Saturday, October 16, 2010

UAE In World War II

Stig Morten asked how the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was involved in World War II. To be honest I wasn't sure and I had to ask around a little bit and do some quick research. It's not a large part of their history, so I hadn't heard much about their involvement in the war and that made me think they must not have played a very active role.

I found a recent quote from the ruler of one of the emirates (Fujairah), who said, "The Second World War was the deadliest military conflict the world has ever seen, with over 60 million people being killed. We in the United Arab Emirates were fortunate not to be directly involved, although forces from Britain, the United States and other Allies made use of bases in the Emirates." During World War II the United Arab Emirates (not yet a nation in its current form) was a British protectorate and was therefore used as locations for Allied airfields.

As far as I can tell, only one Allied soldier died in the United Arab Emirates during World War II. Sergeant William ("Billy") Donnelly, a British navigator, was killed on 14 February, 1943 when his Wellington Bomber crash landed. After a refuelling stop in Sharjah the plane took off again for Gwadar, a city on the coast of Pakistan. About half-an-hour into the flight (when it was over the sea), oil started to leak from an engine before the propeller flew off the engine. The pilot turned back and crash-landed at Sayh Dhadnah. Sergeant Donnelly died of his injuries from the cash and was buried close to the site in a nearby local cemetery. A memorial was recently dedicated to honor Donnelly and his family was able to attend the event.

I will continue to look for other ways the United Arab Emirates was involved in World War II, but since it didn't become a nation until 1971 I'm not sure I'll find much. Thanks for the question, Stig Morten! I hope this gave you some information you hadn't known before.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Long Silence Explained

Sorry for the long silence! It's been over 7 months since my last post and many of you may not even be reading this any more...that's all right, I would understand if you weren't. For those who are still interested, I want to explain what happened and where I've been.

My third year of the Memoir '44 History Club ended well. My students seemed to enjoy it to the end and many were sad that they were moving on to middle school and wouldn't be able to participate any more. A large number of students own Memoir '44 now and told me that they would keep playing on their own. I hope that's true!

I've moved schools this year, so the fourth grade students who were in my club last year weren't able to continue playing with me this year either. Not only did I move schools, I also moved countries! My wife and I now live in the United Arab Emirates (in Abu Dhabi)
and I'm teaching 5th grade here. Because of our large move, I didn't update the blog over the summer or do a whole lot of anything except pack!

I put all of my Memoir '44 equipment into storage so that I can restart the club when I return to Oregon. If I could have, I would have loved to bring at least some of my Memoir '44 stuff so that I could run a club here in Abu Dhabi but we had limited space and weight...and we had a lot of stuff to bring. Luckily my parents are coming to visit in December and have agreed to bring me some Memoir '44 stuff so that I can run an after school club again!

Once that club gets underway I'll post some pictures and start updating thing a little bit more. Until then I might just share some thoughts on this blog about teaching World War II history, things that I'm learning about World War II as I read, or other things that relate to Memoir '44 History Clubs! If anyone has questions, simply ask and I'll be happy to answer!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A Simplified Campaign

Spring break is barreling down on us and we have a lot to do at school before the break, so Memoir '44 Club is on hold for a little while. However, the week after spring break I'm going to open the club to all of my students from last year who are now 4th graders. We'll see how many kids sign up but as long as there are 6 students interested, I'm willing to put in the time and give them a chance to play the first campaign of the Battle of Normandy campaign.

We'll meet for 5 sessions and play those first 4 scenarios. Our first meeting will be spent watching some video clips about the push into France out of the D-Day beachhead. If we still have time after watching the video, we'll spend some time remembering the rules and getting ready for the campaign.

I've created a very simplified way to incorporate the Reserve Roll element into this small campaign for the students. Before each battle, the kids will roll battle dice for the Reserve Roll and 2 dice for the Victory Events. They will apply the results of these rolls just like they would if they were playing a real campaign, but they won't have to use any reserve tokens. This way, the kids get to experience some of the excitement of receiving reinforcements and where to put them, without having to worry about choosing which battle to use them for.

Once we get started with the 4th grade group, I'll update everyone on how the plan goes. Thanks for your continued support and dedication to the Memoir '44 History Club at Jewell Elementary!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Come and Gone

Sorry that it has been so long since my last post! I've had some other things going on and sadly this blog has fallen to the wayside. I'll try to be better about posting what we're doing for the next few months of school.

I opened the club to my current 5th grade class and had a great bunch of students step forward and want to join. Three of them had already been in the club before but I had five new students sign up. Even though it was only a group of eight, I found that having such a small group actually allowed me to teach them more and assure that their games were going smoothly.

We met for only five days, but in that time we learned about the Allied push out of the Normandy beachhead and we played the four battles that make up the first part of the Normandy Campaign found in the Campaign Book Volume 1. The students loved it and they seemed to have fun playing. We finished the group on Thursday, February 25th.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Welcome, 2010!

The new year is here, and we're close to half way through the 2009-2010 school year. Students are back at school and are starting to adjust to using their brains again after a two week hiatus. I'm getting used to being on my feet all day and teaching a class of 31 kids.

Even though we've only been back in school for three days, students are already asking me when our next Memoir '44 History Club session is going to start. I'm going to have to sit down and figure out a schedule because I have several groups of students who want to participate, and they're all at different levels of familiarity with Memoir '44 and World War II.

I have three groups of students to accommodate. The first group is comprised of the students who were part of the Memoir '44 History Club last year. These students are in 5th grade now and many of them already had 10 sessions where we focused on the Pacific Theater.

The second group is made up of my students from last year who are in 4th grade now. Three of these students joined the 5th graders (and held their own) but there are many students in this group who couldn't join the Memoir club before Christmas because they played Fall sports.

The last group of students who have expressed an interest in the club are my current 5th graders. I don't know how many students from my current class would actually sign up for the club, but several of them have asked when they can join.

If I wanted to, I could try combining students from all three groups into one club for a few sessions, but I'm afraid their knowledge base it just too different. Students who where in the club last year are extremely familiar with the rules of Memoir '44 and have a solid understanding of D-Day and World War II in general. The current 4th graders know the rules of Memoir '44 but don't know very much about World War II, and my current class has been introduced to Memoir '44 but would need to practice the rules for several battles because they've had so little exposure to the game so far.

I'll have to think about this dilemma and see what I can come up with. Anyone have a suggestion?