Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Austrian Terror Weapons...


No, I'm actually talking about this;

I'm putting together an order for some more of the excellent Scarab miniatures, and find myself hesitating about whether to order a flamethrower or not.

The idea of deliberately setting out to grill one's fellow man or to ruin his lungs (as was the case with my great-grandfather) for the sake of the fulfilment of some political goal or redrawing of a border just doesn't sit comfortably with me. 

Yes, I know I'm being neither logical nor consistent. War is hell in all it's aspects, and being blown to fragments by a shell or being hit in the face by a high-velocity rifle bullet can be no less horrific, but there is something about the use of flamethrowers- and the use of toxic gas- that "pushes the envelope" of my comfort level when it comes to using them in a wargame. 

It is a personal thing. It is not something that I need a debate with others on, or that I lose sleep over. I know it is just a game. I may very well order them anyway just as models anyway. 
Somewhat heavy thoughts for what is after all just a gaming blog, but for me the issue sometimes arises, particularly when gaming WW1 and later where one doesn't have the excuse of colourful uniforms to justify collecting the miniatures.  

I've had an interest in military history all my life, and as I look at the human cost vs. ultimate benefit side of things down through the ages, the study has pretty well made a pacifist out of me.  

And like that other great pacifist and pioneer of our present-day hobby,  H.G. Wells, I like to limit myself to just playing with toy soldiers.  

I won't be bringing up this issue again on this blog, but I do feel that it healthy for me to reflect on just how nasty warfare can be in the scientific age, and not to let myself get too divorced from the reality as we move our metal models around on the tabletop. 

1 comment:

  1. Yes, I know just how you feel. Talking to my great-uncle about his experiences on the Somme when I was a boy (being gassed, buried in mud by shell blast, diving into shell holes full of rotting corpses during a bombardment, not to mention Field Punishment no.1 for being a "bit of a lad") plus that wonderfully moving Great War documentary series in the early '60s, made me very aware of how ghastly war really is. In some ways it stops me entirely enjoying the toy soldiers (even back in the 1970s when gaming Napoleonics I couldn't put out of my mind what was really represented by a cavalry charge, for instance - thinking of the stinking field of Waterloo after the battle piled with corpses, 10,000 of them dead and mangled horses, who had definitely not chosen to be there) so I'm happy to do the templates and flags but I'm not sure I'll ever wargame again, which is a bit sad...