by Bill Leeson
A guide to original and secondary sources on Kriegsspiel.
Key to entries – Date of publication, Author, Full title.
Notes about the work (Location of known copies).
• Printed Books directly related to the game
• Maps for the Kriegsspiel
Printed books directly related to the game
1824. B. von Riesswitz. Anleitung zur Darstellung militairischer manover mit dem Apparat des Krieg Spiels.
The original kriegsspiel rules prepared by von Reisswitz for the Prussian Army following a demonstration for von Muffling and the General Staff in 1824.(Militargeschichtliches Forschungsamptes, Freiburg, Germany. Also a photo-copy in the National Army Museum Library, Chelsea,London)
1828. Berliner Kriegsspiel Vereins. Supplement zu der Bisherigen Kriegsspiel Regeln.
Originally published as an article in “Zeitschrift fur Wissenschaft Kunst und Geschielibe des Kriegs”, 1828, vol 13 (British Library Ref: pp 4021 d 1828).The supplement was produced by a committee of officers of the Berlin War-games Club shortly after Reisswitz’ death in 1827. There was clearly some uncertainty about the position of the war game for a career officer after Reisswitz’ suicide and the committee decided it would be as well not to make any further mention of Reisswitz for the time being.
1830. Horberg, Johan. Krigs-Spelet-eller Askadligt forestallande af Manovre och Strider med storre eller mindre Corpser af alla vapen.
A Swedish translation of Reisswitz, including some ideas from the 1828 supplement. The dice tables are set out in tabular form as became standard after 1862. (Krigsarkivet, Stockholm, Sweden)
1846. Berlinner Kriegsspiel Vereins. Anleitung zur Darstellung militarischer Manover mit dem Apparat des Kriegs Spiels.
The layout and order of paragraphs closely follows the Reisswitz version. 2nd Edition
1855. (Wehrbereich bibliotheke K11, Hanover, Germany)
1847. Leitner, T.I., Kapitainlieutenant 51 Inf regt, Austrian Army. Uber Kriegsspiel und deren Nutzen.
This is the Reisswitz game produced for the Austrian Army, with a dice table similar to the one in the 1828 supplement. Published as an article in the “Oesterreiche Militair Zeitschrift”, Vienna. (British Library Ref: pp 4021, 1847)
1862. Tschischwitz, W von. Anleitung zum Kriegsspiel.
Most of the manuals which were translated into foreign languages after the 1870-71 war were based on Tschischwitz’ manuals which went into four editions. He closely followed the Reisswitz tradition, in the face of a growing following for the “frei Leitung” of Verdy du Vernois (see 1876). The 1862 tables give results for 6pdr and 12pdr guns, plus 6pdr rifled cannon. He revised his rules to some extent after the 1870 war, and the 1874 ed. Gives results for 8cm and 9cm batteries. (British Library Ref: 8828 cc 43(6))2nd ed. 1867, 3rd 1870, 4th 1874.
1865. Anon, Austrian Army. Darstellung militairische Manover mit hilfe des Kriegsspiels apparatus.
This appeared as an article in the Streffleur magazine. There are differences in the shape and variety of troop blocks, but the text otherwise follows the Reisswitz pattern. (Streffleurs Oesterreichische militairische Zeitschrift, 1865. British Library Ref: pp4023 aa 1865).
1870. Trotha, Thilo von. Anleitung zur darstellung von Gefechtsbildern mittest des Kriegs Spiel apparatus.
Von Trotha, like Tschischwitz, kept to the Reisswitz tradition, with use of tables and rule book. He wrote many articles for the Militair Wochenblatt in defence of the older tradition. His book went into three editions – 1st 1870, 2nd 1872, 3rd 1874. It was translated into English by Bancroft in 1872 , but his translation is not always easy to follow. (British Library ref: 1870 ed 8824 d 5, 1874 ed. 8830 f 29(10), Also in Krigsarkivet, Stockholm, Sweden 2nd ed. And 3rd ed.)
