Wednesday, 9 December 2020

The Western Way of War

This is another of those posts that strays far from the stated subject matter. i.e. 'Ruminations on wargaming, especially the Seven Years War, the English Civil War and other 'black powder' periods. Occasional forays into obscure Nordic music and opinionated 'dribble' [sic] on Grimsby Town Football Club.' Perhaps I ought to update the blog header. 

Just to keep it more relevant, I'll slip in the news that my Christmas present arrived in the post today from Belgium. I had to order it myself as the fact you had to pay in Euros foxed the other half. She told me that me paying for it could be in lieu of a present for her birthday, so two presents for the price of one! I'm saving the unboxing for Christmas in the, not totally unlikely, expectation that I will have forgotten it by then so I'll get a nice surprise.

This is a boardgame from Nuts publishing. I'm hoping that  the 'tactical phase' can be played out on the table top

Now back to the Western Way of War. This is not going to be about the book below, although there are connections in the subject matter beyond just the title of book and podcast. But, in the manner of Tristram Shandy, another digression.


The Google app on my phone throws up some interesting feeds now and again. One that popped up this evening didn't lead directly to the podcast in question but led to an article on another website about British military thought. This one https://wavellroom.com/2020/12/09/cultural-apathy-and-dishonesty-within-the-british-army-say-do-gap/ . In itself it was an interesting read, and it contained a reference to a subject (procurement) that I've had an interest in throughout most of my working life (though this was never in a defence context). I followed the link and listened to the specific episode of the podcast in question.

That episode was right up my street, though it probably isn't for most people. Not what I was quite expecting either. It was certainly thought provoking. There were no easy or pat answers. There were some interesting nuggets along the way and I thought it ended brilliantly. “A lot of folk who know the answer to everything have probably never asked the right question.” (Professor John Louth, RUSI)

The two professors talking are ex-RN (the host) and ex-RAF (the guest expert) respectively. The latter seems to suggest that the new aircraft carriers were a bad idea - I interpretted it as 'the battleship in the age of the aircraft carrier' a.k.a. 'fighting the last war'. The other thinks they’re beautiful. No surprises for guessing which was which. 😀 I was quite pleased to hear that both profs had slight regional accents (which links to another recent feed in the Google app to the excellent British Library webpages on British Accents & Dialects).

Here is the link to the episode:

https://rusi.org/multimedia/western-way-war-bad-procurement-peculiarly-western-issue

And the introductory podcast which I listened to afterwards:

What is the Western Way of War? . This one is probably of much more interest to wargamers and military history buffs.

I got one more episode in this evening, but there are more I want to delve into.


6 comments:

  1. An interesting wandering post taking us to interesting places along the way. I will give your recommendations a listen.

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  2. Hello there old chap,

    I will be keen to hear what your impressions are about the boardgame as it is certainly on my ‘to get’ list! I believe that tactical battles are played out on a stylised battle board (similar to that used in Columbia Games Napoleon - no surprises really as I believe the designer used to be a part of them) so replacing them with units should not be too difficult. That would be my plan with the WoFun collection I have in conjunction with the game.

    All the best,

    DC

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    1. Hi there David. I think you’re right about the abstracted battles in the game. I’m resisting opening the box until the big day! I want to recapture that anticipation and deferred gratification of past times.
      I’ll post a review after Christmas Day.
      All the best.
      Chris

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  3. Interesting podt ,I will try and have a listen, of course difficult to justify the RAF as a strategic force today, we would probably work just as well with an army air corps and a fleet air arm and save the cost of a separate force,the civil war game looks interesting!
    Best Iain

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    1. Now that’s a can of worms you’ve opened up there. And a very interesting one too. Since the Vulcans went I guess the RAF doesn’t have strategic bombers.

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