Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Battle of Fraustadt; 3rd February 1706 : Western Poland.

On a cold February morning in 1706, two armies faced each other across a  frozen plain. Facing East, a combined army of Saxon and Russian troops in a prepared position.

Facing West, a much smaller but very determined army of Swedish infantry and cavalry. There were no artillery pieces amongst these formations as their General, Rehnskoild had decided on a very rapid advance.

The two armies differed in composition. The Swedish army had all the cavalry and very little infantry. The Saxons along with their Russian allies had the infantry and guns, but very few cavalry.

Why was this?. Further East, the Swedish army led by their King, Charles 12th, besieged the Russian held town of Grodno. He had most of his infantry with him. The Saxon commander King Augustus " The Strong" had taken most of his cavalry in an attempt to break the siege.

General Schulenburg, the Russo- Saxon General left Saxony to attack what he thought would be a very weak Swedish battle group. On that cold February morning he had a very rude awakening.

Rather than retreating, that weak Swedish army led by a very resolute General had decided to attack!!

This is the opposing forces;


10,300 Saxon Infantry and artillerymen.
2,700 Saxon Cavalry.
40 Field Guns.
5,000 Russian Infantry.

Total: 18,000 = 18 points x 3 = 54 points.

The Saxons;
8 stands of Line Muskets @ 2 points each = 16 points.
2 stands of Pikemen @ 3points each = 6 points.
4 stands of Heavy Field Guns @ 2 points each = 8 points.
4 stands of Line Cavalry @ 2 points each = 8 points.
1 General ( Schulenburg ) @ 1 point.

The Russians;
4 stands of Line Muskets @ 2 points = 8 points.
1 stand of Pikemen @ 2 points = 2 points.
1 stand of Grenadier Muskets @ 3 points.
1 General ( Goltz ) @ 1 point.

The Swedish Army;

6,000 Cavalry.
4,600 Infantry.

Total; 10,600 = 10.6 points x 3 = 32 points ( rounded up).

1 General Rehnskoild @ 2 points.
1 General Von Krassow @ 1 point.
1 General Hummerhelm @ 1 point.

6 stands of Line Muskets @ 1 point each = 6 points.
2 stands of Pikemen @ 3 points each = 6 points.
8 stands of Line Cavalry @ 2 points each = 16 points,

Here is a map of the battle;

With a battle such as this where there are a disparity of forces special rules have to be introduced. The circumstances themselves played a part also.

● The Swedish stands are moved first on every Game-Turn.

●The Swedish Army gets the Initiative Point every Game-Turn.

● On every Game-Turn every Stand of the Swedish Army can be moved if desired. Before the Saxon-Russian Army can move, a 12 sided die is thrown. The result of the throw is the number of stands within the Saxon-Russian army that can be moved including Command stands. The type of stand to be moved is at the discretion of the player.

This rule is used because, during the actual battle there no clear command decisions being made within the allied army.

● The only stands that cannot be moved are the Russian Guns. If a gun stand suffers a " Move Back" as a result of firing it is given a "cannot fire" marker ( or a marker of any description ) which remains in play for that Game-Turn. If the Gun Stand suffers a "Move-Back as a result of Combat, it is removed from the table altogether. ( the crew have been killed and the gun dragged out of position).

● During the Firing Phrase of every Game-Turn, the Swedish Army always fires first, with every stand that can fire. The Saxon-Russian Army has a 12 sided die thrown for it. The result will show the number of stands that can fire. Any Artillery stands that are to fire are included in that number.

● Combat is played out as normal. The Swedish horses did not have shoes fitted so a number of them fell over on the icy ground during the advance,but this did not seem to effect their attack.

Removing a Defence-work;

The front of the Russo-Saxon army was cover by sections of Chevau-de-Frise. If a Swedish infantry stand is adjacent to a section at the start of a Game-Turn with no enemy stand adjacent to the same section, the Swedish stand can try to remove it.
Roll a 6sided die. If the result is 3,4,5 or 6 the section of defence work can be removed.

