Tuesday, 20 January 2015

'See The Elephant' With Twelve Units

After the programmed scenario I though I'd set up another 'big' game of GNW 'See The Elephant'. I went for twelve units a side, giving both sides a base force of six units (infantry, cavalry and artillery for the Russians, infantry and cavalry for the Swedes), then rolling on the six unit random tables for the rest of the troops. Once again the Russians got lots of Guard, whilst the Swedes ended up rather well-endowed with cavalry.

I randomised the terrain using something I made up on the spot - I rolled to see what was in each of the six 4x4 squares that made up the grid, then rolled to see if there were any rivers or roads running through each sector. This is what I got. The big river was impassable, but had a ford in the centre, and a bridge where the road crossed it. A fordable stream ran along one base edge, whilst woods occupied the centre of each edge. The far end of the battlefield was relatively open, and dominated by a village.

I decided to pick an objective on each side of the table. Common sense dictated the village (which was towards the Russian side) and the bridge (which was in the Swedish half).

The Swedes defended the bridge by occupying the hill-line through which the river flowed. The Russians launched a attack on it with the very cream of their infantry.

All of the cavalry ended up on the other flank. The Russian horse were rather outnumbered, but put up a good fight before running away. Meanwhile Russian infantry garrisoned the village, whilst other units deployed in support. Swedish columns in the woods awaited the outcome of the cavalry action.

It really was a quite impressive action.

The Swedish cavalry was victorious, and piled into the Russian infantry whilst the Swedish infantry slowly formed up for the attack.

On the other flank the Swedes defended the hills with great pluck, but were slowly being ground down by weight of numbers. The Russians weren't escaping without casualties, however.

The Swedes assaulted the village, taking considerable losses.

With the hill position untenable, the Swedes withdrew across the bridge, covered by their artillery. The Russians kept up the attack.

The Swedes held, though, and with some reserves from the centre bolstered their line.

Meanwhile the Russian garrison in the village had fled.

This was too much for the Russian army, which broke.

They keys to the Swedish victory were threefold - firstly their defence of the hill defied the odds and drained the Russian manpower, secondly the road allowed them to move reserves held in the centre to where they were needed at the key point in the battle and, finally, they had a couple of really good activation rolls just when they needed to be aggressive on both flanks at the same time. The Russians had some unlucky rally rolls as well, losing a couple of units that just wouldn't shake off hits whilst still taking more. In addition their artillery was somewhat wasted in the centre where it annoyed, but didn't hinder, the Swedish reserves. It would have been better deployed supporting the village.

This game was a lot of fun, and took just over an hour to set up and play. As with the previous game one of the best features was rolling a big handful of activation dice.


  1. Thanks very much for publication of your batrep.
    But how where the pikes used in your rules?
    In the base rules no mention of them.
    Will there be a variant of your rules for other periods?


    1. Hi Lex,

      'See The Elephant' is the updated version of an earlier set of rules. I derived a GNW set from those, so the game uses a mash-up of the two. I am currently creating an updated version of the GNW set, but the original can be found here:


      Essentially the pikes have a minor effect - Swedish infantry get a bonus in close combat, at the expense of being impetuous and not being as good at shooting, whilst all infantry get a small bonus vs Cavalry if they are pike-armed (they ignore one retreat unless at least one hit was also inflicted). Note that in the GNW version, cavalry don't shoot, but are better in close combat.

    2. As for versions for other periods - I don't know. I'll almost certainly try some Maximilian In Mexico games with them at some stage, and that may merit a specific version of its own. And I doubt that I'l be able to resist a South American Wars of Liberation variant as well.


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