Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Alte Fritz's SYW Prussian Cavalry

CR2 Prinz von Preussen Cuirassiers - Elite Miniatures (painted by Alte Fritz)

It's time to take a look at the Prussian cavalry organization under our BAR rules for SYW wargaming. While Frederick the Great's father, Frederick William I, left him with arguably the finest infantry in Europe at the end of the latter's reign in 1740, the cavalry arm was quite a different matter. Frederick's initial appraisal of the Prussian cavalry arm is given below:

"My father left me a bad set of cavalry. There was hardly an officer who knew his trade. The troopers were afraid of their horses, and they scarcely ever rode -- they just went through their drills on foot, like infantry. The cavalry were too heavy, with their big men and big horses, and the consequences in our first war were so bad that I had to re-make the entire corps."

Fortunately for Alte Fritz (i.e. me) we don't have to worry about such things on the wargame table. In our BAR games, all infantry and cavalry regiments start out as "Trained" troops and they are promoted to "Veterans" after two battles. If they earn two battle honors, then they may be promoted to "Elite" troops. Accordingly, most of Alte Fritz's cavalry is now classified as Veteran cavalry, but they have had trouble holding their own against that beau sabreur of the French army, Le Comte de Chevert (Bill Protz). Monsieur Chevert must have been born in the saddle, for he is truly one of the finest table top cavalry commanders that Alte Fritz has every seen. Yours truly, on the other hand, is an infantryman at heart. But I digress...

The Prussian cavalry of the Seven Years War includes 13 regiments of armored cuirassiers, 12 regiments of heavy dragoons, and 8 regiments of light hussars. In general, Prussian cavalry regiments consisted of 5 squadrons with a total regimental strength of 800 to 890 men of all ranks. Note that there were several dragoon and hussar regiments that had 10 squadrons. Yes, you heard me right, ten freakin' squadrons! How would you like to have to paint 120 figures at 1:10? How would you like to see your opponents face when he sees your 10 squadron regiment appear on the table top for the first time? Such pleasures are fun to contemplate in wargaming.

Each squadron had approximately 185 men, including officers, but for our purposes in BAR, we assume that the war time strength of the squadron is only 120 to 150 men, or 12 to 15 castings. We further try to limit our cavalry regiments to 3 squadrons, or 36 to 45 figures in total. Each squadron has one officer, one musician, one standard bearer and 9 to 12 troopers. Since Frederick deployed his cavalry in three ranks, so then shall we. The above picture depicts a 12 figure squadron of Prussian cuirsassiers deployed in three ranks. The figures are from the Elite Miniatures SYW range of Prussian cavalry. These are BIG fellows and are sculpted in an animated style that reminds me of Ted Suren's Willie range of 30mm figures. I have one regiment of Suren Prussian cuirassiers (36 figures) and one regiment of Elite Prussian cuirassiers (60 figures). I like both ranges.

Wait a minute Alte Fritz! (you may be thinking) We thought that you were going to limit your cavalry regiments to 3 squadrons. What's the deal with this 60 figure regiment? Well, to make a long story short, Monsieur Chevert had the audacity to paint 60 French Carabineers and you can imagine the effect that they had on the table top. We called the unit, "The Thundering Herd" or "Death By Cavalry". Alte Fritz doesn't like to be outgunned or outmanned. So he painted up a 60 figure regiment of cuirassiers (CR2 Prinz von Preuessen or Gelbe Kurassiers) to counter the French threat. My usual tactic is to simply shadow the French carabineers. Where they go, so go the Gelbe Cuirassiers in my army.

1 comment:

Bluebear Jeff said...


I really like the "sharing of thoughts" style that you are using. Good show!

-- Jeff of Saxe-Bearstein