Final thoughts: When I read about this battle, French Grenadiers and line infantry were mentioned as being present in the Saxon ranks but as there was no further information on the actions of these units I have not included them in the initial deployment.
The battle was fought on a 3 foot x 2 foot ( 90cm x 60cm ) table of 2 inch ( 50mm ) squares.

The Winner.
This will be the side with the lower number of stands lost at the end of eight Game- Turns.
If both sides are equal in the number of stands lost, the Winner will be the side which lost the least total of points in stands lost.


The figures are a mixture of Miniature Figurines and Peter Pig. The Chavau-de-Frise sections are from Irregular Miniatures.

The flags are pieces of masking tape roughly hand painted by myself.
The buildings were painted and supplied by Total Battle Miniatures.
The trees were from Amazon and decorated with a snow paint by Tamiya and a snow kit from www. Scenics.com
The log sections were from Blotz ( I think?)
The snow field, river and roads were made from sections of thin cardboard bought from Wilkinson and The Works ( two local stores).
The backdrop and square 40mm bases were made from picture-framing cardboard supplied by The Works.
Finally. The round 40mm command bases were supplied by Minibits.

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Roman Britain: Part 4 ( contin. )Battle of Segontium.

I thought I would do a battle based on the Campaign map and rules in the previous chapter. Although fictional, the Scots-Irish did raid this area quite often and, for a while actually settled there.

I diced for the scenario and the result was:  "West Coast Raid".

I diced for the number of stands for the Scots-Irish, which was 16.
1 Command stand at @ 2 points.
13 stands of warriors armed with spears and javelins @ 2 points each.
2 stands of archers @ 1 point each.

Being at Segontium, ships were required. I had the Warbands already formed up from the boats. I put the boats in but as it turned out the game finished without them being required.

I used the scenery set up mechanism in Table Top Battles. Two hills, a wood and a river were required. I then had a quick look on Google for the terrain in the area and adapted the four items in a rough approximation.

There were only the civilians at the town but the 20th were at Deva,  so, I had them hard marching in light order to get there!

The Legion is represented by 16 stands.
11 stands are Auxillia style infantry @ 2points each.
4 stands are light archers @ point each.
1 infantry Command stand @ 1 point.

I put 4 small items inside the town plus some stands of civilians. I also put 2 stands of civil guard to represent the town decurione and his personal retinue. As it turned out, they didn't do much at all!!

In the rules I use,  Infantry stands can move onto a wall from the outside if there is space. During the course of the battle, three stands of warriors made it over to open the gate! from the inside.

I interpreted this action as a result of a lack of garrison and the dilapidated state of the walls!

The Romans formed up to the East in line. The Roman Prefect had his men form up not knowing what he was up against. The Scots-Irish formed up to the West and South on the shoreline ready to attack the town, not knowing the Romans had arrived.

I used my own Table Top Battle Solo rules with the 2 player mechanics of Fire and Combat.

I fought this battle over 8 turns. For most of the battle the Scots-Irish had the upper hand and the Romans were being beaten. Three stands of Scots-Irish made it into town and rounding up townspeople and loot.

It looked like the Scots-Irish were going to get away. Right on the eighth turn disaster struck!. The Scots-Irish Chieftain was struck down!

The Casualties were about even but losing the Chieftain lost the battle for the Scots-Irish.

The battle finished with the remainder of the Warband heading for the boats. Some of the Warband were caught exiting the town, therefore the prisoners and loot were recovered. There was one relieved Prefect at the end of it all!.

As always the table is 3 feet x 2 feet ( 90cm x 60cm). The squares are 2" ( 50mm ). The boats and fort are scratchbuilt from cardboard and foamboard. 

The figures are Hat Industries Roman Auxilliaries and Goths. The Roman archers are Newline Design 1/72 scale metal figures.

The Civilians are from Ceaser Miniatures and come from their boxes of Roman Supply Train.

The spears are from North Star Miniatures ( 28mm javelins). The buildings are from either Peter Pig or Hovels.

The square stands are picture framing cardboard 40mm x 40mm. The round stands are 40mm, from Minibits. The wood area bases are from S and A Scenics and the trees are various manufacturers.

Thursday, 11 June 2020

Roman Britain Part 4 : A Campaign.

