Sunday, 3 December 2017

The German Peasant War

Some time ago, I had the idea to branch into and replay some of the scenarios of the German Peasant War (1524 - 1525). I read a little about it and soon it became clear, that most of the major contacts were (due to lack of organisation and some naivety on the side of the rebels) very lopsided affairs, unworthy the attention or the trust to entertain a whole evening of wargaming.

But then it came to me that they indeed were a formidable a threat to the Swabian  League, and indeed to the Empire and that it wasn‘t so much the classical confrontation, but the widespread threat of these wild mobs and the possibility of guerrilla warfare that it posed. (Much to the likes of the American War of Independence‘s "Hinterland" affairs, Frontier wars ... and again what some might call le petite guerre.)

Just imagine the Truchsess trying to uphold power and order while most of the available Landsknechts and the fighting nobility is busy fighting the Pavia campaign in Italy! Yes, the Peasants are unorganised, but they had and did liase with some "robber" knights and payed Landsknechts as well. Most (in-)famous with the Götz of Berlichingen.

So this brings a range of possibilities, guerrilla warfare in woods and swamps (in Northern Germany the famous Black horde were defeated once by peasants in a swampy area). Negotiations that delay the start of a major conflict and the fighting for "neutral" Robber barons and their contingents of man-at-arms. And maybe once in a while a Peasant generalissimo might prove its worth and surprise us wth our common mis-understanding that these were just neglect able peasant mobs that will flee at the first shot of a cannon.

And this brings of course a rationale to paint some bloody upset peasantry!

Special scenario rules:

The rebelious “Rotten” (Mobs) of the peasants are gathering next to the litte village of Vlissingen which is due to its stout Burghermeister and his Landsknechts  in favour of the Swabian League (Schwaebischer Bund). The Whole valley is surrounded by rebellious peasant mobs and in uprising.

To the rescue all the way from Ulm was sent: Georg, Truchsess von Waldburg who has brought with him a train of mercenaries and guns and an exceprional hatred of the peasants. He gained a name and a reputation as the “Bauernjoerg” which can be roughly translated as the “peasant strangler”. 

Times are dire, all the best soldiers are in Northern Italy, cannons are far and few not to mention Landsknechte who are willing to fight. All costs money, and both parties don‘t have it.

Each commander plus one unit can negotiate in a location of ,  or , while negotiations are going on, there cannot be hostilities within a 30” radius around it (the village or the points). Each party is/can negotiate for the “neutral” mercenaries at the 4 corners and at 3 (Goetz v. Berlichingen and his retinue) who ever is successful gets the units/commander in his army on his side. Or can negotiate in the village (2) to bide time (thats what the negotiations were commonly mis-used for).

The process is holy, but can be broken, but then that party looses the ability to do so (negotiate).

The process is a dice roll at the end of the turn against the commanders staff rating. If both participating commanders are successful, and an agreement is reached in case of (1) and (3), the mercenaries {the mercenary captn. units are always rated 8} are joining the higher rolling (extra d6 dice rollif two participated) commander. 

In case of (2) no extra dice is rolled and the negotiations are going on (as well as the 30” truce).


  1. I love this kind of figures, superb and diversified...not sure they'll be effective, but they'll illuminate your battlefields!

    1. Thanks, Phil! There is always hope, with a bit of luck they might just make it! ;)

  2. Lovely dirty peasants, are they old glory? Wave your boot and your rainbow banner!
    Best Iain

    1. Thanks Iain! I sure as hell will! Yes they are Old Glory (mostly, some are Perry‘s others are plastic dark age ...) For Fryheit!

  3. Great to see someone exploring this part of the early 16th century! Do you think you will do any warwagons?

    1. Thanks Oli! Yes, maybe just or two (self-built or conversion ... who knows ...), they didn‘t had that much as their Bohemian counterparts ...

  4. Nice paint job, like the scenario idea!


    1. Thank you Kevin! Will try to delve more into that era.