Wednesday, 31 July 2013

'Lets fight Leipzig'! - the initial concept...

The Charge of the Brandenburg Hussars by Richard Knotel
The title of this post is by way of homage to the shade of the late, great Peter Gilder, who famously abjured wargamers to do it 'In the Grand Manner!'. Now whilst his eponymous ruleset has dated somewhat, at least in my opinion, his vision of grand sweeping wargames have really come into their own with the availibility of finely detailed cheap hard plastic 28mm Napoleonic figures, and superbly streamlined rules like 'Black Powder'.

Another Leipzig painting by Knotel. Title - what am I an art historian?
I can remember as a youngster being inspired by an early series of articles by Peter Gilder, entitled 'Let's fight Leipzig!' which appeared in Miniature Wargames # 4 and 5. Mustachioed, suited and kipper tied 1970's wargamers met at a village hall and did indeed fight in in the Grand Manner - they formed several tables in the shape of a 'U', with the gap being the swamps and rivers to the West of Leipzig, and fought it all out over a weekend.

Another early influence on me was the Airfix box art of those days which so romantically portrayed the battles of this era. All my mates at school would collect these for Waterloo, so of course doing Leipzig one Founder's Day seemed like daring rebellion...Hey! It was an all boys boarding school for heaven's sake! Happy days though at the old school:

Dulwich College. Tuesday lunchtimes were pickup games in the Rotunda, but every Founder's Day we'd go Large!
So you get the picture - I've long had a yearning to 'do' the battle of Leipzig, in the Grand Manner.
 Whats not to like - the battle of the Nations, with French, Poles and Saxons fighting against Prussians, Russians and Austro-Hungarians.

Black Powder rules have facilitated mega games in the 'Grand Manner'!

Now I've been very lucky since emigrating to Australia to fall in with a great bunch of wargamers in the Campbelltown area of NSW centred around the Hall of Heroes FLGS. Matt who owns the store has been very indulgent in allowing annual Mega Games to takeover every aspect of his life and shop - but we've had ours for this year - Gettysburg for the 150th, and very memorable it was too - so we can't go overboard for the Leipzig game!

After all, until the Battle of the Somme it was the largest battle ever fought, over three days. So the concept I have at the moment is to concentrate on one sector of one day - the one in which all three allied armies fought shoulder to shoulder - Day 1, October 16th 1813, in the Southern sector:

But even this is quite a stretch - I can't really ask for much more than a 12' table, so we have to focus in a little more:

So taking the area of the Green rectangle as, roughly, a 12' x 6' table, this seems much more doable. Austrians on the left, Prussians in the centre, Russians coming down the right hand side of the table. The French Imperial Guard off table at the start....Still quite a spectacle, Peter won't be disappointed!


  1. ohhh that will be a great game.......I think I will come up for that!

    How about if you ran it at the Napoleonic Congress also in (15th, 16t and 17th) November...... in sunny Goulburn......


  2. Thanks gents. Be great to see you Willow! - we can discuss it then...

  3. What a great project! It was drooling over pictures of Peter Gilder's Leipzig refights in those early issues of Miniature Wargames that brought me back into Napoleonics, this time to stay. I still have the mags.

    I'll be following this with much interest.

  4. You might find these maps of use, I'm working on covering almost the same area as you for our October game