After searching through some photos with my daughter today, I stumbled across this long forgotten picture of the first ever Taji Con:
At left is a mutual buddy named Shawn and rolling the dice is yours truly. The man behind the camera is my best friend Steve from Sound Officers Call. It was taken in mid-2003 at Camp Taji, Iraq in a heavily damaged building that was our home for a good portion of the year. (Thinking of the cruise missile motor sticking out of the ground next door will forever make me chuckle!) The building was once a barracks for Iraqi Air Force pilots but was taken over by A Battery, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment. In later years, the building was bulldozed to the ground (quite likely due to it not being safe for occupancy!)
While at Historicon 2016, I had the pleasure of meeting Bill Moreno, the owner of the beautiful Cracker Line 10mm ACW products line. He talked about the South Florida Gamers mini convention that bears the name in honor of some local gamers who had the same idea as Steve, and I. I braggingly stated that while not connected, we were the grand daddy of them all, and here is the proof. :-)
What you see in action are Steve's home-brew Napoleonic rules; a series of movement and combat results tables that he quickly penned for the occasion. The M-16 magazines represent elevated hills, the bullets represent trees, the road is made from a sleeve of sewing threads, and the washcloth in the center created the boundaries of a lightly wooded area. We used clothes pins for the units with Steve handily drawing standard NATO symbols for their identification. While the battle was by no means based on any actual battle, it was generally representative of the era; infantry, and cavalry regiments in a meeting engagement.
In closing, and in Sound Officers Call style, I offer a few AAR notes. In the first game, I was to the left and Steve was to the right. I advanced my infantry in column up through light woods using the road for rapid advance. I sent my cavalry to probe the enemy right and to hopefully force his early deployment from column to line. Steve took the bait. He deployed his infantry, sending a portion of his force to engage my cavalry. The cavalry scored some damaging blows as they charged down the slopes of the looming ridge line. During this successful diversionary attack, my infantry began their own deployment into line. His infantry, degraded and split facing two directions, was finished off by my full-strength infantry formation.
Napoleon [a la the movie "Waterloo"], while panicked over Ney's poorly timed and failing charge, bellowed out, "How can a man go forward with the cavalry without infantry support?" I hope that I pleased him as he watched over my shoulder as my guardian angel that day! ;-)
And speaking of my favorite film...