Sunday 22 October 2023

Russian vs Swedes 1808

We played a small Russo-Swedish War game today, primarily to get both armies on the table to see how they performed. The scenario bore little resemblance to the real war, the main reason being the amount of cavalry from both sides on the table and the overall size of both armies, but I wasn’t going to leave anything off the table for the first outing. Conrad and I were the Swedes while John and Jim were the Russians. Paul umpired as we were using his rules.

It was a simple encounter battle of sorts set somewhere in Karelia. No finesse was required and both armies had to achieve victory by driving off the enemy and/or holding more objectives than the other. The Swedes deployed in a long line with their cavalry on the right and the better of the three infantry brigades on the left.

As usual it seems that Blogger has decided to randomly re-order my photos, so although I’ve made an attempt to put them back in sequence I can’t guarantee it so just enjoy them for what they are.

The armies facing each other. Unusually for me the table isn’t loaded down with masses of figures. The Russians had two strong infantry brigades and a cavalry brigade, all supported by two batteries of artillery, representing 24 guns in total. The Swedes (Finns) were able to field a brigade of cavalry and three of infantry, one of the latter being composed largely of jäger. They had three artillery batteries, all light guns, representing 12 cannon.
I had just finished this 3d printed ruined castle keep so it found itself on the table representing perhaps the ruins of a Teutonic Order castle from several hundred years before. Basically any excuse to get it on the table.

The Swedish centre held by the Bjornborg and Helsinge regiments.

Conrad commanded our left and quickly ordered his jäger forwards to harass the enemy, which they did very well as the Russians were unable to get over the fences (and stay over them) for the entire engagement. The Savolax infantry regiment can be seen supporting their jäger, but they were never needed.

Jim’s brigade struggled to get moving and became bogged down by the harassing fore of the Finnish jäger and the safety of the fences. Their artillery was unable to get into action as the gunners and gun teams were unsportingly shot down by the jäger as they tried to deploy.

Jim’s attack as seen from the Swedish side.

Meanwhile, John took his infantry and cavalry across the river. Again, this was a slow process.

I thought it would be a good idea to try and catch the Russian cavalry as they crossed the stream but the Nolan’s Dragoons were halted as they advanced by Russian artillery. The Karelian Dragoons were more successful and actually pushed two squadrons of Russian cuirassiers back,  for a little while at least.

The left flank again. Nothing much happening.

However, John’s brigade was over the river and advancing on the thinly held Swedish centre.

After a brief scare when their cuirassiers were driven back the Russian cavalry rallied and the Swedish cavalry brigade had to retreat, all the time under fire from Russian horse artillery across the stream.

John tried several times to advance against our centre but each time his troops were driven back. 

We had to call it a day at this point. The Russians claimed a victory but they had not beaten the Swedes; even our cavalry had recovered. On reflection and with the energy of being biased I think the official report will say that we held the Russian invaders up, caused heavy losses on their troops and then made a strategic withdrawal to fight them again as they continued their invasion. The poor commander of my cavalry had been shot down by a cannon ball early in the engagement but he may return, possibly minus an arm. 

This was an enjoyable game and made more so by the banter and suchlike, and seeing my new collection on the table for the first time was very rewarding. Jim and John (sounds like the title of a Francois Truffaut film) did as well as they could after not deploying their troops as effectively as they might have and for keeping their collective cool when their infantry ambled forward slowly. I have another dozen or so Russian battalions to complete (to start in most cases!) but these should be done by Christmas, together with more cavalry including hussars and Cossacks. The Swedes are just about done, although I have the figures for some grenadiers and more light infantry which while not needed will no doubt see their day on the painting desk.

I need to sow the seed for a big Russian vs French game although as I currently have very few of the latter will have to rely on the others to contribute.


  1. Terrific looking game Colin and a fascinating period too.
    Alan Tradgardland

  2. A splendid and stiring encounter. I like the ruined castle piece.

  3. Good to see your report, the growing collection and the new castle ruin.

  4. Terrific looking game. Great to someone play the campaign neglected by many.