I was just reading Michael Fredholm von Essen’s latest book on the Swedish army of the Thirty Years War (Von Essen, 2000), and it seems the Swedes sometimes had unmounted cavalrymen. Not dismounted, unmounted, i.e. they were horsemen without horses. Naturally I started pondering how to simulate these men in Tilly’s Very Bad Day.
Torstensson’s unmounted cavalrymen
In 1641, when Lennart Torstensson was promoted Field Marshal and become commander-in-chief of the Swedish forces in Germany, he brought reinforcements with him from Sweden (Von Essen, 2000). The replacements included “3,000 horse, although mostly without horse, and 5,000 foot” (p. 87). In April 1642 Torstensson invaded Saxony with 5,000 horse, 3,000 unmounted cavalrymen, and 7,000 foot. After receiving reinforcements he had 7,000 horse, 3,000 unmounted cavalrymen, and 10,000 foot in May. He had this army when he defeated a Saxon army under Francis Albert of Saxe-Lauenburg at Schwednitz in Silesia. By Second Breitenfeld (2 November 1642) all the cavalrymen had mounts.
Unmounted cavalrymen in Tilly’s Very Bad Day
The Swedes had unmounted cavalrymen at at least one field battle. If nothing else I need a scenario special rule to use for Second Breitenfeld. What happens in Tilly’s Very Bad Day when Horse lack the horses?
Swedish cavalrymen had a sword and pistols. Generally they wore little or no metal armour and by 1642, a buff coat would be considered being well armoured. Tilly’s Very Bad Day already has a troop type for men on foot with firearms; it is called Shot. The the cavalrymen only had pistols and they were not trained to fight to maximise their firepower when fighting on foot. So I’m inclined to penalise the unmounted cavalry men compared to normal Shot using muskets.
On balance, I think count ummounted cavalrymen as Shot but Range = 2 TUM. All other characteristics of Shot apply: unit size as Shot (1-2,000 men per unit), starting resolve (4), movement (3 TUM), shooting to hit (6), and cover in difficult (-1d6).
Unmounted cavalrymen was not a common occurence in open field battles so I think this is merely a scenario specific rule. I am not inclined to include it in a future version of the main rules.
Slight detour on dates
Okay, a slight detour. Von Essen gives the date of Second Breitenfeld as 2 November 1642 but Wikipedia: Battle of Breitenfeld (1642) says 23 October 1642. It appears Von Essen is giving the modern/Catholic Gregorian date and Wikipedia is giving the same date using the older/Protestant Julian calendar. Seems a bit odd of Wikipedia to use an dating system that is no longer used.
Von Essen, M. F. (2000). The Lion from the North – The Swedish Army during the Thirty Years War: Volume 2, 1632-1648 [Century of the Soldier 1618-1721 No. 59]. Helion & Company.