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"Napoleonic Campaign Maps" Topic

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©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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thistlebarrow212 Aug 2017 3:11 a.m. PST

My summer project is to make new maps for my 1813 Napoleonic campaign. At present I use homemade maps of Germany and Spain. I use an AA Road Atlas as the template for the maps, but have found that the information shown is too modern and does not have sufficient terrain information.

My plan is to create a new set of maps, again using the Road Atlas as my main reference. But this time I will start with a map of Europe. Then one of Germany, France, Spain and Italy. Finally I will make new maps for each of the five campaign areas, three in Germany and two in Spain.

All of the maps will interface, though they will be in different scales. I will not make the mistake of trying to use actual terrain and road systems. The towns and cities will be more or less correct. The borders will be approximate. The major road system will be between capital cities, with a secondary system between them and main cities and towns. Major rivers will be approximate, but all other terrain fictional.

This week's entry on my Napoleonic Wargaming blog explains the background to the project and in particular the map of Europe. It also includes the completed map.

You can find the blog here


KPinder12 Aug 2017 5:28 a.m. PST

I was flirting with a Napoleonic Spanish campaign at one point and had given some thought on how to handle the maps. My intention was to assemble period maps from sources like the Omans series. I have since learned that there is an atlas specifically devoted to the Napoleonic War in Spain.

I'd make a master map with cities and rivers on it, but no other features. Not even roads. This would be the start map. Then I was going to research the road net, and add the roads to what would be an Uber master map. In order to keep a fog on the geography, I would then dice the difficulty of each and every road, marking it on the UM map by a number of dots along the road. The more dots the worse the road. I remember reading the French had some decent maps, but the maps were useless re how bad one road was vs another. They'd start up what looked like a short road, only to find it degenerated to a goat track with dozens of switchbacks. What should have taken hours took a week.

Each side would get modified maps. Some roads would be accurately marked. Some,…not so much. Some, not at all. Obviously the Spanish maps would be better than those the French had.

Players would be free to "update" their maps as they traversed roads and got actual experience what they were like.

When it came to actual fights, the specific terrain items would be laid out by the GM. Roads, villages, rivers, etc. Players would dice against one another for the placement of local features. Vineyards, walls, washes, etc. High die places a feature. When the dice rolls tie twice in a row, the terrain is finished.

That sort of thing.

Major Mike12 Aug 2017 6:03 a.m. PST

These are an extensive set I am told that was created to support a campaign. Not 100% accurate but I think they are a great resource

Prince of Essling Supporting Member of TMP12 Aug 2017 6:42 a.m. PST

If you want to go down a more historic route – see Germany circa 1821 link

thistlebarrow212 Aug 2017 7:09 a.m. PST

Major Mike

I took part in a couple of campaigns using the murat maps, and they were excellent. I know that some complained about how accurate they were, but having attempted something similar I know how difficult it can be to get any map 100% correct.

The murat maps were available when I made my own maps, and I tried to convert them for my camapign. But I wanted to be able to show the exact table features on the campaign map, and found it difficult to impose such detail on the murat maps.

That is the only reason I did not use murat maps.

thistlebarrow212 Aug 2017 7:09 a.m. PST

Prince of Essling

Excellent maps, I have not seen them before.

thistlebarrow212 Aug 2017 7:11 a.m. PST


That is the advantage of making your own maps, you can tailor them to provide exactly what you want.

It sounds like you did not complete the maps and run the campaign? But the planning and preparation is more than half the fun

Prince of Essling Supporting Member of TMP13 Aug 2017 2:43 a.m. PST

Also Italy 1800s
France to Austria (1800s) link
Austrian Empire 1760s to 1780s link

dvdstr Inactive Member13 Aug 2017 12:04 p.m. PST

Take a look at the following


These are 1902 maps of France and you can zoom right into every region of France. Great for all campaigns in France. We did an 1814 campaign – great resource.

forwardmarchstudios13 Aug 2017 12:28 p.m. PST

Mapire. It's so disappointing that they dropped the Google Earth functionality. It would bend the maps over the top information so that you could see the elevations that underlay the map annotations. It was pretty incredible. Now, not so much, but still an impressive tool

EDIT: Whoa, they brought it back!!!!


thistlebarrow214 Aug 2017 1:23 a.m. PST

Thanks for the Cassini maps, I had not seen that one before either.

thistlebarrow214 Aug 2017 1:24 a.m. PST

How do you use Google Earth with Mapire?

thistlebarrow220 Aug 2017 1:48 a.m. PST

My previous attempts at map making were to make them as all inclusive as possible. I tried to show all towns, roads and terrain features on all of the maps, including those covering large areas such as Germany or Spain. The result was a very crowded map on which it was difficult to orientate, particularly when viewed on the campaign diary blog.

