Issue 69 (Spring/Summer 2011)
MODERN TACTICS: LAND, AIR AND SEA ISSUE
A Newer Swarm of Hornets: A Review of the Most Recent DVG
Edition of Hornet Leader
by Jim Werbaneth
Détente No More: Three Scenarios for Avalon Hill's MBT
by Jim Werbaneth
Designer's Response to "Going Home to Gaul: A Review of
Caesar in Gaul" in Line of Departure Issue 68
by Craig A. Johnson
The Age of Jets: SPI's Air War and its Times
by Jim Werbaneth
Attack Tactics: Using American Carrier Aviation on the
Offensive in Harpoon Classic
by Jim Werbaneth
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by Jim Werbaneth
This is a year of milestones for Line of Departure. This summer, the magazine won its fourth Charles S. Roberts Award, and the fourth in five years, as the best amateur magazine in wargaming. To all of you who voted for it, not just this year but in all the others, thank you.
I do have one slight reservation though, and that is in the nomenclature of the award. "Amateur magazine" seems a little bit dated, evoking images of dot matrix print-ers and crude or for that matter nonexistent graphics. Plus, when a reader looks at magazines such as Line of Departure and Panzer Digest, he or she sees something that aims for a higher standard than a purely amateur fanzine, issued mainly for personal satisfaction, and perhaps the rush of seeing one's name on print. For my part, I aim for some-thing more, and I believe that others in the field feel the same way. Thus, might it be better to update the category, perhaps with a new term such as "semi-professional?"
Still, by any name, I deeply appreciate the recognition and confidence that you, the readers, continue to give Line of Departure.
There is another milestone too, one based on endurance. This fall, the magazine will achieve its twentieth anniversary of publication. Considering that in 1991 I wasn't sure that I was going to live another twenty years, I definitely wouldn't have been on the magazine lasting that long. But it has, starting in a primitive, dot-matrix form, and progressing to what you see before you in 2011. If you happen to be reading this online, then you could see that as evidence of progress too. Twenty years ago, few of us had any awareness at all of this internet thing. Over the years, Line of Departure was supported by a series of sites, starting with a homepage associated with my America Online account, then a series of sites partnered with The Gamers Net and Wargamer.com. Today, everything is consolidated under www.jimwerbaneth.com.
My own life has advanced too. Back at the beginning, I was lucky to get contract work, then moved on to an eight-year career in banking. Unfortunately two of the three jobs I held in that corporation were miserable on their best days, and the company was one of the one worst in Pittsburgh. The corporate culture embodied all the integrity and moral fiber of the average serial rapist, and social conscience of the local crack dealer. My biggest career and personal error ever was staying for eight years, and not showing that company my back, and my middle finger, much earlier.
Now, after more contract and temp work, I'm very happy with my professional situation. I'm now a history and political science instructor at two fine institutions of higher learning. After a life with more careers than I'd like to count or admit, I'm perfectly content with this one, and hope that I can keep this going all the way to retirement. I don't imagine doing anything else.
This is leading to more opportunities for professional satisfaction. In July, I visited the Netherlands for the second time, spending two weeks in the municipality of Sittard-Geleen. There, I continued to study local government, and not only met with members of the city council, but also gave a presentation to the city administration. I remain proud of that because of the difficult conditions; it was about four hours after I got off the plane in Brussels, so there was significant jet lag. I was also in the very early stages of a bad head cold that lasted even longer than the two weeks that I spent in Europe. Of course much of that time was spent visiting military museums, battlefields and cultural sites in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and France.
It is hard picking out one or two favorite destinations. My friends and I returned to Ieper (Ypres in most of the history books) and also visited the battlefield at Verdun. Each is haunting in its own way, reminding one of the costs and destruction of the Great War. Aachen is a different sort of place, with its medieval cathedral housing the mortal remains of Charlemagne, and the marble throne that he commissioned as a seat from which Jesus could sort the wheat from the chaff on Judgment Day. The Liberty Museum at Overloorn is one of the best military museums I have ever seen, and also covers the occupation of the Netherlands with a rare effectiveness.
There was also a trip to Den Helder, and Fleet Days at the naval base. There, I got to tour the Dutch frigate De Ruyter, and a Russian landing ship, the Minsk. There were also chances to meet members of the Royal Marines, and the Royal Military Police. The latter provide passport control at the airports, and riot control and SWAT teams for law enforcement.
I doubt that I ever could have made this trip, and conducted the work that I did, without making the switch to a career that I enjoy in any case.
That was not my only travel in July. I spent the last week of the month at the Conference of Army Historians in Arlington, Virginia. I presented my first academic paper there, titled "Counterproductive Distractions: Britain's American Diversion in the Pursuit of Victory Over Revolutionary and Napoleonic France." Hopefully it will not be the last.
I'm still working on a second Master's degree too, this one in military history. I'm not sure when I'll finish it, but it will help cement my place in my best and hopefully final career. I also expect it to enhance Line of Departure, as further academic study of military history can't hurt.
This issue follows a theme of modern tactics on land, sea and air. Hornet Leader might seem too abstract to be considered a tactical game, but my opinion is that any game with individual pilots, airplanes, and even bombs and missiles has a claim to being called tactical. Considering that most missions take off from aircraft carriers, and some strike naval targets, it does have a naval element as well. MBT is an old favorite among many Line of Departure readers, and Issue 69 presents three new scenarios, with both the United States Army and the West German Bundeswehr fighting Soviet invaders. Air War is an SPI title from the Golden Age of wargaming, aiming to be a comprehensive, rigorous simulation of aerial combat on a plane to plane scale.
So please, enjoy this issue of Line of Departure. Then we'll see what's possible for the next edition, the next year, and then maybe twenty years more.
The Bully Pulpit Issue 68
The Bully Pulpit Issue 67
The Bully Pulpit Issue 66
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