I spent some time assembling the forces needed for the Kalisz Battle over the weekend and think I found most of them but there are still a few of them missing in previous action – but I will/have to find them sooner or later as the Show is in 6 weeks. A few of the spears (looking at the pictures) need to be bent back, but apart from that there are no major issues that need to be resolved.
For some background on the battle you can have a look at an earlier posting here.
This first part will show the more exotic units specific for this theatre, compare to War of the Spanish Succession (WSS) units. Perhaps the Swedes themselves would have fitted into this entry, but I will hold them back for now.
Codes refers to the Baccus catalogue of splendid 6mm stuff for this period (link here). The combination of the GNW/WSS range (and a few packs from other ranges) offers a total coverage of everything you may need to represent all battles in Eastern Europe of the period (even the Pruth Campaign, with the Ottomans and Proxies). There is even a simple trick in doing some Swedish Karpus cavalry I may reveal in a later posting.
The rules references are to Polemos – Great Northern War (PGNW) and Twilight of the Sun King (TotSK). I discuss these rules to some extent here and here.
6 bases Poles/Lithanian supporting the Warsaw Confederation that were against the King of Poland (Augustus II the Strong) and fought with the Swedes. The rest of the bases (4 No.) represent members of the anti-Swedish Sandomierz Confederation.
These hussars are the heroes from Vienna in 1683 (see link here) where they played a key role in the dramatic climax of the battle as the spearpoint of an eighteen thousand strong cavalry charge (that from the receiving end must have looked absolutely terrifying and been a true spectacle to witness). These units are charging cavalry and have been based in a wedge formation (9 miniatures, 60 by 30mm base) to be easily identified (as if the wings were not enough!).
They hussars forms the elite element of any Polish-Lithuanian army. Steel and shock is definitely the dish being served by these type of units. In the rules they are classified as Galloping Horse (GH). It is not clear whether they still wore their wings in this battle, but for the sake of look I have decided they did.
I have used a mixture of models – look at the GNP01 to GNP05 and pick the ones you like.
These were the backbone of the Polish-Lithuanian cavalry arm and were medium cavalrymen. Their name is derived from the Polish name for chainmail – “pancerz”.
In the PGNW/TotSK rules they are classified as Eastern Horse (EH) and to distinguish them on the field of battle I have based them in three lines of three as can be shown in the picture. This type are not powerful in the charge but are better in continued melee and maneuvering compared to normal Western Horse of the period.
In the battle there are Pancerni units in both of the armies fielded (GNP06 – Pancerni, was used from the Polish range). There were based on a 60 by 30mm base and arranged in three groups of three. Some of them are classified (3 No.) as Galloping infantry (GNP07 – Petyhorcy) and are organized in a wedge formation like the hussars.
There were a few different types of Light cavalry present at the battle – these are open formation skirmish units and tend to avoid close combat if possible. In the two rulesets they are classified as Light Horse (LH). I have based them on 60 by 60mm bases and with 7 miniatures in open order (apart from the 3 Vallacker units that have 8 miniatures, including the Swedish Officers). The types are:
Kalmyks – These are light cavalry units from the Kalmyk Khanate, with Mongolian roots, and are allies to the Russians. These play no active part in the battle and are guarding the Swedish potential retreat on the other side of the river. These were made by using various codes from the Baccus Ancient ranges, basically anything on a horse with a Bow (e.g. AHU01 and AHU02 – Hunnic Horse Archers). Useless for the battle but they do look good en masse. But calm down, these and the Cossacks, will make another guest appearance for the Poltava Battle (but that luckily is some time away).
Cossacks – these are light irregular cavalry units allied to the Russians. Similar story as for the Kalmyks. The miniatures used are the Cossacks from the Great Northern War range (GNR10 – Cossacks, they are with the Russians).
Jazda Lekka – these are Polish-Lihtuanian light cavalry (Jazda Lekka, simply means light cavalry in Polish!). These will be part of the main battle but are not showing up in any large numbers. They are fighting as part of both armies (the code used are from the Great Northern War range, GNP08 – Unarmoured Cavalry, they are with the Poles). 7 on the anti-Swedish side and 3 on the Pro-Swedish side (I chose to make these like Vallacker with Swedish Officers).
This terminator project is getting a little bit out of hand – but in a nice way! Well it must be since both I and the Little One are having fun. Got some more stuff to work on this week.
2 No. Humvees from Pig-Iron (link here), with additional stuff like the smoke grenade launchers, assault rifles and stowage from a Tamiya model accessory kit. The models are very nice, no clean-up required and you just need to glue on the wheels, and very competitively priced at £9.50 each. The miniature is from the Terminator Set and is about 28mm scale. Not sure how we will paint these yet, but the Little One is thinking!
