Kalisz 1706 is a strange epilogue to the GNW Saxon Campaign or a prologue to the Russian Campaign. It will field a significant amount of bases with 6mm minatures (close to 200 bases counting leaders and artillery, a total of over 1,700 miniatures). It will have a large amount of Polish Pancerni and Hussars as well as a significant contingent of Russian Cossacks, Kalmucks and Dragoons supporting the Saxon cavalry force. A very small Swedish contingent (in relative terms) with an infantry section consisting of a large portion of prisoners of war from the Fraustadt Battle and with very few indelta regiments overall, supported by a Polish-Lithuanian contingent that historically were eager to fight but withdrew after the first enemy push.
This Battle (link to Wikipedia entry here) that was part of the Great Northern War is not very known as the outcome did not make a significant impact on the overall war. It is an interesting event in several ways:
Augustus the Strong (Electorate of Saxony) had agreed to a peace treaty with the Swedes following the decisive victory at Fraustadt 1706 followed by the Swedish crown army invading Saxony. But Augustus did not tell his Russian ally and instead tried to get the Swedish General Mardefelt to retreat to save his own face. The Battle was therefore unnecessary and considering an estimated 5,000 men died in the process it seems pointless.
The battle includes a lot of different fighting forces – Saxons, Russians, Swedish-Finnish, 2 Polish contingents (one on each side), Lithuanians, Kalmucks and Cossacks. It creates a very “colourful” table.
The Poles on the Swedish side fled the battle on the enemy side advancing although they had given assurances they would stay and fight to the last drop of blood. The Poles, whose country had been torn apart by the war, were perhaps not as motivated as those famous winged hussars who saved the day in Vienna 1683 or invigorated by the warrior spirit like the Polish soldiers who held back the Wehrmacht for 3 days at the Battle of Wizna 1939, when they were fighting 40-1 (Which incidentally is one of the best early Sabaton songs, you can find here), neither did they show the prowess nor resolve of the brave Poles of the No. 303 Polish Fighter Squadron that fought the Germans in the Battle of Britain 1940. There is no question about the quality of the Polish soldier throughout history – however during this conflict their heart was certainly not in it.
I presented this battle with Nick Dorrell and his merry men from the Wyre Forest Wargames Club at the Joy of Six in 2014. We applied to run it at Salute in 2017 and we got the acceptance letter this week. The Battle will be presented on a 8 by 4 feet table and there will be a lot of bases on it. Models by Baccus from the GNW codes apart from the Kalmucks that are made from the ancient/ rome’s enemies Hun range.
We got a positive mention by Neil Shuck (Famous for running Saga Games in 6mm at Joy of Six amongst other things and perhaps slightly more famous for the Meeples and Miniatures Podcast) in the Miniatures Wargames Magazine (September 2014) for the Kalisz Battle, who said “It’s a shame that it won’t be touring other UK shows, as this is a fantastic example of what can be achieved in this small scale. Not so much a war game as a work of art.”
[Note: However, he did not get the name of the battle or the year of the battle right in the article. 😉 ]
Salute, as you may know, is the biggest wargames show in the UK (you can read all about it here) and we have been “showing off” before as I and Nick presented a table with the Fraustadt 1706 battle in 2014. So if you are going there come and say hello. We will be presenting this as a Polemos (GNW)/Twilight of the Sun King Battle.
I will provide some more detailed photos of the various elements after I have found them and dusted them off.
