Posts Tagged ‘John Tiller’s Campaign Series’

The Flare Path: Apes

The first Royal Navy powder monkeys were actual monkeys. During the blockade of Singapore in 1764-65 a short-handed admiral by the name of Thomas Allworthy, noticing that the long-tailed macaques kept as pets by many of his crew were extremely biddable, ordered the beasts to be trained up as emergency gunpowder porters and cannon spongers. Young macaques carried out the latter activity without implements of any kind. After a quick dip in a pail of water, the primates would be inserted into sooty cannon barrels down which a peanut or similar tidbit had first been thrown. Blockages weren't unknown. Much of the blame for HMS Ajax's dismal performance at the Battle of Cape St. Vincent (1780) was laid at the furry feet of its overfed monkey matelots. In 'Biscay Round', the 18th Century sea shanty that made famous the phrase 'Keep your powder dry', the well-known line is followed by the now largely forgotten 'And your monkey slim'.

Hello youse. Fridays are for taking a long, hard look at your weekly wargame & simulation column, and wondering “Is it sufficiently distinct?”. Fridays are also for plunging gloved hands into the beetle-studded nightsoil mound that is the Internet and pulling out stories about bovicidal board game ports, Battle of the Bulge and iRacing imperfections, and the return of an intriguing piece of TalonSoft hexoterica. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Wants A Welbike

First-time readers of Flare Path, before you go any further, be aware that the following may contain references to obscure 1920s RAF biplanes. The writer will probably assume you find tankettes, midget submarines, and Welbikes inherently charming. At some point in the text he’ll almost certainly use the phrase “almost certainly” and the words ‘tad’ and ‘Panzer’ (Or, if the column is looking a tad short, ‘Panzerkampfwagen’). Alliteration will go unforgivably unchecked. Semi-colons and hyphens may be used; incorrectly.

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