New John Jenkins October Releases!

Chicago Treasure Hunt and Future Releases

During the Chicago Toy Soldier Show, John arranges a Treasure Hunt, which keeps a large number of Big Kids fully occupied.  This year was no exception.  Here are the details of the treasure hunt and a peek into
releases coming in 2019 plus a couple of new series.  The link is to a PDF file, which requires Adobe Acrobat to open on your computer.  If you have trouble opening it, let me know and I will send you a separate file.
Hope you like them as much as I did.

Chicago Treasure Hunt

Roman Army of the Late Republic

The Scutum was a type of shield used among Italic peoples in antiquity, and then by the army of ancient Rome starting about the fourth century BC. The Romans adopted it when they switched from the military formation of the hoplite phalanx of the Greeks to the formation with maniples. In the former, the soldiers carried a round shield, which the Romans called clipeus. In the latter, they used the scutum, which was a larger shield. Originally it was an oblong and convex shield. By the first century BC it had developed into the rectangular, semi-cylindrical shield that is popularly associated with the scutum in modern times. This was not the only shield the Romans used; Roman shields were of varying types depending on the role of the soldier who carried it. Oval, circular and rectangular shields were used throughout Roman history.

Roman Army of the Late Republic

War of the Roses – Artillery

By the start of the WARS OF THE ROSES in the late 1450s, artillery had been in use in northern Europe for over a century, and most armies included at least a small artillery force.

Because one pound of powder was required to throw nine pounds of shot, and because the barrel had to be washed with a mixture of water and vinegar after every firing, ten shots per hour was considered a good rate of fire. During the Wars of the Roses, this slow rate meant that cannon were used mainly on the eve or at the start of a battle, firing one volley at the enemy before the hand-to-hand combat commenced.

Experts in medieval gunnery suspect that the artillery played a role at the beginning of the battle – but may have become less useful tactically as the battle progressed. It was notoriously difficult to turn the artillery pieces round to face new directions – so adapting to the progress of the battle would have been difficult for these early gunners. Their artillery pieces and carriages would probably have weighed between 400 and 1000 kilos each.

Cannon appears to have been used extensively by both sides at the Battle of Bosworth Field. The present position of the battlefield is based on the discovery in a field by Fenn Lane Farm of a large quantity of battle relics including many cannon balls.

One account mentions 140 cannon, while the archaeological searches of the battlefield have found more than 30 cannonshot – more than any other discovered on a European medieval battlefield.

Since about 1415, the English Crown had appointed a master of ordnance to supervise the king’s artillery. In 1456, John Judde, a LONDON merchant, won appointment to the post by offering to supply HENRY VI with guns and powder at his own expense. Judde’s ambitious program of collecting and manufacturing guns for the Lancastrians so alarmed the Yorkists that they ambushed and killed him in June 1460 as he was supervising delivery of a new shipment of weapons. Edward IV also appreciated the importance of artillery, and his Masters of Ordnance (like John Wode, who held office from 1463 to 1477) were trusted members of the royal household. Edward was said to frequently inspect his ordnance, and his campaigns usually included a sizable artillery train.

Wars of the Roses 1455-1487

Brunswick Grenadiers

Brunswick Grenadiers

Morgan’s Riflemen

Morgan’s Riflemen

Knights of the Skies

No squadron could have gotten into the air if it were not for the very large number of support crews, which ranged from riggers, mechanics, fitters, and carpenters.

These men were not only assigned to the combat squadrons, but there were also specific, “Aircraft Park” units, which were composed of nothing but such support staff.

Some units consisted of entirely nothing else besides lumberjacks who went into the woods to find and cut the spruce used to make and repair the aircraft.

The propellers were not carved out of one piece of wood, but made of thin planks glued together. This made the result very strong and easy to make with the wood working skills available then.

In Michael Fox’s “Knights of the Skies” book, he mentions that a BE.2C used during the Somme in 1916 by 15 Sqn. “ in three months it was fitted with no fewer than eighty new wings and many other components.”
Wooden parts which were damaged such as struts, ribs and propellers could be replaced, usually overnight. Larger jobs which would take longer meant the plane would probably be taken to the Airfield park, where after repair it often found its way to a different squadron.

Small tears and bullet holes in the fabric were one of the most common repair jobs. With fabric covered machines this could easily be patched. The dope would first be removed from the fabric around the tear, or bullet hole, and a suitable sized patch with serrated or frayed edges would be prepared. The area would then be re-doped and the thoroughly doped new patch added and smoothed down. A second coat of dope and a final coat of pigmented dope would finally be applied.
Larger tears would be stitched together, or if there was too much damage then the old fabric would be removed and replaced.

Sometimes patches were not used on bullet holes. A small cross or roundel was painted over the hole, which stabilized the threads, and strengthened the fabric.