Kalisz Summary Forces
Swedish Force (excluding command bases and artillery)
Polish – 22 cavalry bases (60X30mm bases, with 9 cavalry models on each)
Lithuanians – 11 cavalry bases (60X30mm bases, with 9 cavalry models on each)
Swedish Infantry – 6 infantry bases (60X30mm bases, with 24 infantry models on each)
Swedish Cavalry – 15 cavalry bases (60X30mm bases, with 9 cavalry models on each)
Saxon/Russian Force (excluding command bases and artillery)
Polish – 36 cavalry bases (60X30mm bases, with 9 cavalry models on each)
Saxon – 22 cavalry bases (60X30mm bases, with 9 cavalry models on each)
Russian – 36 cavalry bases (60X30mm bases, with 9 cavalry models on each)
Kalmucks – 22 light horse bases (60X60mm bases, with 8 cavalry models on each)
Cossacks – 14 light horse bases (60X60mm bases, with 8 cavalry models on each)
We were blessed with the presence of Amon Amarth in London on Friday last week as part of their Jomsviking European Tour – it was a very good show and awoke those old Scandinavian rhythms inside. We, I and the Beautiful One, missed the first support band but managed to see most of Testament – a band from my youth who sounded as good as ever! – it was a fantastic evening. Thank you Amon Amarth!
Mounted Norwegians for the Great Northern War
A while ago I re-read the eminent “Notes on the Norwegian Army 1700-1720” by Daniel A. Schorr and got inspired to do a few bases of Norwegian cavalry and infantry [the booklet, in PDF form, used to be available on-line in the past but I can not located it anymore]. I got about halfway in painting a fair few bases of dragoons and infantry a few months back so I thought it was time to get these finalised and completed a few of the bases. I used Baccus Russian GNW Dragoons for these mixed with a few WSS cavalry (not the latest re-sculpts). These are suppose to represent the units at around 1701. In addition to the Schorr piece I used “Tacitus” eminent page on Norwegian units as a painting guide (you can find it here). Notes from his page are included in italics below.
Fölckersamb Dragon regiment
1701 The national [skrevne] companies had blue coats with lining and trimming in white, and the enlisted [geworbne] companies had blue coats with lining and trimming in green. [I painted the saddle details etc. in blue with white/green trim].
Sehested Rytter regiment
1701 The regiment would continue to wear light grey coats with red lining after the reorganization to dragoons. [I painted the saddle details etc. in red with white trim. The regiment was re-organized in 1701 but I base them as if they were normal horse].
This week I will finish some of the infantry and tidy up these a little bit. Yes I know I ought to work on the big TMT project but I just needed to get these out of the way. I am tempted to do some dismounted dragoon bases as well to complement these – but let us get some overall progress on the other stuff first.
Here is a painting guide for Norwegian Infantry with some colours to use as well. I do the flags about 8mm high for my 6mm miniatures. Cut them out and stick them together with PVA glue around the flagpole, add some paint when dry if required – I suppose you know the drill.
I just finished listening to Braddock’s Defeat on Audible and ended up buying the physical book as well from Amazon as a reference copy. This is an amazing piece of work by David Preston and I have not had so much enjoyment (reading a book on Military History) since I read Oskar Sjöström’s Fraustadt 1706: ett fält färgat rött. The Fraustadt book unfortunately, as is the case for a lot of Great Northern War literature, is not available in English. But I digress…
If you are familiar with the French Indian War period of history you will have heard about the British General Braddock leading a expeditionary force, in 1755, through Pennsylvania to attack the French Fort Duquesne on the forks of the Ohio River. A smaller French Canadian force, led by the French Captain Beaujeu and supported by native Indian Tribes, had decided to seek battle before the British arrived to the fort and encountered and attacked the British at Monongahela (about 10 miles from what is now Pittsburgh). It was the French Canadian resolve and ability to quickly get organised and use the terrain efficiently in applying woodland tactics that won the day.
“Historians have generally ignored French and Native perspectives on the 1755 campaign. The French were outnumbered, outgunned, and faced crippling supply problems in their Ohio Valley posts. They despaired of their inability to halt or slow Braddock’s relentless march. However, convoys of French reinforcements led by a veteran officer, Captain Beaujeu, came to Fort Duquesne after an epic 700-mile voyage from Montreal, arriving only a few days before the fateful battle at the Monongahela. …..
