DBM (De Bellis Multitudinis) is a set of wargames rules for ancient and medieval armies using model soldiers, usually either 15mm or 25mm scale, with each figure representing about 50 men. The rules were written by Phil Barker and Richard Bodley Scott, were published in 1993 (subsequently revised several times) and gained a world-wide following of several thousand players. There were international championships and many national and local competitions.
The DBM South-West Doubles League grew out of the Shieldwall tournament organised by Keith McGlynn in Berkeley, Glos and Godendag organised by Richard Bodley Scott in Usk, South Wales each year. Those two competitions were joined by others in Clevedon, Somerset (War Cry), Devizes, Wilts (Attack!) and Bath (initially Challenger, then Aquae Sulis). There are trophies for the winners of the individual competitions and also a trophy for the winners of the overall League.
From 2008 the Clevedon and Bath competitions are using different rules. The current League competitions are at Cardiff (January), Corntown, Glamorgan (April), Devizes (July), Hoveton (Norfolk, September) and Frome (October); as this is now the only DBM doubles league in Britain the “South-West” part of the title was dropped from 2013.
A new trophy was introduced in 2005, named the Phil Claxton Memorial Cup in memory of a regular competitor who won the League in 1997 and died tragically young in 2004. The 2020 winners were John Graham-Leigh and Russell King (who won the only doubles competition held that year, the others being cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions); in 2021 there were two doubles competitions and Jeremy Morgan and John Calvert won the League.
The original trophy was presented permanently to Keith Westwood and Phil Reeves, three-time winners.
Besides the 15mm Doubles league, separate competitions using 25mm figures are held each year, currently at Colwall, Herefordshire and Westbury, Wiltshire.
Most players are from South-West England, South Wales and East Anglia, but some travel from other parts of the country. From 2007 numbers have fallen because of competition from other rules sets, but there is still plenty of enthusiasm for DBM.
To learn more about DBM, see the WRG web site at History of Wargames Research Group (wrg.me.uk) and join the DBM discussion group at DBM@groups.io | Home.
Also recommended is the Society of Ancients, which publishes a journal, Slingshot, about ancient and medieval military history and wargaming. See the Society’s web site at Home (soa.org.uk) for details of how to join, and information about competitions and other events including the DBM Doubles League.