Tuesday 19 March 2024

En Garda - Where the only blades are on Propellors!

Better known as the Italian Job or “You are only supposed to blow the bloody paddle wheels off!”

The indefatigable David Manley - writer of rules, guru of all things naval and all round good guy - has been a busy chap and produced a new title in his ‘Steamer Wars’ series. For the benefit of the uninitiated these rules are designed with low level gunboat style operations in mind and often feature extemporised warships - the original rule set covered the WW1 Lake Tanganyika operations so you will get the idea of what I mean. Thus far there have been two expansions - one covering the Russian Civil War and the other tackling the operations during WW1 along the Danube.

The set that started it all. WW1 on Lake Tanganyika - going forth with Mimi and Toutou

The newest title covers something I had certainly not heard of and this is the naval engagements that took place on Lake Garda during the war of 1866 - probably better known for the battle of Lissa. The Austrians and Italians feature and as well as a dedicated set of rules there are also ship specifications for the combatants, a potted history of the fighting, a campaign system and for those that are 3D printer equipped, he has designed some files available from Wargames Vault of the ships available. 

The Russian Civil War expansion

I am probably biased in that David is a good friend of mine but take it from me, this series (in truth as are all of his rules) is well worth investigating if you want something naval but low key and requiring but a modest amount of preparation and models. You can also be guaranteed that the rules work and the information and research therein is of a very high order!

Plenty of inspiration here for sure!

Before you ask I am already thinking about scratch building the models for this (along with Lake Tanganyika but that is another story) and I really hope that David continues with this series - I rather fancy something for the great rivers of China, real ‘Sand Pebbles’ territory!

All of these rules are available from the Wargames Vault under David’s Long Face Games banner - this also includes all of his other rules.

A really useful book covering the ships mentioned in the rule sets above. There are a number of Osprey titles that cover similar as well.

It would be remiss of me to not mention the above title that is an absolute goldmine of information about the ships and gunboats used on the world’s rivers and lakes. Methinks I will be dragging my copy off the shelf again soon!


Simon said...

I have the River Gunboats book, it’s superb. Also the Osprey titles you mention. I am finding Ospreys are getting extremely expensive though.

David Crook said...

Hi Simon,

You are right about the River Gunboats book! Funny thing about Ospreys, time was they would be my first port of call but now I tend to be a lot more selective about - and for a similar reason. I rather like the Osprey Hardbacks that are usually a combination of bits from a couple of titles. For example, Duel of the Ironclads contains the two Vanguard titles - Union Monitors and Confederate Ironclads and the campaign title on the battle of Hampton Roads. The series can be a little variable in quality but I am rather fond of them as they are a cheap way of getting the edited highlights so to speak, and in hardback!

All the best,


David Manley said...

Thanks for bringing these to the wargaming world's attention, especially the Lake Garda rules. I'm just putting the finishing touches to the 3D models that will support them, hopefully out in a few weeks :)

David Crook said...

Hi David,

That will be great news! As I have said before the pictures you use to illustrate the files of your models are a really handy reference for my scratchbuilding!

The more you make the more I seem to make!

All the best and thanks for a great system!