Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Remembrance - some somewhat disjointed thoughts

They went with songs to the battle, 
They were young.
Straight of limb, true of eyes, 
Steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end 
Against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

I'll be honest: I actually prefer the above verse of Binyon's "For The Fallen" to the one most often quoted: it seems to me to speak more of the courage of those we remember.

I often wonder, as a wargamer, how our hobby is viewed by those outside, quite aside from the whole 'playing with toy soldiers' view, that is. Particularly as a historical gamer. Do we disrespect the sacrifices made, and the general horror of war, by turning it into a game? 

And yet?

Pretty much every historical gamer on the list of blogs I follow regularly marked yesterday with a respectful, considered post. Since I picked up the hobby again, it has made me read more, learn more, about the experiences and deeds of men in combat from all theatres and eras of war, than I did in the decades previous. And I'm pretty sure that's true for most of the others, too.

7 comments:

  1. Mike,I have got far more out of reading of the human side conflicts, so get where you are there.

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  2. Serious wargaming is one of the few ways of learning about war without doing it. It teaches -- at least, it taught me -- that even a total victory has a human cost, and that every option that doesn't lead to violence is worthy of consideration.

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  3. I think perhaps as gamers, with an interest in history, we are probably far more understanding of the sacrifices made by our fallen , than the general public... if you had asked my wife, before she met me, the significance of places such as Normandy, or Gallipoli, she would have looked at you blankly... at least now, having heard me blabber on about them, she has some idea...

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  4. I think it's the reading about the conflicts that comes with wargaing rather than wargaming itself that makes us more aware and respectful of the sacrifices of both the fallen and those who survive

    Ian

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  5. Through war gaming and reading history I have gained a lot of knowledge. I can reel off facts, figures, stats and re-hash battles for hours on end. The most important thing I have learned is that I know nothing of war, nothing about what it means to fight in a war and that getting that understanding involves a price no one should have to pay. To be sure during my brief time in uniform I would have gone to war willingly but I am very, very glad I didn't have to.

    Some wargamers have served and have my respect for doing so. The majority of other wargamers of my acquaintance also seem to understand they know nothing of the reality war and that sets us apart from the rest of the population.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, I think that's fair -- I know enough to know how much I don't know (and, frankly, don't particularly want to).

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