KRIEGSSPIEL NEWS 65. April 2004

KRIEGSSPIEL NEWS 65
April 2004

Editorial

Whoops. When I said KN 65 would be appearing around the end of March, you all knew I really meant the end of April, didn’t you?
One of the things that we have always wanted to do is to encourage additional groups to play Kriegsspiels.
Numbers continue to grow, and we now have well over 90 readers worldwide, but many of you are probably not aware that there are fellow enthusiasts nearby. For this reason, I included a contact list in KN 2 or 3 years back. At that time numbers were much lower, so it seems like a good idea to repeat the exercise. I don’t want to invade anyone’s privacy however, so if you are not happy with this idea, please let me know. Otherwise, I will include a list in KN 66. I would include email details and limited location address details (town/country only)
Bill and I are experimenting with scanning in coloured Kriegsspiel maps, which we could then put on CD. This would probably interest those of you who are not natural artists, and quail at the thought of colouring in 100 Metz sheets of A3. This would mean you could just print off the maps. It’s a lot cheaper than, say, colour photocopying, which runs out at almost £2 a sheet in this neck of the woods. We have made good progress, but are still playing around with different resolutions, scales and colouring schemes.
I have received a splendid game write-up from Franz Decker, together with some excellent photos. 28 pages! Now all I have to do is translate it from German. Given this, we will probably temporarily increase KN’s frequency over the summer, and run the replay in 2 parts. Look for KN 66 at the end of June.
Anyway, a thoroughly deserved Reisswitz monocle goes to Franz.

A final reminder that our next game on Saturday 22nd May is a Napoleonic battle from Ben Hutchings. Please contact Martin if you are planning to come

Contents
1. Forthcoming games
2. Scenario – The advance on Metz
3. An account of the recent advance on Metz from Paul Dowden
4. A Kriegsspiel weekend?
5. A grand tactical/operational Kriegsspiel by email – thoughts from Maurizio Bragaglia and Martin James
6. Silicon Sid
7. Letters
8. Contacts

1. Forthcoming games
Saturday 22nd May Hemel 2.30 pm Change of date. Napoleonic from Ben Hutchings
Saturday 25th September Hemel 2.30 pm New date. American War of Independence or ACW from Dave Stanforth
Saturday 20th November Hemel 2.30 pm New date. English Civil War from Arthur Harman

If you fancy running a scenario, let us know, as we are happy to re-jig the list to fit it in. We will also provide assistance with the design and umpiring if you need this.
Games are usually held at Bill’s house. Pick up from Hemel Hempstead railway station (and drop-off) can normally be arranged. Games finish around 7 pm. If you are interested in playing, give
Bill a ring or email as early as possible before the game so we can plan the numbers. If we know you are coming we can also let you know if there are any last minute changes to arrangements.
For some games we send briefings out prior to the game, so early contact means you are more likely to get a key command.

2. Scenario – The advance on Metz
This game was played in January. We used 4 umpires and 4 players. For a more detailed map of the area, opening dispositions and moves, see below.

 

Metz intitial dispositions

 

General Idea (see sketchmap)
It is the evening of 4 September 1867. The weather is fine, and is expected to remain so for some days.
The Moselle defines the border between Blue and Red territory. It is a major river, and is only crossable by the bridges at Metz. All the smaller streams are fordable by anything other than artillery and wagons however.
Metz itself was once a powerful fortress, but is now in total disrepair, and without artillery. It is dominated by the high ground to the west of the Moselle. When war broke out in the summer, a Red force therefore crossed the river and established posts to the NW of the town.

Notes for players
This game is set in a transitional phase between the Napoleonic Wars and the Franco-Prussian War.
Both infantry and artillery use rifled guns, which have significantly extended their range (particularly for infantry). These are not breach-loading weapons however, so the rate of fire is still relatively slow.
The above effectively means that infantry has increased in power since the Napoleonic period relative to the other two arms.
However it is still possible to mount an effective cavalry charge under the right conditions. Although both Blue and Red cavalry are armed with carbines, their doctrine emphasises the cavalry charge. They function primarily as cavalry rather than mounted infantry.
Special idea for Blue – Lt General Chasteler
Your orders are to seize Metz as a base for an invasion of Red territory.
Strong Blue forces set out 2 days ago from the fortresses of Longwy and Verdun, with orders to rendezvous at Metz under your command. You reached Amanweiler without incident this evening, and a messenger has just arrived from the Verdun column, which is also on track.
It is believed that Red forces in the area are relatively weak, consisting only of their 14th Division, with 7 or 8 battalions and some cavalry. It is however expected that their 10th Division from Sarrebourg will reinforce them the day after tomorrow, or possibly even as early as this evening. Time is therefore of the essence – it is imperative that you take Metz today.

