Charles Grant’s “Battle – Practical Wargaming” is one of the classics of the old school who were the original ‘modern-era’ wargaming generation – but what a lot of people don’t realise is that it was actually first published as a serialised account in Meccano Magazine, in 32 parts over 3 years from Mid-1968 until December 1970, with the more well known book version being printed in late 1970 while the magazine series was still being published. The Magazine series offers a chance to get “Battle” with extras, as it featured several parts that aren’t featured in the book, the latter only cover Parts I-XXVI (the Magazine series culminates in Part XXXII, the finale of a 1/32nd scale Wargame in the backyard)! In fact it was these Meccano articles (in my Father’s magazines) that were how I first discovered Charles Grant’s “Battle” in the mid-1970’s, long before I even knew there was book version! This was one of my very first classic wargaming publications that hooked me on the hobby as an early-teen.
Just recently I discovered that Meccano Magazine has put virtually their entire catalogue (dating back to September 1916) on line and it is possible to download individual pages from every issue…
…and they have been scanned in reasonable quality to make the images and text about as clear as in the original publications as you are likely to get (given the printing techniques of the time). You can use the Meccano Magazine Viewer to view and tag (bookmark) individual pages, then click save to download these accumulated pages in a PDF. You can get up to 20 pages per PDF (coming out at about 5.7MB), so to get the whole 32-Part Battle Series you’ll need to download 4 PDFs, each of about 18-20 pages.
The “Battle – Practical Wargaming” Book version of “Battle” was published in 1970 and as such only includes the first 26 Parts (as it probalby went to a final editing deadline in mid-1970 before Charles Grant had finished writing the series, or perhaps the book just had space constraints) – so the Meccano series provides the infamous “Missing Terrain Rules Chapter” for “Battle – Practical Wargaming“, plus basic Map Moving & Campaign guidelines, and as mentioned above a finale of a 1/32nd game in the backyard!
I have provided a full index of the pages below and I have tagged with a * in the list where you need to stop and save a PDF, before starting the next one (and make sure you remember to click the link to clear your bookmarks after each download before starting the next batch). You should end up with 4 PDFs as follows: Parts 01-09; Parts 10-17; Parts 18-26; and Parts 27-32. Although I’ve always had most of the original actual Meccano Magazines (being in New Zealand magazine subscriptions back then were erratic and my Dad’s collection is missing odd issues), as well as the “Battle – Practical Wargaming” book version, I am missing some of the former so have downloaded the full set of PDFs myself to get a complete “Battle” set of the Meccano Articles to go with the book.
Battle – The Original Serialised Meccano Version
|I||Introduction To Battle||May 1968||251, 252, 253.|
|II||A Beginning With The Rules||June 1968||314, 315.|
|III||Rules For Movement||July 1968||374, 375.|
|IV||The Infantryman’s Weapons||August 1968||444, 445.|
|V||Artillery Range||September 1968||480, 481.|
|VI||The Defensive Power Of Armour||October 1968||534, 535.|
|VII||The Use Of Dice||November 1968||606, 607.|
|VIII||Strike Values Of Anti-Tank Guns||December 1968||641, 642.|
|IX||More About Anti-Tank Guns||January 1969||52, 53. *|
|X||Anti-Tank Guns – The Final Points||February 1969||78, 79.|
|XI||Armoured Action||March 1969||143, 144, 145.|
|XII||Infantry Weapons||April 1969||184, 185.|
|XIII||More Infantry Weapons||May 1969||260, 261.|
|XIV||Infantry Weapons – Conclusion||June 1969||298, 299, 311.|
|XV||Infantry Organisation||July 1969||364, 365.|
|XVI||Action At Twin Farms||August 1969||412, 413.|
|XVII||Communications||September 1969||466, 467, 469. *|
|XVIII||Artillery Fire||October 1969||500, 501.|
|XIX||Artillery Organisation||November 1969||568, 569.|
|XX||Infantry Headquarters Company||December 1969||627, 628.|
|XXI||Mainly About Mines||January 1970||50, 51.|
|XXII||Reconnaissance In Force||February 1970||108, 109.|
|XXIII||Reconaissance In Force – Conclusion||March 1970||167, 168, 169.|
|XXIV||Morale||April 1970||228, 229.|
|XXV||More About Morale||May 1970||288, 289.|
|XXVI||The Morale Rule In Operation||June 1970||350, 351. *|
|XXVII||The Effect Of Terrain||July 1970||404, 405.|
|XXVIII||More About Terrain||August 1970||458, 459.|
|XXIX||The Effect Of Terrain On The Rules||September 1970||508, 509.|
|XXX||A Beginning With Maps||October 1970||562, 563.|
|XXXI||More About Maps||November 1970||594, 595.|
|XXXII||Something Different||December 1970||658, 659.|
Mel Spence from the OSW (Old School Wargaming) Group has compiled these all into a single PDF document, along with a second PDF of all Charles Grant’s “Militaria” Wargaming Reviews in Meccano. Click the links below to download these compilations to save doing the above manual process:
- Battle Serialised Version from Meccano Magazine (17MB)
- Charles Grant’s Regular Wargaming Review Column “Militaria“ (7MB)
Note: If you have the book and are just interested in the extra material in the article series, go to the Meccano site above and just download Parts XXVII to XXXII (i.e. 26 to 32) on Terrain, Maps, & Something Different.
Even More ‘Battle’
If you are really dedicated to “Battle” check out the Old School Wargaming Group at Yahoo – they have a file section for Charles Grant’s Battle (titled “Grant’s BATTLE!“), and it features additional add-on material (for using the rules with stands representing Squads or Platoons instead of individuals, and includes some extra vehicle & weapon stats), and they were onto the Meccano Magazine archive long before I stumbled onto it by the looks of things (I’ve been on the OSW Group for a couple of years, but haven’t kept up with the discussion, so if you are reading this and on there you probalby know all the above already)!
And Lastly On A Related Note
The following are some other assorted wargaming related articles from Meccano Magazine of the same era that may be of interest to wargamers:
- On The Set at Captain Scarlet & The Mysterons! – May 1968, Pages 248-251.
- The First Fast Tank – Story Of The Whippet – May 1970, Pages 253-255.
- The History Of Tank Development – Part 1 – July 1970, Pages 370-373.
- The History Of Tank Development – Part 2 – August 1970, Pages 430-433.
- The History Of Tank Development – Part 3 – September 1970, Pages 494-496, 514-515.
- Building Thermopylae (by Charles Grant) – November 1971, Pages 530-531.
Hopefully this is of help & enjoyment to someone other than just me…