Sunday 3 January 2010

Infantry unit organisation

Unit Organisation - Infantry

Whilst I appreciate that not everyone has the space devoted to wargaming to allow them to deploy such large formations on the tabletop, on a personal note, I felt it essential to create large wargames units, akin to those in the original books in terms of number of figures. This is for me what classic wargaming is about. I also wanted to be able to identify with individual companies, as well as their parent battalions, allowing me to detach sub units to perform specific tabletop functions, thus aiding flexibility.

Of course, the lack of basing (ie with each figure left as a single, rather than having them based as multiples) is not only in-keeping with the essence of Charge/ The Wargame and in the spirit of Classic Wargaming, it is also a huge aid to flexibility. The decision not to base figures is purely one of personal taste, as I believe they retain a “classic model soldier look” when left on their metal stands.

With Churchill’s quote about “compromises usually offering the worst of both worlds rather than the best” echoing in my mind, I have created a structure for my own collection reflecting, I hope, the best of both “Charge” and “The Wargame”, and ironed out some wrinkles without losing the spirit of classic wargaming.

The most important point is that as near as possible, all units on the table, on both sides, should have the same complement of officers, slight variations being attributable to the vagaries of campaigning, of course, but taking care not to allow one side or the other to be disadvantaged by any major discrepancies.

Whereas in Charge there seems little reflection of the role of officers in the rules, in The Wargame the rules do reflect officer casualties and these have an impact on morale. For my own rules, losing officers does have an impact on the combat effectiveness of units in action (at both the individual independent company level, and on full-blown regiments). More of which anon.

Meantime, let’s just have a look at the organisation of units, focusing on the infantry for now:

Charge “mixed” 4 company infantry battalion
(The Innsbruchen Infantrie shown here comprising a Grenadier company, 2 line companies and a Light company; with full officer complement)

The Wargame infantry - 3 battalions advancing in attack columns
(Teutonburg-Fredonia Leibgarde, Innsbruchen Infantrie regt, Battenburg regt)
All have 48 rank and file, + 5 officers

The Charge 3-company battalion structure is shown in the blog header and in my previous post.
This will be my preferred organisation option.


WSTKS-FM Worldwide said...

Hi there Phil,

Happy New Year! Your unit organizations, and the rationale behind them, mirrors my own remarkably well. For my Sittangbad-sized forces, I have a three company structure for line regiments in the Grand Duchy of Stollen's army, and a four-company structure for line regiments in the Elctorate of Zichenau's army (the smaller force of the two). I also enjoy the full compliment of offcers, musicians, and the possiblity of detatching individual companies for specific tasks if and when necessary. As you note, the spectacle of large units and unbased miniatures in their hundreds is an essential part of the classic wargaming aesthetic.

Best Regards,


War Depot said...

Great work so far Phil. Always an inspiration to see your projects.


Pjotr said...


outstanding post, thank you. Maybe not really a topic for this blog, but what is the secret of producing such clean and clear pictures? It seems you must have a professional set up. Or does your dear wife take the pictures (if I remember correctly). Maybe you could you give some tips and tricks or if you feel like it post a small tutorial?


Bluebear Jeff said...


You say that you prefer the Charge 3-company organization. Is there a practical reason? Or is it an aesthetic one?

I'm sure that we would all be interested in knowing "why".

-- Jeff

PS, I don't have a preference, I just want to know more of your thinking . . . and I am really looking forward to learning your "rule tweeks".

Der Alte Fritz said...

Are the Battenburgs and their colleagues Spencer Smith figures or perhaps the similar Huzzah Miniatures? I had thought that you were going strictly with Front Rank figures, so I'm a little confused.

They look very nice, whatever their origin and remind me of my solo wars with my 54mm Britains toy soldiers, back when I was a youngster. The metal Briains were The Good Guys and all of the other plastic Marx, Timpo, Heralds and Green Army Men were The Bad Guys.

Gallia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gallia said...

Grandeur, resplendent, numerically substantial are words and realities that easily come to mind for me Phil viewing your collection. A field of dreams might do as well with some similarities to the USA baseball movie titled the same. I wonder....


abdul666 said...

An interesting, clear post and what an eye-candy!

For me I have to confess that -according to published photos e.g. in 'Charge!' and 'The War Game'- the Grant system of a large indivisible regiment leads to a more 'linear' appearance than the 4 semi-independant companies of 'Charge!'. That C. Grant packed his minis more densely than P. Young is not the only cause of visual difference: the 'companies' of 'Charge!' somehow lead to an appearance and a tabletop behavior more 'Napoleonic' than 'Lace Wars'?

Best wishes - keep such excellent posting!


Capt Bill said...

Phil, My copy of The Annexation of Chiraz just arrived. Wow, what an inspiration! Thanks...

Phil said...

Thank you all for your most valuable comments.
Whilst I would love to be able to go into detailed answers for each query, it would mean a rather extensive session, so I hope you'll forgive me if I say that all will be answered/ addressed as time goes by in upcoming posts. Many of you have made excellent points on unit organisation in particular, and more of my rationale will become clear as things unfold. Jeff's points are noted (the answer is that it's for both pratcical and aesthetic reasons that I have chosen this option)... and I agree with Jean Louis on the Lace wars v Napoleonic "look"/ style.

Thanks to Capt Bill for your kind words about the Chiraz book. Hope you get chance to play the games.
As for photography tutorial, Peter, your pictures on your blog look pretty good! Much of it is trial and error of course. I have found it wise to avoid flash, go for a long exposure time to maximise depth of field, and use a tripod and timer. I'm pleased with the results I sometimes get for distance/ battle shots. Of course, for close up shots lots of expertise is required, and I have more to learn there!

Der Alte Fritz: sorry for the confusion. I do indeed use Front Rank figures for my other 18th century project (The Pils-Holsein campaign), but this is something entirely different, a totally different collection. Hope that makes sense... it's madness I know, but... that's the hobby I guess!
all the best for now.

Pjotr said...


thanks for the pointers on photography. I'll try it out for certain. I think I still have a tripod in the attic, somewhere...
I just read that the Blasthof blog has ceased to excist. It's a shame, it started out promising...
I suspect the start of your new venture was due to that strange turn of events. But in the end it doesn't worry me...I'm a happy bunny as long as I can find some inspiring classic wargaming on the net.
Again, high class work and first rate comments. Thanks Phil and visiting gamers.