Thursday 4 April 2019

Order, order!

An Imperial unit of Cuirassiers thunder in to action.
Once we had decided on the battle we were going to recreate, one of the the first things we had to do was to sort out the order of battle so we knew what figures and units we needed.  We used the Osprey Campaign book on Lutzen , as well as Dr. Schürger’s thesis, as the main sources of information (see the Blog link sections for more details).

There are many ways to turn the actual order of battle (OOB) in to wargames forces, so this is just this our approach for this battle.  First of all each army was broken down in to broad divisions, left wing, centre and right wing.  Then the number of actual men and the number of units was worked out, separating infantry from cavalry.  This gave us a breakdown of the actual numbers involved in the battle.

Next we analysed the infantry in more detail. Both sides infantry were organised into a number of main battalia or brigades. This was done to amalgamate or split regiments of varying sizes into more standardised sized units for this major battle. For the Swedish force this organisation was into eight infantry brigades, and for the Imperials this was intoseven major bodies or battalia.  For both forces these were roughly a 1000-1200 men each.

We already had an idea on what unit sizes in terms of figures we wanted to aim for based on existing collections.  Our regular pike and shot units are about 40 figures. A ratio of wargames figures to actual men of 1:30 would therefore give us a starting point to work with.  So this would mean that we’d have something like 8 x 40 figure blocks for the Swedes and 7 x 40 figure blocks for the Imperial forces as the main infantry forces in the centre.

The cavalry was a bit trickier. For the actual battle these were formed from regiments and troops in to battlefield squadrons of around 200 men. Using our infantry ratio of 1:30 this would give 6 figure squadrons. This would be a bit fiddly. We therefore decided, based purely on aesthetics, to adjust to our normal 12 figure cavalry units by halving the number of squadrons.  Using the actual orders of battle we calculated the number of wargame cavalry units required.

With this initial rough plan of figures required we sat down to consider our plan.  Two issues. We needed to prepare an awful lot of figures in a smallish time frame, and the forces would need a giant table. We decided to ‘cut our coat to fit our cloth’.  We took the number of wargames units we had worked out and applied a scaling factor of 75%, e.g. 8 Swedish brigades become 6.  A quick bit of recalculation and we decided we had an achievable lead mountain to climb, and could squeeze the game on to 10’ by 6’ table.

These were the resulting wargame orders of battle.  These are set out for Warlord Games’ Pike and Shotte, but easily converted in to other games systems.

If this sounds complicated then these two PDFs will show ourworking, so to speak.

Swedish OOB PDF

Imperial OOB PDF

Here is a simpler breakdown of the two armies.

Imperial Army

Imperial Right Wing

  • Commander - Generalissimo Albrecht Wallenstein (also Commander in Chief)
  • 1 Croat Light  Cavalry
  • 1 Cuirassier
  • 3 Arquebusier (1 is Large)
  • 1 Commanded Shot (defending the town)

Imperial Centre

  • Commander - Generalwachtmeister Rudolf Colloredo
  • 4 Pike and Shot battalia (1 is Large)
  • 1 Cuirassier
  • 2 Arquebusier
  • 3 Heavy and 2 Medium guns split in to 2 batteries
  • 1 Light Gun


  • 1 Pike and Shot battalia
  • 2 Commanded Shot

Imperial Left Wing

  • Commander - Feldmarschall-Leutnant Heinrich Holk 
  • 2 Croat Light Cavalry 
  • 1 Cuirassier 
  • 2 Arquebusier 
  • (1 Pike and Shot battalia - this is a ‘dummy’ unit made up of camp followers)

Imperial Reinforcements (marching to the sound of the guns)

  • Commander - Feldmarschall Gottfried Pappenheim 
  • 1 Croat Light Cavalry
  • 1 Cuirassier 
  • 2 Arquebusier 

Swedish Army with Protestant German Allies

Swedish Right Wing

  • Commander - Gustav II Adolf (also commander in chief)
  • 2 ‘Swedish’ Harquebusier
  • 1 Finnish Harquebusier
  • 2 Commanded Shot with Light Guns


  • 2 German Harquebusier 
  • 1 Finnish Harquebusier

Swedish Centre

  • Commander -  Generalmajor Dodo  Knyphausen
  • 3 ‘Swedish’ Pike and Shot Brigades
  • 2 Heavy Guns in a single battery


  • 3 German Pike and Shot Brigades
  • 1 ‘Swedish’ Harquebusier

Swedish Left Wing

  • Commander - General-leutnant Bernhard von Weimar
  • 3 German Harquebusier
  • 2 Commanded Shot with Light Guns


  • 3 German Harquebusier 

Notes on the OOB.

The command structures of both armies have been simplified.  In the actual battle the Swedish army was split into three commands: left, centre and right.   Each of these was also divided in to a forward command and a reserve.  How the higher command functioned in the actual battle is not clear.   We simply broke the Swedish army in to three commands: left, centre and right.

In the actual battle the Imperial Army was also split into three commands: left, centre and right.  Pappenheim was probably expected to take command of the left wing when he arrived.  The Command structure within the centre is not clear.  We broke the Imperial army in to four commands: left, centre, right and Pappenheim's reinforcements.

The cavalry unit classifications of Cuirassier, Harquebusier, Arquebusiers and Croat are used to differentiate the various types of cavalry in the battle.  These are broad categories and the actual units probably varied a great deal and probably wouldn’t have fitted in to such neat wargamer’s troop types, but this was a compromise we decide to make in terms of easy playability.

Cuirassiers are well armoured and mounted troops armed with sword and pistols.  These are the heaviest cavalry.

Arquebusiers are less well armoured and mounted armed with carbines, some pistols and swords.  They favour firepower over combat.

Harquebusiers fall in between Curaissiers and Arquebusiers.  They are less well armoured than cuirassiers, but more prepared to fight in hand to hand than Arquebusiers.   They represent Cuirassiers that have lessened their armour, and Arquebusiers who have increased their armour and altered their tactics to become more melee focused.

This split may be a bit of a Swedes v. Imperial stereo-type, but having this asymmetry between forces does provide an interesting game challenge.

Finnish Harquebusiers are lighter, and faster cavalry, but still melee focused.

Croats are skirmishing light horse who are an annoyance rather than a real threat to formed and order troops.

The ‘Swedish’ designated pike and shot units represent Gustav’s veteran infantry units (actually a mixture of Swedes and Germans) and have suitably improved factors.

There are restrictions on the use of the reserve forces in both armies.

Unless specified units are regular sized units in Pike and Shotte.  The ‘battalia’ are units of mixed pike and shot (2 muskets to 1 pike is the assumed ratio).  In the Imperial army these comprise a single pike block and two units of shot.

In the Swedish army the brigades are made up to represent the Swedish ‘three squadron’ formation.  They each have a forward squadron of a pike block and a forward shot unit.  There are two flank squadrons left and right.  These can each be made up of pike and shot units, or combined units.  It would have been easy to come up with a standard formation for the Swedish brigades, but the sources we had broke each brigade in to regiments and provided a precise breakdown of pikemen and musketeers.  This was too tempting!  It was possible to therefore form the Swedish brigades in to their squadrons, and using separate pike and shot units, form the famous Swedish (infantry) squadrons.  This provided another nice asymmetry between the Swedish and Imperial forces.

In future posts I will share the Pike and Shotte factors we will be using for the various units, and also the Swedish brigade squadron breakdown we have constructed.

Until next time!

No comments:

Post a Comment