1872. Bancroft, W.C. Introduction to the Employment of the Kriegsspiel Apparatus.
Translated from von Troth’s book (see above, 1872) (British Library Ref: 8829 g 32911)
1872. Baring, E., Captain RA. Rules for the Conduct of the War Game.
Translation from von Tschischwitz, see above (1862). The game was adapted for use in the British Army, and the scale was altered to suit the 6-inch-to-a-mile maps, “Hills East and West of Dorking”. (British Library Ref: 8829 cc 27)
1872. Delambre, Capitaine du Genie. Le Jeu de la Guerre.
Based on the Prussian Kriegsspiel. This came in a box with a set of pieces and an index map when I last saw it at the British Library, before it went away for repair. The troop pieces resembled strips from a table tennis bat – small strips of rubber pimples in two colours – but they were starting to perish and must have posed a problem for the conservationists. The map sections were arranged so that they could be rearranged to give different terrain, with the advantages and disadvantages of that system. (British Library Ref: TAB 1800 b 1)
1872. A.Petrie, Belgian Army. Kriegsspiel – Jeu de la Guerre.
Conference Militaire Belges. Series no.2 (2) (British Library Ref: 8829 aaa 17)
1872. Dommers, J.H.H. Handleidung tot de Taktische Oefeningen op de Kaart.
Set out in the traditional Kriegsspiel manner with tables and rules. Maps were to scale 1:2000 and 1:8000 (Netherlands Army Museum Library, Delft)
1873. Meckel, Jacob. Studien uber das Kriegsspiel.See also 1875, Anleitung des Kriegsspiels.
Meckel had a great influence on Kriegsspiel design and is associated with the “free” Kriegssspiel of Verdy du Vernois, which is odd in some ways because although Verdy favoured the abandoning of all tables Meckel not only includes fire effect tables but in place of Reisswitz’ Good and Bad effect he gives Best, Good, Average, Below Average, and Bad effect for fire results. He recommended different scale maps for regimental, tactical and strategic games, which made a lot of sense. His map for detachments Kriegsspiel is well known and there is a copy of it in the British Library map room (Plan fur das Detachments Kriegsspiels Maps 6 d 14). He introduced Kriegsspiel studies to the Japanese Army. (British Library Ref: 8829 f 41(9))
1873. Schmidt, Hauptmann A. Das Preussisspielche Kriegs.
This was published as an article in “Daheim”, a family magazine, to explain to civilians how the game worked. Schmidt chose to demonstrate it by taking the reader through a game move by move, from the giving out of the General Idea through to the umpire’s summing up at the game’s conclusion. He based the game on simple rules by Tschischwitz and the map of Koniggratz. It was a very useful way of demonstrating the game which was later used by others – notably Verdy du Vernois. (Prussian Staatsbibliothek, Berlin. Ref: Daheim 1873 pp457-463. British Library Ref: pp 4736, 1873)
1875. Meckel, Klemens Wilhelm Jacob. Anleitung zum Kriegsspiel.Meckel planned three parts to this work, but only the first part was finished. He suggests a number of changes to kriegsspiel including a larger scale for detachments kriegsspiel. (1:6250) and a smaller one for larger scale tactical studies (1:12500).
1876. Verdy du Vernois, von. Beitrag zum Kriegsspiel.
Verdy’s book gained enormous influence in the war game. He was chief of the intelligence section of the German General Staff during the war of 1870-71, and shared the nick-name of “Moltke’s Demi-Gods”. He advocated a freer form of umpiring with no dice throws or tables of losses, but decisions made according to where the umpire judged the tactical advantage to lie. This was the subject of a lot of debate in the pages of the Militair Wochenblatt at about this time, though Verdy did not take part in it himself. His book takes the form of a record of a game, as Hauptmann Schmidt’s, to illustrate his approach. (Militargeschichtliches Forschungsamtes, Freiburg. Also in Krigsarkivet, Stockholm, British Library Ref: 8829 bbb 43(12))
1877. Naumann. Das Regiments Kriegsspiel – Versuch eines neues Methode des Detachments Kriegsspiels mit 4 Tafeln in Steindruck.
