Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Thinking about 1864: 1

While I await the arrival of my first sample 1864 Danes from North Star I am starting to do a bit of research on the war, which isn't easy as there is not a lot of information on it in English.  I have bought Tom Buk-Swienty's book on the conflict and this is very good indeed, although it does have one of those peculiar structures where the first third of the book is about the day before the climactic Battle of Dybbøl.  I have skipped this and started with the second third of the book which tells the story of the reasons for the war and the initial actions.  I will read the opening after this!

Austrians attack the Danes

One thing that is apparent is that there were a lot more skirmishes than the TV series (although I have only watched the first four episodes so far) leads you to believe.  Hopefully, this gives me the opportunity to think about some battles which don't involve trenches and fortifications. Interestingly, one of the scenes from the TV series which does lend itself to some gaming is the pursuit of the Danish army after they abandoned the fortifications of the Dannevirke.  The series shows this being undertaken by evil looking Prussian hussars in black with deaths head badges.  This was annoying because North Star/Helion never made any Prussian hussars.  However, my Danish friend Mette has pointed me towards some other material which has revealed, for example, that this pursuit was actually carried out by Austrian troops and, hooray, North Star do make Austrian hussars. Hungarian troops were there too.  This may explain some of the comments I have seen from Danes about the lack of accuracy of the series.  Frankly, I just want mid-nineteenth century troops in the snow!

Contemporary illustration of Danish soldier

There is a lot of uniform research to do, not least concerning the colour of the Danes greatcoats.  They look black in the TV series but several contemporary pictures have them looking dark grey.

I wonder whether there is an opportunity here for a what if, using the Perry British 1861 American Civil War intervention figures, although Queen Victoria would not have been amused.


  1. I watched some of the series and quite enjoyed it, while quite not understanding the period.

  2. Having fallen in love with the figures from Northstar samples to be purchased soon I have just ordered the book & DVD.
    Another new project !!

  3. Legatus Hedlius, Ave!

    Subscribe not to the pedestrian notion that all your gaming with these wonderful new toys from North Star/Helion must strictly be in keeping with the rubric that only historical battles may shape what you do. You mentioned that you were considering using entrenchments. why not a raid by one side on the supply camp of the other surrounded by entrenchments? Or an extended siege game? As you build your armies would not games of varying sizes be possible from a desperate rearguard action involving several companies of attackers throwing themselves on a platoon or so of the other side up to regimental sized games? The reality is that the Danes will be largely outnumbered and if you try to play only historically based games, the advantage might simply be too much to allow for a sense of a "fair fight." of course as one friend always reminds me, no general ever went out of his way to force a fair fight.

    I am reminded of the fact that you were considering doing the War of Texas Independence a few years back. How did that ever play out? Did the Texans defending liberty (and their right to own slaves) ever fight the soldados of Santa Ana? I just hope that you did not use the John wayne film, The Alamo, for your uniform guide. :=)


    Gerardus Magnus
    Isla Longus
    Novo York