The Madasahatta Campaign book … has been published!

THE MADASAHATTA CAMPAIGN has been published and is now available for purchase from

The book should be on sale from other online booksellers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble within a matter of weeks.

THE MADASAHATTA CAMPAIGN was originally devised and written by Eric Knowles and has been edited (with additions) by Bob Cordery. It is published in hardback by Eglinton Books and costs £14.99 (ISBN 978 0 244 38509 5).

Updated Publications page

As I have another two books in the last stages of publication (THE MADASAHATTA CAMPAIGN and GRIDDED NAVAL WARGAMES) I decided to update the Publications page on my blog.

The list of books is now split under several headings:

  • Wargaming Books
  • Military History Books
  • Masonic History Books
  • Fiction

Below an image of each book’s cover are the prices at which the various editions (hardback, paperback, or eBook) are currently on sale via Lulu.

Eric Knowles’ funeral

I had hoped to be well enough to drive from London to Lincolnshire and back today to attend Eric Knowles‘ funeral, but the virus is still hard at work making it very difficult for me to concentrate or to stay awake for more than an hour or so without having to have a short doze. Driving for three hours in each direction was not only out of the question, but would also have been dangerous for myself and other road users.

I hope to attend the memorial event in London for Eric when it takes place in the near future, but in the meantime I am trying to think of an appropriate way to mark his passing. My initial thinking was to make the Madasahatta material that I used to have on my Colonial Wargaming website available again … or even to re-fight the campaign using my PORTABLE WARGAME rules. Both are possible; its just a matter of decided which to do.

Eric Knowles RIP

Last night I was informed by David Crook that Eric Knowles had died at the age of 91 years.

Eric was one of the early modern British wargamers, and took part in the famous re-fight of the Battle of Waterloo at the Duke of York’s Headquarters alongside Donald Featherstone, Neville Dickinson et al.

On his retirement from working for the ‘Daily Mirror’ newspaper he set up a wargame shop in Manor Park in East London called the NEW MODEL ARMY (formerly WALL MODELS), and it was during a visit to his shop that I got to know him. Eventually he invited me to join the small group of wargamers who met regularly in the shop’s basement to play wargames, foremost amongst these being the famous MADASAHATTA campaign.

I visited Eric’s house several times, and his family were always extremely welcoming. His home seemed to be full of wargames figures, and it was reputed that they even occupied space in the airing cupboard!

After the shop closed and Eric moved away to Lincolnshire, I managed to see him a couple of times at wargame shows, and he still had a very lively mind and an active interest in wargaming. I understand that in later years he became a guide for visitors to the RAF’s ‘Battle of Britain’ flight, and I am sure that he would have proven to be an enthusiastic and very knowledgeable one.

It is true to say that without Eric’s encouragement and advice I would not be the wargamer that I am today. He will be greatly missed by his many friends as well as his family.

Eric Knowles RIP

A can of worms, the death of an actor, and comfort wargaming

Today I have three things that I want to write about. Firstly I would like to thank everyone who has commented on my most recent blog entry. When I wrote it I thought that I was probably opening a can of worms, but I was pleasantly surprised that the comments that were made were all well-reasoned and thought through, and that even if we were not all in agreement with one another, we respected each other’s points of view.

The second thing that I want to mention is the very recent death of that wonderful Indian actor, Saeed Jaffrey. Besides starring in Satyajit Ray’s SHATRANJ KE KHILADI (THE CHESS PLAYERS) (see below) and more than 100 Bollywood films productions, he also appeared in A PASSAGE TO INDIA, GANDHI, MY BEAUTIFUL LAUNDRETTE and THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING. The latter is one of my favourite films, and his portrayal of Billy Fish, the Gurkha soldier who helps Peachy Carnehan (Michael Caine) and Daniel Dravot (Sean Connery) to conquer Kafiristan, is a film gem and deserves greater recognition.

The third thing that I want to mention is what I term ‘comfort wargaming’. We all know what ‘comfort food’ is (i.e. food that induces a nostalgic, sentimental, or comforting feeling to the person eating it) and whenever I lose the desire to fight wargames – a feeling that has dogged me for the last few months – I look to what I think of as my ‘comfort wargames’ as a way to reinvigorate my appetite for the hobby.

So what are my ‘comfort wargames’? The answer is simple; they are either World War II wargames fought with lots of 20mm-scale figures and model vehicles using simple old-school rules or colonial wargames set in some imaginary late nineteenth century European colony or colonies. The former harks back to the wargames of my teenage years whilst the latter evokes memories of Eric Knowles’s famous Madasahatta Campaign.

