Friday, 11 April 2014

Off to Salute 2014

Just getting ready now to pack the set up for the journey tomorrow morning (at a ridiculously early time of day!) to ExCel in London Docklands for Salute 2014.

We are taking our new game "August, 1914" which is based on part of the Battle of Tannenberg from 26th-30th August 1914. The set is finished (last work on it completed last night) so we are finally ready to go! We are table GM15, on the right hand side of Salute near the seating area, so if you are in the show tomorrow do stop by and say hi!

As ever I will post a report and photos (will try to remember my camera this year and have the batteries charged!) next week.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

A day in the Salient Part Three - Zonnebeke

We've been to the museum at Zonnebeke before (see photos earlier on this blog) but sine then it has been extended and a replica trench system has been created. As we've posted photos of the museum already I'll concentrate on the new bits!

After going through the museum and the British underground command bunker you emerge into a new area focussing on the battle of Passchendale. There are several rooms of exhibits and weapons, and it is very well done.

These are in the new rooms - firstly a Minenwerfer with shells:

 
A German 150mm with limber:
 
 
A very impressive display of shells:
 
 
German trenches with firestep:
 
 
German sniper position:
 
 
German trenches with reversed A-frames:
 
 
British trenches with firestep:
 
 
 
And the German trenches from ground level:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A day in the Salient, Part Two - Bayernwald


After visiting Locre we drove on the short distance into Kemmel, as you have to buy your ticket for the Bayernwald trenches in the tourist office in Kemmel. The trenches are half-way between Kemmel and Wijtschate (known as Whitesheet to the Tommies) and are based on original trenches excavated in the 1990s. They were restored about ten years ago and now give a really good idea of a German trench system complete with four bunkers. These were not MG bunkers but were used as shelters for the troops in a heavy bombardment (the only time they were allowed to use them, to maintain a martial spirit!).

The trenches are excellent and well worth visiting if you are in the area. One additional point is that it is known that Hitler served in this area at one time during the war so he may well have been in these trenches at some point. Here's what they look like from the ground:

 
 
 
One of the bunkers:
 
 
And the view from the trenches towards the British lines, which were between the house (not there at the time obviously!) and the wood:
 
 
They also found a couple of shaft entrances to underground bunkers - now filled with water as they are no longer pumped out:
 
 
 
 
 
 

A day in the Salient, Part One

Last weekend en route to see our friends at the TSA club in Antwerp we took the opportunity of a very early ferry crossing to stop off and explore some areas of the Ypres salient. We wanted to go to some places we hadn't been to before and to a museum that had been re-done, so our route took us to Kemmel south of Ypres where we visited the bunkers on the Lettenberg near Locre and the re-constructed German trenches at Bayernwald, and then to the now extended museum at Zonnebeke.

I took lots of photos of course and will post some in sequence. Firstly the bunkers on the Lettenberg - these were British command and first aid bunkers from 1917 at a point that was then well behind the lines. From the top of the Lettenberg (which didn't have trees then!) the view over the Salient is amazing - you can see all the way to Diksmude in one direction and Passchendaele in the other.

Here's some pictures of the bunkers:

 
 
 
 
 
And here's the view of Kemmel from the top of the Lettenberg;
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Friday, 7 March 2014

Building August,1914 Part Two

We are continuing to build the set for this years show games, based on part of the Battle of Tannenberg in August 1914. Many people think that the battle took place in Russia, but after a little research we realised that in fact it took place in East Prussia, and was part of the German drive to defeat the Russian invasion of East Prussia at the start of the war.

This means that all the buildings are Prussian not Russian. The architecture of the region is basically north European, which meant we could use a wider range of buildings to create the look of the area. We are still at the "whittling" stage, although we'll shortly be ready to start the grasswork, roads, lake and railway line. With only 5 weeks to go to Salute it will be cut a little fine but we will be ready!

Here's a couple of pictures to show you where we have got to so far.....

 
 
 
 
 

Friday, 14 February 2014

Building "August, 1914" Part One

If it's February, it must be time to build the new game for shows for 2014! This year is of course the centenary of the start of the Great War, and naturally we want to mark that in some way. We thought that most people would be doing games based on the Western Front (and we may yet do something Mons related ourselves) but the East was calling...

So we've decided to do a game based on the Battle of Tannenberg in August 1914. There is not as much information available about Tannenberg as there is about the equivalent battles on the Western Front but there are some good books around such as "Tannenberg 1914" by John Sweetman and "Clash of Empires" by Dennis Showalter. But neither of these really give a feel for the terrain. For this we have found inspiration in a classic work on the period, August 1914 by Alexander Solzhenitsyn (which also gave us our title for the game!). If you have not yet read this I would recommend it.

Like the Marne, Tannenberg was a huge battle over many miles so of course we cannot do all of it. We are focussing on the start of the battle around Bischofsburg and the action to the north of it, on the right flank of the Russian Army. One thing we are going to need is an awful lot of trees!

I will post pictures as the build develops. We have planned the terrain, and Richard our chief whittler has already been in action. Just to whet your appetite, here's a few photos of where we are at the moment. Please bear in mind though that there is still loads to be done before the game has its debut at Salute on 12 April!

 
 
 

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Seasons Greetings

Here at CTK HQ we'd just like to take this opportunity to wish all of you a very happy Christmas and New Year.

2014 will of course be the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War, and there will no doubt be commemorative events galore for the next four years - every month will be an anniversary of something! We will be just as busy as ever next year getting out and about to shows and look forward to seeing you!

In the meantime, have a great Christmas.