A tabletop gaming blog, with a vague bias towards Central/Eastern Europe and the Early Modern period.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Road to Berestechko

With the new year firmly in place, I suppose now is as good a time as any to give an overview of where my Eastern Europe Pike & Shotte collection is heading.

My current plan is to attempt to collect both armies (or, all three, depending how one defines them) for recreating the Battle of Berestechko at approximately 1:250 scale (one 28mm miniature represents 250 actual soldiers).

According to Wikipedia, the general army compositions were:

POLES: 12,255 pancerni cavalry; 2,589 hussars; 2,050 other cavalry (German-style "rajtars"); 500 arquebusiers; 960 Tatars; 1,550 Lithuanian volunteer cavalry; 2,790 Hungarian-style infantry; 8,900 German-style infantry; 2000 dragoons; 30,000 noble levy cavalry

COSSACKS: 40,000 Cossacks (mostly on foot); 40,000-60,000 peasants; 30,000 Tatars, "a few thousand Turks and Vlachs"

As you may have noticed, I field cavalry in units of eight, line infantry in units of twelve and block infantry in units of sixteen. With the necessary rounding, this results in something like:

6 squadrons of pancerni
1 squadron of hussars
1 squadron of reiters
1.5 squadrons of miscellaneous cavalry
1 regiment of haiduks
3 regiments of musketeers
1 regiment of dragoons
15(!) squadrons of noble levy cavalry

10 regiments of Cossack musketeers
1 regiment of Cossack pike
3 squadrons of Cossack horse
10 (or more!) mobs of peasants
15(!) squadrons of Tatars

Now, as I've progressed, I've noticed a few issues with this plan. The first and foremost is lack of variety... that is a LOT of peasants, Tatars and nobles. I'm not too worried about the Tatars, since A) they're easy to convert from cheap plastics, B) the Tatars are a reasonably formidable unit in-game, and C) the models should be useful across a wide variety of eras. I suppose A and C are true of the peasants as well, but even sticking with the most basic conversions, 160 models is too much work for what is essentially filler. Finally, the noble levy cavalry is basically also filler, quite period-specific, and I haven't even figured out any simple way to convert them.

Option 1 is to ignore the numbers provided for peasants and levy nobles,  and just make as many of them as I feel like making. It's not like either of them really contributed anything to the outcome of the battle, as far as I can tell. This way I could even collect the rest of the battle's participants at a higher ratio.

Option 2 is to choose a different battle. The Battle of Chudnov would let me use everything I've already got, and also add Russian traditional cavalry and Streltsy to the mix.

Feel free to chime in with your own thoughts. I'm pretty much just thinking out loud here.

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