Sunday, November 2, 2014

15,000 Miles From The Past {4}


Date: January ??, 1938
Location: Northwest Bay, Isla Incognita
Situation: Departure and Day 1 On The Island
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Important Suggestion: Reread Chapter 3 The Old Warrior first here:

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A customary marine band did not play lively tunes ashore as we weighed anchor and gathered way departing Malabascar. We did not have one. Instead....

Herr von Stiehl arranged for each vessel to loudly play a traditional recording of "Hoch Deutschlands Flotte." This spirited march had been a staple expressing pride in our navy tasked with guarding overseas colonies from before the Great War of 1914-1918. 

It cheered the men enormously.... 

As they waived auf wiedersehen to families or anyone lining the docks.... 

Amidst gaily fluttering flags at the von Stiehl Werke.  

An hour later Malabascar began to rapidly recede on our port side.

To starboard, an intoxicating cerulean blue sea appeared. Somewhere out there lay our destination.

No doubt never far from Herr von Stiehl's thoughts as we steamed toward....


At this time you must remember von Stiehl's irrevocable prohibition that dates, course and speed must not be revealed until a future permitted time. Therefore, I beg your forbearance if I do not mention the number of days taken to sail to Northwest Bay, Isla Incognita. Still as I record all but the most secret circumstances, you will be privileged to learn many details known only by our most senior officers.   

Early in the morning of Day #1 ships boats began ferrying shore parties to a rocky beach. We did not expect trouble but everyone was ready for it. According to several officers our personnel were among the best volunteers the Kriegsmarine and Wehrmacht offered. The most modern and powerful equipment added to every one's confidence. 

Familiar vegetation amidst some singularly peculiar flora was noticed. There was not much time to contemplate if it belonged. Some thought it did not.

The first three sections cautiously moved inland alert for unknowns. Gefreiter Christian Blech at the point of our right-hand gruppe thought it odd no tropical birds rose, soared, dived or screeched in raucous complaints about our invasion. Only the pleasant sound of the surf was heard behind us. Isla Incognita was lovely and peaceful.   

Suddenly a silent arrow grazed Blech in the shoulder. He immediately fell to the ground. Our hoped for promenade ended almost as soon as it had begun.

Shots were fired in the direction from which the arrow had come....

Only to see a body of islanders already departing in haste across a narrow stream. Covered by foliage at the near stream bank, they disappeared within dense brush on the far side with amazing agility.

Once Blech recovered from his shocking encounter with death, we moved forward....

Approaching the slowly-moving stream with caution.

We wondered if the indigenous population would oppose our crossing the river.

They did not. One of their number had been killed and left behind. Therefore, we continued to move inland scouting the immediate area per orders for the day.

We encountered another curious plant. However, in the near distance we spotted a man-made object.

A totem of sorts. Was it a boundary marker or warning? Both was the opinion of the men there. Satisfied we had penetrated far enough for today, they....

Returned to the stream to rejoin comrades who had been unsuccessfully attacked by nature.

 Ferocious wart hogs charged and gored several of our men. We'd had enough and so....

Two hours later, probably more, we withdrew to the campsite established in our absence.

During our march inland, more sections landed.

These headed inland to our left around a heavily wooded ridge.

Like us, they remained alert. This was especially so because they had heard our earlier rifle fire. 

They too approached the stream. Nothing more than verdant tropical panoramas were seen.

The leading section paused until reinforced.

Satisfied with reinforcements, everyone walked toward the stream. Blocked from view by vegetation agitated water went unseen.

Then from out of the depth near the bank surged a reptile of gigantic proportions. It thrust out of the water before anyone could react. A perfect ambush was sprung with a cold design to crush and eat our men alive within snapping jaws. Of course it had no notion of the lethality of our weapons. It only knew hunger and gave no sentient thought to innumerable successes won by its dynamic power. Instinct compelled the thing forward to feast upon us. It's prodigious size proved physical abilities far above our own. Horrified....

Our men fled for their lives in three directions even as another smaller crocodile leaped from the water. 

No shots were fired as the beasts pursued us. However, when out of their elemental home, the land slowed their charge. At a safe distance we recovered our wits, turned about pouring withering and fatal fire into the reptiles. We were very lucky. Elsewhere others were not so fortunate because....

Back in the bay Dr. Krausen observed a hideous sea creature shockingly erupt from the depths. It overturned a returning ship's boat taking a screaming crewman below as a bloody prize. It was over in the blink of an eye. The unfortunate seaman was never seen again.

Much later when Dr. Krausen arrived in camp, injured men needed his attention.  

 Others inquired about impossibly large nuts, mollusk shells and berries.  

Nearby, von Stiehl waited for reports with which you are already familiar supplied by.... 

