Nick and I had a fantastic day at the Salute Show and my thanks also goes to Rob and Laurent who provided some priceless support in helping out before, during and after the Show. We basically talked to people about the table, the game, the battle and the rules all day – it was brilliant!. We did not have time to do more than a few token moves on the table.
I also would like to thank all of you who have read this blog that came by to say hello – I really appreciate it. In addition to all of the others who stopped by to have a look, ask a few questions or take a picture. Finally, I have to say that Warlords are very good at organizing this massive event and we had no problems this, or the last time, we attended Salute in 2015.
I had a quick chat with Peter Berry of Baccus who said that Joy of Six in July was now full and that he had to turn away games – this is brilliant news! Not for the people who get turned away but that there is a huge interest in putting on 6mm games. I just wonder why there are not more 6mm, or smaller scale 2 to 10mm, land battle games at Salute, or should I say, wargames shows in general? I have not heard many people say that they have a decent table worth of figures and some terrain in 6mm – but that have been turned down setting up a game by a wargames show. But I will leave that thought for this moment.
Apart from our table there was one more 6mm game, the Battle for Neustadt that is a cold war scenario set in West Germany in 1984. This was a nice table run by Iain Fuller and others from the Warlords Club. They will also attend the Joy of Six in July so there is another chance to catch them there. I have had some e-mail communication with Iain in the past so it was nice to have a quick chat and say hello.
I also got a chance to see the new Baccus TYW/ECW sculpts and I let the battalion of pike and shot talk for itself. Wonderful stuff from Baccus yet again. Peter gave me a copy of the new Swedish flag sheet for the Thirty Years war – it is very tempting indeed.
I also talked to Peter Riley and David Pead who are the men behind the wargames calculator that I have mentioned before on the blog (see here). They told me they have some interesting stuff coming up so I would follow them on Facebook and see what they are up to.
I also said a quick hello to Neil Shuck but did not get a chance to give him the Sharp Practice stuff for Joy of Six as I had planned.
I also had a chat with an old friend of mine, Michael Leck who put on a really nice game using his Pikemans Lament rules called Fort Mosquito 1654. This was a battle between Swedish and Dutch colonial forces set in mid 17th century Delaware, involving native tribes, attempting to wrestle control of the river and the important fur trade. Incidentially they grabbed two of the prizes of the day – well deserved. For more information see his blog (link here). I had a very useful discussion with Jan (who did the terrain and buildings) on how to make log cabins and the trees using steel wool that I will have to try out some time in the future.
Here are a few shots of our table in no particular order.
In addition Nick has put on some pictures on his facebook page (here) and on the Wyre Forest Wargames club page (here).
We produced a few organization charts to simplify the proceedings, they turned out being very useful and look good too. There were made using SmartArt Graphic in Excel and then pasted into PowerPoint with some added pictures etc.
Finally, the 1914-21 Society (link here) who was attending had a Maxim machine gun on display but, in my view, the key piece was the Madsen Light Machine Gun. I knew the Madsen as the LMG of the Norwegian and Danish soldiers of WW2, but did not know it was the first true light machine gun produced in a major quantity and that it was used extensively by the Russian Army in the Russo-Japanese war and during the Russian Civil War. Thanks for your time gents!
This is the 50th blog post since we started last year following Salute 2016 (here is a link to the very first post) – no big parties lined up or memorial statues being carved but there is a certain level of satisfaction involved – I am celebrating the occasion rolling a few ones and having a few crafty beers.
We spent last week in Southern France visiting some friends with the compulsory sampling of the local produce to the small hours. The Little One practiced his camouflage skills and apart from the bright NERF rifle it was difficult to spot him and his friend in the undergrowth.
On the Wargames front there is not much new – all the Stuff for Salute is packed.
We have told you where to look for us at Salute in the last blog entry (see here) and here is the general blur about it (see here) – hope we will see you there!
I had to rearrange a little bit so the Russians got out of their box anyway in their full glory. Here are a few shots showing 24 of the total 32 bases that will be present on the day.
And finally and most important to create some dimension on an otherwise relatively flat battlefield – the trees.
Below is a link to an PDF file with the details of the bases for the Battle and game statistics for both Polemos GNW as well as The Twilight of the Sun King. See the notes below on regards on what each bases represents in the Polemos rules which should make it relatively easy to translate the overall list to whatever rules you are using. Note that this list is slightly different to what I have presented in previous postings as some corrections in the list have been made.
I think we will run the Demo game using the Twilight of the Sun King rules on the day, see more here.
With regards to the Polemos Basing the following act as guidelines. Note that the leader/commander bases are markers indicating where the leaders are located on the field of battle and not active combat units. I tend to base them with 1 to 3 models on the front row representing quality (1 – Poor, 2 – Average and 3 – Excellent) and models on the back row representing Tempo points (used in the Polemos rules).
The extract below is from the Polemos GNW Rulebook (Page 5).