A newly discovered French account from the Archives du Calvados transforms our understanding of French and Native American leadership and tactics at the Battle of the Monongahela. The French commander, Captain Beaujeu, sent out Native scouts who brought him exact intelligence on the location and disposition of the British. Dividing his force into three parallel columns, Beaujeu organized a frontal attack on the British column with his Canadian troops. He instructed the Indians to spread out in the woods on the right and the left, and to withhold their fire until he had engaged the British. The Monongahela was neither a meeting engagement nor an ambush, but a well-planned and executed French and Indian attack on a vulnerable British column. “
Ten questions about Braddock’s Defeat by David L. Preston, accessible here.
I really enjoy the story telling aspect of real history and to paraphrase Dan Carlin, “it has destroyed fiction for me” (go and listen to one of his Hardcore History Shows if you have not done so yet!, here is a link). However being factual, intellectual and educational does not need to be boring and can instead be truly inspirational and that is this book in a nutshell. If you have any interest in the period, or military history in general, I suggest you get hold of this one.
I think a lot can be done with the skirmish rules I have (i.e. Sharp Practice, Musket and Tomahawks and Songs of Drums and Tomahawks) but for the “larger” battles I am not sure what good rulesets are there that captures the flavour of not just the period but in the particular way the war was fought in this theatre. But then this was only a small diversion!
Crystal Palace and that very famous Battle
I was intending to spend the day at SELWG (South East London Wargames Group) show in Crystal Palace today, but the little one had his first rugby festival for the season and luckily, because I would be a really sad bastard otherwise, I actually prefer to see him play rather than going to a wargames show. As it is very close to where we live we ended up going for the last 45 minutes on our way home – but the last part of a wargames show is very often like drinking a pint of lager that was poured two hours ago. I did not take any pictures of the tables on offer, but there seemed to be a good collection – a nice ancient game with loads of pikes and a Doctor Who game caught my eye. Next weekend (on both Saturday and Sunday) is the big event at Battle with the 950th Anniversary re-enactment of the Battle of Hastings. We are looking forward to this.
Supporting Cast, Real Estate and Markers
I decided to spend the little time I had available for diversions this week finalising as much of the painting as I could for the initial Sharp Practice stuff – so I and the little one could play a proper game in a not too distant future. This, instead of getting diverted spending hours gluing small strips of spaghetti like last week (see my last blog entry here) I actually managed to get some of the more immediate and necessary stuff completed.
I was thinking about a scenario with the characters from a famous movie set during the French Indian War – and did the three little chaps below. / Until next
This rather long post officially closes the Lesnaya series that will be merged into the TMT series. I, Nick Dorrell and the very decent chums of the Wyre forest wargames club will be doing three battles (2 that took place and one that could have been) from the Great Northern War covering the, from a Swedish perspective, ill-fated Russian campaign 1708 to 1709. I will provide a brief overview here and on how many bases and figures we need for the project – there will be more historical background as we get into these projects in more detail. There is a lot to do. The Battles will be presented at the Joy of Six Shows 2017, 2018 and 2019.
I plan to do an update every 4 weeks on this particular project. I do try to update this blog on a weekly basis with other stuff I am working on or something else that takes my fancy. If you are interested in following this blog you could register your e-mail here or like the Roll a One group on Facebook or, if you prefer, come back from time to time.
Basing and Rules
As I already have thousands of 6mm GNW miniatures from previous projects I will base these new miniatures in the same way. This is in line with the GNW Polemos basing standard for 6mm figures and is done on bases measuring 60mm by 30mm. However these bases have been used to play with other good rules including Maurice (using two bases per unit which makes the column formation look funny but works), Might and Reason (the standard is two bases 50mm by 25mm per unit) and Twilight of the Sun King without any problems. There are of course other rules that can be used for the period and invariably rules, I have found, can be adapted to whatever basing you have. None of these rules are 6mm specific – so other scales works equally well. There are few things to consider when wargaming the early 18th century period in general and the Great Northern War in particular.
