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"SYW-Prussian & Austrian Armies [WRG-1750-1850]" Topic

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Yogah of Yag04 Nov 2007 8:44 a.m. PST

Greetings, all! I'm new to wargaming in general and in the early stages of researching the battles of Frederick the Great (1st and 2nd Silesian Wars; Seven Years' War), and am trying hard to employ my rudimentary WRG (1750-1850) rules to the aforementioned engagements. (I've lately heard of 'Might & Reason' but know nothing as to its quality and/or suitability.)

Would any members be able/willing to inform me, a humble novice, as to the various divisions of both the Prussian Army and that of the Austrians with regard to how many troops made up each division (battalion, regiment, company, squadron, brigade, etc.), or to recommend any research materials (English or German) that would be of utility?

I have heard of what would potentially be a boon to my investigations, namely a 20-volume work entitled 'Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen', but it is, sadly, very difficult to locate in the States. GOOGLE BOOKS has a few (badly) scanned volumes, and to my infinite chagrin, sans maps or battle-plans!

I have contemplated getting the respected works by Christopher Duffy. Perhaps his publications may be useful. Is anyone here familiar with this author's work?

I look forward to your comments.

Ed von HesseFedora04 Nov 2007 9:07 a.m. PST

Congratulations! You are opening up a fantastic new source of gaming fun.

Let me start by saying, based on your comments, that I assume you know nothing of the period. If you do, just skim over the first parts.

I would suggest starting with a book that summarizes the war, such as the Osprey Essential History or the West Point volume on the era. That way, you can get some basic maps and a general idea of the how and why of the war.

Christopher Duffy does indeed have some great books on the subject. He has put out 2nd editions of the volumes on the Armies of Frederick the Great and Maria Theresa ("Instrument of War"). Another book by him with some good battle descriptions is his "Frederick the Great: A Military Life." You would probably need to get that from a library, though.

For quick guides to the organizations and uniforms of the armies, check out the 3 volumes by Bill Biles (available at in the US). For much more in-depth, but confusing, information, there is a series of books by Pengel & Hurt. They can be hard to find.

If you get interested in campaigns in Western Germany, the primary book is by Sir Reginald Savory, "His Britannic Majesty's Army in Germany in the 7 Years War" or something like that. Great book, long out of print and expensive. Another library possibility.

If you have access to MagWeb, they have almost all of the back issues of the Journal of the Seven Years War Association. Great articles.

Finally, browse the archives here and at some of the SYW blogs on line. Although mainly devoted to fictional "ImagiNations," the blogs do have some useful information. Most are linked from:

Do you have the SYW supplement to the WRG rules? It will give you some of the organizational info you are looking to find.

Good luck!


RittervonBek04 Nov 2007 9:19 a.m. PST

As a general read you need Chris Duffy's Warfare in the age of Reason. Then his Army of Frederick the Great, followed by An Instrument at War for the Austrians. If you reckon on 600-800 men per battalion or cavalry regiment you won't go far wrong. Infantry regiments averaged 2 battalions each and were normally brigaded in pairs, as were cavalry regiments. A division would be more ad hoc than later periods and so could number 4-16 battalions with artillery and a regiment or two of cavalry thrown in for good measure. As far as the more exotic types are concerned – give the Prussians one or two light battalions per 12 line and one grenadier per 4 line battalions. The Austrians should have 2-3 times more light troops (Croats!!)and slightly fewer grenadiers. I can't speak highly enough of Duffy's works, but that's just my opinion. Useful background info can be obtained from the old Konig Krieg rules if you can track them down.
Notwithstanding any of the above, try not to be too dogmatic – the attraction of the period is vast flexibility in troop types and organisations which can be put together for an enjoyable game e.g. hussars, Croats and grenadiers sent to seize a bridge from 2nd rate line, freikorps and a resting line veteran regiment with various militia thrown in.
Above all – enjoy!!

Yogah of Yag04 Nov 2007 9:20 a.m. PST

"Do you have the SYW supplement to the WRG rules?"

