Swedish frenzy

Any questions relating to Beneath the Lily Banners rule system.
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Diceman
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Swedish frenzy

Post by Diceman » Fri Aug 22, 2008 9:02 pm

Hi Barry,

Thanks for the addenda, it answered a couple of questions before I asked.

However, I do have two. If a Swedish unit goes into a frenzy and routs their opponents do they a) stay frenzied (having won and not been "persuaded" to stop).
b) Persue, my theory being frenzied troops would be out of control.

I know the rules say foot never persue but could this be an exception?

We chatted at Claymore and you said to nag you about Swedish themed order markers, they would look good.
Cheers.

Brian
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Post by barr7430 » Fri Aug 22, 2008 10:42 pm

Hi Brian!

I may write some further qualification amendments for the Swedes. I think an automatic first turn pursuit of a broken enemy by Frenzied troops is acceptable. The Swedes however were very disciplined. Their Finnish regiments had a reputation for uncontrollabilty(is that a word?)
Foot would not be able to keep up a pursuit.. I think it would be unlikely and from a Swedish perspective undesirable to watch your battle line join the 100 metres dash!

Still thinking about the markers!... if the current orders go well I'll seriously consider it!
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Post by Diceman » Sun Aug 24, 2008 6:59 pm

Thats great, thanks.
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Post by danschorr » Mon Aug 25, 2008 9:46 pm

Barry,

You wrote, "Their Finnish regiments had a reputation for uncontrollabilty(is that a word?)". I don't want to be contrary, but I have never run across any reference to this. Could you share your source for this?

Regards,

Dan
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Post by barr7430 » Tue Aug 26, 2008 8:55 pm

Dan, I have no problem with you being contrary!

I cannot now remember the original source. I am certain that I first came across a reference pertaining to Finnish cavalry units' uncontrollability during the Thirty Years War in one of the numerous books I have read in that period. If you were to hold me to the exact source I would have to concede I don't recall. The thirty years War did of course (as you know) end only 50 years before the beginning of the GNW (approx)
On a total aside, one of my company's biggest operations is in Finland. As a consequence I know very many Finns personally (albeit 21st century ones). I have NEVER seen a drunk Finn... mainly due to the fact that I am usually unconscious before they are even warmed up! Beers and vodka at 0600 hours in Helsinki airport are the norm not the exception.... I would not mess with them!
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Post by danschorr » Wed Aug 27, 2008 8:43 am

Barry,

I think you are referring to the myth of the Finnish Hakkapelis in the Thirty Years War. There was a recent discussion of this on TMP in which Daniel Staberg effectively dispelled the myth -
http://theminiaturespage.com/boards/msg.mv?id=147260

I think the problem that I have is the idea that the Finns were "uncontrollable" in battle. I believe this implies a lack of discipline and control by officers and NCOs which was certainly not the case. Perhaps, aggressive would be a more more accurate term. but for the entire Swedish Army,not just the Finns. Yes, alcohol was used to "fortify" the men for the coming battle, but certainly not in large quantities that would impede control.

I totally agree with your assessment of the Finnish stamina when it comes to alcohol.

Regards,

Dan
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Post by Diceman » Wed Aug 27, 2008 9:29 pm

Barry,

I can't comment on either the Finns or the Thirty Years War as I know nothing about either, but I suspect you could find occasions where some, not all, units of all armies, in all periods were "uncontrollable" at one point or another.

Maybe a D4/D10 event role could be included to add a little uncertainty to a game.

