It was General Mark Clark (commander of Allied ground troops in Italy) that would later declare “the soft underbelly of Europe” is turning out to be “one tough, old gut” instead. The “soft underbelly of Europe” he was referring to was of course Italy, which was the next target of the allies following the successful expulsion and capturing of axis soldiers in 1943.
Sure, I knew about Monte Casino, but it was only after reading–of all authors–Farley Mowat that I first became interested in the Italian campaign of World War II.
I first learned about the Italian campaign reading Mowat’s book, My Father’s Son–his memoir, as told through his letters home, of his time in the Hastings and Prince Edward regiment (affectionately known as the Hasty Ps) during World War II. I learned more than just names of places like Ortona; more importantly, I learned about the Canadian narrative in the Second World War. Upon finishing that book, I tracked down another of Mowat’s books dealing with the war: The Regiment.
Where My Father’s Son gave me Mowat’s personal experiences, feelings and outlook regarding the war while serving in Europe, The Regiment served more as a narrative of the Hastings and Prince Edward regiment in general. The Regiment ignited in me a real interest in the Italian campaign, I’ve had a soft spot for the topic ever since: when I decided to buy Flames of War, it was Canadians in Italy that I chose to have as my force.
So imagine my excitement when THIS showed up in the store’s email yesterday!
The one qualm I’ve had with my Flames of War force is that by choosing Canadians in Italy, I’ve been relegated to playing only during mid-war…and everyone I know that plays the game plays pretty much only Late War….which has completley ground my progress with the army to an utter halt. For those not in the know, Flames of War divides their war game into three chronological eras: early (1939-41), mid (1942-43) and late (1944-45), so as to better tackle the immense changes in technology, troop experience and overall war fatigue/attrition that defined each country through the war. With these books, I’ll be able to move most of the models I’ve painted so far into the game’s Late War period of 1944-45!
Once I’ve scrounged up the time needed to finish my Canadians, I hope to then make a First Special Service Force army: the Devil’s Brigade! Though listed in the book as an American force, it should be remembered that the First Special Service Force was not only an elite infantry force but also a joint army made up of American and Canadian soldiers. I’m also excited that Battlefront has included a new Warrior (special character) for the Devil’s Brigade: Tommy Prince.
Thomas George “Tommy” Prince has the distinction of being Canada’s most-decorated First Nations soldier to have served in World War II, and it’s only fitting that he’s been given some recognition by catching some rulebook limelight.
With a release date of March 8, 2014, I currently have mere weeks to finish up any other hobby projects before paying attention once again to my Flames of War models; they’ve certainly been on the backest of back burners for the last year or so; it’ll be nice to get them finished at long last!
(Plus it’ll give me something to blog about!)