All I have I obtained here:

I wrote the folks at WRG to ask about other infos and I was simply told to look elsewhere in used bookstores(!) I'm afraid hunting for stuff on ebay would only give me the direst of headaches!

Ed von HesseFedora04 Nov 2007 9:41 a.m. PST

I think you might want to look at some other rulesets before getting overly committed to one. Unless, of course, you already REALLY like it!

The WRG rules were republished in July 1979 as "Wargames Rules 1685-1845." Then a supplement was published in January 1992 entitled "Seven Years War Army Lists." There's a copy on Ebay:


That said, if you are new to wargaming, these may not be a good starting point.

Do you have any friends or nearby groups to join? It may save you some time and effort if you check to see what is already done locally.

If not, then think what kind of game you want. You can play at several levels, with WRG being at a "lower level" where units of 8-15 figures represent an infantry battalion or cavalry regiment.

Other games, such as "Might and Reason" or "Volley and Bayonet" use a similar number of figures for a brigade. "Age of Reason" which is free but requires a published set of "Fire and Fury" is between these two extremes.

Going the other direction, old rules like "Charge!" or "The Wargame" or new ones like "BAR" use singly-based figures with battalions of 30-60 figures.

If you do get started, you might find it useful to start with one set, but keep you figure basing loose. For example, you could play M&R or VnB with singly based troops on stands. Then, as you build up armies, switch to WRG or even BAR.


RittervonBek04 Nov 2007 9:43 a.m. PST

And don't forget Konig Krieg!!!

Ed von HesseFedora04 Nov 2007 9:45 a.m. PST

I did forget KK, and also "Age of Reason." Both good games.


Ed von HesseFedora04 Nov 2007 10:01 a.m. PST

When I said "Age of Reason" a couple posts up being free, I meant "Age of Honor" at:


Don't let the "Napoleonic" title fool you. There's a bunch of SYW stuff there.

Also, check out the "LaceWars" and "SYW" Yahoo groups.


Personal logo Der Alte Fritz Sponsoring Member of TMP04 Nov 2007 10:06 a.m. PST

The first thing that you must do is attend the next Seven Years War Association Convention in South Bend, Indiana in March 2008. I believe that it will be held on the third weekend of March (Friday and Saturday). You can find all manner of SYW related wargames at this convention and try out different rules sets and play with different sizes of figurs such as 6mm, 15mm, 25mm and 30mm.

Also, Christopher Duffy is expected to attend the 2008 convention as a guest. He normally attends and gives a fun and light hearted lecture on some aspect of the SYW.

Check in on my own web log, for weekly commentaries on the period and lots of nice color pictures of 30mm miniatures from our Batailles de l'Ancient Regime or BAR for short.

You first need to focus in on some aspect of the SYW. Do you prefer the British vs French theatre of operations in Western Germany, or do you like the mainstream Prussia versus Austrian (and Russia and Sweden) in Saxony, Silesia and Bohemia? Once you make that decision, then it is easier to recommend books and rules, etc.

If you want to focus in on Frederick the Great and his battles, then the VERY FIRST BOOK that you should buy is Duffy's "The Military Life of Frederick the Great". It is out of print, but you can probably find copies from Abebooks, On Miliatry Matters, Caliver Books or Ken Trotman Books (the latter two are in the UK). This book gives a great overview of Frederick's wars during the first two Silesian Wars in the 1740s and then the SYW and the War of Bavarian Succession.

The next book to buy is Duffy's "The Army of Frederick the Great" which was reprinted by Emperor's Press. You can also buy "Prussia's Glory" by the same author and publisher for a closer look at the Rossbach and Leuthen campaigns. These are all excellent books. If you like the Austrians, then Duffy's "Instrument of War" Volume I focuses on the Austrian army. Volume II manuscript is done and I would imagine that it should be going to the printer soon.

Finally, join the yahoo group Old School Wargaming because a lot of members are avid SYW enthusiasts. There are also relevant yahoo groups called Lace Wars and SYW where you can ask more detailed questions and get prompt, friendly replies from the members.

