Archive for the ‘17th Century’ Category

The Battle of Killiecrankie – 27th July 1689   Leave a comment

BACKGROUND HISTORY

The coronation of the Roman Catholic James II of England (James VII of Scotland) following the death of his older and Protestant brother, Charles II, raised old tensions and concerns throughout the realm. The English Civil Wars, some forty years earlier and for some, still in living memory, had in part been fueled by religious differences as well as politics. The country didn’t want to return to that period of history, nor to the Elizabethan Age, where one could quite easily be executed for their religious beliefs.

In 1685 the Duke of Monmouth attempted to overthrow the King with a rebellion, but support never really amounted to much and it became just a local uprising in the South West of England which was snuffed out at the Battle of Sedgemoor in Somerset. The Bloody Assizes (trials and executions of anyone and everyone with even a tenuous link to the uprising) that followed were designed to send a message to all who dared to consider challenging James.

Tensions rose further though in 1688 when James’ wife Mary gave birth to a son, James Francis Edward Stuart, suddenly giving the nation the prospect of another Catholic heir to the throne. Behind closed doors, Protestant politicians and men of power were secretly discussing a solution, and they came up with inviting the Dutch noble, William of Orange, to take the British crown. William was Protestant, he was the son of Charles II’s eldest daughter and was also married to James II’s Protestant daughter, Mary, so it could be argued he was “in the Royal family” already.  Taking no chances, he gathered an army of 70,000 men and landed on the south coast and marched towards London. Resistance was minimal, in fact almost non-existent, prompting this change of monarchy to be known as “The Glorious Revolution”, by the fact there wasn’t mass bloodshed. James, his wife and young son, fled to France to live in exile, but with hopes to return and reclaim the crown.

The Stuarts were a Scottish family, and The Highlands of Scotland was still very much a Catholic region, with its culture and heritage being linked more to Ireland than to southern Scotland. So it was of no surprise that support to restore James to the throne should start here.  The previous year, before the revolution, James had promoted one of his most loyal Catholic subjects, John Graham of Claverhouse known as “Bloody Clavers”, to the title of Lord Graham, 1st Viscount Dundee. In return Dundee had sworn to fight for James until his dying days. A message from James to Dundee as he fled for France gave Dundee the authority to literally fight if necessary, in the name of King James. After political talks in the Scottish parliament went against Dundee and it was agreed to accept King William as the monarch of Scotland as well, Dundee openly began a rebellion for James.

After declaring Dundee “outlaw”, along with other Highland Clan chiefs who supported him, William instructed one of the few British officers in his army that he fully trusted, Major General Hugh Mackay of Scourie, already a veteran of the War of Grand Alliance which raged in Europe. MacKay felt confident, he could muster between 3-4,000 well armed soldiers, compared to the estimated 2,000 Highland rebels, who he considered as untrained, levies.

Williamite Government soldiers by LURKIO FIGURINES (15mm)

 

KILLIECRANKIE

Dundee knew he had a hard task ahead of him, and that he needed a quick victory in battle to gain more support from other parts of Scotland and strengthen his forces. He identified Blair Castle as being a target and route through to the Lowlands of Scotland, the castle was owned by the Earl of Atholl, who upon hearing of the approaching Highlanders decided to leave the castle and gave over it defence to his son, Lord John Murray, who was a supporter of King William, however Dundee had already instructed Patrick Stuart of Ballechin (a relative of the Murrays) to seize the castle in the name of James, forcing Lord Murray to lay siege to his own castle !

Upon hearing of Dundee’s advance, MacKay gathered his forces to meet him and the two armies approached each other from opposite directions. Dundee from the west and taking his army through the long grass and bracken to form up on the hillside overlooking the River Garry, while MacKay, needing a road for his baggage train and artillery, approached from the east through the valley of the Killiecrankie Pass and through which the rive ran alongside them.  Despite being on the lower ground MacKay was still confident in his numerical superiority and trained firepower as the two armies formed up to face each other.

Suggested set up for the Battle of Killiecrankie

 

 

ORDERS OF BATTLE – using 1:20 figure/man ratio and suggested bases for “base rules”

Jacobite Army

John Graham of Claverhouse,  1st Viscount Dundee – Commander-in-Chief – Veteran, tactician, inspirational leader, fearless

Clan Maclean (200 men) 10 figures/4 bases – open order infantry, warband, experienced, impetuous, mixed weapons, 1/4 musket, 1/4 broadsword, 1/4 Lochaber axe,  1/4 spear/dagger

Irish Regiment (300 men) 15 figures/6 bases – close order infantry, experienced, trained, 1/3 pike 2/3 musket

Clan Ranald  (400 men) 20 figures/8 bases – open order infantry, warband, experienced, impetuous, mixed weapons, 1/4 musket, 1/4 broadsword, 1/4 Lochaber axe,  1/4 spear/dagger

Clan Glengarry  (300 men) 15 figures/6 bases – open order infantry, warband, experienced, impetuous, mixed weapons, 1/4 musket, 1/4 broadsword, 1/4 Lochaber axe,  1/4 spear/dagger

Dundee’s Cavalry Guard (50 men) 2 figures/1 base – close order cavalry, veteran, experienced, elite, sword, pistols

Dunfermline’s Cavalry (40 men) 2 figures/1 base – close order cavalry, veteran experienced, well trained, sword, pistols

Clan Cameron  (240 men) 12 figures/5 bases – open order infantry, warband, experienced, impetuous, mixed weapons, 1/4 musket, 1/4 broadsword, 1/4 Lochaber axe,  1/4 spear/dagger

Clan Macdonald  (500 men) 25 figures/10 bases – open order infantry, warband, experienced, impetuous, mixed weapons, 1/4 musket, 1/4 broadsword, 1/4 Lochaber axe,  1/4 spear/dagger

Optional – if used, to be located at the Commander’s choice of location

Lochiel’s Snipers (50 men) 2 figure (1 base) – skirmish order infantry, veteran, experienced, sniper, musket

 

Williamite Government Army

Major-General Hugh MacKay of Scourie – Commander-in-Chief – Veteran, tactician, respected leader, over confident

