Wednesday, 24 October 2018
Cuba? You're Havana laugh....
The national flag of Cuba
“From Little Acorns Do Mighty Oaks Grow” or so the saying goes. In this particular case it is very apt as it concerns the usual fate that befalls me when I fall victim to a single source of inspiration. In this particular instance it all started when SWMBO and I finally settled on our holiday location for next year. For a variety of reasons, too numerous to go into, we have booked two weeks in Cuba in June on an all-inclusive, adult only basis.
Cuba will be a first for us in that we have never flown long haul before as our usual holiday destinations tend to be in the Mediterranean with the occasional foray into the Atlantic to the Canary Island or even more daringly, Cape Verde. To be quite blunt about it the cost of going to Cuba for two weeks on an all-inclusive, adult only, 5 star basis was only a couple of hundred pounds dearer than going to the European part of the Mediterranean on a similar package. You can get some good deals but sadly in my experience the all-inclusive European option nowadays tends to be on the basis of the absolute bare minimum they can get away with so diluted drinks, limited choices of food and charges for whatever they can seem to be the order of the day. All inclusive for us is a huge convenience and whilst I must confess to missing the flexibility that a self-catering/bed and breakfast/half or full board basis can offer, the pros usually outweigh the cons.
We will be flying onto Holguin on the way to our resort which is roughly an hour from the airport (located on the coast where it says Holguin on the map, facing the Atlantic Ocean).
We will be based towards the Eastern end of the island and the airport we will be travelling to is at Holguin. We are staying on the Atlantic coast of the island and the plan is to tackle a few trips whilst we are there – Havana being an obvious choice – instead of lazing on the beach with a Kindle in one hand and a Cubre Libre in the other.
As part of my inevitable reading around the history of the island (and largely ignoring anything Castro/Bay of Pigs/Missile Crisis related) I have found myself looking at the Spanish American War of 1898 and the fighting in and around Cuba.
I have never considered the war of 1898 as a gaming choice and at this stage I am certainly not planning to do so but that would not stop me from reading about the conflict. The war was quite low level in terms of numbers but the outcome certainly established the US as a world power. At a more personal level I note that Kurz and Allison – of ACW fame - produced a series of prints on the war (8 in all as I recall) which look suitably heroic and inspiring in an old toy soldier kind of way.
Picked up for a song and highly regarded.
I picked up the above book (which is a hefty 740 page doorstop of a volume) from Ebay for a mere £4. I have read Ivan Musicant’s book Divided Waters which is a great history of the American Civil War afloat and so when I found out, via a Facebook group I belong to, that he had written a title about the war my curiosity was piqued. I am after a couple of other titles – purely for completeness sake of course – on the war and who knows? One day I may game elements of it. The Osprey Campaign Title on San Juan Hill by the indefatigable Angus Konstam is supposed to be pretty good as well so I may well look that out and the new Men at Arms title which also covers the US in the Philippines.
The ships for the naval side are available from Tumbling Dice and Navwar (amongst others) and the land actions lend themselves to both the Portable Wargame and The Men Who Would be Kings. Figures are available from Old Glory amongst others and if I remember correctly there are a couple of Volley and Bayonet supplements covering the war.
Is this another project for DC to tackle at some point? To be honest I am not sure without having read about the war in more detail. Certainly the scale lends itself well to the style and size of action I prefer fighting but for now I have more than enough to be getting on with.
Of course those darned acorns have a nasty habit of growing into something much larger....