(Krigsarkivet, Stockholm. British Library Ref: 8831 b 6(8), 2nd ed. 1881, 8827 eee20)
1878. Anon. Forsok till handbok I krigsspel.
1879. Reichenau, von. Uber Handhabung und erweiterung des Kriegsspiels.
1879. Colomb, Rear Admiral Phillip Howard. “The Dual”, A Naval War-game.
Colomb was disturbed at the modern tendency in warships to have “end-on” fire rather than “broadside”. His game was a simple contest between the two. The R.U.S.I journal of
1880 gives a fascinating account of Colomb presenting his ideas to fellow members, who remained unconvinced on the whole. (British Library Ref: The Dual 8806 ccc 2. The R.U.S.I. meeting: pp 4029 ab 1800 vol XXIII)
1880. Totten, Charles A. “Strategoes”, An American game of war based upon military principles.
(2 Vols) A very well known book in the U.S.A. Contains masses of material. (British Library Ref: 8824 e 5)
1881. Ramos, D. Maximos. El Juego de la Guerra.
A well set out kriegsspiel manual with tables etc. and a sample tactical problem worked through.
1882. Livermore, William R. The American Kriegsspiel – a game for practising the art of war upon a topographical map.
Based on the Prussian system with some extra ideas. (British Library Ref: 8831 a 26 – tables and plates 14001 d 5)
1883. Bilimek-Waissolm, Oberst Hugo von. Die Leitung des Kriegsspiels und die Grenzen seiner mittel dargestellt an zusammenhangenen Beispielen mit Karten.
Austrian Army manual. The book is in three parts and follows a game based on a map of Bohemia. Part 1 – Reconnaissance and action by cavalry. Part 2 – Attack by advance guard. Part 3 – Artillery and Division attack. The difficulty is that even if you ever manage to find a good map of the area, everywhere in Bohemia seems to have at least two completely different names. (British Library Ref: ML bb 20)
1884. Verdy du Vernois, von. The Tactical Game.
A translation of Verdy’s book by J.R.MacDonell (see 1876) (British Library Ref: 8823 aaa 21)
1884. Ridderstadt, W von. Anleitung zum taktischen Relief-Kriegsspiel.
1884. H.M.S.O. Rules for the Conduct of the War Game.
This is a revision of the 1872 rules translated from Tschischwitz, by a committee lead by Major-General F.Willis. Tables for lengths of columns, march rates, losses from attacks etc. are given , but the influence of the “free” Kriegsspiel can be seen in the way umpires are encouraged not to use them. (British Library Ref: 8830 k 33(3))
1886. Ridderstadt, W von. Le tactique eneignee par le jue de la guerre en relief.
Translation of Ridderstadt’s book of 1884. (Krigsarkivet, Stockholm)
1887. Verdy du Vernois. Essai de simplification du Jeu de la Guerre.
Translated into French by Morhange (British Library Ref: 8836 b 23)
1887. Wilkinson, Spencer. Essays on the War Game.
Founder of the Manchester Tactical Society. He favours Naumann’s ideas. (British Library Ref:8830 aa 6)
1891. Col. Lonsdale Hall, RE. The War Game.
An article published in “The Nineteenth Century” magazine, Feb 1891. Lonsdale Hall is mentioned in the 1884 British Army rules, and he is known to have umpired games at the United Services Institute, London.
1893. Rohne, Heinrich Wilhelm. Das Artillerie Kriegsspiel.
Anleitung zum applicatorischen Studium der Schiessvorschrift und zur Bildung von Schiessbeispielen. 2nd edition. A very specialised game for young officers in the artillery, specifically to teach correct procedures for range finding using percussion shell and high explosive. A pencil and paper game of great ingenuity. (British Library Ref: ML ff 26)
1896. H.M.S.O. Rules for the Conduct of the War Game on a map.
Another update on the rules for the British Army. Good information on column lengths etc. (British Library Ref: 8822 cc 18(3))
1897. Strohl, A. Cavalleristliche Kriegsspiel auf Kriegsgeschichtlicher Grundlage.
Ideas for cavalry action games based on incidents in August 1870, published by Streffleur for the Austrian Army. (Streffleur’s Oesterreichische militairische Zeitschrift, British Library ref: pp 4023 aa, 1897)
1897. Sonderegger, Emil. Anlage und Leitung von Kriegsspiel Ubungen, mit abbildung im Text.
The Swiss army manual. (British Library Ref: 8822cc 11)