Lauder’s Fusiliers (200 men) 10 figures/4 bases – close order infantry, veteran, experienced, well trained, musket

Kenmure’s Scottish Regiment (600 men) 30 figures/12 bases – close order infantry, experienced, trained, 1/3 pike, 2/3 musket

Ramsey’s Anglo-Dutch Regiment (600 men) 30 figures/12 bases – close order infantry, inexperienced, trained, 1/3 pike 2/3 musket

Balfour’s Anglo-Dutch Regiment (600 men) 30 figures/12 bases – close order infantry, inexperienced, trained, 1/3 pike 2/3 musket

Annandale’s Horse (60 men) 3 figures/1 base – close order cavalry, veteran, experienced, elite, sword, pistols

Belhaven’s Horse (80 men) 4 figures/2 bases – close order cavalry, veteran, experienced, elite, sword, pistols

Leven’s Scottish Regiment (600 men) 30 figures/12 bases – close order infantry, experienced, trained, 1/3 pike, 2/3 musket

MacKay’s Anglo-Dutch Regiment 30 figures/12 bases – close order infantry, veteran, experienced, well trained, 1/3 pike, 2/3 musket

Hasting’s English Regiment 30 figures/12 bases – close order infantry, experienced, trained, 1/3 pike, 2/3 musket

Artillery (3 small cannon) 2 models/2 bases – 3lb regimental gun, inexperienced, trained crew

 

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

Although confident in his numerical advantage, MacKay was an experienced enough soldier to know that attempting a frontal assault uphill toward the Jacobite lines would be futile against such a strong defensive position. His men were largely inexperienced, with the more battle hardened regiments having been shipped to Holland to fight the French. He therefore ordered his men into firing lines, and for much of the battle had them firing their muskets and small cannon uphill towards the Jacobite lines, causing next to no casualties.

The Jacobites waited patiently, holding their position, although they did send forward a small unit of snipers to occupy a derelict building on the lower slopes to harass the enemy, but these were driven off by a detachment of men from MacKay’s Regiment. MacKay himself was disappointed that this very minor firefight hadn’t prompted a larger response from the Jacobites, as the day was passing and he was determined to do battle before nightfall and avoid the possibility of the Jacobites moving on under cover of darkness.

As the sun began to set behind the hills, Dundee ordered his men to ready themselves to attack. Seeing movement on the slopes in front, MacKay likewise ordered his men to form into Platoon firing lines, three men deep rather the conventional six, which would allow all his man to give fire. His plan was to create a wall of musket shot so intense it would halt the Jacobite army and then he could counter charge to finish them off.

As once the sun disappeared behind the skyline, Dundee ordered his army to advance, and in true Jacobite fashion the predominately barefooted warriors, soon built up speed to a full racing charge down the slopes, discarding everything about them other than their weapons. The largely inexperienced Williamite army fired their first round at 100 paces, and frantically began reloading, as the screaming Scots continued down the hill. A second round of shot felled a small number of the Jacobites, but still they charged forward. Determined that his plan would work, MacKay ordered a third reload as the Highlanders began to close, this final close range volley caused the most damage but did not stop them , the result was that none of the Government army had time to fix their “plug” bayonets, and were literally cut down by the fanatical sword and axe wielding Highlanders.

Despite his greater numbers, within minutes the Williamite lines broke and MacKay’s army fled the field, losing over 2,000 dead behind them. The Jacobite victory may have been swift once the attack began, but it was also costly for them too, losing around 680 men, but most importantly costing the life of Dundee, “Bloody Claverhouse” himself, who was struck down by shot during the final moments of the charge which he led personally.  This would have a major impact on the Jacobite cause, which petered out after their defeat at Dunkeld a few weeks later. MacKay would be sent back to fight overseas, where he was killed in 1692 at the Battle of Steenkirk in Holland.

The Battle of Killiecrankie

WARGAMING THE BATTLE

Although at first glance this may seem a one sided encounter, with the use of different tactics or maybe dare I say, lucky dice rolls, the outcome could be far more of a contest with either side gaining victory.

To simply the battlefield the river didn’t really play any part other than slow up the routing Government troops at the very end, and neither did the woods to the right. So for a simple set up the only really important feature being the high ground that the Jacobites occupied and charged down.

For rules, the main commercial ones for this period are Under Lily Banners by The League of Augsburg team,  Lace Wars by Partizan Press, Black Powder by Warlord Games, and DBR by Wargames Research Group, although a quick search on the interweb, will also lead you to several lesser known sets and free PDF downloads too, which are often fun to play.

Figures are a  little more difficult for an accurate depiction. Most “Jacobite Wars” ranges focus on The ’45 Uprising, some 60 years later, when British uniforms were more akin to the Seven Years War. If that doesn’t bother you then for 28mm fans the Front Rank Figurines range is very good, and for fans of smaller scales try the Pendraken 10mm range.

However, for accurate representation on the table, Dixon Miniatures make a superb 28mm range for the British in their League of Augsburg range and for fans of smaller scales then there is nothing more suitable than the 15mm Lurkio Figurines range who produce both British and Jacobites for this earlier period of the uprisings and can be found on our website at https://thelittlecorporal.co.uk/17th-century-55-c.asp

 

 

Posted 22/12/2021 by The Little Corporal in 17th Century, Category 1

The Battle of Lund – 4th December 1676   Leave a comment

The 21 year old, King Charles XI of Sweden

The Battle of Lund, although not that well known outside of Scandinavia, was one of Europe’s most important battles in the late 18th century. It was major engagement in what is called the Scanian Wars, a conflict between Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Brandenburg which saw several national boundary changes by its end. However for may historians it is seen as a “northern theatre” of the greater Louis XIV Wars being waged in western Europe. Whichever way you decide to consider it, the Scanian Wars are a fascinating and exciting piece of history that are well worth refighting in miniature.

