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Information about the war-game on a map

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Information about the war-game on a map

Post  kostwinner on Mon Mar 05, 2012 9:23 pm

Hello,

As I have been able to purchase an original game of war from around 1900 and also got a copy of a sheet of maps 144e12 West of Dorking, I would like to play the game as the officers of the British Army did in those days.
To play the game as realistic as possible I am looking for an example how they did play it or any information to this matter would be very helpfull.
Information as how a division was set up in the field, how did they attack or defend a position would be very interresting.
In the game for example the judging of losses (or complete defeat).
Maybe there is someone familiar whit this game

Bé Kostwinner,
Winschoten,
The Netherlands.

kostwinner

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Historical British Kriegsspiels

Post  King_Rufus on Tue Mar 06, 2012 3:48 pm

Hi and welcome to this lively and now certainly international forum, with contributors from countries as diverse as Sweden Italy and Bangladesh as well as the UK and USA, and now the Netherlands!

We UK players are aware of several old British army Kriegspiel systems, of which ‘Bellum’ and ‘Verdys’ are just two (use the search function on the forum to find posts here on these two games). It would be helpful to know the title of the game you have purchased; we can then have a look for the information you are seeking.

Best wishes,
Rufus
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Re: Information about the war-game on a map

Post  kostwinner on Thu Mar 08, 2012 9:01 pm

Hello,

Thanks for the reply.
The game was used to train British officers at the end of the 19th century for warfare.
The game is in a mahogany box with blue and red pieces for both armies.
The box also contains nippers, dices etc.
Inside the box is a note with the following words typed:

THE GAME OF WAR
manufactured for H.M. government by
V. & J. FIGGINS, TYPE FOUNDERS
manufacturers of printing materials, improved portable regimental printing offices, &c.&c.
RAY STREET, FARRINGDON ROAD, LONDON, E.C.

There should be 15 maps (I think the Dorking maps), but none of them are left.
The rules are written in "Rules for the conduct of the war-game on a map 1896"

Best regards,
Bé.

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"Rules for the Conduct of the War Game on a map" HMSO 1896 + the 6in Dorking maps

Post  King_Rufus on Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:57 pm

Hi again Bé,

Can report some progress with your query. I actually needed to look no farther than Bill Leesons first class Bibliography on our main site here

What is probably missing from your set is an 1896 publication by Her Majesty's Stationery Office (HMSO) entitled "Rules for the Conduct of the War Game on a map" The British Library here in London appear to have an original (British Library Ref: 8822 cc 18(3)). I am not sure whether you could buy a copy but will enquire for you. Bill describes these incidentally as "Rules for the British Army – with good information on column lengths etc"

The missing maps you mention are also in the British Library (British Library Ref: 8829 cc 27) and are entitled "Hills East and West of Dorking". They were 6-inch-to-a-mile maps and Bill mentions these in connection with Baring’s 1872 rules. I will also enquire about a copy of these, not least because it might be useful to have them in our club too. You are presumably not in a position to scan them, or parts of them?

I was interested but not surprised to see that your set was made here in Farringdon in London, near where I work. Historically this was a quarter of stationers and typesetters serving nearby Fleet Street, the old centre of the UK newspaper industry. Typesetters would readily have been able to apply their skills to the manufacture of lead Kriegsspiel blocks.

Also worthy of note in your case is Bills mention of the 1872 publication by JHH Dommers “Handleidung tot de Taktische Oefeningen op de Kaart” (Netherlands Army Museum Library, Delft). Bill, who is a student both of military history and of the Germanic languages, and may well have visited the museum in Delft, says that these are “set out in the traditional Kriegsspiel manner with tables and rules. Maps were to scale 1:2000 and 1:8000”.

I should insert a cautionary note that, although we still use the lead blocks, most of our Kriegsspiel group long ago abandoned the use of the formal rulesets, since they are too slow for the five hour afternoon games we usually play, and it is in any case very difficult to compile rules for the huge number of variable factors which apply to combat situations.