1898. Zoellner, Premiere Lt. Taktische Aufgaben fur Kriegsspiel u.s.w.
(British Library Ref: ML k 60)
1898. Jane, Fred T. The Naval War Game.
This is given as the date of the 1st edition, but I have not been able to find a copy yet. However The Royal Netherlands Navy Institute for Maritime History report that they have a Naval War Game by Fred T Jane dated 1898, complete with box, models, rules and all the surrounding paraphernalia. The game was probably custom made for the Dutch Navy as it contains models of specific Dutch Navy ships of the time. See also “Fred T Jane – An Eccentric Visionary” for more details and photos of this game (1997). There is an interesting account of Jane giving a demonstration of his game at a meeting of the United Services Institute in the club’s journal for 1899, and it may be that the rules existed only in manuscript form at that time. For two Jane lectures see the R.U.S.I. journals. (British Library Ref:pp 4029 ab 1899 (vol XLII) p 148, pp 4092 ab 1900 (vol XLIII) p 248)
1899. Kunde, Rudolph Anton. Grundsatze fur die Leitung des Festungs Kriegsspiel mit Beispielen.
(Includes maps and plans). After a general introduction explaining the symbols used and advice on how to alter the scale of drawings, Kunde describes in detail games illustrating different aspects of siege warfare. Closing down a fortress, making a sortie, artillery bombardment etc. with reference to actual sieges (British Library ref: ML c 75)
1901. Zimmermann, Carl von. Winke und Rathschlage fur die Leitung des Regiments Kriegsspiels.
A slim volume which explains how the game works in general, and how the dice table works. It is the same table that has been in use since the 1850’s (British Library Ref: ML df 59)
1903. Jane, Fred T. Hints on playing the Jane Naval Wargame.
The game has already changed quite a lot from that described in the R.U.S.I. article (see 1898 note) and the ship diagrams are much more accurate, being as we are used to seeing them in Jane’s Fighting Ships.(British Library Ref: Cup 1246 aa 20)
1907. Immanuel, Captain and Instructor at the War School at Engers.
The Regimental War Game. Translated for the U.S. Army by Walter Krueger. The original German edition being printed in 1903. There are very good chapters discussing the war game in general , including arguments for and against the use of dice. He favours the Free Kriegsspiel approach, but he does say, “Most people are more easily satisfied with such decisions (dice throws) which give them a chance, however small it might be, to escape failure, than with an arbitrary decision of even the most noted tactical authority.” He was quoting Zimmermann. . Part II is a series of games based on the map of Chateau Salins. (A copy exists in the New York Public Library, or at least it did in 1977)
1908. Altrock, Konstantin von. Das Kriegsspiel.
Eine Anleitung zu seiner Handhabung mit Beispielen und Losungen. I have only seen the bibliography section which was sent to me by Ingo Beringer from East Germany in 1983 after receiving his copy of my translation of Reisswitz’ book. It put me on to the trail of many items in this list. I was amazed to find that so many of them had been in the British Library all the time.
1912. Jane, Fred T. How to play the Naval War Game – Official Rules cancelling all others.
Jane’s final version of the game (he died in 1916). At this time you could still say that the “Fighting Ships” titles were still an adjunct to the game. (British Library Ref: 8807 b 15)
1912. Jane, Fred T. Como se juega el juego de la Guerra Naval.
Translated by Jaime Janer Robinson, and reviewed in “Revista General de Marina – Supp. Diciembre 1912”. (British Library Ref: pp 4027 fa 1912)
1916. Horath, Lt. Guido von. The War Game.
A complete account printed in sixteen instalments in the “Scientific American” from Feb 26 – June 3, 1916. It is the typical detachments Kriegsspiel which is described, and I cannot help thinking that it would not have prepared anyone for the “meat-grinder” of the Western Front. (British Library Ref: pp 1612 f 1916)
1916. Chamberlaine, William. The Coast Artillery War-Game. Washington War Department Doc. No. 540.
The book includes photos of the room which was specially set up with a model of a harbour which the players would view from cubicals at the back, which could be curtained off. The object of the game was specifically to train operatives in the correct use of procedures and terminology when sending messages and directing fire, but there were systems for determining damage etc. to give the participants the feeling of getting a result. (British Library Ref: A.S. 611/2)
1926. Cockenhausen, F.E.E.A. von. Anleitung Fur Plan Aufgaben und Kriegsspiel. Fur Kleiner Verbande.
Troop leading for smaller units – platoon, company, battalion. (British Library Ref: ML de 49)
1935. Cockenhausen, F.E.E.A. von. Kriegsspiel Fibel. (Anleitung fur Plan Aufgaben und Kriegsspiel im Rahmen des Zuges und der Kompagnie).
