Saturday, 25 April 2009

Captain Sachs, an early pioneer

The recent post of "harmless cannons" from the Gamages' 1914 catalogue, firing amorces (caps) and rubber shells, reminded me of the days of Little Wars when guns like these were fired at serried ranks of Britains' soldiers.

Captain J.C. Sachs was a member of the British Society of Collectors of Model Soldiers (later the BMSS), who championed wargaming within that august body in the 1930s. Captain Sachs devised detailed rules, including those for tanks and machine gun fire, which were published in instalments in the Society's Bulletin. Another member, W R Gordon, had a special room set aside in his house for wargaming, and made it available for the Society's wargaming competition.

Reporting this offer the Bulletin noted that in his room "The scenery is excellent, every possible obstacle and effect, he has all kinds of armies, guns, transport, planes and everything the heart of a War Game player can dream about." A number of people took up this offer and soon a series of games took place, organised as a competition in a number of rounds, until the overall champion should emerge.

This activity was suspended with the advent of the war, although Captain Sachs reported in 1945 to the Society that his War Game had been largely played by ARP Wardens in Bushey during the war years. The War Game competition, which had been held up for six years, ("so rudely interrupted by the late Paperhanger and Brush Artist in 1939", reported the Bulletin), took up where it had let off. Captain Sachs was elected President of the Society for 1948, and at the end of his term was elected their first Life Vice President.

This account has mainly been taken from Multum in Parvo, by Paul H Vickers, the British Model Soldier Society 1935-1995, published in limited edition in 1995, as is the picture of Captain Sachs, above.

Jack Scruby published a shortened version of Captain Sachs' rules in the War Game Digest in Fall 1971. To avoid confusion, this was in a section he called Table Top Talk...

This article is reproduced below

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