Home › Forums › Horse and Musket › General Horse and Musket › Gaming the Slesvig Wars. Data, info and discussion.
- This topic has 15 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 1 month, 2 weeks ago by vtsaogames.
27/03/2023 at 16:45 #184500
A particular passion of mine is the two Slesvig Wars of 1848-50 (the “three year war” in Danish) and 1864. I find the whole mid/late 19th century fascinating and I think it is a very neat side period to game, though it is plagued a bit by having relatively few figure ranges available (shout out to Pendraken for having some great 10mm options).
I thought I’d start a thread on the topic. I have compiled a big library of various Danish resources including the closest things to official histories, tons of collections of diaries, letters and so on, so I thought I would share them in this thread as I (slowly) read through it.
You are all welcome to pitch in as well, ask questions or contribute games you did play.
To kick things off, the Danish army organization as of the 1842 army law (which reorganized away from the structure the army had roughly had since the Napoleonic wars) focusing on the infantry today:
The regiment was abolished. Instead the army would consist of 17 battalions of infantry, all numbered with each battalion having 200 men. Each company would be trained in a like fashion with no more distinction between companies. In particular, all infantry was to be trained in light infantry tactics.
Debates had been ongoing about whether the Jæger (light infantry) would be retained or not. In the end 5 Korps of Jæger were kept (each corresponding to a battalion) with the intent being that the Jæger units would be the destination for the brightest and most energetic recruits.
In the field, the line infantry would be armed with percussion muskets while the Jæger were mainly armed with Napoleonic-style rifles. Both would receive small (but increasing) numbers of the “tap riffel” (an expanding bullet rifle musket similar in concept to the minie but operating on a different mechanical principle. I believe they are sometimes called pillar-breech rifles in English)
During the war, 4 battalions went over to the rebels. More troops would be raised of course. The pre-war system was to have furnished a sizable military reserve of manpower but this was found to be largely non-existent. The war would see the introduction of “general defensive duty” as a legal concept in Denmark, forming the precursor to modern conscription. Similar laws had existed previously but with far more exceptions and heavily emphasizing the rural population as a source of recruits.
Additionally some battalions were designated for “let tjeneste” (light service) and given Jæger uniforms.
In terms of uniforms, the Danes wore red jackets with a shako, but were transitioning to a dark blue jacket and cap during the conflict. Some units may have received their caps before they received the jackets meaning that you can have Danes in red and shako, blue and cap or red and cap.
Jæger wore the typical green light infantry uniforms of the period with a distinct cap.
Anecdotally some officers received the blue jackets before their men, though it seems that the attentions of German sharpshooters made this an unpopular option.27/03/2023 at 16:48 #184501
And to answer two questions in advance:
“Why Slesvig and not Schleswig?”
I’m Danish, that’s how we spell it 🙂
“What rules are good for the three years war?”
Anything that gives you a good game with relatively low level units. The fighting has a heavy light infantry aspect and often you are only looking at a couple of battalions. Rich environment for skirmish actions as well. I am kicking around doing a bespoke rules set for the conflict but I am not sure of the details yet.28/03/2023 at 04:50 #184526Konstantinos TravlosParticipant
Ivan have you read Nick Svendsen’s book? I found it very good and full of a lot of detail. Probably will produce a LJdPB scenario or two from it. There is an Isted scenario for BBB28/03/2023 at 09:45 #184531OotKustParticipant
thanks Ivan, this is very interesting. I’m 25% Danish I think… my GGParents were both Danes, he an international sailor (Olsen), married in the Cathedral at Copenhagen, and they migrated to NZ back when.. 1870s at latest.
With my interest and knowledge of Napoleonic times, I know nothing about my ancestors and why they left Denmark for a foreign land and had 16 children, here in New Zraland.
BTW I have a good buddy who is also a Sorenson, not an uncommon name out here in the Antipodes… cheers dave28/03/2023 at 15:51 #184539
Cheers folks. Danes get around. I think the big waves of people leaving was prior to your people but we’ve always wanted to travel and explore. Part of being a tiny country I suspect.
@Travlos – I do own that and its a great little read. His background is in geology I believe which really tells in the opening sections where it talks about the soil and how it must have affected campaigning.
Unfortunately there’s not much available in English but Im hoping to be able to shed a bit more light on things.28/03/2023 at 20:20 #184542OotKustParticipant
>>During the war, 4 battalions went over to the rebels.
And who were the rebels??
Clearly I know nothing…
The family connections started in Coberg earlier in the Century, so even as ‘Danes’ they started as ‘Germans’ of some kind.