A game is followed through with umpire’s questions and player’s responses in separate columns., with sketch maps to illustrate. I only have this volume as a photo-copy and cannot give any library number for it. It may well be a 2nd edition of the 1926 book.
1935. Horauf, General Major A.D. von. Das Kriegsspiel.
Seiner Anlage und Leitung. A sample game from the working out of a suitable scenario to the conclusion. Based on sheet 489 of Kart des Deutschen Reiches, Hildburghausen. 1:1000,000 2nd edition.
1940. Pratt, Fletcher. Fletcher Pratt’s Naval Wargame.
The British Library’s copy of this famous book is missing but there must still be a copy of it somewhere.
1979. Williams, Mark. Captain Gilbert Roberts RN and the Anti-U-Boat School.
This is more a biography than a war-game book, but it gives enough detail to be able to reconstruct how the game was played at the Western Approaches tactical Unit in WWII. (Published by Cassell Ltd 1979, ISBN 0 304 30386 6) In connection with this The Imperial War Museum, London, has a set of photographs of the game being demonstrated to a visitor. The archive photos are numbered A27818 to A27826 inclusive.
1979. Brewer, Gary D. and Shubik, Martin. The War Game.
A Critique of Military Problem Solving. And now we come to the computer age! A study of modern models, simulations and games. The intention of the authors was to help raise the standard of gaming carried out by the US Department of Defence. Heavy on special terminology, as you might expect. (Published by Harvard University Press, 1979. ISBN 0 674 94600 6)
1983. B. von Reisswitz. Kriegsspiel, 1824.
The first translation into English of Reisswitz’ original book, by Bill Leeson. 2nd edition
1989. In the 2nd edition I add an appendix showing the use of skirmishers, formation of a Prussian square, and the attack column. (ISBN 1 870341 07 4)
1990. Fred T . Jane. The Naval Wargame. 1912.
A reproduction of the 1912 version by permission of the British Library and the Jane’s Defence Group. Published by Bill Leeson. (ISBN 1 870341 08 2)
1997. Richard Brooks. Fred T Jane – An Eccentric Visionary.
A biography of Fred Jane which includes a chapter on the creation of the game and some interesting photos. (ISBN 0 1706 1751 8)
Maps for the Kriegsspiel
Not in any particular order.
1874. Plan fur das Detachments Kriegsspiel, Meckel.
These are 8 inch to a mile or 1:7500 scale war game maps. Recently Maurizio Bragaglia came across a smaller version for Strategic War games. British Library Maps. 6 d 14.
Hills East of Dorking, Hills West of Dorking.
These were 6 inches to a mile maps which were used by the British Army for war games. British Library (Maps 37 b 48).
1866. Neue Plane fur das Kriegsspiel und fur Benutzung fur Taktische Aufgaben.
Herr Oberst Freiherr von Pidoll 1:7200. ( sheets for the Austrian Army K. See July Militair Zeitschrift 1865, also Streffleur Vol.1 p 381 1865. British Library Maps 27727 (42).
1866. Military Tactics.
A series of six maps to illustrate various military tactics. British Library Maps 999(92).
Plan fur Feld Kriegsspiel.
Jicin (Gitscin) 1:8000 scale British Library Maps 27195 (1).
1872. Plan des Schlachtfeldes von Metz fur Das Feld Kriegsspiel.
105 Sections. Scale 1:8000. 105 sections – A2 sheets. British Library Maps 33e8.
1870. Schlachtfelder bei Metz 1870.
(A collection of 57 ohotographic views) British Library Maps 24 aa 22).
1866. Plan des Schlachtfeldes von Koniggratz.
1: 25,00. 4 sheets. This would be a smaller version of The Konigratz battlefield 1:8000 mentioned in Militar Wochenblatt no. 37, 1869, by v. Troschke. British Library Maps 27353 (5).