Some cars arrived that we ordered from China (“1:50 scale Train Layout cars” should be enough to find them again). These are likely to get smashed up a little and end up like the ones we showed last week (see here). £7 all in from China.
We also found a fork lift that seemed to scale reasonably well. This one will add some character to the overall proceedings.
Finally, we checked out the relatively new Walking Dead miniatures game and they have a Scenery Pack that looked interesting (the picture show half of the contents and these will be great for the expanding rubble and car wrecks) so we got one of those as well. We got the set from eBay at a very good price.
/ Next time some more 6mm units for Kalisz and hopefully we have done a game of The Men who would be Kings, take care.
Following on from the last blog about terminators, the Little One and I have been doing a few more games of Terminator Genisys and we are still enjoying it. I actually ended up buying two more miniature sets, the T1000 (the liquid metal one from the second movie or to be correct mimetic polyalloy) & Infiltrator as well as the Special Endoskeletons set. I have also dusted off the old movies and although the first one (here) feels a little bit dated, with regards to the CGI, it is still a damn good movie. The second movie (here) I think is brilliant and the Little One is looking forward seeing the rest.
I have realized that if I want the Little One to get into this hobby it is not by trying to force feed him with 18th century linear tactics battles where we abstract the unit with a few models representing many or elegant mechanisms with built-in firing, damage, moral etc. Instead I think I need to, as well, offer him simple skirmish type of rules where each model represents a man, or a woman or in this case a machine, in a setting that excites him and he understands (the key here is ..as well!). It is fantastic when he gets it and we have not had so much fun since we first played X-wing or Saga together.
Finnishing (and Sovietic) touches
However, science fiction aside, I did feel obliged to continue my Chain of Command Finns and Russians so I could get some games of Chain of Command under my belt – I added some snow flock to the bases and made an entrenchment with some floor insulation blue polystyrene and a plastic base from a DVD cover (Terminator 2 – who needs covers anyway!) – I think I will make more like this. I covered it with glue and added sand, painted it chocolate brown and dry brushed it white and then added some snow around it (actually a mix of snow flock, matte modge podge and a few drops of off-white paint). Here it is.
Here is the first picture in Colour (I need to add some snow to that roof, to make it look authentic).
Chevaux de Frise
I got a question through to the blog last week that I thought potentially had some general interest. The question was about how I did the Chevaux de Frise (link to Wikipedia here) shown in some of the pictures in the Polemos Great Northern War rulebook (link here). These were shots based on the armies I did for the Fraustadt 1706 battle where the whole Saxon/Russian front line was standing behind these mobile defensive structures.
Peter Berry kindly included some pictures taken by my daughter of Swedes battling Saxons and Russians in wintery conditions as well as some Polish Panzerni and Winged Hussars in a more summery setting.
This is a high level, but I hope sufficient discussion, on how I made them (but first a few notes):
They are based on 60mm by 10mm bases, these are 2mm thick (the same thickness I use for all my bases)
They are not to scale, i.e. these are in fact large compared to the models. However, in my opinion, it does work visually.
Be careful when if you embark on trying to make these. Plan your work to avoid drilling or cutting your fingers. Also when you cut brass rod pieces make sure you are careful as small pieces may fly all over the place and cause direct damage whilst in flight or indirectly when they plant themselves into your foot at a later date. I speak from hard earned experience on (all!) these matters.
They are basically done by using model making matchsticks (That are about 5cm x 2mm x 2mm) – you can buy about 1000 of them at ebay for about £4. You need one matchstick for each base. You also need round brass rod (0.5mm) or equivalent. You will need a more than you think – normally they are sold in lengths of about 30cm and each will give you 25 pikes/spears at 12mm. Each chevaux de Frise base will need 28 pikes. 10 No. 30cm rods will give you enough to do 8 to 9 bases.
Mark up the matchstick in the middle and make seven lines with the same distance from each other and make a mark on the line in the middle.
Flip the matchstick 90 degrees and extend the original lines and make a mark in the middle between the original lines (I used a red pen to do this).
Cut it in half (do the same mark-up for the other side, or do both at the same time) – use a razor saw and cut it gently to avoid damage – do not use clippers.
Drill the holes using a 0.6mm drill bit with a model drill. It is tempting to use a sharp object and pierce through a hole but it more than often damages the matchstick, so go for the drill approach.
Cut small pieces from the brass rod. I made mine about 12mm long and stick them in your holes.
Then do the rest and slab on some PVA/White glue to make it sturdy and avoid the rod pieces to slide off, then paint it and base it up and you are done.