I have now made much less detailed maps for Europe, Germany and Spain. I have also used a hex grid, rather than squares. On the map of Europe I highlight capital cities with a town icon. The rest of the hex have a name only, no town icon.

On the maps of Germany and Spain I again use the hex system, but this time I use a town icon to indicate whether it is a city or town, and whether fortified or not. I do not show any roads or terrain features.

You can find the blog here


forwardmarchstudios20 Aug 2017 2:23 a.m. PST

HI Thistlebarrow-

If you go to theFirst Military Survey, then click on options,you'll see a button that says "3D." Click that and you will get a 3D version the maps (or rather, the maps laid out over top of a modern 3D model). It is extremely useful for conceptualizing the battles.

thistlebarrow227 Aug 2017 3:15 a.m. PST

The campaign maps have always been very stylised, in order to transfer the campaign battles to the wargames table. The end result was very practical, but not very realistic.

The new maps of Europe, France, Germany, Spain and Italy are even more stylised, and show no terrain features or roads.

The new regional maps are designed to look more natural, and to indicate the terrain and road system. However they are not to scale. This is to avoid the previous need to put all cities and towns in the centre of their campaign area.

You can find all three maps here


Prince of Essling Supporting Member of TMP01 Sep 2017 12:58 p.m. PST

Thanks to Steve H. Smith at Napoleon Series Forum
Topographisch-militairische Karte von Teutschland in 220 Blaettern / Friedrich Wilhelm Streit (1819):

thistlebarrow202 Sep 2017 1:53 a.m. PST

Prince of Essling
The link does not work. I googled "Topographisch-militairische Karte von Teutschland" but could not find the 1819 map. Do you have another link?

thistlebarrow202 Sep 2017 1:54 a.m. PST

There are four maps of Spain on the Napoleonic Wargaming blog this week. One is the previous comprehensive map drawn to scale and showing all major road, river and terrain features, plus all major cities and towns.

There are two new maps covering the same area, but showing major cities which are also campaign objectives. One is hex and the second square grid. Each one is a campaign phase.

The fourth map is a very detailed one showing all of the information necessary to produce the tactical (wargame) map for each campaign phase.

You can find all three maps here


Prince of Essling Supporting Member of TMP02 Sep 2017 1:58 a.m. PST

Apologies try link (just in case after the usual http etcinsert which will take you to the overview map and on the right will be links to the various maps that make up the overview map. They can be downloaded as pdfs.

thistlebarrow209 Sep 2017 9:41 a.m. PST

Prince of Essling

Thanks for the link. I thought that I knew most of the relevant maps available, but this is yet another which I have never seen before.

thistlebarrow209 Sep 2017 9:42 a.m. PST

There are five maps on the Napoleonic Wargame blog this week.

The basic map of Spain shows the campaign area of the British campaign in the north and the Spanish campaign in the south.

The maps of northern and southern Spain are more detailed, showing major terrain features, the road system and regional borders.

From the appropriate regional map I make a strategic map for each campaign phase. These show minor roads and the nine towns which will feature in the campaign.

Finally there is a tactical, or wargame, map. This is the real campaign map and allows me to transfer campaign battles to the wargames table.


thistlebarrow217 Sep 2017 3:36 a.m. PST

To complete the national maps I have added France and Italy. My current campaign is confined to Germany, Portugal and Spain. As a result I only made maps of those three countries when I set up the campaign.

My previous maps were to scale, and I found it difficult to produce a map of Europe which would show both Germany, Portugal and Spain, yet still show sufficient detail when shown on the campaign diary blog.

The new set of maps are not to scale. They are a collection of major cities, each of which is a campaign objective. The strategic maps, those of Europe and the national maps, show much less detail. They are also hex rather than square. This makes it easier to show the cities of interest in the campaign.

The new strategic maps contain much less information, and are much easier to make. I decided to produce a national map of both France and Italy, in case I wanted to extend the campaign in the future.

The current blog shows both of these maps, plus both the old and new map of Europe.


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