Friday, 14 December 2012

Pretext for War

Felt the need to create a background for a tiff. Instituted a journal: Mercurius Frigidius to provide same. Painting proceeds, not fast enough.

Saturday, 8 December 2012


A tour to a flea-market yielded some plunder. A bunch of tin-soldier oddments.
Some giant cowboys and indians - 65mm! Lovely colours...

Also some wierd Kongelige Livgarder. Extremely heavy 70mm tall and obviously meant to hold a rifle.

 Then some armed sailors, could be Germans from second world war or GDR ? Nice paint job...

Buried in the box I then found a nice little Holger Erikson Karl XII ! Not the right scale but I don't think I will throw him in the pot.

The rest may end their days reincarnated as 40mm PA figures. 2.5 kilo tin for 100Kr is not so bad.
I will look around the web to see if the others are anything special but they will have to be special to be saved from a tour in the pot!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012


My brain hurts..
Still trying to find an efficient scale which fits with the figures, the table and the capability to recreate a meaningfully large map.. simple, just have to square a circle, put a quart into a pint pot etc.

Lars H√łglund's book includes a copy of a wonderful engraving from 1692 which shows 'The Campement of an Infantry Regiment deployed in 2 Battalions, Each Comprising 6 companies or 600 men.' The drawing is signed 'Carolus', which must be Karl XI (1660-1697). The printer? is apparently a 'Stuart' - ikke Svenske!

I noticed that this encampment closely mirrors a field deployment. Even down to the piled arms having the pikes (piquer) in the centre and muskets (mousquetter) to the flanks. The space given for the 600 man battalion is not so different than a field deployment. 20 tents are shown for each company giving about 5 men per tent. They must have been small, presumably carried on carts behind a marching army. The officers get proportionately larger accommodations!

The frontage of the encampment is given as 150 ell (66cm) which is 100m. The two battalions are laid out with the same distance between them. The four companies of each battalion in their place.

One battalion is commanded by the Colonel, the other by the Lieutenant Colonel.

There are avenues between the tents - 2 per company - which allow the companies to stream out and form up without crossing each other or getting mixed up. Presumably they form up somewhere at the top of the diagram, having retrieved their arms.

The whole thing seems to reflect a desire to allow rapid deployment from the tents into a field formation. This is consistent with the uber efficiency drive of Karl XI.

Sunday, 18 November 2012


A card selection gave two '12 point' armies.
Pommern, with 6 foot battalions and 6 squadrons of horse.
Maurice von Coxe Ethelburga overall commander with Justinian von Mecklenburg(excessively cautious) and Caspar Hohenstauffen. None of them have any military speciality.

Strandstaten, with 8 foot battalions and 4 squadrons. Commander Ivan Stakoplovsky(irresponsibly aggressive in command) with Ekebhard Kollwitz (artillery trained and a 'gifted professional commander') and Petrus de Blenheim.

Checking for special tactics it turns out Strandstaten's cavalry are SHOCK trained and this gave Pommern 2 extra squadrons of horse as compensation.

The battlefield included a village in Pommern's side of the table and a wood in the mid-left.

Pommern put most of  their cavalry on their left to try a sweep with their mobile advantage.

Strandstaten put a strong force of foot in the centre to try and take th evillage from what should be a weaker Pommern defence. Their cavalry waiting behind the wood to move left or right as things developed.

 The first turn saw the Pommern cavalry go for the Strandstaten right wing. They took some hits but smashed the outermost battalion then flanked the second and it was wiped out too along with Petrus von Blenheim.

In the meantime the Strandstaten cavalry marched off round the left of the wood to take on the weaker Pommern right. The centre reacted by lining up two battalions to face off the Pommern horse.


The dashing Strandstaten shock-trained cavalry should have rode to glory but things did not go that way.
 Ekebard Kollwitz ( a 3 rated gifted professional commander) led his squadrons into their Pommern opponents with elan. Then he threw the minimum score for their Stress Test and they beat an ignominious retreat.

This led to a final position with a Mexican stand-off. The Strandstaten centre was too strong to be crushed by the Pommern forces but too exposed by being pincered from both sides that they could not successfully attack. ENd of Game.

Size of bases work well. Battalion guns ok. Shooting could be a bit more bloody. Commanders could be more tightly limited on what they do according to character.

