Heretical Gaming is my blog about my gaming life, featuring small skirmishes and big battles from many historical periods (and some in the mythic past or the far future too). The focus is on battle reports using a wide variety of rules, with the occasional rules review, book review and odd musing about the gaming and history. Most of the battles use 6mm-sized figures and vehicles, but occasionally 15mm and 28mm figures appear too.

Thursday 10 August 2017

A Battlegames-Polemos Napoleonic Campaign: The Martinstaadt Land Grab

Back in the final issue of the late, lamented Battlegames (issue 34), the editor Henry Hyde published a campaign scenario.  I've always itched to give it a go but when it came out I was busy with my refight of the Peninsular War and I felt that having two horse-and-musket campaigns on the go would be a bit much! However,  the planets have finally aligned and this week I commenced the campaign...

I have set my version of the campaign during the Napoleonic Wars.  France and Austria at war in 1809 on several fronts, have both sent small armies to occupy and secure the German Principality of Martinstaadt, either for annexation or for positional advantage in the post-conflict peace talks.  This, and economic considerations, and the effect on neutral opinion of this violation of the neutrality of a small state, will put a firm limit on the length of operations: 16 weeks, beginning on May 1st.

The Armies:

The Austrian Army: C-in-C Prince Lauda

Grenadier Division (Muller - Plodding): 12 Vet SK1 Infantry, 2 12lb Ft Btys, 1 6lb Ft Bty
1st Division (Weissenberger - Plodding): 11 Tra SK1 Infantry, 1 Tra SK2 Infantry, 1 6lb Ft Bty
2nd Division (Wagner - Capable): 11 Tra SK1 Infantry, 1 Tra SK2 Infantry, 1 6lb Ft Bty
3rd Division (Bosnar - Capable): 11 Tra SK1 Infantry, 1 Tra SK2 Infantry, 1 6lb Ft Bty
Advance Guard Division (Manninger - Capable): 2 Raw SK2 Infantry, 2 Tra SK1 Infantry, 2 Veteran Lt Cav, 1 3lb Hs Bty
Rearguard Division (Pogatetz - Plodding):  2 Raw SK2 Infantry, 2 Tra SK1 Infantry, 2 Veteran Lt Cav, 1 3lb Hs Bty
Reserve Division (Wallner - Capable): 4 Veteran Cuirassiers
Dragoon Division (Wawra - Capable): 4 Trained Dragoons
Lt Cavalry Brigade: 1 Veteran Lt Cav, 1 Trained Lancer
Siege Train

The Austrian Army has several units of Hanoverian allies contained within the divisions.

The Austrians can draw supplies from roads leading north to a maximum distance of 8 hexes (the Austrian magazines are about 10miles back from the border)

The French Army: C-in-C Gen Prost

Guard Division (Goran - Plodding): 6 Vet/El SK1 Infantry, 6 Tra/El SK1 Infantry, 1 4lb Hs Bty
1st Division (Carriere - Decisive): 12 Tra SK1 Infantry, 3 Tra SK2 Infantry, 1 8lb Ft Bty
2nd Division (Delpierre - Decisive): 12 Tra SK1 Infantry, 3 Tra SK2 Infantry, 1 8lb Ft Bty
3rd Division (Dupraz - Plodding): 12 Tra SK1 Infantry, 3 Tra SK2 Infantry, 1 8lb Ft Bty
Guard Cavalry Brigade: 2 Vet/El Heavy Cav, 1 4lb Hs Bty
Dragoon Division (Maas - Decisive): 4 Trained Dragoons, 1 4lb Hs Bty
Lt Cavalry Division (Desmenez - Decisive): 4 Trained Lt Cav, 1 4lb Hs Bty
Artillery Reserve (Laffite - Capable): 3 12lb Hvy Bty
Siege Train

The French can draw supplies from road leading south to a maximum distance of 8 hexes (the French magazines are about 10miles back from the border).

The above approximately follows the forces given in the scenario.  However, to spice things up, I decided that the small Army of Martinstaadt would also play a role!  It is dispersed in peace-time garrisons as follows:

Martinstadt: 6 Tra SK1 Infantry, 3 Tra SK2 Infantry, 3 Tra Heavy Cav,  3 6lb Ft Btys
Each town has: 3 Raw SK1 Infantry (militia)
Plus Iferbrucke has 3 Tra Lt Cav, Kaiserberg has 3 Tra SK2 Infantry

For the first week, there will be no response: the attack came as too much of a surprise.  Furthermore, there are elements within the military that support one side or the other and wish Martinstaadt to take sides. Therefore when either side enters a town, roll for each unit:

Infantry & Militia: 1 - Joins French 2-5 Remains Neutral 6 Joins Austrians
Cavalry: 1 - Joins French 2-4 Remains Neutral 5-6 Joins Austrians
Lt Infantry & Artillery: 1-2 Joins French 3-5 Remains Neutral 6 Joins Austrians

If the enemy is present, the unit will disperse for a week and then form up at the nearest friendly location.

All sides can form Corps groupings - one of the divisional commanders present will assume the leadership and one of his staff will take over the division in battle if the C-in-C is absent.

The Map:

The Principality of Martinstaadt: the Austro-Hanoverians will approach from the North, the Fremch from the South (many thanks to Henry Hyde for permission to post the map) n.b. Why the Principality rather than Electorate (as in the original)? Because it is set after the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806...

 The Rules: Although there are some very good campaign rules published in Battlegames 9, I used the Polemos Napoleonic campaign rules since they are very solo friendly and tie in with the tactical rules I use. They are probably a step less involved and simpler than the Battlegames rules too (incidentally, much the same campaign rules are in The Wargames Compendium).  Although not precisely the same, you can look at the very similar Polemos Franco-Prussian campaign rules here.

The initial moves and first clashes to follow soon!


  1. You are cranking out all of this good stuff faster than I can keep up! Your campaign looks interesting. What did you use to generate the campaign map or was this from Battlegames?

  2. The map is from Battlegames, Henry Hyde graciously permitted me to post it here.

  3. Great idea, John! Looking forward to how things will work out in a Napoleonic context. This has also prompted me to dig out those Poles rules, too. Good luck!

    1. Thanks very much Henry. I am really looking forward to this too, it has been one of those ideas that I have had for a long while. Ever since I read it first, in fact! It seemed too good not to do.

  4. Looks interesting! Glad to know someone else misses BG as much as I do.

    Best Regards,


    1. Thanks Stokes. I still love Battlegames. Taken as a whole, the 34 issues constitute (for me personally) one of the greatest inspirations in the gaming hobby.