Since the Battle of Halmstad in August 1676, the war between Denmark and Sweden had become a chess game of manoeuvring, but as autumn turned to winter Charles XI of Sweden new that his army would not last much longer in the field without adequate supplies and quarters. He also knew that if he retired north for the winter then the Danes would more than likely never be removed from Scania (the region of modern day southern Sweden), however considering the poor state of his army it was far from certain that they could take the Danes on in battle either. His army numbered around 7,500 compared to the Danish 11,000 who in addition had just been reinforced by another 1,500 sailors, although their use on a battlefield was debatable. A third option open to Charles, as well as the retreat north or direct attack on the Danes; was to try and slip past the Danes, crossing the River Kavlinge and making a dash for Malmo, where there were supplies his army could replenish on. The arrival of Swedish & Finnish reinforcements from the north on the 24th November, including two infantry companies and a Finish cavalry regiment, gave the Charles the boost he wanted to try the dash for Malmo, with the security of now having a larger force if it turned into a battle.

The problem of getting past the Danes though still was very real. The Swedish army and Danish army were camped opposite each other about 4km apart with the River Kavlinge between them. To get to Malmo Charles would have to cross the river and sweep around the Danish camp in a 270* arc before having a clear route to his destination. On the 30th November good luck came to Charles and his army in the form of the first strong winter weather blowing in which began to freeze the river. Under cover of darkness, for several days, Charles and his officers would reconnoitre the river and test the thickness of the ice, waiting and hoping it would thicken enough to support his entire army crossing it and on December 2nd it was gauged at 10cm thick and sufficient to move the army. The order was given to prepare to move out and to expect battle on the other side, a coded message was sent to Malmo informing the forces their of the plan. As uniforms at this time were far from standard, as a final preparation the Swedish troops attached tufts of straw to their hats and sleeves to identify themselves as friendlies in case in the confusion of melee they could see who was who.

At 1;30am on the morning of the 4th December the Swedes started their move, small groups of men reinforced the ice with wooden planks and slush, that would refreeze quickly and harden to provide a roadway for the artillery to cross. This went until after the moon set around 2:30am at which point the army formed up in five columns and slowly and quietly began to walk towards the river, cavalry leading their horses on foot. By 5am the entire army had crossed the river without alerting the Danes to their movements despite now being less than 3km away. It’s possible the Danes did hear noises of horses and wagons and thought it was the Swedes retreating, but if they did they failed to investigate and the Swedes were unchallenged.

As the army passed to the left of the Danish camp Charles considered a surprise attack but scouts reported a tangle of stone walls and fences between them that would hamper any attempt by cavalry and artillery to close in unobserved, so the they continued their march south, moving past and beyond the Danes and towards the town of Lund. The Swedes knew that as dawn approached they were bound to be spotted and then intercepted by the Danes so they planned to seize high ground outside Lund which would cover their route to Malmo, with this in mind, Charles ordered a vanguard of cavalry forward to secure that area. As this small force advanced, the dawn broke and the Danes saw they had been outmanoeuvred; surprised but not panicked, the Danes sprang into action and within 30 minutes the entire army had turned about and was forming up into a battle deployment, as well as a cavalry force on their left wing effectively racing against the Swedish vanguard to reach the area around Lund first. The terrain, littered with walls and gullies was not easy for either army to move over, but the Swedish vanguard narrowly beat the Danes to area around the windmill north of Lund, securing their path to Malmo, before turning to engage the Danish cavalry opposite them. In the frosty sunlight at around 8:30am, the Battle of Lund was about to begin.

 

Suggested initial set up for the Battle of Lund

ORDERS OF BATTLE using a figure ratio of 20:1 (approx)

The Swedish Army

Field Marshal Simon Grundel Helmfelt – joint Commander-In-Chief – veteran, experienced, excellent tactician

King Charles XI of Sweden – joint Commander-In- Chief – veteran, impetuous, good tactician, inspirational leader

Right Wing (Cavalry) 1st Line

Lt. General Otto Wilhelm von Fersen – sub-commander – veteran, experienced, elite, inspirational leader

2 Squadrons Viborg Dragoon Regiment (240 men) – 12 figures – Open Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, solid morale, sword, dragoon musket

1 Squadron His Majesty’s Drabant Guard (150 men) – 8 figures – Close Order Cavalry, veteran, elite, excellent morale, ferocious fighters, sword, pistols

5 Squadrons Life Regiment of Horse (530 men) – 26 figures – Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, solid morale, sword, pistols

4 Squadrons Abo-Viborg Cavalry Regiment (303 men) – 15 figures – Close Order Cavalry, trained, newly recruited, good morale, sword, pistols

2nd Line

Maj.General Leonard Johan Wittenberg – sub-commander – veteran, experienced, reliable leader

1 x Squadron Scania-Bohulsan Dragoon Regiment (60 men) – 3 figures – Open Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, solid morale, sword, dragoon musket

2 Squadrons The Retinue of Nobles (200 men) – 10 figures – Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, solid morale, sword, pistols

2 Squadrons The Reinforcement of Nobles (170 men) – 8 figures – Close Order Cavalry., veteran, experienced. good morale, sword, pistols

1 Squadron Old Smalanders (120 men) – 6 figures – Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, good morale, sword, pistols

1 Squadron The Civil Service’s Temporary Regiment (100 men) – 5 figures – Close Order Cavalry, well trained, experienced, good morale, sword, pistol

Centre (Infantry) 1st Line

Lt.General Martin Schultz – sub-commander – veteran, experienced, inspirational leader

3 Battalions His Majesty’s Life Guard of Foot (600 men) – 30 figures – veteran, experienced, elite, excellent morale 1/3 pike 2/3 musket

1 Battalion Skaraborg Regiment (240 men) – 12 figures – veteran, experienced, solid morale, 1/3 pike 2/3 musket

1 Battalion Dalecarlia Regiment (125 men) – 6 figures – veteran, experienced, elite, musket

1 Battalion Vastogota Regiment (100 men) – 5 figures – veteran, experienced, solid morale, musket

1 Battalion Haslinge Regiment (120 men) – 6 figures – well trained, experienced, solid morale, 1/3 pike 2/3 musket

1 Battalion Narke-Varmland Regiment (120 men) – 6 figures – veteran, experienced, solid morale, 1/3 pike 2/3 musket

1 Battalion Vasternorrland Temporary Regiment (176 men) – 9 figures – well trained, experienced, solid morale, 1/3 pike 2/3 musket

