Sunday, 4 July 2010

Griffith At Gettysburg

The late Dr Paddy Griffith is one of the key individuals behind my enduring (but largely unfulfilled) interest in the ACW. His books are fascinating but, long before i had read any of them, he took part in the first ACW game i witnessed (albeit via the TV screen) - the game played during the Gettysburg episode of Battleground. I remember the game looked spectacular and it was the terrain in particular that really struck me as something to aspire to. And wargaming was now on TV, presented by a famous actor, so it was clearly a serious adult pastime worthy of the many hours i was destined to devote to it in the coming decades....oh yes....

Despite playing with 'his toys, his terrain, and with his rules' Peter Gilder was given a sound thrashing by the other PG as they played out a highly condensed Gettysburg scenario. After winning a largely irrelevant cavalry melee on his left flank Gilder made his main thrust in the centre - Griffith's front line was brushed aside as Gilder's Rebs won the heights but his elation was to be short lived as he was then confronted by Griffith's reserve ('the Iron Brigade armed with breechloaders') and hit by enfilading artillery. A couple of moves later Gilder's centre was in tatters with his infantry brigades either dead or fleeing and the game was up.

Incidentally, the terrain was the same board used in the Callan movie, although by the time Battleground was recorded Edward Woodward had purchased it from Gilder.

The 'high point of the Confederacy' - Gilder's Rebs crest Cemetery Ridge but are shot to pieces by Griffith's reserve infantry and supporting artillery.

Not only did Griffith take part in one episode but he was also a Historical Consultant (along with Dr David Chandler and Charles Wesencraft) to the series. At this point in his career Griffith was Senior Lecturer at Sandhurst, where he also ran the wargame group.

Thanks to some very generous individuals i am slowly pulling together more information and images, so i hope to post more on Battleground in due course.


Anonymous said...


Surely somebody somewhere has this series on tape and can tansfer it to UTube or similar !!!???


tonydillon said...

I'll second that..I've never seen the Battleground series.

Robert (Bob) Cordery said...

IT would be a great way to remember Paddy if the tapes could be made available in some way. I know that efforts have been made to find any in the past, but so far the search has come up blank.

DC said...


A couple of years ago a chap enquired at ITV - he was told that the show did exist in the archives and that they would run off a copy for any individual who was prepared to pay the approriate fee (at the time that was in the 100s of pounds). Of course this would be a 'private use only' copy - not for resale, copying, etc. When i make my first million i intend to license the series from ITV and make it available...unfortunately i can't guarantee that'll happen!

Ross Mac said...

I presume this is the same Gettysburg terrain and troops that features in the coffee table book "The Wargame"?

DC said...


I don't think so - the terrain was purpose built for the Callan movie (1974, so 2 years after the book was published). Many of the figures may well be the same but would appear to have been rebased (again, for Callan?) for a more pleasing 'scenic' effect. Cheers.

Mike Siggins said...

That response in full:

""Thank you for your e-mail. We have all 6 programmes in deep storage in Leeds but the series has never been commercially available to purchase, I'm afraid. To buy individual copies for private viewing would prove very expensive to you, the standard transfer charge per
programme to VHS or DVD is £58.75 (£50.00 plus VAT). By way of
explanation, the charge includes the research and handling by the
library, the engineer's time, the machine time and the administration
(including postage and packing). We are able to supply you with a DVD set at the standard transfer charge of £58.75 (£50+VAT) per programme; £352.50 in total."

Anonymous said...

would it be possible to form an interested group - advertising in all the usual press and websites to try and get this sorted out at a cheaper price per set? there must be enough people interested in seeing them, and I would love to see them again!