Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Sarthe, août 1944 Histoire d’un Libération

A Book Review to start the year

Sarthe, août 1944
Histoire d’un Libération
Fabrice Avoie

Recently while doing some research for battles around my house in August 1944 and the American breakout from Normandy through Brittany and Pays de Loire I kept coming across references to this book, so for Christmas I ordered it from the author, to my surprise Fabrice works in Mayenne and we scheduled a rendezvous at my home. Fabrice spent 15 years doing the research on the push from Mayenne department through Sarthe to capture Le Mans and then pushes South and finally the advance North to close the Falaise pocket. Fabrice attended several reunions in Germany, France and America receiving photos and anecdotes from the war from the remaining veterans. Published in French in 2009 it is loaded with information and Photos I have never seen before. 

A good mix of German units are covered including day to day breakdowns and unit strengths; 9th Panzer, Panzer Lehr, 352nd Infantry Div, 708th Division, 91st infantry Division, 77th Infantry Division, Sicherungs regiment 1, Sicherungs regt 194, -195 and 196, 17th SS, 5th Fallschirmjager, Flak units and various retreating units and scratch batns.

Allied units include; US 5th Armoured, La 2nd division Blindee Francaise, US 79th Infantry Division, US 90th Infantry Division, US 80th Infantry Division, 106th US cavalry group. Very interesting research regarding the aviation units in the allied support role.

The Hard back 440 page book is well worth the 38 euros that I paid for it, although the text is in French it is a must for those interested in the southern flank of the Falaise pocket, lots of photos, small unit actions and after battle reports to wade through now! I ordered direct form the author to save 30 euros from a shop.


Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Bonne année and plans for 2019

A Merry Christmas and a Happy new years to all!

I hope you all had a great Christmas and a happy new year to all my followers. We had
our first Christmas and New years celebration at L'hotel de Hercé in France after moving to Mayenne last March. It was fantastic to spend it with family and friends staying with us for two weeks from Australia. A lot good wine, champagne and food for the holidays was consumed. I received a number of great gifts from the kids and from Nessa, mostly books and a few miniatures.

Plans for 2019

Big plans and lots of work for 2019, our first customers arrive in March for walking guided battlefield tours and then return to wargame the battle on the table at L'Hotel de Hercé

My Priority is concentrating on completing armies that relate to battles around our house (within 1 hour drive) so we could visit the battlefield in the morning and return and fight it in the afternoon.

  1. Actually need to complete my terrain tiles, I have completed the teddy bear fur mats, I just need to attach to the tiles and complete the river sections and roads, my main Project for the year, 20ft of table!
  2. More hedges and trees,; you can never have enough hedges, need to add some decent bocage and I really want to make larger trees that are closer to real heights for 28mm.
  3. More terrain bits for 20mm ww2, power poles, war memorials, road side crosses, civilians and livestock.
  4. Complete more 20mm ww2 buildings, mostly Normandy stuff that I have already purchased needs to be painted.
  5. Complete my American 20mm battle group, three more battalions to build and paint plus more vehicles and a few support elements including aircraft.
  6. Complete my British 20mm 1944 battle group, finish painting the three tank batns that I have started, plus paint the funnies, update my Paras with more support, add armoured infantry and complete the gliders and aircraft for Arnhem.
  7. Start my Polish ww2 1944 battle group, armour and infantry.
  8. Complete my French 1944 battle group, need to paint the armour and infantry.
  9. Add more elements to my 1944 Canadian battle group.
  10. Add some more 20mm 1944 Germans particularly Fallschirmjager, and add some SS elements.
  11. Add more figures to my Celtic army, I need to add about 60 figures ideally.
  12. Add more figures to my late medieval army, buildings more Bretons for the Mad War, plus German mercenaries for the same period.
  13. Start my 100 years war French, for the late period Perry miniatures.
  14. Start my 100 years war English, for the late period Perry miniatures.
  15. Add more figs to my early 100 years war French
  16. Add more figures to my early 100 years war Scots (almost complete!)
  17. Start my early 100 years war British army.
  18. Add more figs to my dark age Franks.
  19. Add more figures to my Vikings
  20. Add more figs to my Dark age Normans, Bretons and Anjou-Maine army.
  21. Update my medieval buildings, touch ups mostly.
  22. Build a dark age castle representing St Suzanne
  23. Complete my northern Vendee/Chouan army, lots to do waiting for some more figures
  24. Complete my Baden 1809-12 Napoleonic army, currently on the bench!
  25. Add to my French Napoleonic Army, particulary units useful for my Vendee project, some units on the bench at the moment.
  26. Add to my Austrian 1805-09 Napoleonic Army.
  27. Add to my Russian 1809-12 Napoleonic Army.
  28. complete my Saxon 1809-12 Napoleonic army
  29. Add to my French 1/1200th naval 
  30. Add to my British 1/1200th naval
  31. Gaslands, latest fad at the club, need to add at least five matchbox cars!
So quite a bit of work to do, having clean out of some old projects and non starters too in the coming weeks, all the best with your projects this year.