Artillery deployed along front (8 x 6lb guns & 4 x 3lb guns) – 2 x 6lb models 1 x 3lb model with crew, veteran, experienced, sold morale

2nd Line

Maj.General Barthold de Mortaigne – sub-commander – veteran, experienced, steady leader

2 Squadrons Viborg Dragoons (126 men) – 6 figures – Open Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, good morale, sword, dragoon musket

1 Squadron Old Ostgotians (66 men) – 3 figures – Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, solid morale, sword, pistols

1 Battalion Gastrike-Halsinge Reserve Regiment (200 men) – 10 figures – veteran, experienced, good morale, 1/3 pike 2/3 musket

1 Squadron Savolax Dragoon Regiment (100 men) – 5 figures – Open Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, solid morale, sword, dragoon musket

1 Squadron Smaland Dragoon Regiment (100 men) – 5 figures – Open Order Cavalry, trained, newly recruited, good morale, sword, dragoon musket

Left Wing (Cavalry) 1st Line

Lt.General Johan Galle – sub-commander – veteran, experienced, talented leader

1 Squadron Smaland Cavalry Regiment (100 men) – 5 figures – Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, solid morale, sword, pistols

5 Squadrons Viborg & Nyslott Cavalry Regiment (600 men) – 30 figures – Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, good morale, sword, pistols

4 Squadrons Vastgota Regiment (440 men) – 20 figures – Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, good morale, sword, pistols

2 Squadrons Savolax Dragoon Regiment (295 men) – 15 figures – Open Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, solid morale, sword, dragoon musket

2nd Line

Maj.General Johan Benedikt von Schonleben – sub-commander – veteran, experienced, reliable leader

4 Squadrons The New Retinue of Nobles (590 men) – 30 figures – veteran, experienced, sold morale, sword, pistols

2 Squadrons The Queen Dowager’s Life Regiment (140 men) – 7 figures – veteran, experienced, excellent morale, sword, pistols

1 Squadron Savolax Dragoon Regiment (100 men) – 5 figures – Open Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, solid morale, sword, dragoon musket

The Swedish Drabant Guard cavalry engage the Danes

The Danish Army

King Christian V of Denmark – joint Commander-In-Chief – veteran, experienced, good tactician

General Carl von Arensdorff – joint Commander-In-Chief – veteran, experienced, good tactician

Right Wing (Cavalry) 1st Line

Maj.General Hans Wilhelm Meerheim – sub-commander – veteran, experienced, respected leader

3 Squadrons Ortzens Dragoon Regiment – 15 figures- Open Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, solid morale, sword, dragoon musket

3 Squadrons The Guard Cavalry – 15 figures – Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, elite, excellent morale, sword, pistols

3 Squadrons Life Regiment of Cavalry – 15 figures – Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, elite, excellent morale, sword, pistols

3 Squadrons 1st Jutland Cavalry Regiment – 15 figures – Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, solid morale, sword, pistols

2 Squadrons Zealand Retinue of Nobles – 10 figures – Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, solid morale, sword, pistols

2nd Line

Maj.General Detlef Rantzau – sub-commander – veteran, experienced, average ability

3 Squadrons Baudissin’s Cavalry Regiment – 15 figures – Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, good morale, sword, pistols

2 Squadrons 2nd Zealand Cavalry Regiment – 10 figures – Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, good morale, sword, pistols

3 Squadrons 1st Fyn Cavalry Regiment – 15 figures – Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, good morale, sword, pistols

3 Squadrons 1st Zealand Cavalry Regiment – 15 figures – Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, good morale, sword, pistols

Centre (Infantry) 1st Line

Maj.General Joachim von Schack – sub-commander- veteran, experienced, respected leader

2 Battalions The King’s Life Regiment – 32 figures – veteran, experienced, excellent morale, 1/4 pike 3/4 musket

2 Battalions Prince George’s Regiment – 32 figures – veteran, experienced, solid morale, 1/4 pike 3/4 musket

1 Battalion Stuart’s Regiment – 16 figures – veteran, experienced, solid morale, musket

1 Battalion Croy’s Regiment – 16 figures – veteran, experienced, good morale, 1/3 pike 2/3 musket

2 Battalions Prince Frederick’s Regiment – 32 figures – veteran, experienced, solid morale, 1/4 pike 3/4 musket

2 Battalions The Queens Life Regiment – 32 figures – veteran, experienced, good morale, 1/3 pike 2/3 musket

Artillery deplyed along the front line (56 cannons of various calibres) – 6 x 6lb models, 6 x 3lb models & crew – veteran, experienced, good morale

2nd Line

Colonel Caspar von Cicignon – sub-commander – veteran, experienced, average ability leader

1 Battalion Lutkens Regiment – 16 figures – trained, experienced, good morale, 1/3 pike 2/3 musket

1 Battalion 4th Jutland Regiment – 16 figures – trained, experienced, good morale, 1/3 pike 2/3 musket

1 Battalion 1st Fyn Regiment – 16 figures – well trained, experienced, good morale, 1/3 pike 2/3 musket

3 Battalions of Commandeered Sailors – 60 figures – basic training, inexperienced, average morale, assorted melee weapons

1 Battalion 3rd Jutland Regiment – 16 figures – trained, experienced, good morale, 1/3 pike 2/3 musket

1 Battalion Plon Regiment – 16 figures – trained, experienced, good morale, 1/3 pike 2/3 musket

Left Wing (Cavalry) 1st Line

Maj.General Anders Sandberg – sub-commander – veteran, experienced, respected leader, hesitant

3 Squadrons 3rd Jutland Cavalry Regiment – 15 figures – Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, good morale, sword, pistols

2 Squadrons Jutland Retinue of Nobles – 10 figures – Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, good morale, sword, pistols

3 Squadrons 2nd Fyn Cavalry Regiment – 15 figures – Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, average morale, sword, pistols

3 Squadrons 2nd Jutland Cavalry Regiment – 15 figures – Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, average morale, sword, pistols