The following is some rough campaign ideas for fighting battles in Roman Britain during the 4th century ( 301AD to 400AD).

A single stand of figures is roughly equal to 100 men.

The  Infantry Unit;

The Unit represents a Cohort of Roman troops or a Numerus of Federated tribesmen.
The unit is represented by 4 stands of figures.
They do not have to be armed all the same, so you can mix n' match the stands.

The Infantry Warband;

These are of 4 stands. Again they don't have to be armed all the same.

The Ala Petriana;

This Roman cavalry unit is of 8 stands. They do not have to be armed all the same. This unit does not have to operate together and so, could be split into smaller groups of stands

Warband cavalry;

Not available in great numbers and limited to the Picts and the Scots Irish;
Each of these Nations would each have one group of 4 stands.

War chariots;
A bit controversial this one. The Scots-Irish were also known as the Del Riatta or
" people of the chariot". Wether that refers to another time, I don't know, but because the Scots-Irish had settlements on the West Coast of Caledonia (what
is now Scotland )they might have been used so, I have one group of 4 stands.

Command Stands;

Within my own rules I just have a command stand for the whole group of stands comprising one army, however if you have command stands for each group then go with that.

Note: The stands within each unit do not have to move together. They can be moved independently of each other. However the choice is your own.

The scenarios;

Below are listed four groups of towns that can be attacked by specific tribal groups depending on their location. Besides some of the names is the letter (N) denoting a Numerus being present. A Numerus is a Cohort of Federated troops with some training but carrying their own weapons.

In the first three scenarios listed, a 12 sided ( or two D6) die is required. This number decides which town the Warband has appeared at.

Dicing for size of forces;

The Roman player may already have a Numerus present in the town. If any others are within one move distance on the map ( between one town and the next is one move distance ) these other units may take part.

The Warband player throws a D6 for the number of stands they have;
For Land Battles;
1 or 2:  8 stands.
3 or 4: 16 stands.
5 or 6: 24 stands.

If the Warbands are landing by boat;
1 or 2: 8 stands.
3 or 4:12 stands.
5 or 6: 16 stands.

Each marked town on the map represents the town and the area around it so this may decide the type of battle to be fought. If outnumbered two to one or more, the weaker army or group can have defenseworks like a town stockade or marching camp.

If numbers are three-to-two, the weaker side will pick which edge to fight from after the stronger side has rolled for scenery ( say three pieces).

The Legion;

If a full Legion takes the field  ( which was rare ), 16 stands will be required.  Again these stands don't have to be armed all the same. One command stand will represent the Prefect or whoever you nominate as senior commander. In my previous blog I said that Legions would be 2000 men. However the 16 stands would give you 1,600 men which is probably closer to the norm!

The Petriana Horse,

If the full Ala takes the field this will be represented by 8 stands. Again, they don't have to be armed all the same. Once again this will give you 800 men rather than 1000 which ,again would probably be closer to actual numbers.

I'm being a bit loose on organisation of figure types for a reason. At this time various units were being moved all over the place and to the continent. There was also continual warfare. The supplies of weapons, armour and food must have been disrupted a fair bit. I'm sure some units had a less than organised appearance.

The Scenarios:

Throw a D6 to decide which scenario you wish to follow:

Score 1: Picts and Scots-Irish; Northern Incursions.

Roll a D12 ( or 2 D6 ) to see which town the Warband starts from;

1 to 3 : Luguvalium ( N).
4 to 6 : Brocarum ( N ).
7 to 9 : Brementenacium ( N).
10 to 12 : Verbeia.

Score 2; Scots-Irish West Coast raid.

Roll a D12 ( or two D6 ).

Deva : 20th Legion ( 2,000 men ).
1 or 2: Segontium.
3 or 4 : Isca.
5 or 6 : Glevum ( N ).
7 or 8 : Lindinus ( N ).
9 or 10 : Corinium Doburiorum ( N ).
11 or 12 : Isca Dumnoniorum ( N).

Score 3 or 4 ;  Fankish or Frisian Pirates. The Picts ; East Coast.

