Sunday, 18 October 2020

Lack of Progress Report - or AWI still in the long grass

About 11 months ago I put up a post about my to do list. Some progress was made initially, then a hiatus until the early Spring. That list was pretty much polished off apart from painting and basing my small collection of Pendraken AWI figures. Since then I have made absolutely no progress.

With the intention of doing something in the Summer I ordered the Mollo uniform book, but again nothing has happened. In fairness to myself, I have had a few other things to occupy my time, but with a bit more motivation I could have cut out some of the crap TV I've watched and have done something productive.

Now the nights have drawn in my thoughts have turned to painting and basing figures again. I've long had a hankering to try out Andy Callan's Loose Files and American Scramble since they would give me something different to other rulesets I use for my other key black powder periods*. The problem is I tend to be a bit of a stickler for scales and analysis paralysis takes over. 

* And how's that for procrastination? Those rules caught my eye when they were published in WI in 1987.

Now the British line infantry, in action, apparently formed up in loose order, in two ranks with about 40 inches frontage per man. I think the Continentals may have adopted a similar formation, whilst the 'Hessians' stuck to the 3-rank close order familiar from Europe. I'm not sure about militia - I picture a 'messy' version of close order, but could well be wrong and maybe they were also flexible. The rules use the infantry company (or cavalry troop) as the basic 'element' for the game, and suggest using 3 figures for a company (or 2 for a troop) with a ratio of 1 figure to about 10 men. By my calculation, assuming 30 inches per man in close order (it may be less), a 30-man British company would take up twice the space of a Hessian 'company' (Scare quotes used as I have no idea what the size of a Hessian company was**). Based on my experience with Pendraken ECW figures. I could get maybe 2 figures side by side on a base 20mm wide and keep them fairly 'loose' looking. Maybe I should base close order infantry 4 to a base that wide, in 2 ranks. Then put the British two bases deep when they're in close order. Hmm.

I think I need to get some toys and bases out and start experimenting. The problem is, I did this years ago and never reached a conclusion. How will I make the breakthrough this time?

** Incidentally, could anyone recommend any good sources for information on the German auxiliaries (organisation mainly)? The interweb seems devoid of anything, and Osprey's website is organised in a singularly unhelpful manner/doesn't seem to have anything on the German auxiliaries.


  1. German auxiliaries? We were taught the Hessians were mercenaries! German battalions fielded six companies, each about 130 men in strength. That was paper strength, though. One of the six coys was grenadier and typically siphoned off to form converged grenadier battalions. I think an average battalion strength (sans grenadiers) of 500 would be typical of a German battalion.

    I look forward to your experimentation and project development.

    1. Thanks Jon. Pretty much what the Prussian structure and strengths were for the SYW. Do you know if like the Prussians they re-organised into 8 platoons like the Prussians for combat?

      I saw the ‘mercenaries/auxiliaries’ discussion on TMP. Surprising how heated it got.

    2. Yes, Hessians followed Prussian organization. That is, coys were administrative units with divisions (and platoons) as tactical units.

    3. Great, thanks. So for British ‘companies’ I’ll read Hessian ‘platoons’ and there’ll be a 8 of them in each case per battalion.

  2. Good luck with your experimentation! It's funny what grabs us isn't it? Would the German organisation be that much different from the 7 years war?
    Best Iain

    1. You could be right about the German organisation in the SYW and AWI. But I don’t know what that was either 😆. A quick check on Kronoskaf only reveals uniform colours.