Knights Of The Skies – WWI

Royal Airforce

To keep the many men and machines in fighting shape during the World War II invasion of France, logistics technicians had their work cut out for them. Bombs, bullets, planes and tanks were top priorities, so there was little room for luxury items that would keep the troops in good spirits while fighting .
In the early days after the Normandy invasion of June 1944, the retreating German army were suspected of poisoning the water sources. British and American troops also noticed an acute shortage of alcoholic beverages — namely beer. Many British soldiers complained that a watery cider was the only drink available in recently liberated French towns.
When a British brewery donated gallons of beer for troops on the front, there was no way to get it to the men by conventional means.

Luckily for them, the Royal Air Force was able to solve the problem.

With no room for cargo on their small fighter planes, RAF pilots arrived at a novel solution – using drop tanks to transport beer instead of fuel. The drop tanks of a Spitfire each carried 45 gallons of gas, meaning a plane could transport 90 gallons of extra liquid.
imparted a metallic flavor to the beer.

To counter this problem, ground crews developed Modification XXX, a change made to the wing pylons of Spitfire Mk. IXs that allowed them to carry actual kegs of beer.

These kegs, often called ‘beer bombs,’ were standard wooden beer kegs attached under the wing of the Spitfire. Though they carried less beer, it arrived tasting like it just came out of the tap at the pub, chilled by the altitude of the flight over the channel.
To ensure their compatriots remained satisfied, pilots would often return to England for rudimentary maintenance issues or other administrative needs in order to grab another round. As the need for beer increased, all replacement Spitfires and Typhoons being shipped to airfields in France carried ‘beer bombs’ in their bomb racks to the joy of the thirsty crews manning the airfields.

When the Americans learned of what the British were doing they joined in, even bringing over ice cream for the GIs as well.

As the practice gained popularity, Britain’s Custom and Excise Ministry objected and attempted to shut it down. Thankfully by that time, there were more organized official shipments of beer making it to the troops.

Air Vice Marshal James Edgar Johnson, CB, CBE, DSO & Two Bars, DFC & Bar (9 March 1915 – 30 January 2001), nicknamed “Johnnie”, was a Royal Air Force (RAF) pilot and flying ace.

Johnson was credited with 34 individual victories over enemy aircraft, as well as seven shared victories, three shared probable, 10 damaged, three shared damaged and one destroyed on the ground.

Johnson flew 700 operational sorties and engaged enemy aircraft on 57 occasions.

Included in his list of individual victories were 14 Messerschmitt Bf 109s and 20 Focke-Wulf Fw 190s destroyed making him the most successful RAF ace against the Fw 190. This score made him the highest scoring Western Allied fighter ace against the German Luftwaffe.

MK329 was used by Johnnie Johnson, which according to his memoirs he flew twice. Rumor has it that he brought beer to his men in Normandy flying MK329. Johnson mentions that Spitfire MK329 was assembled from wrecked airframes and was a mix-and-match airframe, cobbled together out of spare parts.

Johnson scored the bulk of his victories flying two Spitfires Mk. IX. The first one was EN398 JE-J, in which he shot down 12 aircraft and shared five, plus six damaged while commanding the Kenley Wing.
His second plane , MK392, was an LF Mk.IX, in which his tally increased by another 12 aircraft, plus one shared destroyed on the ground. For the purposes of ferrying beer, ground crews set about steam cleaning the tanks for their special deliveries. These flights became known as “flying pubs” by the troops they served. A few British breweries, such as Heneger and Constable, donated free beer for the RAF to take to the front.
The drop tanks had a serious disadvantage. While they could carry large amounts of beer, the initial runs still tasted of fuel. Even after the tanks had been used several times and lost their fuel taste, they still

He was to end the war flying another Spitfire Mk XIVe MV268.

JJD Aircraft Collection

Bunker Hill

Flight clothing was largely left up to the individual’s personal preference. Most pilots wore a khaki shirt and trousers, instead of the one piece flying suit, as the one piece flying suits were deemed too hot or uncomfortable.

The QAC (Quick, Attach, Chest) or QAS, parachute harness was worn by pilots. When not in the plane the leg straps are normally snapped to the sides of the harness to keep them out of the way. The parachute pack, pararaft kit and seat cushion are not attached to the harness, as these were most often left in the plane. As the pilot climbed into the seat, it was then easier for them to be attached to the QAS harness.

JJD Aircraft Collection


From the moment that the first Horse was put ashore in November 1493, horses were the key to Spanish success in the Americas. They gave the Spanish not just distinct tactical and logistical advantages, but a moral advantage as well, because the native Americans had never seen such creatures before, and were initially scared to death of them.

At first the Aztecs thought that each cavalryman and his horse were one supernatural creature, with 4 legs, 2 arms and 2 heads! They were so relieved when they discovered that the horse was just an animal like any other that when the first one was killed , it was cut up and portions circulated throughout their lands, to demonstrate that such creatures were mortal.

It is therefore no wonder that horses captured by the Aztecs were sacrificed as if they were human, and their heads ended up alongside those of Spanish soldiers on the temple racks!

Aztec Empire – Conquest of America

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