2 Squadrons Rauch’s Cavalry Regiment – 10 figures – Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, good morale, sword, pistols

3 Squadrons Schleswig Cavalry Regiment – 15 figures – Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, good morale, sword, pistols

2nd Line

3 Squadrons 4th Jutland Cavalry Regiment – 15 figures – Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, average morale, sword, pistols

3 Squadrons Brockenhus’s Dragoon Regiment – 15 fgures – Open Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, solid morale, sword, dragoon musket

Charles XI at the Battle of Lund

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

The battle started on the Swedish right wing, where their vanguard made contact with their Danish opposites in the attempt to reach Lund and the windmill first. Swedish cavalry led by the Drabant Guard charged the Danish cavalry, but these were soon reinforced by the arrival of the Brockenhus Dragoons who overwhelmed the Swedes and their reinforcements, forcing them back. The Danes however suffered from the start, General Arensdorf was personally commanding this section and was shot in the right arm, forcing him to leave the field for treatment. He would die of his wounds the following week after gangrene sets in. The two sides separated while they both waited on the more reinforcements catching up to join them before once again charging into a confused melee. The Swedish army had recently been practicing more aggressive tactics, using faster movement and closing to contact quicker, tactics developed by Louis XIV’s French as opposed to the slower gentler contact tactics of the 30 Years War still largely used. It may be that these more aggressive tactics helped the outnumbered Swedes, coupled with the Danes loss of Arensdorf, that helped them break the Danish cavalry. Either way, after several attacks and counter attacks, and King Charles XI himself joining the combat, the Swedes sent the Danish cavalry into a rout back towards their camp with the Swedish cavalry in hot pursuit.

King Christian of Denmark had apparently been observing the battle from behind his left wing and as his cavalry came racing back in rout he got caught up in the panic and swept away from the battle towards and past the Danish camp towards the River Kavlinge. As the Danish cavalry attempted to cross the frozen river, the ice which had now been warmed by the day’s sunshine gave way and many fell through, drowning in the icy water. Rumours spread that King Christian himself had drowned which spread even more panic in the fleeing cavalry, although this rumour was in fact untrue. It was now though that King Charles’s youth and inexperience caused the Swedes problems. As the Danes fled across the river, Charles and his cavalry halted to observe their departure and ensure that they did not rally and return; that in itself is the correct action, however he stayed at the river far longer than necessary, for several hours in fact, while his outnumbered army was left to struggle on the battlefield.

In the centre of the battlefield both sides occupied raised ground with a gully and frozen stream separating them, however the ground on the Danish side stood considerably higher than that of the Swedes which gave their more numerous artillery a huge advantage. It was obvious the Swedes could not simply stand in an artillery duel and so they advanced down from their position to engage the Danish front line. The Danes, now being commanded by Friedrich von Arensdorf, the wounded General’s brother, also moved forward to contact the Swedes. Desperate hand to hand fighting began, with the Swedes slowly but surely being pushed back, the army pivoting through 90* so it’s back now faced Lund itself. As they became trapped between the city walls and the pressing Danish army, Arensdorf bizarrely pulled the Danish army back to regroup and replenish ammunition. This respite gave the Swedes time to also regroup and steady their formation, but still the King and his Field Marshal did not return to the battle.

As the battle recommenced the Swedish left wing of cavalry managed to gain the upper hand over their Danish opposite numbers and push them back, but in the centre the Danes once again gained the upper hand and began to squeeze the Swedish against the city walls and their attacking front line. Things looked desperate for the Swedish army when finally, as the sun began to set around 3pm, King Charles, his Field Marshal and the cavalry from the right wing returned, appearing behind the Danish centre. The sight of the Swedish Royal Standard boosted the morale of the faltering Swedish centre and the King made an assault to push through the Danish lines and re-join his main army. Although still outnumbered by the Danish, the Swedes suddenly had a renewed energy and gained the initiative over the now exhausted Danish troops. After another half an hour of hard fighting in the growing twilight, the Danish army began to break up and it’s troops flee the field. The Swedes pursued in revenge mode, killing all they could catch until around 5pm when Field Marshal Helmfelt ordered a stop to the killing and ordered all Danes should now be taken as prisoner. It had been an exceptionally close run thing, but the Swedish had won the day; estimates suggest the Swedes lost 3,000 killed and 2,000 wounded, while the Danish suffered 6,500 killed, 1,000 wounded and 2,000 taken prisoner.

WARGAMING THE BATTLE

As said at the beginning, the Scanian Wars are not a particularly popular conflict for wargamers outside of Scandinavia, but they are an exciting period to game. Lund is pretty battle to reproduce in miniature so we would suggest smaller scales such as 6mm or 10mm, the Pendraken League of Augsburg range lend themselves very well to both Swedish and Danish forces. As for rules, those who love Wargames Research Group will find DBR works well for this battle, but also the Under Lilly Banners rules would work brilliantly too.

We have been so inspired by researching this particular battle that we will be continuing our work and publishing a “Wargamers Guide” to the battle, complete with uniforms and even more details for those equally inspired to recreate this battle in miniature. It will be the 350th anniversary in a few years time and we at The Little Corporal are already planning a fully detailed and accurate tabletop version of the battle to mark the occasion.

In ending we would like to thank especially the Public Library and Community Hub in Lund, Sweden, without whose generous help and supply of additional information this article wouldn’t have been possible.

 
 

Posted 13/09/2021 by The Little Corporal in 17th Century

Battle of the Dunes (Dunkirk) – 14th June 1658   Leave a comment

French Marshal Turenne directs his men at The Battle of The Dunes

The Battle of the Dunes, it could be argued, was a conflict in three separate wars, the Franco-Spanish War of 1635-1659, the Anglo-Spanish War of 1654-1660, and to some it is a European extension to the English Civil Wars as both armies fielded large amounts of British troops, with the Royalists fighting with the Spanish and the New Model Army fighting with the French. It was a truly international affair and therefore a battle well worth looking further in to and replaying.

