff is back on the blog with an AAR for Zona Alfa: Salvage and Survival in the Exclusion Zone, the latest addition to the Osprey Wargames series.
Luhansk Bunker. Exclusion Zone Alfa. North Sector: Threat Level 1.
Remote, fortified, at the edge of the Luhansk Forest near a swamp, there was little attractive about it. Bugs, mud, vermin… not even decent salvage. Rumor was it had been cleaned out months ago. So why go?

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Well, the Ministry of Science posted a job, a call for any interested crew to go out there and repair its old satellite dish. Whatever their reason, the eggheads needed it online for a few hours and were offering cash to get it done.
So… there you were, tramping through the mud, swatting at clouds of mosquitoes, weaving your way through the undergrowth, headed to Luhansk Bunker.
***
A quick pick up game for a Saturday afternoon. 3' x 3' mission area, low threat level, and 9K per side. Tom picked a small Zone Enforcement (ZE) squad led by a local guide nicknamed ‘Moose’ while I went with a similar crew of Independents led by Danya Kravets, aka ‘Tailor’.

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Turn one and two saw both crews advancing rapidly, jockeying for position. Ranged combat is deadly so the men opted (wisely) to stick to cover. There was an exchange of fire near the swamp fence, but neither side was affected.
Tom made good use of his Sergeant’s ‘Leader’ ability, ordering his men to fan out and lay down covering fire while he moved straight for the generator on the outside of the bunker.

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The fearless Hero of the Motherland bounded forward, jumped the sandbags, and fired up the generator. In doing so, he disturbed the Zone Hostiles – a bunch of Bandits who’d been (apparently) dozing in the shade of the far side of the bunker and were yet to be awakened by the sound of automatic weapons. (“AK fire is lullaby in Russia. Sweet dreams!” )
Tom triggered the Hostiles by entering the Mission Objective’s reaction radius. Fortunately for both of us, the D10 roll had the Bandits spawn on the other side of the bunker.
One of Danya’s boys and a ZE trooper take them out before they can do any harm.

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Angered that the ZE squad had taken the main objective so early in the game, another of Danya’s lads moves in to shoot the Sergeant. (Spite. Pure and simple spite)
More shots are traded along the swamp fence. Grenades are thrown. The local guide takes two in the chest and goes down. One of the soldiers avenges him by taking out the shooter from Danya’s crew (with multiple wounds, it wasn’t worth using the med-kits).

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In the meantime, Danya’s man pops around the front of the bunker and shoots at the Zone Enforcement Sergeant who was pulling back to cover. There were several misses but then he lobs one of his grenades. The Sergeant is wounded in the blast. Injured but not stunned, the Sergeant returns fire and puts another of Danya’s men down. Ouch.
Leaders have two wounds. They can still function at reduced capacity. Tom wanted to save the Med-Kit until he was safely in cover
The wounded men aren’t necessarily dead. If this were a campaign, they would roll for Battle Scars after the mission to see what, if any, lasting trauma occurred.
On the other side of the bunker, a Zone Enforcement trooper shoots at Danya’s other man. (he was all proud for taking down two bandits) Despite the cover of a low concrete wall, the Independent stalker suffers a wound. He opts to use his one med kit and trade the wound for two pinned counters. He’s hunkered down, bandaging himself when Danya sidles up.
Casualties on their right, turn limit counting down, Danya and his remaining man recover, then shift left toward the Hot Spot near the truck (Gotta salvage something out of this, eh?) They trigger it , spawning more Bandits, this time just on the other side of the truck.

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A nasty exchange of gunfire and these new bandits go down.
Hankering after than last bit of salvage, one of Tom’s troopers enters the swamp. He bears down on the cache and Rodents of Unusual Size (ROUS) swarm out of the tall grass. A quick spray of the old AK, and they’re dispatched. Tom clears another area.

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Well done, comrade.
In Conclusion:
Quick, non-campaign, one-shot mission with a low K count. Tom carried the day with good dice rolls, aggressive tactics, and judicious use of the Leader skill. If these had been permanent crews in a campaign, or a higher threat level with more dangerous enemies, we would have been far more cautious. Perhaps even cooperated and split the loot.
That’s it for now. Zona Alfa: Salvage and Survival in the Exclusion Zone will be out at the end of the month. I’m looking forward to reading other people’s AARs.
Until then,
Good hunting, Stalker.


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1. Флотски Panther извърши медицинска евакуация - 2020-01-21 21:44:31
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Екипаж от авиобаза Чайка изпълни задача по транспортиране на пациент в критично състояние вчера, 20 януари 2020 г. Това съобщиха от МО.


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1. Хърватско пак избира изтребител - 2020-01-22 20:23:57
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Хърватското правителство отново стартира процедура за избор на нов боен самолет за ВВС на страната. Това съобщава Jane’s.


