Sunday 27 November 2022

Battlefield Tours: Are they of value to the wargamer?

Are battlefield tours of value to the wargamer? And what is your favorite? 


  1. Yes, undoubtedly seeing the field of battle is incredibly useful. I've been lucky to charge up Senlac Hill in a mail coat. Only then do you appreciate why William found the Saxons a hard nut to crack.

    1. I was out of breath and that was in light summer clothing, let alone a mail coat. As I said, from the top it doesn't look that much, its only at the bottom of the hill that you realise its a significant defensive position.

  2. To help bring context into my understanding of a battle, absolutely. Only by walking the ground does one gain an appreciation for the challenges faced by our historical counterparts.

    Favorite battlefield walk? This is a hard one. Each walk offers a unique experience.
    Favorite battlefield walk = Antietam
    Favorite battlefield walk personal story = San Martino
    Best guided tour = First and Second Manassas.
    Best walk for putting historical accounts into context = Mule Shoe Salient at Spotsylvania

    I could go on...

    1. Great list and all for different reasons.

    2. Depends on the company doing the tour and the guide.... In the main Yes. But one beach tour in Normandy .. oh dear, he didn't even know why the beach partitions were Red, White & Green.

    3. Scarlet, it does depend upon the quality of the tour, no doubt. The guided tour of First and Second Manassas listed above was presented by a Manassas park ranger from the National Park Service who knew the battlefields like the back of his hand.

  3. Definitely a useful thing to do as a wargamer, as well as being interesting. Getting a feel for visibility is one big point.
    Similar story to your Hastings one. 20 years ago I visited Suomenlinna, an 18th century fortress on an island off Helsinki. I heard two American ladies talking about "that dungeon down there". "Oh no, that's not a dungeon, it's a casemate. It was used for sheltering from bombardment or for storing ammunition close to the bastion, or even a safe way to get from A to B," says I. "Gee* your English is really good!" "I am English". "Oh, how long have you worked here? Do you have to speak multiple languages as a guide?" "Ah, sorry, I don't work here. I'm just a military history geek." 😄
    * American tourists have to say 'gee' in stories.

  4. As someone who conducts battlefield tours from Medieval to WW2 in Normandy, Brittany and Pays de Loire they really help people understand the battle or siege better. The distances involved and the landscape. I feel it helps with our understanding of the commander and the lay of the ground, and how important terrain can be.

    All the best keep up the great work

    French Wargame Holidays
    “Walk the battlefield in the morning, Wargame in the afternoon”


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