Heroes of Normandy

At some point late last year I’m sure I mentioned another secret project I was working on. At long last I can unveil it.

Regular visitors are no doubt aware that the Lock ‘n Load Tactical series of games is among my favorites. Well, I was contacted by Lock ‘n Load Director of Operations David Heath early last year about the feasibility of writing some stories utilizing some of the characters from the game.

I had never, ever, contemplated writing stories set in World War II, but David was persistent, and a super nice guy, and the publisher of one of my absolute favorite games, so I decided to try. And I had a blast. Things were made a little simpler for me, research wise, because I’d been on a huge WWII reading kick. The timing couldn’t have been better because scores of facts were still fresh in my mind. Who knew that by reading for pleasure I’d actually been laying a lot of ground work for future fiction?

Once I’d written one short story to my satisfaction (I wanted to make sure I could pull one off before signing on for more) we started pulling in more writers, starting with my friend Martin Page. He ended up contributing two stories to the volume, and introduced me to Tim Chant, who wrote another. Dave brought in writer Scott Parino and editor Hans Korting, who was a tremendous aid in making sure we had all the details right. For instance, in my third story in the volume I had the wrong sort of plane strafing my heroes. Sure, it was from the right era, but it would never have been flying at dusk. Hans knew his stuff.

Here it is, Heroes of Normandy, The Untold Stories. I’m really proud of how well this one turned out. I think we’ve generated some really strong tales. It’s available through the usual channels as a paperback. Or if you play Lock ‘n Load Tactical, you can get it packaged with a map and scenario booklet so you can play out some of the events that happens to the characters in the story! That version is available through the Lock ‘n Load site, here. (Keep in mind that unless you already own the Heroes of Normandy game this expansion won’t enable you to play anything!)

4 Comments on “Heroes of Normandy

  1. Yeah, leave it to Howard to find, or help create, a venue where he could write a type of story rarely seen these days. World War II pulp adventure. Awesome. The paperback will be mine.
    Howard, did you set your stories during specific historic battles? Were you inspired by actual, boots-on-the-ground combat incidents? Is there a potential series hero in there?

    • A series hero? Maybe. It will depend upon if there are other volumes. Several of the German characters I created appear in two stories.

      I wasn’t inspired by specific battles, but you can bet that some of the events were inspired by accounts I read about from Airborne recollections. The way heavy leg bags were usually torn away when the paratroopers dropped. A failing German soldier desperate to not be left alone to die even if his only companion is an enemy. A cow used as an emergency mine field tester. And so on. There are so many stunning and often heart rending encounters I found — along with those full of heroism and action… and occasionally humor.

  2. We visited the Normandy beaches, the site of the D-Day invasion, the nearby American cemetery, and the Memorial museum at Caen in September 2018. When you see those cliffs you quickly realize what an enormous and miraculous feat was accomplished in June 1944. The cemetery is a beautifully maintained lawn with over 10,000 perfectly aligned white marble crosses on a cliff overlooking the beaches.

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