Shako: Swedish Napoleonic Organisation

This article discusses my Napoleonic Wargaming use of the Shako rules and one of the armies I am collecting in them. The first armies I plan to construct will be Scandinavian ones (can’t help it after living up there in Norway for a three years). It should be a Swedish army. After that, the Danish army would be a nice addition, given that it fought both against the Swedes and with them, depending on the time in the wars.

Shako are a set of wargames rules designed for handling Napoleonic era battles (and Seven Years War) without having a ton of tables and whilst maintaining a fast flow to the game. They provide a moderate level of detail along with simplified mechanisms for handling fire combat, melee combat and the results of combat. The rules were written by Arty Conliffe in 1995

The rules are designed to allow players to fight Napoleonic battles at two tactical levels. At the lowest level, the game is based around battalions and regiments. This allow a corps level game to be played. This allows games with the real life equivalent of around 40,000 combatants involved. The higher level the basic tactical unit in the game is the division. This allows the re-fight of the really big battles of the time. Both levels share the same mechanics of play but the feeling of each game is different.

Most games can be completed in around 3 hours or so, certainly at the lowest level of a corps a side. Shako functions by simulating the different battle systems employed by the various combatants of the wars. The rules themselves reward good pre-game planning and the setting of a good plan, although it is possible to change the plan through the battle, a good opponent will exploit that failure.

Napoleonic Wargaming the Swedes

During the Napoleonic Wars, Sweden consisted of modern Sweden, Finland and Pomerania on the Baltic Coast of northern Germany. When the Bourbon monarchy in France was executed, Gustavus IV of Sweden joined forces with Russia and Britain. The Swedes actually did very little up until 1807 (other than reinforce their holdings in Pomerania). In 1807, Marshal Bernadotte took Pomerania from Sweden for France.

In mid 1807, Russia and France reached a common accord. With it, Russia joined the continental system against Britain and helped apply pressure on Sweden to have Sweden leave his alliance with Britain. The plan was for France to attack Sweden from Denmark and Norway whilst Russia attacked Finland.

Swedish Army in 1808

In August 1808, there were two Swedish armies in the field. I am tempted to model one of these. The Norther Finish Army is shown below. The other field army will be described in a later article. Information for this has come from Nafzigers Orders of Battle as well as various works about the Swedish Napoleonic Army.

Northern Finish Army

First Brigade (commanded by Ofverste Palmfelt)

Abo lans Infanteri Regemente (3 battalions totalling 1101 men)

Lifbataljon Nylands Infanteri Regemente (1 battalion totalling 326 men)

Second Brigade (commanded by Ofverste von Dobeln)

Bjorneborgs Infanteri Regemente (3 battalions totalling 1580 men)

Osterbottens Infanteri Regemente (5 companies for 742 men)

Third Brigade (commanded by Ofverste Gripenberg)

Tavastehus Infanteri Regemente (3 battalions totalling 1508 men)

Nylands Jägarebataljon (2 companies for 275 men)

Ofb. Lojtn. Bat Nylands Infanteri Regemente

Fourth Brigade (commanded by Ofverste Cedergren)

Savolaks Infanteri Regemente (4 battalions each contributing 2 companies to the brigade totalling 968 men)

Savolaks Jägare Regemente (4 battalions each contributing 2 companies to the brigade totalling 605 men)

Karelska Jägare (2 battalions for a total of 416 men)

Landtvarnsbataljonen (militia battalion totalling 167 men)

Fifth Brigade (commanded by Ofverste Sandels)

Lifbataljon Vasterbottens Infanteri Regemente (403 men)

Osterbottens Infanteri Regemente (3 companies for a total of 342 men)

Kajana Bataljon (297 men)

Vasa Infanteri Regemente (6 companies for 568 men

Uleaborgs lans Bataljon (246 men)

Savolaks Jägareregemente (1 of 2 battalions for 287 men)

Karelska dragonvargeringen (detachment of dragoons – 67 men)

Heintzli Frivillikar Kompani (volunteers – 154 men)

Svenska (or sixth) Brigade (commanded by Ofverste von Essen)

Second Battalion of Vasterbottens Infanteri Regemente (465 men)

Faltbataljonen (Field Battalion – 387 men)

Gyllenborgells Detachment (commanded by Captain Gyllenborgells)

Gyllenborgells fribataljonen or Skarpskyttebataljonen (1314 men – free battalion or sharp shooters)

Osterbottens Infanteri Regemente (45 men)

Jamtslands Infanteri Regemente (69 men)

Vasterbottens Infanteri Regemente (47 men)

This then is the organisation of the Swedish Army in 1808. Further descriptions will be made in later articles.


Re: Shako: Swedish Napolenic Organisation (Score: 1)
by Jackal on Dec 17, 2006 – 07:59 AM
(User info | Send a message)
I have just bought a lot of Swedes from a certain online bidding establishment and am eagerly awaiting their arrival. How is your army shaping up? Do you find the historical size of the army big enough for a pick up Shako game?

I will come back to you once my chaps have arrived. cheers rob.

2 thoughts on “Shako: Swedish Napoleonic Organisation

  1. Michael Hopper 30 November 1999 / 8:00 am

    Interesting information – I've come by your site recently and would like to discuss the Swedish actions in the Napoleonic Wars. Write to me at… some time please.



    • thomo the lost 30 November 1999 / 8:00 am

      Hi Michael,

      Good to hear from you. I had the pleasure to work in Norway for around three years last century so my interest in Scandinavian armed forces was strongly piqued. Feel free to comment here or if you like and there is something longer you'd like to say about the Swedish Army in the Napoleonic Wars, then feel free to say it 😆 or send me an email and I'll will post it to the Thomo's Hole as either a post or a page will credit back to you of course.


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