National Memorial Arboretum – A Spotlight On: Salt of the Sarkar – 29 Oct 2016


As part of the Arboretum’s Centenary of the Battle of the Somme commemorations,  Dominic Rai and Caroline Goffin, Co-directors of Salt of the Sarkar, will reveal the close links between the facts and the fiction of over a million soldiers from Undivided India who fought for Britain during World War I.

During the talk you will hear an extract from the World War One Centenary edition of ‘Across the Black Waters’ by Mulk Raj Anand, the only novel written from the soldiers’ perspective, telling of their arrival in Marseille in September 1914 to fight in the trenches of Flanders through the first winter of the war.  The story is told by a master storyteller, the son of a soldier, who as a teenager personally encountered many of those returning to India at the end of the war.  It is based on solid historical facts, and also gives voice to the soldiers’ experience of bravery, suffering and bewilderment as they encounter the chaotic early stages of the war in Europe over 5,000 miles from home.

Throughout the talk you will also hear the voices of Hindu, Muslim and Sikh soldiers through the letters they wrote to family and friends, excerpts of which were translated and kept by the army censors and have now been made available online by the British Library.  These will be read by young people.

Special guest Professor Prabhjot Parmar from Fraser Valley University, Canada will speak about the setting, background and characters of ‘Across the Black Waters’.  She has been researching and teaching this novel and its history for many years.

Salt of the Sarkar is a cultural venture which aims to tell the little known of story of over a million Indian soldiers who fought in World War One. Created and led by Dominic Rai and Caroline Goffin, Artistic Director and Administrator of Mán Melá Theatre Company.

“Sarkar” means the ruling authority. “Eating the salt” refers to the oath that binds one to a political superior through obligations of protection and loyalty.

George Morton-Jack, author of ‘The Indian Army on the Western Front’, Cambridge University Press 2014, will share the historical perspective of the novel and the Indian Army.

The World War One Centenary edition of ‘Across the Black Waters’ is available for sale at the National Memorial Arboretum gift shop.  Priced £10.

Other activities on the day will include:

The Daily Act of Remembrance at 11am in the Millennium Chapel will be dedicated to the Indian soldiers who fought for Britain in World War One, with the Exhortation For The Fallen by Lawrence Binyon recited in Hindustani and English.

Special guided Undivided Indian Memorial Walks lasting 45 minutes will take place at 10.30am, 12 noon and 3pm.

Date: 29 October 2016. Time: 1pm to 3pm.
Venue: National Memorial Arboretum – The Millennium Chapel
Admission: £3 per person if booked in advance, £4 on the day, NMA Friends FREE. Advanced booking is recommended as places are limited.
Contact: Tel: 01283 245 100 email:

BadCon 2017


18th & 19th February 2017
Wargames Weekend                

Meadowside Leisure Centre
High Street
Burton upon Trent
DE14 1TL

You are invited to come and join in our 22nd annual competition weekend and play one of the following;

DBMM Doubles
500 points any book 500BC—476AD.
£34.00 per team.

FOG Ancients Doubles
900 points any book 501AD—1149AD.
£34.00 per team.

FOG Renaissance Doubles
900 points any book 1618AD—1659AD.
£34.00 per team.

Renaissance special rule- Any heavy artillery used must be the first
battlegroup(s) deployed, followed immediately by any medium artillery used.

Art De La Guerre Doubles
400 points any book 500AD—999AD.
£34.00 per team.

ADLG Special rules;
1 400 points made up of 2 x 200 point armies. Each army must not be more than 210 points with a combined total of no more than 400 points.
2 The armies chosen must be listed as potential allies in either army list. All troop options used from both lists must be available within the time period 500—999AD.
3 Commands from each 200 point “army” may be intermingled at deployment. Each player must command the 3 adjacent commands in their half of the table.
4 The break point of the army is the combined total of both armies.
5 If flank marching or ambushing 1 command it is permitted to start with 2 commands for one player and 3 for the other and then transfer one command to maintain the 3 + 3 requirement once the flank march arrives or ambush is revealed, in order to disguise the flank of arrival. In the same principle, if only one flank march/ambush is being attempted, either player may roll for it.
6 Each player has a separate standard camp that must be deployed in their half of the table. The loss of each camp counts as per the standard 200 point rules.
7 Teams are expected to roll for and move 1 command each simultaneously in order to not unduly delay play and to resolve combats together as well where possible.

Entries and lists for all competitions to

Cheques payable to BURTON AND DISTRICT DBM

To Dene Green

19 Rosecroft Gardens
DE11 9AF

Registration from 8.30am
Games on both days are 9.30am—1.00pm
and 2.00pm—5.30pm


New Venue information

Meadowside Leisure Centre
High Street
Burton upon Trent
DE14 1TL



Bars and Pubs


BADCON Merchandise is here –


Really in the days before digital photography?

Chanced across these in a tidy up. I’ve not owned a ‘film’ camera for a long time , who took them I have no clue.

sotr1 sotr2 sotr3 sotr4

As as I recall last time BAD wargamers won anything at a show 😉 just to prove we can 🙂

Peter Pig Forum Competition

For the next competition Martin has very generously offered £40 of Peter Pig Vouchers as first prize.

