Miniature Wargaming Club Leuven
Schild & Vriend

'Schild en Vriend' is an old Flemish battlecry, used in the rebellion of the city of Brugge against the French, May 18, 1302. Legend tells that it was used to differentiate between the French-speaking (who could not pronounce 'schild') and Flemish-speaking citizens. Nowadays, historians tell us that it was probably 'Des Gilden Vriend'.

Raid on Zeebrugge

St. George's Day, 23 April 1918

This game was hosted by Schild en Vriend during Crisis 2001, the annual Flemish wargaming convention hosted by Tin Soldiers Antwerp. The game won the award for best scenery at the show, and was enjoyed by a number of players who participated in the game. The Raid on Zeebrugge follows a tradition of spectacular participation games hosted by Schild en Vriend, which range from Wild West shoot-outs, ACW battles, Ancients and of course Darkest Africa.


Every year, we start by thinking about possible themes for our yearly convention game. We always try to strive for the following criteria: The game has to be based on a historic event, possibly somewhat out of the main interest streams in wargaming; the game needs to have spectacular scenery ; and if possible, it should have some connection to Belgian or Flemish military history.

After some thinking and looking up history books, we came up with the Raid on Zeebrugge. This was a World War 1 commando-action, in which British troops stormed the mole of Zeebrugge (Belgium), and blocking ships were to be placed in the harbour entrance. This all to prevent German submarines for sailing into the Atlantic.

We decided that this game had sufficient elements to provide an interesting convention game.

We will not repeat the entire story of the raid here, but you can find a good history on

Game Design

In reality, the raid on Zeebrugge took place entirely on the mole of the harbour, and the naval blocking action took place in the harbour entrance. We decided early on that this would not produce a very interesting game, so we extended the game to an full invasion, also involving the beaches around Zeebrugge and the harbour itself.

We decided to allow an invasion with landing crafts, maybe somewhat uncharacteristic for WW1, but from a game point-of-view, the correct thing to do (In reality, troops were only put on land through big troop carrying ships on the mole).

We based the layout on maps we found in a number of books covering the raid, and ended up with a wargames table measuring 2x2 meters.  The initial sketches (from which we deviated significantly afterwards) can be seen below.

Overall plan of the gaming table. The mole and village of Zeebrugge are modeled, as well as some fields to allow for infantry firefights.
Plan of the village, which was afterwards modified to suit some more buildings.


The terrain boards were modeled using styrofoam boards, which were plastered with putty, then painted , drybrushed and flocked in various colors.
Buildings are from various manufacturers that produce HO scale accessories for model train layouts.
Figures are  20mm and are from ...
The ships are a mix of pastic toy sets, scratch-built ships from wood, and paper print-outs mounted on foam-board.


These pictures were taken during the convention. Some of them are digitally enhanced (removing borders between terrain boards, removing dice and markers, some lighting effects added).

British troops land on the beaches around Zeebrugge.

Note the use of plastic toy ships for the landing craft.

More landing action on the beaches.

One of the block-ships (scratch-built) steams to the harbour entrance to be scuttled.

Global overview of the game. Note the backdrop with historical information and some photographs of the real action.

Close-up of a fisherman in the harbour bassin. The fishing ships are cheap tourist store items.

WW1 vintage tank aids to the rescue. The bridges are plastic, and from the same playset as the landing craft.

A HO scale train steams by the water-tower.

Troop ships steam to the mole. The photographs are of the ships that took part in the historic battle. We used them to bring a historical graph element in the game.

A lone fisherman.

Action in the built-up area of Zeebrugge harbour,

Another nice overview, with some aid for the German defenders high in the sky.

One of the umpires directing the game.

Another nice view of the gaming table.

The village of Zeebrugge.

Another nice overview of the harbour section and village.

Final shot: more landing action near one of the heavy gun bunkers.

More pictures

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 This page was written by Phil Dutre and is maintained by Bart Vetters
Schild en Vriend Miniature Wargaming Club Leuven