Monday, August 10, 2009

The Battles of the French and Greek Intervention in the Ukraine 1919
By Mark Plant, Tom Hillman and Alexis Mehtidis

Following the collapse of Russia after WWI, France and Greece (Romanian troops were primarily involved with the defense of Bessarabia) sent troops to the Ukraine for multiple reasons of varied forethought. The French reasons were primarily to control the evacuation of German troops, support local governments and ensure the protection of Allied interests and could have been encouraged when the Bolsheviks renounced all debts of Imperial Russia. Greece was not very active during WWI and wanted to show the Allies it could be a supportive partner in order to angle for larger territorial concessions. The book does an excellent job of describing the various factions in the Western Ukraine at this time – besides the interventionist armies there were the armies of the Directory and the Volunteer Army, Red Bolsheviks from Moscow and the Ukraine, Poles, Czechs and Germans (add to this the anarchist Makhnovists farther east and you can see what a mess it all was!) all in fighting each other. 10 maps, 1 color photo, appendices for further reading, definition of terms and proper names. Spiral bound, quality paper stock, plastic cover, 125 pages.
This book begins by discussing why the intervention took place It then describes all the factions involved by giving some background for each, detailed information of the troops available, organization and a real boon to wargamers, a description of the uniforms worn by each. There is a section on technical arms that discusses tanks, armored cars, armored trains and planes. In the third section the different campaigns are described from the initial landings in Odessa to battles against Red factions; the battles were essentially a series of fighting withdrawals for the Allies. Never really achieving popular support, backing the wrong anti-Bolshevik faction, unclear military goals and inadequate supply doomed the Allied efforts.
What makes this book a real find for those interested in the Russian Civil War is the final section of the book where it specifically describes how to wargame the campaign! Terrain, weather and climate – even the hours of daylight – are presented for the gamer eager to play new games. Despite the short length of the entire campaign (Jan – Apr 1919) there are lots of interesting wargaming possibilities: different White and Red factions that do not get along (and the Bolsheviks were very happy to stab any ally in the back when it suited them), stranded Chinese laborers fighting for the Reds, Cossacks, armies with very different morale and motivation – imagine a WWI type game where French and German troops fought on the same side! The different battles fought are discussed in terms of wargaming to include “what if” options. Suggestions are made for available wargaming figures in different scales form 6 to 25mm to help wargamers find figures in their preferred scale to recreate this campaign.
This book is a must for wargamers who would like some guidance to game a very fascinating period of the Russian Civil War. The book was fun to read and really increased my desire to complete more of my RCW army project! This book, and others formerly available from Gauntlet International, are now available from "Military History Books" in the UK.
Price: $48.00 with free shipping


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