Blue forces
Longwy Column Lt General Chasteler At Amanweiler (B2)
3 squadrons of Dragoons
6 battalions
1 foot battery (12 pdr)
Ammunition train
Baggage train

Verdun Column Brigadier de Trouville
6 squadrons of Hussars Camped on the road between Gravelotte and Chatel St Germain (B5)
4 battalions
1 horse battery (6 pdr)
Ammunition train
Baggage train
Bridging train

Special idea for Red – Maj General von Pirch
There are reports that a superior Blue army is now advancing to take Metz. Unfortunately it has not yet been possible to establish from where the Red army is launching their offensive.
You command the 14th Division, and your orders are to hold Metz as a base for a later invasion of Blue territory.
The Blue army is rumoured to be in the region of 10 battalions, so you are not greatly outnumbered, and have the advantage of holding the high ground to the W of the Moselle.
The 10th Division from Sarrebourg is marching to reinforce you, but will not arrive until the day after tomorrow. You must hold the key high ground NW of Metz until then.
With admirable foresight, you caused all of the small bridges in the valley of the Montveau River W of Metz to be dismantled several weeks ago.

Red forces
1st Brigade Colonel Von Beck At Woippy (E3)
3 squadrons of Dragoons
4 battalions
1 foot battery (6 pdr)
1 horse battery (6 pdr)
Ammunition train
1 squadron of Dragoons Detached at Senecourt (E1)

2nd Brigade Colonel Hiller
1 squadron of Hussars Vigneulles (D3)
4 battalions
1 foot battery (6 pdr)
Ammunition train
1 squadron of Hussars Detached at Saulny (D2)
1 squadron of Hussars Detached at Moulins les Metz
Comment of the scenario
Life is not easy for either side. The area to the NW of Metz is very rough (as the Prussian Guard found to their cost in 1870). The 2 Blue columns are widely separated, with very poor country in between them, so communication may be a problem. Red are not aware from which direction Blue are attacking, and must especially watch their northern flank, where the country is much easier, and where a Blue advance would be more difficult to counter.

