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Tactics & technology circa 1830

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Tactics & technology circa 1830

Post  henridecat on Sun Feb 08, 2009 12:29 pm

Discussion copied from Yahoo group
I'm thinking of putting together a PBEM kriegsspiel, and was looking at
doing something in central europe in the 1830's. Mostly because it is
not a well known period, so any historical flaws will be less obvious
to players better versed in this period than I.

However, I'd like to do a little bit to make it realistic. This time
is equidistant (timewise) between the Napoleonic wars and the ACW, both
of which are obviously very well documented. I don't think there were
any serious conflicts between european or european-style armies in this
period (were there?) but does anyone have any information or sources on
what such a conflict would have looked like? I'm especially interested
in how cavalry and artillery would have been employed (it seems as
though basic infantry tactics had not changed as dramatically between
the napoleonic wars and the start of the ACW)

Anyone have any sources I should look into? Any insights?

Jake Battle
There are other options for European "style". For example, Peru
invaded Bolivia in 1841 apparently. There was also an Uruguayan
civil war about that time, which led to Argentinian and then
European interventions.

The great thing about "caudillo" civil wars as campaigns is
that it is much easier to get a well defined result than your
usual wars: the march on the capital either succeeds or fails.

At the moment I am painting 1860 Maximilian War Mexicans, with
the intention of using them for the general run of endemic
Latin American civil wars.

Mark Plant
"I'm especially interested in how cavalry and artillery would have been employed (it seems as
though basic infantry tactics had not changed as dramatically between the napoleonic wars and the start of the ACW)"

Given that rifled weapons were still very uncommon in the 1830s, I think it is reasonable to assume that cavalry and artillery tactics were unlikely to have changed a great deal either.

I would guess that in some of the more esoteric campaigns, shortages of horses for cavalry, or guns for the artillery could be more of a factor. Also a lack of training would probably affect these arms more than the infantry. All that could allow the infantry to sometimes operate more freely than on the Napoleonic battlefield.


Martin James
Hi Jake,

You could read up on the Belgian War of Independence in 1830, and the First
Carlist War in Spain 1833-1839. And of course every quarter of a century the
Russians and the Turks had a go at each other: the Russo-Turkish War of

Good luck with your game!
Chris Pringle
Thanks all for the pointers. I think Martin's comments about rifled
weapons is really key - I imagine the introduction of longer ranged
infantry weapons is the key element in relative downgrade of cavalry
strength, and the less aggressive (i.e. right on the battle line) use
of artillery by the ACW. I was surprised to learn how recent an
introduction rifled weapons were before the ACW - makes more sense now
why the generals took so long to adapt to them.

Thanks all
Hi Jake

The longer ranges certainly made cavalry's life more difficult. It has been argued that the impact in the ACW was less than might have been expected, because the amount of woodland on ACW battlefields meant that the longer ranges didn't always come into play.

I think the process had further to go at that point. The introduction of breechloaders and repeaters really made things tough for cavalry.

Martin James
I found a campaign that is very close to what I am envisioning. In
early 1831 there was an uprisign in Russian Poland that spawned
several major battles between Russian and Polish forces. Judging
from the few maps I saw and some reeanctment picturs, it looks like
the napoleonic wars all over again. In case anyone is interested...

The war...
The largest single battle of the war...
Reenactment pictures...


If you're interested in running an email game on this, I'm sure we could raise some players. Can I suggest that you:
(a) wait until after the summer before starting it, and
(b) keep it small for your first game - perhaps 2 players, so you are not overburdened. Somewhere on the website are some more detailed guidelines for running an email game..

Best regards

Martin James

I don't think there are any detailed guidelines for running an email game.' on the website, only FAQS for a face to face kriegsspiel.

However there is an article about the Voyage of Capt Catfish, which is effectively a transcript of the umpire - player correspondence for an email game, but this was a one player game. Its at:

I certainly agree with Martin, keep it small and simple, if you overstretch yourself the game will fail (been there, seen it done it), better to get the measure of your capabilities and how the players actually respond (rather than what you expect) by running a successful, if limited, game.

Rich Madder
Hello, again.

I posted a while back about Midwest US Kriegspielers.
Sounds like there may be a couple around. I'm out of
the Madison, Wi area. Jake, I might be interested in
trying an email game. I've had Kriegspiel material
(rules, maps, etc) for years that I purchased from
Bill Leeson. Never played, though.

I like the idea of waiting till after the summer.
Difficult time to get commitments. I'm pretty good and
keeping up with email (if there's a reason to). If
you don't mind trying it with a total greenhorn, keep
me in mind. Any campaign is fine with me. By the
way, feel free to send me a direct email if you want
to discuss it. I tend to lag on keeping up with
groups. Need to probably unsubscribe from a few.

Curt Benson
I'm developing/testing a system for a semi-automated PBEM game, I'm
hoping to have it ready to go in late august. I'll definitely post a
note here when I'm ready for players (and I'll try to remember to
send you an email Curt). Here's some early information I have on the
game, and one possible scenario (might do something smaller for the
first go)

Jake Battle


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