Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Street Without Joy

...is an excellent book written by Bernard Fall about the war in French Indo China in the late 1940's/early 1950's.

I read this in the mid 1980s and got very interested in this very interesting but little-gamed war, which culminated in a huge defeat for the French at Dien Bien Phu in 1954.    I collected and painted a few hundred Platoon 20 minis, which in those days were made from a rather brittle metal.  Unfortunately, I carefully  stored all the minis at the top of a high cupboard, and one day accidently dropped all the boxes from a height of 8'.  Almost to a man, they snapped off at the ankles (and many of the rifles broke).  See Exhibit A, below, for one of the four boxes. 

More feet without joy than Street without Joy!

It has taken me around 20 years to overcome the pain and return to the period, but this week I've started to repaint the surviving minis, and I'm going to order a few dozen more (well perhaps a hundred or so...).  I'll either use an adapted Memoir '44 ruleset, or write a simple set myself.  The battlefield of Zama, with some added hills and vegetation, is going to become Route Coloniale 19. 

Several things are a lot better in 2010 than 1990; firstly I'm a somewhat better painter now, and have a lot more nice terrain.  Secondly, the 1/72 diecast vehicles that one can buy these days look outstanding; the French transport pool is consequently going to be a whole lot bigger than it was 20 years ago!  Finally there is a lot of great material on the war that wasn't around in 1990, especially this excellent site on the war which has OOB's, which was information I could only dream of, twenty years ago.  En avant!
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