We rely instead, more in Verdy's "Free Kriegsspiel" style but going beyond even that, on an IMP (‘inherent military probability’) judgement by the head umpire and designer of the game, who is normally very well versed in the military history of the period, and can therefore estimate the historical likelihood of a particular outcome in given circumstances. The umpire's judgement is usually modified by a die roll which introduces a slight element of unpredictability. Sometimes we may assign a percentage chance to things occurring, roleplay style, and roll a percentage dice to see if it does. More often we will roll a red dice and a blue one to see whether either side has performed abnormally well or badly in a given situation.

If you are able to send any pictures of the set in your possession, with permission to post them on our site, we would be very pleased. Are you also able to post some information about the main military museums in the Netherlands? I may finally get to Amsterdam this year (I have been meaning to visit for many years) and if so will want to make a detour to see the major ones.

I am sure we would also be pleased to host any other information you may wish to communicate to other Kriegsspiellers in the Netherlands – our webmaster could set up a Dutch language topic if you tell him what the title should be.

Will post again when I have heard from the British Library.

All the very best,
Rufus
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Re: Information about the war-game on a map

Post  kostwinner on Sun Mar 11, 2012 8:07 pm

Hello Rufus,

Thanks for all the information and the enquery.
I think because of my English isn't perfect I did not make myself clear.
I have allready a copy of the "Rules for the Conduct of the War Game on a map" in my possession.
Also I have been able to purchase a copy of a sheet of the Dorking maps.
It is sheet 6 near Aldershot. The scale is 6 inches to a mile.
This copy comes from the British Library and is a Digital Image, size A0. This is one sheet of a total of 53 sheets from the maps with BL number 144.e.12.
The original was manufactured in 1862.
So I have all the things I need to play the game, but where I am looking for now for some time is an example how the officers did play the game.
I mean by this, the tactics they used, how an army was set up in the field. I am very interrested in these things.
I can sent you some pictures of the game. That would be the same I sent to Martin James and Richard Madder some time ago and they found them not that good. I think they are right, because my equipment for making pictures is not up to date.
I will make better pictures in a while.
A very nice military museum is for instance in Overloon near Venlo and in Arnhem.
I can take a look for you to find some more.
To set up a Dutch language topic is maybe a good idea, but I have no idea how many Dutch play some sort of kriegsspiel.

Best wishes,
Bé.

kostwinner

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Re: Information about the war-game on a map

Post  King_Rufus on Mon Mar 12, 2012 12:55 pm

Sorry about the misunderstanding Bé. Unfortunately, British army tactics of the late C19 are not my strongpoint, my special interest being Scandinavia and other exotic foreign armies. But I will look out for something relevant, and others reading this may be able to assist. I think the only large scale deployment of British troops around 1896, when the rules were published, unfortunately involved us fighting Dutch people Embarassed , but a study of the Boer Wars (Pakenhams large book comes to mind) may give you some clues as to the tactical regulations of the time.

Thanks for the tip about the Military museum in Overloon, which was not previously on my radar. You may also be interested in this site on Dutch military history .

Look forward to seeing the new improved pictures of your KS set – send them to Martin, who is reached via the contact page of this website. Do let us know also if you manage to get a KS game played using the set.

All the best,

Rufus
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Re: Information about the war-game on a map

Post  kostwinner on Sun Mar 18, 2012 12:46 pm

Hi Rufus,

The Dutch Military site is very interresting; I didn"t know it. Thanks.
I think tactics from the British Army untill the beginning of WW1 will be of great importance to my game.
I will make some new pictures as soon as I have new equipment which I will borrow from my sister. I will sent them to Martin.
If you are also interrested in aviation, the Military Museum at Soesterberg could be something for you.

Best regards,
Bé.




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Re: Information about the war-game on a map

Post  Martin on Sun Mar 18, 2012 1:15 pm

I'm glad your researches are continuing Bé, and look forward to receiving the photos.

Martin

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