As the slow process of sorting out my wargames room gradually comes towards a conclusion, I am looking forward to fighting a couple of ‘comfort wargames’ to revitalise and reinvigorate my desire to wargame.

SHATRANJ KE KHILADI is set in 1856 and focuses on the events leading up to the British annexation of the Indian State of Oudh and the Great Mutiny of 1857.

The main characters are two aristocrats (Mirza Sajjad Ali and Mir Raushan Ali) who become so deeply immersed in the development of numerous chess strategies that they become oblivious to the pending invasion their country by the British. In fact they are still playing chess as the British capture their city, Lucknow. It is an excellent film, and I have never seen a better portrayal of the life and customs of the ruling classes of 19th century India and an explanation of the methods by which the British East India Company enacted its policy of colonial expansion.

Furious Fuso!: The opposing squadrons

To put the recent blog entry about the Fuso’s almost single-handed destruction of a German/Turkish naval squadron during the MADASAHATTA campaign into context, here are some photographs of the real ships that took part in the battle.

Japanese SquadronFuso



German/Turkish SquadronKaiser Frederick III

Heireddin Barbarossa

Torgud Reis





Furious Fuso!

One of the ‘incidents’ that meeting Neil Fox brought to mind occurred during the famous MADASAHATTA campaign that we both took part in over the course of a year many years ago. The campaign was fought out on the large table in the basement of Eric Knowles’s shop ‘New Model Army’ in Manor Park, East London.

During the early stages of the campaign I wrote a number of newspaper-style bulletins about the campaign, one of which covered the intervention of the Imperial Japanese Navy in the naval side of the campaign.

(Please note that on the evening that this battle was fought, I was in command of the Japanese squadron!)

by Our Correspondent

The Japanese Squadron, which is commanded by Vice Admiral Iama Quitageza, has already made its mark upon the course of the War in this area. The Squadron, which consists of the dreadnought battleship FUSO, the cruisers NISSHIN and SOYA, and two destroyers, was on its way to the Island when it intercepted the combined might of the German and Turkish Navies in this area.

The enemy fleet consisted of the battleships KAISER FREDERICK III (which had only recently arrived in this area), HEIREDDIN BARBAROSSA, TORGUD REIS, the cruisers REGENSBERG, DRESDEN and MUIN-I-ZAFFAR, the gunboat MUCHE and the patrol-ship ILTIS, and is thought to have been commanded by the German Admiral Hans Off.

As soon as both sides came into view of one another both fleets opened fire, and the Japanese opening salvos caused considerable damage. This can be seen by the examination of the gunnery log of the Japanese flagship FUSO –

1st Salvo – Enemy cruiser (later known to be the REGENSBERG) disabled.
2nd Salvo – German battleship KAISER FREDERICK III sunk. (It is thought that at least one of the FUSO’s shells penetrated the armour on the aft 12-inch magazine and this caused the KAISER FREDERICK III to blow up.)
3rd Salvo – Near hits on enemy cruiser.
4th Salvo – Further near hits on enemy units.
5th Salvo – Enemy cruiser (known to be the DRESDEN) sunk as a result of 9 simultaneous hits.
6th Salvo – MUIN-I-ZAFFAR hit and sunk by several direct hits from 14-inch shells.
7th Salvo – Turkish battleship HEIREDDIN BARBAROSSA badly damaged by several direct hits and near misses.
8th Salvo – HEIREDDIN BARBAROSSA sunk by further hits by 14-inch shells.
9th Salvo – TORGUD REIS explodes as a result of several direct hits from the guns of the FUSO, NISSHIN and SOYA.

As can be seen from the above extract the Japanese shooting during the battle was excellent, and this is a result of the training the Japanese Navy has had at the hands of a British Naval Mission, and we remind our readers that many of the Japanese ships in service at the moment are either British built or designed.

It is reported that now that they have discharged their obligations to the British, the Japanese are expected to return home in the very near future in order to assist in the reduction of other Enemy colonies in the Far East.

This battle was fought using Fletcher Pratt’s Naval War Game Rules … and I have never, ever managed to replicate the accuracy of my distance estimation again! At the time I was even accused of having had my glasses calibrated because my ‘estimations’ were so accurate … but the truth of the matter is that on that evening I just could not do anything wrong.

These things sometimes happen in wargaming … and the memory of them lives on for a long time afterwards.