Historical Background: Charles XII became the King of Sweden in 1697 at the age of fifteen. He inherited a sizable empire and one of the best armies in the world. Sweden's rivals thought they could take advantage of the young King. The Great Northern War (1700 - 1721) was a military struggle between Sweden on one side, and Russia, Denmark, and Saxony-Poland on the other. The Swedish army under Charles XII was among the best in Europe, and would win many victories. However the end result of the war was a defeat for Sweden that ended her run as a world power and cost her much of her empire. It also marked the rise of Russian under the leadership of Peter the Great. At the Battle of Kliszow Charles XII invaded Poland to try and knock Saxony-Poland out of the war. Although outnumbered the Swedes won an impressive victory, thanks in large part to their outstanding cavalry. The Swedes were unable to follow up their victory, however, and the Saxons would remain a problem for Charles XII for years to come.
Battle Report: In a surprise move the Saxon infantry left their field works and advanced to the stream. The Saxon cavalry advanced and clashed with the Swedish cavalry on both flanks. The General von Trampe lead the Saxon Cavalry in an attack that broke through the Swedish lines, but the General was killed in the charge. Lt. General von der Shulenburg was sent to command the cavalry on that flank but was killed repulsing a Swedish counterattack. After the failed counterattack the Swedish right fell back in confusion. The Saxon cavalry followed closely looking for an opportunity to hit the flank of the Swedish infantry. With the Swedish position in danger of total collapse King Charles could be heard berating his ineffective cavalry. They made a final attempt to reverse the situation with a vigorous attack on the Saxon right. But the attack lost momentum after the Duke of Holstein was killed leading the guard cavalry in a desperate charge. The Swedes fell back to the center to protect the King. This battle was a victory for Saxony.
Building the Armies: Right now there aren't many 1/72 plastic soldiers available for this battle. Strelets has a line of figures that includes Swedes and Russians. Revell made some nice Seven Years War figures that could serve, but they are now difficult to find. You could use some current figure sets as substitutes. The Accurate/Imex/Revell British Infantry from the American Revolution could be used for the Musketeers and artillery crews. Here are some paper soldiers you can print and use. Infantry and cavalry are mounted two per base. Cavalry bases are 1.5" square, infantry bases are 3/4" x 1.5". Commanders are based singly on 3/4" x 1.5" bases.
The Map: The battle was played on a 5' x 7.5' table. The battlefield was marshy, but this doesn't have to be represented in any detail. You will need to model the stream, and the field works. The Saxon field works should not be extensive, enough to cover the front of three units and the cannons would be reasonable.
Deployment: Charles XII hoped to defeat the Saxon Army before the Poles could arrive. He led his men on a flanking march, shielded from the Saxons by what he thought was an uncrossable stream. Unfortunately for him the Poles had just arrived and were directly in the path of his march, and the Saxons crossed the stream. Fortunately for him the Poles routed without putting up much of a fight, and he was able to concentrate on defeating the Saxons. This scenario takes place stating at about 2 PM after the Polish army has routed off the battlefield. The armies should deploy as shown on the map. Units should be placed at least 18" away from enemy units, facing their nearest opponents.
Orders of Battle: The Polish Army has been omitted from this OB because they routed off the field soon after the fighting began.
Swedish Army (all units have 6 bases)
King Charles XII (Overall Commander)
Left Wing - Duke of Holstein
Center - Lt. Gen. von Liewen
Right Wing - Lt. Gen. Renschiold
Saxon Army (all units have 6 bases)
King of Poland & Saxony August (Overall Commander)
Left Wing - Maj. Gen. von
Center - Lt. Gen. von der
Right Wing - Maj. Gen. von
1. Saxons Move
2. Saxons Shoot
3. Swedes Move
4. Swedes Shoot
Formations: Infantry and cavalry should be deployed in a double rank line, three bases in the front rank and three in the second rank. Cannons and commanders are deployed as one base units.
Movement: Infantry can move and charge 6". Cavalry can move and charge 12". Units must move to the front, maximum allowed oblique is 45 degrees. A unit may change facing at a cost of 1/2 its move. Commanders may move 12". Cannons can not move, but they may pivot in place during movement and still fire. Units may not move within 1" of an enemy unit except when charging.
Shoot: Infantry, cannons, and Saxon cavalry can shoot (Swedish cavalry relied on the sword). Range is measured from the center of a unit to the nearest part of the target unit. Units may only fire to the front and may not fire through narrow gaps between friendly units. Roll one die per infantry or cavalry base or three dice per cannon. The chart indicates the number needed for a hit. Remove one base for each hit rolled by the firing unit. It takes three hits in the same turn to remove a cannon. Note that you only use the 1" firing column when shooting at a charging unit. If a unit is reduced to a single surviving base then the last base is immediately removed.
Charges: Both sides may charge during the charge phase. If it matters the Swedes charge first. Cavalry can charge 12", infantry can charge 6". Cannons do not charge. A unit may not declare a charge unless it can reach an enemy unit without changing facing or turning.. A player may measure to see if a unit is within charge range. One enemy unit must be chosen as the target of the charge. A unit that wishes to charge must first pass a morale check. If the unit fails morale nothing happens, it cannot charge this turn. If the unit passes its morale check then the target must pass a morale check. If the target fails it loses one base and immediately retreats 12" facing away from the enemy, the charging unit is moved into the position vacated by the retreating target unit. If artillery is the target and it fails morale it is eliminated. If the target passes the morale check it has the option of firing at the chargers or counter charging. Cavalry cannot fire at the chargers, they have the option of countercharging or standing in place to receive the charge. Infantry can not countercharge cavalry. If the unit counter charges the two units meet in the middle and fight a melee. If the target decides to fire at the chargers it does so at a range of 1". If the charging unit survives the fire it moves into contact with the target and they fight a melee.
Morale Checks: If a unit has to take a morale check Roll one die and add any modifiers. If the roll is less than or equal to the number of bases (plus a commander if one is present), then it has passed. If the role is greater then it fails. Cannons pass on a roll of four.
|Defending Field Works
Melee: If a charging unit contacts an enemy unit there will be a melee, unless the enemy is a cannon in which case the cannon is eliminated. Each side rolls a die and applies the modifiers. Highest modified roll wins. The loser removes a base and retreats 12" facing away from the enemy. If Swedish cavalry defeats Saxon infantry in melee the infantry loses two bases (Swedish infantry doesn't suffer the same fate at the hands of Saxon cavalry because the Swedish infantry units included pikemen).. If the roll is a tie each side removes a base and rolls again.
|More stands than opponent
|Hitting the flank or rear
|Commander leading charge
|Defending Field Works
Removing Casualties: When a unit is reduced to a single base this last base is automatically removed.
Commanders: A Commander may join or leave one of his units during movement. This unit gets a +1 bonus on all melee rolls and the officer counts as a base when testing morale. Every time a unit with an attached commander is completely eliminated by enemy fire (last base removed), or is engaged in a melee (win or lose) roll one die. If the roll is a 6 the commander is a casualty and is removed from play. This is the only way a commander can be eliminated.
Stream & Fieldworks: The stream had very marshy banks and was difficult to cross. However the Saxons used fascines to cross it, and the Swedes later used these crossings when they counterattacked. A unit wishing to cross the stream must end its movement in the stream, and may not charge that turn. On the following turn it may move normally. The fieldworks were not extensive, and were constructed on the spot during the battle. Place enough fieldworks to cover the frontage of three units and the four cannons. Units defending behind the fieldworks get a bonus to morale and melee rolls. They don't provide protection from shooting.