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1. Undaunted: Normandy Scenario Contest - The Winner! - 2020-01-23 10:29:00
In December, we ran a Scenario Creation Contest for Undaunted: Normandy, and we were thrilled to see so many of you flexing your creative muscles to put together some fantastic scenarios. We would like to thank everyone who took the time to take part, and for making choosing a winner so difficult for designers David Thompson and Trevor Benjamin.
We will leave it to them to announce the winner:
Trevor and I were so excited about judging the Undaunted: Normandy scenario design competition. We were fortunate to receive a ton of submissions from folks all across the world. Many of the scenarios had rich background information and introduced new ways to play with the mechanisms in the game. In the end, Trevor and I rated the scenarios on three criteria: thematic inspiration, scenario design innovation, and polish. The last of those three criteria — polish — was critical. If a scenario had major gameplay issues, we disqualified it, even if it introduce a novel idea.
Choosing a winner was very difficult for us, but one scenario stood out among the rest: Night Owls. I think we instinctively knew that it was the winner when after we finished our initial test, we wanted to play it again. Not just to test it, but because we enjoyed it so much. It produces tension throughout the scenario and presents multiple paths to victory, both in the board control and deck-management aspects of the game. These are the hallmarks of what Trevor and I feel are a great scenario.
Congratulations, Rafael!
- David Thompson and Trevor Benjamin


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Click here to download the scenario.
Intrigued by Undaunted: Normandy? Order your copy today!


2. The Spatha - 2020-01-23 10:03:00
In today's blog post, M.C. Bishop joins us to discuss the spatha, the subject of his latest book.


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Ask somebody to name a Roman sword and the chances are they will choose the gladius, widely acknowledged as synonymous with the classic infantry short sword (although, as I am fond of reminding anybody who will listen, the word was just a general term for any type of sword). That is the legacy of the gladius, but it is arguably less significant than the longer spatha, which lasted longer and ranged wider than the short sword ever could. The original gladius Hispaniensis was actually longer than its successors (the Delos sword, for instance, had a blade length of 640 mm) and was used by both infantry and cavalry. Under Augustus (and possibly even earlier), however, the gladius was reduced in size, first with the Mainz type and then later with the Pompeii variant (blades mostly ranging between 450 mm and 520 mm), and it no longer had the reach of the earlier swords.
At the same time, auxiliary cavalry now serving with the Roman army brought with them the long-bladed swords that were a familiar part of Iron Age weaponry in north-west Europe. Ironically, these were the same swords Roman writers had scoffed at it as likely to bend after just one blow. Combined with the same manufacturing techniques employed on the short sword, however, these long cavalry swords became formidable weapons. Just as infantry wore the short sword on the right hip, so cavalry wore their longer blade on the same side, slung from a waist belt.

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The short sword continued as the sidearm of choice for Roman infantry throughout the 1st century AD and well into the 2nd. Meanwhile, the longer cavalry sword had even acquired a nickname: spatha (from the Greek spathe meaning a spatula or wooden weaving implement). Then, around the middle of the 2nd century AD, something rather interesting happened. A series of innovations in Roman military equipment culminated in a switch to the longer sword for all troops, along with an equally radical change to the side on which the sword was worn (from right to left), with a completely new type of baldric being introduced from which the sword was suspended. Why this should have been the case is not clear. No Roman writer saw fit to refer to any technical innovation or military reform that might have led to this, but the suspicion has to be that it reflected an evolution in the way that Roman troops fought in comparison to earlier times.
It is important to stress that this was not just a change from short sword to longer blade, but rather a return to the original longer sword, employed by both cavalry and infantry. In effect, the use of two lengths of sword between the reigns of Augustus and Antoninus Pius was an aberration, an experiment that failed. This becomes all the clearer when the blade lengths of two spathae found in a burial at Canterbury (655 mm and 695 mm) are compared with the earlier Delos sword. This reversion to a longer infantry sword nevertheless was not the end of the short sword. Archaeological finds demonstrate that spathae were vulnerable to breaking in combat and in a number of instances such broken swords have been found which have been given a new point and repurposed as short swords. These may indeed be the semispathae mentioned by the Late Roman writer Vegetius. Indeed, recent analysis of a spatha from Vindolanda, near Hadrian’s Wall, shows evidence of repeated damage to the edges of the blade, a clean fracture across the whole sword, and an attempt to reforge the sword into something else (perhaps a dagger – Alberti, M. and Bishop, M. C. forthcoming: Three new swords from Vindolanda, Journal of Roman Military Equipment Studies 20).


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At the same time, an export trade in weaponry was thriving across Rome’s northern frontiers in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD. An altar set up by Gentilius Victor, a former soldier, later working as a negotiator gladiarius, hints at the semi-official nature of this trade. He dedicated that altar to the Emperor Commodus and to Fortuna Redux, the goddess of safe returns after hazardous journeys, which surely speaks volumes about the risky nature of his chosen profession. The most immediately tangible manifestation in the archaeological record of the trade in swords is the considerable numbers of such weapons that come from watery deposits in what are now Denmark and northern Germany at sites like Thorsberg, Illerup-Ådal, and Nydam. Some of this may have been booty, but not all of it. Some of the swords were even modified with new, local forms of hand grip. This hints at another, perhaps unforeseen consequence of the trade. When the Roman historian Tacitus was writing about the Germanic peoples along the northern frontier at the end of the 1st/beginning of the 2nd centuries AD, he noted that they mostly preferred to fight with spears, not swords. The movement of high-quality blades across the border arguably fuelled a change towards sword fighting among these peoples and it is probably no accident that the swords of the Vandals, Goths, Saxons, and Vikings were all heavily influenced by the spatha (which was, of course, itself influenced by Iron Age European blades). Ultimately, the Roman armies would find themselves facing swords derived from their own weapons.
Finally, the legacy of the Roman long sword is a linguistic one: most of the Romance languages derived their words for sword (Italian spada; Spanish espada; French épée; Albanian shpatë) from the spatha, not the gladius.

The Spatha publishes today. Get your copy from the website here.


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