Nick Dorrell’s adaptation of the Twilight of the Sun King Rules I talked about in an earlier blog (see here) are now published by the Pike and Shot society. I really enjoy these fast play rules that makes it possible to play large horse and musket battles during late 17th and early 18th century in a reasonable time. Basing is adaptable and the rules works at two levels standard/brigade and regimental scale. In the standard scale a unit represents brigade or its equivalent (2,000 infantry or 1,000 cavalry – so about 4 battalions or 8 squadrons). For the regimental scale a unit equates to 1,000 infantry or 500 cavalry. I play the game in the regimental scale, as I do GNW where the battles tends to be smaller and I have more than enough miniatures to play in this scale, using two 60 by 30mm bases for a unit with a total frontage of 120mm per unit. This is the same basing I use for the Polemos, Maurice and the Might and Reason rules. Further the units can be classified as small or large to allow for the variation in units sizes during the period, e.g. to deal with smaller elite units etc.
The rules are, to quote Nick from the Design Philosophy notes, “…radical, some would say reductionist, in their conception. It is based on the premise that during this time period, morale rather than numbers of casualties was the key to deciding combat and even the outcome of battles. Many wargames rules pay lip-service to this; however, these rules take the radical step of collapsing shooting and close combat into morale. This dramatically simplifies game play but does so, in the designers’ opinion, without significant loss of historical accuracy.”
The Rules as well as a Scenario book is now available from the Pike and Shot Society and can be obtained from them, http://www.pikeandshotsociety.org/, and other retail outlets.
The scenario book is called Louis XIV at War and features 10 battles – 4 of these are from the War of the Grand Alliance (1688 to 1697) and the other 6 from the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-14). Each scenario includes orders of battles and a map.
A second scenario book is being worked on and will cover the Great Northern War and the Ottoman wars.
and you can contact nick via email@example.com
Another friend of mine, Peter Riley, came up with an idea for a Wargames collection calculator when he went to the Newbury show this year. As he walked and talked to gamers at the show it emerged from the many conversations he had is that we don’t know, in detail, what we have in our collections and what they are worth. So to keep a good record of all the elements we have in our growing collections seemed a good idea.
I think it is a brilliant idea and could be used to manage your collection, get an idea about its value for a sale or how much to insure your collection for. Try it out and if you like the general idea support it by letting them know how it can be improved.
In a recent Meeples and Miniatures episode the hosts discussed the issue about insuring your stuff when they were speculating what they would do if they lost their collection and got the opportunity to do it all again being given the full value from the insurance company. If you do not know what you have and are not adequately insured then this scenario could end it tears and not in speculation on what you would replace or not.
By the way Peter Riley is the author of a few sets of wargame rules, including the ACW rules Crisis of Allegiance and On They Came as well as the Franco-Prussian Wars rules Kommandant de Battaile and Kommandant de Armee. He is working on a few new sets including a colonial set called A Steady and Deliberate Fire.
Winter is coming
I have presented two Great Northern War battles at the Joy of Six show that took place during the winter season with snow and misery on the battle field – Fraustadt 1706 (with a mention in an earlier post here) and Gadebusch 1712. I really like wintery landscapes having been brought up in Sweden, where minus degrees and snow is a constant for a large part of the year. It engulfs the land and when Spring finally comes it feels like the land has been subjected to some form of annual cleansing.
When I first did the Fraustadt Battle I was hesitant in “winter basing” the armies as I was going to do Klissow where I could have “re-used” a lot of the miniatures especially on the Saxon side. However the contrast between a wintery table and the rectangular zone of summer really annoyed me when I had finished the table and set up the bases on it. So I got on with drybrushing all of the bases with white and then topped them up with some wintery tufts – it was worth the effort. Following the Gadebusch battle I now have fully sized GNW armies for the Swedes, Saxons and the Danes ready to rumble any time of the year.
So apart from the snow ventures above I have a passion, or perhaps compulsion, for the Winter War 1939-40. It is a very interesting conflict and I went with the Baker Company Winter War 28mm Kickstarter a few years back – the project did not really go as intended and I only got part of what I expected. Instead I decided to go for it in 15mm and have recently completed enough to start playing some Chain of Command with a Platoon with some options for each side (I will do a future posting for the Finnish and the Russian/Sovietic platoon). I am also keen to try out the IABSM (I ain’t been shot Mum) rules from Company Sized actions. Both these rules are from the eminent makers of rules at Too Fat Lardies (Chain of Command here and IABSM here).
So for IABSM I have a few options, (i) expand the 15mm platoons for Chain of Command, (ii) use the Pithead 10mm ones I bought a few years back or (iii) try out the 6mm Finnish from Heroics and Ros.
