Basing, basing, basing! Part 1
I started to read about Bismarcks wars sometime ago starting with Wawro's treatise on the Franco-Prussian war. This work fascinated me, the era fascinated me and I started to read more and more about the era including Wawro's treatise on the Austro-Prussian war and Michael Howard's work on the Franco-Prussian War. I was hooked and highly recommend these books to anyone interested in military history. Reading about 19th century Europe post 1815 will also give the historian a much greater understanding of the events of the twentieth century, particularly the opening conflicts in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and fourteen.
So about 3 years ago, I picked up a load of Baccus 6mm FPW. These figures are amazingly detailed that paint up easily and naturally look good.
However, things are never as straight forward as just picking up nice figures. As I soon learnt.
Basing your figures and the decision therefore, how to base them exactly, and for which rule sets can be a real minefield. Painting the figures was not the problem. But basing them, we'll, I went through so many changes of heart I ended up all a'flummoxed and decided to put yet another war games project on the back burner.
However, my interest did not dwindle as it sometimes does when you put war games projects on the back burner.
My interest remained and even grew. So I bought various rule sets specifically for this era. These included Polemos FPW - a great little set which lends itself very favourably to house rules and focuses on the grand tactical with one base representing a battalion, regiment, or under strength brigade.
I also acquired a copy of They Died For Glory. A great set but I decided I wanted to focus on the grand tactical rather than multi-stand battalions and different formations at this level.
I then acquired the outstanding rule set by Bruce Weigle - 1870, published by Medieval Miscellanea and available in the UK through Caliver Books. I highly recommend this not only as a great set of grand tactical rules but equally as a reference works for the period. The information about the period contained in this rule set is fantastic. With details on all the weapons, tactics, chronology, scenarios (which can be played consecutively as a campaign!) and orbats for all sides. Fantastic! I have since bought the other rule books available by this author; 1866 and 1859. 1859 includes rules for 1864 also - even more fantastic!
Then I bought Volley & Bayonet, also through Caliver Books, a great set of grand tactical rules with big bases that represent a regiment/brigade. They are focused on the Napoleonic wars but with excellent suggestions for post-Napoleonic engagements.
The next sets was Zouve II. A fantastic set of grand tactical rules specifically for this era in the same way that the 1870 rules are by Bruce Weigle. The author, Bob Jones, of Piquet fame, has sold Piquet to Brent Oman and Bob Jones has gone onto evolve two new sets of revolutionary rules, The rules mentioned above, Zouave II, and Die Fighting. The second edition for Die Fighting is now being produced, in video format! And Die Marching is due to be released as the campaign rules to accompany Die Fighting.
However, returning to the topic of Zouave II, these rules are revolutionary in the way they remove the total control of the war games across every aspect of the entire battlefield. A situation that is still not possible for today's battlefield commanders. Zouave II has a unique, and I believe, excellent way to deal with the fog of a nineteenth century battlefield. Remember, one battle begun, Even Moltke could do little to influence the course of the battle and it's progression and evolution.
Often, Moltke struggled to control one or two of his more obstinate officers even whilst trying to outmanoeuvre the French in August 1870 and these rules reflect that cleverly and enjoyably.
So the final set I purchased is Field Of Battle 2nd Edition, Piquet 1700 - 1900 by the aforementioned Brent Oman.
This is an evolution of the Piquet system but is a complete, easy to use comprehensive stand alone rule set i.e. You don't need the Piquet master rules and then the subsequent add-on books according to period. These are also an intriguing set of rules. However, a battalion consist of four separate stands owing to the fact it has to cope with 200 years of warfare and the significant technological revolutions and therefore the significant evolution of tactics accordingly.
At last, a photo: