Thursday, June 7, 2018

Gen. Pettygree Is Writing A Book


"Excuse me General Pettygree. Your readers are here."

"Very well Mr. Barnes. "I’ll speak with them now."

"Thank you for seeing me. I appreciate it. Many of you have followed my singular career in the Nile Delta, Sudan, Northwest Frontier and Britain on my blog; Campaigns of General  William Augustus Pettygree."  

"In most stories I was a soldier serving Queen Victoria." 

"However, there are other fascinating adventures of rugged men, strong women and dark foes whom you do not yet know which need telling. Their unique experiences in astonishing places woven within desperate circumstances and new eras compel me to present them to you."

"That’s what I'll be doing next at greater length than possible here. Only a short story book format can do this. As my chronicler Bill Protz did in almost one hundred blog stories, we’ll advance new tales by briefly captioned photographs. The difference will be much greater depth of story and characters."

"Excuse me William. Dreadfully sorry. We need to be at Lord Basingstoke’s before seven for dinner."

"Quite right Mary, my darling. I'll finish in a moment." 

"Bill and I estimate Book #1 will be available near the end of 2018. Meanwhile, here is a teaser as the motion picture people call it." 

      The 1929 Buhl CA-6 Sesquiplane’s Wright Whirlwind 300hp engine was useless, on fire and the propeller was frozen in place. Speaking silently to herself, “Trees ahead. Pull the wheel back a little. Respond damn you! Up a smidgen. Yes. Bravo my wounded girl.”

      The aircraft jerked as the undercarriage clipped treetops along the eastern coastal ridge. Bearing 225˚ an undulating field beckoned her down. It was so very small though and the far edge was bordered by more trees. But, it was all the aviatrix had as she descended. 

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(1) Does this mean my blog stories will cease? No.

(2) There is much to sort out with self-publishing and distribution.

(3) Wish us luck will you?

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Monday, May 7, 2018



See General Pettygree's,  RIDE WITH THE COLUMN, SIR!
Where: Preceding this report

General Pettygree, in the past month your orders to ride with the column more worked. The men are now markedly more cheerful and industrious because they endeavored to be with their mates more in hobby activities rather than isolating themselves for all manner of reasons. Here is what happened....

Winston just related how hobby activities of one of the units under my command beat it's hobby funk. It found time, energy and gumption to get out to attend The Little Wars Convention and game several times in the homes of one another on occasional weekends and also mid-week after work.

Our lads sailed in the 1750s and 1942, flew in the skies near Guadalcanal, perilously entered a recently discovered tomb, commanded submarines, tested new WWII land rules, defended the Earth versus alien spacecraft and more. Let me however, concentrate just a little on Bill's Annual Birthday Game Day. I heartily recommend the concept to you.

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Date: 5 May 1932, 1942 and 2018
Locations: Egypt and The Southwest Pacific
Situation: Bill's Annual Birthday Game Day
Raison d' etre: Game with your mates more. Reduce self-imposed isolation

Seated on Lohalo Ridge, Desperatu Island left to right: Morgan E., Dan E., Jim H., Keith J. and host Bill P. Standing left to right: Dave G., John B., Kurt D., Lewis S. and Chuck L. Not pictured: Bill K. Most played in two games.

Morning Games (10:00 am)
Tomb Raider Game 1 (Chuck L.)
Naval Thunder off Desperatu Island. (John B.)

Lunch: Noonish
Participants brought beverage and/or chow to share.
Main Course: Sandwiches and meatballs.
Dessert: Many goodies plus an afternoon birthday cake.

Afternoon Games (1:00 pm)
Tomb Raider Game 2 (Chuck L.)
Invasion of Desperatu Island (Bill P.)

Bill's Birthday Cake had a South Pacific Theme as you see. Prodigious!

So you see, one person did not do everything. Participants ran games, brought miniatures and shared bringing chow. All came in hopeful anticipation for laughs, friendly competition and companionship impossible to achieve unless one stands side by side in flesh and blood with his mates.

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1) Rules were uncomplicated/unmassive. Main rule books were barely consulted. Reasons: Quick Reference charts, knowledgeable judges and companionable players.

2) Practice the rules.

3) Set-up before game day.

4) Involve others in judging, commands and bringing miniatures.

5) Emailing orders for the invasion of Desperatu Island before game day. See examples next.

A portion of Desperatu Island's east shoreline. This image was emailed to Dan E. commanding Japanese Special Naval Landing Force combatants landing left of the breakwall. In this way Dan could see his landing zone, 1st Mission orders and make plans before game day.

Keith J's SNLF was ordered to land to the right of the previous image directly in the harbor.