For Maurice there are some additional rules about more immobile artillery and pikes that needs to be included in a GNW setting and if you are using Might and Reason make sure you download the excellent (and free) module Sun King – A Module for Might and Reason 1689 to 1721 by Greg Savvinos. This module contains special rules for the Swedes as shock troops (see notes below). I think the following from the module is a spot on summary of the Swedish Army and the King from a period of history that produced some amazing military victories for the Swedish army but also its greatest defeat.
“The Swedish army of the GNW was a formidable combination of regular and militia that had been forged together to form a devastating battle field force that was able to sweep its enemies from many a battlefield. One of the great strengths of the Swedish army was the capable team of leaders it fielded, headed by the soldier king Charles XII. Unfortunately whilst Charles was a brilliant battlefield commander, he was less than mediocre as a strategist or diplomat and ultimately led his country to disaster at Poltava. The Swedish Army never recovered from that catastrophe and the rest of the war marked a steady decline in its quality. Yet Charles was willing to keep fighting to the last Swede, and very nearly did so by the time he was felled by a bullet fired from the Swedish lines whilst besieging a Norwegian fortress in 1718”.
From the Might and Reason supplement “Sun King – A module for might and Reason 1689 to 1721” by Greg Savvinos
Whilst the Great Northern war was the twilight of the Swedish Great Empire it was the dawn of the Tsarist Russian empire. I have to admit a bias in being Swedish but that does not blind me from the skillful and cautious build up and modernisation of the Russian army following the defeat at Narva in 1700. On top of the organisational changes the army had gained valuable experience from the smaller campaigns in the Baltic States and Finland. The skillful strategy adopted by the Russians during the Russian Campaign itself by using scorched earth tactics (as was later used against Napoleon and Adolf Hitler) and the successful ambush on the reinforcement supply column are amongst some of the reasons that the Battle at Poltava ended in a total disaster for the Swedes. Peter, who truly was Great, more or less on his own moved Russia from being a medieval and isolated culture to become a major european power with a strong army and navy. The Russian army fighting the Swedish army during the Russian campaign is a better trained and more experienced force.
I find this essay on Peter the Great being a good summary of his achievements. I further recommend the brilliant book by Robert K. Massie on Peter the Great if you are interested in this period of history.
Sam Mustafa, who wrote Maurice (and Might and Reason), provided the following guidelines on his Honours forum for the national advantages to be used in Maurice for early 18th century battles (for both WSS and GNW – I have just included the ones relevant to the GNW):
Swedish: a la Baionette, Steady Lads, Cavaliers, Clerics, Maison du Roi, Great Captain if Charles XII is in command
Danish: Lethal Volleys
Prussian: Steady Lads, Lethal Volleys.
Saxon/ Polish: Feudal if the army includes Poles.
Russian 1695-1702: Feudal, At least half the regular units must be conscript. Russian 1703-1707: Maison du Roi, Feudal Russian 1708-1724: Steady Lads, Maison du Roi
Ottomans: Feudal, Skirmisher, En Masse. No more than four regular Cavalry. At least 3 regular infantry must be conscript.
I think this is a good interpretation and the clerics represent the strong religious indoctrination of the Swedish army. Priests and religion were central to the Swedish Army’s development of the discipline needed to successfully implement the offensive tactics.
“Morale and discipline unites them
A common faith to keep them strong
Always on their way to heaven
In the name of Christ their enemies chastise”
You can find a link to the GNW Polemos rules here written by Nick Dorrell. Nick, amongst other things, is also working on a new version/adapatation of the Twilight of the Sun King rules for this period but these are not yet in print.
Whatever rules you are using for this period and the specific theater of war in the east in summary you need to consider some issues special to this theatre:
The use of pikes – The normal pike to musket ratio in the Swedish army was about 1 to 3 and for the Russian about 1 to 6 for the period leading up to and including the Russian campaign.
Swedish shock tactics – The use of shock tactics by the Swedish Army, both by the infantry (with pikes and swords) and cavalry (with naked steel and wedge formation charges). These attacks focusing on speed and aggression took advantage of the, still, relatively low firing rates and expected the enemy to waver and flee, which indeed happened on may occasions. I and the little one was once charged by a band of reenacting English Civil War pike men and it was indeed a scary experience.