2018 painted totals

Sort of happy with my totals, a lot of interruption due to the move to France and the 

28mm Miniatures

136 ancient Greeks
30 Celts
15 Imperial Romans
24 Vikings
85 Byzantine infantry
60 Byzantine Cavalry
12 Feudal English
2 siege engines
28mm scatter terrain
3 wagons
16 Renaissance French infantry
24 FIW Indians
18 FIW French
24 French Napoleonic Cuirassiers
4 French Napoleonic cannon
Napoleonic Saxon Ducal Hussars
Napoleonic Frankfurt Hussars
3 Napoleonic French Generals
Baden artillery Battery
24 Modern Russian Infantry

20mm Miniatures

24 British Para
6 dutch vehicles
3 Belgian vehicles
1 civilian bus
1 wagon
1 aircraft
45 Bundeswehr Infantry
2 Bundeswehr APCs
1 soviet arty battery
1 soviet missile battery
8 Gaslands cars
3 bunkers
1 modern building
1 ww2 building
Gaslands terrain


Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Hat Wehrmacht Motorcyclists

I have been taking part in a 30 minute a day for 30 day challenge, I have decided to clear my work space of all unfinished projects before I place something new on it. That being said most are 28mm Napoleonics, a few Celts and some baggage. I recently purchased some HAT motorcyclists that required some work to look suitable for gaming. Unfortunately  they all seem to be Feldgendarmerie, so with a few changes, I wanted to move the miniatures into a more purposeful pose so I needed to sculpt new arms for them. Happy with the result, hope to undercoat this week and get painted next week, two for 39 and two for 44.


Monday, October 1, 2018


I recently completed some more Bundeswehr from Elheim miniatures. I am very pleased with the results, two more battalions to complete for my Bundeswehr kamfgruppe, along with support vehicles.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

New Beginnings

New Beginnings

I have been silent for some time as I have been busy changing my life for the last three years.
For many years I have been thinking and planning to start a business that relates to my wargaming, military modelling and military history hobby. I have tried painting miniatures, manufacturing miniatures and building armies and terrain to sell to fund my hobby. My normal job in construction of course really just funded my lifestyle, my hobby and interests. It was not until 24 months ago after returning to Australia from a holiday in Europe that a plan started to hatch. My wife and I were a little jaded about working 7 till 6pm in the corporate world of Sydney and looking forward we could not see much change in the next ten to fifteen years for us. 

So together we hatched a plan to move to Europe, looking for a different lifestyle and way to earn a living. We looked at what skills we had, and the finances available to start a business in our selected country. We looked at the UK, Germany and France. We settled on France as it offered the best options for us. We started our search for suitable locations throughout Normandy, Mayenne and Brittany.  

We had quite a list of requirements, a city or town that would meet our needs;  it needed to be within 1.5 hours of the Normandy beaches, with ancient, medieval and Renaissance chateaus close by. Good quality restaurants and local produce. Close to a  TGV line to Paris, motorways North, South, East, West and a international airport nearby, and not be too touristy. Amazingly we found such a place, finally we settled on Ville Mayenne, Pays de Loire as it offered the most potential for us, met all of our requirements as is very central.    

The house was the next challenge, we required a house that had at least 6 bedrooms, 3 reception rooms and all the conveniences within walking distance (i.e boulangerie, supermarket, cafes, shops and banks). We then selected a buying agent who gave us four options in Mayenne. I than flew to France to inspect the properties on our list,  two we eliminated early, one a little creepy, the other received an offer before we inspected. This left two properties. We then met with the Mayor to gauge his support for our venture, thankfully he was enthusiastic about our plans and gave us his full support for our enterprise. 

To qualify for a four year entrepreneurial visa, we were required to develop a solid business plan, prove we had invested quite a bit of money in France and had savings to live on while the business  grew to support us. 

We then found our ideal property thankfully our offer was excepted. We become the proud owners of L'Hotel de Herce in March 2018. The house is a "Maison Particular" built circa 1715 with a side carriage way, and a "cour de Honneur" entrance courtyard and private gardens, a 21 room three storey home, with three Grand Salons still with parquetry floors and panelled walls. 

We open as a Chambre de Hote (B & B) in August 2018, with three guest rooms.
The Grand salon on the second floor will become the "Salon de Guerre" (war room), where grand war gaming will be conducted in a gentlemanly manner. We will conduct military history tours of the various battlefields with a 1.5 hours, then return to game them on my table with my miniatures. We have our first event in October 2018, bookings will open very soon.

Book Here

L'hotel de Herce, Mayenne, France

Monday, February 19, 2018

"Banzai" a bolt action trial!

Decided to see what all the fuss is about and I played my first game of bolt action on the weekend, overall quite satisfied with the game, has a few quirks but happy to play with my mates if they are having a game. The mechanics  are quite easy, and I liked the random draw of the dice, although this I felt slowed the game down a little. The weapon ranges  I felt were off in comparison to the movement scales, with only long and short range for personal weapons, at times especially vehicles it felt a little to gamey with the ability of a vehicle to fire at multiple targets around it in range, it seemed to be a great advantage if you had multiple weapons, MG pintal, MG turrent, MG AA mount. the troop mechanics seemed to work quite well, and I did like the pinned idea for Morale, although my Japs ignored it when charging which was fun, but felt a little beer and pretzels. I will try it again but will not get overly excited and build a army I think. Th e japanese came away with a good win, with more than 60% of my hit dice hitting and killing in the last two turns, still could not kill the stuart tank! Pictures below, including some other games being played, some great painters and modellers out there!

 Other Bolt action game

Monday, November 6, 2017

American para references

Having visited France last month I managed to get to a number of museums, I have put together some pictures for future reference for my upcoming American para brigade for rapid fire. These photos were taken at the Bayeux WW2 museum