I reached Pennsylvania on Friday ( 9th July 2010 ) evening and after taking a quick shower at the hotel, I rushed to the Valley Forge Convention Center located in King of Prussia. As it did in 2007, the Historicon drew hundreds of enthusiasts and visitors from different corners of the US and from several walks of life.
My first game called "The Savage Wastes of Germania!" was hosted by Game Master "Howard Whitehouse" using the ancient wargaming rule set : "Clash of Iron". "Clash of Iron" is a simple, straight forward rule set designed by the Game Master himself, who is an employee of the Wargames Factory. I was formation leader Cornelius Junius, who took charge of one of the cavalry units of the Roman Army that had crossed the Rhine to suppress the Germanic tribes that were giving Rome relentless migraine.
A wilderness of forests, bogs, streams, and hills, the terrain was one that offered a cavalry commander very few options. I stayed behind, letting the infantry units march ahead and deal with the sea of barbarians that the Germans had amassed. They seemed inexhaustible, with waves of men armed with motley weapons rushing into the Romans again and again. I stayed to the left of the infantry and lagged behind, promising to charge the flank of the attacking German hordes. I did charge and route two waves of attackers before taking a Javelin on my chest.
The Romans pulled off a marginal victory in the end.
On Saturday I attended Capt.Dale Dye's talks on Hollywood, Military History and the making of Band of Brothers and The Pacific. I asked Capt.Dye a question. Let me recollect and quote the question and answer here :
Sarath : I think it was in the 9th episode of Band of Brothers that you show a Nazi concentration camp. How did you pull that off ? It was shot very well.
Capt. Dye : To film the concentration camp, we needed several extremely emaciated people and it was hard to find so many of them. So, I did something that makes me feel like a butt hole to this day. I went to a hospice for terminal cancer patients and told them that if they would like to make a contribution towards preserving history, I would like to hire them. In the end, we had about 85 volunteers, two of them were brought in ambulances. That's how we filmed it. Most of them could be dead now. It is something that haunts me to this day.
On the same day,I fought a battle set during the days of the American Revolutionary war and a 1953 dog fight over the skies of Korea. More about these two games in the next post.
On Sunday, I attended two seminars : Col.David Glantz's "Soviet Operations in Hungary (Jan- Mar 1945)", which described the Soviet planning and conduct of operations to capture Budapest in January and February 1945. It was an excellent effort by Col. Glantz and included translations of Russian and German war diaries that depicted the movement and shifting positions of the two armies on a day to day basis. The next seminar was "The Bear is back - Russia's new cold war" by Col.(Retd.)Jerry Morelock in which the Colonel presented his thoughts of how the Putin- Medvedev regime is redefining the Russian national philosophy with "Super Power dreams".