Swedish Determination – The effectiveness of the Swedish army who seemed to win time and time again although numerically inferior to its enemies. This is elegantly solved in the Polemos rules by using a temporary determined status, giving benefit in combat, for some Swedish units where the “..opponents can work to take the ‘edge’ off the Swedish by seeking to remove this status. Also it was a useful device to show the difference between the main Swedish army and the troops available elsewhere. Often the troops in the minor armies and theatres did not have this ‘edge’”.
Troop types – including more varied cavalry units including old style Panzerni, Polish hussars as well as light horse units.
Below is a slideshow of some GNW miniatures from my collection (They are all from Baccus) as a thank you for reading this far. There are Saxons, Russians, Polish and Swedes.
Towards Moscow background and the Battles we will do
The campaign is the invasion of Russia by Charles XII of Sweden starting with the crossing of the frozen Vistula river in early 1708 and ends with the Swedish defeat in the Battle of Poltava in the Summer of 1709. It is the beginning of the end for Sweden as a dominant military power in north-eastern Europe.
The Great Northern War in started in 1700 when a coalition formed by the Peter the Great of Russia, Frederick IV of Denmak-Norway and Augustus II the Strong of Saxony-Poland attacked Sweden. The coalition were formed following the death of the Swedish King Charles XI and the belief was that the new and very young King (Charles the XII was 15 when his father died) would not be able to put up an organised fight. Following Swedish successful expansion during the 17th century a lot of these neighbours wanted lost territories back, limit Swedish economic dominance and gain access to the Baltic Sea.
However the King turned out to be a skilled warrior and leader of men and the preparedness, quality and efficiency of battle methods of the Swedish army built up by his father was second to none during this era. The King quickly pacified Denmark and a Peace Treaty was sign in Travendal 1700. The Russians were defeated at the Battle of Narva in 1700 but then the King turned his attention to Saxony-Poland and Augustus. It took the King 6 years to defeat the Saxon-Polish and force the abdication of Augustus the Strong from the Polish crown (1706 Treaty of Altranstädt).
I have used Nick Dorrell’s book Dawn of the Tsarist Empire that you can buy from Caliver books to derive the units present for the Battles and the bases needed (remember a base of infantry represents 400 to 600 men, about a battalion, and for cavalry 2 squadrons of about 200 to 250 men). It is probably the best book available about the full Russian campaign written with the “wargamer in mind”. I would also recommend Peter Englund’s fantastic The Battle that Shock Europe about the Poltava Battle – this is probably the best book I have ever read with regards to battles and warfare.
For painting guidance and colours/standards I have copies of the excellent books Great Northern War 1700-1721: Colours and Uniforms Part 1 and Part 2, by Lars-Eric Höglund and Åke Sallnäs. Not sure where these can be found nowadays more than the second hand market – for me these books are priced possessions. However a lot of information is readily available on the Tacitus Website (see above – with uniform detail for many battles) and is a good start. There is also a few relevant Osprey Books – Peter the Great’s Army Part 1 and Part 2 as well as a campaign book on Poltava (I will go through some other sources and provide some overviews in future installations of some of the other, including Swedish, sources I have and will be using).
[116 bases, excluding commanders – a total of 1,424 miniatures]
This is an interesting Battle and in effect is an ambush by a Russian flying detachment of a smaller Swedish army led by General Lewenhaupt escorting a supply column of more than 4,500 wagons for heading for the main Army in Ukraine. From the perspective of doing the battle we need a lot of forest as well as about 40 or more bases to represent the supply column (wagons, carts, marching soldiers, etc). Please find the figure count for the Battle.
