Wednesday 12 October 2011

7th Silesian Landwehr - Dresden 1813

Regiment of the Day

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 !

Again, clean simple lines, big gaps between equipment, and very quick to paint accurately. Love it.  I have gone for mid-grey on the trousers, except for the officer who gets clean white trousers.  An Officer needs to keep up appearances ... even Landwehr Officers.

Ive gone for the same design on the flag as on the underside of the base. A lot of references to unofficial Landwehr flags have the 'Fur Gott, Koenig und Vaterland' motto emblazened on them. Further research suggests that these suggestions for such flags are all self-referencing, and based on educated specuilation at the source. So really, any appropriate motto that you can dream up, and a Landwehr cross is semi-historically accurate for any of these Prussian Landwehr units.  I didnt bother dusting off the sand from the basing from these guy's hats - and I reckon that dirty battlefield look works well on these.

Instead of plain white cross-belts on all of these, I have used white for one belt and grey for the other belt that holds the breadbag. All up, a super quick build to take these figures from painting block to battlefield in record time. Need more units like that :)

Each Division in the Prussian army at this stage has the following basic structure :
  • Regiment of Line
  • Regiment of Reserve
  • Regiment of Landwehr
In Republique, for the Dresden campaign .. the Line and Reserve are rated as green for these units (1st West Prussian Line, 6th Reserve Regiment), and the Landwehr rated as militia.

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.


  1. The flag patterned base undersides are very cool! I usually record the "Muster Date" of my units, as well as my name on the underside as well (usually using the base of the Command stand for this purpose).


  2. Silesian landwehr is a really nice unit, very good work...