Saturday, January 12, 2019

Bird's Eye View Battle Maps

Battle of Bladensburg.

   Back when I was younger (1970's) one of my favorite books was the National Geographic History of the American Revolution.  It was not the text that grabbed me.  It was a quiant series about a family visiting battle fields at the correct  time of year as a fun family outing.  Something about the father in a coat and tie  struck me as off.  No it was the wonderful battle maps that still to this day hold my fascination.  These were bird eye views of the battlefield with soldiers fighting it out.  Incredibly detailed, they made the complicated actions understandable. They also made me run  to the local hobby story to buy boxes of Airfix soldiers and try and fight out these encounters.  These were one of the things which set me on my life long hobby of miniature  wargaming.

Since then I have wondered who  the artist was who did these works of art.  I also stumbled on similar works but with slightly different techniques.  Thankfully the internet has come to my assistance and I finally have some answers;  and evan more questions.  Here are the four artists who's battle maps have fascinated and inspired me.  In addition I will include blog and internet addresses of my sources so you know where I came about this information and who came up with this research.  It is important to give credit to those who did the work.

Bunker Hill

Richard Schlecht

   It was the work of Richard Schleht which first inspired me.  His original works appeared in the National Geographic book.  I still have the book.  Richard is still working and some of his art (including battle maps) can be found in the War of 1812 book,  "In Full Glory Reflected."

Breed's Hill redoubt

Fighting along the rail fence

Charlestown burning.

Fighting in Barber's Wheatfield
 2nd Saratoga

Balcarries Redoubt.

Breymann Redoubt.

Arnold at the Redoubt.

Battle of North Point.

   As an aside back when I worked for the National Park Service I did a research project for National Geographic.  They were happy with my work, but I had to decline the check they offered me for my work due to ethics laws.  Instead, they sent me as a present (which I could acept) a 8 x 10 copy of Richard Schlecht 's battle maps from the book.  These sit by my painting table.

Battle of Trenton.

American Artillery at Trenton

   More on Richard Schlecht and his life can be seen at

David Greenspan
   If you are a American Civil War buff you have seen David Greenspan 's battle maps. They were originally published by American Heritage in a general history written by Bruce Cantton.   These maps have been reprinted in a new book.  I have found little information about David Greenspan except that he died at a very early age. While most of his works are of American Civil War battkes, I have seen a few details of American Rev War works in the internet.  If anyone has more information about these, or know where the entire picture can be see please let me know.

A detail from his Battle of Saratoga.

For more information please see:

Brian Kammerer
   Is a new artist who I think has taken the art to a new level. His works are only concerned with the American Civil War.  But he has improved on the art of his predecessors.  His work is brilliant.  He has done various stages of battles rather then the entire action at one go.  I can only hope that some day he can be persuaded to branch out to the American Rev War or War of 1812.
Please visit his web site at;

Gerald Embelton
   Did the excellent battle map that serves as a header to this article.  It appears to be a one off and was done for the National Park Service.  If he has done more please let me know.

   So there you have it. All I have pulled together concerning this usual art.  Should anyone out there have any information or facts I have missed please write to me!  I hope you have enjoyed this trip down memory lane for me.


  1. A great posting Mark. You do a great credit to the authors.
    I found the maps of Bladensburg and North Point particularly useful in building the war gaming terrain for these two battles.

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  3. rrossJanuary 12, 2019 at 12:08 PM
    I remember we had some old copies of National Geographic when I was young and one of them had The Battle of Gettysburg in it - same wonderful maps, they folded out so they were a double or maybe even triple page - must have been the same guy as they were exactly the same style as these examples Mark - and they had a similar effect on me (sorry, noticed a dumb typo in my first post!)

  4. My favourite is the National Geographic Gettysburg series from the July 1963 edition. It was in part my inspiration of ACW gaming way back in the early 1970s. I aleays thought that if I could get hold of a couple of mint condition copies they would frame up beautifully.

  5. Those are lovely. Have you looked at Peter dennis’s work in Battle in the American Civil War?

  6. Most beautiful and realistic views...excellent!

  7. Great stuff! The American Heritage ACW book is a favorite of mine.

  8. Fantastic art work Mark...
    Thank you for sharing.

    All the best. Aly

  9. Thanks Mark. I fell in love with the American Heritage ACW maps in the Catton book as well.

  10. Hi Mark,
    Fantastic site!
    Do you know of any Rev War Bird's eye views of the Battles of: Camden, Cowpens,Guilford Courthouse, Eutaw Springs,
    Hobkirk's Hill, or Kings Mountain?
    Thank You.

    John Kevil