Major Joachim von Recker who added, "Losses are minimal, sir. Dr. Krausen stitched lacerations of three soldiers. They may be able to return to light duty in a few days. One sailor was lost to a sea monster. On balance, Day #1 is a success."

Von Stiehl: "Ja. Our benefactor will be pleased. By now he should know the mission is underway."

Schloss Cecillenhof, Potsdam, Brandenburg, Germany

Excuse me Your Excellency. A letter has arrived from Admiral Fürstenberg in Wilhelmshaven.

Ja, Manfried. Operation Southern Cross sailed for Isla Incognita on Christmas Eve.

A fitting wish for the Fatherland. By now they should be encamped under those stars.

And they were. By nightfall a guarded zareba enclosed the camp. 

We might imagine guards peering into the darkness while.... 

Others relaxed with comrades discussing each man's experiences and thoughts for the day.  

 Von Stiehl radioed son Rudi aboard Luchs.

Kaleu (Kahloy), your father says all is well in the camp. In the morning parties will move inland to the objective. And....

Lookouts spotted a bon fire inland. Major von Recker thinks natives started it.


1) Day #1 was a tabletop weeknight game governed by Howard Whitehouse's Astounding Tales rules. Chuck L. and John B. commanded the two shore parties while yours truly activated and moved creatures and indigenous warriors.

2) Some items featured were:
Flags: The Flag Dude.
Buildings in the snow: Inn by Miniature Building Authority.
Tropical soldiers/sailors: Brigade Games, Black Tree Design and others.
Submarine: Brigade Games.
Luchs: Richard Houston gunboat sold through The Virtual Armchair General.
Giant Crocodile: Schleich.
Red Car: Duesenberg made by Solido.
Sea Monster: Mosasaur of the Inner Sea by Dragonblood Miniatures painted by Chuck.
Tropical Terrain: Lots of scratch-built items from Pet Stores.
Custom Stream and Terrain Cloth: The Terrain Guy now out of business.
Natives, Totem and von Stiehl's son: Bob Murch Pulp Miniatures.

3) Perhaps I should restate that historical elections of 1933 maintained The Weimar Republic in this what-if story. Fascist and Communist challengers grossly failed and became insignificant. The Fascist leader committed suicide afterwards. Additionally, Malabascar is a fictional independent island nation - not a former colony of Germany. See Chapter 1 for more.

4) Chuck L. and Todd B. provided prodigious and vital amounts of varied tropical terrain. Thank you!

5) Thank you for looking in. I appreciate it.

6) The exciting and terrifying march inland will appear in early December, 2014. I hope you will come back to find out what happens.

7) Meanwhile, your remarks, inquiries and impressions are sought and welcome below at the word "Comments."
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  1. Wonderful images, sir. I look forward to the next installment.

    -- Jeff

  2. Superb, you go from strength to strength Bill. The night shots are particularly well done.

  3. I love these stories. They are very much like a miniatures comic, and I look forward to each installment as much as I do my Marvel titles. Thanks, Bill.

  4. Wonderful stuff worthy of Edgar Rice Burroughs. How do you find HW rules? Science versus Pluck was very good.

  5. Fantastic stuff! Especially the giant crocodile(s).

    Best Regards,


  6. Super story - looking forward to more

  7. Brilliant stuff, I always look forward to receiving notice that a new installment has been posted.

  8. This is such fun. The best approach to game AARs ever. And the unusual time frame is excellent too. Keep up the good work.

  9. Jeff, Ross, Lieutenant, Allan, Conrad, Stokes, Graham, and Mike!,
    * * * * *
    I sure appreciate you taking time out of your busy lives to write. I appreciate all you said and especially that you enjoyed the story. It makes writing worthwhile. Otherwise it would be similar to showing a movie in an empty theatre.
    * * * * *
    I am having fun with this as you can tell. Plus, I am personally enjoying the change of geography, terrain, characters, what-if geo-political circumstances and time-period. Equipment and machinery too.
    * * * * *
    Additionally I've be able to find and paint a lot of interesting miniatures. Combined with collections of local friends like Chuck, Todd and John, we've had six visual and gaming adventures too with it all since January 2014.
    * * * * *
    Thank you very much. I am grateful for your kind remarks.
    Bill P.
    * * * * *
    Day #2 on Isla Incognita was photographed weeks ago. The plan is to get that story posted before December. See you then!

  10. A great new adventure! And quite a change for you, Bill - tropical and naval, as against arid NW Frontier and Infantry, eh?! Can't wait for December's episode! - Squibzy - :-)

  11. Zounds and gadzooks! I have read these reports and must inform my staff immediately of what is going on, and that we need to keep watch and abreast of this situation as it unfolds, indeed!!!

    Excellent work my friend!!!!