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Posted on May 16, 2008 in Boardgames

Historicon Military Seminar Series Topics 2008

By Armchair General

SATURDAY

Patterns and Predictability: A Soviet View of Operation Linebacker II during the Vietnam War
Saturday 9 AM, 2 hrs, Laurel Grove Room
Lester Grau – Guest of Honor

President Nixon launched Operation Linebacker II over the Christmas holiday at the end of the Vietnam War to force North Vietnam back to the negotiating table before Congress could reconvene and strip him of any negotiating power. The USAF claims the operation was a major victory since the North Vietnamese did return to negotiate. The North Vietnamese claim victory since they downed so many B-52 bombers. The most-neutral observers were, strangely enough, the Soviet advisers to the North Vietnamese Air Defense Forces. Their records are now declassified and present a compelling look at what really happened during the Christmas bombings.

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1757 – Year of Battle: The First Campaign of the Seven Years’ War – Theme Seminar
Saturday 10 AM, 1 hr, Hopewell Room
Frank Chadwick

Frederick the Great invaded Saxony in 1756 and precipitated the Seven Years’ War, but it was not until 1757 that the major belligerents were fully mobilized. Europe was prepared for another war of maneuver and sieges, punctuated by the occasional pitched battle. What they got instead was a maelstrom; six major battles – Prague, Kolin, Hastenbeck, Gross Jaegersdorf, Rossbach, and Leuthen – all in one campaign season. It was combat at a level of intensity for which none of the combatants were prepared. It brought Prussia to the brink of annihilation, and left all of the major armies – Prussia, France, Austria, and Russia — damaged instruments. Frank Chadwick provides a detailed look at this remarkable first campaign, and what it meant for the remaining course of the war. Handouts provided.

Secret Turning Points of the American Civil War
Saturday 11 AM, 1 hr, Laurel Grove Room
Dana Lombardy, Armchair General magazine

Dana Lombardy, designer and editor of The First Battle of Bull Run: Campaign of First Manassas, continues his popular series of “secret” turning points lectures with a look at the decisions (and non-decisions) that have been overlooked or downplayed in most books written about America’s Civil War. What decision crippled Lee’s invasion of the North in 1863 before his army even left Virginia? What simple oversight hamstrung Grant’s army in its first encounter in 1864 in Virginia? Audience participation is encouraged during the Q&A segment of the seminar.

Seven Years’ War in Europe – Theme Seminar
Saturday 11AM, 1.5 hrs, Hopewell Room
Charles K. Bunger

This seminar will focus on the campaigns of Ferdinand of Brunswick against the French. Showing the battlefields as they are now and comparing them to contemporary battle maps, also discussing the campaigns in some detail as the theatre of operation was actually larger than those of Frederick’s battles in the east.

Casemate: Exclusive Insights into the Military Book World
Saturday 12:30 PM, 30 minutes, Hopewell Room
Simone Drinkwater, Casemate Publishing

Simone is the Marketing and New Business Director of Casemate, the fastest-growing military history publisher and distributor (previously Business Development Manager, and former Commissioning Editor, at Osprey Publishing), and will talk about Casemate in more detail and provide you with exclusive highlights of future publications. As Casemate are also distributors for a number of other military publishers, including Histoire & Collections, Pen and Sword, Foundry, Greenhill Books and Heimdal, amongst others, you can be sure to find out everything there is to know about the developments of the military book world! If this wasn’t enough, there will also be the chance to find out more about becoming an author, the opportunity to suggest ideas for new titles, and even put in your request for any out-of-print books you would like to see reprinted. For more info on Casemate and their range of military history books and DVDs, please visit www.casematepublishing.com

Frederick the Great…oh Really?Theme Seminar
Saturday 1 PM, 1.5 hrs, Hopewell Room
Bob Fulton

As SYW gamers we know the legend of Frederick the Great, and read praises of his skills and innovative approaches to battle. But was Frederick really that great? Most comparisons that are made in this regard by historians are comparisons to Napoleon, Caesar or Alexander. But Frederick was not fighting with phalanxes, Roman legions or masses of French assault columns. He was a product of his day – of dynastic politics, linear tactics and massive firefights – and that is where we need to seek the benchmark for an examination of his skills. This discussion presents an analysis of Frederick’s campaigns and battle tactics, and specifically deals with his skill as a strategist and tactician. We’ll explore some of his political triumphs and blunders as well.