Throw a D12 ( or 2 D6 );

1 or 2 : Bannovallum.
3 or 4 : Ventacenorum.
5 or 6 : Combatovium ( N) ☆
7 or 8 : Lindum ( N).
9 or 10 : Durobrivae, 3rd Cohort, 2nd Augusta. ☆
11 or 12 : Durovigutum ( N ). ☆
Rutupiae : 1st and 2nd  Cohort, 2nd Augusta. ☆

Note: Those town marked thus; ☆ , must be taken first then Londinium can be claimed. Londinium becomes a permanent Saxon base.

Score 5 or 6 : Rebellion!.

Throw a D6. If a "4 " is thrown for example, the first four towns on the list revolt and have to be defeated by regular troops. Any Warbands in the area will join the troops in revolt.

Score 1: Virconium (N ).
Score 2 : Vectinis.
Score 3 : Portus Dubris; 4th Cohort,  2nd Augusta.
Score 4 : Portus Aderni ( N ).
Score 5 : Gabrantovicorum ( N ).
Score 6 : Arbeia ( N ).


● Players each throw a D6. The higher scoring player moves first. The second Player  moves next. After this, players take it in turns to move. Once both players have moved, fought battles etc, that concludes one Campaign Turn.

● A whole group will be in one square. When two opposed groups move into a square, a battle is fought.

● A group can be moved one square across country or two squares on a road.

● If ships are used they will move three squares on the map. They can move to any part of the shoreline but troops can only move away from the boats on the following turn.

● If a group moves into a town square with no opposition they can sack the town which is worth 5 points.

● A group needs 20 points for a successful raid. They also need to get back across the border or away in their boats. Each stand can " carry" 5 points with them, though if they fight, they must stash a marker on the table representing 5 points of loot.


I know that not everybody has ships in their collection. A flat cardboard tray will suffice. It has to be big enough to hold one stand.

The Romans have access to a Navy of 12 ships. 4 are based at Rutupiae. 4 are based at Portus Aderni. 4 are based at Arbeia. The Roman player cannot replace these ships.

These ships were called Picati. They could hold 100 men. They were painted a blue-gray colour. The Roman crewmen also had blue-Gray tunics

 At the end of the 8th Campaign turn, the Warband player can sail 4 ships from either, Hibernia, Caledonia or Himlingoje ( Denmark ).

The ship's move three squares on the map.

Well, that's it for the moment. Hopefully the above will give you some ideas about a campaign. It's deliberately vague in places so that you can bring your own mechanisms in to play.

As the man said:  Ficta voluptatis causa sint proxima veris
( Fictions meant to please should approximate the truth ).

Friday, 5 June 2020

Roman Britain part 3: The Opposition.

As explained previously the Roman Army of Britain in the 4th Century suffered repeated raids from tribes on the periphery of Britannia.

The Picts:

This group of people lived North of Hadrians Wall  The Picts lived in the Central and Eastern part of  what is now Scotland. The Romans called the area Caledonia. At one stage the Romans tried to bring this area under their  control.

To do this the Antonine Wall was built, North of Hadrians Wall. This wall was made of turf. It was not held for long as the Romans realised that holding the territory was not gaining any advantage. Eventually, Hadrians Wall marked the Northern  boundary of Roman Britain.

As the Roman garrisons on the Wall were reduced the Picts saw their chance to launch raids into Roman territory.

The warriors themselves went into battle semi-naked, their bodies being tattooed in a blue dye.
Only the Chiefs wore any sort of armour if at all. More usually just a helmet. All the warriors carried a shield either square or round.

Only the Chiefs carried swords. The warriors carried a mix of javelins with either spears or axes. Some also carried long spears thus when they assumed a basic close order formation, the long spears would extend out over the front rank.

Some of the men may have been armed with crossbows and short bows..
The Picts used horses or ponies probably ridden by the nobles and their hearth troops.

The raiding parties could range from maybe 50 or 60 men up to 4,000 warriors for a serious attack. As previously stated, the Picts were also capable of mounting seaborne raids as well, using small ships carrying 50/60 men.

The Scots-Irish or "Scotti".

