Thursday, September 05, 2019

ECW Formations, a question of scale

Finding that I had yet no one image of my Royalist forces, and that there were enough of them to do a force size comparison with 1:1 (where one man equals one miniature) I thought to lay them out today and get the images recorded for future discussion.

I drew my unit sized from Stuart Reid and his "All The Kings Armies" and went with a smaller size than the ordinances called for as this is closer to what would be actually fielded when battles took place.

First the Foote:

the force takes up a frontage of 36 inches with everyone packed in close order
 Normally these would comprise of 10 companies of pike and shot with 30 men in each, I used the 2:1 shot to pike ratio, so this works out to 100 pike and 200 shot.

As you can see from the image I have gone with a fairly tight formation and even so, with 6 ranks deep of shot (with 99 in each wing actually) you can see that the shot sections almost match up with the pike section for depth.

the Foote shown in oblique to give a better view of the depth and flags as this is 95% of the Royalist force that I have

 Such a force, taking up 36 inches or three feet on a wargames table would be impossible to continuously simulate (needing 300 minis just for the one unit!), while visually stunning, for tabletop game purposes its just not workable.

behind the foote at 1:1 is a more common Pike & Shot unit of three stands and only 6" wide
So we make the compromise, for instance swapping 5 pike for the 100 (20:1) and 6 shot for the 198 (33:1) we get the more commonly seen unit on the games table of three stands, one Pike and two Shot, with a total frontage of 6 inches.  Which from the 36 inches of the 1:1 unit translates into a 1/6 scale.

wargames table unit of only 11 minis and 6 inch frontage
Then the Horse

Again they are described as 6 troop units of about 30 men each.  The ordinances calling for 100 in each troop, on campaign with losses and desertions along with recruitment, they tended to be around 30 men in each troop, according to Stuart Reid.

The horse in six 'troop' formation with a couple of horse widths between troops

When laid out at 1:1 this gives us 180 horses and men, allowing for a spacing between troop units, this again comes out to a frontage of 36 inches.

Once again placing a three foot horse unit on a wargames table will take up almost all available space, though truly look impressive!

1:1 unit (180 minis)  in front and 1:15 unit (12 minis) in behind
So the compromise of a 1:15 scale is made, giving a 1/6 frontage difference from 36" down to 6" (the same frontage as the foot unit essentially).

the compromise unit of 12 horse in the same six troop pattern
Thus we have something of a scaling at between 1:15 to 1:33 (with an average sitting around 1:20) in men to miniatures ratio.

I'm hoping this little comparison will help folks in visualizing things that happen on the wargames table better.


3 comments:

tidders said...

Nicely illustrated and explained.

I use 8 figs pike/12 figs musket for foot regiments and 8figs for horse regiments; at 1:20 this about 400 for foot and 160 for the horse. I found more that 8 figs pike looks more like a pike block to me - less doesn't quite look right.

Archduke Piccolo said...

The visual impression is certainly striking! I have sometimes wondered, though, just what 'der kleine krieg' would look like in this period. If, say, you needed a bridge guard, not expecting any major attack, but against the possibility of small enemy raiding parties, or to secure a refuge of one's own r.p. - what would it look like? What would a raiding party look like - probably horse, but maybe not?

The sieges of places like Basing House look as though they might be interesting, too, with troops numbered in their hundreds, rather than thousands.

MurdocK said...

The siege game we, Rob really, built and did games with last year attempts to put the siege 'game' on the tabletop.

Most wars were really just lots of running about sieges, indeed even the totality of WWII could be viewed as an oil or energy siege against Germany where they attempted a sally to grab a supply in 41-42 and failed.

Certainly the detailed campaigning in the ECW era lends itself to getting into such questions.