In his report of the battle of Gross Beeren to Frederick William, Bülow said among other things, “I must congratulate the entire corps, including the Landwehr. ...
I suppose thats an honourable thing to say about those who put their lives on the line for the state, but then again its a bit of a back-handed compliment if ever there was one.
Why single out the Landwehr in particular ?
I can picture the teacher talking to the class after a particularly difficult assignment, saying :
"I must say that I am really pleased with the performance of the whole class in this assignment ... even little Johnny ... who we weren't really expecting very much from ... not much at all to be honest ... surprised he even managed to hand anything up to tell the truth.".
Which brings us to the figures :
I have been getting a little bogged down here with some complicated units of Hussars and Divisional command stands, so I grabbed the block of Prussian Landwehr to get something out.
They were sitting there primed and ready to start, and have extremely simple (even modern looking) uniforms and colour schemes to apply. Just the thing to fill in a short session and get something finished ready for battle.
So ... I wasnt expecting much as I reached for the block.
|4 bases of militia. Ive gone for a simple Landwehr cross and the name of the unit on the underside of the base for these ones.|
|Figures by warrior miniatures. The Litewka (or large coat) was a joy to paint in the end - excellent creases in the folds of the coat that are just begging for a glaze and highlight.|
|Vallejo Dark Prussian Blue base, black glaze, Prussian Blue highlight - done. Sweet ! Vorwarts fur Gott, Koenig und Vaterland !|
Each Division in the Prussian army at this stage has the following basic structure :
- Regiment of Line
- Regiment of Reserve
- Regiment of Landwehr
That is quite a handful to manage on the battlefield. I havent gamed these units yet, but its a headache just thinking about it. Having the extra 4 bases of militia is good from one point of view - it adds a little more mass to the division .... but I am not sure how sensible it is to have militia in the front line.
Having a -3 combat factor for these chappies means that they need some exceptionally good die rolls just to stay in the game against French veterans. In general I think they may be quite prone to taking panic hits ... which is to be expected, but those panic results tend to affect the whole division they are attached to. Given that the rest of the Division is green, recovering morale from these panic results can take time.
Bottom line - if you allow the Landwehr to get sucked into a protracted 1 on 1 fight with better troops, you may end up writing off the whole division.
Thats pretty expensive cannon fodder there.
I am thinking that the best way to use them is as supporting troops to add extra mass to an existing fight ... to provide overlaps on engaged targets .. and finally to provide extra troop mass during the recon stage of the game.
Frighten the enemy by having obvious large bodies of troops manoevring around their flanks before the nature of those troops is seen. May be enough to disturb the French line into adjusting itself unnecessarily.
I am also going to playtest some (as yet undefined) rule hacks to give the Landwehr a bit more character on the battlefield without destroying the balance of the game. In some cases they did exceptionally well, and developed the rare habit of 'stampeding' like so many out of control cattle on some occassions.
Would be nice to have the remote possibility of that happening on the game board I think.