Brian.
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Post by barr7430 » Thu Aug 28, 2008 12:12 am

I think unequivocal judgments around such issues as are being discussed in this thread are slightly dangerous and a privilige which is afforded to us because of our personal circumstances. Sitting with computers,books and time on our hands in the comfort of our homes I suspect we can all hypothesise about whether a unit would be well disciplined or wild, well led or out of control but what do these things really mean? This is an almost self indulgent intellectual exercise which does not reference into the most important factor of all.. the actual physical emotions felt by the individual or 'herd/mob/pack' at the time. I would also be prepared to wager that most of us have never been in a battle, been stabbed or shot at, watched our friends cut down, disembowelled or maimed in front of us and so it is impossible to say specifically how one would react under these circumstances. With adrenalin levels hitting the ceiling, accelarated heart rates, fear, animal and human smells of death, blood and filth all around and the screaming of wounded, terrified and hysterical humans everywhere conclusions based on order, discipline and leadership are flakey at best and are almost totally without context.
I think there is a lot of wisdom in old sayings such as "seeing red", "the red mist", "blood frenzy", "heat of battle" etc etc. These cliches are borne out of observation and experience. Discipline is a cold word which has very little meaning in certain military contexts. The SS were disciplined but they have a reputation for combat ferocity that is almost unparalled and were guilty of some of the most unspeakable excesses ever documented including the almost contradictory: 'systematic brutality'. The Mongols were disciplined but by all accounts terrifying and consciously used terror as an instrument of policy. The Roman Legions were disciplined but have left a chilling legacy for merciless brutality against their vanquished foes. Their military machine was not the remote ,button pushing, robotic, laser guided, infra red, proxy combat of today(which still produces out of control humans) but an up close muscle and sinew driven blood and sweat butcher shop horror.
We see stories every day on the news of so called highly trained 'professionals' from our own armies being involved in out of control 'incidents' which run totally contra to the normal morals of our own societies.. the very societies which train, fund and deploy these professionals and from whose numbers the men are themselves drawn. Effectively, they are us. How are these behavioural abberations possible with such expensive and extensive training as is lavished on our modern warriors? What conclusions should we draw from this? The bit that is missing from all of these kinds of discussion which appear regularly on the net is an absence of any real referencing into the most critical element.. human beings and how they behave under stress.

I am not judging the behaviour or moralising, I am simply drawing a parallel that we CAN reference into which is in our time. I conclude that ANY human being is capable of ANY behaviour given the right (or wrong) set of circumstances.

I noticed in Daniel's thread the adjective 'ferocious' in the relation to the Finns. Not an adjective I would tend to associate with discipline in the context of combat and one I think worthy of more than a glance. On that basis alone I would challenge the word disciplined.

I very much respect your opinions Dan and also your contributions to the forum. You are a very learned man and should rightly be considered a true expert in the field of military history but I often feel that the pre eminent critical element is excluded from discussions such as the one we are having which tend then to be reduced to a series of rather cold facts and statistics, source listing and documented reference points.

I personally think, after writing this post that EVERY unit of EVERY nationality in EVERY conflict has be exposed to the chance(however slim) of going out of control in the heat of battle. How this transfers onto the table top (and whether it should on grounds of good taste alone! ) is another matter.
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Post by Diceman » Thu Aug 28, 2008 9:49 pm

I'm not a military historian, but from what I have read/understand different people deal with stress differently, so one man might panic and another might perform heroiclly. So stress can't be factored into a set of rules as such, but a generalisation could be included.
This generalisation would last for a limited time as exhaustion must take it's toll.

As for ferocity/discipline many armies used discipline to win a battle then ferocity to "teach" the defeated a lesson, a lesson that wouldn't be lost on the next enemy. An instrument of policy down the ages.


Brian
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hwiccee

Post by hwiccee » Fri Aug 29, 2008 1:00 pm

I think that most people would agree that it is possible for any unit, from any army and at any time to go into a frenzy. But that does not mean that it is very common in regular units of this period.

Whether such a rare event in this period for regular troops should feature in a set of rules is another matter. But the point that Dan is rightly making is that the GNW period Finns and Swedes were amongst the most disciplined and the best trained in Europe. Indeed you could easily argue that they were the most discplined/best trained in the world at the time. I don't play these rules so I am not exactly clear what the 'Frenzy' rule involves. But from what i can see it is clear that the Swedes/Finns should be amongst the least likely to go into 'Frenzy'.
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