Once you have the theatre of ops figured out, then decide on the size of the figures that you want to use. These variables will provide the rest of us some idea of guidance and suggestions for rules.

As always, feel free to post questions here on TMP. We are only too happy to help you out.

edinburghowl04 Nov 2007 10:09 a.m. PST

You'll find the WRG 1685-1845 rules and the associated SYW army lists (which include important SYW specific rule changes) in The Keep's ebay shop:

so no need to take part in any auctions.

IMHO the WRG rules provide a decent game for the period, though you may want to look at something else (such as Koenig Krieg) if you want to fight large battles (say 20+ battalions per side).

Yogah of Yag04 Nov 2007 10:35 a.m. PST

Thanks for all the help!
Thank you for the auction link.
I wonder if the SYW army list booklet is also compatible with the 1750-1850 rules I have already, or if I would have to get the 1685-1845 set too. (Must take asprin!)LOL

Baldwinbob04 Nov 2007 11:07 a.m. PST

As usual some excellent advice. You can trust Der Alte Fritz. Former editor of SYW journal. Hope to see you at the 7 years war con. Excellent bunch of guys, great convention without being overwhelming. 100-130 people

edinburghowl04 Nov 2007 2:09 p.m. PST

As i remember it the 1750-1850 rules are quite different to the 1685-1845 set – the mechanisms in the 1685 set are simpler and slicker than the previous version, and i think are generally preferred by those who have tried both sets.

I recommend getting the 1685 set and their army lists – they are not expensive, and service from The Keep is good.

Jeremy Sutcliffe04 Nov 2007 3:11 p.m. PST

Oh dear.

I do despair on behalf of the new wargamer who asks for broad general opinions on TMP and then gets drowned by a flurry of helpful but often distracting advice from a wargaming community.

I trust it's not drowned Yogah of Yag.

And true to form, I'll now throw my bucketful in.

a) Nothing wrong with WRG 1750-1850 but rules systems have moved on and I doubt you'd find many using them.
b) WRG 1685-1845 set was a completely different beast – the first WRG set where you weren't calculating casualties and taking off a figure every time you'd lost 20. We called it the "bang you're dead" set. It was the first set I came across that had what I call "notional units" – If I remember rightly each unit had 14 figures. As a set I don't think it caught on.

There is now a plethora of rules covering 7YW. I currently game it using either Shako (SYW variant) and 18thC Principles of War. I've looked at Minden Rose, but that would be challenging on re-basing figures.

I think the point is that it sounds as if Yogah is going to invest a lot of time and resources into researching and building his forces. He's got time assess rule systems before he commits himself to basing them – an act that can ossify a collection if the wrong sizes are chosen.

Personal logo timurilank Supporting Member of TMP04 Nov 2007 11:18 p.m. PST

Yogah of Yag,
Of the two WRG rule books, I believe the scales are different; 1:15(?)for the 1750-1850 set and 1:50 for the 1685-1845 set. So, if you do find a copy of the supplement, don't forget to adjust the number of figures per unit. I am not sure about the first set, but the later has its own forum: WRG_SYW WRG 1685-1845 rules for SYW.

In the files section is Philip Mackie's Leuthen project powerpoint, an excellent source of inspiration with photos. We still use this set in this country, for SYW and Napoleonic, so support with rules, tactics and organization suggestions is just an email away.


docdennis196805 Nov 2007 8:19 a.m. PST

You must come to some personal descisions on what you want to do. Large scale battles or small or even skirmish style. What size of castings can you afford or prefer, how many? There are many rulesets with many different systems available besides the one you mentioned. Something new might appeal to you, maybe not! There is plenty of help and advice here and other places that you can call upon to help you answer these questions. The choices available to you are quite vast, but so is the available information from many persons already involved in this rather fancinating era, both in forums and print. The SWY Assc. is a great place to find out what is happening and what is available to suit your tastes. In the end what you decide is best for your interests and affordability will be the only important factors to consider. I personally lean to the Classic Old School, Big Btn, style like BAR, but that is just one opinion among many divergent views that are just as valid. Welcome , and good luck!!