Ben Butler: The Union’s Most Underrated General
Saturday 1 PM, 1 hr, Laurel Grove Room
John Hill – Guest of Honor

While the popular impression was that General "Beast" Butler was one of the worst of the Union’s political generals, John Hill will make a compelling case that he was, in fact, one of the best and that without Butler’s brilliant resource and logistic management, the Petersburg campaign would have been impossible.

Poland Is Still Free! The Polish Armed Forces in 1939
Saturday 2 PM, 1 hr, Laurel Grove Room
Frank Chadwick

Germany invaded Poland in September of 1939 as the first act of World War II. Few modern campaigns have produced more absurd propaganda myths than this one – Polish cavalry charged German tanks with lances, the Polish Air Force was destroyed on the ground the first day, the German Army reaffirmed its tradition of tactical skill – all false. Frank Chadwick takes on some of these myths, and also gives a detailed breakdown of the organization, equipment, and capabilities of the Polish Army. Handouts provided.

Fort Ligonier: Outpost of the British Empire – Theme Seminar
Saturday 2:30 PM, 1.5 hrs, Hopewell Room
Martin West, Director of Fort Ligonier

This program examines the history of Fort Ligonier, set against the backdrop of the 1758 Forbes expedition against French Fort Duquesne. George Washington’s role in the expedition is highlighted, including the infamous Fort Ligonier friendly fire incident, of which he later wrote, “I never was in more imminent danger.” Fort Ligonier commemorates its 250th anniversary this year, 1758-2008.

Triumph and Its Limits: The Battle of the Monongahela, 9 July 1755 – Theme Seminar
Saturday 4 PM, 1.5 hrs, Hopewell Room
René Chartrand – Guest of Honor

Seminar will discuss this battle and the outstanding example of light troop tactics by French and Indians, plus the limitations of light troops faced with powerful regular armies that have outstanding logistical support.

The Struggle for Stalingrad’s Suburbs and Center City, 3 Sept. – 5 Oct. 1942
Saturday 4 PM, 2 hrs, Laurel Grove Room
Col. David Glantz – Guest of Honor

Describes, on a street-by-street and hour-by-hour basis, the struggle for Stalingrad’s suburbs and center city between German Sixth and Fourth Panzer Armies and Soviet 62nd and 64th Armies, and combat on the periphery of Stalingrad.

The Role of the Riflemen in the American War of Independence—A Reassessment
Saturday 5:30 PM, 1.5 hrs, Hopewell Room
James R. Mc Intyre, Moraine Valley Community College

Based on extensive research in both primary and secondary materials, this presentation seeks to offer a balanced appraisal of these troops. In doing so, it will provide an examination of the weapons carried by the riflemen, the strengths and liabilities of both the men and their weapons. Likewise, the tactics the riflemen used and the overall combat effectiveness of these troops will be discussed as well. In addition to describing the positives and negatives of the contributions made by the riflemen in the northern department, this presentation will incorporate material on the use of rifles in the southern campaigns, an arena often neglected by historians who seek to point out he liabilities of the weapons and the troops who carried it. In the end, a new understanding of the contribution of the riflemen to the winning of independence will emerge that places the efforts of these troops into a more balanced perspective.

Killing for Budda – The Tibetan Army, 1911-50
Saturday 7 PM, 1 hr, Hopewell Room
John Dunn, Valdosta State University

This presentation is on Lamaist Tibet and its failed effort to create a modern military machine. Focused on the 13th Dalai Lama, the “God King” of Tibet, who was chased from his capital by British troops in 1904, and then Chinese in 1908, breaks with tradition and decides to create a strong army. Its nucleus drove out Lhasa’s Chinese garrison during the Tibetan Revolution of 1911, then was augmented, and defeated warlord armies in Kham between 1912 and 1919. In the end, this army became powerful enough to threaten the Tibetan monastic establishment, and lost the God King’s support. After 1924, the Tibetan military lost funding, and was involved in power plays during the interregnum between the death of the 13th (1933), and discovery of the 14th Dalai Lama (1939). It also failed to hold eastern Kham during renewed conflict with warlord forces in 1934. Afterwards, internal politics gravely impaired efforts to beef up this Army, which was involved with internal security issues during the 1940s. Repeated failures allowed for the People’s Liberation Army of Red China to overwhelmed resistance in 1950.

Anglo-American Light Troops in the 18th Century – Theme Seminar
Saturday 8 PM, 1.5 hrs, Hopewell Room
René Chartrand – Guest of Honor

British American colonies and light troops – the evolution of ranger units and their use as regular troops from mid-18th century. Advent of regular light troops in the British army. Demise of light troops in the French armies. Conclusions.

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