Polish-Lithuanian Orders of Battle Converted to Tilly’s Very Bad Day

I just bumped into Jasinski’s Examples of the composition of the Polish Army in the 17th Century. Perfect for getting a rough idea of what a Polish-Lithuanian army list might be for Tilly’s Very Bad Day. I converted each of Jasinski’s orders of battle to Tilly’s Very Bad Day using different nominal unit sizes. Then I combined those for a small game so there was a range for each troop type. That gave me a single army list with a range of options.


Polish-Lithuanian Army List for a Small Game

So this is what it looks like, the draft army list for the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth if you want to play a small game of Tilly’s Very Bad Day.

Draft Polish-Lithuanian Army List for a Small Game

  • 2-6 x Horse Superior (Hussars)
  • 1-2 x Horse Ordinary (Cossack)
  • 1-2 x Light Horse Ordinary (Cossack)
  • 0-1 x Horse Ordinary (Western cavalry)
  • 0-2 x Dragoons Ordinary
  • 1-5 x Pike+Shot Ordinary (Western infantry)
  • 1-2 x Shot Ordinary (Polish-Hungarian)
  • 1-4 x Shot Ordinary (Zaporozhian Cossacks)
  • Minimum: 7
  • Maximum: 24

Tilly’s Very Bad Day has three game sizes. You can use the same army list for all three:

  • A Small Game will have about 10-18 units a side on a small table. Army list as above.
  • A Big Game will have about 19-40 units a side on a big table. Double minimum and maximum values.
  • A Giant Game will have about 40-60 units a side on a giant table. Triple minimum and maximum values.

Now it has to be said there are problems with this list:

  • I had to guess the proportion of Cossack cavalry that were Horse versus Light Horse; I assumed 50% of each
  • No mention of pancerni, who were medium cavalry of the 16th to 18th century; according to Wikipedia: Towarzysz pancerny, “These units were the second-most-important (and successful) cavalry in the Polish-Lithuanian army, after the hussars.”
  • No mention of the noble levy
  • No mention of the Lithuanian petyhortsy
  • No mention of Wallachians or Lithuanian Tatars, both of whom were light cavalry
  • No mention of war wagons: the Polish tabor was famous and distinctive
  • No Commanders, which are mandatory in Tilly’s Very Bad Day, but you can probably figure out what you need to do there
  • No Cannon units, and they certainly used artillery
  • And I’m still not sure about the Hussars – are they Horse Superior or something else?

So you can expect an update to this army list.


1609, Muscovy

Jasinski gives the composition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth Army as:

5,556 hussars, 1,670 Cossack cavalry, 4,700 infantry (including a regiment of 1,500 western mercenaries), 700 Hungarians, 500 wybraniecka infantry, 400 guard, the rest were mostly Polish mercenaries with some private units) and 5,000 Zaporozhian Cossacks (presumably infantry).

1609, Muscovy – Big Game

Nominal unit size: 1000 for Pike+Shot, Shot and Rabble; 500 for Horse, Light Horse and Dragoons; 8 guns for Cannon.

11 x Horse Superior (Hussars)
1 x Horse Ordinary (Cossack)
2 x Light Horse Ordinary (Cossack)
1 x Pike+Shot Ordinary (Western Mercenary)
1 x Shot Ordinary (Polish Guard)
1 x Shot Ordinary (Polish)
1 x Shot Ordinary (Hungarian)
1 x Rabble (Wybraniecka conscripts)
5 x Shot Ordinary (Zaporozhian Cossacks)

24 Units

1609, Muscovy – Small Game

Nominal unit size: 2000 for Pike+Shot, Shot and Rabble; 1000 for Horse, Light Horse and Dragoons; 16 guns for Cannon.

