You wait all year for a project to be finished….and two get done at (almost) the same time! You’ll remember that I was really struggling a few weeks ago to get any closure on a couple of projects. It felt a little like I was project plate-spinning in a fashion much beloved from British family game shows of the 1970s. In the end, the darkest hour came just before the dawn.
I managed to finish the ruined Rattenloch last week, and finally got to the end of writing my article “SturmAbteilung Vor!: A set of rule adaptations for using Stumtruppen, Stosstruppen and Ersatzstosstruppen in “Through the Mud and the Blood” for the TooFatLardies “Christmas Special” on Saturday morning. OK, so it’s not the shortest title ever. But it hopefully “does what it says on the tin”.
It took me a while, but I got there in the end. The "Special" should be available on the TFL website HERE by the time you read this.
In the end, I ended up with three or four times the material I finally put into the article. I was rushing to leave stuff out, rather than force everything in. Some sections are a lot briefer than I have wanted, and quite a bit of material about the creation, or fabrication, of the “stormtrooper myth” in the 1920s and 1930s didn’t make the cut. I felt in a wargaming magazine I should concentrate on the hard facts mostly: organisation, tactics, deployment, military theory and battlefield practice. Like all great projects, it’s unfinished – but it’s as finished as I could get it in the space Rich and Nick allowed me.
For those interested, here’s the introduction, reproduced by kind permission or Richard and Nick:
We think we know about these troops: the image of their stallhelm and their bread-bags of hand grenades seem as distinctive as their innovative methods of fighting. We have probably all seen the same photographs, of groups of aggressive, athletic, young men posing for the camera in a rear area, awaiting battle, perhaps a MG08/15 light machine gun at their feet or a MP18 Bergmann sub-machine gun carried proudly at the front of the formation.
We think we know these troops, and how they should be used in our wargames. Infiltration. Aggression. Storm. Attack. Speed. Surprise. We see them in our mind’s eye looming, masked, out of a cloud of phosgene gas. A visceral, near-feral, uniquely Teutonic whirlwind tearing through their opponents. “This is the New Man. The storm soldier, the elite of Middle Europe. A completely new race, cunning, strong and packed with purpose….the axis of the future” wrote Ernst Jünger in 1925. We think we know all about these men, and their way of warfare.
And then we look closer. We read further and look at some of the revisionism about the stormtroopers…or is that sturmtruppen … or stosstruppen … or ersatzstosstruppen? What exactly were these formations? Were they all the same? Were they that different from British or French troops? How did they fight, and was it always in the same way? And what happened to them after the Kaiserschlacht, the Götterdämmerung on the Somme? And perhaps, slowly, we start to see a far darker sub-text, one which unrolls through the early literature regarding stormtroopers in the 1920s and into the nationalistic writings of the 1930s. We begin to wonder if there is a “Stormtrooper Myth”, or worse, mis-information.”
So, if you’re curious, and you’d like to read more, you now know where to go!