Oliver Cromwell had made an alliance with the French King Louis XIV in 1655. He was concerned that the heir apparent Charles II and his younger brother James were in the Spanish Netherlands trying to gather support, both financial and material, to invade England and resume the English Civil Wars to win back the throne after their father Charles I had been executed by Parliament in 1649. By forging an alliance with Louis he aimed to support French hostilities with Spain sufficiently to stretch their resources to a point that they couldn’t assist Charles and James in their plans to invade England.

In 1657 Cromwell sent 6,000 men of the New Model army to France, landing at Boulogne they bolstered the local French commander’s force; Henri de la Tour d’Auvergne, Viscount of Turenne and Marshal of France. With his reinforced army Turenne took Gravelines and Mardyck (now an outlying suburb of Dunkirk) with ease and then in 1658 began to lay siege to the port of Dunkirk with further support from Cromwell in the form of an English fleet to blockade the port by sea.

In response, the younger Captain-General of the Spanish Army of Flanders, Don Juan of Austria, mobilised his army which was in Brussels, and against the advice of older and more experienced commanders, marched to Dunkirk in order to relieve the siege. He approached the port with an army roughly the same size as that of Turenne, and with a multi-national force that was similar too. The main point of difference was command; Turenne was an experienced, wise veteran of war, while Don Juan was an impetuous 29 year old, accompanied by two sub generals, Conde, the Marquis of Caracena and James Duke of York (future King James II), both of whom had been part of Louis XIV’s service before being reluctantly drawn to the other side after Louis’ treaty with Oliver Cromwell.

As the two armies formed up on the morning of the 14th June 1658 on the coastline outside Dunkirk you can see that there were several tests of loyalty and of future position at stake.

Suggested initial set up for the Battle of the Dunes

ORDERS OF BATTLE – using a 1:20 figure scale

FRENCH ARMY

Marshal Turenne – Commander in Chief – Veteran, Elite, Superb Tactician, Inspiring Leader

Sir William Lockhart – Sub-Commander – Veteran, Reliable, Stubborn. Inspiring Leader

From left to right

Lockhart’s Cavalry (500 men) – 25 figures – Close order cavalry, medium armour, veteran, well trained, stubborn, sword, pistols

3 x Units of French Cavalry (3 x 500 men) – 3 x 25 figures – Open order cavalry, medium armour, veteran, well trained, impetuous. sword. pistols

Front Line

Alsop’s Regiment of Foot (800 men) – 40 figures 2/3 muskets 1/3 pike – Close order infantry, light armour, veteran, well trained, stubborn, musket/pike

Clarke’s Regiment of Foot (600 men) – 30 figures 2/3 muskets 1/3 pike – Close order infantry, light armour, veteran, well trained, stubborn, musket/pike

Cochrane’s Regiment of Foot (800 men) – 40 figures 2/3 muskets 1/3 pike – Close order infantry, light armour, veteran, well trained, stubborn, musket/pike

Lillington’s Regiment of Foot (600 men) – 30 figures 2/3 muskets 1/3 pike – Close order infantry, light armour, veteran, well trained, stubborn, musket/pike

Morgan’s Regiment of Foot (800 men) – 40 figures 2/3 muskets 1/3 pike – Close order infantry, light armour, veteran, well trained, stubborn, musket/pike

Reynold’s Regiment of Foot (600 men) – 30 figures 2/3 muskets 1/3 pike – Close order infantry, light armour, veteran, well trained, stubborn, musket/pike

Second Line

Scottish Bodyguard Regiment of Foot (400 men) – 20 figures 2/3 muskets 1/3 pike – Close order infantry, light armour, elite, veteran, stubborn, musket/pike

Douglas’s Regiment of Foot (600 men) – 30 figures 2/3 muskets 1/3 pike – Close order infantry, light armour, veteran, elite, stubborn, musket/pike

Dillon’s Regiment of Foot (600 men) – 30 figures 2/3 muskets 1/3 pike – Close order infantry, light armour, veteran, well trained, stubborn, musket/pike

French Huguenot Regiment of Foot (800 men) – 40 figures 2/3 muskets 1/3 pike – Close order infantry, light armour, veteran, well trained, reliable, musket/pike

4 x Units of French Cavalry (4 x 500 men) – 4 x 25 figures – Open order cavalry, medium armour, veteran, well trained, impetuous. sword. pistols

SPANISH ARMY

Don Juan of Austria – Commander in Chief – Inexperienced, Rash, Impetuous, Over Confident

Conde – Sub-Commander – Experienced, Veteran, Tactician, Inspiring

James, Duke of York – Sub-Commander – Inexperienced, Cautious, Inspiring

From left to right

4 x Units of Spanish Infantry (4 x 1,500 men) 4 x 75 figures 4/5 muskets 1/5 pike – Close order infantry, light armour, trained, steady, muskets/pikes

Duke of York’s Front Line

Duke of Gloucester Regiment of Foot (500 men) – 25 figures 2/3 muskets 1/3 pike – Close order infantry, light armour, veteran, well trained, loyal, musket/pike

Willoughby’s Regiment of Foot (500 men) – 25 figures 2/3 muskets 1/3 pike – Close order infantry, light armour, veteran, well trained, loyal, musket/pike

Ormonds Regiment of Foot (500 men) – 25 figures 2/3 muskets 1/3 pike – Close order infantry, light armour, veteran, well trained, loyal, musket/pike

Second Line

The Foot Guards Regiment of Foot (250 men) – 12 figures 2/3 muskets 1/3 pike – Close order infantry, light armour, veteran, elite, musket/pike

Lord Muskerry’s Regiment of Foot (250 men) – 12 figures 2/3 muskets 1/3 pike – Close order infantry, light armour, veteran, elite, musket/pike

Main Infantry body left to right both front & rear ranks ranks

2 x German Infantry Regiment of Foot (2 x 360 men) – 2 x 18 figures 4/5 muskets 1/5 pike – Close order infantry, light armour, experienced, steady, musket/pike

3 x Walloon Infantry Regiment of Foot (3 x 300 men) – 3 x 16 figures 2/3 muskets 1/3 pike – Close order infantry, light armour, experienced, steady, musket/pike