Saturday, 17 November 2012


The basing problem has a solution which allows representation ratio to be constant.
Some rules (Beneath the Lilly Banner) seem to have a different representation for horse and foot.
This is an easy fix and also cheaper...

However, there is another solution.. depth.

I need to put 5 cavalry (125) in a frontage of (125/3 =) 41 mm .
40mm figures are 12mm wide go.

I then thought of the Swedish arrowhead formation for horse.

This allows the arrangement of figures to overlap if they are arranged in depth. If each figure tucks in behind the previous one by a couple of milimetres then it is possible to fit 5 figures inside a front of 41 - or 45.

45 can be used if we allow that cavalry will not actually manage to stay boot to boot the whole way in and gives us a practical leeway for setting the figures on the base. We have already decided that the infantry will have 45mm so this will match nicely .. for the tightest cavalry formation.

But what about the depth ?  The arrowhead means the 5 cavalry figures are 45mm wide but 90mm deep !

Looks like a problem.. but is it ? If we consider the infantry have a depth of 60mm for their two ranks is 90mm so odd? 6 ranks of foot will be about 3 to 6 metres deep. 3 ranks of horse will be 6 to 9 metres deep. (depths taken from Napoleonic drill). In true scale this means 6mm and 9mm respectively !

If we look at the proportionate 'flank' of a foot or horse formation to true scale we can see that the 'flank' is almost non-existent.

This means that the notion of a 'flank attack' is a misnomer. A 'flank attack' actually means 'an attack which is delivered behind the enemy's front : where he projects his combat power.

The actual result of a flank attack is a progressive series of -surprise - attacks in the rear of the line's sub-units. The idea that one of the line's sub-units can a) turn and b) stem the attack while their comrades do something , is a non-starter. If you examine the relative widths of a unit advancing down a flank of a line you can see the impossibility of this.

  The real process is one of enveloping the outflanked line. If the outflanked line is unengaged it may turn to try and defend itself.
Otherwise it is slaughtered.

This means.... that the depth representation is not really crucial if we make the rules in relation to flank attacks realistic with reference to the reality of how relatively thin battle formations actually are.

I can now return to model the bases thus :
SHOCK cavalry 45mm front with 5 men in arrowhead.
LINE cavalry - must be broader than arrowhead to acknowledge tightness of that formation 3men 50mm wide with 2 in the second rank.

Foot shown in their 45mm frontage with 6 men representing a company, 2 pike armed for Swedes.
The different types of cavalry can now be distinguished easily and the units really look like they mean business!

Thursday, 15 November 2012


In making rules there seem to be two ways, no three, to knock out figures.

Karoliner wounded in battle by Johann Philipp Lembke(16311711 )

BANG! YOU'RE DEAD : die roll dictates removal or not of figure

BANG! YOU'RE DEAD, MAYBE : some form of saving roll can reduce figure removal

BANG! I'll file that under Casualties,Incoming : recording losses without immediate figure removal

Having records hanging over the action is not something that appeals to me.
On the other hand, if the casualty process must deal with full figures things can get bloody..lots of figures...

Historically, units seem to have stood in the face of forests of blazing muskets without being annihilated.

The ragnarok of Poltava inflicted 40% casualties : but I dont want 2 survivors after an exchange of fire.

Dead Karoliner by Johann Philipp Lembke(16311711 )

My solution is to use a variation of BANG! YOU'RE DEAD , MAYBE

Shooting and fighting inflicts HITS.
HITS are assessed within the game turn to see if any figures are removed. Nothing carried over.
( Many years ago we rolled a D20 with WRG rules to avoid records. Score =/less than chart to kill)
Removed figures are an indicator of reduced manpower, organisation and will to fight.
Hits and figures can be directed at individual companies or troops within a unit.

Have to wait and see if I have created a self-inflicted podiatric injury with no saving roll.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012


Artillery shot with a level barrel unless in siege situations or stationary targets. Shooting on a high trajectory became much more difficult to sight and accuracy dropped markedly.

Heavier field guns were positioned ahead of the battleline or between divisions or on heights to send fire over friendly troops. Mortars were in use but rarely mentioned outside siege actions.
These data are  from  HERE 

Range must be up to first graze, when ball hits ground.
Kanon RANGE 1690
RANGE 1700
RANGE 1707
RANGE 1720    (m)

12-pundig 525 - 600 525 - 600 600 - 675 750
6-pundig 375 450 - 525 525 600
3-pundig 225 - 300 410 - 450 375
225 - 300 225 - 300

Plunging shots could be sent TWICE as far. But reduced accuracy, rate of fire and bouncing.