6 x Horse Superior (Hussars)
1 x Horse Ordinary (Cossack)
1 x Light Horse Ordinary (Cossack)
1 x Pike+Shot Ordinary (Western Mercenary)
2 x Shot Ordinary (Polish-Hungarian)
2 x Shot Ordinary (Zaporozhian Cossacks)

14 Units


1621, Vs Turks

Jasinski gives the composition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth Army as:

8,280 hussars, 8,200 Cossack cavalry, 1,400 Lisowski cavalry (Cossack light horse), 2,160 western cavalry, 6,800 Polish infantry, 5,800 western infantry, 800 Hungarian infantry and 20-30,000 Zaporozhian Cossacks (presumably infantry).

1621, Vs Turks – Bigger than giant game

Nominal unit size: 1000 for Pike+Shot, Shot and Rabble; 500 for Horse, Light Horse and Dragoons; 8 guns for Cannon.

16 x Horse Superior (Hussars)
8 x Horse Ordinary (Cossack)
8 x Light Horse Ordinary (Cossack)
3 x Light Horse Ordinary (Cossack; Lisowski Regiment)
4 x Horse Ordinary (Western cavalry)
6 x Pike+Shot Ordinary (Western infantry)
6 x Shot Ordinary (Polish)
1 x Shot Ordinary (Hungarian)
24 x Shot Ordinary (Zaporozhian Cossacks)

76 Units

1621, Vs Turks – Giant Game

Nominal unit size: 1500 for Pike+Shot, Shot and Rabble; 750 for Horse, Light Horse and Dragoons; 12 guns for Cannon.

11 x Horse Superior (Hussars)
5 x Horse Ordinary (Cossack)
5 x Light Horse Ordinary (Cossack)
2 x Light Horse Ordinary (Cossack; Lisowski Regiment)
3 x Horse Ordinary (Western cavalry)
4 x Pike+Shot Ordinary (Western infantry)
4 x Shot Ordinary (Polish)
1 x Shot Ordinary (Hungarian)
16 x Shot Ordinary (Zaporozhian Cossacks)

51 Units

1621, Vs Turks – Big Game

Nominal unit size: 3000 for Pike+Shot, Shot and Rabble; 1500 for Horse, Light Horse and Dragoons; 24 guns for Cannon.

5 x Horse Superior (Hussars)
3 x Horse Ordinary (Cossack)
3 x Light Horse Ordinary (Cossack)
1 x Light Horse Ordinary (Cossack; Lisowski Regiment)
2 x Horse Ordinary (Western cavalry)
2 x Pike+Shot Ordinary (Western infantry)
2 x Shot Ordinary (Polish-Hungarian)
8 x Shot Ordinary (Zaporozhian Cossacks)

24 Units

1621, Vs Turks – Small Game

Nominal unit size: 6000 for Pike+Shot, Shot and Rabble; 3000 for Horse, Light Horse and Dragoons; 48 guns for Cannon.

3 x Horse Superior (Hussars)
2 x Horse Ordinary (Cossack)
2 x Light Horse Ordinary (Cossack)
1 x Horse Ordinary (Western cavalry)
1 x Pike+Shot Ordinary (Western infantry)
1 x Shot Ordinary (Polish-Hungarian)
4 x Shot Ordinary (Zaporozhian Cossacks)

12 Units


1627, Vs Swedes

Jasinski gives the composition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth Army as:

2,150 hussars, 3,290 Cossack cavalry, 2,515 western infantry, 1,620 Polish infantry, 1,265 dragoons and 2,000 Zaporozhian Cossacks (presumably infantry).

1627, Vs Swedes – Big Game

Nominal unit size: 1000 for Pike+Shot, Shot and Rabble; 500 for Horse, Light Horse and Dragoons; 8 guns for Cannon.

4 x Horse Superior (Hussars)
4 x Horse Ordinary (Cossack)
3 x Light Horse Ordinary (Cossack)
3 x Dragoons Ordinary
2 x Pike+Shot Ordinary (Western infantry)
2 x Shot Ordinary (Polish)
2 x Shot Ordinary (Zaporozhian Cossacks)

22 Units

1627, Vs Swedes – Small Game

Nominal unit size: 1500 for Pike+Shot, Shot and Rabble; 750 for Horse, Light Horse and Dragoons; 12 guns for Cannon.

