Posts Tagged ‘Battle of the Bulge’

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: Loos Cannon

(provided for reader convenience)


There’s no kind way of putting this: this week’s Flare Path was a disgrace. You’ve done some pretty unprofessional things in the past but slyly writing-off an ambitious work-in-progress flight sim because you’ve seen similar projects fail, and recommending a wargame that you’ve played for a mere two hours, sets new standards of irresponsibility. Where was the detailed TS2016 coverage and the piece on the imminent DCS: Nevada? I turned up expecting topical analysis of genre stalwarts and found instead multiple paragraphs on an obscure half-finished Dora sim! And the less said about that awful title pun, the better. You are aware, are you not, that Loos is a good hundred miles from the Ardennes, played no part in the Battle of the Bulge, and was never visited by a WW2 railway gun? Your Meuse seems to have deserted you on this occasion.

Deeply disappointed,

(your name here) Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Bulges

Deck the halls with boughs of holly,

Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la,

But forget ye not war’s cruel folly,

Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la,

Ringed by corpses and burning tanks,

Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la,

70 years ago, Bastogne gave thanks,

Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la. Read the rest of this entry »