Or what is it that keeps me going on this project!
I've been working on my units and terrain for the WW2 North African campaign for a year now and I am very nearly ready to put on an operational game.
|MkVI Vickers tanks in typical desert terrain. Unique camouflage and eccentric military vehicles sums up some of the appeal.|
I wondered what it was that first got me interested in this aspect of military history and why I wanted to wargame it. I suppose it began with the first wargames book I ever came across whilst browsing the school library; John Sandars "Introduction to Wargaming". I couldn't believe that adults actually wargamed and that books were being written on the subject. Up to then I had forced my brother and other friends into playing "soldiers" with plastic figures and marbles but this book opened my eyes to a far more sophisticated and "grown-up" past-time. John Sandars was an expert on the 8th Army and the book was filled with his conversions of Airfix figures and models for both sides of the campaign.
|Look at all those charts, measure sticks and templates!|
I began to search out history books of the desert campaign, richly illustrated with Crusader tanks racing across the desert, the dreaded 88mm dominating the open battlefields, huge minefields protected by wire and an unencumbered wasteland just asking to be fought over by a weird variety of vehicles, tanks and aircraft. There was Rommel "the Desert Fox" on one side and Monty on the other. And to top it off, the Airfix 8th army and Deutsche Afrika Korp figures were some of the best they ever made.
|The eternal enemies of many of my first battles.|
After University and my first proper foray into wargaming on the Eastern Front using Esci 1/72 models and 20mm metal figures I really wanted to wargame large historical battles. I had already shifted from 15mm Seven Years War to 6mm Heroics and Ros in order to complete armies within my lifetime so I was keen to to do a theatre in WW2 in which I could recreate all the combatants in their full formations with a variety of equipment and organisations that gave differing strengths but with an opportunity for either side to win.
|Epic battles in an epic landscape.|
The desert campaign had it all and with the arrival of the Spearhead rules in 1997 I had a system that recreated the doctrinal differences that would allow an outnumbered Afrika Korp along with the badly equipped Italians to take on the might of the British Commonwealth and Empire.
Our operational games have further inspired me to tidy up and complete my desert armies and I am really looking forward to the next phase in my fascination with this period.