Sunday, 9 August 2015

Lounging around Livonia

With the last two units for my Great Northern War mini-campaign approaching completion I thought I'd play out the first turn. The game is based around an article from Angus Konstam in Wargames Illustrated 52 for a campaign based in Livonia in the aftermath of the battle of Narva. I'm not playing this out strictly historically, but I'll use the same map and rules to base my fictional campaign around.

The first thing I did was print off the map and colour it in - I am a Social Studies teacher after all! Then I wrote out the key rules and a calendar tracker. First turn - August 1701. The sun is shining, the birds are singing and the Russians are marching!
The Campaign map and crib sheet
First turn the Russians had the initiative. Based in Pskov, their objective was determined by a D6 roll. The conservative thing to do would be to take the nearest town as a supply base, and this would be Marienburg, so this was a 1-4 on the die roll. 5 would be to advance on Valk and try to isolate Riga from Dorpat, basically forcing the Swedes to clear them out of the way. A 6 would see the army advance towards Dorpat itself.
Starting positions everyone.
It turns out that the  Russian commander, General Shumasshedshiy, is quite an aggressive type. He rolled a 5 and Valk was the destination.
Shumasshedshiy advances aggressively
The Swedes, based in Riga had an equally aggressive response. General Vakt immediately advanced to drive out the Russian invader (on a roll of 1 they would have taken the road north based on false information). The combat would occur on hex J17.
A meeting of minds.
A battle was about to occur - but what would it look like? I rolled a d3 (result of a 3 would stand in for a 0) and a d10. Rolling a 2 and a 4 respectively I was left with Scenario 24 in One Hour Wargames - Bottleneck. I'd decided that the Swedes would always be blue force, and the Russians red force. This meant that the Russians would be guarding a bottleneck against a larger Swedish force. This made sense - Shumasshedskiy sending out a blocking force against the advancing Swedes.
Rolling on the Great Northern War army generation table the Swedes rolled 3 infantry, 1 dismounted dragoons and 2 cavalry. The Russians rolled 3 infantry and 1 artillery. However the scenario specifies that red force must field one unit of skirmishers if possible - in this version that is dismounted dragoons, so the army was changed to 2 infantry, 1 dragoons and 1 artillery.
And so we are ready to fight the Battle of Valk in August of 1701. Report coming soon.



  1. Interesting set up. Looking forward to the initial class of the campaign.

    1. Hi Jonathan. The first clash has played out. Battle report very soon.

  2. Looking forward to the report!

  3. I remember that Livonian campaign so well !!! I looked at it for hours in the early 1990s, and it formed the basis for an equivalent campaign set in 1705 Flanders that I staged at my local club in the early 1990s (1992, possibly). It’s great to see it being used again, and just shows the goldmine of ideas in old wargames magazines. Very much looking forward to the report.

    1. It's a great little campaign Sidney. One of my real pleasures is reading back through the old 90s magazines - particularly Practical Wargamer, but early WI was also great. There were some very thought-provoking articles in there.

  4. I can't find my copy of that issue of WI--ARRGH! Would it be possible to send me a photocopy of the article? I will very gladly pay whatever costs are involved. (Especially for postage, as I live in the USA...).

    Either way, thanks for posting your campaign updates!

    Chris Johnson