New Zealander Recreates “Battle of the Marne” Atop Three Massive Tables!

New Zealander and war gaming enthusiast Robert Dunlop recreates the ‘Battle of the Marne’, the decisive battle that became WWI’s turning point, on top of three huge tables. 

Mr. Dunlop is joined by some of his friends in this extraordinary feat. For his ‘Battle of the Marne’ recreation, the gaming aficionado used over 10,000 six-millimeter figures each painstakingly painted to correctly represent each of the regiments who fought in the said battle.

Among his mini-figures are the Cuirassiers and the French infantry who still wore red pantaloons to battle, rallied behind officers with drawn swords all the while carrying their unfurled banner with a drummer boy following behind during the early days of WWI. He also has a massive number of German artillery – 400 stands in counting – to represent the power the Allies were going against during the Battle of the Marne. The German artillery stands are also a blunt reminder of the firepower the two warring sides deployed during the said campaign.

Inspiration Behind the Miniature Battle of the Marne

Robert Dunlop was inspired to recreated ‘The battle of the Marne’ because of the stories he heard from his grandfather.

According to him, as a little boy, he would often sit on his grandfather’s feet as he recounted the events of the war. Nevertheless, the old man always used a third person’s point of view in his stories giving out a hint that there was something terrible in that war that he didn’t want to dwell upon.

Robert Dunlop had to go through five years of meticulous investigation and planning before he, and his team of friends, was able to bring back the ‘Battle of the Marne’ back to life, though, in a miniature display.

But why this particular struggle?

Mr. Dunlop pointed out that the ‘Battle of the Marne’ really lived up to its other name — the ‘Miracle of the Marne’. The Germans were relentless in their assaults against the combined forces of the British and the French in their want to capture Paris. After days of demoralizing retreat, the Allies did a surprising counterattack that took the Germans off guard. That, finally, led to their defeat.

Scene from the 1st Battle of the Marne, also known as the Miracle of the Marne.
Scene from the 1st Battle of the Marne, also known as the Miracle of the Marne.

Mr. Dunlop further added that seeing the whole ‘Battle of the Marne’ laid out, one’s mind couldn’t really conceive how the ‘Miracle of the Marne’ happened. But it did. Aside from these, his desire to recreate the battle is partly because it was a turning struggle within WWI.

Up to that point, all the French and British did was to retreat. Besides, it was the campaign that saved France, Mr. Dunlop said.

This month, Mr. Dunlop’s mini ‘Battle of the Marne’ will be moved from the chateau in Dormans – where he assembled it – to the battle’s official memorial chapel in the said town. It will coincide with the town of Dormans’ commemoration of the ‘Battle of the Marne’ which will be marked with a reenactment of the epic campaign.

Aside from the this particular battle, Robert Dunlop also plans to do miniatures of the other key points of the Great War like the Somme and the Passchendaele.

Heziel Pitogo

Heziel Pitogo is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE