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

dinsdag 29 augustus 2023

The Campaign in Poland and an assessment.

Poland launched its campaign against the Swedish army, in the spring of 1655. Near Poznan, the advance guards of each army probed the others cavalry screen while the armies marched. As the armies maneuvered, detachments were busy seizing river crossing points, capturing prisoners, or shadowing the enemy, moving from one campsite to the next. The cat and mouse game that developed during the first month presented Sweden with the upper hand.

While cavalry patrols skirmished, an encamped army regularly sent foragers to collect supplies. One such episode, Swedish foragers were surprised by Polish cavalry, but managing to save its collected supplies, paying a heavy cost doing so. Moving to a region offering better forage, the Polish commander tasked the rear guard to delay delaying the enemy for day, allowing the main body to gain a day’s march. Unfortunately, the rear guard were not up to the task and the Polish were forced to give battle.


Poland selected a defensive position, using a hamlet and woods to protect its flanks. Despite Poland’s cavalry advantage, it was the Swedish infantry that breached the Polish centre, capturing the hamlet further weakened Poland’s position. In the end, the Polish army was shattered, losing 43% if its force, not counting the loss to the rear guard, the previous evening. This was a grim end of the campaign’s second month for the commonwealth. 

Scrambling to regain the initiative, Poland resorted to guerilla activity to gain time and rebuild its forces. Nonetheless, many of these actions were squelched by Swedish cavalry during their frequent patrols. One such incident, Swedish patrols intercepted a column of Polish reinforcements, enroute to join the main army. The action was brief, escorts were killed sending the conscripts fleeing for their lives.

Following a humiliating three months, Poland sought a truce and open negotiations for peace talks, ending the spring campaign of 1655.



An assessment:

This developed better than expected. Completing each scenario, the campaign developed a narrative, combining the day-to-day routine of an army in the field, eventually leading to an open battle. 

Few orders needed amending and when made, this was for clarity of certain points, such as order five, stipulating the departure of supply wagons, order ten, defining the protection an entrenched position or ‘fort’ and order twelve, the addition of peasant militia (7Hd) as reinforcements. 

The completion of each order generated a score for the winner and loser, the higher scorer was allowed access other troop types for its next assignment. The Swedes profited well by the advantage in the second month of the campaign. 

Three months of campaigning, the difference in scores became too great, presenting the likelihood of a Polish-Lithuanian capitulation, Sweden +6, Poland – 6. Historically, this did happen would be known as the Swedish Deluge. 


Features requiring further thought:

Alternating between attacker and defender created a nice balance to the campaign. The tests were done in the sequence listed, but in future a card draw and discard system, would make the campaign less predictable. 

At the moment, the difference of win/loss points, earned one side an extra selection of troops. Further options could include selecting the start time as both sides begin their day at dawn. A points advantage of points could have that side arrive on the game board a full turn ahead of the opposition. Still thinking on this. 

Players were under no obligation to have equal size armies, as long as the command had 6 and 12 elements. Most conflicts were fought between unequal sized forces, gaining a reward for a smaller force defeating a larger one would be interesting. Perhaps, extra points could be earned this way, but this needs some thought.