Armed Forces Day world record
A war games club in Scarborough which recreates
battle scenarios on giant tables using armies of small figurines,
will be attempting to break a world record as part of Armed Forces
Day this June.
The Scarborough War Games Club will be
co-ordintating 10 battles which were fought during the Peninsular
War of the early 1800s, in a single game at Scarborough’s Spa
Complex, which could see as many as 40,000 figures in play at any
one time – a new record for war gaming says the club.
Among the conflicts to be played out will
be the Battle of Salamanca – fought in 1812 between the
Anglo-Portuguese and Spanish Army under the Duke of Wellington and
French forces under the command of Marshal Auguste Marmont.
Around 13,000 French soldiers lost their
lives against just over 5,000 British and Portuguese soldiers, with
Wellington’s victory paving the way for the liberation of Madrid
for two months before his forces retreated back to Portugal. The
French were forced to abandon Andalusia permanently.
Although war games do not faithfully
recreate battles and their outcomes, players take on the role of
opposing forces and, to a strict set of rules, attempt to out-wit
and out-manoeuvre their opponents.
The Scarborough War Games Club’s staging of
the Battle of Salamanca is likely to feature some 16,000 figures on
a gaming table almost 200 sq ft in size. It, and other more modern
battles, will be fought by war gaming enthusiasts over the weekend
of 25 and 26 June. All of the Peninsular battles will be part of
the world record attempt. However, due to unforeseen circumstances,
some of the clubs which were due to be involved have had to pull
out. Organisers are now looking for other war gamers or clubs to
fill the gap.
Among the enthusiasts heading to
Scarborough will be famous actor and performer Nigel Betts, who has
starred in an impressive amount of productions and shows including
Sharpe, Emmerdale, and Coronation Street.
The weekend itself is being jointly
organised by the Scarborough club and the Loughton Strike Force and
is likely to attract war games enthusiasts from around the country,
who will be bringing set displays and introductory games. There
will also be a trade show on site, offering a variety of the
hobby’s best miniatures and accessories.
Visitors to the Spa will also be encouraged
to get involved in a battle or two, while learning more about the
And money raised from the event will be
donated to the Help for Heroes military charity and the borough’s
own Mayoress’s Community Fund which raises cash for a variety of
good causes in the area.
Kelvin Pickup, who is one of those
organising the war games weekend, hopes it will become an annual
event and more people will be drawn to the hobby.
He said: “To me there’s a lot of appeal.
I’ve been gaming for some 35 years and in that time you learn so
much about history because you have to read and research the
particular battles. There’s a maths element to gaming too, but for
me, the biggest thrill is painting the figures and seeing them
finally set up on the table at the start of a game.
“I hope people who are on the seafront for
Armed Forces Day will come along and join in some of the games and
maybe even join our club, which currently has 28 members.”
As many as 10,000 people are expected on
Foreshore Road for the town’s third annual Armed Forces Day on
Saturday 25 June, with a display by The Blades aeronautical team
and a Lancaster Bomber flypast among the highlights.
There will also be a veterans’ parade along
the seafront and a host of stalls, events and activities aimed at
all the family.
This year’s event is being hosted and organised by Scarborough
Borough Council, in partnership with the Heroes Welcome initiative,
South Bay Traders Association, Royal British Legion, SSAFA Forces
Help and the RNLI, with financial support from local businessman
Don Robinson’s Winston Churchill’s Britain at War Experience in
London, the Ministry of Defence and the borough council.