3. An account of the recent advance on Metz from Paul Dowden
(aka Lt Gen P. de Chasteler, officer commanding, Blue Division)
We are indeed fortunate that the following account of the engagement has survived. The dog-eared manuscript recently sold at auction at Sothebys for $5.
General de Chasteler was a redoubtable warrior and gambler. His untimely death in 1882 was mourned by all – except for the jealous husband who shot him of course. We will follow the battle through his eyes, with a few minor editorial interpolations where the General’s narrative drifts too far from reality!
The recent and sudden outbreak of war caught me unawares, in the country. By the time I had reached Verdun my allotted column was already on the march and had reached Amanweiler, where I joined it. A second column at Gravelotte, perhaps three miles to the south, had been placed under my overall command with, I was intrigued to hear, Brigadier de Trouville in immediate charge, a gentleman of whom I had only the most passing of acquaintances.
Foraged from the web at http://www.3rdcuirassiers.org/regiment/images/hussar.gif
I issued general orders for Brigadier de Trouville to advance quickly and directly towards the key fortress at Metz, using his numerous light horse to disperse enemy scouts and to maintain lines of communication between our two columns. I did neglect to specify whether Metz should be approached by the north or south bank of the Moselle, a source perhaps of some confusion and delay a little later. Fortunately Brigadier de Trouville proved rich in initiative if a little lacking in communication skills.
Actually, the poor country, the bridges being down, and the widely dispersed columns, all made communication slow and difficult. Red did not have this difficulty, although they had problems enough of their own.
As for my own column, I sent the dragoons off to protect my left flank along the northern road to Woippy via Saulny. The infantry and artillery were directed towards what I judged to be a key position in front of Metz, namely the old Vauban fort, now sadly dilapidated, at Plappeville. It transpired in due course that the enemy had indeed occupied this position, together with the small hamlet of Vigouelles to the north where they had installed a battalion. The intervening village of Lorry had, unaccountably, not been garrisoned.
I lost no time in detailing my artillery to bombard Fort Plappeville, with the object of pinning its defenders, while my lead infantry were sent forthwith into Lorry, which they occupied without incident. A personal reconnaissance then discovered the village of Tignomont, in rear of the fort, to be only lightly defended.
Detailing two battalions to watch both the enemy battalion at Vigouelles and some enemy cavalry who had been spotted to their north, I led the forward elements of the infantry towards Tignomont. This movement had the desired effect of causing the hurried evacuation of Fort Plappeville by the enemy. The Fort was promptly occupied by our own troops and guns, who now possessed a key position commanding the settlements of Lorry, Tignomont and Plappeville village. I joined them to take advantage of the excellent prospects across the valley towards the hill of Devant les Ponts, where could be espied the main body of the enemy.
Now ensconced in the Fort, our cannon commenced lobbing shells into the remaining enemy positions in Tignomont and Plappeville village. I saw an opportunity to turn the exposed flank of the enemy at Plappeville and dispatched what I suspected was a slightly optimistic message to Brigadier de Trouville to send forces to that point. However de Trouville in fact proved most attentive to my orders throughout.
At this point I must mention the confusion now reigning amongst both enemy and ourselves as to the whereabouts of the respective sides, as a result of the swift advances our columns had made since dawn that day. It is a matter of interest [and may still be a matter of inquiry] as to how many messages Brigadier de Trouville sent to me during the early hours of our operation. Certainly few if any got through; the couriers may have been taken by two squadrons of enemy horse who had evaded our hussars and who now lurked between the two columns in the village of Scy. We took in turn a number of their couriers in Tignomont, who had thought the village still friendly held. Unfortunately these messages did not bear the time of writing, and the handwriting of the enemy proved more devilish than their fire – these missives proved more of a handicap than a help.
It has to be said that the few early messages that made their way through to me from Brigadier de Trouville were even more misleading. One, timed about 9.30am, stated “have dispersed enemy scouts; am in Metz. Artillery arrives by 10”. A glance at the map and a few swift calculations persuaded me that the fellow was merely being lazy: he was in Moulins les Metz, three miles west of the fort, but had not been bothered to write the name in full, leaving me the choice of the three places called Metz which were actually shown on my map!!! Clearly not in the ‘pen-pusher’ mould, then.
Returning to the action, I was astonished to find that the help requested from Brigadier de Trouville did indeed arrive in timely fashion at Plappeville, in the form of two squadrons of hussars, just at the point when the shell-battered enemy were retiring from Tignomont and Plappeville to join their main body on the hill to the E. I sent in three battalions of infantry to complete their discomfiture, and sat back to watch Trouville’s hussars cut up the routed enemy foot in a most sporting manner before they gained the safety of their comrades on the hilltop to the east. Here I commenced shelling them.
