|Minden cavalry in the employ of the VFS surge forward to confront the forces of the Ducy of Lorraine, from the collection of Charles S. Grant (click to enlarge)|
|Mass cavalry melee from the collection of Charles S. Grant (click to enlarge)|
I am rather quite taken with the above pictures that Charles Grant took of one of his battles. Not withstanding that most of them are Minden figures, the pictures really conveys what the SYW is all about: orderly ranks of soldiers, tricorn hats, colorful flags and uniforms and a few other intangible factors.
I have recently adapted the Grant idea of dividing my cavalry regiments into two or three smaller squadrons of figures, ranging in size from 8 horse to 12 horse. The effect is to create more cavalry units on the table that adds a more realistic ebb and flow to the cavalry melee as compared to operating the same number of figures as one larger regiment. This is not a new idea, by any means, as I've seen it work to good effect in Peter Gilder's In The Grand Manner rules for Napoleonic warfare. I'm not as familiar with The Wargame Rules by Grant Pere, but I imagine that cavalry were used in squadrons in this set of rules too.
We have also been using cavalry squadrons in our big battalion games using Bill Protz's Batailles dans l'Ancien Regime ( or BAR for short) going back to 2005 -- gosh it doesn't seem like it has been that long ago when Bill and I started adapting his Drums of War Along The Mohawk rules for the SYW. I can recall one game, Lobositz, that we hosted at the Little Wars convention in the Chicago area and it was probably the most fun that I have ever had at the war game table.
Two lines of Austrian and Prussian squadrons would meet in the center of the field; some would win and pursue into the next line of infantry or cavalry; others would rout or retire back to their own lines. If you planned things correctly, then you had a reserve of squadrons waiting to stop the enemy break through, or exploit the success of your own cavalry. It was like the ocean surf ebbing out and back in. You never knew what was going to happen next.
At one point during the battle, Frederick, who was perched atop the Homolka Mound with his artillery, watched in horror as his own dragoons fled between the cannon, pursued by a pack of Austrian hussars. Fortunately, two squadrons of the Garde du Corps intervened and hurried the hussars back to their own lines.
That was some kind of day.