Napoleonic, WSS & ECW wargaming, with a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Sunday 24 September 2023

WSS: Battle of Oberglauheim - set up

 Over the next few days I am going to fight the battle of Oberglauheim. Today and tomorrow the intention is that I should use it as a scenario to work on my beta-test solo version of Corporal John. On Tuesday (if I'm spared) the plan is to engage an actual opponent via the wonders of Zoom. Exciting.

Enthusiasts will observe that this is very similar to Blenheim - not quite, but similar. I mean, you know I have to attempt this. It is specifically not Blenheim, to keep the I-Think-You'll-Find Brigade at arm's length. I have reduced the ground scale to about 2/3 and the numbers of units to 1/4. If it were Blenheim, the big blue section of the terrain would be a bend in the Danube.

Yes, I realise this is a log jam; my understanding is that this was a feature of the actual battle [of Oberglauheim, naturally], and I wish to see what happens. There will be more on this topic shortly.

Initial situation, seen from behind the Allied left flank

...from behind the Allied right...

...from behind the French left...

...and from behind the French right, with a bit of Danube and the village of Blindheim in the foreground

One of my favourite terrain features - please do not disturb the swans

Although they are the defending side, the French have a small advantage in numbers; they have also been busy digging some defences around the villages of Blindheim...

...and Oberglauheim [note that Anne Hathaway's cottage has been imported into Bavaria for the delight of the British troops]. Marshal Marsin is on the pale horse.
The French defensive position looks as though they will take some beating, but there are flaws - for a start, they have a big infantry reserve crammed in behind Blindheim - this will be tricky to bring into action

Lord Cutts ready with the big British infantry attack on the left flank

Here's a rare sighting of some blue-unformed Hessen-Kassel troops, in the Allied centre


  1. Surely that should be "Anne Hateinenweg's Hauschen" then? ☺

    Always a good move to transpose a battle to avoid the nitpicky "experts" - who of course have read every book on the subject. My defence is to casually ask " Oh! So you were there then? "
    It's one of the chief advantages of Imagi-Nation games, although it wouldn't surprise me to have someone say " but they were at Sittingbad.... " ☺

    Wargames traffic jams. Probably happens more in miniature than in real battles. Quite aside from the "edge of the world" effect , I think it's due to wargamers wanting (quite reasonably) to cram as much as possible on the table; "if it's painted I'm bl**dy well going to use it!"
    We have difficulties in reaching a finite size for our armies and there's always that other unit we want to add.....
    It may go some way to explaining points systems, although after realising there is only so much you can fit on a given sized table, I'm moving towards being more rational in building armies basing it around real OOB with maximum fit of units on limited table space.
    It always tickles me that the advantage of smaller scale figures is that table size is increased, but is nullified by filling every inch with extra figures! Micro scale wall-to-wall tank car parks come to mind.

    1. Good name - I like it.

      I could have added an extra section to the table, which would reduce the population density, but having studied more maps of B***heim than I would have believed existed, I really do think that the jam was real [as opposed to imitation marmalade]. In any case, the extended table is tricky for 2-camera Zoom presentations [the table itself is OK, but the reduced room space around it is definitely tricky].

      I used the Osprey book as my main guide, really. Despite myself, I had another look inside Charles Spencer's fanzine about his ancestor. The Wikipedia OOB is a godsend. Most of the older British books don't bother much with details of the soldiers of other nations.

      The "Corporal John" rules are based on "Tricorne", the AWI boardgame, and units become discouraged very quickly if things don't go well, so the overcrowding may be a temporary problem. If a unit is required to retreat, but is not able to, it takes hits instead; if required to retreat, whether or not it can carry it out, it also has to undertake a Rally Check, to see if they are prepared to return to work. Games change very quickly when the "wrong" units scarper.

  2. Looking forward to seeing how this plays out.

    1. I'll be doing bench-presses and eating a load of bananas beforehand. One thing I'm trying to avoid is spending too much time studying the real battle, or it becomes hard to think of any other approaches!

  3. You set a fine gaming spread, Tony! To me, this does look like a big battle for two. Who is your lucky opponent in this contest?

    1. I was worried about overdoing it, as I've laid on some horror shows in the past! Scaling a battle is not straightforward, I find. Using idiot maths, if I've used 2/3 of the ground scale, then the presented area is roughly half of the original, and I've used 1/4 of the troops. The frontages are about right - allowing for the distortion caused by the hexes, this looks very busy but seems about right.

      I'm aware that toy units are deeper than they strictly should be, but the recommended intervals between lines keep that fairly reasonable, and neither army had a deep tail at B***heim. The odd arrangement of cavalry in the front, infantry behind seems to accord with what was done in the centre (at least the Osprey interpretation), so I guess the real battle must have been like this.

      My opponent for Tuesday will be Mark, le Joyeux Vendeur de Balais - we haven't picked sides yet, but he is a formidable opponent, so I am sort of hoping he will be nursing a hangover after his birthday. If we need to take a break and continue later in the week, we potentially have this luxury - I just need to be sure that the staff clean up carefully between sessions [curtains closed, remove wine bottles carefully, no hoovering etc].

      If this period could produce massive deployment of troops, I guess the rules should be required to cope. The game is officially described as "morale based", so it will be necessary for a lot of the little men to run away to clear space. This looks to me like a game requiring two bottles of Lucozade.

  4. I think traffic jams were increasingly a feature as armies grew in size during the C18th, managing these were a key part of generalship. To some extent the Prussians failure at Jena was down to their inability to bring their forces to bear when required.
    Looking forward to hearing how the rules stand up to a big pounding match like this.

    1. Hi Rob - I'm beginning to appreciate that what you say looks to be spot-on. I checked and double-checked the numbers for what is laid out here, and it seems OK. I'm sure other critical bottlenecks will show up during the game, but that big reserve infantry force behind the French right flank looks like a clanger, and suggests that they didn't really know what to do with them.

      I read somewhere that Tallard didn't wish to fight here, but was talked into it by Marsin and the Elector. The joys of management by committee? Alternatively, maybe he was looking for a chance to be taken prisoner and go to live in Nottingham for a while?