Our hussars then surprised me by disappearing from view without waiting for my further orders, somewhat to my ire at the time but I later found that they had spotted the enemy trains in the distance towards Metz and had galloped pell-mell after it.
These were the baggage and ammunition trains of Red’s 2nd Brigade, which had been sent to the rear for safety. The loss of the ammunition in particular was a severe blow to Red.
At this point it should be related that our dragoons, having taken the northern route through Saulny, had in fact been badly worsted by the enemy somewhere east of that village. The enemy however had failed to press their advantage in that sector. An attack from the north could however be anticipated, and in fact was suggested by a captured but untimed despatch. I seized the hamlet and wood of Vigouelles therefore until it became clear that this attack would not materialise. I have since been told that the enemy commander merely forgot about these troops, who received no further orders before the fall of Metz!!
The good General rather glosses over this shameful episode. Although in greater strength, and most nobly led by his brother in law, the Blue dragoons were roundly trounced by Red cavalry.
I now felt that my column had advanced to the maximum extent possible consistent with prudence and my continuing ignorance of Brigadier de Trouville’s whereabouts. An attack from the north threatened, and enemy horse were also in strength astride the Woippy road. Nevertheless my infantry in Tignomont and Plappeville was effectively confronting and pinning the main enemy body, affording Brigadier de Trouville the opportunity of turning their southern flank and seizing Metz, our object, by a bold stroke. My messages spurred him on to this end.
A little later, no attack from the north had materialised, and the cavalry towards Woippy were seen to disperse. We had been shelling the enemy position at Devant les Ponts for some time, and the troops on the hill were now also seen to thin a little, perhaps in response to the shelling. I began to think in the offensive again, and of an assault on the hill (Devant les Ponts).
My mind was decided when I at last received a most surprising and uplifting missive from Brigadier de Trouville, revealing that his infantry had occupied the strategic fort on Mont St Quentin, as I had requested, and that his forward cavalry elements had in fact passed St Martin and had arrived near La Ronde, effectively in rear of the enemy position at Devant les Ponts. There was now an opportunity to catch the enemy as if in a vice and prevent their retreat back into the fortress of Metz.
This was perhaps the key manoeuvre of the engagement. Although strangely not mentioned by Chasteler, de Trouville’s Blue cavalry now proceeded to destroy the trains of 2nd Brigade, which had moved south from Woippy. It was now around 10.15 am (see attached photo), and the loss of the last of the division’s reserve of ammunition convinced the Red commander that he could not sustain an action through the remainder of the day.
Now dismounting, and taking sword in hand, I put myself at the head of my brave boys, and we rushed up the hill towards the quavering enemy. My brave boys took the position, but, alas, I could not be among them, since I stubbed my toe on a rock while ascending the hill, and could no longer stand on that foot. To my chagrin, I was bound to be a spectator only of the final hand-to-hand fighting.
The gallant general’s memory fails him here – no doubt due to his wound. Actually, there was little fighting for the hill. On hearing of the loss of his remaining ammunition trains, The Red commander gave orders for his entire force to fall back across the Moselle and retire on Sarrebourg, which they managed to do before de Trouville could cut them off.
The hill safely in our hands, I was carried to Maison Rouge, a nearby house of rest and recuperation, where the inhabitants displayed great imagination in treating my toe, and gave some attention also to other parts of my anatomy.
Later, while recuperating, I was regaled with the story of how my brave boys had marched, standards unfurled and bands playing, into Metz, and how the enemy commander, Margraf Artur von Harman I believe, had confessed in the enemy newspapers to the “miserable failure” of his plan of defence. The debacle was blamed upon the necessity to defend against a large force of ours coming down from Luxembourg, which had of course never existed, save in the Margraf’s mind. Apparently he had sent out scouts the night before the advance, who, nervous in the dark, had mistaken a flock of sheep for a regiment of dragoons.
I shall conclude my account by thanking Brigadier de Trouville, and indeed the Gods of War, for their part in this, my finest hour.
This is perhaps a trifle unfair to the Margraf, who was initially misled by false reports of a Blue advance from Luxembourg in the north, and lacked good reports of de Trouville’s advance by way of Moulins les Metz. The capture of both Red trains was also perhaps somewhat fortuitous, although accomplished in fine style.
Readers will be gratified to know that the General made a surprisingly rapid recovery from his wound, and was in fine fettle the next morning (well actually about noon).