You want to know an irony I only discovered years after my parents had died? In WWII (North Africa/ Italy) my father (Brit/ Irish ancestry) must have been fighting my mothers cousins… (these others…) …!
dave01/04/2023 at 17:03 #184650
(this is copied from something I was writing up for later use, so its a little rough on formatting)
The standard Danish infantry weapon was the M1828 musket. This is a smoothbore musket using percussion caps. It was assumed to be effective to about 200 alen (an old danish measurement roughly equal to 2 feet so 100 alen is about 60 meters), of moderate accuracy and like all muzzle loaders it was prone to slower reloading as the weapon became more fouled up by repeated firing. In rapid fire tests, the weapon could deliver 30 shots in about 17 minutes.
In accuracy tests the weapon was expected to score 80% hits at 100 alen, 30% at 300 and 5% at 400 alen.
Rendekugler (buck shot) were available though it is uncertain how widely they were issued. They were assumed effective at 100 alen versus single targets and 200 alen against a chain or line. They are only usable with smoothbore weapons.
Jæger infantry would primarily be armed with the M1831 “rifle musket”. This is a Napoleonic-era type rifle with the ball fitting fairly tightly into the barrel.
It was somewhat more accurate than the smoothbore weapon but the effectiveness still drops off at range. It was expected to be effective out to 250 alen.
Of note, these rifles are slow to reload but sustained fire tests of 20 repeated shots showed that their effective rate of fire was equal to the smoothbore, possibly due to the rifle grooves absorbing some of the fouling and slag.
The tapriffel was a newly introduced weapon, using a rod or pillar at the bottom of the breech to expand the bullet when it was rammed down. This allows faster loading as the bullet can be smaller than the barrel width though the sustained fire rate was slightly slower than the other weapons (30 shots in 18 and a half minutes). This weapon was found in testing to be extremely accurate, achieving hit rates of 80% out to 400 alen and still exceeding 50% at 600 alen. Effective range was set to 300 alen however.
Tests also showed that the weapon showed little slowdown from fouling during sustained fire.
The intended issue was 200 tap rifles and 840 smooth bores for infantry battalions, while Jæger should have 200 tap rifles, 600 rifles and 240 smoothbores. It is unlikely all units had received their compliments of the new weapons when the war broke out.14/04/2023 at 16:29 #185159
>>… And who were the rebels?? Clearly I know nothing… dave
It's never too late to have a happy childhood14/04/2023 at 16:37 #185160
…The intended issue was 200 tap rifles and 840 smooth bores for infantry battalions, while Jæger should have 200 tap rifles, 600 rifles and 240 smoothbores. .
Earlier there was a statement that battalions would have 200 troops each, yet here we see 1,040 weapons per battalion. You see the source of my confusion…
AARs, two versions of the 1864 Battle of Oeversee first game, second game.
Warning, I don’t have any actual Danish troops. Have smelling salts at the ready.
It's never too late to have a happy childhood14/04/2023 at 16:39 #185161
Thats because I am a dork and can’t type. The company is 200 men (though some other sources give 250), not the battalion.14/04/2023 at 16:46 #185162
Ah, so 5 companies per battalion seems right. I am tempted to purchase just enough 15mm Danish infantry from QRF to play Oeversee with the right troops. But no more, I tell you.
The easiest way to find typos is to publish.
It's never too late to have a happy childhood14/04/2023 at 16:52 #185164
I see Nick Svendsen’s book is available on Kindle for $5. Kindle doesn’t do maps well. If the maps aren’t wondeful, then $5 sounds good. What say you gents who own the book? How are the maps?
Also, my NYC apartment is almost out of book shelf space, between my history books and my wife’s art books. She reads actual literature too. Amazing.
It's never too late to have a happy childhood14/04/2023 at 17:01 #185167
You can get away with ACW Union lads for the Danes for 1864. Most period drawings and paintings show them in great coats. You might even be able to use FPW French if you aren’t too fussy.
For 1864, the battalions were expanded to regiments of 8 companies, all armed and equipped uniformly.
I absolutely cannot find my copy of Svendsens book right now. I recall the maps being okay but not too special.15/04/2023 at 06:39 #185174Konstantinos TravlosParticipant
I have it on Kindle. They are adequate15/04/2023 at 13:47 #185197
You can get away with ACW Union lads for the Danes for 1864. Most period drawings and paintings show them in great coats. You might even be able to use FPW French if you aren’t too fussy. For 1864, the battalions were expanded to regiments of 8 companies, all armed and equipped uniformly. I absolutely cannot find my copy of Svendsens book right now. I recall the maps being okay but not too special.
I used 15mm Battle Honours firing line pose in my first Oeversee game rather than my greatcoated figures because they are not nearly as nice as the firing line. Methinks Anthony Barton did the firing line and someone else did the greatcoats. For the second game I used FPW French Naval infantry. Wrong uniforms but the white snow bases looked good on the snow table.
Thank you Konstantinos, guess I know what my next reading will be.
It's never too late to have a happy childhood19/04/2023 at 13:24 #185307
I’ve purchased the Kindle edition and have begun reading it. Perhaps a scenario or two lurks in the future. Convenient that both sides have similar battalion organizations.
It's never too late to have a happy childhood
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.