The final season of The Man in the High Castle will be rocked by war and revolution. The Resistance becomes a full-blown rebellion, driven by Juliana Crain’s (Alexa Davalos) visions of a better world. A new Black insurgent movement emerges to fight the forces of Nazism and imperialism. As empires teeter, Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido (Joel De La Fuente) will find himself torn between his duty to his country and the bonds of family. Meanwhile, Reichsmarschall John Smith (Rufus Sewell) will be drawn towards the portal the Nazis have built to another universe, and the tantalizing possibility of stepping through a gateway to the path not taken.
I have enjoyed the first three seasons of The Man in the High Castle and I am looking forward to this final season.
In my background, a fall into dictatorship resulted in an uprising by regional groups and the break up of the United Kingdom. For me the Kingdom of Wessex was the main protagonist against a fascist London based government.
In Martin Jameson’s drama, the story focuses on a family from Manchester attempting to survive the disintegration of the country, secession, armed paramilitary groups, soldiers attacking civilians, local warlords protecting their communities, atrocities and many other awful aspects taken from the experiences of the Balkans.
The background follows how the United Kingdom in a post-Brexit world starts to have power cuts, food shortages and civil disturbance. A London based government attempts to force their draconian policies on a discontented population.
We see Scotland declare UDI (unilateral declaration of independence) and the British Army move into to secure the nuclear submarine base at Faslane.
The North of the country fed up with not being listened to, whilst not quite declaring independence certainly feels that they need to openly fight the London (or Greater England) government.
The resulting conflict appears to be small scale, though Government forces do shell northern cities and use aircraft to bomb them.
Wales appears to become a hotbed of Welsh nationalism, broken into small enclaves led by local warlords, who ensure any English civilians and refugees are forced out of Wales.
Across the country armed warbands, soldiers and eventually UN peacekeepers mingle with refugees attempting to keep their families together. Reminiscent of what could happen to the UK if it fell apart like the Balkans did in the 1990s.
Overall it is an interesting listen, but it is a story about a family in an interesting background.
I was able to download all the episodes and at the time of writing you have fifteen days left to do so on the BBC iPlayer Radio App.
Across Europe in the early part of the 20th Century many of the nation states were undergoing change or violent revolution. The governments of the time were so concerned about this that resources were diverted to focus on the perceived threat of revolutionaries and paramilitary forces.
The 1917 Russian Revolution eventually led to the Communist USSR as well as a Civil War that raged for years with plenty of intervention by the Western powers.
In Germany following their defeat in 1918 led to the creation of the Weimar Republic that was plagued by political extremism. In addition that time saw both left wing and right wing paramilitaries causing problems for the government.
The capitulation and break up of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire also saw rises in nationalism and revolution.
In Great Britain the government feared a bolshevik uprising and was quick to oppress any potential threat to the established order. One of the biggest areas for concern were the labour movements and trade unions. One strike in Glasgow in 1919 eventually resulted in a street battle between strikers and police, which was so bad, the army was called in.
The “Battle of George Square”, also known as “Bloody Friday” and “Black Friday”, was one of the most intense riots in the history of Glasgow; it took place on Friday, 31 January 1919.
Clashes between the City of Glasgow Police and protesters broke out, prompting the War Cabinet to make soldiers available to the civil power, to prevent the violence from escalating.
With troops and tanks on the streets of Glasgow, peace was eventually restored, but there were concerns that some of the soldiers might go over to the side of the rioters, could that have been the spark that started a British Revolution?
The fear of the soldiers siding with the protestors was so much that the War Department didn’t want any Glaswegian troops sent to quell the violence, incase they changed sides. Though reports later implied that English troops were sent, more recent research has indicated that it was Scottish troops that were sent to Glasgow. However what if English troops were sent and the situation rather than be defused, escalated into a more violent conflict. Would the conflict bring in local paramilitary forces, some fighting for the establishment and some fighting for change? Another potential spark for a British Revolution?
In future blog posts I want to have a look at potential battles in the 1919 British Revolution and the forces involved.
Produced by Sid Gentle Films Ltd and written by Bafta Award-winners Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, SS-GB is a complex thriller focusing on British Detective Douglas Archer.
Forced to work under the brutal SS in occupied London, Archer is determined to continue to do his job in the service of his country, but against impossible odds.
We first meet Archer in 1941, with the vast majority of England and Wales are under Nazi occupation after losing the Battle of Britain. Pockets of resistance continue to show their defiance against the occupying German forces, but after a German pilot is murdered by a British Resistance fighter, tensions in London could not be higher.
When investigating what appears to be a simple black market murder, Archer is dragged into a much darker and more treacherous world where the stakes are as high as the ultimate outcome of the war. The elusive American journalist Barbara Barga may hold the key – but can he trust her? And when his lover Sylvia endangers her life by bravely making a stand against the oppressive regime, Archer is forced to confront a deeper dilemma. Can he carry out his duty to defend law and order when he is working for the wrong side? What is he willing to risk in the fight against fascism?
The trailer and the images released so far, show a disturbing image of London under Nazi occupation. What may have happened if the proposed Operation Sealion was successful and Britain had lost the Battle of Britain in 1940.
Though most experts agree that there was little or no chance of Operation Sealion ever succeeding, many people have wondered and extrapolated what could have happened if it had indeed taken place and the Germans were victorious.
The background of SS-GB offers a range of gaming scenarios across different kinds of actions and scales. I may explore these in a later post once I have viewed the first few episodes.
One of the games at the wargames show at Bovington that I did a good look at was this 15mm 1946 game complete with a range of alternate German and Allied tanks that were designed, but either were too late for action, or never got further than the drawing board. I have to admit I never got round to checking what actual models were represented on the table, but there were E-100 and E-50 tanks as well as Panther IIs.