Here we've turned around looking out to sea. Bill K's Coastal Patrol Force received this image and 1st Mission orders in the event of a Japanese landing.

Some Japanese players also received this aerial recon photo showing the US 26th Cavalry patrolling the beach and harbor.

USA view from the interior of the island. 

John B. and his 4th Marines received this image before game day to conserve planning time consumption on game day.

That's the Lohalo Ridge Watch Tower in the distance where John was posted. Desperatu Harbor is beyond the ridge.

5 May 1942: Imperial Japanese Navy arrives in the Strait of Desperatu Island. Though engaged by US and Australian warships (Naval Thunder game we played earlier in the day), only one maru carrying men and supplies was sunk. Thus, the invasion went ahead as planned.

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1) That should do it men. Contact your mates and plan something today. There is nothing like a locked in future game date to rout the blue devils holding you back.

2) Thank you to the gallant friends who helped make my 2018 Annual Birthday Game Day terrific and rewarding. I ran out of room to include more people in the festivities. Some were unable to participate.

3) Buildings are Miniature Building Authority. Warships are from Richard Houston.

4) Have a comment? We hope so. Please place it below in Comments. We want to hear from you.

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Sunday, April 8, 2018



"Hello Winston! There you are. It's a pity you aren't riding with the column. How are things?"

"Good to see you Grandmaison. --- Intolerable heat, flies, boredom, isolation from my fellows and the very worst of all, inaction. But, I'll be back in the thick of things soon. Like me, the men are in a wretched funk here."

"Tell me about it and I'll report to General Pettygree."

"When can we splice the mainbrace Chief Petty Officer? The men are in a black mood."

"Busy sailors are happy sailors. Ain't that enough? --- Back to your duties then. --- "I'll speak with the Captain about your rum."

"Grandmaison. What news do you bring?"

"General, I spoke with Churchill at the depot. He is of the opinion the men are in a foul mood. Their low morale is causing reduced industriousness and worse. Specifically...."

"Have him report directly to me tonight."

"Alright Lieutenant. What's on your mind?"

"General, thank you for seeing me. The men are in a funk and...."

"So, you are in a hobby funk, sir. I daresay these orders will fix your troubles in a fortnight."

Ride With The Column More Than You Have
It's action you need, not lengthy solitary confinement. Get out with your mates more. By this I mean with fellow hobbyists sharing your interests to talk, celebrate, eat and game. It is all very fine to privately buy, collect, paint, organize and display your miniatures. We must and want to do these things. However, face to face, flesh and blood and eye to eye sharing of experiences can too often be tragically absent. Lonely and unhealthy too.

Zorndorf Game #2 game mastered by Der Alte Fritz, Jim Purky, at the 35th Annual Seven Years' War Association Weekend held April 6-7, 2018 in South Bend, Indiana. We've gathered for three and a half decades; almost the same mates for this unique way to ride with the column. It is truly unlike any wargame gathering.  In a way it's similar to a best family gathering. Maybe it's exactly that.

Bill looks forward to the annual Seven Years' War India game hosted by Jurgen O. at the SYW Weekend. Shabash!

Do more tabletop games.

Move Miniatures and Throw Dice With Your Mates More
Gaming fun, laughter, visual appeal and memories with your fellows across the table are of inestimable value. It's part though not all of the stuff of happiness. Yes, the occasional solitary game is mighty fine and right, but so much more is gained by being with other people moving miniatures and throwing dice. Here's one amazing memory.

Bill sent three French scouts to the edge of a ravine to look for the foe. Joe asked, "Bill, are all your scouts looking over the edge?" After hesitating, the trepedatious answer was, "Yes."

Shots rang out from hidden Woodland Indians. All three scouts were hit. Ouch! Everyone silently gathered around for 3xD6 saving throws. (4-5-6 = Miss, 2-3 = Wound and 1 = Dead) Bill picked up three dice, shook and cast them upon the table. --- Gasp! --- Open-mouthed. --- Three ones!

The room erupted into raucous laughter with howls lasting minutes. Bill laughed hard too and why not?

That's entertainment, huge fun and a great memory.

Friendly Painting Challenge
Are you in a painting funk; unable to lift your brushes? Well, invite your mates to join you in a Friendly Paining Challenge. The rules are simple.

Thirty day duration. Short, sweet and doable.
Paint anything, even if a miniature has been 90% complete for years.
Paint as much or as little as you want, big or small, complicated or simple.
Build something to completion.
Change plans any time.
Share results, bravos and comments.
Goal: Personal satisfaction, crossing "Finish Lines" and fun with your mates.

You know what lads? As odd as this sounds, it works. Those who participate feel a sense of accomplishment and fun. I think part of it is because we are doing it together instead of alone.

