The most exciting place we visited (well, for me anyway) was the National World War II museum. If you have any interest in historical miniatures, then this museum should be on your short list of places to see.
Our visit to the museum started when we stepped into the wonderfully air conditioned main hall. The hall housed some impressive hardware. There were some restored vehicles parked in line just inside the doors. They included a Stuart tank, a Sherman tank, a Willys Jeep, a half-tracked vehicle, and several versions of the Higgins boats.
Hanging from the ceiling were a restored P-51 Mustang, a C-47 cargo plane and an SBD torpedo bomber.
The main hall is open to the public and you don’t have to pay admission to see the vehicles there. We got tickets to go into the museum to see the displays and presentations. We decided to view the European theatre wing. Inside was the most impressive collection of WWII small arms, personal equipment and uniforms. There were examples from both U.S. army and German Wehrmacht.
Sadly, we didn’t have enough time to see the second wing of the museum that included items from the Pacific theatre. But, we did make time for lunch.
If you go, I highly recommend that you eat at ‘The American Sector’, a restaurant inside the museum. Order the rueben sandwich. You won’t be disappointed. The wife and I both agreed, the best food we had in all of New Orleans was at the museum and that’s really saying something.
When we returned home, the Cold War Commander group got together for a game. It was decided there weren’t enough players present that day to play the next scenario in the NATO v. Warsaw pact campaign. We opted for a non-campaign game with the setting of the Korean conflict of 1948-1951.
Mark Bravi was able to bring his collection of 1/72 scale tanks. The tanks were actually Matchbox toys sold at Target but the details on the tanks were excellent. Mark had brought enough vehicles to have a very non-historical tank assault battle. I doubt the Koreans would have ever committed so many tanks to a single battle.
|Bird's eye view of the battle|
Anyway, the battle that ensued was a tank commander’s dream. There were no infantry or artillery, just simply tanks versus more tanks. Joe and I took the U.N. Peacekeeping forces which included Churchill’s and Sherman’s. Mark and Wes took the North Koreans with Chinese J-2s, Su-122s and T-34s. Three objective markers were placed on the map; left, center and right. Joe and I decided to leave a small platoon in reserve to arrive on turn 3. Mark and Wes did the same but chose to bring the reserves in on turn 2.
Joe’s tabletop is huge and perfect for most war games. But, it was small for this scale and tanks started firing at each other on turn one.
|Shermans on fire|
On the left, we had the Churchill’s, which made an angry charge toward a line of T-34s. The T-34s were too much for the Churchill’s and destroyed more than half of the group.
In the center, a huge platoon of Sherman’s advanced on the center objective, placed in the middle of a small village. On the opposite side of the village were a line of J-2s and Su-122 tank destroyers. The cannon fire was unrelenting as 1 or 2 tanks of each side were destroyed per turn.
|Commies trying to hold the center|
On the right, another group of Sherman’s pounded on a group T-34s. The T-34s were caught out in the open and suffered more casualties than the Sherman’s.
|The bloody right flank|
For most of the game, it appeared that the UN forces would have to retreat. The overwhelming firepower from the T-34s started to take a toll. But, the North Korean commanders had dismally low command ratings. In order to bring in the NK reserves, they had to pass a command roll. Unfortunately, they failed every command roll to bring on the reserve. In addition, there were several turns where lack of command ability left the NK units unable to move or fire. The UN forces, with much better command ratings, were able to successfully bring on its reserves on turn 3, which turned the tide of the battle
Eventually, the NK lost too many tanks to make any attempt to hold the objectives. Victory went to the UN!