3 x Horse Superior (Hussars)
2 x Horse Ordinary (Cossack)
2 x Light Horse Ordinary (Cossack)
2 x Dragoons Ordinary
2 x Pike+Shot Ordinary (Western infantry)
1 x Shot Ordinary (Polish)
1 x Shot Ordinary (Zaporozhian Cossacks)

13 Units


1633, Muscovy

Jasinski gives the composition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth Army as:

3,120 hussars, 4,260 Cossack cavalry, 1,700 western cavalry, 10,500 western infantry, 1,040 dragoons, 2,200 Polish infantry and a few thousand Zaporozhian infantry.

1633, Muscovy – Big Game

Nominal unit size: 1000 for Pike+Shot, Shot and Rabble; 500 for Horse, Light Horse and Dragoons; 8 guns for Cannon.

6 x Horse Superior (Hussars)
4 x Horse Ordinary (Cossack)
4 x Light Horse Ordinary (Cossack)
4 x Horse Ordinary (Western cavalry)
2 x Dragoons Ordinary
11 x Pike+Shot Ordinary (Western infantry)
2 x Shot Ordinary (Polish)
5 x Shot Ordinary (Zaporozhian Cossacks)

28 Units

1633, Muscovy – Small Game

Nominal unit size: 2000 for Pike+Shot, Shot and Rabble; 1000 for Horse, Light Horse and Dragoons; 16 guns for Cannon.

2 x Horse Superior (Hussars)
1 x Horse Ordinary (Cossack)
1 x Light Horse Ordinary (Cossack)
1 x Horse Ordinary (Western cavalry)
1 x Dragoons Ordinary
5 x Pike+Shot Ordinary (Western infantry)
1 x Shot Ordinary (Polish)
2 x Shot Ordinary (Zaporozhian Cossacks)

14 Units


1634, Vs Turks

Jasinski gives the composition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth Army as:

12,180 cavalry (including 4,180 hussars), 7,500 Polish infantry (large number of private troops), 5,500 western infantry, 3,460 dragoons and 16,000 Zaporozhian Cossacks.

1634, Vs Turks – Giant Game

Nominal unit size: 1000 for Pike+Shot, Shot and Rabble; 500 for Horse, Light Horse and Dragoons; 8 guns for Cannon.

8 x Horse Superior (Hussars)
8 x Horse Ordinary (Cossack)
8 x Light Horse Ordinary (Cossack)
7 x Dragoons Ordinary
6 x Pike+Shot Ordinary (Western infantry)
8 x Shot Ordinary (Polish)
16 x Shot Ordinary (Zaporozhian Cossacks)

61 Units

1634, Vs Turks – Big Game – Variant 1

Nominal unit size: 2000 for Pike+Shot, Shot and Rabble; 1000 for Horse, Light Horse and Dragoons; 16 guns for Cannon.

4 x Horse Superior (Hussars)
4 x Horse Ordinary (Cossack)
4 x Light Horse Ordinary (Cossack)
3 x Dragoons Ordinary
3 x Pike+Shot Ordinary (Western infantry)
4 x Shot Ordinary (Polish)
8 x Shot Ordinary (Zaporozhian Cossacks)

30 Units

1634, Vs Turks – Big Game – Variant 2

Nominal unit size: 3000 for Pike+Shot, Shot and Rabble; 1500 for Horse, Light Horse and Dragoons; 24 guns for Cannon.

3 x Horse Superior (Hussars)
3 x Horse Ordinary (Cossack)
3 x Light Horse Ordinary (Cossack)
2 x Dragoons Ordinary
2 x Pike+Shot Ordinary (Western infantry)
3 x Shot Ordinary (Polish)
5 x Shot Ordinary (Zaporozhian Cossacks)

21 Units

1634, Vs Turks – Small Game

Nominal unit size: 4000 for Pike+Shot, Shot and Rabble; 2000 for Horse, Light Horse and Dragoons; 32 guns for Cannon.