 

10.15 am

 

 

1.15 pm

 

4. A Kriegsspiel weekend
The general response was that people preferred a smaller gathering – which would be purely Kriegsspiel – rather than joining the WD ‘Conference of Wargamers’ at Knuston Hall.
We are therefore focusing on small hotels near Stansted airport, which could cater for say 12 of us, for an all in cost of around £150 a head. For this you would get your own room (en-suite), plus all meals from Friday evening until Sunday lunch. Am still looking into this however, so the price cannot be regarded as firm.
We would need to collect a deposit in advance for the hotel, but I’m not sure yet how much that would be. Perhaps £20-30?
Looted from the web at http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=www.leicesterstudent.org
As regards timing, thoughts are that we need to avoid winter (danger of flight delays) and the summer and other school holidays. The current suggestion is to aim for something in April 2005.
A number of you have expressed interest, including some for outside the UK, I’m pleased to say. Based on the above, there are still a few places left. If you are interested, can you please contact Martin.

5. A grand tactical/operational Kriegsspiel by email – thoughts from Maurizio Bragaglia and Martin James
This all started when Maurizio tried to muscle-in on last month’s army level game from Italy! The idea certainly seems worth developing, and we may be able to link it in with Ben Hutchings thoughts (see letters).
This sounds like a nice game to play through the Internet! The role of C in C, COS etc could be given to internet players and the umpires could take care of the tactical side (and have some fun too). How many moves in a battle?
Based on the last game, way too many to run it over the net in one afternoon I fear. Can’t remember exactly but probably somewhere between 20 and 30. We were using 30-minute turns and got through a day of battle.
One advantage of the command model we used was that most briefing was given direct to the subordinate corps commanders. It was then up to them to brief the C in C (on his visits to the frontline) and the Chief of Staff (by courier), so we did not have to do that. Notwithstanding that, from an umpiring perspective it was just about the toughest game I recall in terms of sheer effort.
One further downside from an email standpoint is that each subordinate commander would need access to a PC.
There could be other games where the overseas C in C role would work though. Ben Hutchings was thinking of using it for his re-run of Tunisia.
What about having a medium sized encounter with 2-3 Corps on each side. You would assign a personality to each Corps Commander.
The players would be 2 for each side, 1 C in C and 1 C of S; when the C in C is there he more or less directs the local corps, when he’s not the umpire moves the brigades according to personality, situation, pre-figured responses etc. The C of S gets reports from the CCs (umpires); the quality of the reports will vary according to the Corps staff quality, CC personality, random dice etc.
You could have a 30/40 mins move a day with just one umpire running everything (maybe 2 u. one taking care of the reports writing and the other of actually running the tactical side).
Food for thought…….
We could definitely try something along these lines. The main issue I see is one of process. How do the C in C and COS discuss things when they are in the same place? The umpires could email them when the C in C arrives back at HQ, and they could then have say 12 or 15 hours to exchange emails or go on MSN Messenger etc before their next orders are due in. It might work better if you made sure each 2-player team resided in the same country. Then they could just phone. We could easily set up a game with say an Italian team vs a British one, or a US team vs a German one.
My feeling is that it might be easiest to have just one umpire. Coordinating with a second umpire, in a different place, might be more work than it saves. That’s 2 umpire maps, which could easily get out of sync. This may be too pessimistic – not sure.
With, say 5 participants, and 45 minute turns, we could get through a day in about 2 weeks. But realistically could 5 people commit to doing that every day? We would also need to think about time zones.
I assume that you’re thinking of a battle rather than a campaign. The latter could work well by email too, but it would be more difficult to justify a separate roll for the COS I think. It might be better to use the extra players as additional army commanders. Based on Ben Hutchings’ Tunisia game, having a command hierarchy slows things down, as so many orders have to be ok’d higher up the chain before the umpires even see them.
I’ve always thought though that the 1813 campaign in Germany would work well here, as the forces were so spread out that detached armies were of necessity pretty autonomous. On the allied side too – with 3 monarchs, plus Bernadotte – a rigid command hierarchy was not really on.
Good idea. Most of the work would be to assign dice modifiers to everybody so that
when the human player is not there you can roll a die, 6 is good 1 is a disaster etc.
Shades of Tony Bath’s Hyborian Campaign…..
Yup the 1813 campaign is excellent, I’ve got plenty of wargaming maps, this could be another good idea. 3 French players (Nap for the Grand Armee, another representing Ney/Oudinot etc going N to Berlin, plus Davout as a wild card) and 1 COS (Berthier) for allocating (scarce) supply and defending the rear. Same more or less for the Allies. A good base could be Avalon Hill’s old “Struggle of Nations”. It’s worth buying just for the maps and hist. notes, a jewel of a game. You can find it for 20 £ on e-bay. There is also around an excellent new book by M. Leggiere on “Napoleon and Berlin” (1813). Lots of missed opportunities there.
That map is good, and I have often thought of doing a kriegsspiel on a blown-up version. The map doesn’t cover Hamburg and Davout’s operations unfortunately. Do you have any other maps that do?
Not wargaming ones except large scale ones like in “La Grande Armee “ by SPI /TSR but we could easily adopt something. Zucker’s map is a rendition of Jomini’s map for the 7YW I believe.