Twelve friends are involved in our current Friendly Painting Challenge.

Friendly Painting Challenge ending at 11:59 pm 15 April 2018.
12x WWII Papua New Guinea natives from Eureka Miniatures.
2xAustralian leaders; Perry 8th Army.

More Painting Challenge Results.
Japanese vehicles, infantry and a 20mm AA/AT gun.

Finally 3x prototype Republican Romans from 1st Corps and
USA WWII dismounted tank crewmen; mostly Blacktree Design. Bill overbought these!

Keep your heads down lads!
Avoid watching motion pictures and television. These are time vampires.
Listen to favorite music instead.
Set a timer and stay focused.

Plan Several Games
Well lads, we are en-route to The Northwest Frontier again with my Field Force.  I've told Bill we have needs. He and I know the prospect of future games are prodigious motivators to produce new units, terrain and what not. You know this too.

It's harder to be industrious without games spurring us on to do all the things we love to do in this hobby. Tell your mates the plan so they can get involved in some way as well.

People need people --- not just electronically --- but standing beside us to enjoy this life.

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"Alright you idlers. After taking care of the most important things in life; God, then family and next work, take care of yourselves. Will we see you soon --- in person?"

Ride with the column more.
Respectfully yours,
Bill P.

Your thoughts are very welcome below at Comments.

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Sunday, December 17, 2017

Merry Christmas Everyone from General Pettygree

Ladies and Gentlemen
this is the reason for the season of Christmas:







Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Annual BIG Colonial Game

Date: September 9, 1885/2017
Situation: Annual BIG Colonial Game
Location: El Teb, Sudan
Rules: House Version of Peter Gilder's Original Sudan Rules

Today's story is about traditions; commonalities that hold diverse people together to accomplish goals. Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. My name is General Pettygree. Ride along with me, will you, as we explore traditions of The Annual BIG Colonial War Game.

On the 6' x 28' Imperial Back Table, the emptiness of the open desert inevitably forces nervous thoughts of being in the middle of nowhere. Only your mates and the Martini Henry on your shoulder offer consolation. Off image to the right is the Dervish Main Table and beyond that, their Back Table both of the same dimensions.

From time to time table height necessitated that both Jim and Bill ascend to the desert surface to move units. It has to do with biology; where the body can bend. Six foot and taller gamers have little trouble bending and reaching inward to march units along. Not so for everyone. Here Jim advances the Right Flank toward the Main Table where the Dervishes were waiting for him.

Earl (left) and Chuck (right) are about to step off beginning Turn 1.

Farther away on The Imperial Left Flank, Peter Gilder's own Camel Corps scouting ahead immediately tripped a shocking Dervish ambush.

Three squadrons of Bill's 9th Bengal Lancers formed to face the Hadendowah threat. Nearby British infantry began to form a wall upon which they hoped the Dervish tide would eventually falter. Surely the Camel Corps was doomed.

On the Hadendowah rushed flushed with success. The rest of the Camel Corps and a squadron of Gilder's Lancers madly countered with a few against the many. It worked. Surviving Dervish withdrew for three turns leaving the Camel Corps greatly withered. Bill was joyously amazed about this miracle never minding the improper use of the Camel Corps. What else could he have done?

The Hadendowah continue their forced withdrawal
whilst Bill's cavalry follows nudging them along.

Here is the wall of infantry formed to meet the expected enemy onrush that did not happen.

The medium brown feature is a gully. Several of these appeared randomly. Each might or might not contain a Dervish ambush.

The Imperial Back Table edge is inches to the left. Beyond it was a gap for us to walk and then the Dervish Main Table. In reality the latter was mere inches from the left-most British battalion. Without the gap, everyone would have had to climb onto the tables!

Turn 7: Turning about we are looking from the Left Flank outwards. Bill's Imperials are advancing cautiously in preparation to cross to The Main Table off image to the right. The Hadendowah shock was still fresh in his mind. Remnants of the foe are in the upper right hand corner.


Chow Time at Keith and Donna's is a cherished tradition. Bob M. (near), Earl (center) and Jim (distant) are serving themselves salad, vegetables, a casserole, dinner rolls, muffins, beverages and more. Near an hour of companionable conversation ensued while the game paused.

Later in the afternoon Donna served a scrumptious and moist chocolate birthday cake for celebrants, Keith, Curt and Chuck. On game days we remember our birthdays with cake; a nice tradition.

Subsequent game turns found the Dervishes falling back and back as the Imperials pushed onto The Main Table. Imperial firepower was overwhelming. (Several rules misinterpretations.) The Mahdist Reaction Table kindly made them withdraw to fight another day.