Canister could be sent 500 metres with effect but after 200m results were markedly reduced. READ 

Regimental Guns

Since Gustav Adoplhus' time small guns had been deployed on the battle line with foot regiments.
In Karl XII's army these were 3 or 6 pounders placed in groups of 2 or 3 between battalions about 10 metres in front. As the line advanced the guns were manhandled forward and continued to shoot until this was impracticable, about 50m from the enemy.

 Each gun was managed by a crew of 3 or 4 plus helpers from the ranks of the infantry.

Representing 'regementskanoner' on the table has its problems.
The cop-out is to give battalions with guns a PLUS in combat/shooting.
In 40mm we want to see all the colour possible on the table and regementskanoner are part of that.

The PA 6pdr is small enough to be mounted on a 45mm front which equates with an infantry company.
 3 or 4 crew members can be put on this base.

Effect-wise the regementskanoner flung a great weight of fire compared to their size. The best aiming point was the centre of the enemy formation - presumably hitting as many officers and flagmen as possible and disrupting the enemy formation.

The Swedish guns of Karl XII used packaged ammunition 'hasty ammunition' which allowed 10 shots a minute! Each shot could fling 32 or 64 bullets at the enemy up to 200 metres away. Compared to infantry fire this was effective. A COMPANY with 100 muskets could throw 400 bullets at the enemy each minute, A BATTALION 1600. 2 regementskanoner could send  1000 bullets twice as far in the same time ! The value of these guns - adequately served - is plain to see, a significant supplement to the unit's firepower.

Disadvantages were that the cannon bullets would probably not spread so much but being within the 'wire artillery cone of death' can not have been pleasant.

It seems reasonable to credit the regementskanon detachment with the same firepower as a company of infantry.

The kanon could not enter close combat and so we could move the gun to a location at the centre of the battalion rear when contact is made. If the battalion loses and retires then the gun is lost. If it wins and proceeds then the gun can remain at the centre rear and require a reorganisation to redeploy it.

Fate of Karl XII

Entry Wound

Autopsy of Karl XII reveals extent of wounds inflicted by a sharpshooter at Fredrikshald,  Dec. 1718.

Monday, 12 November 2012


There is a tendency, due to the price of figures and time taken to amass and paint them, to reduce the number of figures necessary a' la IMPETUS. A few figures on a stand can represent 1000 or so.

The opposite tendency is to go for cheaper plastic or 30mm and use lots of figures a' la GRANTs' Wargame.

I want somewhere in-between. Home-cast 40mm can be produced at a reasonable price, however, space is not unlimited and battalions of 30 or 40 figures begin to weigh the table down, even.

20 figures gives a nice battalion :)  A figure : men ratio of 1:30, there being 600 in a full strength battalion.

On reconsidering, 1:25 could be better. A company of 150 is thus 6 figures. 6 figures with 1/3 pikes gives a base with 4 musketeers and 2 pikemen. A battalion should have a front about 160m or 180 yards.

Each company is about 30 yards when 6 deep and thus 45 when 4 deep.

Usual formation 6 or 4 deep ...35- 45mm to take 6 figures in 2 ranks is a nice solution.

This can be represented by 4 musketeers standing in pairs either side of 2 pikemen. 6 figures for 150 men.

A battalion is now 4 bases of 45mm frontage.  15mm for a figure is compact enough without being too extreme.

PLUS a Command/Colour stand as battalion marker.

Depth can be as needed by figures - this is less important. Single rank can be allowed if need be .. giving a frontage for a 3-man-deep line of 90m for a company.

A cavalry squadron of 250 men is now 10 figures. A troop 125men/ 5 figs.
They should be in 3 ranks and about 1.5 m per man gives 127m frontage per squadron
or 63 for a troop front. Getting 5 mounted figures into 63mm is not possible, however......

4 figures can be put on that to represent a mounted troop - stretching the representation to 1: 30. A fudge. But maybe a good compromise. 1:30 allows for no-shows and stragglers which would reduce the OOB and compensate for the horsemens' vulnerability to fire..I smell FUDGE again...

