In fact it is the only way to travel in time (backwards of course)… fans of sci-fi will say that even to a distant future (quite out of the mark predictions though)
Quite a simple counsel is it not? Be that because a period of History interest you, or a campaign. or a battle, or an skirmish… whatever. You always start by reading about it (even after seeing or watching a Hollywood film)… books are the thing.
Mind you it is not my problem if you prefer Poetry! (Even in Poetry there are epic subjects… but I digress)
Have found in my life (71 actually) that books are the best friends and companions ans a library a little treasure (the public library is a good option I am not talking about “cumulating possessions” here… but if you can afford it it is really practical! just because they are at hand…
The recent passing of a friend (yes at my age this happens frequently) or some months earlier the demise of Frederick Wagner III which I corresponded with and respected as an author (learned). Has dawned on me of the need of a Post like this.
Even before starting to buy a single Toy Soldier… or a wargames mini (if you please) document yourself.
Here find the pics of the three shelves of my modest Little Big Horn collection of books… they are not all there (some are of a format that does not fit into the shelves) other are magazines stored in other places (but at hand).
OK it is a Little Big Horn diorama… but that is probably the peak of the Plains Indian Wars… have read a lot of books about it and not the wiser about “How”… “Where” “When” “Why” and “Whom” is pretty clear I guess.
The precise movements and actions of Custer’s Battalion and HQ (Cos C,E,F,I & L) are still a matter of debate today… because there were not survivors… the situation of the corps of the deceased or massacred gives some hints of where they died… but not the order of the deaths.
Here you are… you seemed to like the last Post about it…
Since I saw Errol Flynn killed by Anthony Quinn in THEY DIED WITH THEIR BOOTS ON it become a lifelong interest… I was puzzled as a child because it seemed to me the US Cavalry HAD to WIN no matter what… of course real life is not like that… I guess I have already mentioned that on other Posts in this Blog but nevertheless…
It has been a rewarding passion mainly reading&collecting books about it and trying to understand what happened that 25th of June… of course all films (but Little big man) related to and hundreds (literally) of miniatures for wargames purposes (in 28mm, 15mm and 6mm to do not mention my 75mm Playmobils).
After 70 years exposed to it I have come to the conclusion that Custer was put on a NO WIN – NO WIN situation… mainly by fate and circumstances but also for bad scouting, not believing his own scouts, and betrayed by his own experience fighting Plains Indians… the whole Reno Benteen paranoia is simply that a paranoia… the Native Americans where there in enough numbers (ask Crook), interior lines of communication, perfect ground for his tactics, and the will to fight for survival. The Indians Won. That’s that.
A magnificent American drama for the Centennial of the Nation.
Not much to enjoy about that of course… but a fascinating subject. There are a lot of trash books about it (and films too)… I can recommend the opus of Frederick Wagner III THE STRATEGY OF DEFEAT and the novel (fictional-history but it reads as History) A ROAD WE DO NOT KNOW.
25th of June… LBH day… so many different approaches to it in a long lifetime… at seven years of age I would have followed Errol Flynn anywhere (Custer or the real Custer was not important at all). As so many others I was hooked on THEY DIED WITH THEIR BOOTS ON… great Hollywood historical fiction… that Anthony Quinn (Crazy Horse) would end as a Catholic Pope on the flick THE FISHERMAN’S SHOES is not here not there… But I digress…
The Little Big Horn has a pathos of their own… we in Europe have Leonidas and the Thermopylae… Americans have Custer… If you read about a hundred of books on the matter (as I did) you will discover that Custer will die no matter what… and that he put himself and his battalion in a NO WIN-NO WIN situation.
The best books in my collection are those by Frederick Wagner III… you do not need to read much further than those. But there are other more general that are a good read too.
Of course at Seventy I would not have enlisted in the Seventh Cavalry in the first place… that is how time changes your perspective!
Honour the death (on both sides) of what will become the native american’s swan song…
Incidentally over the years I have build the 7th Cavalry in 15mm (MINIFIGS), 28mm (FOUNDRY), 75mm (PLAYMOBIL) and finally in 6mm (BACCUS proxies). A long life wargaming obsession…
Sadly I di not take pics of the impressive 15mm lot… a pity perhaps… sold them long time ago… if 15mm is your thing there are no better “Injuns” in the market than MINIFIGS… the 28mm FOUNDRY are the most “historically accurate”.
and last but not least the man himself (quite idealized I agree)
I will not resist the temptation and I adjoint my Playmobils too!
It finally has evolved in a long post today… but probably something in it would interest you (if you have read so far!).