Another tradition: Players are encouraged to bring their own units to games. Chuck, Earl and Bill brought units for the game reinforcing Keith's lovely Peter Gilder collection. Plus, if you don't look too closely, Northwest Frontier Pathan horsemen are bolstering Dervish forces. Why not?


Good luck lads making your own traditions.
Your friends will look forward to it, I assure you.

Repeated annual games are appealing.
Make it a BIG game and a long BIG day.
Players contribute forces and terrain for the game.

Chow Time.
Monthly birthday celebrations.
Using miniatures, terrain and rules owned by the late and celebrated Peter Gilder

2} Peter's original hand-written rules were put into a Quick Reference format more than a decade ago. We are in our fifth version adhering as closely as possible to the concepts Peter used at The Wargame Holiday Center. For this game, movement rates were increased by 66% and weapon ranges by +50%. It is likely some changes are needed for this very  large scale of game but not for the more customary ones.

3} The Imperials had twenty-ish sixty figure battalions; more than 1,300 miniatures. Dervish numbers exceeded this. Peter's entire collection is owned by Keith. We love seeing it on the table.

4} Carlo Pagano's modern version of the rules from 2014 are available here:

5} Bill was very busy commanding the Imperial Left Flank. Hence he did not take as many photographs as usual. We ask for your kind forbearance.

6} Dervish: Keith L. {The Shadow}, Curt B. and Bob M.

7} Imperials: Jim P. {Der Alte Fritz}, Earl K., Chuck L. {The Lucky} and Bill P. {Gen. Pettygree}.

8} Underlying movement trays were built for the 9th Bengal Lancers for this game. Reason: To reduce the number of things to move. It's a time saver.

9} Why not start traditions similar to this for your friends and you today? Don't stop there. Widen your net to include others of a companionable sort to enjoy fun and camaraderie.

10} Don't be a malingerer! Get a game going, move units and throw some dice.

11} Go to the blog of Der Alte Fritz for more photos and the story from a different perspective.

12} We would enjoy your remarks at "Comments" below.


Sunday, February 26, 2017

Diary of A Subaltern in the Sudan #2

23 February 1896

Our scout of the 21st. instant found a Dervish screen south of our post at the village and ruins of Akasha. Thinking the enemy mighty bold being this close to us, General Shearing resolved to take most of the garrison out to punish their impertinence. After a hearty breakfast on the 23rd., the Column marched to the ruins where Freddy Grandmaison and I had just been two days before. The distance was not far.

We were assigned to Colonel Burnaby's Advance Guard given our recent familiarity with the ruins. He spread out our twenty-three sailors demanding they have a care to take cover.

Freddy and I were posted on the extreme right flank.  High bushes along the bank of the Nile River covered us well. Some of the detachment that had been with us before noticed observable Dervish were more numerous today. I thought they meant to falsely taunt us showing themselves so impudently. Our vigilance was high and our weapons were loaded as....

General Shearing brought up the Main Body on our left. Surely the enemy's bravado would evaporate not because of the blazing morning heat but because they might now comprehend our overwhelming numbers.

They could not hope to delay us more than moments once the order to advance came.

We awaited Burnaby's order to open fire and advance.

When the order arrived, we fired and quick marched to the oasis supported by dismounted Camel Corps on our left. The Dervish remained strangely silent.

They fled to low Mimosa trees. --- We had them!

But our cheering overconfidence immediately vanished when clouds of Dervish abruptly erupted from the Village of Firket in the distance.

Now --- whom had whom?

On they came with a vengeance.

Steady men. --- Mark your targets. 

For a time they faltered and we fell back to cover. Along the way Burnaby shouted to Freddy and I, "Get mounted! Gallop to General Shearing, report and ask for help." 

But too soon the maddened foe was in our midst shouting and chanting with blood lust in their eyes.

I remember the Colonel's exhortation to this day. 

Churchill, Grandmaison! Tell the General we've lost the right flank.
Off with you!

I would not leave without a few parting shots in support of our brave tars.
Could I really abandon them?

One, two and three shots found their marks but nothing except a miracle could stem the Dervish tide.

Over the cacophony of battle I barely heard Freddy demand, "Winston!" I knew what he meant. I daresay he was right to remind me for had we not left, an instant later we would have been overcome. The consequences of our demise would undoubtedly place the whole Column in jeopardy of collapse. As I turned whipping my horse into a gallop, Burnaby was last seen hacking away at a fierce Hadendowah tribesman bent on his destruction. 


1) Is this the end of Burnaby, Churchill and Grandmaison? Indeed, what will become of the flanked Main Body of General Shearing?

2) Miniatures are largely 54mm Britains, John Jenkins Design and Armies in Plastic.

3) Your remarks are welcome below at the word Comments.