One of my favourite wargames books - I really need to get a copy of the title that features Waterloo!
The Greek and Persian War that culminated in the naval battles of Salamis and the Greek victory at Plataea via Thermopylae and the 300 Spartans is something I have had a soft spot for many years. I even got as far as getting 15mm DBA armies organised for the two sides although like many good ideas it kind of withered on the vine. At the time I think I was going through a cavalry phase and so an army of Hoplites did not really appeal and with the Persians having plenty of mounted troops but much lighter infantry - I like my cavalry to have a solid core of something heavy to support them - it never really stood much of a chance of being turned into anything tangible. At that point I had never even thought about the naval side.
I remember playing the Avalon Hill game Trireme many years ago and enjoying but again, I never really progressed with the idea of actually gaming ancient galley battles using models.
Fast forward to the present day and now an almighty itch needs scratching - fighting the naval battles set during the Greek and Persian Wars.
But how? I wanted to use models but to be honest did not really fancy anything commercially available despite there being some lovely ranges about. So what to do? A few years ago at a toy soldier show in Sidcup, Kent a club was putting an an ancient naval game using a version of Command and Colours and galleys built from bamboo barbecue skewers. It looked fantastic and so the seed was planted.
Fighting an ancient naval battle
Salamis has exercised a peculiar fascination for me for a variety of reasons and Richard Nelson’s book, despite being published some forty eight years ago, has really served to ‘stoke the obsession’. I would happily use the rules included in his book although they are incomplete - the missing parts can be found in his fleet action rules - but this has not proven to be a major issue to fix and yes, I have.
The rules are hex based - always a plus in my opinion - and are designed with one aim in mind - refighting the battle of Salamis with a notional scale of one model ship equalling around a dozen real ones. There is but a single ship type represented - the trireme - although there are variations as to type employed depending on the contingent being used.
So I need a trireme, one that does not have a mast and that would be suitable for use by all the main combatants. It also needed to be able to fit in a single hex. Ideally I would like to use hexes that are two inches (50mm to all you metric types) across the flat sides which means that the model should be around 40mm long. After some assorted scribblings I finally managed to get the following design produced by Warbases and needless to say, I am hugely excited about this!