I believe march attrition (in Struggle of Nations) is a function of administrative points. If you own lots of them you don’t lose much. Saxony in 1813 was very short of food for the Frenchies, hence perhaps too few Admin Points available? There is an accompanying article on this in the game where it says that the mostly young conscripts were filling the hospitals to the tune of 60,00 (from memory) due to lack of food and too many marches and counter marches.
We should post this in the next KN and let other people add their ideas.
6. Silicon Sid
Latest information is that Rome: Total War will be out in September. For more information on the game, visit the game’s official web site.
They perhaps need to get their skates on though, as there is now an ancients Mod version available for Medieval Total War, called Hellenic Total War. At the moment this focuses just on the Greeks, Macedonians and Persians. You can download it from: http://www.hellenictotalwar.com/pages/htwpag.html
As with the Napoleonic Mod, you need the Viking Invasions add-on to play it.

Now you know I have a pretty healthy suspicion of PC game reviews. The hype which seems congenital within the industry seems to afflict many reviewers too. But just when I find myself getting all bitter and twisted, something happens to restore my faith in human nature! Here are some extracts from Will Trotter’s review of Korea: Forgotten Conflict.
The game is a shoot ‘em up variety (when it works), so may not appeal to some Kriegsspielers anyway. The review did amuse me however. If you’re interested, the full version can be found on The Wargamer website.
“ I can’t think of any other game that has rubbed me the wrong way so quickly, induced in me such a sustained mood of foul distemper, or managed to antagonize me in so many ways, before I had even finished the first tutorial.
I’m not just talking about that common, temporary, barrier of frustration we all experience when the learning curve seems steeper than we’re in the mood to tackle with; more often than not, once we do become comfortable enough with the interface to relax and just play the game on its own terms, the struggle we went through to gain admission might be seen, in retrospect, as having been a function of an overall design that’s “different”, or complex for very good reasons: its creators were really striving to achieve something fresh and imaginative. Even if I decide, ultimately, that those goals were imperfectly realized and did not provide me with the intensely pleasurable gaming experience the designers hoped they had created, I try to shade the wording of my critique to show a modicum of respect for good intentions, touches of originality, and depth of game-play. Laudable qualities, all, and God knows they are rare enough at this stage in the evolution of electronic entertainment.
So I tried, Vicar, God knows I tried. I gave Korea: Forgotten Conflict every chance possible (forcing myself to spend many more hours hacking through its scenarios than were really necessary to write an informed review). I wanted to find something (other than the graphics, which I’ll get to in a minute) that would enable to me to write: “I did not personally care for this title, but if you’re a gamer who looks for (fill in the blanks), you might have a very different reaction.”
Not this time, folks. I never found that redeeming scenario, incident, or narrative twist. The more I played this off-putting farrago, the more I loathed it, and the deeper became my resentment at being forced (well, let’s say “obligated, because Shaun didn’t hold a gun to my head and threaten me if I didn’t keep playing) to put in the requisite hours needed to explore the whole game.
The bottom line: I cannot cite a single reason why anybody should spent money for this game.
If that’s the main point readers look for in reviews, I’ve made it early, to save everyone some time, and they have my full permission to stop reading now.
But I hope readers don’t.
After all, it can be very instructive to analyze a title that is a virtual textbook paradigm of bad game design. To better appreciate the good (or in this case, even the mediocre!), it is useful to have a benchmark specimen that defines the truly awful. Korea: Forgotten Conflict is such a uniquely failed and repellant piece of work that – like a two-headed calf or the rotting carcass of a giant squid – we might learn something by putting it on a laboratory slab under the bright surgical lights and studying its anatomy, in the cause of dispassionate intellectual inquiry………….”
Ataboy Will! There’s more, but sadly space forbids.

