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"wargaming with Elephants in the horse and musket period" Topic

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2,623 hits since 5 Feb 2014
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TelesticWarrior Inactive Member05 Feb 2014 7:15 a.m. PST

Have you used elephants whilst wargaming the horse and musket period? If so, how did you use them and what rules did you use to portray their interactions with other troop types, i.e. infantry, cavalry and artillery?
Or did you just include pachyderms because you fancied painting something new and interesting? That is basically what I did. Now that I have them, I'm damned if I know what to do with them!

Nadir Shah05 Feb 2014 7:39 a.m. PST

In Koenig Krieg there are rules for both elephants and camels, since Koenig Krieg does not just focus on rules Europe but also the middle east and India.

SJDonovan Inactive Member05 Feb 2014 7:42 a.m. PST

I've never used elephants in a Horse and Musket game (which I admit does seem like an oversight on my part) but I just had a look through George Gush's Renaissance Rules to see how he handled elephants.

Cavalry becomes disordered within 50 paces of elephants.
Any troops become disordered after one round of melee against elephants.

Enemy elephants also give a negative modifier on reaction (morale) tests for troops within 150 paces.

Elephants get a negative morale modifier in any round they come under fire.

He rates elephants as troop class E the worst possible ranking them alongside undisciplined, untrained levies.

However, the only elephant-specific rule he includes is: "An elephant which encounters a door or gate will knock it down."

So, if you plan on using them on the French side at Waterloo, I would launch them straight at Hougmont. The British won't know what hit them:


M C MonkeyDew05 Feb 2014 7:59 a.m. PST

I have used them as draft animals for guns and treated them as if they had the Beast characteristic from Warrior Heroes: Armies and Adventures.

They basically get a saving throw and a chance to go berserk if hit.

Personal logo Pictors Studio Sponsoring Member of TMP05 Feb 2014 8:03 a.m. PST

I use them in my Sikh armies. Generally they are not engaging in combat but, as M C LesingeDew pointed out, they are useful for toting guns around.

In that sense I give them minimum combat abilities and treat them as a "unit" that is more easily destroyed than others, as it is probably smaller and less used to actual fighting.

Any rules that do a thorough job of covering the SYW should have elephants covered in them.

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP05 Feb 2014 8:25 a.m. PST

Didn't they try and mount small cannons on elephant backs?

45thdiv05 Feb 2014 8:37 a.m. PST

What about gaming Clive in India? I don't know how the Asian elephants we used, but I do recall a painting of Clive and a Rajah meeting after a battle. It had a elephant.

Grand Dragon Inactive Member05 Feb 2014 8:38 a.m. PST

Dan ,I think you posted in the wrong thread !

Ashenduke Inactive Member05 Feb 2014 8:42 a.m. PST

Whoah tried to edit message and it was merged with some other message from another poster lol.

The Siamese vs Burmese conflicts had elephants in action with cannons mounted on them. Would like to game this period if I ever came accross rules and or figures for the 1500ish-1700ish period.

Couple of cool movies to watch on Netflix about it. Two part series called Kingdom of War.
Part 1 Hongsawadee's Hostage
Part 2 Reclaiming Sovereignty


Ashenduke Inactive Member05 Feb 2014 8:43 a.m. PST

Somehow my first post and Dan's got merged lol.

Gustav05 Feb 2014 8:48 a.m. PST

What about Blucher's Prussian Elephants ?

SJDonovan Inactive Member05 Feb 2014 8:58 a.m. PST

Of course, if your elephant comes into contact with Blucher there is a chance he will become pregnant and have to take maternity leave.

Ashenduke Inactive Member05 Feb 2014 9:16 a.m. PST

Wouldn't they recognize Blucher as dad, or I guess mom in this case, and fight on his side. Weren't German elephants equipped with the same 88's as tigers, those will trump any 12pdr.

MichaelCollinsHimself05 Feb 2014 10:21 a.m. PST

I always thought that elephants were far more interested in painting than wargaming.

Simcoe 200005 Feb 2014 10:57 a.m. PST

Do any rules include stat for Hover Elephants?

Chokidar Inactive Member05 Feb 2014 11:43 a.m. PST

I find dice are easier to roll than elephants… they tend to make such a mess of the table…

Ottoathome Inactive Member05 Feb 2014 1:41 p.m. PST

I do use elephants in my 18th Century War Games. Of course I do Imagi-nations so when Andy Turlington's company came out with Indian Elephants from the colonial period with a limber for hauling guns I immediately bought eight of them to haul Around The Siege Train of Saxe-Burlap und Schleswig Beerstein. Of course her domain, in Central-West Germany also has Mohawk Indians.

They usually don't get into battle, however for table top references they have only a defence of 1 and a rally and stand value of 1. One guy thought it would be great fun to take the siege train and attacked. The elephants rolled hot, he didn't.

Of course they are marvellous things to spin tall tales around and create incredible back-stories.

The real power of these elephants though comes in the dinner after the game. I always hold a full dinner. My wife sits and has dinner with us. My wife loves Elephants and has thousands of them (almost as many soldiers as I have-- Oh I don't mean real ones, small statues and pictures of every sort. She loves them. Once when I was putting on an ancient game using elephants she was fascinated by the detail and conversion job I had done. Then a look crossed her face (as ominous as if you read in a fantasy novel that a dark cloud passed over a characters face. "You're not going to HURT them are you!????" Of course I was quick on my feet and said "No! Of course not! If we reach a point in the rules where they may be harmed they are allowed to proceed, stately, off the field at their own pace. Since then I bought several Dragontooth Saurian Behemotsh to replace them. She doesn't give a damn what happens to ugly, smelly, slimy disgusting dinosaurs.

