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Author Topic: Research book advice  (Read 190 times)

Jonnyboy

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Research book advice
« on: January 04, 2021, 09:58:35 PM »
Wanting to improve my scanty Hollywood inspired knowledge and general mental picture of the Mexican Revolution, I've just read Frank Flynn's  Villa and Zapata, A Biography of the Mexican Revolution". Which I can heartily recommend for a broad and informed breakdown of the main characters and events.

However what I'm after is something to broaden my knowledge of tactics and forces involved "in the field" as it were. With that in mind I've ordered Joe Lee Janssen's "Strategy and Tactics of the Mexican Revolution 1910 - 1915" as a starting point, I'm aware this is part of a series and there are other volumes in the series. Has anybody seen these and have a view on how useful they are?

Cheers and many thanks in advance.

Jon




martin goddard

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Re: Research book advice
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2021, 08:51:39 AM »
Hello Jon
I bought and read the 4 volumes of Janssen.
80 (probably out there second hand, but will retain value as they are so specific).
I believe he is alive, healthy and actively engaged with discussions (not with me).
They really are very good indeed.

Any single volume of his that includes battles will give a great background of how the warfare works.
Part of the problem is that the majority of gamers are English speaking but most of the Mexrev stuff is in Spanish.

In addition, many US players (a generality I admit, but that is the theme of various E mails I have received) have had the mexrev presented to them as "some rumble over the border" which only has military significance when US forces get into skirmishes.

For most players, the Osprey Elite book is more than adequate in my opinion. Unless they are going to make it one of their main periods.

For my part I think we need  to keep the mexrev simple and accessible.
In this way, gamers can get involved without getting "ear ache" from tiresome individuals who wish to demonstrate excessive detail.

If the period is made out as complex then gamers will "Dionne Warwick".

Once players really get into a period, then the detail is a worthy endeavour. FM should make sure that such detail is no part of the game e.g "these are the government golden cavalry regiment (real unit), therefore I claim superior combat ability at no extra cost". "I think you will find that a lot of Villas Mexican made ammunition did not work well. Also he was short of HE shells".

Make the period accessible, enjoyable and interesting.

Other periods can/have suffered from this.
e.g. up to date modern warfare with constant input of which version of the vehicle is depicted.
e.g. Napoleonics. Just read the questions about cuff colours etc.

For success, this period needs lots of players with armies who fancy a game.

The PP mexrev range should enable players to join in. The FM rules should help players have access. I hope. ???

martin :)

sukhe_bator (Neil)

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Re: Research book advice
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2021, 10:16:08 AM »
For my part I tend towards the railway modellers approach. Do some background reading, settle on the area or period you want to recreate. Then recreate a few typical pieces of scenery for a range of scenarios and pitch my games around them. I like the sound of the conflicts in the North of Mexico but not necessarily large battles... so I've settled on the Nogales-Juarez-Chihuahua region which has a mix of terrain and my research online and reading has been based around that. My fictional village of 'San Miguel' will act as the focus for a variety of scenarios including skirmishes and railway encounters...

Panzer21

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Re: Research book advice
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2021, 12:55:22 PM »
Janssen also has a slim paperback on the strategy and tactics:

https://www.amazon.co.uk

I have not yet attempted his monumental series, although own it.

Blake's book is a must have.

I'd also recommend memories; there's one by John Reed

https://www.barnesandnoble.com

Or

Gringo Rebel

Neil (the other one)


Panzer21

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Re: Research book advice
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2021, 09:52:15 PM »
Thanks Martin, hadn't realised it was stripping out most of the link.

The books I meant were:

John Reed Insurgent Mexico
Patrick O'Hea Reminiscences of the Mexican Revolution

These are Pancho Villa centered but interesting.

Gringo Rebel is by an ex-British officer and gives more insight into Obregon's forces and Yaqui Indians.

I forgot for photos, look out for The Wind that swept Mexico and A photo history of the Mexican Revolution by Mike Gunby.

These are all relatively cheap
Neil

Nick

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Re: Research book advice
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2021, 11:35:44 AM »
I agree with Martin with regards to accessibility. For me, when starting a new period I want to understand the main issues/battles/uniforms, but not get carried away with the minutiae of pedantic uniform details.
For Mex' Rev' I'm happy with the Osprey book and the photos that people kindly post of their figures here.

regards,
Nick

sukhe_bator (Neil)

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Re: Research book advice
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2021, 09:56:07 PM »
For Mex' Rev' I'm happy with the Osprey book and the photos that people kindly post of their figures here.
I'm broadly with Nick here but like to dip into the more detailed accounts for insights on unusual encounters and scenarios... For me the right period 'feel' is more important than precise historical accuracy...

Jonnyboy

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Re: Research book advice
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2021, 10:57:20 PM »
Firstly, thank you for the excellent suggestions, books duly ordered and looking forward to delving into these. Agree entirely with Martin's comments on accessibility and hope I haven't come across as a period "button counting" pedant!  8) 8)

It's just that A) I really know very little about this apart from the usual sources "The Wild Bunch" and "A Bullet fir the General". Both brilliant films but hardly historical research. B) I'll be leading the push for this in my group so looking for ideas/scenarios etc, capturing the atmosphere etc.

Again thanks for the insights, in terms of groups, MR is a niche and this forum is a great help.

Thanks Martin and PP for taking the leap of faith and promoting the range and period!

Regards.

Jon


Leslie BT

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Re: Research book advice
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2021, 06:11:32 PM »
Some of the 'Janssen' books are now on Caliver lists this week.

Looks like Mexican Revolution is going to be flavour of the year!!