1944 France; Project Beginning

It’s been awhile since I have been able to post to the blog, thankfully it’s because I have been too busy with a new project! I struggled for awhile figuring out what I wanted to undertake. I have an affinity for moderns as it is personal and I have had to fight myself around every corner from diving into another contemporary theater. The Falklands War was considered, as I know zero of the conflict but see that it is important to our English brethren and would love to understand why. The Afghanistan conflicts with Russia and the United States were at the top of list as well given the nature of super powers struggling against an ‘inferior’ enemy. While I want to eventually cover and wargame the above conflicts, I decided I needed to branch out with my first handful of projects.

Why WW2?

The decision I made for WW2 was for a couple of reasons. One of the driving reasons for wanting to branch out from moderns was the creation of a local wargaming club. It’s been fascinating, and frankly refreshing seeing the popularity of wargaming in places like the UK. Seems like everyone there is a part of a club or significant group of like minded people to enjoy the hobby with! Using them as motivation and a model to replicate, I decided to start a club locally. Understanding that recruitment would be the most vital aspect to our early success in this endeavor, I needed a popular time period to get people interested in checking us out, WW2!

On a personal level I also have huge interest in learning more about this time period. I can’t speak for other countries, but here in America we seem to have an over infatuation with our involvement in the second world war. That’s not to say America wasn’t a huge player in the conflict, but we seem to over estimate our involvement to the point of revisionism. I could go on and on about why this happens here but this isn’t the point of the post! I want to invest more into the research of this time period to get a better understanding of not only the true nature of America’s involvement but that of all other nations. I have a feeling what we are taught and what we think here will not match up to what I newly learn!

Getting away from the more serious reasons for picking this era, I wanted bigger models to paint! After spending a year painting 15mm models for my 2004 Iraq project, I realized I’d like to come back to 28mm simply for painting the models. I started wargaming with 40k and quickly became a fan of painting. It is therapeutic and satisfying seeing a 28mm model highlighted and detailed on a great base. With so many nations involved in the conflict and every nation with a myriad of components in their respective armed forces, it gives me the opportunity to paint a ton of different uniforms and miniatures!

Why 1944 France?

This theater grabs my attention for a couple of reasons. The amount of different order of battles present from DDay on wards in France allows for the project to grow organically. Every nation involved here has multiple components that can be modeled, painted and war-gamed with; Regular Infantry, Armor and Elite Forces.

Admittedly I also wanted to be able to create some terrain that wasn’t involved with a desert! The terrain and scenery, in Normandy especially, is very appealing to my terrain making side.

So what have I done so far?

First up is a 6Ă—8 foot DDay board, loosely based on Omaha and Point Du Hoc. The plan is to start off club ran campaigns with this board, simulating the landings in 1944 Normandy that led to the eventual liberation of France. To be honest, it’s been a bit more of a project than I was originally wanting… several times I had to be talked out of trashing the project. I’ve learned a lot from it though, one being I need to plan out steps way better! Still a lot of work to be done but it’s starting to take shape.

The first two armies I will be fielding will be a US Army Infantry platoon representing the 1st Infantry and 29th Infantry Divisions and a German Infantry platoon based on the 352nd Infantry Division. For the sake of time I had to make some concessions to the paint job quality on the bulk of these models, I can’t take all year on these guys! I decided on batch painting the grunts of the platoons while giving more time to the leadership and special teams. So far I’ve been able to knock out 30 American and about 5 German Infantry;

It’s been a great project so far and I am looking forward to trying out some different rule sets. If anyone out there has any advice on the creation of a gaming club, or anything else, I would love to hear it. Thanks for reading, have a great one.

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