Looking at old pictures the cavalry are shown as rather crammed together.
The last tweak we could do is to shift the ground scale and use 60mm frontages for cavalry bases.

So, in summary.....
INFANTRY based in companies of 6 figures in 2 ranks on bases with 45mm frontage, deep as necessary.
CAVALRY based in troops of 5 figures on a base with  60mmm frontage as deep as necessary.

15metres front per figure, whether horse or foot (foot 2 deep). A battalion is 24 figures, a squadron 6


Received Irregular Miniatures figs today. Very quick - 5 days!

Hoped the LA gun and crew will fit with PA to provide field guns. The PA gun is neat but only large neough to be a battalion gun really.

I am not disappointed ! The Irregular gun is larger while still fitting well with PA figures.
The Irregular figures are scaled to be '42mm'. They are fully round but height and proportions not too bad to fit with PA. The hats are not tricorns but as gunners were civilians perhaps can be allowed. Also, some head swaps may be the solution.
So, Prince August can be supplemented with Irregular if needed. They have League of Augsberg, Marlburian and Renaissance figures to provide Turks, Poles, Hussars, engineers etc,  SEE HERE.

Thursday, 8 November 2012


After being unpleasantly surprised at how poor the Grants' wargame rules were for my purposes..despite the rosy nostalgic glow of half-remembered battle reports..I now have the pleasant revelation of what had been lurking on my bookshelves all along was in fact golden.
Charlie Wesencraft's Pike and Musket and Practical Wargaming are streets ahead even of some rules today.
Combat results tables, variable sequence game turns, multi-scale games, variable troop quality, terrain redefined for different scale games..etc.
Donald Featherstone's Advanced Wargames fails to contend with Practical Wargaming because it imagines that addressing the details of how a specific task is accomplished ..using an analogue calculaor to calculate casualties, for example, is an advance - whereas CW examines the logic of the gaming process and how it relates to reality (or the version we want on a tabletop) before then devising an appropriate mechanism.
It is also rather annoying to have paid so much(£17.95) for the chance to feel foolish in overlooking CW as a  pathfinder for creating the type of rules I want for this project.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012


As part of the rules commanders shall have characteristics which force the commander to choose as to how to use them best on the battlefield.
This file includes portraits of commanders and cards to assign their attributes.

Thursday, 1 November 2012


A larger town house, again modified from Schreiber.

Print this as big as possible on an A4 sheet and it is about the right size. Needs chimney stacks.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012


Small town house modified from a Schreiber building.
Print two and you will have two gables and two sides.

Friday, 26 October 2012


Another Schrieber modification. A town house.
Print 2 sheets at 1: 1 side a4
There is an overhang on each side of house.
One side should have windows pasted over the large door.


Schreiber houses are great but 1/87.
I have modified some to make simple 40mm houses.
I make 2 sides and half the roof, print 2 copies and build the house.
Print at about 90% of file size : check with a test print to make door 40mm high. 
Paste the paper copy to card or print on card.
The building needs stifffeners or use thick board/card.
Make a ruin which has the same base area and the house can slot over this.

Sunday, 21 October 2012


A trip to Stralsund, beautiful Hanseatic city allowed me to see some portraits of Charles XII, weapons and memorabilia from the GNW. Unfortunately not much in guides and the glass cases and illumination made photography almost impossible.
 Swedish cavalry pistol with battle scen cast into the lock plate. Figures 5mm high !

Portraits of Charles XII. Simple military costume.He spent a year here after his enforced holiday in Moldavia. Stralsund was technically Swedish until 1807.

General whose name I wrote down and lost !
Eugene of Savoy.


First casting went ok after some initial frustration.
Essential to vent the moulds with small gates.

 Filled after a few tries. Most success after the mould is warmed up - hot to the touch.
 Bayonets or hands missing sometimes but most complete after gates cut.
First time success ! and a beautiful figure. One regiment, one squadron and a cannon cast.


I'd like to represent all the armies and regiments in the campaign. Realistically, this isn't going to happen.

Instead I will make a command base for every regiment/battalion which will enable the troops to be identified as differnet formations but the basic troops will be painted in a limited variety.

I will paint troops in two uniforms. One will be Swedes of Charles XII, the other Russians of Peter the Great.