2 x Horse Superior (Hussars)
2 x Horse Ordinary (Cossack)
2 x Light Horse Ordinary (Cossack)
2 x Dragoons Ordinary
1 x Pike+Shot Ordinary (Western infantry)
2 x Shot Ordinary (Polish)
4 x Shot Ordinary (Zaporozhian Cossacks)

15 Units


References

Jasinski: Polish Renaissance Warfare – Examples of the composition of the Polish Army

6 comments to Polish-Lithuanian Orders of Battle Converted to Tilly’s Very Bad Day

  • Petr

    Looking good!

    Lots of shot there, that would be very interesting to see in the game.

    I have to say I was expecting more light horse. Having 50 % of Cossack cavalry as Horse seems a bit odd when western cuirassiers fall into this bracket too. Would 500 cuirassiers equal 500 cossacks and would they fight in the same way?

    About the hussars – 6 superior horse as maximum for a small game is a lot and it could very well ilustrate their devastating impact on battle (although the minimum-maximum numbers here are result of their actual numbers in historical cases). But it still doesn’t feel right. Maybe making the hussars automatically cancel enemy charges? Or giving them better chance to hit enemy (3-6 instead of 4-6, although having one more resolve is already a big boost)?

    Anyway, looking forward to see future development. Keep it up!

    • Steven Thomas

      Yup. Lots of shot, depending on the period. Mostly they were used to defend the tabor / fortifications / artillery.

      From what I can tell the Poles lumped the Foreign cavalry (including Cuirassiers, Arquebusiers, Rajtar) into the same category of cavalry as the armoured cossacks (pancerni). I see no reason to do anything different, particularly since it suits my existing categories.

      Hussars are, of course, different. I’m also not content with hussars as superior horse. Which I mention in the post. Thanks for the suggestions.

    • Steven Thomas

      About splitting the Cossack cavalry 50/50 into armoured cavalry and light cavalry … That was just a guess. Further reading tells me that the proportions varied all through the century. At the start of the century at most 15% of the cavalry were cossack, and we don’t know the split between armoured/light cossacks. But whatever it was, that doesn’t leave many light cavalry. Mid century a “large proportion” were light cavalry. This was seen as too many and in the last quarter of the century there were 3 times as many armoured cossacks (now called pancerni) as light cavalry.

  • Looks good.
    I wouldn’t worry too much abut the noble levy, as it was famously useless. Commonwealth nobility was characterised by an inability to do what they were told or was in the collective interest.
    For the Pancerni I think the split between them and Husaria is a social class one rather than armament or role. They might have been slightly lighter cavalry but not by an important amount. It’s also worth noting that their proportion increases as the Husaria decreases, whilst the amount of cavalry stays the same. I read it as a social distinction more than a military one.
    The Petyhorcy are the Lithuanian equivalent of the Pancerni. Different because of their nationality, not military role or equipment.
    There’s more info here https://yori-hobby.blogspot.com/ which is bi-lingual and by a guy who heelped make a Polish wargame of the era.
    This site has some great info, https://kadrinazi.blogspot.com but is basically only in Polish. The google translate isn’t great as it struggles with military terminology (especially plural words). The general read is that nobody is quite sure what any troops were in any time and place, and that things slowly changed. There are references to Petyhorcy being armed like Husaria and to being like cossacks!

    • Steven Thomas

      Thanks for your comments Sam.

      Agreed on the noble levy.

      I disagree on pancerni cossacks versus hussars. The pancerni cossacks (and petyhorcy) could both skirmish and melee. The hussars were charging cavalry and did not skirmish. Their purpose was different.

      I don’t think the difference was class / social distinction. Both the hussars and pancerni had similar types of men. They could be wealthy or poor or noble or non-noble. Okay, probably more rich guys were hussars and more commoners were pancerni.

      Back rank hussars would be wearing a uniform, without armour, and were paid by a wealthier guy so basically a retainer. But it was still better to be a poor hussar than a pancerni. So I agree the hussars were at the top of the hierarchy. This was a prestige thing. But I don’t think that explains the difference between the types.

    • Steven Thomas

      And thanks for the links. I’ll follow them up.

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