Saturday, 17 January 2009

Table Top Battles - An early edition? - Wargamer identified as Professor Gerard de Gre

Thanks to some excellent research by Mike Elliott, the gentleman in question has been identified as being Professor Gerard de Gre. In his email to me Mike wrote the following:

The photograph appears on page 19 of issue 85 (April 1969) of WARGAMERS

The caption reads: Prof. Gerard de Gre of Waterloo, war-game hobbyist, checks the range of the French batteries at Chatelet in the simulated battle of Waterloo.

This is followed by an article:

WARGAMER OF THE MONTH – Prof. Gerard de Gre

Prof. Gerard de Gre, a University of Waterloo department head has been a wargamer since the Second World War and finds his hobby completely absorbing.

He credits his instruction in working out tactical problems to his training as a naval officer in the United States Navy, and to LITTLE WARS by H. G. Wells with sparking his interest in wargames as a hobby.

Prof. de Gre now owns more than 5,000 miniature soldiers as well as other battle equipment: ships, planes, Egyptian war elephants used in 1000BC. He has as well a large collection of books on the history of battles, uniforms worn during particular periods of history and many, many books on rules of wargames.

Thus far he has discovered about six other wargamers in his area and spends a couple of evenings a week playing wargames with them. Prof. de Gre maintains the wargame is similar to chess, but in chess the entire game is pure logic, whereas in wargames there is logic plus an element of chance.

Prof. de Gre has miniatures to simulate battles from the time of Cleopatra to the Arab-Israeli war. He says, that if he does have a favourite period, it is probably the late 18th and early 19th century. It was during this period that the highest degree of professionalism was reached.

Recently, Gerard de Gre wrote to the Newsletter: "We have an action group at Waterloo. On Monday this week we re-did the Battle of Waterloo in sixteen moves. Napoleon won only by a small margin, being stopped by Uxbridge and Hill when practically in Waterloo and the road to Brussels. (Four players took part)"
Mike, many thanks for this information. I hope that Professor de Gre is still alive and enjoying his wargaming.


  1. I'd give my eye teeth to know what rules he was using!

  2. So would I!

    It looks very interesting. The article that accompanied the original image is not, however, of any help in discovering more about the rules that he used, and an Internet search has not so far thrown up any further clues.

  3. Bob - according to Google it looks like the eminent professor was at the Univeristy of Waterloo in Ontario Canada (not Belgium as I assumed!) According to this site: 1985 he was awarded the "SILVER BADGE OF SERVICE. Awarded to members of The Monarchist League of Canada who have made a significant contribution to the League's work at a Branch or community level, or in a specific area of service. Only exceptionally will a Badge be awarded an incumbent Officer." It indicates that he has/had deceased...

    This makes reference to some of his wargame work - more role playing though...

    ...lots of socilogical references if you Google "Gerard de Gre" (with the quotes)

  4. Steve,

    I got the sort of results when I did a trawl through the Internet using GOOGLE.

    I have now asked the members of THE MINIATURES PAGE if they can shed any further light on the work done by the professor.


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