The Battle of Warsaw, 1920Posted: May 19, 2014
The wargame was one of the regular ones organised by the Jockey’s Field Irregulars. The Irregulars are a group of wargamers who meet once a month in central London, and the total membership is probably somewhere in the thirties. Some ‘members’ go to every session whilst others (like me) go as and when they can. The average turn-out per session is between ten and fifteen, and yesterday there were just ten of us.
The wargame was set up by Ian Drury, with the assistance of Richard Brooks (whose OP14 rules were being used) and Alex Kleanthous (who provided the venue and who helped set out the large gridded battlefield). I volunteered to take on the role of the Russian commander, Mikhail Nikolayevich Tukhachevsky, and I was very ably supported by three subordinate commanders:
- Nick Drage (Commanding part of IV Army and XV Army)
- Chris Ager (Commanding III Army)
- Alan Buddles (Commanding XVI Army)
The Poles were under the command of John Bassett, and his capitalist underlings were Phil Steele, Alex Kleanthous, and Nigel Drury.
From my point of view it was a great game. I sat in my HQ in ‘Moscow’ (in actual fact a rather pleasant office … once we managed to get the air conditioning to work!) with my maps and a signal pad, sending orders to my subordinates. They commanded their troops on the tabletop … and I am very pleased to state that they were very diligent in keeping me as up-to-date with the situation around Warsaw as the primitive communications allowed. (Written messages were passed to and fro via the umpire and often took many hours of gameplay to arrive.)
The end result was close … but it was obvious that the Russians were about to be pushed back, even though they had managed to reach Warsaw’s outer defences in one sector. What was particularly pleasing was the fact that what I had plotted on my maps was not too far from the situation I saw on the tabletop when the wargame ended.
The participants. From left to right: Alex Kleanthous, Phil Steele, Richard Brooks (Umpire), Nigel Drury, Nick Drage, Chris Ager, Ian Drury (Umpire), and Alan Buddles (who is almost completely obscured). Missing are John Bassett and me.
My thanks go to Ian Drury for organising this wargame, to Alex Kleanthous for providing the venue, to Richard Brooks for writing such an excellent set of rules, and to all the other participants. It was an excellent day … and I am already looking forward to the next one that I can go to.