Operation Dumb Geese

contemporary Crossfire-inspired wargaming

Why? Well, Why not?

Actually, if you are looking for some philosophical remarks about the general reasons for embarking on a pastime as whacky as wargaming, you have to go elsewhere. This section is mainly concerned with background history and modelling articles about the ramshackle bits and pieces of hardware we use in our games. Also in the future there will be some notes on the rules we use.

But first some random thoughts...

Though the general plan for this website is to be heavy in pictures and light in text, at least some rudimentary remarks about what we do might be useful.

Initially, having decided to take up wargaming, we experimented with a fairly common set of IgoUgo rules, and were not exactly enthused - mainly because hovering over the battlefield with a ruler and doing countless throws for hit area (1 out of 78,824 places possible on a tank...), hit probability, shot deflection, wind direction, angle of attack, penetration value, fuze, state of gunpowder, mood of the ammunition factory worker producing the round and the like wasn't fun to us (well, to most of us that is...), it was boring.

So what we wanted was a simple system doing away with the need for a ruler, allowing for fast and easy overall gameplay - which is why we ended up with Crossfire. However, as we also wanted to do modern wargaming - inspired to a certain extent by Peter Pig's AK47 - we needed to modify the rules to allow for paratroopers, helicopter gunships and all the other paraphernalia of modern warfare.

Our house rules are still under constant revision, as mainly the aircraft and helicopter rules need never-ending attention, not the least so because a certain commander of a certain first world war troop contingent always tries to write the attack helo rules in a way ensuring that his Apaches are the ultimate evil weapon of total destruction ("If I fire my Hydras all at once the whole table will go up in flames!!!")...

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A brief history of Soeliland


From the establishment of the Sultanate to the colonial period

The Horn of Africa has always been a home to pastoral nomad and semi-nomad societies. In the course of the expansion of Islam, Muslim nomads of Arab origin arrived in Soeliland, living at first fairly peaceful alongside the native eastern African population. It was not until the 13th and 14th century that traders and sailors from the Arabian peninsula began to establish several trading posts on the Soelian coastline. Slowly, they brought back a certain degree of urban culture unknown to the region since antiquity. With the traders, however, eventually came trouble. In the 15th century the Arab merchant Ahmad Ibrahim Al Zuel proclaimed himself Sultan of Africa, establishing the Sultanate of Al Zuel. Within a few decades the Sultanate managed to dominate most of the native tribes in the coastal areas, extending its influence eventually far into the hinterland. At the end of the century the Sultanate had turned into the hegemonial power in Soeliland, a role it continued to play during the following centuries. A lucrative trade in raw materials and slaves rapidly developed into the Sultanate's main source of income, and the Sultan controlled both the coastal areas and the most vital trading routes by building fortifications. During the 16th and 17th century successive Sultans actively tried to convert as many native tribes as possible to Islam, succeeding both in the coastal areas as well as in the inner desert.

In the hinterland of the northern coastal area, however, an ancient tribe, the Elebderi, clinged ferociously to their Christian faith that originally had been brought to them by the Romans in the 4th century. Time and again forces of the Sultanate tried to subdue the Elebderi, and time and again these attempts were drowned in seas of blood and tears. The number of utterly failed military operations against the Elebderi prompted the notable Victorian historian of Soelilan, Sir Algernon Smythe-Withering, to write: "The military history of the Soelilandian Sultanate and its conflict with the Elebderi was a race between the former's suicidal incompetence and the latter's desire to separate as many Soelilandian heads from their bodies as possible; usually, one of the two won." To this day the Elebderi are fiercely faithful Christians and still cling to their old ways - nowadays, when a young male Elebderi turns 16, he is given the family knife and sent into a PLAoSS village in order to get an AK 47. There are no directions on any particular means of obtaining the weapon; usually, however, it is assumed that the family knife plays an important role. Once the young Elebderi has returned to his home with his new weapon, the gun is ceremonially turned into a "fire-lance" by having a long sword bayonet welded to it and he is accepted as an adult into the tribe.

In June 1847 the "Boar's Tusk" carrying 74 Irish emigrants (the "Seventyfour Fourtyseveners") who had fled English oppression in their home country stranded at the northern shore of Soeliland. On a foraging trip into the northern hinterland they were almost annihilated by the Elebderi, who only at the very last moment realized that the Irish were not part of another ill-equipped and worse-led force of sultanate mercenaries but instead shared the same true faith. Turning from bloodlusty enemies into stalwart allies in almost an instant, the Elebderi showed the Irish the ruins of Hagiopolis, the last Byzantine settlement in Soeliland, where the Irish founded a small agricultural settlement, nowadays known as Old Rognvaldstown.

Word spread quickly about the successful settlement, and in 1850 five more ships from Ireland arrived, carrying more than five hundred catholic settlers (for some reason known as the "Five hundred fiftiers", though according to Sir Algernon Smythe-Withering, they were in fact "272 men, 45 pigs, 7 dogs, 3 cats, 54 children and several women"), who brought a holy relic, a tooth of the famous Saint Rognvald, with them. Around a newly-built shrine for this relic a large settlement developed originally called New Rognvaldstown. Although the Irish community was rapidly expanding through further emigration in the 1860s and 1870s, it was constantly in conflict with both the Sultanate and most Muslim tribes in their vicinity; only the Elebderi proved to be steadfast, if somewhat irritating allies. Sir Algernon Smythe-Withering noted in his History of Soeliland: "Seemingly, to this day negotiatons between the Irish and the Elebderi always begin with long, flowery accounts of head-separating exploits by the latter, to a considerable distress for the former". As a result, the settlers quickly established a militia tradition, being able to field forces numerically inferior but qualitatively superior to those of the Sultan.