2 x Scottish Regiment of Foot (2 x 360 men) – 2 x 18 figures 4/5 muskets 1/5 pike – Close order infantry, light armour, experienced, steady, musket/pike

2 x Irish Regiment of Foot (500 men) – 25 figures 1/2 muskets 1/2 pike – Close order infantry, no armour, experienced, trained, impetuous, musket/pike

Right Flank (Conde)

2 x French Regiment of Foot (350 men) – 17 figures 4/5 muskets 1/5 pike – Close order infantry, light armour, experienced, trained, steady, musket/pike

Cavalry at rear

6 x French Cavalry Units (6 x 500 men) 6 x 25 figures – Close order cavalry, medium armour, experienced, trained, impetuous, sword, pistols

A panoramic view of the battle with Dunkirk in the distance

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

The battle opened at 8am with the experienced Turenne using one of the most effective tactics when it works, turning a flank. Lockhart’s infantry were given the objective of capturing the sandhill opposite them, which was occupied by 6,000 Spanish infantry. So steep was the slope that Lockhart ordered his men to rest for two minutes at the bottom before attempting to scale the hill. When they did start, they climbed in pairs, each man assisting the other man then visa versa, until they reached the summit. There they faced a massive Spanish force, but they quickly grouped and stoically advanced to the attack, steadily pushing back the Spanish by pure determination. The Duke of York tried to relieve the Spanish with his own counter attack supported by cavalry, but French and New Model cavalry swept forward and routed the English Royalists as well as the Spanish infantry. The pressure now fell on the centre, and soon the German and Walloon infantry cracked and began to run, and each time a Spanish unit fled the French increased the pressure on the remaining units. Eventually only the great Conde and his Catholic French units remained until under threat of complete encirclement they left the field. Turenne’s cavalry pursued the Spanish army relentlessly, while the infantry returned to the siege of Dunkirk which would fall ten days later and be given to England as reward for it’s efforts.

WARGAMING THE BATTLE

Considering how popular both the English Civil War and Thirty Years War are to game, most gamers should be able to find the figures for this battle quite easily. It is by no means a foregone conclusion, as with all games the “Dice Gods” can really upset the best laid plans, and it is certainly an interesting game with the different nationalities and subtle differences coming into play.

For those not sure about it in miniature figures, there is an excellent hexmap game that covers this battle in our online store by VaeVictis – With Honour and Panache

 
 
 

Posted 13/09/2021 by The Little Corporal in 17th Century

The Battle of Kircholm – 27th September 1605   Leave a comment

Polish Winged Hussars charge into the Swedish ranks

The Polish-Swedish War had broken out in 1600 as a dispute as to who should control Livonia and Estonia, as well as being an ongoing dispute over the Swedish throne which had started in the 1597-99 civil war. Sigismund III Vasa of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth had been the king of Sweden until that civil war, when his uncle, Duke Charles had usurped the crown and had himself declared King Charles IX of Sweden. The ill feeling between the two would make for a fierce conflict in the Baltic.

A number of early battles drained the Polish economy to the point that paying soldiers became almost impossible and Charles decided to take advantage of this by landing an army in Estonia with the intention of securing Riga while the Poles struggled to defend it. To add insult to injury, showing off that he could still pay for soldiers, Charles employed large numbers of Dutch and German mercenaries to swell his ranks, even a unit of Scots, bringing his invasion force to almost 11,000 men, of which 2.500 were cavalry and 11 artillery pieces.

The Polish Crown refused to contribute money to raising and army, and it looked like Charles would this time win without even fighting; that was until the Great Hetman of Lithuania, Jan Karol Chodkewicz offered to personally pay soldiers wages from his own fortune. Even so, money was not limitless and time was of the essence to defend Estonia, so after a quick assembly of forces, Chodkewicz set of to face Charles with just 3,600 men, most of whom though were the famous Polish Winged Hussars.

The two armies met at Kircholm which about 11 miles south-east of Riga. Charles’s men had made a overnight march in heavy rain to reach the Poles and to grab a strong position to deploy. There was high ground overlooking Kircholm where the Swedes and allies formed up in a checkerboard formation, leaving gaps in their lines to funnel the Polish cavalry into if they charged. The Poles in the low ground below and outnumbered almost 3 to 1 didn’t look to have much chance in defeating Charles, but as proud and patriotic fighters for their homeland, they were prepared to try and fight.

Suggested initial set up for the battle of Kircholm

ORDERS OF BATTLE – using a figure scale of 1 figure = 20 men

POLISH-LITHUANIAN COMMONWEALTH ARMY

Jan Karol Chodkiewicz – commander in chief – elite, veteran, tactician, inspirational leader

Polish 1st line (top to bottom)

Winged Hussars (2 units of 100 men) total of 10 figures – heavy cavalry, elite, veteran, fearless, body armour, warhorse, lance, sword, pistols

Haiduks Infantry (300 men) 15 figures – open order infantry, stubborn, veteran, solid, musket

Winged Hussars (2 units of 100 men) total of 10 figures – heavy cavalry, elite, veteran, fearless, body armour, warhorse, lance, sword, pistols

Haiduks Infantry (300 men) 15 figures – open order infantry, stubborn, veteran, solid, musket

Polish Cossacks (2 units of 100 men) total of 10 figures – open order light cavalry, trained, steady, reliable, lance, sword, pistols

Polish Artillery (5 cannons) 2 models and crew – trained, steady, muzzle loading medium field gun

Detached cavalry

Polish Cossacks (4 units of 100 men) total of 20 figures – open order light cavalry, trained, steady, reliable, lance, sword, pistols

Polish 2nd line (top to bottom)

Haiduks Infantry (200 men) 10 figures – open order infantry, stubborn, veteran, solid, musket

Winged Hussars (2 units of 100 men) total of 10 figures – heavy cavalry, elite, veteran, fearless, body armour, warhorse, lance, sword, pistols

Lithuanian Tartars (3 units of 100 men) 15 figures – open order light cavalry, skirmishers, elite, veteran, lance, javelins, sword, pistols