This photograph shows a Sarissa Precision Factory. I really do like this model (and the huge one for 28mm too). Around it are finished and partly finished tanks of a variety of types.
A large tank on a railway wagon. The table also had a lot of HO 1/87th scale buildings that did not seem out of place on the table. There are a range of HO buildings that would be ideal for 15mm games, especially those of the industrial variety.
Here is another Sarissa Precision factory with a couple of JagdTigers outside. As with the other, it looks like the RAF has been busy trying to stem the production of these new German tanks.
Here is a overview of the table. There were TT scale trains, wagons and track (which are just about an appropriate scale for 15mm).
In the box to the side of the tables were 15mm models of the Black Prince, the Tortoise and Centurion Mk1 tanks.
All of these could be found (for real) in the Tank Museum itself.
This series based on the book of the same name, is set in a universe where Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan defeated the allies and occupied the United States of America dividing it in to two, the Greater Nazi Reich covers the Eastern half of the United States, the Japanese Pacific States is on the Western seaboard. In between these two occupied areas is a neutral zone, which acts as a buffer between the two superpowers.
In many ways very little has changed in this neutral zone, there are still US propaganda posters on the walls of buildings.
It also a place where those wanted and on the run can hide. However it is also a lawless place where anyone can pretend to be a lawmaker.
The series is set in 1962, however feels much more like the 1950s, suggesting a cultural stagnation that would have occurred under totalitarian occupation.
The series has a range of opportunities for gaming, in the main skirmish gaming between small forces of regular and irregular squads.
As the American resistance tries to attack a convoy of occupying soldiers in an ambush, the regular forces fight back and try to escape the ambush.
A smuggling operation by the Mafia in New York (or the Yakuza in San Francisco) is busted by the local police supported by regular troops.
There is a cold war between the Germans and the Japanese and there could be border skirmishes between regular forces in the rocky mountains of the neutral zone.
A self-proclaimed sheriff and his deputies in the neutral zone attempt to raid a fortified farm.
Very little information is provided on the military forces, we see light vehicles, but no armour. The Germans have “rocket” planes and supersonic airliners, but not much else is seen in terms of hardware.
We can assume that there ballistic rockets and it is mentioned that Germany has the atomic bomb, characters in the series talk about how Washington DC was destroyed by a nuclear weapon. One potential scenario could be a skirmish between different forces in the radioactive ruins of Washington DC.
If you have Amazon Prime then I would suggest you check out the series. Having said that the first episode is available for free, so you can see that without any commitment.
There is even a 30 day free trial and you could use them to check out the ten episodes. I am certainly looking forward to the second series, which is due to be released in 2016 (this may mean that I actually take out an Amazon Prime subscription).
As part of their releases for Flames of War The Great War, Battlefront have released a 15mm scale Whippet tank.
Though originally envisioned with a rotating turret, the production model had an armoured housing for three to four 303 Hotchkiss machine guns, which could be relocated between four gun ports. Approved in June 1917, roughly 200 vehicles were produced starting in October 1917. Unlike the large crew of the Mark IV, the Whippet managed with a standard crew of three: a commander, driver and gunner. Given the gunner was responsible for manning both machineguns (which could point forward, left, right and rear), sometimes a second gunner was squeezed in.
It looks like a very nice model and well sculptured. Lots of detail and a good casting.
I do think that this model would make for a great base for vehicles for an alternative Great War. It could be converted into a turreted tank, or a self propelled gun. One other idea is to use the models for A Very British Civil War background. There are quite a few models in the Flames of War range that could be used for a 1920s or 1930s civil war within the United Kingdom.
1952. Twelve years have passed since Churchill lost to the appeasers and Britain surrendered to Nazi Germany after Dunkirk. As the long German war against Russia rages on in the east, the British people find themselves under dark authoritarian rule: the press, radio and television are controlled; the streets patrolled by violent auxiliary police and British Jews face ever greater constraints. There are terrible rumours too about what is happening in the basement of the German Embassy at Senate House. Defiance, though, is growing. In Britain, Winston Churchill’s Resistance organization is increasingly a thorn in the government’s side. And in a Birmingham mental hospital an incarcerated scientist, Frank Muncaster, may hold a secret that could change the balance of the world struggle for ever. Civil Servant David Fitzgerald, secretly acting as a spy for the Resistance, is given the mission by them to rescue his old friend Frank and get him out of the country. Before long he, together with a disparate group of Resistance activists, will find themselves fugitives in the midst of London’s Great Smog; as David’s wife Sarah finds herself drawn into a world more terrifying than she ever could have imagined. And hard on their heels is Gestapo Sturmbannfuhrer Gunther Hoth, brilliant, implacable hunter of men . . . At once a vivid, haunting reimagining of 1950s Britain, a gripping, humane spy thriller and a poignant love story, with DOMINION C. J. Sansom once again asserts himself as the master of the historical novel.
The Tank, Heavy, TOG 2 was a prototype British super-heavy tank design produced in the early part of the Second World War in case the battlefields of northern France turned into a morass of mud, trenches and craters as had happened during the First World War. In the end it never went into production, but as part of the Flames of War Mid-War Monsters range you can buy it and use it in alternate history games.
I was going to (as I have done with other models) give the TOG2 tanks a spray from underneath of a Humbrol Dark Green, however I ran out of paint after doing one. So in the end I gave all three models a basecoat of Warpaint British Armour.
The command tank has the commander sticking himself out of the turret…
The three TOGs.
See the workbench feature on these huge tanks.