Twilight of the Winter Queen: ToSK for the Thirty Years War and Lutzen Scenario

Andrew Coleby, co-author of Twilight of the Sun King, has come up with a variant for the Thirty Years War that he calls the ‘Twilight of the Winter Queen’. All words are Andrew’s.

The Winter Queen - Elizabeth Stuart - Queen of Bohemia
The Winter Queen – Elizabeth Stuart – Queen of Bohemia

Rule Adaptations for ‘Twilight of the Winter Queen’

Here are our TYW tweaks:

  • Starting with the Swedes, I found that the existing basing system for two element units works quite well for a Swedish brigade if deployed in a double line (one element with pike the other with musket). Commanded shot are all muskets and must deploy in a single line, relying on the accompanying horse for rear support.
  • For Lutzen, I followed the argument that the Imperialists did not use tercio formation on this occasion, so Imperial foot units were similar. For earlier TYW battles and later ones involving the Spanish, a tercio is represented by one fat element (40mm x 40mm) on which pike predominate and one thin one (40 x 20) of musketeers.
  • Troops not in tercio formation that wish to defend themselves against attack from horse must form into defensive square formation as an action. Foot not so deployed are threatened into a morale test by horse within 200 paces, who are in a position to charge them.
  • For horse we use the cavalry break off rule devised by Steven Thomas for ToSK version 1.1 Horse failing a morale test break off to their rear. To this we add a compulsory pursuit rule for horse whose enemy breaks off or breaks. Horse not wanting to purse a full move directly to their front must pass an action test in order to stand still (no irony intended). [Royalist horse in ECW have an automatic -1 on such throws.]
  • The only other change is artillery; following FOG-R, guns only unlimber once and thereafter only pivot in place. This does not apply to Swedish light guns but the latter’s range is limited to 300 paces.

Note from Steven: The Spanish did not use big Tercios in the Thirty Years War. The only Tercios of the period that were comparable in size to the Swedish Brigades were those of Tilly’s Catholic League. It is Tilly’s men that Andrew is probably referring to when he mentions Tercios in use “for earlier TWY battles”.

Lutzen Scenario (16 Nov 1632)

My son and I have just done Lutzen, according to our own adaption of the rules (‘Twilight of the Winter Queen’?) It worked pretty well.

Most details taken from a scenario on the internet.

Lutzen Order of Battle

  • Swedes
    • 6 Foot units
    • 6 horse units
    • 1 Field battery (on a 40 x 40 base)
    • 1 Light gun battery(on a 40 x 40 base).
  • Imperialists
    • 5 Foot units
    • 6 Horse units
    • 1 dragoon unit
    • 1 Field battery (on a 40 x 40 base)
    • Reinforcements (Turn 21)
      • 1 Foot unit
      • 2 Horse units

No effective firing after turn 15 (too dark); game begins 11 am historic time. Imperialists deploy first then the Swedes, who have first turn.

Note: My understanding is that Pappenheim arrived after dark historically. If the game lasts long enough, charges and close combat are still possible, although the darkness also brings a -1 on action throws, so the armies will blunder about a bit. Personally I was quite relieved we didn’t get into ‘extra time’ in this way; the armies that actually start on the table in this scenario are quite nicely balanced, to produce a close and exciting game.

Note from Steven: Pappenheim and his cavalry arrived fairly early, while his infantry arrived after dark, long after he has been killed. So need to adjust arrival of Pappenheim’s horse.

Lutzen Battle Report

The battle was over in little over three hours of historic time, with casualties heavy on both sides. It turned into a classic ‘revolving-door’ type action with the Imperialists doing well on their right (near Lutzen itself) and in the centre but the Swedes overwhelming the Imperial horse on the Swedish right and swinging round to threaten the Imperial centre – something they would have achieved more swiftly, had they not dissipated their early advantage with needless pursuits of bodies of broken Imperial horse. But ultimately it was the Imperial army that broke and fled.

The battle was over before Pappenheim’s reinforcements could intervene, so Pappenheim was not a casualty and neither was Gustavus, largely because he stayed with the same infantry brigade on the Swedish left rather than dashing up and down the line, rallying wavering brigades in the centre, several of which collapsed, leaving the Swedish line distinctly threadbare by the end.

Light guns and commanded shot on the Swedish side performed their historic roles admirably, although the latter were looking distinctly shaky by the end. Fortunately for them there were no Imperial horse left on their centre-right sector of the line to sweep them away.

One rule adaption that may be of interest relates to the heavier field artillery, following Field of Glory Renaissance: guns are only unlimbered once, at which point their limbers are removed from play. Thereafter guns can only be man-handled, pivoting up to 90 degrees as an ‘action’. Not surprisingly the Swedish gun line (deployed too near Lutzen) was over-run.

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