The Battle Box: Singapore

Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting Singapore for a few days and I managed to visit a couple of war memorials and sites despite a bout with food poisoning.  One of the most interesting places to visit was “The Battle Box”, an underground command complex built by the British in 1926 as part of the British Far East Command Headquarters.  The “box” is a series of interconnected concrete tunnels and rooms built at Fort Canning Hill.  It was used to coordinate the defense of Singapore and it was where General Arthur Percival decided to surrender Singapore  to the Japanese on February 11, 1942. It was occupied by the Japanese until the end of the war and used primarily for communication.

The entrance is largely shrouded by vegetation and we nearly missed it on our walk.  As you enter, a series of stairs takes you about 9 meters down where the cool air offers relief from the Singaporean heat.

The rooms in the Battle Box are small, cramped and dark.  However, there is enough space under the hill to hold 26 rooms.  I suspect there are other rooms that are located in the Battle Box that are not included on the official map as we were warned repeatedly to follow the directions provided and not to stray off the designated path.  Indeed, there are one or two mysterious locked rooms that are off-limits to the public.

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Pompeys Ride down the Via Sacra

In one day Pompey received his triumph, consulship and senatorship. That day was today in the Year 71 B.C.

What constituted a Triumph?

During the approximately 1900 years of the history from the beginnings of the Roman Republic to the final disappearance of the Eastern Roman Empire about 500 triumphs were celebrated.

  1. The Senate, headed by the magistrates without their lictors.
  2. Trumpeters
  3. Carts with the spoils of war
  4. White bulls for sacrifice
  5. The arms and insignia of the conquered enemy
  6. The enemy leaders themselves, with their relatives and other captives
  7. The lictors of the imperator, their fasces wreathed with laurel
  8. The imperator himself, in a chariot drawn by two (later four) horses
  9. The adult sons and officers of the imperator
  10. The army without weapons or armor (since the procession would take them inside the pomerium), but clad in togas and wearing wreaths. During the later periods, only a selected company of soldiers would follow the commander in the triumph, as a singular honour.

The imperator may possibly have had his face painted red and wore a corona triumphalis, a tunica palmata and a toga picta. He may have been accompanied in his chariot by a slave holding a golden wreath above his head and constantly reminding the commander of his mortality by whispering into his ear. However, this is based on slender and disputed evidence.

Pompey and Caesar, Greatness Evolved.

Over the past several months I have been seeking a starting point for a comparative look at two Generals from the Mid-Late Roman Empire.  I had been thinking that not only do I want to examine two great generals but really two that lead by example and faced real challenges in their roles as leaders. It would be ideal to for contrast purposes to see two generals who were alive at the same time and fought with similar weapons systems, tactics and forces.  This lead inevitably to the obvious comparison of Caesar and Pompey.  They fit the bill in many respects, but had enough differences in style to make for an interesting set of After Action Reports (AARs). The question was where to start? Where do we pick up the thread of how these men came to be who they are when they finally face each others forces on the field of battle?

Now we cant know all of this for certain, we cannot divine their minds eye, their intent, the aspirations of their souls. We can however establish some baseline to compare against, and at the very least look at how they approached each engagement as they progressed in their careers.  For each ones careers were very markedly different in scope, purpose and end result.

I’ve been reading quiet a bit of the Sertorian War 80-72 B.C. It looks like a great starting point to the exploring who was the young Pompey. With the added benefit of being able to see Quintus Sertorius in action.

Sertorius is famous in his own right and worthy of reading about. As a notable leader fighting against the dictatorship of Sulla after Sullan forces defeated Marius, Sertorius refused to capitulate and defeated a string Roman generals sent to bring him to heel.  In the end where warfare failed, betrayal did not.

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How Hard is TCS, To Learn, To Play?

I was recent asked by several people just how hard is Tactical Combat Series?

Over the last 8 days I have put about 50-60 hours of game time in.  Plus the time you can estimate for yourselves corresponding with all of you on the various topics that presaged our getting started.

On the 17th  June we kicked off game play.  I likely have an equal amount of hours in blog posts and video editing which includes the recent uber technical difficulties (whining video post to come ;)).

Someone is going to make software cross plat-forming easy one day.

As I thought about answering the hardness question I realized that I may be uniquely qualified as a novice player to answer the question “is TCS hard to learn and play.”

As an avid conflict simulations and “wargamertypeof guy” I am always looking for  games that have several key characteristics:

  1. A historical era I am interested in
  2. A specific situation that I know or am inspired to learn about
  3. A series based approach that allows for the coverage of more than one title. Less rules more game.
  4. Consumable rules
  5. High quality graphics and units
  6. Powerful potential narrative
  7. Films well