Paddy Griffith

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Paddy Griffith (4 February 1947, Liverpool, England – 25 June 2010) was a British military theorist and historian, who authored numerous books in the field of War Studies. He was also a wargame designer for the UK Ministry of Defence, and a leading figure in the wargaming community.

Academic life[edit]

Griffith was a freelance military historian and a prolific author on military history and tactics. He was educated at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, where he obtained a first-class honours degree in Modern History. He was a lecturer and then senior lecturer at RMA Sandhurst from 1973–89.[1][2]

Forward into Battle[edit]

In Forward into Battle: Fighting Tactics from Waterloo to Vietnam (1981), Griffith put forward ideas about the "empty battlefield" or how increased fire-power had led to military formations becoming increasingly disaggregated. The conclusion he drew was that the willingness to close with the enemy was a key factor. It proved to be a highly influential work.[3]


Griffith was the founder of the Wargame Developments Group[4] and SMATS (South Manchester Tactical Society)[5] which is a reincarnation of the Manchester Tactical Society founded by Spenser Wilkinson in the 1880s. He was the author of numerous books in the field of War Studies and a wargame designer for the UK Ministry of Defence.

Wargames Developments and COW[edit]

In 1980 while still a lecturer in War Studies at RMA Sandhurst, organised a conference, "New Directions in Wargaming", held at Moor Park, Farnham, which lasted an entire weekend (23–25 May 1980). He was the primary force behind the foundation of Wargame Developments, a group consisting of professional military personnel, civil servants, educators, and both professional and amateur wargame designers. Since 1981, the Conference of Wargamers (COW)[6] have been held at Knuston Hall Residential College for Adult Education. The typical COW consists of presentations in the form of papers and lectures, workshops, and practical sessions.[7]

Beginning in November 1980, the Wargame Developments group has published a regular journal, The Nugget.[8] Currently there are nine issues distributed annually. It is subscribed to by a wide range of people, including professional military personnel and civilians. Griffith edited the first 15 issues, as well as the 50th.[citation needed]

Griffith is credited with developing the megagame role-playing system.[9]


Griffith died of a heart attack on 25 June 2010, aged 63.



  • French Artillery 1800–1815 (1976)
  • Napoleonic Wargaming for Fun (1980; revised 2008)
  • Forward into Battle: Fighting Tactics from Waterloo to Vietnam (1981)
  • A Book of Sandhurst Wargames (1982)
  • Not Over by Christmas (1983)
  • Wellington-Commander: the Iron Duke's Generalship (1985)
  • Rally Once Again (1986)
  • Battle in the Civil War: Generalship and Tactics in America 1861–65 (1986)
  • Military Thought in the French Army 1815–51 (1989)
  • Battle Tactics of the Civil War (1989) – a revised edition of Rally Once Again that was published in America
  • Armoured Warfare (1990) – Chapter entitled "British Armoured Warfare in the Western Desert 1940–1943"
  • America Invades (1991)
  • How to Play Historical War Council Games (1991)
  • The Ultimate Weaponry (1991)
  • Forward into Battle: Fighting Tactics from Waterloo to the near Future (1992) – a revised edition of Forward into Battle: Fighting Tactics from Waterloo to Vietnam
  • Battle Tactics on the Western Front 1916–18 (1994)
  • The Battle of Blore Heath, 1459 (1995)
  • The Viking Art of War (1995)
  • British Fighting Methods on the Western Front (1996)
  • Verification 1995: Arms Control, Peacekeeping and the Environment (1995) – Chapter entitled "The Body Bag as Deterrent and Peace Dividend"
  • Verification 1996: Arms Control, Peacekeeping and the Environment (1996) – Chapter entitled "The Military Need for Contact Mines"
  • Passchendaele in Perspective: the Third Battle of Ypres (1997) – Chapter entitled "The tactical problem: infantry, artillery and the salient"
  • The Art of War of Revolutionary France, 1789–1802 (1998)
  • British Fighting Methods in the Great War (1998)
  • The Peninsular War: Aspects of the Struggle for the Iberian Peninsula (1998)
  • A History of the Peninsular War, Vol.IX, Modern Studies of the war in Spain and Portugal, 1808–1814 (1999)
  • The Napoleon Options: Alternate decisions of the Napoleonic Wars (2000)
  • Battle Tactics of the American Civil War (2001)
  • Fortifications of the Western Front 1914–18 (2004)
  • The Vauban Fortifications of France (2006)
  • French Napoleonic Infantry Tactics 1792–1815 (2007)
  • World War II Desert Tactics (2008)
  • The Great War on the Western Front: A Short History (2008)
  • Sprawling Wargames Multiplayer Wargaming (2009)


  1. ^ Griifith profile at Archived 4 July 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Tim Gow (25 June 2010). "Megablitz and more: Paddy Griffith". Retrieved 22 April 2014.
  3. ^ Romjue, John L., (1998) American Army Doctrine for the Post-Cold War, Military History Office of the U.S. Army
  4. ^ "Paddy Griffith". 9 July 2010 – via
  5. ^ "SMATS (South Manchester Tactical Society)". Archived from the original on 5 January 2011. Retrieved 14 October 2010.
  6. ^ "Wargame Developments".
  7. ^ "Wargames handbook" (PDF).
  8. ^ "Wargame Developments".
  9. ^ "Megagame Makers".

External links[edit]