“The actual ratio of figures to real men will vary depending on how many figures you put on a base. A base represents the following: A base of infantry, except skirmishing infantry, represents between 400 and 600 men. They can be a single large battalion, a pair of smaller ones or a group of subunits up to this approximate strength. A base of cavalry, dismounted dragoons and skirmishing infantry represents two to three squadrons or similar groups, representing 200 to 300 men. A cavalry base is assumed to include wide intervals between squadrons, allowing friendly cavalry bases to pass through each other. An artillery base represents four to eight guns. The number of guns that a base represents varies depending on the size of the real guns. Four heavy guns will be represented by one base. While eight light guns will also be represented by one base. “
And there was another thing…
A delivery of some Corrugated Sheet Metal
I get a fair few deliveries from Amazon (google it if you are not familiar with them) and I noted that their packaging have a very nice and tight corrugation. I have seen this being used in the past to simulate corrugated sheets but had not tried it myself. I wanted to give it a try as I want to expand on the terrain I have for using with the Scrappers Mutant 1984 project I am working on (See more about it here).
Armed with a sharp knife I set slowly cut away the cover sheet on one side (I hope it is bleeding obvious but be careful when you use a knife).
After a few minutes I had plenty of uncovered sheets (I only cut them on one side).
After this I cut out small 40 by 20 mm pieces.
I got a nice pile of them.
I then built a simple test structure using some coffee stirrers (like the ones you get at Starbucks), matches, and my corrugated sheets. Using superglue and PVA to stick the things together, The two colorful pieces on top are made from some Kinder Egg rubbish the Small One had lying around – I and the Little One speculated that these could be part of some semi-portable wind based energy system. They had some interesting detail that will look good when drybrushed later.
I gave it a spray with a grey primer and I think this will paint up reasonably well (here with some unfinished miniatures to understand scale) and I think it looks ok with the 28mm figures.
Next week the Scrappers rules should arrive (from Amazon) with some new building materials! (although the little structure hardly caused a dent in the pile).
I recently found out that there used to be a Lager named after the famous Swedish Field Marshal that is one of my favourite soldiers from the Great Northern War era, namely Stenbock (there is a very nice online article about him here).
I could not find out who the brewers were but stumbled across a few others with slightly different spelling.
Stepherd Neame used to brew a beer called Steinbock Lager that was described as “…a light, crisp, refreshing lager with an underlying sweetness, a slight floral tang and a clean finish”. It is no longer produced (see more here).
Monsteiner Steinbock is another Lager. This one is made in Switzerland with nice artwork on it (more here). And another one, but I digress…
I really wanted to talk about Laagers, defined by Wikipedia as…
A wagon fort is a mobile fortification made of wagons arranged into a rectangle, a circle or other shape and possibly joined with each other, an improvised military camp. It is also known as a laager (from Afrikaans) (English: leaguer).
At the battle of Kalisz the Pro-Swedish Polish-Lithanian Army established a Laager outside the town (of Kalisz) with a square of Wagons and some quickly raised earthworks. To represent this I used some of the Wagons and tents from Baccus and made a small (fully modular) representation of the Camp.
The Saxon contingent are all Cavalry and are commanded by Augustus the Strong Supported by General Brandt.
The Dragon units (all red uniforms with facing/cuff colours in parenthesis) –
Leibregiment (white), Milkau (yellow), von der Goltz (black)
von Brause (lemon yellow) and von Schulenburg (straw)
The Cuirassiers units (all red uniforms with facing/cuff colours in parenthesis)
Chevaliergarde/Garde du Corps (blue/red/white), Leibregiment (white), Kurprinz (yellow), von Damitz (Bleumourant), Königin (straw)
Kurprinz (yellow) ,von Eichstädt (Coffee Brown), Gersdorff (grey) and Prince Alexander (green).
That leaves us the Russian contingent of 32 dragoons that I packed before I took any pictures. I suppose you have to come to the Salute show to see them!
At Salute we are the Wyre Forest Wargames Club and we are in location GG15 – it is just below the upper red G (in the circle) on the floorplan/map of the show. It is only 2 weeks to go and if you do go, come by and say hello. Further details on the show and how you can get tickets can be found here.
On the Lager thread I did find a nice little bottle at the Tank Museum last week (more here) – it is made by the Dorset Brewing Company (DBC) and is called Landship. The name comes from the Landship Committee that was established in February 1915 by Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, with the purpose of developing armored fighting vehicles to use on the Western Front. The work culminated in the development of the first tanks. Tank, by the way, was a code name for the vehicles.
I found an inspirational review of this beer on the net (link here) and decided, for research purposes, to have a go myself and I do agree with the sentiment of the review. If nothing else it is a cool bottle.
/ Until next, Cheers and do not drink (too much) whilst gaming!
Appendix – Below is a little summary of the units that will be present on the table, 207 bases in total including small bases for leaders and artillery. The basing are in line with the Polemos Rules where a base is about 200-300 cavalry (about 2 squadrons) or 400-600 (one battalion) infantry. In Twilight of the Sun King two of these bases, in general, forms a fighting unit. Leaders are Poor, Average or Excellent, The second value is the tempo contribution as per the Polemos rules.
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.
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)
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.