Finally, Binky has sent me this link. It’s a quick simulation of the Battle of Waterloo, using multiple decision paths. E.g. do I attack now with Reille, or wait and bring up the artillery? One for the kids?
http://www.pbs.org/empires/napoleon/n_war/ibs/index.html

7. Letters
From Maurizio Bragaglia
Re. the naval K/spiel will try to jot down something. I took a double-blind boardgame and umpired it, very easy. Players love this stuff with aircraft carriers and sudden strikes, it lends itself to this sort of simulation better than with armies etc.
I can see the attraction. Look forward to seeing the write-up..

From Nick Luft
I have now managed to become the Secretary of the Defence Academy Wargames Club (was Royal Military College of Science) at Shrivenham, near Swindon. As such I can book seminar rooms, halls and even a lecture theatre to host other wargame societies. I remember a while ago your discussions about trying to hire a hall for a large venue. I could provide that venue at virtually no cost. Only problem is getting to Shrivenham.
Anyway let me know what you think.
Congratulations on your elevation – was it down to Max Clifford or Alistair Campbell?
Many thanks for this, which looks interesting. I wonder whether we could somehow link this with the Kriegsspiel weekend idea, although getting there may not be easy for overseas visitors. Maybe we could try and build a second event around this? Can you provide any more details on what facilities are available? For example, are there any intercom type facilities in case we wanted to do a WW1 or 2 game? Is there a cafe or bar on-site?
Let me know what you think about this idea readers.

From Bill Leeson
Some while ago I got very interested in the Sailing and Fighting Instructions for His Majesty’s Fleet. I found that they could be traced back to the Commonwealth Navy in full, and all the different versions up to 1691 when Earl Russell issued a set which remained the basis for them well until 1775.
The interesting point being that if you have a copy you have all the instructions that an Admiral can send to the whole fleet when under sail (apart from signals to individual ships which are “signals to speak” – different signal for each ship which requires the said ship to come up to the Admiral for special instructions).
On the other hand I had no idea what sort of instructions the Dutch fleet were working under. Now that we are more international maybe one of our readers would like to delve into the Dutch or French archives which could be very interesting.
I guess I am thinking in terms of a game at COW some years ago played out on a large table with both fleets in view. The fleet commander had to make signals for the fleet which were interpreted by another player who moved the ships. The signals were more or less based on the Fighting and Sailing instructions. The game was provided by Andy Callan I think. We did not get very far into the game but I thought it had a lot of potential – and it was a fleet action with ships instructed to form line ahead etc.
Thanks for this. I wonder how we could do a K’spiel of a battle rather than a campaign. Any ideas?
I guess I am thinking in terms of a game at COW some years ago played out on a large table with both fleets in view. The fleet commander had to make signals for the fleet which were interpreted by another player who moved the ships. The signals were more or less based on the Fighting and Sailing instructions. The game was provided by Andy Callan I think. We did not get very far into the game but I thought it had a lot of potential – and it was a fleet action with ships instructed to form line ahead etc.

From new reader Jeff Leser
Jeff has a dream job, being paid by the US Govt. to run a team at Fort Leavenworth (U.S.Army Study
Center) studying electronic wargames and evaluating their suitability for use in training.
My ‘dream job’ has begun its’ busy period. We are preparing the students and instructors for the division level exercise scheduled during the first week in April, followed by the brigade-level exercise in June. In between, we run various vignettes addressing learning objectives based on instructors/professor requirements.
Thank you for the copies of the KN. I have perused the three KNs you attached. Enjoyable reading and it appears you are having a great deal of fun. I am familiar with the concept of Kriegspiel, and have used it in several versions in the 1970’s (the U.S. Army’s Realtrain was one form of the original German exercise). I hadn’t realized that there are groups practicing the ‘art’ of the Kriegsspiel anywhere other than in the military. I haven’t had time to read through your Yahoo site, but will try to scan it this weekend. For the various periods, do you have the necessary charts, etc, from other sources, or does the group develop their own? Are these available?
Glad you enjoyed KN. When you next surface for air, I’m sure the readers would be interested to know more about how these things are run in the US military.
Yes we are having fun. There seem to be very few groups like us though. Franz Decker and some friends are playing in Germany, and Maurizio Bragaglia and Arturo Loreoli are part of a similar group in Italy. But as far as I know, these are the only other groups which play at all regularly. Although there are a fair number of us worldwide, we are still pretty thinly spread.
For a traditional detachments Kriegsspiel – involving perhaps 6 or 10 infantry battalions a side, plus cavalry and artillery – we have the original rules & tables published by von Reisswitz in the 1820s and various updates which followed during the 19th Century. Like those who followed Reisswitz, we have moved to a streamlined version in order to keep the game fast-paced. For example, we no longer not keep a detailed track of casualties. This not only speeds up play, but is arguably more realistic, given the smoke and chaos of the 19th C battlefield.
For games with more troops, and for other periods, we have developed our own rules. You can see a set we developed for army level Napoleonic games on our YahooGroups site. Unlike most rulesets, these focus much more on command control and ‘friction’ than on weaponry.

