Saturday, 1 April 2017

Winter War 192......? Part 1

I've started on a new project on a little known engagement between the USA and Canada in the 1920s. Both governments hushed this up and buried all relevant files where the sun would never shine. However, in the last batch of official US documents released by Wikileaks was a long forgotten file.  

In 1920, the the Jones Act required all goods entering or leaving Alaska had to be transported by American carriers and shipped to Seattle prior to further shipment. This caused outrage in Canada and led to Canada initiating border trade controls in retaliation. In remote areas this caused issues for those who regularly crossed the border as a part of their occupation, such as hunters, loggers and bootleggers. As tempers flared, violence broke out between armed civilians on both sides and Canadian customs officials came under fire. They sent for the RCMP to restore order. Americans complained about high-handed behaviour towards them by the Mounties, after all not ALL Americans worked for Al Capone, in response American military units were moved to the border to protect US citizens' rights. Canada countered this move by sending their own military to support the RCMP.

Intermittent violence continued until a group of Mounties challenged a US Army patrol, who had wandered across the border in a snowstorm. A US soldier slipped on ice and accidentally discharged his rifle, hitting one of the Mounties, triggering a firefight which left two Mounties and three US servicemen wounded. Over the next few days there were numerous low level engagements between the US Army and Canadian soldiers and the Mounties until the respective governments managed to resume control and stop the fighting. After frantic negotiations, peace was restored and all those involved interviewed by government officials, who made it quite clear that the whole thing had NEVER HAPPENED!  

So much for the "history", on with the game. I was inspired by Tiger Miniatures "1919 Winter War" range of US and British troops in winter kit, plus Tiger also do Mounties and miners/trappers. I bought a few packs as samples and liked what I saw, so I bought some more figures from Tiger's "Ice Station Lima" range of 1920s soldiers/gunmen in polar outfits. I was thinking of using Chain of Command as a ruleset. Major house refurbishment last year meant the project stalled and the figures spent 9 months in the loft, part painted and unbased. 

I thought it was time I got on with this idea, but still wasn't sure about rules. To field two platoons plus supports will need well over 100 figures and I've only got about 44 figures so far. I really want to play some smaller games with what I've got and I'm not sure Chain of Command will allow for the more irregular types of gangsters, hunters etc. Then I picked up The Men Who Would Be Kings and was inspired. Although they are written for 19th century conflicts, I used them for early 20th century games with no problem. They cover regulars and various irregular types, plus the skirmish-level option only needs six-figure units. These rules will allow me to fights engagements between regular army on both sides, as well as clashes between loggers and trappers, bootleggers and police etc.

First up are some terrain/objective markers.

Now the first figures, a group in skin jackets, these will work for any non-military types like hunters or bootlegger gunmen.

The next batch are some RCMP in winter gear. I will probably get a few Mounties in the classic red uniforms, realistically not very practical in cold weather, but you can't not have Mounties in red jackets, can you.

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