Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Entry #9 to AHPC VIII: Breitenfeld, 1631 - The Protestant Center, in 2mm

A couple of years ago Sarah and I were visiting Sidney and his lovely family at Roundwood Towers, and one night, over a few glasses of plonk (okay quite a few glasses) we were discussing his new project at the time, the 1632 Battle of Lutzen. Sidney had most of the figures and terrain pretty much sorted (and little gems they are) and was in the process of getting into the grist of the rules. (I highly recommend you visit Sid's blog, Roundwood's World, where he charts his thoughts and progress on this fascinating project.) 

Sidney described to me what he was wanting to convey in the rules: that they were to be a simple set of instructions which could provide a fun game, rich in 17th century character, and easily played during the course of an evening. Being a bit of a rules junky, I began to proffer a stream of unsolicited advice to poor Sid, to the extent that, by the end of our visit (happily marked by several more empty bottles of plonk), we had hammered-out the core mechanics of a set of rules which we've titled 'Swinefeather' (as a nod to the soldiers' term for the fork-tipped musket rests they used during this period).  


This past autumn we were back for another visit, and Sid and I took the opportunity to give the rules another run-through, making more adjustments and knocking off a few rough edges. It was at this time that I thought that it might be helpful if created a couple of 2mm forces so we could better playtest the rules at a distance, bouncing ideas back and forth. 

With this in mind, I decided that I wanted to do something similar to Sidney's approach, that is to pick a specific battle to which to build a couple of forces around. With Lutzen well and truly covered by Mssr. Roundwood, I decided to jump in with both feet, and set my sights upon the 1631 battle of Breitenfeld. Yes, nothing like picking one of the biggest battles of the Thirty Years War to break one's duck! Nonetheless, I thought that the upcoming Painting Challenge would provide perfect impetus to get this project off the ground and moving forward, so off I went.

So here, after that very long introduction and no further ado, are my first efforts in this new project. What I'm showing here today is the 2mm order-of-battle for the Protestant center at Breitenfeld, which was perhaps around half of the entire force commanded by Gustavus Adolphus on that dusty day in September, 1631.

Gustavus' center was commanded by General Maximilian Teuffel, with his second in command being John Hepburne (an officer of Scottish mercenaries, a fairly common fixture in Swedish service at that time). Hepburne took command of the center after Teuffel was killed earlier in the day, so I've included his command stand to reflect that occurrence. 

The Swedish right and left wings were led by Johann Baner and Gustav Horn respectively, and on the extreme left flank Gustavus was joined by the ill-stared Saxons under Johann Georg, Elector of Saxony (more on those lads and their associated commands in a future post). 

The (wee) man himself, Gustavus Adolphus and staff.

Johann Walter's 'Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden at the Battle of Breitenfeld'

The center was made up of four successive lines composed, alternately, of infantry and cavalry, and each positioned to support their friends to the front, either to exploit successful breakthroughs, or to provide reinforcement in the event of the forward lines being thrown into disarray by the enemy.

Most of the models seen here are metal castings from Irregular Miniatures. They can be a bit 'blobby' at times, but on the whole they admirably convey what they need to and are great fun to work on. On the bases I've tried to reflect the Swedish manner of how they arrayed their formations (the famous 'Swedish Brigade), including their doctrine of having small battalion guns prividing close fire support to the infantry.

The four troops of Protestant cuirassiers assigned to the Swedish centre.

The basing is:
- 60x30 for the infantry brigades, 
- 30x30 for the troops of cavalry,
- 60x60 for the massed artillery,  
- 30mm rounds for the wing commanders,
- and 40mm rounds for the army commander

I augmented the Irregular casting with a bespoke 3D range that I found on Shapeways by  a very creative company called Forward March Studios. These miniatures are printed in a white polymer resin which is quite robust and takes paint very well. 

A 2mm Windfarm!

2mm command groupings

I ordered a good sampling of their stuff, so I should have more to show from this range in the coming months. Below is a base reflecting Gustav's concentration of guns that I've created using the Forward March models.  I like the long line of gun carriages and caissons running behind the guns. Something you don't often see in larger scales. The charming windmill is from their range as well (see the unpainted examples above).

I've followed in Sidney's creative footsteps and pimped the bases with banners cut from wine bottle foil (lot of that around here it seems) and painted a coloured strip along the back to denote their nationality (here we see IKEA blue for the Swedes). As several of the big battles of the period (including Breitenfeld) were fought in the fall I gave the bases a bit of an autumnal treatment. 

We've come up with a mechanic were we mark the status of the units with small beads; yellow for 'Shaken', orange for 'Disordered' and red for 'Shattered'. In order to keep the beads with their associated units, I drilled out my bases on their top right corners and glued in small pegs, this way the beads can easily be inserted and (hopefully) kept in place during gameplay.

So there you have it. The core elements of the Swedish/Saxon force at Breitenfeld. I hope to have the two cavalry wings and the Saxons done before the end of the Painting Challenge, wish me luck!

Thanks for stopping by for a peek.