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Last Updated: Monday, 20 August 2007, 15:17 GMT 16:17 UK
Nazi board games under the hammer
The games were aimed at German children as young as four

A collection of Nazi era board games - including one where players are given points for bombing British cities - are being auctioned in the UK this week.

The rare trove of wartime board games also includes a version of Snakes and Ladders based on the exploits of U-boat captain Gunther Prien.

The games are thought to have come from a German collector. They will be sold at Mullock's Shropshire on Thursday.

Historian Richard Westwood-Brookes expects some to fetch up to 300.

Sinking battleships

Mr Westwood-Brookes said the games were a rare find.

"It's just like with children's books, the same reason rare children's books go for big prices - children aren't very good at taking care of things.

"And it wouldn't have done you much good after the war to have had these things lying around."

The games include Bombers Over England, a form of bagatelle or primitive pinball where players score points for "bombing" British cities, shipping or lighthouses.

Another, based on Snakes and Ladders, sees players take their U-boats from a German port to the Royal Navy base at Scapa Flow, sink British warships and try to make it back home.

German paratrooper game box detail

Another is a game where players drop weighted paratroopers onto a representation of the English countryside.

The games are all in good but used condition, Mr Westwood-Brookes said. "You can be confident kids in Germany in the early 1940s were playing these games."

He added: "They say a lot about the Nazis, and about the German regime. Our kids were still playing trains and Meccano and hopscotch and things like that.

I managed to knock out London, Glasgow and Liverpool - and a ship in the North Sea
Richard Westwood-Brookes

"These show how the Nazis were determined that children as young as four or five needed to get into the swing of things."

Under German law, items from the Third Reich period are unable to be sold in the country.

The games also include one possibly made in liberated Belgium in late 1944, where players throw crude darts at a board denoting German cities and representations of the Nazi regime. The bullseye is Adolf Hitler.

Mr Westwood-Brookes admitted to playing the Bombers over England game.

"And I managed to knock out London, Glasgow and Liverpool - and a ship in the North Sea," he said.




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