Friday, May 6, 2011

GWG Troop Scale

Council of War: William and his generals 1688
First things first, GWG stands for Goulburn Wargames Group. For those not familiar with Australian geography, Goulburn is a small inland city in the New South Wales central tablelands. As this Blog is specifically dedicated to Williamite Warfare and associated wargames armies, I thought I'd share one of the significant considerations surrounding the armies we intend to build first ... the representative troop scale and model scale.

Troop Scale

Troop scale is the representative ratio of models to real life soldiers or numbers actually fighting as far as we know. To begin with, my good friend Matt and I will begin with French and United Provinces armies for the late Dutch wars period - for around 1675-8. Normally for a shot or musket army of almost any period we look to the size of the infantry battalion as our main collecting indicator. Later regarded as the 'Queen of the Battlefield', the infantry or foot(e) arm (if you excuse the irony) generally constitutes the main collection with artillery and cavalry in support. For this period; however, the cavalry or horse play a much more significant part in battle presence, numbers and cost for a miniature army. It is to the cavalry, therefore, that we have looked to in order to establish both our troop scale and model scales.

Model Scale

The GWG has had a long standing preference for 28mm figures (we'll settle of that definition) but for a time we dabbled with the idea of going smaller this time. Getting back to the cavalry question, the principle tactical unit for this period was the squadron and there were lots of them. It was also common practice for squadrons to attack in three ranks - particularly for the French whose cavalry tended to dominate. How then is this to be represented in 28mm or any other scale in terms of model numbers?

A Question of Cavalry

Bearing in mind that Williamite Warfare is also an adaptation of the Warhammer ECW system, the GWG have also always tended toward wargaming in 'Big Battallions' - something started in Napoleonics using the Grand Manner rule system and a habit from which we find hard to break. This generally relies on a 1:20 troop scale and makes for impressive looking units on the table-top. So then, how should the cavalry appear?

We agreed that the best representation of three ranks would be units of twelve (12) cavalry figures but if this was to represent 150 cavalry (an average squadron) then we have a troop scale of 1:12. Translate that into an infantry battalion of 550-750 soldiers and we had ourselves collecting sixty (60) figure battalions. This prompted us to begin looking at alternate figure scales.

Other Scales?

I spent an evening browsing the Internet and looking at the best 15mm had to offer and even looked at plastic figure ranges which were poorly represented in this particular period. My problem was that in comparison to the new ranges on offer from Coppelstone Casting Glory of the Sun Range, the new Front Rank releases and the classic Dixon figures, even the best 15mm miniatures paled in comparison. 'No' we decided, 'It will just have to be 28mm!' So, back to the cavalry issue.

Wargaming Doctrine

We finally hit on the idea of perverting reality for the sake of art and have struck a table-top compromise. Whilst the basic tactical unit of the cavalry squadron needs representation both in models and rules mechanisms, we have determined that a new concept should be permitted - the demi-squadron. It follows thusly ... if a squadron is represented at 1:20 troop ratio (six to seven figures) then the infantry battalions will number from 30 to 38 figures - far more manageable. BUT, what chance does one squadron of six horse have in combat against infantry, charging through a simulated hail of musketry and into pikes? Perhaps more important still, how paltry does a unit of six horsemen look before an array of three dozen pike and shot?


By providing for the notion of a demi-squadron, or two squadrons in combined attack as one unit, we hope to better represent the cavalry arm both visually and in terms of game mechanics. In three ranks of 12-14 troopers they should look the part and have a likelihood of getting the job done. Therefore, two squadrons may combine at any time in the game, testing as one unit to charge and fighting as such. Other squadrons may join the melee but they are not of the same unit for rules mechanics.

Building armies will remain a matter of collecting squadrons and nothing prevents single squadron attacks, though they might be better off chasing down fleeing troops or matching up against other singe squadrons.


So, in summary, after much thought it's back to 1:20 troops scale and onwards with another 28mm army thanks to the adoption of the demi-squadron as a table-top concept for cavalry action in Williamite Warfare.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Raison D'ĂȘtre

The purpose of this blog is to promote and share thoughts and ideas concerning late seventeenth century miniature wargaming, more specifically for the period covering three great wars: the Franco Dutch War 1672-78 (La Guerre de Hollande), the Wars of the Glorious Revolution 1688-90 and the Nine Years War 1689-98.

Key to this site is the development of Williamite Warfare, an attempt to more accurately reflect the transitional nature of this proto-linear period of warfare based upon an adaptation of the miniature wargaming rules, Warhammer English Civil War. These rules are adapted by me, Unlucky General, and play tested with my colleagues of the Goulburn Wargames Group. It is a strictly not-for-profit exercise, all ideas and original work is freely available to download, share and adapt from this site.

The first draft of Williamtie Warfare is currently under development and will constitute the first posting of the site after this statement of intent.

Williamite Warfare, whilst concentrating on the armies and campaigns fought by William of Orange, his allies and those who fought against them, merely identifies the point of orbit for this period and the theatre of operations upon which this site concentrates. It is not a political site, nor does it align with any particular religious persuasion - themes from which still resonate with many today. If this site and the accompanying rules adaptation had been The Wars of Louis XIV or cover the Empire under Leopold , its scope would have to extend to the East and the Mediterranean campaigns and Turkish styles of warfare, which it does not.

This blog is not a research focused cite. Any historical data generated through it is strictly for the purposes of translating into rules mechanisms for miniature wargaming or to illustrate the miniature armies which evolve. For research and historical focus, readers or followers are directed to such blogs as Anno Domini 1672, British Army Lineages and Wars of Louis Quatorze which I follow, have linked to this site and do not propose to compete with.

For more general wargaming subject matter, I invite you to follow my other blog Unlucky General or Project Lewes, a specific blog dedicated to the battle of Lewes in 1264.