Yogah of Yag05 Nov 2007 9:20 a.m. PST

I haven't drowned yet. ;)

I have several rules systems, but thus far only one for the SYW period, aforementioned.

I'm wondering if I can use the SYW supplement and 'retro-fit' it for my 1750-1850 rules…

I've recently purchased Kriegsspiel by TooFatLardies and was idly wondering if it could be employed, most likely with liberal tinkering, for the SYW period instead of NAP.

I decided early on, for budgetary reasons, to not use miniature figures but 'tokens' equivalent to bases, labelled for ease of identification.

Since I wish to run scenarios of more or less complete battles (Mollwitz, Leuthen, Hohenfriedberg, etc.), I have adapted the 1750-1850 rules (which employ 25mm scale, IIRC) to a 5mm size. In this way organizing a complete battle would, in theory, be more practical. Thus a statute mile should be in the order of 4 ft. 4 13/16 in. instead of 25mm's 17 ft. 7 3/16 in.

Again, thank you all most heartily for your encouragement and suggestions. :)

Yogah of Yag05 Nov 2007 11:42 a.m. PST

I've just joined the WRG SYW yahoo group. Looking forward to reading all the messages! *shock*

If I can I'll consider buying the rules w/ supplement from the Keep.

vtsaogames05 Nov 2007 12:20 p.m. PST

Kriegspiel would be a LOT of work. I just bought a copy too.

Might & Reason is a grand tactical game, each unit being a brigade.

Let's see, basic unit structure for the Prussians:
infantry regiments usually of two battalions. Each battalion had four companies of musketeers (or fusiliers) and one of grenadiers. The grenadiers were almost always converged into seperate battalions. Each battalion would start with a pair of 3-pounder guns. Brigades usually had two regiments. Higher formations were ad hoc not becoming permanent until the French Revolution.

Prussian heavy cavalry regiments usually had 5 squadrons, hussars 10.

Personal logo andygamer Supporting Member of TMP05 Nov 2007 2:04 p.m. PST

If you don't want to use metal figures, here are ones in paper that you can use (along with other useful information via the main home page):

And if you want to fight entire, historical battles with the full OBs, then I would suggest not using the WRG set. It is meant for use at a "Divisional" level where one player runs 1-2 small brigades of cavalry and 3-4 brigades of infantry. It's fine at that, but gets bogged down doing tests with even three Divisions (run by 3 or 4 players) on a side let alone with larger forces.

What you want are a set of "Grand Tactical" or "Army" level rules like the Volley & Bayonet set. This level of play has players running an entire army, or army wing (or a Napoleonic corps or two) with the lowest level of command represented on table usually being the brigade.

Yogah of Yag06 Nov 2007 9:42 a.m. PST

andygamer: Thanks for the link to the wonderful paper miniatures! Do you know what scale these are intended for? 25mm? Bigger?

Personal logo andygamer Supporting Member of TMP06 Nov 2007 10:01 a.m. PST

I don't know what size they print out at in their original form, I suspect 25mm by contrasting the 'regular' ones with the link called 'Marlburian Micro-Scale', but you should be able to print them as any size you want using your printer's feature for printing a page at a different percentage of the size of the original (e.g. 50%, 120%). Or you can use a graphics program, like Paintshop or MS Paint etc., to change their size after you've downloaded the separate picture files 'into' your computer.

Check out the Help Files and the other links and the Forum for ideas:

Personal logo andygamer Supporting Member of TMP06 Nov 2007 10:06 a.m. PST

P.S. It looks like the pages should be best printed "landscape" style and not "portrait" style.

Yogah of Yag06 Nov 2007 5:28 p.m. PST

I printed some out and it looks like they're more or less 25mm scale, but from the bottom of the boot to the top of their tricornes, which is a trifle different than the measuring method I've heard: between foot and *eyes*.

Also, I went ahead and ordered the WRG 1685-1845 and the SYW amendments from The Keep, so…here I go! Wish me luck! :D

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