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  • Monocle and Strategy & Tactics

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on April 17th, 2009 (All posts by )

    The masthead of our blog at Life in the Great Midwest used to say that we “shill for no one” and it is true, no one that pays us, at least. But Dan and I are big fans of the magazine “Monocle“. Monocle covers obscure topics – the first magazine covered the modern Japanese navy (which is why I picked up the initial issue on the spot and wrote about it here). The magazine has beautiful pictures from expert photographers and covers topics like the Falklands, Iceland, and other interesting spots around the globe. Fashion and art are also frequent and well-written topics.

    I heard that Monocle was going to open stores so I stopped and took a photo as I walked past this shop in London. Unfortunately it was closed at the time but I wish them the best in their stand-alone stores. Dan bought me a subscription to Monocle for xmas which was much appreciated. I send the issues on to my nephew at college when I am done – even if he doesn’t read them he will look cultured to whomever he brings back to his cinder-block dorm room.

    Another favorite of the blog is the magazine Strategy and Tactics. This magazine covers military topics from the ancient world to WW2 to today. Every year when I renew my subscription I also buy one for Dan and now Gerry, as well (he might be wondering why that shows up in his mailbox every month). The magazine came from the era of physical (not PC) war games and they used to put a game in every issue – but now most of the magazine focuses on relevant articles.

    I particularly like the “for your information” column where individuals write pithy articles of 2000 words or less on topics that I, at least, find fascinating. Here are some highlights from the latest issue:

    – the statistic that 2008 was the first year that the US air force added more pilot less drones to the armory than manned aircraft
    – an article about how the Israeli army used armored bulldozers to level enemy strong points in their wars in Gaza
    – A very good article on Gerald Bull, the artillery genius who designed a long range 155mm cannon and worked on a gun large enough to launch satellites into orbit – he was assassinated (likely by the Mossad) as he worked on a project for Saddam
    – an article about the survival of the battle cruiser Seydlitz, which barely escaped sinking after Jutland in 1916

    It helps that I already know a lot about these topics, I guess (I added the part about Bull and the Mossad from my general knowledge – I think when he was shot he had tens of thousands of dollars on him that was untouched, which you’d figure an average assassin would have taken).

    If you have some time I’d check out both of these interesting magazines. If anyone has shopped at the Monocle store, pop in a comment.

    Cross posted at LITGM

     

    7 Responses to “Monocle and Strategy & Tactics”

    1. Lexington Green Says:

      I used to get S&T back in the old days (late 1970s), when it had a game in it. I recall in particular Kharkov, which was based on the Panzergruppe Guderian game system. It was a good, balanced game. It is good to see the magazine lives on.

    2. Limitup Says:

      I was at the Monocle store last week in London, it’s tiny and doesn’t offer a whole lot. The day I went was when the new newest issue came out w/a cover story on the Danish navy on pirate patrol. A lot of the Monocle branded products are on sale and back issues but nothing too special. They do give a little London tip sheet for some of their favorites, including the natural foods store up the street which I also thought was great for lunch. LA store is supposedly open now.

    3. Carl from Chicago Says:

      Ah Lex… some day we ought to get together for some face to face board games but I don’t have most of my old favorites around.

    4. seydlitz89 Says:

      Yes, takes me back. I had a “lifetime subscription” to the old S&T which obviously doesn’t include me in the new version . . . too bad. I remember showing the articles to my undersgrad history prof who was impressed.

      Particularly interested in the story of SMS Seydlitz as one might expect . . . took a hell of a pounding at Skaggerak but got home under her own steam.

    5. Carl from Chicago Says:

      Seydlitz went backwards to get into port because it was taking on so much water they couldn’t make headway after flooding the main gun magazines to foil an explosion such as one that detonated the British battlecruisers that day. The Germans had excellent damage control for the day.

    6. Lexington Green Says:

      I do not have any of those games anymore, either.

      There was one called Fulda Gap. It was almost impossible to actually play, it was so huge and complicated. We tried to do it, though.

      I used to like October War, too.

      And Firefight, where your NATO guys were always absurdly outnumbered by the Soviet stuff coming in off the Eastern edge of the hex map. You could sometimes kill enough of them with long range TOW and tank main gun fire to win on points. I remember one scenario where I would have a bunch of dismounted infantry dug in next to a crossroads the Russians had to drive through. Some of them would still be alive after getting plastered by the artillery barrage that preceded the tanks coming through. Once I had twelve guys (three counters each with a four man fireteams) knock out all the Russian tanks with LAW rockets. The kid playing the Russians couldn’t believe it. I kept making my die toss that I had another LAW left. It was like the Alamo, or Bastogne. I remember a bunch of people hunched over as I made each die toss and cheering when it came up. We were at the public library and the librarian had to come over and shush us.

      Ah, the (few) happy memories of an adolsecent geek.

      Good times, man.

    7. seydlitz89 Says:

      “There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today…”

      Admiral David Beatty at Jutland, May 31, 1916, after watching the second Royal Navy battlecruiser blow up within half an hour.