From Richard Madder
People are beginning to notice my neglect of the site. I believe I have a way forward as now I have purchased a laptop I should be able to do some work on the train.
Looking at the site contents today seems I haven’t done much since Oct 02! Doesn’t time fly. Anyway I have resolved do the following and made a start this morning:
 Remove the letters section, it is a chronological challenge too far for me to keep it up to date.
 Replace it with a Resources section to cover such topics as useful computer programs & artwork sources, umpire trick & tips, downloads if we ever create any (any other suggestions?).
 Update the forthcoming events.
 Gradually add the write ups of previous games & articles from KN published in the last 18 months.
 Do a little work on the style to freshen up the site appearance.
Bravo, noble Richard. Anyone with suggestions for the website should feel free to write in.

From new reader Michael D’Alessandro
Through an interesting chain of events (discovering a British Army Kriegsspiel set on eBay), I have recently become interested in Kriegsspiel, ran across your Web site, and downloaded and read all of your KN Newsletters.
In the June 2003 issue you mention the possibility of conducting a Napoleonic Naval Kriegsspiel, perhaps via e-mail. Did anything ever become of this? I would be most interested in playing, via e-mail, if this ever started up.
Glad you’re enjoying the newsletters. We haven’t put on a naval email game yet due to lack of (my) time. A number of readers have expressed interest, and it’s possible we may do something later in the year. I have a little file of names, so I’ll add you to that.
I would be interested to know more about the Kriegsspiel set you purchased. Do you know the date it was made, and is there any chance you could scan in some of the components so I could include them in KN?
I was not lucky enough to win it; I am now seriously considering making my own for a fraction of the price. Now that I’ve got the pictures, I feel I could reproduce much of it in a weekend.
Michael was kind enough to provide photos of the Kriegsspiel set (see attached HTML file). Somewhat different in style from the Reisswitz originals – but of course there were about 75 years in between.

From Ben Hutchings
We always need to make up scenarios from scratch so I was thinking we should set up a loosely controlled campaign that we can fight over the next few years. I don’t mean an email campaign with regular turns – I don’t have the time to run that – but rather a campaign setting in which the battles we fight have a direct result on the next game. It wouldn’t take too much to set up – I can do that – and it would mean we would have a ready supply of scenarios.
I would suggest we have the scenario of 2 bickering nations fighting over a border area – I’m sure that we could ‘join’ the Meckel, Konigsberg and your map together so we have a large enough area in which to manoeuvre (unless of course you want to expand your map…… A certain amount of fudging would be necessary as battles will not always be finished and tactical games at Bill’s would need to be realigned so that only 1 map is used, but I think it would make our games more coherent and realistic – would be fun to see how 2 mismatched forces would cope..
I would suggest something along the lines of –
 Strategic movement, players (maybe the overseas players) do some very basic manoeuvring – such as placing forces in a region with a basic task.
 When 2 opposing forces are in the same region the 2 commanders are given basic intel on the opposing side and make the decision to play.
 If both sides decide to engage a battle at Bill’s is arranged.
After the battle the umpires of the game at Bills make a judgement on the result to tidy things up – most KS don’t end decisively so a result is needed. The last game would maybe be judged a victory for Red so Blue needs to withdraw (this relates to our March game. A replay will appear in a future KN). Red can make the decision to follow up in which case another battle will be needed at a future date. Otherwise Blue withdraws and the Strategic phase resumes till another tactical situation is reached.
Ben is currently developing this idea, and we may have the first battle for our 22 May game.

8. Contacts

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