Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Starting the Thirty Years War project

As I mentioned in my 'state of the union' post for this year, one of the projects I might start this year is the Thirty Years War. This post is the first visible sign of the genesis of this project, and will be a bit of a rambling, brainstormy, stream of consciousness type of post on unit selection for this project.
Initially I had thought to base the units for this project on a specific battle or campaign, as I have done with my Great Northern War and Napoleonic collections (the Russian campaign 1708-1709 and the Danube campaign 1809, respectively). I quickly ran into an issue with that however. Depending on which period of the Thirty Years' War you represent (Bohemian Revolt, Palatinate phase, Danish intervention, Swedish intervention, …) the units used different formations and compositions, all of which would need to be reflected in the miniature units.
On the one hand, if I wanted to base the collection on a specific period or battle, I felt obliged to represent the units in the (more or less) correct formations for that battle (e.g. big Tercio vs Dutch style battalions for the Imperialists / Catholic League). On the other hand I also wanted the freedom to mix the cool looking tercio formations with just about any other formation that existed (and there were quite a few), both for looks and to be able to conform to possibly different rulesets and their ideas of said formations.

So I was in a bit of a pickle with regards to picking a battle and sticking to it, until I had an epiphany (which, as all epiphanies are in hindsight, is of course quite obvious): instead of going totally historical, why not mix some of the concepts of imagination gaming with historical gaming? While I will base the collection firmly in history (i.e. it would be Swedes and Germans instead of, say, Forkinglingians and Thingamabobs) I will not stick to a fixed historical OOB, nor any fixed chronology of units (i.e. the units might well be early, middle or late war all in the same army), but just pick some units or unit names that I like and model them. This is the approach taken by Charles S Grant in his Napoleonic Peninsular collection (as mentioned in his latest Wargaming in History volume), so I'll be in grand company :).
With that decision taken, I've gone through some references and have come up with a number of 'must represent' units:
  • The Swedish 'Rainbow' regiments - Yellow, Green, Black and whatever other colour was around. One cannot have a Swedish TYW army without these (even if they are German :) )
  • The Walloon Tercio - because they recruited where I live
  • Schmidt Infantry Regiment - because they were hard as nails
  • Ungefugt IR - because of the name, which appeals to my slightly (or even seriously) off beat sense of humour
  • Pappenheim CR (Cavalry Regiment, a mix of Cuirassiers & Arquebusiers) - because they were some of the veterans of the early war, and because of the name
  • Obentraut CR - see Ungefugt
  • Alt-Lowenstein CR - because this is a nostalgic name for Schild en Vriend veterans :)
  • Lamotte Arquebusiers - because there used to be a brewery in Mechelen (near where I live) with that name
  • Stalhansk CR - because of the name
  • Hakkapelli cavalry - see Rainbow regiments

That gives me a nice variety of units to start my collection with. This will be a long term project however, as I have just bought a house, meaning that my disposable income for the next couple of years will be quite a bit lower than it has been in the past. But expect to see the occasional Thirty Years War unit from the list above on this blog in the next few years :)

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