Russian Army (72 bases, excluding command bases)
Infantry – 10 bases with 24 miniatures per base (240 miniatures)
Dragoons – 60 bases with 9 miniature per base (540 miniatures)
Swedish Army (44 bases and 50+ bases to represent the convoy, excluding command bases)
Infantry – 17 bases with 24 miniatures per base (406 miniatures)
Dragoons/Horse – 22 bases with 9 miniature per base (211 miniatures)
Vallacker Light Cavalry – 1 base with 7 miniatures per base (7 miniatures)
Artillery – 2 light gun bases and 2 field gun bases (4 cannon with 14 crew)
Train/Convoy – a large number of bases, say 50+
[245 bases, excluding commanders – a total of 3,296 miniatures]
We were going to do the Battle of Holowczyn but instead decided to do a “what-if” battle at Horka 1708. When Charles XII was waiting for Lewenhaupt and the supply column to arrive at Mogilev (Belarus) the Russians had occupied a strong position nearby at Horka (sometimes called Gorki). As noted in Nick’s book this could have been the site of the decisive battle of the campaign. In reality the King decided not to attack – in our scenario he decided to “Gå-På” for it.
We went for this idea for the following reasons:
Although the position was beneficial for the Russians we felt that the balance between the forces was such that it would make an interesting battle with similar strength on both sides than the more one sided battle at Poltava battle at year later.
The Holowczyn battle was fought on a wide frontage, whilst this idea offers a more solid a classical (for the time) set up with a long line of soldiers getting on with it.
Currently we will run this what-if with the following forces (but since we have some artistic freedom it could change, e.g. we have no information of Russian cavalry at the Horka):
Russian Army (137 bases, excluding command bases)
Infantry – 54 bases with 24 miniatures per base (1,296 miniatures)
Dragoons – 59 bases with 9 miniature per base (531 miniatures)
Kalmyk/Cossack Light Cavalry – 16 bases with 7 miniatures per base (112 miniatures)
Artillery – 4 light gun bases and 4 field gun bases (8 cannon with 26 crew)
Swedish Army (108 bases, excluding command bases)
Infantry – 28 bases with 24 miniatures per base (672 miniatures)
Dragoons/Horse -66 bases with 9 miniature per base (594 miniatures)
Vallacker Light Cavalry – 6 bases with 7 miniatures per base (42 miniatures)
Artillery – Artillery – 4 light gun bases and 4 field gun bases (8 cannon with 26 crew)
[354 bases, excluding commanders and a total of 4,758 miniatures]
The final installation will be the disastrous Poltava in 1709 that from a war game perspective will be a spectacle with a big table and many troops – however most of them are Russians (or fighting on their side) and it will be impossible for the Swedes to win. 42,000 men on the Russian side and 17,000 on the Swedish side. However if we can not go for playability we will go for spectacle and ensure the table is large and that units not directly involved are also included on the table. In addition the Russians had 86 cannons vs the 4 the Swedes brought to the battlefield. So if we are struggling with playability we will put on a spectacle and make the table bigger and include units in the area including the Siege at Poltava itself. This gives us the following miniature figure count for the Poltava battle, subject to review before the day of battle (July 2019).
Russian Army (266 bases, excluding command bases)
Infantry – 89 bases with 24 miniatures per base (2,136 miniatures)
Dragoons – 132 bases with 9 miniature per base (1,188 miniatures)
Kalmyk/Cossack Light Cavalry – 30 bases with 7 miniatures per base (210 miniatures)
Artillery – 11 light gun bases and 4 field gun bases (15 cannon with 47 crew)
Swedish Army (91 bases, excluding command bases)
Infantry – 18 bases with 24 miniatures per base (432 miniatures)
Dragoons/Horse – 41 bases with 9 miniature per base (369 miniatures)
Vallacker Light Cavalry – 4 bases with 7 miniatures per base (28 miniatures)
Cossack Light Cavalry – 20 bases with 7 miniatures per base (140 miniatures)
Artillery – 4 light gun bases and 4 field gun bases (8 cannon with 28 crew)
That is all for this time, I hope to show some progress on the Sharp Practice project next week.