I was asked recently what my plans were in terms of the size of the Swedish forces I intend to produce and how this would compare to the forces available for some battles of the period. So below is my thought process around this.
For the Swedes my initial plan is to do 12 battalions of foot, 10 Regiments of horse and 3 light/medium guns. I may also add a battery of positional guns at some point but the Swedes used these rarely, not really fitting in well with their aggressive tactics. I will also be able to add the Polish/Cossack light horse to this for the Poltava campaign if appropriate. The Swedes differed from many armies of the day having a larger proportion of Cavalry than the norm in western armies, hence the above 6:5 ratio.
Swedish Cavalry in their boot to boot wedge formation
I won’t really be choosing a battle and building the forces for that one in particular, so apologies to the purists, I will be choosing units that I wanted in particular and then expanding from there probably using the flags left on a flag sheet to decide what the next unit is, although I will be focusing mainly on those units fighting in Poland from 1702 to 1706. I want a colourful mix of facings, a mix of tricorn and Carpus and also some of the Finnish and Tremanning regiments who would have fought in a grey uniform.
I did have to do a bit of digging to understand the Tremanning regiments. Most regiments were from a specific region and each large farm or small village had to provide 2 men to be available for the army. For these regional regiments the men would work the farms for much of the year and then train with their regiment when there was less work to do. This meant that a large, professional army could be raised quickly without having as big an impact on the Swedish economy. The Tremanning regiments were literally the “Third man” temporary regiments recruited from a further man from every farm or village to create regiments made up from a number regions, usually about 2 or 3 regions, in one regiment/battalion. These often had cheaper grey uniforms and add a change of colour to the blue of the rest of the army as below.
Östgöta-Södermanland Åbo, Björneborg & Nyland's 3-männings
So how does this stack up against some of the battles of the period?
Not surprisingly this is far less than the troops available at the really large battles of the period such as Narva and Poltava but fits quite well with some others, Fraustadt in particular, see below. Apologies if I have some of these out slightly, for most I have used the figures on the fantastic website by Tacitus, http://www.tacitus.nu as a guide.
Narva - 1700 - 12 Horse 21 Foot
Fraustadt - 1706 - 10 Horse 12 Foot
Kliszow - 1702 - 9 Horse 9 Foot
Lesnaya - 1708 - 9 Horse 10 Foot
Holowcyzn - 1708 - 6 Horse and 12 Foot
Poltava - 1709 - 16 Horse and 20 Foot
Helsingborg - 1710 - 11 Horse and 22 Foot
Gadebusch - 1712 - 10 Horse 19 Foot
So you can see I would have enough Swedes for 4 out of 8 of these key battles and more than half of the troops available at the others if, for instance, I wished to game a part of Narva or Poltava.
For the Saxons my approach had to be a bit simpler, I only really intend to do 2 brigades of foot and a small brigade of Horse. To get maximum potential from these I have decided to concentrate on the regiments that had battalions serving both in Saxony/Poland against the Swedes and alongside the Anglo/Dutch under Marlborough at the same time. That gives me 10 battalions of foot and 3 of horse to choose from which is plenty, I will be starting with the Saxon and Polish Guard in the distinctive white facings and red hat lace.
At Fraustadt the Saxons had 9 battalions of foot and 10 regiments of horse alongside a slightly larger Russian Corps, so I will be unlikely to field a force large enough to refight the major actions at this stage, although this might change as I get carried away in later stages, as usually happens.
And finally I can share with you the first finished and based figure, an Ebor Saxon command figure. Now that my basing and IT department’s (my daughter) are back from University for the weekend I have finally got something finished and resolved my ongoing challenges with the photography. That said I am still having to copy it from word rather than uploading where you can zoom In. That will have to be a fix for next time.
I hope you like it, hopefully the first of many to come.