Home Forums Horse and Musket 18th Century GNW Swedish Pike to Musket Ratio

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    Avatar photoOB

    I’ve bitten the bullet on my GNW project and need some help with representing the Swedish infantry.

    The Pike was important for Swedish tactics and I want to get my units looking right.  I have three questions:

    Was there a set ratio of Pike to Musket?

    Were Grenadiers normally attached to their parent unit or brigaded together in Grenadier formations?

    My units will have 18 figures on three stands, 6 to a stand.  What would be the best ratio of Pike to Musket per stand?  The centre stand will have three or maybe 4 command figures, officers, colours, drummer on it.

    Thanks very much in advance for any advice.


    Avatar photocmnash

    I believe that 1 in 3 used the pike.  I briefly had a GNW project using the wonderful Baccus 6mm range and that was how I did them.

    A quick strike at google-fu led to this blogpost:


    which in turn references this wiki page:


    There was a website dedicated to the Great Northern Wars by Dan Schorr – can’t find it now, but if you (or another reader) can use the internet archive to find it, that would probably be a great help to you



    Avatar photoHwiccee

    Most Swedish units were supposed to have 2 muskets to 1 pike. But it is likely that the lower quality units, the garrison units and German units, were short of pikes or indeed had none. After 1709 there was a general shortage of pikes and so many units, even good ones, had less or none.

    Units had a small number of grenadiers but these usually looked just like the rest of the unit. They did have 2 permanent grenadier battalions but not at the same time. One was a battalion of the Life Guard and was lost in 1709. The other was raised latter in the war. Both would be all musket armed.

    Pikes were usually grouped together in a central block and had the pikes. So I would go with the colours and pikes in the central block and put the officers/musicians on 1 or 2 of the other stands with the muskets


    As said above,  1:3 was the norm.  So was having them in the center. (Though several other doctrines existed)

    The use of grenadiers varied for the regional regiments each company had a few grenadiers.  So they were spread out.  In the enlisted regiments (like the guards and those raised outside of Sweden and Finland)  had separate grenadier company.  But as also pointed out.  It doesn’t look like they used their mitre.


    Making a pike and shot formation with just 18 figures is really hard.

    Either you have to have a bigger number of soldiers (say 3 pike,  drummer,  2 standard bearers and an officer) in the central base. (So 7)

    And I then side bases with 6 musketeers each)

    This means 19 figures.

    But will be far from 1:3 pike ratio.

    I personally have 5 pikemen,  12 muskeers, 1 sergeant,  1 drummer,  1 officer and two standard bearers. For a total of 22.


    Avatar photoOB

    Thank you both very much.  I think I know how to do this now. Moving from Right to left I’ll have:

    Stand 1, 2 pike in the rear rank and one musket, front rank one officer, 1 drummer, 1 musket

    Stand2, 3 pike rear rank, 2 colours and 1 officer front rank

    Stand3, 2 pike, 1 musket rear rank, 2 musket 1 officer. Or perhaps just 3 musket.

    How does that sound?


    Avatar photoHwiccee

    Not what I would do but they are your figures. You do seem to have a lot of ‘command’ and few muskets. I make it 5 or 6 command, 7 pikes and 5 or 6 muskets.


    Avatar photoOB

    Fair point Hwiccee.  I got carried away there. Thanks for pointing it out.  I’ll reduce the pike in the rear rank flank stands by 1 per stand and ditch a command figure and see how that looks.


    Avatar photoOB

    Apologies Truls, we must have been typing at the same time so I missed your post before replying.  The bases I’m using are too small  to allow for extra figures so I’m down to tinkering with the ratios.  I might substitute a Sergeant for a pike figure.



    It’s funny how we wargamers approach things, isn’t it? On one hand, we want our units to look “right”, but on the other hand, we want them to look “good”.

    Think about it: an 18-figure unit representing a 600-man batallion is at a 1 to 33 ratio. So, for instance, one standard bearer represents 33 standard bearers — which is ridiculous. So we “say” he represents one or two actual standard bearers, and 31 rank and file musket-  or pikemen. If we really wanted our little men to reflect the majority types, our units would have no command figures at all. But to us, that wouldn’t look “good” or “right”.

    You should go with whatever looks right and good to you.

    I’m collecting Zvezda for GNW, and frankly, my units are going to be based on what comes in the box (yeah–I’m cheap ). That means a few pikes in the back of the command stand, and a whole lot of musketeers. I’m not about to convert more pikes!*

    But not to worry — I’ll “say” there are more pikes than are “shown”. That solves the problem — for me, at any rate. YMMV.

    *Of course, I will probably want to convert some standard bearers — not enough in the boxes, IIRC, and a unit just doesn’t look right without one, now does it?

    Hobgoblin of little minds, and all that.


    When it doubt, too few pikes is better than too many.

    In a pinch 3 pikes on the central command base will do.

    This unit was made for random leftovers. So I used unhistroic grenaiders in mitre, and only 3 pikes.


    While this is my standard configuration


    While this is an experimental thing, were I’ll try and model the formations used at Fraustad(6 rank formation with all the pikes spread out along the front in the 3rd rank)


    Avatar photoMike

    Not a period I play. But there is something very satisfying about a shed load of pikes on the table top.


    There you go — “too many” standards. And they look good.

    I take that back — they look great!

    Where are those standards from, Truls, BTW?




    Warfare miniature.  You can simply send a mail and they can resize them for you (  I know people have had them done in both 15 mm and 10mm)


    I’ll have to take a look at them. Thanks.

    Avatar photoOB

    All good stuff and appreciated here lads.

    I can of course declare there are more pikes than shown as Hafen says ‘cos I’ll be using BLB rules (same crowd as produced the flags) and they do cater for that.

    I do want to capture a certain active, pike(y) look like Truls has in the units above and all this is helping me do it. Said units will also provide me with a painting guide.

    My first unit of Russians is nearly done so I’ll be posting a pic.


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