Anyway, if anyone were to actually harm or kill one of my Elephants the red-hot Lasagna would wind up in your lap not on your plate.

Druzhina05 Feb 2014 5:08 p.m. PST

I have used Mysorean elephants using WRG rules. They can easily be killed by artillery that is allowed to fire over other troops at elephants. So keeping a forest in between guns and elephants or attacking from a flank were useful.

Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers

evilgong Supporting Member of TMP05 Feb 2014 7:28 p.m. PST

Hi there

I recall that when the colonial Brits shot the crews off Burmese elephants of the king's household elephants, rather than run amok the beasts calmly returned to camp and waited for their dinner.

David F Brown

Personal logo andygamer Supporting Member of TMP05 Feb 2014 8:39 p.m. PST

What about Blucher's Prussian Elephants?

They were pink according to the MAA Osprey Elephants of the Napoleonic Wars: Volume One.

And here are SYW elephants in action using the Age of Reason rules (although not my game)…

abdul666lw Inactive Member06 Feb 2014 5:49 a.m. PST

Very nice slideshow full of exoticism!
WRG 1685-1835 covers elephants in their various war uses: pack, towing artillery and more 'actively' HQ -with possibly the Great Man in a reportedly bullet proof armored howdah, jingal with a light gun and musketry with four jezzailmen. The defunct and lamented London War Room India range had these 3 last types as well as other niceties: zamberek camels, rocketeers on camels…

If elephants on a 18th C. European battlefield are "too much" for you, what about a mechanical one:


link? grin

Personal logo Bobgnar Supporting Member of TMP06 Feb 2014 8:10 a.m. PST

That steam elephant is fantastic. I have been looking for one of these to add to my Victorian sci-fi collection, based on a book by Jules Vern that featured a steam elephant. What scale is it, I can't tell from reading the link page.

Of all the European combatants in the Napoleonic era, I think the British would be the ones least surprised by the appearance of an elephant on the battlefield. I mean in so far as responding to it would be. They faced them in India, Wellington certainly understood elephants.

I have done a number of games with Wellington in India, Assaye and such. The Indian troops get elephants. Also DBR has extensive rules for elephants and I have done many Mogul games.

abdul666lw Inactive Member07 Feb 2014 8:53 a.m. PST

@ andygamer: so Pondicheri can also be spelled Puducheri? Fascinating for those who know what 'Pu du cheri' sounds like in French evil grin

Lion in the Stars07 Feb 2014 11:05 a.m. PST

I have a set of 9 nellies for lugging 15pdrs and 5.4" howitzers. They could probably carry the 15pdrs on their backs, but not the 5.4"s. I might even get another set of 9 nellies and model them with guns packed.

Plus, you can send nellies through the Afghan fields to really make a mess of their crops as punishment for raiding Raj territory.

I mean, it's just not India if you don't have some elephants around!

spontoon09 Feb 2014 9:26 a.m. PST

Didn't Bunny Prince Charlie bring some hefalumps to Scot- land for the '45? What tartan would they be painted? Oliphant, of course!

abdul666lw Inactive Member12 Apr 2014 4:51 a.m. PST

The steam elephant is definitively 28mm – and some judge it looks better with a howdah (and then can be converted to a self-propelled jingal):



@ link

A few years ago a normally 'historically minded' member here was toying with the idea of Prussians with a handful of zambereck camels (a gift of the Sublime Porte to Frederick as a token of anti-Austrian sympathy) vs Russians with one or two jingal elephants (a gift of the Shah to Catherine as a token of anti-Ottoman alliance)….

deflatermouse13 Apr 2014 3:31 a.m. PST

How would the steam elephant react to a clockwork wind-up mouse?

Henry Martini13 Apr 2014 5:56 p.m. PST

Judging from that rear-mounted mortar, it would more likely be a jet-propelled jingal.

I used elephants in the early eighties. They were an essential play aid when trying to remember WRG Ancients, Tercio, and Challenger rules.

Tigernaut Inactive Member17 Apr 2014 8:50 p.m. PST

Principles of War Seven Years edition has rules for Elephants as it does cover the Indian Theatre too. Jingal, Musket or Bow versions included.

Patrice Inactive Member18 Apr 2014 1:33 a.m. PST

if you plan on using them on the French side at Waterloo, I would launch them straight at Hougmont

Yes… but unfortunately, they were in short supply in the French army.

Everybody knows that Napoleon said:

"Elephants? Where do you expect me to get them from? Do you want me to make some?"

freecloud18 Apr 2014 4:07 a.m. PST

Used them with Black Powecer – the *Real* French & Indian Wars :)


Have to keep them out the way of artillery though, the ones in our game were gone early on – more useful in our game were the rockets and camel-guns

Durando16 Sep 2017 1:22 a.m. PST

I need an adequate rule set that will allow South Asian armies to be fielded

1968billsfan Supporting Member of TMP19 Sep 2017 6:23 a.m. PST

In my rules the elephants fire at half effectiveness because they are slow in reloading.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP19 Sep 2017 9:46 a.m. PST

Now I know what the bricole is for……..I always thought it looked like an enormous dog lead. Never dawned on me intended for a larger animal.

Durando07 Feb 2018 2:37 p.m. PST


A S.E.ASIAN Elephant with crew

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