From the colonial period to the end of WW2

The 1880s were characterized by chaos and instability in Soeliland, due not only to the repeated quarrels between the settlers and the Sultanate, but also to the increasing interventions of European colonial powers trying to gain influence on the country's natural resources. In the North, the Irish settlers enjoyed de-facto independence, slowly pushing forward their sphere of influence towards the South and the East. In 1887, a sizeable force of militiamen and Elebderi allies gained a major victory over the Sultan's forces, resulting in the siege of Anbaba. The settlers had clandestinely managed to gain French support for their operations, the most obvious sign of it being "Great Michael", a modern 6" long-range gun, with which they started shelling the town. With the fall of the town imminent, the British government decided to send a gunboat to sort things out; HMS Puffin moved boldly into the harbour, and its commander Lt Commander Hyazinth Cholmondely managed - through brief and deftly handled negotiations - to lift the siege of the town. This so-called Anbaba incident marked the beginning of British influence in Soeliland. Nevertheless, during the following years France repeatedly tried to get a foothold in Soeliland, mainly by channelling funds and weaponry to the settlers. 1887 also saw the arrival of a small Austrian military delegation under the command of colonel Rupprecht von Pummelwurst at the court of the Sultan; during the following years, the Austrians tried to exploit the Anglo-French conflict in order to increase their own influence over Sultan Ali the Sweet, who reputedly was the greatest lover of Sacher tart outside Vienna. By 1893, however, the chaos finally ended with Soeliland officially becoming a British colony.

During the latter part of the colonial era the country's infrastructure was considerably developed by the British. The early 20th century saw the laying out of new roads, harbors and a railway connection between the old Sultan's Palace and the newly established British naval base Point Victoria, situated on the northernmost tip of the country. To this day, the coastal road and the railway line running beside it are the main communications arteries in Soeliland.

From independence to the end of the 1980s

After WW2 the British granted independence to Soeliland and assisted in the creation of a new government. The Republic of Soeliland even experienced a democratic presidential election in the early 1957. The winner of that election however, a certain James Adidid, decided that being elected once was enough for a lifetime; for more than a decade he ruled Soeliland with a strong hand, filling his own pockets as well as those of his cronies. Finally he was removed from power by Army and Presidential Guard generals in 1969, establishing a junta under the leadership of General Ali Abu Hussein; while the Aidid government had maintained friendly relations to the former colonial power, the new military leadership looked for new friends and soon found a benevolent partner in the Soviet Union; the Soviets were quite enthusiastic about gaining influence in the region and provided the state now known as Democratic Republic of Soeliland with enormous amounts of military infrastructure and material, establishing a major air base called Kursk Airfield in the northern part of the country in the process. General Hussein promised a socialist paradise allowing every Soelilandian to participate in filling Hussein's and his cronies' pockets.

In the 1983 president General Ali Abu Hussein was removed by another military coup, this time led by Marine Corps Generals. The new president General Ali Hassan Anbaba expelled the Soviet military assistance and looked for closer relations to the western powers. Initially, he was rather successful in that he managed to secure US military assistance for the rebuilding of the DRS Marine Corps. However, the US administration soon realized that General Anbaba filled his own pockets and those of his cronies in the same manner his predecessors had done, and relations cooled down from 1985 onwards.

The civil war of the 1990s

Without external support the political system soon collapsed at the beginning of the 1990s and  rebel groups from the South grew strong enough to bring the country into a full scale civil war between rebel and loyalist forces. The turning point of the war against Hassan Anbaba was the sack of the former Soviet facilities at Kursk by certain rebel fraction calling itself the People's Liberation Army of Southern Soeliland (PLAoSS). This raid deprived the loyalists of almost all of their air power and infrastructure, resulting in the siege the capital by several rebel armies.

The siege ended with the Presidential Guard assassinating General Anababa. A peace conference was summoned and the most important military leaders commonly organized a new government, the power of which was basically restricted to the region around the capital. Meanwhile the Irish population in the north declared autonomy and formed a militia for self defense. Most of the successful rebel fraction did not acknowledge the new government as well, but they were kept busy by fighting, this time against each other. A UN mission was sent to Soeliland to stabilize the country, lacking both a suitable mandate and suitable equipment.

 Soeliland at the end of the civil with the areas controlled by various civil war factions

The present situation - a failed state

After 9/11 the growing power of the PLAoSS with its sometimes islamistic tendencies encouraged the US and their British allies to establish a military presence on Sultan Suzman International Airport to control terrorist activities in the region. The last years have seen several offensives of the new government to gain control over the northeastern coastal region, where the PLAoSS and the Irish militia continue to be major opponents. Meanwhile a new player appeared: under the guise of an African Union mandate - Libyan forces occupied Kursk Airfield, ready to establish Libyan influence in the country.

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Modelling articles

- under construction -

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