This competition will run from now til 1st Jan 2017. For full details go here

Battle of Fulford – 1066

As the 950th Anniversary of the battles for England in 1066, I set up a game of the first of the three battles – The battle of Fulford

The Battle of Fulford was fought on the outskirts of the village of Fulford near York in England, on 20 September 1066, when King Harald III of Norway, also known as Harald Hardrada, and Tostig Godwinson, his English ally, fought and defeated the Northern Earls Edwin and Morcar.

Tostig was Harold Godwinson’s banished brother. He had allied with King Harald of Norway and possibly Duke William of Normandy but there is no record of the reasoning behind his invasions. The battle was a decisive victory for the Viking army. The earls of York could have hidden behind the walls of their city but instead they met the Viking army across a river. All day the English desperately tried to break the Viking shield wall but to no avail.
Tostig was opposed by Earl Morcar who had displaced him as Earl of Northumbria.
The battle started with the English spreading their forces out to secure their flanks. On their right flank was the River Ouse, and on the left was the Fordland, a swampy area. The disadvantage to the position was that it gave Harald higher ground, which was perfect for seeing the battle from a distance. Another disadvantage was that if one flank were to give way, the other one would be in trouble. If the Anglo-Saxon army had to retreat, it would not be able to because of the marshlands. They would have to hold off the Norwegians as long as possible. Harald’s army approached from three routes to the south. Harald lined his army up to oppose the Anglo-Saxons, but he knew it would take hours for all of his troops to arrive. His least experienced troops were sent to the right and his best troops on the riverbank.
The English struck first, advancing on the Norwegian army before it could fully deploy. Morcar’s troops pushed Harald’s back into the marshlands, making progress against the weaker section of the Norwegian line. However, this initial success proved insufficient for victory to the English army, as the Norwegians brought their better troops to bear upon them, still fresh against the weakened Anglo-Saxons.

Harald brought more of his troops from the right flank to attack the centre, and sent more men to the river. The invaders were outnumbered, but they kept pushing and shoving the defenders back. The Anglo-Saxons were forced to give ground. Edwin’s soldiers who were defending the bank now were cut off from the rest of the army by the marsh, so they headed back to the city to make a final stand. Within another hour, the men on the beck were forced off by the Norwegians. Other invading Norwegians, who were still arriving, found a way to get around the thick fighting and opened a third front against the Anglo-Saxons. Outnumbered and outmanoeuvred, the defenders were defeated. Edwin and Morcar however, managed to survive the fight.

The game used the “1066 and all that” MeG Supplement


You can read the supplement here

In the scenario game the Saxons were always the ‘attacker’.This gave the Viking choice of the ground on the pre battle map. It was the Saxons task to manoeuvre the Vikings on the map. Ideally to get the river to the Vikings rear. This failed spectacularly and the Viking hand of cards pushed them further and further away from the river.


Being 100% close infantry neither side wanted much in the way of terrain and a couple of pieces of fought going were dotted around the edge, with a secure flank of steep hills.

The armies were

screen-shot-2016-10-07-at-07-38-43 screen-shot-2016-10-07-at-07-39-10

The game was played by



All, bar Bob, were relative neophytes … and this game was a challenge.


There was – as Barker intended – very little in the way of manoeuvre tactically with both sides lining up. The Saxons has a larger army, but were lead by lesser generals. The scenario rules were that the Saxons got an additional red card during scouting (which made little odds) , also for the first turn the Vikings were all treated as allies. As such their initial hand was played face up. If they got no coloured cards they would be unreliable, simulating the surprise that the Vikings suffered.

Here is the first Viking ‘hand’. You can just see at the bottom the last card of Harald was green to prevent him getting caught with his trousers down


Again the cards dictated that none of the Vikings were unreliable. So, with all their advantage the Saxons gained nothing, and it would be decided by sword and spear.


The army closed with an almighty clash.

I don’t like the coloured chits to denote unit – but as all the figures are mine identification of who is who was a real problem. So this was a necessary evil, to help those that hadn’t played much !


The ensuing melee was challenging as the big dark age armies who were all subtly different calculated all their factors to try and understand where all the advantages were to be gained. We laid out all the dice for the whole line to illustrate this.


The Viking has 3 bases of berserks and had integrated them in the Hird. So as exceptional devastating chargers they went in first , trying to get the shatter and force their way in the lines and give their lesser comrades more of an advantage. The Huscarls (on both sides) fought to try and push back their enemies The Huscarls were not facing one another as the Viking had placed theirs on the ends of the line to try and hold on to prevent the larger Saxons flanking them. Most troops had shieldwall – so ’S” results would not count. However, ‘Skulls’ would ‘shove’ so the where the troops were better advantaged gave more opportunities for than and therefore aid the supporting files.


At the begining the battle seemed largely bloodless (just on the dice) , but the game progressed both armies ground into each other. The granularity of the troop types did give a choice of on determining the order of the combat, compared to ALDG which would have been a largely droll experience. That said it was tough, and the large number of combatants and different file types was tricky to manager. However, it did feel like a dark age battle decided with a scrum of fighting, with local advantage escalating into a larger one.


The Vikings did win ultimately, while the Huscarls held on the weaker Fyrd collapsed on the wings and when the pub beckoned Saxons had lost 4 of their 5 TuGs before collapse to the Vikings 1 out of 4. That said a couple of Viking Tugs were teetering and their smaller army could have easily have had a reverse – should the dice gods desert.

A hard fought game, which required quite a bit of concentration. Probably not best for beginners!