Charles Grant’s ‘Battle’ – Free Online

Charles Grant - "Battle" Practical Wargaming

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…

Meccano Magazine May 1968 - Where It All Started

Meccano Magazine May 1968 - Where It All Started

…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

Part Title Issue Page Numbers
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.

Additional Update

Charles Grant in the early 1980's (image from the OSW Yahoo!Group)

Charles Grant in the early 1980's (image from the OSW Yahoo!Group)

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:

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…

Charles Grant & Son (C. S. Grant)

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  • http://twitter.com/suttonr2002 R Sutton

    John

    This is seriously cool.. Meccano magazine was my first introduction to the hobby (my brothers and I shared a large meccano set and were prolific builders as younger children). My copy of ‘Battle’, and the magazines, still all sit on my shelves and get the occasional nostalgic read.
    Kind regards
    Robin

    • http://wargaming.info John

      Yep – I agree Robin, same for me – apart from David Nash’s Wargames this was the very first regular wargaming stuff I read when I was 9-10 or so years old, and it was after Battle and other articles in Meccano Magazine I discovered Don Featherstone , Charles Grant’s “The War Game”, Terry Wise’s “Introduction To Battle Gaming”, Young & Lawford’s “Charge”, in the later 70’s & first year or so of the 80’s!

      If you have the time and poke around the Meccano site you will find lots of odd and interesting articles on wargaming, models, and so on. And Charles Grant’s regular Militaria review of wargaming models is in most issues around that time as well! The third page of each month is the index page – so a quick way to see what’s in each months issue. :-)

  • Si

    John,

    Just downloaded it, really simple since when you click the geen cross, its already bundled into 4 packages. Presumably you, if so, thanks very much. Thanks for the heads up anyway,

    Rgds,

    SPB

    • http://wargaming.info John

      Hi Si – it may well have saved them – I honestly haven’t looked in that much detail how the Meccano viewer works. Anyway – Enjoy! :-)

  • http://twitter.com/battlegames Henry Hyde

    Thank you so much for posting this, a real treasure trove! I still have a copy of “Battle” signed by Charles Grant himself (though, sadly, not to me) on my shelves along with all my other old school wargaming gems.

    • http://wargaming.info John

      Hi Henry – no worries – I think many of us have treasured memories of CG’s work! And yep it’s great to have both the original magazine series as well as the book – I have never checked exactly how much difference there is in the specific chapters/Sections – but the Magazine Series definitely has more AFAICS.

      Note one of the OSW guys has now compiled all the Parts into a single PDF, and also all CG’s Militaria Wargaming Reviews from the same period – I’ve updated my blog post with the details and direct links to these PDF compilations…

      Keep up the good work with BG Magazine!

  • http://twitter.com/suttonr2002 R Sutton

    John
    This is seriously cool.. Meccano magazine was my first introduction to the hobby (my brothers and I shared a large meccano set and were prolific builders as younger children). My copy of ‘Battle’, and the magazines, still all sit on my shelves and get the occasional nostalgic read.
    Kind regards
    Robin

    • http://wargaming.info John

      Yep – I agree Robin, same for me – apart from David Nash’s Wargames this was the very first regular wargaming stuff I read when I was 9-10 or so years old, and it was after Battle and other articles in Meccano Magazine I discovered Don Featherstone , Charles Grant’s “The War Game”, Terry Wise’s “Introduction To Battle Gaming”, Young & Lawford’s “Charge”, in the later 70’s & first year or so of the 80’s!

      If you have the time and poke around the Meccano site you will find lots of odd and interesting articles on wargaming, models, and so on. And Charles Grant’s regular Militaria review of wargaming models is in most issues around that time as well! The third page of each month is the index page – so a quick way to see what’s in each months issue. :-)

  • Si

    John,
    Just downloaded it, really simple since when you click the geen cross, its already bundled into 4 packages. Presumably you, if so, thanks very much. Thanks for the heads up anyway,
    Rgds,
    SPB

    • http://wargaming.info John

      Hi Si – it may well have saved them – I honestly haven’t looked in that much detail how the Meccano viewer works. Anyway – Enjoy! :-)

  • http://twitter.com/battlegames Henry Hyde

    Thank you so much for posting this, a real treasure trove! I still have a copy of “Battle” signed by Charles Grant himself (though, sadly, not to me) on my shelves along with all my other old school wargaming gems.

    • http://wargaming.info John

      Hi Henry – no worries – I think many of us have treasured memories of CG’s work! And yep it’s great to have both the original magazine series as well as the book – I have never checked exactly how much difference there is in the specific chapters/Sections – but the Magazine Series definitely has more AFAICS.

      Note one of the OSW guys has now compiled all the Parts into a single PDF, and also all CG’s Militaria Wargaming Reviews from the same period – I’ve updated my blog post with the details and direct links to these PDF compilations…

      Keep up the good work with BG Magazine!

  • Pingback: Table Top Teaser Anyone? | Wargaming.info()

  • Tim Marshall

    John, the colour image of Charles Grant above supposedly from the 1980s is in fact from the cover of Battle magazine in the early 1970s.  If you want me to verify, I can have a look for my Battle magazine to give you the exact date.  1980s indeed!

    Tim Marshall ( http://www.ucs.mun.ca/~tmarshal/ )

    • http://wargaming.info John

      Hi Tim – okay thanks I will update – I took the date from the OSW Yahoo Group info. I must confess it is awfully familiar and I do wonder if it was also reproduced in an issue of Military Modelling (incorporating Battle For Wargamers) in the early 1980’s, and that is where the OSW Group sourced it from? But if you can confirm the actual date/issue it appeared on Battle’s cover that would be great.

  • Tim Marshall

    John, I was wrong.  The cover I was thin king of I have in my hands right now and it’s the July 1978 issue.  To add insult to injury, it’s a different picture altogether, though he seems to be wearing similar clothing and carrying some papers and a very similar looking long yellow book.  The explanation of the Battle cover indicates he is judging a table during Salute 1978.

    Sorry for my misunderstanding!

    Tim

    • http://wargaming.info John

      No worries Tim.

  • Paul

    Just discovered this by accident.  I downloaded the full package and skipped to the last chapter to see something new – and realised that I read this article when it was first published, and indeed at the time imitated it.
    We actually fought our outdoor battle in the dark, aided only by small torches (US = flashlights) from ground level to decide if enemy could be spotted.
    Ah, those were the days…

    • http://wargaming.info John

      Hey Paul – in the dark – wow that’s keen… Yep those were the days indeed… My early ‘army men’ style figs saw plenty of Grantesqe action in my Mum’s rock garden and similar, also surviving the trials and tribulations of combat against Tom Thumbs, Po-Ha’s, Big Bangers, and such around Guy Fawkes time each year! :-)

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