Wednesday, May 21, 2008

What's all this Defense of Melbourne stuff, then, eh?

In the comments to my last post Jeff asked for a little more information on the "Grand Plan" for the Defense of Melbourne.

The DoM is pretty much my major project for this year. It's taking about 80% of my hobby time. The remaining 20% is turned over to little bits and pieces that I will take on as a break from the main project. It's the culmination of more than a decades' general interest in the colonial defences of what was the Colony of Victoria as well as more focussed efforts on over the past three years.

In the past six months I stumbled across some other gentlemen from Canberra who shared my interest in Australias' pre-Federation defense forces and together we have been working toward a fairly large demonstration game for CanCon which takes place in Canberra over the Australia Day long weekend.

The game will involve a Russian Amphibious assault on Fort Nepean, one of the cluster of Fortifications that defended the Heads of Port Phillip Bay, at the north end of which stands the City of Melbourne with seven millions of Sterling in the bank; a tempting prize for any raider!

It's 1887, and Britain and Russia are at War.

Russia has decided to strike a blow at the Prestige of the Empire and has decided that units of her Pacific Fleet will embark troops and raid the coastal cities of Australia.

The local defenders have been listening with rapt attention to news of the War Scare from Home when, of a sudden, the telegraph cable goes silent. It is Easter and the Militia are already enbodied and at their encampment on the Mornington Peninsula when the Russian attack falls!

Can the defences at Point Nepean hold while a relief column rushes to it's aid? Will the Fort's guns be silenced so a Russian Cruiser Squadron may raid up the Bay?

Who can tell?

That's the general idea. We're constructing a three metre by one metre model of the fort, models of a Russian cruiser and torpedo boat, a Victorian Monitor, a gunboat and spar torpedo boat (I want the model boats to be on tea trolleys, circling the main display... we'll see). The Victorians will have 30-40 figures at the fort and another 100 or so marching to it's relief. The Russians will be attacking with Huge amounts of Infantry, Machine Guns, artillery and the obligatory cossacks.

Rules will be The Sword and the Flame.

I think we are aiming pretty high for this game, but we have more than adequate research resources, the figures are pretty well all sourced. We are in the process of scratch-building the warships, and I am in the fortunate position of not having to build the fort - although i'll be providing sundry barracks blocks &c!


Fitz-Badger said...

Sounds interesting and different and fun!

Bloggerator said...

Don't forget to mention the ships on the tea-trolleys.

It helps me boost the concept!



Bluebear Jeff said...


This sounds like quite a project, Greg. I wish that I could be there to see it . . . but I'm a poor swimmer and Canada is a long way away . . . so I'll have to depend upon your photos.

Hopefully your game will inspire others to explore this fascinating period . . . and Australia's part in it.

Good luck!

-- Jeff

Bloggerator said...

Oh, there'll be photos... don't you worry!

If I do periodically go quiet this year, this project's the reason why.



MurdocK said...

Blaze on as this project looks like it will be a great display and fun to have been part of!