zaterdag 21 mei 2022

A Chinese Village

Hot on the heels of my last construction project (a medieval village), I began the construction of another, this time a Chinese village. Of the 146 DBA armies in the collection, not one is from an Asian country, however, among the gunpowder collection I own two; one Imperial and Chinese rebellion troops. 

The construction followed similar steps as with the medieval structures, however an extra session was needed for the decorative trimming, characteristic of Chinese architecture. To research the style of architecture, I divided my search between rural and city dwellings and found most did have a pronounced ridge on top with similar trimming along the gable. Not all displayed the upturned corners. The last link provided an in depth look at the hierarchy in roofs.

The research also found certain regions kept to certain colour schemes. This is useful to know, but as this project was one of pure fantasy, I selected a colour combination that was pleasing to me.

Useful links

AncientChinese Architecture, Mark Cartwright

AncientChinese Architecture, Kelly Pang

ChineseArchitecture, Kelly Pang

ChineseArchitecture – Traditions, Characteristics, Functions and Styles, Various Contributors.

Update 02-06-2022

Walls and an archway have been added to the village. The collection slowly expands to a town’s dimension with six additional buildings. Future plans include a few government buildings, an armoury, a magistrate’s office and customs office; all covered with blue tiles. Further, more houses for the interior and eventually a harbour setting with docks and warehouses.

The time needed to construct these pieces has been greatly reduced, however, drying time remains unchanged. The government buildings will add a bit of colour to the overall look.  

woensdag 13 april 2022

Battle for Warsaw 1656

During the summer of 1656, King Charles of Sweden assembled an army for the final campaign to capture Warsaw. This would require Swedish troops garrisoning parts of northern Poland leave to join the main army. Those strong-points formerly held by Swedish troops would be replaced with troops from Brandenburg and Prussia. Generalfeldmarschall Otto Christoph Freiherr von Sparr was charged with this task and nearing the final stronghold, he found the approach barred by Polish troops. 

Uncertain if this was the vanguard of an army or an isolated detachment, von Sparr formed his two columns into a line of battle and after a quick reconnaissance surmised both sides were of equal strength; the Polish having an advantage of cavalry,     

Placing his trust with the infantry and artillery, von Sparr attacked the Polish cavalry in centre supported by the Brandenburg and Prussian cavalry in echelon on either flank. 

Against the Brandenburg left, the effect of musketry and artillery fire proved devastating in eliminating a Polish banner.

The remaining Polish banner was set upon by Prussian cavalry forcing the Polish commander to call for a general retreat. The action was brisk, taking no more that 45 minutes to conclude (3 turns). 

The conflict escalates 

What began as a simple reconnaissance escalated into a heated conflict from which the Poles found difficult to extricate themselves. Taking advantage of the favourable outcome, the Elector of Brandenburg, Frederick Willem, despatched more troops to his second in command, von Sparr, to engage the Poles once again. A second ‘victory’ just might prompt the allies of the Poles to return to the Crimea.


From their shallow crescent formation extending beyond the Brandenburg battle line, von Sparr deduced the Polish had also received more cavalry reinforcements. Breaking the long line of horse, the Polish artillery in centre were supported by a small contingent of infantry, but nowhere else were there any infantry to be seen.

To fend off possible encirclement, Brandenburg and Prussian infantry were evenly divided to cover both flanks, leaving the majority of cavalry to form three echelons in centre. This was a diversion from the standard deployment of cavalry on the flanks of an infantry battle line.

In a bold move, the Poles shifted their attack to the Brandenburg left flank, bringing reserve formations to support. Rolling up the Brandenburg left would expose the German cavalry to attack from both front and flank.

Musket fire from the Brandenburg and Prussian infantry proved effective at blunting the Polish assault.

The threat to the Brandenburg left now contained, signalled the moment to shift battle elsewhere. The Brandenburg right, consisting of four regiments of infantry supported by dragoons moved against the Polish left which had remained idle since the start of battle.

Von Sparr, gaining the upper hand on the right, felt the moment was right for the coup de grâce. This was done by the uncommitted Brandenburg and Prussian cavalry forming the centre. Blunting the attack on the left, then shifting the battle to pin the Polish on the right, left the Polish centre vulnerable. After three hours (12 turns), von Sparr had his decisive victory.  

An observation 

The game was by no means a sure thing for the Germans, but it did underscore the effectiveness of infantry to disrupt cavalry effectiveness. The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was slow in creating a standing army and relied for the most part on the royal houses and nobles to raise its armies. 

These are worth replaying at a later date.  

dinsdag 29 maart 2022

More Army lists – late 17th century

Following the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent, the Ottoman Empire experienced a steady decline punctuated by numerous political, social and economic changes. Equally affected, the Ottoman military had long been dominated by a strong cavalry presence, but the Timar system could no longer sustain its expense. Subsequent losses against West European armies forced the Ottoman military to replace the ranks of feudal sipahis with musket armed infantry. The changes affected a previous ratio of 3:1 (mounted to foot) to a near equal number by the late 17th century. 


Ottoman Turk 1625 – 1700 AD

1 – 2 Qapikulu (3Kn) if the Sultan is commanding, otherwise (Cv)

2 – 4 Feudal Sipahis (Cv)

3 – 6 Downgraded Feudal Sipahis (LH)


1 – 4 Janissary armed with musket (Sh)

0 – 1 Iaylars (3Wb)

0 – 1 Voynuks (3Bd)

0 – 1 Janissary skirmisher (Sk)

1 – 4 Slav skirmishers (Sk)

0 – 1 Mounted skirmishers (Dr)

0 – 1 Heavy artillery (Art)


Crimean Khanate 1556-1700 AD:

4 x Oghlan and Tartar light cavalry (LH)

1 x Segban (Dr)


0 - 1 Petyhortsy vassals (Cv)

0 – 6 Oghlan and Tartar light cavalry (LH)

0 - 2 Segban (Dr)

0 - 2 Volga Germans (Sh)

0 - 4 Peasant foot (5Wb)