I bought a few test strips from Heroics and Ros from their Finnish Range and also a strip from the Snow/Ski Troopers. I decided to paint these and base them to see how they would look like and put them on a 65 by 65mm base. I am pleased how they came out and I think it will work well for the IABSM rules (although I would probably use 25mm bases) – I hope you agree (Note one of the pictures show some 15mm miniatures from the Chain of Command Finns). I used some snow flock mixed with Matte Mod Podge for the basing, it looks slightly better for real than in the photos. I am going to do a winter company for the Finns, Russians and Germans as they did some combined operations with the Finns. With this scale it should not take very long to complete a company worth of miniatures. It will look fantastic.
I think I have to order some more from Heroics and Ros. For the Pithead stuff, well I have no problem with it staying on the mountain for now! The 28mm Baker Company stuff I did get I will probably get rid off.
Not really Winter but cold as death
About 2 months ago I wrote about some new 6mm miniatures from Microworld Games (see here). I did not buy the Landsknechts this time but I bought the new duelists and peasants as well as a large number of zombies and ghouls for another little project I am working on (I am doing the Saga Revenants faction in 6mm when I have time). Anyway, I got them this week as it was a pre-order, and I really liked the look of the duelists and the peasants – some of these will be used for my Sharp Practice games. I could not resist painting up a little vignette on a 60 by 60mm base with some zombies controlled by a witch/necromancer (from Perfect Six) attacking three witch hunters (the duelists) supported by a few farmers. This is a homage to a roleplaying scenario I played when I was a kid (well at least a younger kid) and actually a Christmas present to a very dear friend.
Ok next time I will get on with some Great Northern War stuff and the Towards Moscow Project / Keep on toysoldiering!
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)
For the first part of the TMT, the Lesnaya 1708 battle, I need a large number of bases to represent the Swedish Supply column.
I had seen the picture above in Pavel Konovaltjuks and Einar Lyths book “Vägen till Poltava” (The Road to Poltava) and wanted to have something similar for my Supply Column. I opted for Baccus ox wagons (from their equipment range). I felt these were a close enough match.
However they do not come with a canopy and I did not want to miss a chance to see a splendid row of blue and yellow waggons. I had to do some sculpting and it was not too difficult to do a canopy, but I needed another 39! So I bought myself some Mould Making Silicone Putty from ebay and made a mould from my first creation. It cost me £6 and was very easy to do and very satisfying. I cast them using dental plaster – I made three moulds to speed up production.
I have ordered enough waggons from Baccus that are yet to arrive but I already had a few so I did a few test bases today – one waggon and two towed artillery pieces (one Field and one Siege gun and some limbers, again from the Baccus range). I think they turned out ok.
/ Take care
Note to self (as I will paint more of these) on colours used.
The last few years we have spent Remembrance Sunday at our local Rugby club where the Little One plays. This Sunday was joint practice with the other local, and rival, club. But local rivalries were set aside and the children had a very good training session and what made my day was them standing shoulder to shoulder in remembrance! Rugby is a beautiful sport on and off the field and this day was a very strong manifestation supporting this.
“They went with songs to the battle, they were young. Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow. They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,…
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them.”
-From the Ode of Remembrance by Laurence Binyon
We, I and the other Ones, also had some time to re-visit Chislehurst caves, on Saturday, that played a key role during WW2 as an air raid shelter and at its peak it had in excess of 15,000 people staying here over night. Interesting place and this is as close to Dungeons and Dragons you get but with no encounters – incidentally there is a live action roleplaying company running some stuff next door if that is your cup or tea – or perhaps pint of mead (they are called Labyrinthe, and here is a link. I think you have to pre-book). The caves are actually hand dug chalk and flint mines and have since been used to store explosives, grow mushrooms, host pop and rock concerts and as a backdrop for some movies and television series like Doctor Who. As with all of these kind of places there are stories of ghosts and mysterious events in the tunnels – it is worth a visit!
Norwegian GNW Infantry
I finalized some more Norwegians from the Great Northern War era – this time some infantry. Please see my previous post (last week here) for flag sheets, etc. I have decided to put this diversion on hold for a while and crack on with the main GNW project – but here are the bases I did get on with.
Trondhjemske – this regiment was over 2000 men strong so I made it 4 bases. The nice company colours really stands out and make the unit look really good. The white flag represents the Colonels (the head of the regiment) battalion.
Gyldenløves Geworbne – this regiment was 2 battalions strong so I made it 2 bases.
Hausmanns Geworbne – same as above. Colours of the flags are speculative (I made it up!).
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.
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.