zondag 17 december 2023

Field fortifications

In September of this year, one dozen scenarios were designed and tested for a mid-17th century map-less campaign. Scenarios are randomly selected with objectives set for both defender and attacker. The role of attacker/defender rotates with each scenario played. 

Designed for the Northern War of 1655 – 1660, the system was later expanded to include the conflict between Spain and the United Provinces, allowing riverine warfare and the implementation of field fortifications. This topic is well covered in episode 10, “Shovelling to Victory” in Defragged’s History of the Eighty Years’ War (YouTube). Well worth the watch.

Field fortifications or earthen works took little time construct and took different shapes to conform with terrain limitations and the size of its garrison. There are a few scenarios which include their use and this past weekend, construction began with a mock-up of three common designs. These are frequently seen in the drawings/etchings in episode 10. 

Triplex wood will serve for the bases and Milliput will be used for the ground and earthen embankments. This is an ideal medium, as it adds some weight to the piece and does not shrink as it cures. The bastions are separate to allow their replacement when destroyed. 

Photos will be added as the project progresses. 

Three different forms featuring bastions.

The three core shapes and 12 bastions were transferred to a sheet of 1.2mm triplex. After trimming and sanding, the pieces were covered with Milliput.

Past projects, such as camps and forts, placed the walls first followed by the ground work. The posed problems due to limited space or accidental damage to walls not yet fully cured.

This time, the ground would be done first, then later the walls or embankments. Thinking further about the process, I may vary each fortification; simple earth embankments for the triangular piece, earthen walls with an interior reinforced with timber and stonework for the last piece.  

donderdag 7 september 2023

The campaign in Denmark 1658

Using the conflict between Denmark and Sweden of 1658, the twelve scenarios were given another test. This time, armies will be of similar composition of cavalry, infantry and artillery. Sweden began the campaign as the invader and marched through the arable region of Jutland during the summer of that year. Sunrise at 0400 hours would give Sweden ample opportunity to locate Danish forces and bring the main army to battle. 

This time, the tests were played in a random order making for an interesting narrative. During the month of June, the Danes resorted to a number of small cavalry actions, however, the frequency of which took a heavy toll on that mounted arm. 

During July, the difference between accumulated scores was as the ‘writing on the wall’ and Denmark would be forced to do battle. Seeking a suitable position near Roskilde, the battle was fought between armies of equal size and to make up for the heavy Danish losses, many conscripts and militia were brought to bring up the army’s numbers. 

Beginning mid-morning, the Battle near Roskilde lasted until the approach of dusk with both Danish flanks succumbing to Swedish attacks. The remnant of the Danish army was saved by the infantry of the centre, they covered the retreat. The total losses incurred during the brief campaign forced the Danes to seek the nearby protection of various fortresses and await the inevitable siege.

Following the completion of the campaign, a rewrite of the scenarios was in order. Objectives are now clearer; points have been adjusted for a few and the conditions for battle have been changed, increasing their possibility. Both campaigns were fought in either forest or the arable regions of northern Germany and Poland. Further research into the war, naval operations around Swedish Pommern did take place. Considering this, adding littoral to the list of regions would make naval operations possible and bring an opportunity to fight the last half of the Eighty Years War in the United Provinces. New project..

Swedish Pommern

donderdag 31 augustus 2023


Early versions of DBA offered a simplified campaign option in which sieges could take place. No longer offered in the current version, thus prompted the development of simple campaign system which has been outlined in earlier posts. In one campaign assignment, the storming of a field fortification, as part of a siege had me think of designing s similar system for sieges. The Eighty Years War is filled with such excellent examples of what could take place.  See the link. 

Using 's-Hertogenbosch (1629) as a model, its walls were complete with bastions, ravelins and the routes into the city were protected with forts, all strengthening its defence. Streams feeding into swamps offered further protection, but to the defenders’ surprise, the streams had been diverted to allow the draining of the swamps. This was done by constructing dikes around the entire city. work carried out by peasants hired for the task. A circumvallation of the city protected the Republic’s army from any Spanish relief, and allowed the Republic to move its entrenchments closer and allow artillery batteries to be repositioned. Mining operations succeeded in setting off a massive explosion under a bastion to cause a breach; prompting the military governor to surrender three days later. 

In this example, we have a myriad of small operations that can take place on the game board without requiring massive number of figures or the construction of a walled city. There are last minute supplies required for the city, the storming of outlying forts, sallies by the defenders to disrupt the construction of mills, dikes or entrenchments and the relief column’s attempt to break the siege and more. Before these can be translated into scenarios, we must define certain features of a siege and how the rules can apply or need adjustment.

Siege of 's-Hertogenbosch (1629) – Wiki Common