These people lived on the East Coast of Ireland ( known to the Romans as Hibernia ) and the West Coast of Scotland ( Caledonia).
 The warriors raided the coast of Wales, Devon and Cornwall. Wales was called Britannica Secunda. Devon and Cornwall together were known as Dumnonia which became part of the Roman Province of Britannica Superior.

The Scots-Irish were very much like the Picts with the same mix of weapons. The Scots-Irish were also known as the Del Riatta, " the people of the Chariot ".  I don't know if they were actually using chariots in this era. However in recent times some metal parts of chariot harness have been found in the North-East of England. Therefore personally I've gone in favour of a bit of colour and added some to my collection!.

These would be light chariots which in my own rules have a chance to avoid combat.
The Scots-Irish also had ships capable of carrying 50/100 men.

Both the Picts and the Scots-Irish were not enemies who were easy to beat, especially when allied to the terrain they operated in, which was a tangle of hills, valleys and forests.

Like the Picts, pitched battles were a rarity with guerrilla tactics being the norm. Warbands could be 30 to 50 individuals up to about 3 or 4,000 strong for a serious attack.

By about the 8th century ( I think?) both nations had amalgamated in Caledonia to become the Scots.

The Saxons ,Angles and Jutes.

These people were the ones who exercised the most influence over Roman Britain and its future history especially in England.

During the time of the Roman Empire these three nations shared the territory of Denmark, which if I understand correctly was called Himlingoje at this time.

By the 4th century there were groups of these people already living in this country. They had been bought in by the Roman army and settled here as Federated troops.

Update 25th August 2010
As stated in a previous article, any Angles, Saxons or Jutes in Britannia prior to 450AD would have been living within the military posts
They may have bought their families in with them or married into the local British population.

Most of the warriors were armed with shields and a long knife with a single edge called a seax. Throwing weapons were javelin and spears. Those warriors who were really poor carried a bow.

The Chieftains, apart from having swords and shields could also have had body armour.
On the continent, the Saxons lived in close proximity to the Frank's, so, there is a chance that the Saxons had horse-handling skills. They could also have used the throwing axe ( the fransisca ) and the spiculum ( a metal javelin akin to a pilum ).

Those warriors recruited into the Army would be armed with Roman equipment.

Like the Picts and Scots-Irish, the Angles, Saxons and Jutes were also capable seafarers.

These Germanic people were capable and loyal troops until the money ran out. There is a history of embezzlement in this and subsequent eras of the Late Empire.
Some Roman officers were retaining money that was supposed to go to the men.
There was also "dead mans pay" where Officers drew money for more men than they actually had!.

This was one of the reasons why, when someone like Maximus came along and looked after the troops they in turn would promote the General in his quest for Imperial power.

Frankish and Frisian Pirates.

As previously stated the "Saxon" raiders could have been Franks or Frisians. As they spoke a Germanic dialect the Britons could have just labelled them "Saxon" as the Romans did.

The Franks and Frisian when they came in as raiders sometimes allied themselves with the Picts. It would not be unusual to have Romano-Saxon troops fighting  these other tribesmen.

By the end of the 4th  century the situation in Britannia continued to get worse but luckily the Civil Administration continued to operate albeit in a ramshackle state!

There is a possibility that the Christian Decuriones ( the rich, land-owning Civil administrators ) paid some of the troops to protect their area and property, giving the rise to private armies. This was happening within other parts of the Empire.

The figures are mostly from Hat miniatures. The Scots-Irish chariots are Hat Miniatures Gaulish Chariots.  The chariot figures have different heads and shields. The Pictish Army is mix of Hat Saxons, Hat Gothic Cavalry, and Red Box Pict Infantry. The Saxons are a mix of Hat Goth Infantry and Miliart German Tribesmen.

 The Roman heavy cavalry are a mix of Roman, Sassanian and Parthian Heavy cavalry with changed heads. Some of the horses are Ceaser miniatures. The spears and lances are 28mm from North Star. All the Roman infantry are from Hat Late Roman Auxilliaries. The fortifications are scratchbuilt as are the boats. The stand are 40mm square picture framing cardboard. The round bases are 40mm mdf from Minibits.