Tuesday 21 July 2015


Whilst during the mid-18th century, the organisation of armies into Brigades appears to have been a more administrative/ campaign construct rather than a battlefield formation, I am finding it useful to build up the orbats for the Pils-Holstein collection with a brigade structure.

And it may well be that I utilise this as an optional element within the tabletop rules, but that's a consideration for another time...

Whatever, I decided to develop the armies on the basis of Brigades, and that the French, Prussian, Pils-Holstein brigades would vary in size between the armies.

Here is a small Pils-Holstein Brigade (the Guards Brigade), consisting of:
  • Brigadier Maximillian von Bruch
  • 2 Battalions of Infantry:
     The Leibgarde Regiment
          - The Kronprinz Grenadiers.
  • 1 Light Gun
  • 1 Wagon.



This Brigade is a very small one, and other brigades on the "Allied" side will be 3-4 Battalions strong.

Next time, I'll show a French Brigade.

I would be interested to know whether  (and if so, how) other readers brigade their units in this period...


  1. I use brigades of two regiments with each regiment having 2 btns. Then one 3-pdr per regiment or 2 per brigade and an ammo wagon

  2. I also use the Der Alte Fritz method...Cheers, Bill

  3. Brigades were, in my period of the WSS at least, loose formations that varied from battle to battle. They were used on the field of battle albeit with some latitude.
    For our games we generally divide the forces into formations with command staff proportional to size of the game and players available. Keeping it loose and informal just like our historical counterparts.

  4. Bill, I would call it the Phil Olley method since I stole the idea (particularly the ammo wagon) from him a few years ago. :)


  5. I would say that certainly in the SYW brigades were not fixed formations, and their composition in a particular army could indeed vary from battle to battle. However IMHO this meant that brigades were actually the opposite of what you indicate Phil - not really permanent administrative units, but vital as battlefield formations. In other words, it was necessary to know which brigadier general/lieutenant general was commanding which units in a particular engagement, even if he might be commanding a different set of units in the next one.

    It seems clear from the published secondary sources that in major battles infantry brigades might have up to around 8 infantry battalions. But for most wargames, the operative phrase here is 'up to'. It seems reasonable to allow brigades down to a size of 2 infantry battalions or cavalry regiments. These small brigades might easily be commanded by a colonel.

    Best wishes, Keith.

  6. Phil,
    On the same page really, brigades of 3-4 battalions, one or two 3 pdrs per brigade and one small ammo wagon.

  7. A very nice brigade, von Bruch is excellent, the drum on the base is a nice touch.