Later, if I have any battle involving three or more nations I can do more.


Each hex is a province. There can be a principal town in each province where the locally raised troops appear.

Each province can raise a battalion of foot, a squadron of cavalry or a battery of artillery. Coastal hexsides give one shipbuilding point which are used at the nearest port.

Once a unit is raised it can be put together with another unit in a regiment. Regimental associations cannot be changed once set-up.

Each winter the province sends recruits to the unit wherever it is. Loss of the province stops this. Captured provinces can provide half the original number of recruits and only as infantry which can be used in any of the new owner's units..but this is fixed once decided.

Units never go over their original establishment.


Idea is to classify towns according to one number which reflects wealth, defences, recruitment capability and supply value.

The town defences can be related to this by allowing the number of bastions to be related to it.
The town size can be related by allowing a certain space inside the walls and a certain number of building 'blocks' in that space.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012


Reorganised from


Trying some ideas using card prints made with Junior General's top-downs.

Below - A Russian battalion with mounted officer.


Below - Swedish battalion with pikemen and battalion gun.
 This is a good way to try things out before having armies of tin soldiers assembled.


Postman brought a box from Eire today. Prince August !
Should be enough moulds to cast everything from grenadiers to pikes and Swedes to Russians and Saxons.

Not sure when I can try the first castings..impatient.
Of course I have already decided I need some other moulds and should also make some modified figures.....

Monday, 8 October 2012


Scale circa 25-33:1

Three companies is 6 figures which can fit on a base 2 deep. With frontage 60mm this gives a battalion of 18 figures - 600 men - with a frontage 180mm. At 1mm : 1 metre this gives a reasonable scale.

Two battalions will give a regimental frontag eof 36cm - manageable. To do big battles it could be convenient to double the scale to 1mm:2m and use one battalion to represent a regiment.

For pike-armed troops (usually 1/3) the two central figures on a base of 6 can be pikemen.

Combat range is now 120mm for usual close-combat musketry at 120-100 yards. Longest range will be the length of a battalion front - 180m.


Using Wesencraft's Efficiency Rating - which is a variation on the Shire Wargaming book system written by Arthur Taylor, I think.....


1 - Troops not formed or trained properly
2 - Units newly formed, worn-out or second-rate garrisons
3 - Efficient Line units
4 - Elite units

Units can be assigned an ER by considering their status in the national army and dicing with +/- ave dice.
Maximum variation is 1. No unit can have ER more than 4 or less than 1.


Sunday, 7 October 2012


Cannot really see  how pikes - 1/4 to 1/ 3 of companies - could have been massed at centre of a battalion. Any cavalry charge coul dnot be met with pikes. Outer musketeers had a long way to run to gain safety of the pikes. Also, in attack the pikes woul dtake a lot of fire without possibility for reply and they may break through independently of the musketeers.. problematic for command and control.

Distributed companies would, on the other hand, give extra umph to charges all along the line and break up any charging cavalry who would presumably have to avoid the islands of pikes.

So I will base 6 men on each 60mm front with 4 musketeers an d2 pikemen in two ranks.


The Grants' rules seem, unfortunately, rather unwieldy for 40mm and a limited table. I had hoped this new edition might address some of the problems of requiring so many figures and so much space. There is an attempt to do so in Annex 1 but no basic change in the rules concept. Organisation remains as fuzzy as it ever was in the old books. Adding pikes is a problem.

Charles Wesencraft's Practical Wargaming and Pike and Musket books actually offers some help. With pike mechanisms and UNIT EFFICIENCY RATING much of the GWR's essential character can be introduced to 'The Wargame'.

Had not read these in detail for years but actually very  thoughtfully devised rules. A step beyond the Grants and even Donald Featherstone, I feel.

I may opt for no casualty removal but some form of UNIT STATUS marking - firepower causing increased loss of order and capability rather than doing this by removing figures.

As ever, hopes to take a set of rules 'off the shelf' are not realised.

Saturday, 6 October 2012


Following basic principle of keeping things simple and toy-soldier-like instead of going for the dolls-house school of super scale realism, I have decided on card for all buildings.

The German company Schreiber make beautiful card kits for old fashioned European buildings that suit c.1700 very well.

Received the first today - 1/87 and 1/90 scale. I will scan and print to double size which should suit 40mm.