The rec.games.miniatures (r.g.m) groups are devoted to miniature wargaming in all of its forms. On these groups you will find postings covering everything from ancients wargaming to the present day. While the discussion doesn't focus specifically on the 20th century, r.g.m groups reach the widest audience on the Internet and, as such, make it possible for you to reach individuals from all over the world; recent discussions I've seen have had participants from countries as geographically remote as New Zealand, Canada, the United States, Australia, Great Britain, and South Africa.
This group focuses on military art and science, with a heavy emphasis on equipment, doctrine, and battlefield tactics. It is, for the most part, heavily theoretical, but many of the respondents are active or reserve soldiers in military forces from around the world -- I've seen posts from serving officers in both Canada and the U.S., as well as Great Britain, Finland, and Sweden, giving this group a real international flavor and providing differing perspectives on all aspects of military science.
These three groups are devoted to discussing the military history, with thematic emphases ranging from military science (patrol tactics, armored doctrine, etc.) to tactical history to more broadly historical (the social impact of war, scientific developments, the home front, etc.). While the discussion on these groups is generally at a less-detailed level than many wargamers would find interesting, they can prove to be very useful for posting requests for information.
These groups are just a few of the many currently available covering topics that range from the war in Bosnia to current events in the former Soviet Union, the course of the insurgency in Chiapas (Mexico), and many other 'hot spots' around the world. While many of these groups are highly polemic, they are an excellent source of up-to-the-minute news and a gauge of public perception of conflicts around the world - as one might expect, the Bosnia newsgroups are rather emotionally charged in their tone, but very few public news sources in the West give you the opportunity ti hear what a Serbian or a Russian thinks about the war in Bosnia. Since many postings pertinent to military events in the former Yugoslavia are also posted to these groups, they can provide a clearer picture of military events than is often portrayed in the traditional news media.
Newsgroups can prove an important source of information and a point of contact with other wargamers from all over the world. Other services, such as CompuServe and America On-Line, offer proprietary discussion groups of their own dedicated to military matters; for information on these services, contact your on-line service's help line. For really in-depth discussions with people who share your specific interests, your best bet is to sign on to a computer 'mailing list' or listserv.
There are currently several listservs of interest to 20th century wargamers:
Leaving the subject line blank, type: subscribe wwii-l (your first name) (your last name) Of course you would replace '(your first name)' with your name; when subscribing to email lists, make sure to follow the conventions used precisely - in this case, use only lower case letters for the command portion of this message (you may use capitals in your name).
To subscribe to the CD-Mailer, send an email message to:
Leaving the subject line blank, type a message to the effect of: "please subscribe me to the Command Decision list; my email address is..." Since Barry seems to handle these personally rather than having a computer handle the subcriptions, you need only worry about entering the CD-Mailer's address and your own email address correctly.
email@example.com Please note that the 0s in my address are zeros, not capital Os. In the body of the message, simply state that you're interested in subscribing to the Modgamer/SOTCW list. I will respond with all of the information you need to get your mail header set up.
[Note: Since this was written the method of subscription to the Modgamers list has changed. To subscribe send an e-mail to LISTSERV@TC.UMN.EDU with no subject header and the message:
SUBSCRIBE MODMIL-L Your first name Your last name
Any problems contact Chris Scruton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Aaron Longbottom.]
While listservs are perhaps the best means of interacting with like-minded individuals from around the World, they are limited in the sense that they cannot typically transmit graphical information like photographs, line drawings, or formatted text. When you want access to the vast information resources that Internet advocates have been promising for so long, you need to turn to the World Wide Web.
The personal photo album of a U.S. combat soldier who served in the 1991 Persian Gulf War, including several excellent shots of captures Iraqi equipment, as well as personal shots of his unit and the area of operations.
An excellent collection of offical U.S. military photographs of the Vietnam War during the period of American involvement, including a number of shots of ARVN forces in action during the 1968 Tet Offensive.
My favorite photographic resource on the World Wide Web has to be the Normandy photo database maintained by the U.S. Army Military History Institute. The project was apparently commissioned as a limited test to gauge the viability of creating a searchable tool for locating photographs by subject matter, location of shot, etc. A few sample searches turned up a dozen shots under 'tank', more than 20 under 'German', and more than I had time to access on 'St. Lo', including an excellent aerial photograph shot at an altitude of about 200 feet that showed the location of every major building in town and even gave me a good idea of how wide the city streets were! Quite a few of these shots are unpublished and most should prove useful to any wargamer wishing to do some research on the American army in Normandy. With this collection as a benchmark, I can hardly wait until the Military History Institute does a database for the Battle of the Bulge and the Rhine crossing; hopefully the Imperial War Museum, the Public Archives of Canada, and others will follow suit.
This useful Web page is maintained by one of the American editors of Militaria, Jon Gawne. Not only does this site have indexes of Militaria, RAIDS, and After the Battle, but it has a great collection of links to reenactment sites around the World and some nice scanned photographs of WWII and modern uniforms.
This is a site maintained at an American military base school in Germany to commemorate D-Day; it has some nice maps and a number of links to other sites of military interest on the Web.
This is rather a nice page put together to explore the surrender of Singapore during the Second World War. Supported by attractive graphics and a fair number of photographs, this site should prove to be of some interest to researchers interested in the opening campaigns in the Pacific.
Another useful page explores the 1944 Warsaw Uprising; while designed with a definite political agenda in mind, it still provides some interesting text and graphics to provide context on the battle.
Finally, a great site dedicated to exploring Finland's role in the Second World War; supported by several excellent photos that I've never seen before, this provides a nice taster that made me want to dig a little deeper on Finland's relatively unexplored participation on the Russian Front.
This is the first stop Advanced Squad Leader players should make on the World Wide Web. This site has links to just about every other ASL resource on the Web. Competition ladders, discussion list archives, FTP sites with rules, scenarios and map boards - you name it and it's right here on this site.
For anyone interested in obtaining Internet access in the UK, Paul Scrivens-Smith (an SOTCW member and Modgamers discussion list participant) has kindly volunteered to serve as a contact. Paul is a Technical Support specialist at Eth (ix) Distribution Ltd, a UK Open Systems distributor and would be more than happy to answer your questions at: +44 1773 863666 (telephone) or +44 1773 863919 (telefax). Other popular UK Internet providers include: BBC Networking (0181 567 7799); Celtic Internet (01633 815550); Cityscape (01223 566950); Demon Internet (0181 371 1234); and Pipex (01223 250120). US members should contact their local Internet provider (national providers include America On-Line, Compuserve, and Delphi among others; shop around for the best rate).