Thursday, January 17, 2008

WSS . . . a Future Project --

While I've been "laid up" I've been thinking about my next project.

Well, okay, it won't be my next project, but it is something that I plan on doing at some point. The "War of Spanish Succession" in 15mm.

"Why 15mm?" you ask.

Well I not only have a lot of nice 15mm Mediterranean-style buildings, but I've got close to 800 figures for the period already. I posted a photo of my painted units . . . (ah, stop looking for it) . . . that's right, there's no photo . . . guess that that means none are painted yet.

Anyway, while lying in bed I've been thinking of how I would alter my "Tricorne Wars" rules to handle the WSS . . . and I've had some thoughts. The scale would be roughly 1:30, which will work well with my rules . . . although there will be a number of changes that will be necessitated -- typical squadrons would be 4-6 figures, for example.

When will I get to this? Not soon . . . but it is still fun to begin thinking about it.

-- Jeff


Heinz-Ulrich von Boffke said...

Hi Jeff,

This sounds like fun. Please do keep us posted as it develops. By the way, how did combat during this era differ, if at all, from the later WAS/SYW era? None of my books on 18th century warfare, not even Christopher Duffy, have much to say about it.

Best Regards,

Stokes Schwartz

Bluebear Jeff said...


That's a good question . . . and I've got a number of books to read yet before I can really answer that properly.

Infantry was certainly less maneuverable than later . . . and many armies had just given up pikes.

In general, I believe that there was more cavalry (but it was perhaps less prone to charge . . . the caricole still being used by some).

But I need to do more research to see if this is true.

-- Jeff

Steve-the-Wargamer said...

Jeff - I can't compare to the later period, but you certainly seem to have the main factors affecting the WSS period... in addition, for this period, I would add:

British and Dutch infantry fired by platoon whereas others did not until later - most sources indicate that this was more effective (they get a bonus in my rules)

British and Dutch cavalry were trained to close with the sword - so I give them a bonus in the melee...

...mediterranean style houses would allow you to fight a part of the war that not many touch on - namely the Spanish Peninsula. The Battle of Almansa, storming of Gibralta, taking of Minorca - Sapnish Bourbon troops, French, Dutch, British - mouth watering! :o)

Bluebear Jeff said...


Yes, it is my thought to concentrate on the Spanish and Italian Theatres -- although the north has some neat uniforms and flags . . . oh well.

I didn't mention platoon firing because I'm not convinced that it made enough of a difference as to be reflected in my rules . . . but I will keep it in mind as I do research.

Do you know of any web resources that have OBs and/or maps of any of the "southern" battles?

-- Jeff

marinergrim said...

All the points raised have been covered in depth on other forums and the net result (no pun intended) was.....inconclusive.

Horse to foot, from looking at battlefield ob's tends to be 2 squadrons of horse for every foot battalion. even in spain the proportion of horse to foot remained at 3:2 or higher.

Platoon v volley firing is inconclusive also. Some authors indicate that whilst platoon firing is more effective because the rate of fire is maintained across the front at all times, volley firing is equally effective because of the smaller frontage of the French battalion compared to the Anglo-Dutch formations (four ranks taking up less room than three and thus the deviation in flight of musket balls does not matter so greatly - the weight of lead hitting the target is the same).

The French did hold on to the practice of pistols before sword with their horse for longer than the English. But again their are reports of English horse in Spain still using pistols, afterall it was Marlborough who introduced the tactic of the shock charge back into the European theatre. Dutch & Imperial forces use both methods at different times.

Pikes and their deployment continue to be a source of contention. I'm pretty certain that the Danes had abandoned them by 1704, the Spanish were in transition (as well as moving from multi-coloured uniforms to white), the French have no reports or records of them being used, the English foot guards had the pikes re-issued to them as they departed for Flanders in 1706 having put them into storage when they returned to winter quarters in England in 170, which suggests that they had them but it's not clear whether they used them in the field. the most telling is I suppose the Blenheim tapestries, supposedly the most accurate battle relief pictures before photography. None of the scenes show pikes in use on the field.

Spain holds a number of interesting features. English troops led by a Frenchman & French troops led by a Brit. Portuguese fighting for both sides at different times. Multi-coloured uniforms for the Spanish (lime green anyone?). The English capture of Gibralter of course.

Good luck jeff.

The period is still realtively undiscovered compared with periods just 50yrs prior (the English Civil War) and 50 yrs later (the SYW).

Steve-the-Wargamer said...

Hi Jeff - Grimsby's update is good - he's been reading and playing the period a lot longer than I have, so it gives me pause for thought - always more reading to be done....! :o)

W.r.t sources for the southern battles, not really as I've focussed all my efforts so far on the northern theatre... but trawling round the net last week looking for other stuff I did come across a couple of interesting sites: (mods used to play WSS with the Age of Reason rules - interesting comment re. volley/platoon fire that gives me pause for thought)

Not a lot of facts but this is pretty:

...your very own boardgame (with a lot of background and colour)!:

..and finally a youtube video of a re-enactment!!

...on a separate subject I guess you could also consider the Italian theatre?? Eugene against the French even before the Grand Alliance.....

Martin said...

Hey Jeff,

I hope you and the Mrs. are feeling better. 15mm Troops look awfully good in large numbers on the table, and it sure beats having the little fellows boxed up and stored away. I'll be looking forward to seeing your results!
Oh! By the by, my computer tells me my invitation to EvE has expired. Can another be sent?



meadows boy said...

I love thinking about new projects! I hardly ever start any but it is good fun!



abdul666 said...

By Cthulhu! A new project...

I wonder how other people can manage several projects, wargame in different periods at the same time.

Or do tou intend to forget the mid-18th C.? Already bored by the 'true tricorns'? Hopefully not!

At least the WSS is EvE-compatible, if your countries join the bal under assumed names, Gallia / Hesse-Seewald fashion...

Best wishes,

Bluebear Jeff said...


Don't worry. This will be a FUTURE project . . . and it will be with HISTORICAL armies, not imaginary ones.


Yes, I'm also interested in at least exploring the Italian theatre.


First I need to get healthier . . . being ill is no fun.

Then I have a lot to do with "Tricorne Wars", Saxe-Bearstein" and the mid-18th century.

The WSS Project is probably not on this year's radar . . . but any project benefits from "lead time" for research and thought.

-- Jeff

abdul666 said...

has the project really to be more historical than Gallia vs Hesse-Seewald? The South-Western front of the 'EvE' Europe is currently neglected and dormant.
Not really a sensible suggestion from a Monte-Cristan! If war explodes between France and Piedmond-Savoy we would have a ringside seat and be in the area of potential collateral damages...


Heinz-Ulrich von Boffke said...

Hi Jeff,

Can't resist this one -- Is that "lead time" or "lead time"? Get it? ;-)


Bluebear Jeff said...

Of course, Stokes, it was intentional. I'm a punster from way way back (sometimes my wife and I go into pun jags).

-- Jeff