Monday, October 6, 2008

Ruminations on Koenig Krieg's list for the Dutch Army.

A bigwig: Willem IV, Prince of Orange (1711 - 1751)

Personally, I tend to base my wargaming armies around historical orders of battle whenever I can. But there needs to be some guidelines with any set of rules if they are to work, and I have been looking the army lists for the United Provinces in my old copy of Koenig Krieg.

Now, these lists are for the Seven Years War (even though the Dutch-possibly wisely-stayed out of that one), and I know nothing much at all about the Dutch army at that time or after. It strikes me though, that if the lists are correct, there clearly was a major reorganization in the Dutch army at some point after 1748.

For the SYW, the list allows up to eight regiments of fusiliers ("common-and-garden" foot regiments) at three battalions each. In the War of the Austrian Succession, where with a few exceptions such as the Guards and the Regt. Waldeck, regiments were by and large of one batallion each- and there were a LOT more than eight regiments on the establishment- closer to sixty-five or seventy, according to Manley.

I also cannot help but think that the author was too kind on the Dutch cavalry given their historical performance. Regiments of Horse in the list have a morale rating of six, with dragoons coming in at five. If we're going to rate Dutch infantry at a four, I'd be inclined to knock the horse down a level as well- the infantry were the more steadfast troops.

In the lists, regimental strength is given at 16 figures for all horse regiments. This would not have been the case for the War of the Austrian Succession. The squadron strengths for Dutch cavalry as given in Manley would suggest that Guard units alone would reach about 12 figures at best. But the Dutch line horse units were small- four companies of 75 men or even less. I would suggest that converged units of 8-figure regiments- similar to the French line cavalry 0f the time- would be more appropriate (eight-figure cavalry units being the smallest allowable under the forthcoming edition of the Koenig Krieg rules by Siege Work Studios).

It follows then that a case could be made for Dutch cavalry being a lot cheaper- but that you would get more of them so that if the dice throws are favorable, the Dutch player should at least be able to wear down his opponents Maison du Roi and bask in the ensuing humiliation of the French commander.

Kapitein's log, Supplemental: a discussion has started up on this very topic in the Koenig Krieg forum, for those who may be interested in giving their 2-groats worth on Dutch unit sizes and morale in the War of the Austrian Succession. I've already dipped my oar in!


Bluebear Jeff said...

Personally I've always felt that any "ratings" in a set of rules were simply "guidelines" and not to be followed slavishly.

If I were your opponent I would definitely tell you to rate your troops as your research suggested (and cost them out accordingly as well).

I also suspect that the folks you do play against are likely to believe the same . . . particularly since you are downgrading rather than trying to make Prussian super soldiers out of them.

-- Jeff

Robert said...

Heh, one of the nice things about being largely a solo gamer is that I always win my own arguments!

My gaming philosophy has always been that I enjoy a good game, whenever possible with like-minded players that want a fast-moving set of rules that do not bog down in historical minutae, which is why I like Koenig Krieg.

Winning is always gratifying, but at the same time I have always liked my games to at least attempt some reflection of historical performance- and if I KNOW that the Dutch cavalry should be morale 4, then, by gum, a 4 they will be, regardless of what is prescribed in the rules.

Even if it means that the good M. de Saxe ends up leading Meinheer Waldeck around the battlefield by the nose...

All part of the fun. If I wanted to have an army of Prussians, I would have bought Prussians!