Polish Cossacks (1 units of 100 men) total of 5 figures – open order light cavalry, trained, steady, reliable, lance, sword, pistols

Winged Hussars (2 units of 100 men) total of 10 figures – heavy cavalry, elite, veteran, fearless, body armour, warhorse, lance, sword, pistols

Across the river

Lithuanian Tartars (3 units of 100 men) 15 figures – open order light cavalry, skirmishers, elite, veteran, lance, javelins, sword, pistols

Polish 3rd line

Winged Hussars (7 units of 100 men) total of 35 figures – heavy cavalry, elite, veteran, fearless, body armour, warhorse, lance, sword, pistols

Polish last line (top to bottom)

Winged Hussars (2 units of 100 men) total of 10 figures – heavy cavalry, elite, veteran, fearless, body armour, warhorse, lance, sword, pistols

Haiduks Infantry (200 men) 10 figures – open order infantry, stubborn, veteran, solid, musket

SWEDISH ARMY

King Charles IX of Sweden – commander in chief – veteran, tactician, impetuous

Swedish 1st line (top to bottom)

Swedish musketeers (600 men) 30 figures – trained, conscript, brittle, musket

Dutch infantry (600 men) 30 figures -trained, steady, 1/3 pike 2/3 musket

Swedish musketeers (600 men) 30 figures – trained, conscript, brittle, musket

Swedish musketeers (600 men) 30 figures – trained, conscript, brittle, musket

Dutch infantry (600 men) 30 figures -trained, steady, 1/3 pike 2/3 musket

Swedish musketeers (600 men) 30 figures – trained, conscript, brittle, musket

Dutch infantry (600 men) 30 figures -trained, steady, 1/3 pike 2/3 musket

Swedish 2nd line (top to bottom)

German Reiters (2 units of 250 men) total of 25 figures – heavy close order cavalry, trained, unsteady, trotters, pistols

Swedish Landsryttare (2 units of 250 men) total of 25 figures -heavy close order cavalry, trained, unsteady, trotters, pistols

German Reiters (2 units of 250 men) total of 25 figures – heavy close order cavalry, trained, unsteady, trotters, pistols

Swedish 3rd line (top to bottom)

Dutch infantry (600 men) 30 figures -trained, steady, 1/3 pike 2/3 musket

Scots infantry (600 men) 30 figures – trained, veteran 1/2 pike 1/2 musket

Swedish musketeers (4 units 600 men) 120 figures – trained, conscript, brittle, musket

Swedish artillery (11 cannon) 4 models – trained, steady, muzzle loading medium field guns

Swedish 4th line (top to bottom)

Swedish Landsryttare (250 men) total of 12 figures -heavy close order cavalry, trained, unsteady, trotters, pistols

German Reiters (250 men) total of 12 figures – heavy close order cavalry, trained, unsteady, trotters, pistols

Swedish Landsryttare (250 men) total of 12 figures -heavy close order cavalry, trained, unsteady, trotters, pistols

German Reiters (250 men) total of 12 figures – heavy close order cavalry, trained, unsteady, trotters, pistols

Swedish Landsryttare (250 men) total of 12 figures -heavy close order cavalry, trained, unsteady, trotters, pistols

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

Assessing the two army’s positions, Chodkiewicz could see any attack by his men would be suicidal, Charles commanded a very strong position indeed. So Chodkiewicz tried to lure him down from the heights by sending forward his light cavalry to harass the Swedes and annoy them enough to break formation. This went on for several hours, with only light casualties on both sides, but still the Swedes refused to move. It looked like the encounter would end as a stalemate, Chodkiewicz tried once last tactic, passing the order to his men to about turn and retire from the field. It was of course a feint withdrawal, but Charles fell for it, and ordered his army to advance from the heights and pursue and engage the Poles as they retreated.

As once the first two lies of Charles’s army were in the low ground Chodkiewicz ordered another about turn and immediate charge of his elite Winged Hussars.

On the Swedish right flank the Poles charged into the Reiters and completely smashed their formation, sending them in an immediate rout to the rear. On the opposite flank, it was a similar story, where Winged Hussars destroyed the Swedish and German cavalry with the impact of their charge. Charles ordered forward all his remaining cavalry, but as the Hussars continued to fight, now assisted by Polish Cossacks and the Lithuanian Tartars, they too were routed at the first contact and fled the field.

The Swedish infantry were all that remained to fight, and as the Polish infantry advanced to exchange musket volleys the Swedish numbers would look to win this dual, but as they charged the Polish infantry, so too charged the now regrouped Winged Hussars into the Swedish rear and flanks, cutting them down with sabre slashes.

In fear of being completely surrounded the Swedes fled, and Chodkiewicz won the day. It was however a Pyrrhic victory. The Swedes lost so many men (about 8,000) that they withdrew back to Sweden to seek safety, however the Poles, despite only losing about 300 men, lost many more valuable trained warhorses. The Winged Hussars mounts were big, powerful and trained warhorses, who would bite and hoof the enemy, not just carry their riders, but their sheer size and bulk made them an easy target for their enemy’s muskets and pikes. Their size would protect the riders, but at a sacrificial cost to themselves. The loss of so many mounts meant the Poles were unable to capitalise on their victory and follow up by completely dispersing Swedish forces in the Baltic states.

WARGAMING THE BATTLE

This period is a personal favorite of mine, ever since a “Jackanory” story on TV some 45 years ago that introduced me as child to Winged Hussars. I’ve loved them ever since.

There are a number of suppliers making suitable figures.

In smaller scales Pendraken make excellent 10mm figures suitable, and Essex Miniatures offer a good 15mm choice too. If 28mm is your thing, Warlord Games make a few suitable figures, including Winged Hussars, but Foundry Miniatures have a good collection with infantry etc as well.

Rules for me are a choice of two for this – DBR by Wargames Research Group, or Hussaria which is published by The Pike & Shot Society (listed on our Society’s page)

If nothing else, masses of Winged Hussars look very impressive charging across the table – so give it a go.

Posted 13/09/2021 by The Little Corporal in 17th Century