Query regarding brigade composition – War of Spanish Succession

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    I recently got my hand on quite a few of War of the Spanish Succession miniatures and have been dividing them into units. I never really had a chance to play Black Powder, but do have the 2nd Edition rule book (and “Last Argument of Kings”) and was now wondering what would be a decent split into brigades once I get a chance to play. I am looking for a mix of survivability and “close enough”-historicality (is that even a word?)

    I have the following lying around:

    6 unit of regular infantry, 2 units of grenadiers/guards, 1 small unit of grenadiers/guards.

    3 units of Horse, 1 unit of cuirassiers, 1 small unit of “Croats”

    3 units of 8pounders, 2 units of 12 pounders

    2 units of dragoons (at 24 models each, so counting as large on horse and standard on foot)

    I was thinking of setting them up like that:

    Brigade 1: 2 Line, 1 Guard, 1 8pdr

    Brigade 2: 2 Line, 1 Guard, 1 8pdr

    Brigade 3: 2 Line, 1 small guard, 1 8pdr

    Brigade 4: 3 Horse, 1 Cuirassier

    Brigade 5: 2 Dragoons (large), 1 Croats (small)

    Brigade 6: 2 12pdrs

    Does that sound okay or am I making any obvious mistakes?

    Garry Wills

    I don’t play that period but the thing that pops out to me is the artillery. My understanding is that the artillery can’t be moved once unlimbered, but needs an order to change front, so you may need them in separate brigades with a specific commander. Odd number of units per brigade is pretty conventional. Have you looked at historical  OOBs? Maybe bigger less flexible brigades are more representative of the period.





    Thanks for the answer.
    Yeah, the artillery is immobile, so I might put them all in a single brigade (totally forgot about that …)

    Regarding larger brigades: I had a look at the Ramillies OOB, which is one of the reasons I didn’t mix cavalry and infantry in one brigade and kept the dragoons separate.

    The infantry brigades on the French sides seemed to be between 2 and 9 bataillions (with 3 to 4-ish seeming to be the average), the Allied brigades seemed to be a bit bigger on average … I am one unit short, otherwise I might set up 2 brigades of 5 (since odd-numbered brigades seem to be the way to go). Or I just drop the small grenadier unit and go with a brigade of 4 and one of 5.

    Decisions, decisions …


    Artillery was general divided into two categories… artillery of the “park” or reserve and small battalion guns for direct support.  This approach remained the practice until artillery became lighter and more maneuverable and so larger caliber guns could be deployed in a more direct support role.

    Brigades were first introduced as a tactical unit in the Thirty Years War.  There purpose was to add a layer of command in order to support more elegant maneuvering.   Not very formal in nature, a brigade’s composition could change regularly and include whatever was necessary for the mission it was assigned.  I think you are overthinking it… instead the scenario should dictate the brigade structure…


    Overthinking is what I do. 🙂 And the “informal” nature of brigades back in those days  is also something I am aware of (although I seem to remember that France made it more permanent under Turenne … but it is not really my time period, I just like the uniforms :D).

    However, since I will hardly ever find someone in my area to play historical games with (and even fewer for that specific time period) I will most likely be playing “bring all you got” games and for that I’m looking for inspiration.

    Alternatively, I’d also be happy for recommendations for a fair split of the units I have to get one of those few historical players around away from all those ugly drab WW2 units into something a bit more … coulourful and gentlemanly. 🙂

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